Frost Wishlisting – More Contemplation
June 7, 2010 12 Comments
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!
Compare to Nature’s Reach, Elemental Reach, Destructive 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 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.
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!