Masteries – The Actual Numbers

The title is pretty self-explanatory: Although we already knew the effects of the various masteries, thanks to Nihilium Wiki (which, yes, is currently password protected), we now have the actual numbers:

To understand the chart, remember:

  • Each point you spend in a talent tree gives you part of each of the three masteries of that tree.
  • After spending 51 talent points in a tree, you no longer gain additional mastery per point spent.
  • You do not gain masteries from the other two trees if you have already spent 51 points in one.
    • It is unknown at this time if you gain some of each mastery in builds without 51 points in a tree, or how that may work.
  • The first two masteries are fixed; there’s no way to increase them past spending 51 points in a tree. The third mastery, on the other hand, is the one which gains value from the mastery stat.
  • All numbers are in percents.

Suffice is to say, quite interesting. My thoughts?


Damage reduction and vengeance are the same for each and every tank, so there’s nothing to comment in regards to those numbers. It doesn’t matter if they’re too low or too high – they’re equally low or equally high for everyone, so it’s inherently balanced.

Life Shield is quite interesting. Basically, every time you heal yourself with Death Strike, you generate a self-shield absorbing an amount of damage based on the amount of the heal. As you can see by the chart, it caps out at 100% of the healed amount, which means a DS would heal you for 15% of your maximum health and proc a shield for 15% of your maximum health. Even though DS isn’t completely controllable, in the sense that you can only hold off on using runes for so long depending on your threat, that’s still a significant amount of mitigation, and one which can be lined up with incoming burst if necessary. What more is that the value of Vampiric Blood jumps, as it too would increase the shield amount. Scales directly with your max health which, as we know, is jumping through the roof in the expansion, if 35k bandages are any measure by which to judge.


Damage increase is the same for each and every dps spec, similar to damage reduction and vengeance for tanking specs. Thus, once again, the exact number doesn’t actually matter here.

Melee haste at 8% seems a bit on the low side, at least when you consider the tree currently gives the player 25% personal haste. But, still; without knowing how the Icy Talons line turns out, it’s hard to look too deeply into the number, and it’s just my initial impression. I would have expected something higher, but I’m sure the tree will be balanced around it appropriately.

The boost to RP generation is apparently quite potent, at a whopping 20%, and will go very far in eliminating our new, empty GCDs. Some questions remain, such as if this affects all forms of RP generation (Horn, AMS, etc) or just that which is generated by runes, but even if it’s simply the latter, that’s still at least one gcd per 20 seconds eliminated.


No need to comment on the damage increase percent, for aforementioned reasons.

Melee crit at 8% is admittedly weaker than Frost’s haste at the same amount, but since that 8% is the same for every dps tree’s second mastery, you can’t really read much into it. Still; the real problem is that crit – specifically melee crit – isn’t that special for Unholy, a tree which focuses heavily on spell damage and pets, neither of which are affected by our melee crit! Yes, the specific talents in the trees are changing, but the whole concept behind them? That doesn’t seem to be Blizzard’s intent, and yet that’s what it would take for melee crit to be decent (in terms of actual usefulness and in terms of flavor) for Unholy. Or they could just convert it to regular crit (and ensure it benefits our pet), which is probably relatively likely to happen.

Disease damage at 20% is weaker than its Frost counterpart as well. Yes, diseases will be affected by crit and haste, but thanks to the WP nerf, the net result is that they’ll still be nearly the same proportion of our future dps as of our current (and significantly less of our future AoE as of our current AoE). I understand masteries aren’t going to be equally valuable comparing from spec to spec, but when you have one which is not only weaker than that of its main competitor, but also much more bland? If Frost’s RP generation was weaker than disease damage, it would at least have the added perk of affecting your play style. Disease damage is no different than the primary mastery of a flat damage increase (which, by the way, is stronger at 8% than disease damage is at 20%)!


My impression? The numbers are very good all around, actually. The primary and secondary masteries do appear to be the same percent for all specs of a similar role, and thus aren’t incredibly interesting to look at, especially since these amounts won’t change with the actual mastery stat, but that number is high enough to counteract the removal of most of your Desolation-esqe talents.

The third mastery, however, is what really matters: Life Shield is potent enough to ensure it’s more than just a gimmick, and can actually affect how you play and what you do in certain circumstances. Over time, it will probably be about equal to block, the difference being that it can be used on demand if necessary (via holding runes or ERW) and that it affects all damage (physical and otherwise). RP generation will help Frost fill some of its new rotation gaps, and could actually shift the entire rotation around, depending on how talents change. What more is that it scales perfectly with all of a Frost DK’s other stats, and thus mastery on gear will be quite attractive. Disease damage is weak and unimaginative, but what can you do.

Some food for thought.

P.S. As some may have noticed, I tweaked the layout of the site. Any feedback would be most welcome.

17 Responses to Masteries – The Actual Numbers

  1. Zumal says:

    Some quick thoughts on the layout:

    I miss the background. Maybe tweak the color of the background and font, or something like that. It was nice to have something besides a blindingly white wall.

    Second, add functionality to view the latest comments, either overall or on a per-post basis. I plan on checking this thread every day, and I have to remember in my head the number of comments for each post. I realize that you can have e-mail notifications, but that just seems tedious (and don’t we all get enough e-mails as it is :P). I do, however, have it set to e-mail me whenever you make a new post.

    And since we are on the subject of e-mails, do we really need to put our name and e-mail every single time we comment? That’s a bit annoying. Also, why is our e-mail required? I took a shot in the dark when I made my first comment, hoping it wouldn’t be viewable to the public, and thankfully it wasn’t. But if we don’t want notification, why is our e-mail required?

    Looking good so far though, keep it up!

    • Consider says:

      I can change the colors around easily enough, and something I’ll play around with later this evening. The previous template was very limited in what you could and couldn’t tweak, and although this one may be plain, it’s better organized (in my opinion), and has many more options for additions. Plain, I can fix.

      Comment wise, I could simply flip the order in which comments appear (i.e, newest at top and oldest at bottom instead of vice versa). You can always subscribe to the RSS comment feed, of course, so there is that. I can see if there aren’t any other possibilities to address that concern. I’m still trying to get completely accustomed to the site and what I can and can’t do.

      The email requirement for commenting should now be removed. It’s there by default, but as long as spam and the like don’t start popping up, I don’t really see the point in it, and can understand some being hesitant for various reasons. Let me know if it’s still there.

      I do apologize while the site continues to be refined over the next week or so, especially as I decide exactly what direction I’m going in. My technical know how is somewhat limited, and on top of that, there’s only so much you can do with a freely hosted site (and being just a week old and averaging just barely 1k views/day, it simply doesn’t make sense to get an actual domain yet, although it’s something I can always do in the future. WordPress makes it very easy to make such transitions. An actual site with the wordpress software makes the sky the limit. It allows you to do nearly anything).

      Edit: I added the top five ten recent comments to the right column, which should help address that concern.

  2. Zyrus says:

    Black font + White background is actually horrible, it’s way easier to read white/whatever other color on a black background, far less strain on the eyes too. Otherwise the layout is pretty good.

  3. Rebellion says:

    First of all let me say: Its great blog you have here. After your work on EJ I just had to visit it, and I’m still drawn in by the quality of information and the decent writing, which makes the it one of the more user friendly sites/blogs on the internet.

    As for the feedback on the new layout, I have to admit, that perfomance wise it is a huge improvement compared to the previous one. Scrolling no longer causes the previous micro lag on my machine, which is more than appreaciated, as it starts to hurt after a few seconds of scrolling. Though I still see room for improvment. As stated by Zumal, a less bright backround colour would be nice as well, because the blinding white starts to wear your eyes out quite fast.

    In regard to the first actual numbers for the new mastery system, I share your scepticism when it comes to unholy and its not so overwhelming concept so far. Compared to the other trees of the DK, let alone some of other classes, the generic 20% dmg increase to diseases does not blow ones mind, because it neither adds any depth to the tree nor does it involce any tactical part which would make it more exciting. The weak basic number might be forgivable if the mastery stat conversion is appropriate. thought that we will have to see first. For now we can’t compare the actual value of mastery when it comes to item budget (some jewelcrafting recipies might be nice as a first indicator) or the per point increase, can we ? At least it is not a too complex system which will allow easy tweaks, given Blizzard wants to.

    The 8% melee crit too will defineatly need a rework to stay competitive. As you mentioned, the first step would be to grant it to every aspect of the unholy DK, by allowing our pets as well as our spells and diseases to scale with it.

    But in the end it is only a first peek into what they are up to. First we will have to see what happens to the talent trees and see how many talents hit the trashbin in the process. Given that their primary goal is to make the mastery of each tree something that should compensate the “loss” of talents that felt boring we can asume a few that will go away. For now none of these masteries make it look like they will get rid of all of them, which i actually hoped for, given how bloated some trees are at the moment with “+1% dmg here and +3% haste there” talents. Though I doubt they can get rid of all the specific talents that increase only certain strikes of spells.

    Theres to hope news will a available soon, so we get a better picture.

  4. New layout is nice, but the top feels empty because of the lack of a custom header.

  5. Matt says:

    Im extremely Interested in the Frost tree changes, especially with 2 Hand frost mounting a come back. all that RP will mean alot of free frost strikes, even with the potential 6 second CD, though it too will be mitigated through Haste.

  6. Baadshah of Dawnbringer says:

    The Unholy mastery bonuses worry me quite greatly. Out of all the DK specs, I feel Unholy is the most unique, something that we can be grateful for in a world of increasing homogenization. Its claims to fame include being an absolutely incredible AoE spec, an excellent raid utility (being able to spread 13% magic damage and 30% increased disease damage to multiple enemies at the same time) and the ability to scale well with gear (Fenita did some math there) or temporary buffs (like say the Twin Valkyr powerup).

    In the current form of the tree, I just don’t see these bonuses benefitting Unholy DKs as much as the other specs. Blood’s self heal sounds to me, like a vampiric version of Val’anyr for the tank- awesome! Frost DKs no longer have to worry about insanely tight priorities and panicking about 0.5 seconds left to refresh diseases.
    Unholy however, seems to have its masteries focused on areas which won’t be of as much interest soon. Disease damage? Sorry, AoE’s going down. Crit chance? Well WP might like that, but its damage is being further reduced! Super crits? Um no, that’s Frost’s forte.

    Here’s to hoping my fears turn out to be unfounded.

  7. Lasenka says:

    Do we know if Blood Bubbles are based on effective healing, overall healing or some other version?

  8. Baadshah of Dawnbringer says:

    I’m a little bit confused by this statement: “You do not gain masteries from the other two trees if you have already spent 51 points in one.”

    Lets say I start off with a 0/0/51 build. So I’m getting Damage + Crit and Disease damage.

    If I put 26 points into the Frost tree, will I not receive ANY of the 3 bonuses associated with the Frost tree (Damage, haste and RP generation)?

    Or does it simply mean I won’t gain from only one of those stats (like say +damage)?

    • Consider says:

      It means you won’t receive any of the 3 bonuses associated with the Frost tree – damage, haste, and RP generation. The idea is to prevent classes with only one dps tree from being punished.

      No clue whether Life Shield is effective or total healing, although I have to hope for the latter!

      • Minaka says:

        In addition to punishing classes with only one damage spec, allowing Mastery Bonuses from other trees would punish people who put, for example, 61 points into their main, tree, and only 17 points in another tree. A spec with 0/27/51 would gain an advantage over a spec with 0/17/61, punishing people who put more than the maximum 51 points in their main talent tree.

      • Baadshah of Dawnbringer says:

        In that case, would it be correct to assume then, that Blizzard wants to ensure that no more than 51 points are spent in one tree? Or will it become a difficult choice to make?

        For instance, if the alpha version of the talent tree was any indicator (I’m sure it will chance greatly), you still want to spend at least 54 points into the Unholy tree for a build like we are using today. 3 of those points are only worth their talents, and not any mastery bonuses.
        Would we be better of shifting them to another tree (Like say picking up Subversion in the Blood tree) or just leaving them as “extra-baggage” in Unholy?

    • Minaka says:

      My point was that you MAY INDEED want to put more than the mandatory 51 points in your main tree. A system that allowed Mastery bonuses from multiple trees would unfairly penalize those who could or would not spend the rest of their points in another tree. THAT IS NOT HOW THE MASTERY SYSTEM WORKS. You ONLY gain the bonuses from your main Talent Tree(Unholy, in your example). Those extra 3 points you (might) choose to put into the Unholy tree would not be a problem whatsoever for your Mastery bonuses, as you would only gain the full 51-point Unholy Mastery bonuses. You would not gain any Frost or Blood Mastery Bonuses. Thus, you could put those point in whatever Talents you would find most useful, regardless of which Talent Tree they are in.

  9. Rhaevos says:

    I do personally hope that we see a return of competative 2h frost specs. Frost was always the most fun spec to play as, I just can’t stand dual wielding. The howling blast + hungering cold change makes it look like the spec may become even more fun.

  10. Sag says:

    I understand that this may not be the place for this because the blog is mostly PvE, but I still fail to understand how that blood mastery talent is now going to be amazing for PvP as well. Maybe I am full of fail today. How is that not awesome? PvP uses resiliance because it makes people take less damage, and get crit less often, isn’t that exactly what all of the tanking (not just blood tree, all tanking trees) do?

    If my damage increases as my health does from vengence how is that also not awesome for pvp? More to a point would this make vampiric blood an offensive CD in pvp, since it would raise my stamina and therefore my AP? I find that my enjoyment of the PvE portion of wow is usually tempered by the nerfs I receive for pvp reasons. That is why this concerns me so much, those shields sound awesome and even amazing, but what makes me believe that they will actually stick around when I have seen significant DK pve nerfs for pvp reasons.

    I ask these types of questions because I have faced many prot warriors while pvping, they are damned hard to kill. Also hard to kill any prot specced pally wearing damned near any pvp gear. I really have no idea what the feral druids are wearing, though generally they try to be a cat, which ends of being a relatively easy kill. While I don’t see as many DKs who are in a tanking spec, I still don’t understand after seeing these masteries and knowing how pvp has been played in the past, why anyone who plays a class that could possibly tank doesn’t do so come cataclysm.

    • Minaka says:

      First, I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “that blood mastery talent.” You are referring to the 3rd Mastery Bonus, the “Life Shield,” yes? Second, assuming you meant the Life Shield, they won’t necessarily nerf it to adjust for Blood tanks being “too good” in pve. There are 3 different Mastery Bonuses for them to tweak if necessary, and if the problem is in pvp, they could make adjustments to the actual Blood Talents rather than the Mastery Bonuses. That’s one of the advantages of the new system; pve- or damage-related concerns can be addressed via the adjustment of Mastery Bonuses, and potential pvp imbalances could be corrected by changing actual Talents. Unlike today, where damage dealt and damage prevented/healed in pve are linked to talents which also provide pvp-specific advantages, making it much more difficult to balance pvp without affecting pvp, and vice-versa.

  11. Fahar says:

    Wouldn’t it be so much better if instead of +% disease dmg UH dks got for their 3rd mastery bonus to give them +% damage per disease on our spells.

    To be more clear I’ll give an example:

    Lets say SS. (An unholy strike that deals 140% of weapon damage as Physical damage plus X. In addition, for each of your diseases on your target, you deal an additional 12% of the Physical damage done as Shadow damage) spending points in the UH tree would cause your 3rd mastery to increase SS % damange per disease on the target from 12% to, lets say, 20%.

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