Empty GCDs – Yeah… Not!

Before I begin, a sincere “Happy Memorial Day,” specifically to those who have served or are currently serving. Utmost respect and appreciation for you all.

It’s been a couple weeks since I originally broached the subject, but with all of the recent Alpha leaks, we know a lot more, and thus it’s worth taking a second look at the new rune system and how it affects our rotation. For purposes of this post, I’m going to limit myself to Unholy, as it’s the easiest to discuss, but the conclusions which I draw at the end of the post hold just as well (if not better, in fact) for Frost and Blood.

To begin with, to make sure there are no misunderstandings, our current priority is: Diseases > DC if capped > Desolation > SS > BS > DC > HoW. Due to the static nature of our runes and the lack of procs, we end up with a rotation which goes PS – IT – BS – SS – BS – DC – HoW // SS – BS – SS- BS – DC – DC, repeat forever.

Visually speaking, it looks as follows:

With that shown, how many empty GCDs do we have currently?

One every 40 seconds, essentially, and that’s almost always consumed with a Death Coil, runic power courtesy of AMS or Revitalize. That’s it. We are completely GCD locked, which is part of the reason why haste is of such high important to us at the moment (although that’s partially due to the fact that everyone’s using Bryntroll or Shadowmourne), and part of the reason why the rune system is being changed – even if Blizzard wanted to add a talent along the lines of Runic Empowerment with how things currently stand, we would almost never be able to make use of its proc.

Thus, enter the new system.

From what we currently know of Alpha talents, abilities, and numbers, our Cataclysm priority will be: Diseases > DC if capped or SD procs > Desolation > SS > BS > IT > DC > HoW. Runic Empowerment procs don’t need to be listed separately, as you just use the rune brought up as appropriate under that priority.

At first glance, aside from the inclusion of Sudden Doom and the introduction of using IT outside of applying diseases, which is a byproduct of SS costing one rune, nothing appears different. Except for when you try to write it as a rotation (hint: you can’t) and when you visualize it:

*The exclusion of Outbreak is intentional; more on that later.

Please do ignore my horrific Paint-arrow skills. Basically, after that 43.5 second mark, if you were to continue and if you ignore procs (as I did), it’s going to look almost identical to the 9 second mark onward, the slight differences in runic power aside.

In other words; after you burn through your initial six runes, you essentially do 3 runic abilities (PS or SS, IT, and BS or SS), one runic power abilities (DC), and then have two empty GCDs, and this cycle repeats every ~9 seconds.

That means we’re going from 1 empty GCD every 40 seconds to 2 every 9. Wow! That’s a huge leap, right?

No, not so quick. We actually lose empty GCDs, not gain them.

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Notes – Other Classes?

Short little poll to gauge interest (and to test the poll function). Self-explanatory, but basically I’m seeing if people would like pages similar to the current Cataclysm Notes for each class, and not just Death Knights:

I would separate them by sub-page, so you wouldn’t be overwhelmed by all of it on one screen, and so that you wouldn’t have to wade through the classes you could care less about. It would be a bit of work, time wise, but if there’s a desire for it, I wouldn’t mind doing them (and then maintaining them until such a time as either official notes are provided, or  the NDA is eliminated and a site like Mmo-Champion does its typically excellent job of compiling the information in a far superior manner than I could ever do).

Feel free to share your opinion, either which way. Honestly makes no difference to me, just figured I would throw it out there.

Edit: Do see my comments below if you’re concerned about this site as a whole. There’s nothing to worry about.

Blood Parasite – The Specifics

Since many people seem curious:

  • Blood worm: Initial Health: 10187. Stacks Blood Gorged – May burst, healing neraby allies for 10% of its maximum health. Stacks 14 times.

I’m not entirely sure if it has a chance to burst each time it gains a stack, then heals for 10% of its health * the number of stacks or whether it simply heals for a flat 10% of its health. Either way, pretty potent talent, as even if you interpret that as negatively as possible, that’s still a 10k AoE heal fairly regularly.

Still, 10k health might not be all that much in Cataclysm. Stat inflation appears to be rather huge, at least relative to past expansions. Simply look at the new HoW:

  • Horn of Winter now increases your total strength and agility by 419 (up from 155).

Even so,  10k is greater than the current Circle of Healing numbers and the like, so as long as healers actually have to manage their mana, it might actually be a welcome addition, even if it isn’t as crazy as it might appear were it live today.

Cataclysm Notes – Updated

Just a quick little point of interest; the Cataclysm Notes have been completely updated and reformatted. It now includes all of the talent changes/additions, as well as the changes/additions to base abilities, separated into those two categories by tree. All information is up to date as of Alpha build, which was pushed on May 28th.

If there is anything missing or otherwise incorrect, certainly let me know, but there shouldn’t be. Similarly, if you have any complaints as to the format of the page, just leave a comment, and I’ll see how I can improve it. It’s a lot of information to take in and list, so it was somewhat difficult to think of a user friendly manner in which to organize it all, but hopefully what I did works.

Anyways, enjoy, and have a good weekend.

Alpha – Blood Talents

The best for last. Or, rather, the most complicated for last. View it how you will!

Reminder: Complete trees can be viewed here.

Talents removed:

  • Subversion
  • Dark Conviction
  • Mark of Blood
  • Bloody Vengeance
  • Sudden Doom
    • Moved to Unholy
  • Hysteria
  • Blood Gorged

Talents added:

  • Sanguine Fortitude – “While active, your Icebound Fortitude reduces damage taken by an additional 10/20/30% and costs 33/66/100% less runic power to activate.”
  • Hemorrhagic Fever – “Your Blood Boil has a 50/100% chance to afflict enemies with Hemorrhagic Fever, reducing their physical damage dealt by 10% for 30 sec.”
  • Crimson Scourge – “Increases the damage dealt by your Blood Boil by 15/30/45%.”
  • Blood Swarm – “When you Plague Strike a target that is already infected with your Blood Plague, there is a 20/40/60/80/100% chance that your next Blood Boil will consume no runes.”
  • Bone Shield – Same as present, simply taken from Unholy.
  • Blood-Caked Blade- Same as present, simply taken from Unholy.
  • Toughness – Same as present, simply taken from Frost.

Talents modified:

  • Might of Mograine now increases the damage dealt by your Blood Strike, Heart Strike, and Rune Strike abilities by 5/10/15/20/25%, instead of increasing the critical strike damage bonus of Blood Boil, Blood Strike, Heart Strike, and Death Strike.
  • Improved Death Strike is now a three point talent, instead of a two point talent. Effect per point (15% DS damage, 3% DS crit, 25% DS heal) remains unchanged.
  • Blood Worms now heal for one large amount at the end of their duration, instead of tiny amounts each hit. The heal affects you and nearby allies.
  • Veteran of the Third War no longer increases strength, but instead increases stamina by 4/7/10% (up from 1/2/3%). Expertise amount remains unchanged.
  • Improved Blood Presence now reduces the chance you will be critically hit by melee attacks is reduced by 3/6% in Blood Presence.
    • See this entry for information on the presence overhaul.
  • Heart Strike now has a base 100% weapon damage modifier (up from the current 50%) and strikes two nearby targets (up from the current 1).
  • Will of the Necropolis heavily redesigned, and reads as follows: When a damaging attack brings you below 30% of your maximum health, you generate a Blood Rune and the cooldown on your Rune Tap ability is refreshed, and all damage taken is reduced by 10/20/30% for 8 sec. This effect cannot occur more than once every 15 seconds.”
  • Dancing Rune Weapon now grants 20% parry while active, in addition to its current affect.
  • Vendetta moved up two tiers, increased to a three point talent.
  • Death Rune Mastery moved down four tiers.

For the time being, I am going to hold off on my commentary of all of this until the talent trees are viewable, as the linked site is currently down, and I know of no other public, permissible source of seeing the information. I don’t quite remember where each talent was, tier wise, and thus it would be hard/impossible to reflect on how the talents all interact with each other in reality, not to mention potential builds.

Presences – Cataclysm Style

As promised, the specifics on the presence overhaul:

  • Blood Presence – The death knight takes on the presence of Blood, increasing Stamina by 8%, armor contribution from cloth, leather, mail and plate items by 60%, and reducing damage taken by 8%. Increases threat generated. Only one Presence may be active at a time.
  • Frost Presence – Strengthens the Death Knight with the presence of Frost, increasing damage by 10% and increasing Runic Power generation by 10%. Only one Presence may be active at a time.
  • Unholy Presence – Infuses the Death Knight with Unholy Fury, increasing attack speed and rune regeneration by 10%, and movement speed by 15%,. Only one Presence may be active at a time.

As I’ve already pointed out in the Unholy and Frost Alpha talent discussions, based on these and based on the Improved Presence talents, it’s almost guaranteed that each tree will run in its respective presence, as is only logical.

Alpha – Frost Talents

Reminder: Complete trees can be viewed here.

Talents removed:

  • Toughness
    • Moved to Blood
  • Deathchill
  • Frigid Dreadplate
  • Unbreakable Armor

Talents Added:

  • Runic Empowerment – “When you use your Death Coil, Frost Strike, or Rune Strike ability, have a 8/16/24/32/40% chance to activate a random fully depleted rune.”
  • Brittle Bones – “Your Frost Fever chills the bones of its victims, increasing their physical damage taken by 2/4%.”
  • Pillar of Frost – “Calls upon the power of Frost to increase the Death Knight’s strength by 20%. Icy crystals hang heavy upon the Death Knight’s body, providing immunity against external movement such as knockbacks.”
    • Costs 1 Frost rune, lasts 20 seconds, has a 60 second cooldown.
  • Might of the Frozen Wastes – “When wielding a two-handed weapon, your autoattacks have a 15/30/45% chance to generate 10 Runic Power.

Talents Modified:

  • Improved Icy Touch no longer further decreases the target’s attack speed.
    • Likely baseline.
  • Annihilation no longer causes Obliterate to not consume diseases and no longer increases crit chance. Instead, it increases the damage of Obliterate by 10/20/30%.
    • Obliterate likely does no consume diseases baseline, now.
  • Rime no longer increases the critical strike chance of Obliterate and Icy Touch, but has a 15/30/45% (up from 5/10/15%) chance to reset the cooldown on Howling Blast and to cause your next Howling Blast or Icy Touch (instead of just Howling Blast) to cost no runes.
  • Improved Frost Presence now increases damage dealt while in Frost Presence by 2/4%.
    • Presences redesigned, with each tree using its own namesake. Exact details of the new presences still unknown.
  • Frost Strike now has a base weapon damage modifier of 110%, up from the current 55%.
  • Guile of Gorefiend no longer increases the duration of IBF.
  • Howling Blast now costs a Frost rune, down from an Unholy and Frost rune.

These changes aren’t quite as interesting as they may first appear, unfortunately, but then again – Frost probably needed much less work than the other trees, even considering the new rune system.

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