Tree Passives – The Breakdown
July 13, 2010 11 Comments
- Passive Ability – Heart Strike
- Passive “Talents” – Veteren of the Third War, Death Rune Mastery, Vengeance
- Passive Ability – Frost Strike
- Passive “Talents” – Icy Talons, Blood of the North
- Passive Ability – Scourge Strike
- Passive “Talents” – Master of Ghouls, Impurity, Reaping
First impression – The passive abilities are no brainers. Of course each spec was going to get its respective strike. Did anyone honestly expect otherwise? Nothing else would have fit; except, perhaps, Howling Blast for Frost, but Frost Strike is much more iconic/integral, not to mention HB has its own problems.
The passive “talents” (or whatever one wishes to refer to them as) are a bit more intriguing. Yes, Veteran of the Third War and Vengeance were announced already. Yes, Icy Talons is a pretty obvious fit for Frost. Yes, Impurity was set to be removed, and thus isn’t a complete shock to see for Unholy (although, it’s a moderately weak bonus, relative to Icy Talons, but c’est la vie. Besides, Master of Ghouls easily makes up for it).
It’s the death rune talents which really have me surprised. Forget the fact that death runes have been notoriously weak for some time, and were only getting weaker with Blood’s emphasis on Death Strike and Unholy’s lack of extra talent points. Forget the fact that death runes don’t play nice with the new rune system (i.e, if Frost does two consecutive Blood Strikes, you then have to wait a whopping twenty seconds for both Death Runes to be up at the same time). Forget the fact that death runes have a rather buggy history, in terms of both display and functionality. Forget all of that.
Instead, focus on the fact that death runes are actually pretty active in their affect. By this, I mean compare to Icy Talons or Impurity. Death runes don’t just passively increase your damage; they mix up your rotation (in a reliable, predictable manner, but still). Thus, as much as I currently hate them for talents, and even though they have all those problems listed above (and then some)… I think they actually make rather excellent free bonuses. After all, they’ve always been decent in effect – they just haven’t been good enough to outweigh the various opportunity costs (in most cases). Giving them for free rids Blizzard of that problem (as well as the inherent one of them having been “all or nothing” talents), and instead design our rotations around them as they’re unavoidable. It’s a nice solution.
Surprised, but happy, I am.
Now all they need to do is work out the bugs, and perhaps let death runes refresh together (as opposed to consecutively) in the new rune system (which would give them additional flavour, plus make it easier on Frost).
I’m sure both – or, at least, the first – will happen. Even if the latter doesn’t, colour me pleased.