Frost Wishlisting – More Contemplation

Consider this the part two to my post on the “problem talents” of Unholy. Overall, I would say that the Frost tree is much better put together than Unholy and what issues it does have are much less debilitating to the tree as a whole relative to Unholy. Still, there’s always room for improvement, and thus always something for me to talk about!

Icy Reach

Compare to Nature’s ReachElemental ReachDestructive Reach, and really any other range-increasing talent, and you quickly see the problem (aside from the lack of originality in name!): Every similar talent affects essentially all of that spec’s abilities, in addition to usually having some sort of side benefit. Icy Reach does nothing except increase the range of three spells – and, as a melee class, increased range is of greatly decreased benefit to us relative to actual casters.

There’s no need to remove the talent or change its focus, necessarily. Instead, what I propose, would be to add all our Frost/Unholy (not Blood, due to taunt) spells (not strikes or physical abilities, of course) to the talent, and to also allow it to decrease threat by 10/20%. Would stuff like Death Coil, Strangulate, or Mind Freeze having slightly longer ranges be overpowered? I somehow doubt it. The threat reduction would be a very nice touch, especially when one remembers that Subversion is apparently being done away with.

Would that be enough for people to willingly take the talent in PvE? Not if there are other damage increasing ones they can grab, no, but if they have a couple points leftoever? That would make it a near perfect “fun”/”versatility” talent, the sort Blizzard would like people to be able to pick instead of having to be all about damage.

Improved Icy Touch

On live, this talent is just fine. It boosts the attack speed snare of Icy Touch from 14% to 20%, which is obviously of incredible value to tanks. Sure, it’s a bit more expensive than the similar talents of Ferals and Protadins (which cost 2 points a piece), but the same as Warriors, and a one point difference is rather negligible anyways.

On the alpha client, however, this talent no longer benefits the debuff (which is now 20% baseline, for the record) – it simply increases the damage of IT by the same 5/10/15%. That’s incredibly underbudget, considering the minor damage IT does for any spec. The issue is that Blizzard likely doesn’t want to simply increase the talent it due to fears of Shadowfrost in PvP, an understandable concern. Potential solutions could include making it like Corrupting Strikes (i.e, adding a Howling Blast modifier to the talent – Obliterate wouldn’t work, for various reasons), permitting it to affect Frost Fever damage, rolling it together with Icy Reach, or any number of  other answers. Just leaving it as currently is would be a huge mistake… especially if Icy Talons continues to require it, but more on that later.

Runic Power Mastery

RPM is near worthless in PvE (and, if AMS doesn’t generate RP for those not specced into Magic Suppression, as talent wording suggests, then it will become completely worthless for non-Unholy specs). In PvP it certainly has a bit more power, but it’s still a relatively bland and unexciting talent. The only reason people take it currently is to move further down the tree (and Toughness, the sole alternative, is a strict tanking/PvP talent). If it were to be removed, it wouldn’t be any loss whatsoever, but you could always combine something like Butchery with it. Heavily modify it, or remove it! Or, I suppose, just let no one take it in Cataclysm, as Runic Empowerment is a much better option for dps, tanks, and pvpers, but why not at least give it some sort of niche?

Icy Talons

Icy Talons is actually a generally nice talent: On budget, without being over. Accessible, without being too high up. Easily understandable, without being a simple X% damage increase.

There are, however, two issues with it, both of them easily fixed. The first is the fact that it’s linked to Improved Icy Touch. Right now this isn’t a problem because you’re going to take Imp Icy Touch to move down the tree anyways, but when you have Runic Empowerment as an alternative? You’ll essentially be wasting three points.  The second is if it affects rune refresh times, as most haste will do come Cata. If it did, it will be grossly overpowered, of course. Assuming it doesn’t no problem.

Endless Winter

Without the strength increase, it’s an underbudget talent when you consider that before it increased strength it let Chains of Ice put up Frost Fever, in addition to decreasing the cost of Mind Freeze. If all it does is the latter, it’s a bit empty. Give it something extra, ideally something PvP oriented. Maybe let it reduce the cooldown of Strangulate slightly, or maybe let it remove the cost of Strangulate. Perhaps reduce it to one point. Something. Just lacking if all it does is reduce the cost of MF for two points.

Pillar of Frost

If you’ve read almost any of my Alpha talent related posts, I’m sure you can already guess what I’m going to say about this talent: it’s way too strong for being accessible to Unholy. Swap it with Hungering Cold. Makes no difference for Frost, alleviates Unholy’s bloat issues (especially if Imp Icy Touch and Icy Talons are unlinked), and gives PvP builds an interesting option. Win-win-win.


Acclimation is looking rather lonely, considering it’s out of reach for tanking builds, useless for PvE dps, and only so-so for PvP. Perhaps remove it from Frost and combine it with Spell Deflection (which you could then nerf somewhat if necessary)? I don’t really know, to be honest, but it’s definitely in an awkward position.

I do know many people have issues with Chillbrains, as it is a bit lackluster relative to Desecration or Glyph of Heart Strike. Make the debuff unlinked from Frost Fever? That combined with the overhaul of the dispelling system seems sufficient to me, but then again, I’m no PvP buff!

12 Responses to Frost Wishlisting – More Contemplation

  1. Zaronic says:

    They maybe put pillar of frost where it is so that tanks can get it. This assumes knockback is going to be an issue tanks have to deal with in future fights. Or they may see it as a PvP ability they want any tree’s pvp build to be able to take since knockbacks are going to be a bigger deal in the new BGs and some classes I think are gaining new knockback abilities.

  2. Roth says:

    Pillars of Frost would be fine if it only provided 10% strength every minute. But 20%? Thats way over budget for a 21 point talent.

  3. Vorga says:

    One of the things I always end up thinking about is Acclimation. It made me feel a lot less squishy when tanking, due to the amounts of AoE spell damage I would end up resisting every fight. I really hope it makes it to the blood tree. I considered it a must have when I could get it… is that unreasonable or unfounded?

    In any case, enjoying the posts. (I’m one of the 25 RSS feed subscribers.)

  4. Sag says:

    I don’t have any issues with Chillblains, but that is probably because I don’t take it. I realized that it was kind of crappy after trying it and figured COI was better to work with.

    My wife and I have gone over the haste thing time and time again, so let’s see if I can explain this correctly. Apparently looking at WoW datafiles there is still melee haste and spell haste. WoW considers them different in game right now, you just can’t tell that because of the gear they are on does not mark it as such. When something like Icy Talons says it increases melee haste it DOES NOT affect the haste that you have on your character for rune regeneration. That is actually what makes Unholy Frenzy attractive, because (in its current form based on talent wording) it affects haste (not just melee haste) which leads me to believe that when active unholy frenzy does alter your rune regeneration rate.

    Right now it seems to me that runic power mastery might be more attractive to blood given how the glyph of DS works. Maybe that extra 30 runic power would factor into that. I could be wrong.

    I completely agree with icy reach altering threat. The blood talent that did just that was removed, so currently DKs are the only melee class that does not have threat reduction (yeah you can argue maybe arms warriors, oh and really, really stupid hunters). Honestly I’d kind of like to have an unholy version of this as well. I think that in pvp extending this to anything more than DC might make it OP, esp if it got attached to DG, Strangulate, or even increasing the range on mindfreeze past melee.

  5. Anaroth says:

    Anyone got a link to an alpha talent calculator? I’m running off the top of my head now.

    First of all an overall comment, the frost tree is kind of like the reverse of the unholy tree. The easily accessible points in frost are only slightly better for a frost spec than they are for any other spec. Whereas the top of the unholy tree is pretty weak for non unholy specs. The bottom of the trees is kind of the other way around, the hard to reach parts of unholy have a lot of talents that you’d ideally like to get in any build, where as the top of frost is more tree specific. Oddly enough this creates a kind of weird situation where the unholy dps specs would end up taking 23 points in frost despite having a lot of nice talents they would like to take near the top of their tree.

    Right now the way I see it, there’s a potential issue with melee/ranged haste. It’s always going to affect rage generation, and basically doesn’t affect spell cooldowns. I’d love to know if increases focus/energy/rune regeneration, but I can’t really see it doing so, at least not in the straight forward 1:1 ratio. Because there’s so many powerful general haste and melee haste buffs, I think it’s pretty important that the different classes and specs get about the same boost from haste. If melee haste does in fact directly boost resource regeneration, then windfury/icy talons does need a significant nerf.

    Right now, melee haste is kind of weird thing in that it’s spread over the two trees. Frost get the passive mastery and the icy talons line of talents, unholy gets frenzy and the (improved) presence. That’s kind of weird, but ultimately makes sense if you’re trying to balance out the haste you can get.

    As for the talents, putting really good talents in at the 20-25 point range is kind of asking for trouble, and it’s a problem with both the frost and blood trees, and completely compromises the design decision that you can spread the last few talent points around for flavour or very little boost. The reason the frost talents were originally changed was to make frost dps competitive with the other two trees. With better DW itemisation for Cataclysm, and the possibility of 2H frost, there isn’t really any reason to have easily accessible over-powered talents in the frost tree.

    I think no matter what the relationship between melee haste and rune regeneration the icy talons talent has to go, or at the very least be changed. The frost tree already gets passive melee haste. Icy talons in live is assumed to be up all the time too. If they do boost the duration then it’s essentially an overpowered version of the passive tree boost.

    Actually, thinking about it, a modified icy talons talent could be a nice solution to the improved icy touch issue. My solution would be a talent that grants you 20% melee haste for 10 seconds after an icy touch (and maybe howling blast). That gives frost more of a reason to use your free rime procs, and unholy more of a reason to use frost runes.

    At present frost gets 2 good raid buffs, but both are in the middle grey area of 20-26 point talents, which is a little bit of a dangerous position for them to be in my opinion. One I think should be easily accessible to all DK specs (10-15 point range), and one requiring at least 30 points. Brittle bones is kind of the counterpart of ebon plague so I think it should be the harder to get one.

    Pillar of Frost is a nice dps/threat boost for any spec, but especially good for unholy at the moment. The frost rune is actually an interesting cost, but the overall effect is too powerful so it should be nerfed almost anywhere it is in the tree. If you did move it then it would be nice to have the secondary effects moved to another talent.

    Icy reach, chillblains, acclimation. the new endless winter and lichborne / hungering cold are all pvp/utility talents. As such they should be easily accessible or have a similar talent in the other trees. Just the kind of thing to put those final points into, although no-one will if there’s accessible decent dps boosts in another tree. Lichborne should really be in the unholy tree anyway, and it would be nice if it was a bit more useful. My current frost tanking spec has hungering cold in it, it’s a fun talent to use. If it does infect the targets with the full 100% frost fever it could even have a nice pve ae use.

  6. Anaroth says:

    I’ve also gone back and replied to the unholy post in case anyone is interested.

  7. Mÿst says:

    From what I remember, Blizz said they wanted to water down the frost tree, as in make it not so clustered. It seems to me that they forgot they said that. I don’t mind having an extra 30 RP for frost, especially since Frost Strike is getting a serious buff to it (55% baseline damage to 110% I believe? Sorry if I’m wrong). I definately agree with you about Improved Icy touch, it seems far underbudget. I wouldn’t want to waste 3 talent points on that if I could spare them, but since Talons is such a dps increase, it’s mandatory.

    When the links for the Talent trees were up, I didn’t mess with unholy as much so I can’t compare. However with frost I found that there were too many good things to pass up on and I had a hard time spreading my points around for whatever I’d like in unholy or blood. So all-in-all, I just hope they un-clutter the frost tree a little bit somehow.

    • Sag says:

      The multipliers for all DK abilities were doubled at the beginning of alpha. They are currently being reweighted now. Of course frost strike will be buffed from its current version, it’d have to be since runic power could be more difficult to come by, but thinking that it is going to stay at 110% is not really realistic at this point in the game. Blizz will probably find a spot at about 80-90%. A significant buff yes, but since you may not be frost striking as often, not a huge change in actual dps numbers.

  8. meenaqt says:

    greetings guys,
    just in case you didn’t read it,
    about the threat reduction which should be build into icy reach
    it won’t happen.

    there’s a bluepost which mentions that misdirect and tot will be removed from the game together with all talents wich reduce your threat passively!

    screenshot of the blue:

  9. Olanai says:

    Regarding re-introducing threat reduction on IIT, don’t count on it – apparently Blizzard is aiming to remove all (passive) threat-reducing talents. See the third blue post down:

  10. Baphomette says:

    I’d like to see the -10/20 RP on Mind Freezes rolled into Icy Reach, which is already more of a PVP talent, and then Acclimation moved up to Endless Winter’s current position (in range of Blood tanking and Unholy PVP builds, but far from the only choice for those points).

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