Before I begin, to be clear, this post isn’t about the numbers. Not at all. Analyzing them at this point in the beta is rather pointless, which is why I’ve avoided doing so (although in some rare cases, it’s worth noting, such as in the oddity that still is Howling Blast).
Instead, I figured I would share my perspective on the “feel” of both Unholy and Frost after having done instance runs as both specs, and spending substantial time on the dummies to get an idea of how the specs would play out on extended encounters (which aren’t present in simple five mans, naturally). This is simply my take on how the specs flow in actual game-play.
Utterly unscientific, heavily subjective and opinionated, but hopefully an entertaining (and, perhaps, informative) read!
Unholy and Frost feel completely different in this regard, more so than many probably realize.
As Unholy, I pay next to no attention to my diseases. Epidemic and FeS keep them going for ages – approximately ~2minutes on average – and so they require no real thought or effort to maintain on my part. I apply them initially and then that’s it. 5 man fights, trash or boss, aren’t even long enough for you to have to worry about reapplying, and boss fights would only call for you to do so once or twice. It’s incredibly nice to be able to focus on your rotation, procs, cooldowns, and the like, instead of worrying about the hassle of diseases dropping at inopportune or inconvenient times (particularly important if you’re the sole source of the magic debuff in the raid). This is one of the best improvements to the Unholy playstyle, in my opinion. Just as Affliction Warlocks don’t have to worry about casting Corruption every 18 seconds and Shadow Priests don’t have to stop and refresh SW:Pain in the midst of their rotation, neither does Unholy have to spend a sizable chunk of its time (and focus) on its dots.
Frost, on the other hand, has you applying them as much as ever. It’s not fun. Outbreak doesn’t alleviate the problem – it makes it worse. Yes, Outbreak is free in the sense that it doesn’t have a resource cost and that it applies both diseases at once, but it’s incredibly expensive when you consider it’s costing you an entire GCD of absolutely no damage. Not just that, but it’s annoying to use; you obviously can’t use it for all of your disease application needs on a boss encounter – let alone 5 man trash packs, where you’re often switching targets (and Pest, which I’ll get to later, isn’t the best option in a world where CC actually matters).
I’m not saying anything needs to change for Frost (although lowering Outbreak’s CD or, at the least, offering a glyph which resets the cooldown whenever you make a kill granting exp/honor for solo purposes, would be most welcome). It’s simply a very noticeable contrast between the two specs; and it fits, flavor wise. Unholy is supposed to be about diseases – until now, all that’s actually meant is that they hit somewhat harder. Woo-hoo. Now that also means they’re much more convenient to maintain and less troublesome to worry about. It might not seem like a huge deal (after all, diseases aren’t truly difficult or anything like that), but it’s a very nice feature of the spec.
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