Frost – Its GCD Situation

Consider this a follow-up to my entry regarding the new Unholy rotation. Even though that post was made over a month ago, the conclusions therein are as accurate as ever (even more so, when you consider the slight RE buff).

This time, I’m taking a look at Frost, instead of Unholy. Suffice is to say, it’s much harder (or, at least, more annoying) to try and show than Unholy, partially due to the fact that death rune conversion talents don’t blend well with double-rune strikes (After every second Blood Strike, you have to wait a whole 20 seconds to Obliterate), partially due to the difference in playstyle between DW and 2H, and partially due to Rime (which, to keep it simple, I just assumed every other Oblit procced it – which isn’t quite the case, but close enough for these purposes).

Without further ado:

Before I start explaining what this all means, some assumptions made:

  • Epidemic isn’t taken, and as the trees currently stand, it won’t be for Frost. It just isn’t worth it. The specific build for DW is almost certainly this, as matters currently stand, and 2H isn’t terribly different (just has an extra filler point or two).
  • Outbreak isn’t used. It doesn’t actually change anything, GCD wise: Outbreak + Oblit = PS + IT. You will want to use the former in practice, yes, but I’ll be honest, I just forgot about it, and since it doesn’t affect the GCD situation, didn’t want to start from scratch.

At a whopping 4-6 free globals every 30 second block, surely Frost isn’t GCD capped… right?

Wrong.

First off, there’s mastery. You’ll notice I just assumed Frost Presence (meaning a 1.1 multiplier) for runic power gains. If our mastery hasn’t changed (it’s currently not there in beta, and Blizzard did say some would be redone), then you can bump that up to 1.1 * 1.2 = 1.32.  With the additional runic power gain, you’ll get an extra FS per 30 seconds. That’s one of those ~5 globals gone – four to go.

Secondly, there’s Runic Empowerment. At a 45% chance to proc off FS, you’re going to get an average of 2.7, if you assume mastery being what it was, procs per 30 second interval, and thus the exact same number of globals taken up – 2.7. You’re left with 1.3 empty globals.

Then there’s the runic power gains from Runic Empowerment. PS and BS both would give 13.2 RP, while HB gives 19.8 RP. That means RE gives an average of (13.2 + 13.2 + 19.8)/3 = 15.40 RP a proc. At 2.7 procs per 30 seconds, that’s an additional 2.7 * 15.4 = 41.58 RP, or 1.3 FS per 30. 1.3 – 1.3 = 0.

Bam, GCD locked.

For 2H Frost, it’s even worse. With an average attack speed of 3.6 * 0.8 (IT) * 0.8 (IIT) * 0.95 (IIT) = 2.2, you’ll get a proc every 4.89 seconds, and at 10 * 1.1 * 1.2 = 13.2 RP per proc, that means an additional FS (and thus another global) every 11.85 seconds. Just shy of another 3 per 30 second interval, with no way to possibly use them – except to forgo the use of another, weaker ability (which you would do – ditch HoW, and then ignore non-Frost RE procs).

The big question, in my mind, is how to prevent this issue without radically altering Frost’s otherwise enjoyable rotation?

Change the mastery. 20% additional RP generation, not even including the affect of mastery rating, is just too much. Don’t just tweak the mastery, but flat out redesign it to ensure it doesn’t consume GCDs. One of the most obvious candidates would be revamping Killing Machine into the Frost mastery. You would have to alter the proc rate and perhaps add Obliterate to the proc’s effect, but otherwise, it’s as interesting (and as potent) as what any other spec gets, not to mention incredibly iconic. Throw some new talent in its place, and you’re good to go.

Other potential options would be nerfing Rime’s proc rate, nerfing Runic Empowerment’s proc rate, reworking Frost Presence, removing/revamping Glyph of Frost Strike, and other such possibilities. But none (save revamping GoFS) would have near the same magnitude of affect as simply redoing the mastery, not to mention some of those possibilities (touching RE) affect other specs in a potentially undesirable manner.

Anyways, I had a request or two for a post of this nature, so there you have it.

I’m off to enjoy a delightful meal with some friends, and hopefully make it back in time for the Twitter chat. I encourage any and all of you reading to try and tweet in DK questions between 5 and 6 PST. If you have trouble thinking of some to ask, ones I’m going to try for include:

  • What is the intent and thoughts on changing the rune cost of Scourge Strike?
  • What are the thoughts on Frost and Unholy shaping up to be as GCD capped as ever?
  • Are the developers pleased with how the new rune system is playing out?
  • Are you okay with Runic Empowerment encouraging IT/PS use when diseases are already up?
  • Are you concerned about tanks being too rigid in their rotation to properly pick up adds and the like?
  • Do you recognize how weak of a talent Blood Swarm is, and do you have any thoughts of revamping it?
  • Do you plan to give the Unholy tree a more centralized focus, instead of having them split between SS, diseases, ghoul, auto-attack, AMS, and whatever else which leads to no synergy (compare to Fire for Mages)?
  • Are you okay with Howling Blast being so strong for single targets, and yet still doing AoE damage?

I could go on all evening with these questions, but I’ve got to run! Let’s hope for some thought-provoking DK feedback tonight.

Advertisements

12 Responses to Frost – Its GCD Situation

  1. Azerius says:

    Another thing that would become an issue is Haste affecting Rune recharge rates and i cant recall reading anywhere if it would or wouldn’t affect RP generation too (Beyond Frost’s Mastery).
    Frost utilising KM as its mastery would seem a rather elegant solution with the minimal amount of change.

  2. Shrakx says:

    I know it’s probably gonna change soon and the devs won’t actually keep everything like it is now on Beta, but it seems to me that they wanted to “fix” a GCD capped rotation/class by effectively almost cutting in half our rune usage. Now it seems to end up being a very complex playstyle with even less room for error. Or maybe I’m missing something ?

  3. Azerius says:

    Q. What is the intent and thoughts on changing the rune cost of Scourge Strike?
    A. In Wrath of the Lich King, it is closer to being a clone of Obliterate with a slightly different feel than we’d like. We want to change that. We’re also very aware of the rotational problems inherent in decoupling the Unholy and Frost runes. Rest assured, our solution will not be expecting you to Icy Touch alongside each Scourge Strike.

  4. Tarundrim says:

    Answer obtained for question 1) : A. In Wrath of the Lich King, it is closer to being a clone of Obliterate with a slightly different feel than we’d like. We want to change that. We’re also very aware of the rotational problems inherent in decoupling the Unholy and Frost runes. Rest assured, our solution will not be expecting you to Icy Touch alongside each Scourge Strike.

  5. Chainblade says:

    Looks like they read your question, Consider. It matches up perfectly with the way it’s worded. Anyhow:

    A. In Wrath of the Lich King, it is closer to being a clone of Obliterate with a slightly different feel than we’d like. We want to change that. We’re also very aware of the rotational problems inherent in decoupling the Unholy and Frost runes. Rest assured, our solution will not be expecting you to Icy Touch alongside each Scourge Strike.
    A lot of possibilities here. Maybe something like when your Frost Rune is up you deal extra damage somewhere? Something that detaches the Frost Rune and just makes it inactive for more damage? Utility? I don’t really see where they’re trying to go with this, but the problem has been stated that they’re working on a solution, so time is the only thing in the way. The only use I see now for Frost runes as Unholy is IT for Frost Fever and Gargoyle (FU). OH THE DELIGHTFUL POSSIBILITIES.

    • Chainblade says:

      And I guess I went a little off topic here with the Unholy update, but I could possibly see how this pans out for Frost too, indirectly. From my point of view, I don’t know about the rest of you, but it seems like Runic Empowerment is causing more problems with GCDs and other things than it brings to the table.
      (Hey guys, I brought that fruit cake to the party, but I accidentally ran over all of your cars with my tank. Sorry!)

  6. Branith says:

    So I asked all your questions and some of my own, so far a couple have been answered heres one:

    Q. Do you plan to give the Unholy tree a more centralized focus, instead of split between Scourge Strike, diseases, ghoul, auto-attack, Anti-Magic Shell?
    A. In a sense, that IS a centralized focus. Unholy death knights are about diseases and Unholy pets. Frost is about icy attacks and runic power. Blood is about tanking and self-healing.

    Makes me very sad that th devs think having 4 different focuses in their trees is ok with them, guess ill def be looking harder into SW:ToR or RIFT’s now. 😦 /sadface

    • Consider says:

      The biggest issue isn’t that Unholy has so many different focuses (foci?) per se… it’s that all of these focuses are independent of each other. They just don’t synergize. Our ghoul (which, for being a focus, is nothing more than a glorified auto-attack bot) doesn’t have anything to do with our diseases or vice versa. Most of our talents just buff their specific area, of which we have so many, but don’t play with the other ones.

      Compare to Frost. Frost’s focus is icy attacks and runic power. Everything they do plays into that. Oblits proc rime for free HB which produces free RP which leads to more FS. Auto-attacks proc KM which buff those HBs and FS. MotfW causes auto-attacks to proc RP which in turn leads to more FS which lead to more RE procs which lead to more HB which lead to more FS. So on. It just all melds together so well.

      Unholy either needs its focus to narrow (which apparently won’t happen) or it needs its various focuses to not be so independent of one another.

      Anyways, I’m sure I’ll throw up a post with my response to all of the twitter stuff once Blizzard is done rolling out the answers. Huge thanks to all of those who tweeted questions – my last minute dinner plans prevented me from making it back in time ><

  7. Chainblade says:

    Looks like RE is going to be a trained ability. Very nice. I wonder what will take it’s place in the top tier of Frost? Hopefully something more than Imp IT or a range increase.. 😐

  8. Raxxnamus says:

    Best way to balance an UH DK would be to have your ghoul apply a disease that impacts SS and also SS to benefit from Unholy Blight from DC’s. If they balanced SS around all of that there would be far more synergy, and UH would be far more interesting to play.

  9. psyquest says:

    What I would like to know is how can anyone like the time spent with “nothing”: all abilities not useable because our runes are on CD and we have no runic power for FS. How do you even find this interesting is beyond me, please explain.

    I am playing frost on beta, and although I am no expert at it, I find myself with nothing a lot of the times.

  10. Blighted says:

    To be fair, on beta as is, even without mastery activated, 2H frost has about 1-2 ‘open’ gcds a minute (meaning all that is available is HoW). Sounds like you are either not specc’d into Butchery or missing\inefficiently using Rime procs. Most mobs die before i can apply my diseases, but I have found that on a boss fight, I am capping RP even without mastery activated.

    I had built a ‘mastery gearset’ and prior to the last patch, my 650ish mastery rating was ridiculously OP and RP was NEVER an issue.

    In the end, by about the first minute in the fight, i find myself sitting at a HoW or FS to prevent RP capping position almost constantly.

    Play around with it a bit more, and make sure you’re using your Rimes properly, presently I am sitting at only 1/2 Chill to the Grave (and I would move that point out if mastery continued to function like the previous rendition) and as stated, am seeing constant issues where my next runed ability will cap me to the point that I sacrifice the HoW for generation until I have to actually refresh it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: