Runic Empowerment – Facts and Fiction

The talent (or, rather, soon-to-be base ability) which everyone loves to hate. Why, I don’t know: its purpose couldn’t possibly be more obvious, even if Blizzard spammed it all across the forums: It’s intended to fill the newly created empty GCDs of our rotations, and to make our rotations less formulaic and more lively. And there’s no doubting that it succeeds at both goals!

Yet people bemoan the talent. They claim it will screw up their rotation, They claim we’ll just ignore most of the procs, so what’s the point. They claim it’s too unreliable for dps. They claim this and they claim that, but all they’re actually claiming is their own ignorance of the mechanics behind the ability.

Let’s take a look at these myths:

  • It will screw up our rotation.
    • This is probably the most common misconception, and the most ridiculous. All you have to do is read the talent description to realize the blatant wording which means this can’t possibly be the case: “When you use your Death Coil, Frost Strike, or Rune Strike ability, you have a 45% chance to activate a random fully depleted rune“. Emphasis my own, of course. Fully depleted means that if you have two blood runes, one in the process of refreshing and one shaded out waiting it’s turn, the talent will always proc the latter rune. Thus, as long as you then use that rune before the first of the pair finishes refreshing, your rotation won’t be messed up – the procced rune will go on complete cooldown, like it would have been anyways, and will then start coming back up once the other rune has.
      • The only way RE can mess up your rotation is if you perform runic dumps when not all of your runes are on cooldown, but even then, it shouldn’t be an issue as long as *some* of your runes are runes are on cooldown.
    • You can always just pretend the proc never happened and continue on with your rotation as normal. Whatever else, you can’t lose dps with the talent. It’s simply impossible. At worst, you’ll just gain nothing.
  • We’ll just ignore most of the procs, so who cares. It’s pointless.
    • Not really. Although Frost and Unholy are GCD-capped with RE, none of the three specs are capped without. You’ll want to use the procs, and any of the three at that, regardless of spec. You just won’t have anything else to do during the global, until you reach higher mastery/haste levels (which is a problem of its own).
      • If you’re really curious about the actual dps of the talent in general, it’s pretty easy to calculate. For example, for Frost, it’s: 0.45 * RPDumps/second * ((AvgBS + AvgPS + AvgHB)/3) + 0.45 * RPDumps/second * AvgFS * (((11 + 11 + 16.5)/3)/32). Of course, it’s slightly more complex than that, but short of writing out an entire sim, that’s accurate within less than 5% either which way (assuming GCDs aren’t a problem). If you take this parse and plug in the numbers as appropriate, you’ll see RE provides about 1200 dps. Not shabby, really.
  • It’s too unreliable for dps for us to be balanced around.
    • All dps have various aspects of RNG. A 45% proc is hardly that large of a gamble – even if you wish to view it as three 15% procs (which isn’t technically right, but regardless), one for each rune type. The math is a bit too complex (and much too early) to go into here and show the actual affect on the standard deviation of our damage, but I assure you, it’s hardly noticeable.

So no, Runic Empowerment will never screw up our rotation. No, it is not worth ignoring the non-tree-rune procs, unless you’re GCD capped, as the talent provides a significant amount of dps even with them. No, it’s not that unreliable for a dpser, at least not compared to similar talents of other classes.

Of course, that isn’t to say the ability isn’t without some very real faults.

First off, although the rng aspect of it isn’t that significant from a numbers point of view, it is very important for the actual playstyle of the ability. Considering you do three completely different things depending on what rune it returns, it may as well be three different procs. On top of already having to watch for Rime as Frost or Sudden Doom as Unholy, that is more than other classes have to keep an eye out for.

Secondly, it’s way too unreliable for tanks. You don’t know if it will proc a high threat move or a low one. You don’t know if it will proc an AoE move or a single target one. You don’t know if it will proc a ranged move or a melee one. Such uncertainty for a dps is one thing; for a tank, it’s flat out unacceptable. You just can’t rely on it to any extent, and thus it may as well not exist. Sure, it will still give you free tps over time, but that’s about it.

Third, despite the dps being worthwhile, it’s still counterintuitive to have to use PS or IT when you don’t need to apply diseases. It just doesn’t seem to fit with how the class is designed but, for many specs, it’s the only option you’ll have for the Frost or Unholy rune procs.

Last, there’s no way to tell when it procs, and it currently bugs the rune display when it does. The latter has been acknowledged by Blizzard; the former, not yet, but I’m sure it’s an issue they’re aware of – and it’s a vital one at that. We need to be able to tell when it procs, ideally without an add-on. As it is, there isn’t even a combat log entry!

So, how do you fix these issues? Pretty easily, really, through any number of means which have been suggested numerous times:

  • Bring up any random fully depleted rune as a death rune. Each spec would then know what to use an RE proc on – HS, HB, or SS. Not only would it increase the dps of the ability – which, as shown, is already pretty potent – it would eliminate that first real issue; the playstyle RNG aspect. As for tanks, it would give you the flexibility to choose between single target or AoE or ranged or melee. You would be able to use the rune as you needed.
  • Bring up a fully depleted rune of your primary tree. I’m not a huge fan of this idea; it works similarly to the above, except without the flexibility for tanks. Still, it would make it more intuitive for use.
  • Bring up depleted rune(s) of your last rune skill used. Obliterated before you started RP dumping? The talent will proc that Frost + Unholy. DnD’d? It will proc that Blood. So on. It would ensure you would know what the proc was in advance; indeed, it would let you “game” it, and ensure you got the most desirable rune. Could be interesting.
  • Give an ability to use for Frost and Unholy runes other than IT and PS. Blizzard has already stated they have a new Frost rune ability to come, and all they would need to do is buff Necrotic Strike in PvE to take care of the Unholy procs.

At any rate, the ability really is incredible from a numbers perspective, but it certainly has some playstyle flaws, particularly for tanks. None of them are unsolvable, however, and even if you can’t stand trying to adjust to the procs, be assured – it’s impossible to lose dps with the talent! At worse, you’ll be just as well off as you are now… simply performing worse relative to your better adaptable peers!

Keep seeing some of these same misconceptions posted time and time again, and figured I would clear them up while adding my two cents on the situation.


71 Responses to Runic Empowerment – Facts and Fiction

  1. Wake says:

    I’m concerned how Runic Empowerment and, in fact, our entire rune system will be balanced as gear and haste levels scale up as the game progresses.
    While DPS will probably steadily increase their haste values, tanks will sit at the same amount as there’s no tank gear with haste around.
    The runes’ cooldowns and the overall rotations will be quite different between a tank and a DPSer, and such the value of Runic Empowerment.

    While both frost and unholy are more or less GCD capped, blood is sitting on much more dead time – and this without any extra haste taken into account.

  2. Jonneh says:

    I’d be much more happy if we had like 4 empty gcd’s every 20 secs at t1 cata raiding and only 1 or 2 at deathwing gear level. Including procs i mean.

    For one it’d give us some breathing room to do things which aren’t of dps value. Even some things which are that we can’t usually fit in atm unless you live on top of your server. RP from AMS, death rune every 60 secs to BS with, anything like that really.

    I think a rotation which is so jam packed that we literally lose dps if we make a 1.5 second mistake is asking alot when most raid content is hours and hours long. I guess this could be seen as pandering to the non-hardcore masses.. but really. There is still room for difference between a good dk and a bad one with some breathing room and gaps in our ability use.

    You’ve not posted much about SS since you got into the beta Consider, have they changed it at all yet? Assuming that its “too much like obliterate” atm, I would assume given that its going to cost a single rune that they might be putting it back to full shadow damage, and perhaps this new single F ability will be something similar but frost dmg? Would mean that we can’t deliver quite so much burst in a single global while ignoring armor anyway. Depends on the specifics though I guess since it could potentially be 4 SS’s in a row for burst, plus 2 of whatever they make this F strike to be.

    Too early to speculate or..?

    • Consider says:

      There’s not much to say about SS that I haven’t said in the past.
      The reason I haven’t commented a ton on SS of late;
      1) I’m not a fan of it being one-rune. I understand and agree with trying to separate it from Obliterate, but I think just changing the cost (and nothing else) isn’t the best, or even one of the better, ways of going about it. Perhaps once the trees properly support such a playstyle and once we have something else to do with the leftover frost runes I’ll change my mind, but for now, eh.
      2) I’m not a fan of the current SS in general. The shadow portion is nothing more than physical damage which is affected by Black Ice (gone in cata) and EP. That’s it. If the ability were the exact same, save the second part was physical, nothing would change. I’m not saying make the ability entirely physical – I’m just saying that if you did, little would change. That’s a problem. As much as I’ll probably come to regret these words, I’m of the mind SS needs to be reworked. Again. It will be a hardhitting BS, and little more. Make the shadow portion real shadow damage and adjust the numbers appropriately. Make it all shadow, although I guess that’s a PvP problem. Add some secondary affect. Add a dot. Whatever. The issue with it being too similar to Obliterate is the fact that the “shadow” aspect is an illusion.
      3) They’ve already stated some changes are in the work. Considering the current state of Unholy and keeping that in mind, it’s just pretty pointless to speculate, in my opinion. Too early.

      • Pande says:

        I support the idea of 2-rune SS striking with shadow dmg with additional effect. What I would like to see is a SS with unlimited SS Glyph / Pest Glyph effect, adding additional n-seconds to the diseases duration / having % chance of refreshing dots on the target.

        Currently its just boring talent, could be completly removed / substituted by OB.

      • Sag says:

        Before I go on I’d like to say that I’ve always thought most casters should have some higher base resistances than melee. It made sense that demon armor gave warlocks shadow resistance, that mages got resistance to all kinds of magic, and that priests could give a shadow resistance buff. While pally aura sort of screw with this idea, SS would be great to use against plate/mail wearing classes if it was shadow only. This would keep it’s damage relatively high against plate, but at least 2 out of 3 casters could get partial resists to it, so in pvp you’d want to use OB, and NS instead of SS against casters. In PvE you’d want to use SS in almost every case, esp since it would/should be buffed by ebon plague.

  3. Wake says:

    “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.”

    I don’t see that as a confirmation of getting a new frost rune strike.
    There are many ways of dealing with the extra rune, it doesn’t have to be a new strike.
    Perhaps some buff to keep up, or a new mechanic attached to one of our existing abilities.

    • Vulgor says:

      I have a sneaky feeling they’ll just make Reaping effect Icy Touch.

      Something like this:
      Whenever you hit with Icy Touch, Blood Strike or Pestilence there is a 100% chance that the Rune becomes a Death Rune when it activates. Death Runes count as a Blood, Frost or Unholy Rune.

      Then again that would still force two Icy touches per initial rotation, time will tell on that subject.

      One thing i didn’t notice about Runic Empowerment was the “fully depleted rune” bit, which actually sounds much better and helps the rotation issue or lack of issues now. Cheers for clearing that up.

      • casja says:

        The problem with that is they will make either SS hit for a low amount because you would be setting up 6 SS in 9 seconds. Thats way way too much burst dmg and the pvp kids will be screaming to high hell.

    • Consider says:

      Either which way, a buff to keep up or a change to an existing ability (which lets us use Frost runes by themselves for something other than IT) would work just as well for RE purposes. A new frost rune ability as opposed to strike would have been better wording, but the former is what I meant.

      • Vulgor says:

        I don’t see much issue with 6 SS in a rotation, i mean blood dps does it at the moment with heart strike and you don’t see pvp kiddys screaming about it as you put it.

        I do keep seeing complaints from former blood dpsers saying they liked the 1 rune spam of blood specifically so i could see them trying to emulate that, though there are probably better options for what to do with orphan frost runes.

      • casja says:

        The difference is heart stike is a physical attack while the magic dmg from SS ignoring armor can cause real balance and scaling issues for PVP.

      • Consider says:

        Ah, but the magic damage from the current state of SS isn’t actually magic damage since it’s 100% derived from the physical damage. It doesn’t actually ignore armor; it’s already affected because the physical damage off of which it’s based is.

      • Sag says:

        @Consider, then what is the point of SS actually having a shadow damage component?

        @Vulgor, pvp specs are pretty easy to kite since they usually have DG on a 30 second CD, and the HS gylph can be dispelled, whereas unholy has CoI and desolation to keep a person close, as well as 15 second DGs and a ghoul. Unholy also takes less magic damage which is good against all classes that kite (yes even hunters and rogues) and blood gets none of that because it is tied to imp AMS/AMZ. Oh and HS and BS have disease modifiers attached, blood doesn’t always keep it’s diseases up because they have no disease protection at this time.

      • Vulgor says:

        @Sag Yeah I’m afraid i don’t pvp much, but do agree heart strike spam might do better in the unholy tree than it does atm.

        @casja The point of Scourge having two parts since 3.3 is so unholy knights can benefit from armor-pen effecting their main strike. Though that is a pve thing which just confuses stuff since people see the shadow bit and go “oh my shadow damage must be more powerful” when its actually just different coloured physical. Its mostly just flavor really.

  4. casja says:

    Wouldnt the easiest solution be to reduce outbreaks CD to something minute like 10-20 seconds and take the diseases off FS and PS and make them hit a bit harder?

    • Consider says:

      Then what happens when diseases are dispelled (or your primary target dies and a new one spawns) before the CD is up? Then you’re kinda screwed. IT and PS serve a very important purpose, there’s no question, it’s just that said purpose doesn’t lend them to being used haphazardly on a proc.

      • casja says:

        Very good point consider. Maybe take the CD off from outbreak and making a FU ability?

      • Sag says:

        Doesn’t that defeat outbreaks purpose for quickly switching targets with no runes available?

  5. casja says:

    I may have missed it somewhere but why dont they make oblit a frost only attack? AS it is not frost will be the only spec using rune pairs while unholy essentually only uses single runes. Then they can put deep frost talents seriously increasing oblit dmg and deep unholy talents doing the same for SS. That way they still favor there signature ability but both have a viable option for single rune attacks.

    Sorry for double post i dont see a edit button.

    • Consider says:

      Then what does Frost do with Unholy runes! Just because they did an odd (and unnecessary) change for one tree doesn’t mean they need to do it for another =/.

      • casja says:

        Necrotic strike

      • Consider says:

        Is currently weaker than PS in terms of raw damage.

      • casja says:

        So in not so many words Blizz wasnt lying when they said we still need alot of work. Thankfully they know this.

      • Consider says:

        Of course they do, but that doesn’t negate the joy in discussing any of it ^^.

        Even if NS was buffed, 1R Obliterate still wouldn’t work. It would give Frost GCD issues which it’s already looking towards and it would imbalance Rime by inflating the number of procs received. It’s just not necessary. Could it be done, with all of that weaked? Of course. They could also make Oblit cost 3 runes! There’s no need to do so though. If anything, Frost is currently the most well done of the three specs on beta. Least number of dated talents in the tree, most enjoyable playstyle, most streamlined tree, etcetera. It has a couple of problems, but not many, and the ones it has wouldn’t be solved by a one rune Oblit.

      • casja says:

        Gotcha! I was under the impression both specs had some pretty significant issues but im glad to see that one tree is looking promising. I’m not in the beta but from what i’ve read they seem to be trying to keep frost real close to the live version while they seem to want unholy to be a machine gun spec firing off single rune abilities left and right. Is that a fair assumption and in the same vein isnt that kinda opposite to the feel of the trees?

        I always took frost and the DW as one that would better feel like a machine gun spec while unholy would feel better at a slower pace considering the slow weapons they use.

      • Sag says:

        On the note of frost looking OK, I remember seeing Chillblains still in there. That talent isn’t good now, how has it changed, or what has changed to make it better? Can I no longer get FF from CoI? If so that sucks, but if I still can why keep chillblains around?

  6. Anaroth says:

    So it does actually work as written, makes a change from some spells.

    For unholy:

    A quick calculation gives 3.6 speed weapon coming out at exactly 0.5 sudden doom procs per rune refresh cycle.

    If you also assume 3 rune attacks and one DC per cycle, then you get about a 67% percent chance of RE proc per cycle, adding it all up gives you about 5.17 GCDs per cycle.
    If you’re in unholy presence then you’ve got a baseline refresh cycle of 10/1.15 = 8.7 seconds with no haste rating or haste buffs. That gives you 1.68 seconds to use each skill, which pretty much leaves you GCD constrained at the start of the expansion. It doesn’t really give us any opportunity to use any of the filler moves that are presumably low DPS moves, and suggests that despite unholy getting great value out of haste, unholy frenzy might be better used on someone else.

    That doesn’t seem ideal to me, especially as it’s majorly latency sensitive as well. I think unholy needs a UF attack to use as a rune dump (ie something to do when you’re gcd constrained). With the current trees obliterate would work, but I actually think a talent or glyph to turn death strike into a disease scaling attack would be more thematic. The other option would be a to allow DC to consume additional RP. That has the benefit of not requiring another button to push.

    Frost is in a slightly better position due to the UF attacks, and not being in unholy presence. Of course that adds extra complexity as your U/F/D runes are even more desyncronised with the changes.

    • casja says:

      Could you not spec unholy and use frost presence? That would lengthen your rune refresh time while increasing dmg and giving some growing room later in the expansion for haste.

      • Anaroth says:

        You could, but I’m assuming that’s something that they’re trying to avoid, as it would mean there’s practically no use for imp. unholy presence.

        If pets actually get your + damage buffs, then it might actually make sense to do a full rotation of presences, and have frost the +haste presence.

        Actually that reminds me of something that would be good to figure out. What haste effects reduce the time between dot ticks, and does unholy presence reduce spell / physical gcds?

      • casja says:

        I was always dissapointed in the live version of unholy presence, I would like to see them use it as a haste buff for lower gear levels and as expansions move on and more built in haste from gear you start moving towards frost presence and the increased RP and dmg. But with haste now im not sure you can get enough, epsecially with unholy. With super high haste i can see some insane scaling on dots

      • Sag says:

        The movement speed increase for imp unholy presence allows a DK to talent something else aside from tuskarr’s vitality on their boots. I like enjoy that. Personally I’d like your spec to improve the presence that you “should” be using, but I’d also like it if blizz would make the presences more situational. Need to stack for burst pop into frost, lots of random AoE damage going around, pop into blood. The problem, to me, is that switching presences costs a rune, which is very expensive to me. Pallies only need to use a GCD in order to switch auras. Yes I realize different classes are different, but it seems to me that DKs would have a better reason to switch than pallies.

    • Gordak says:

      TBH DK will always be GCD caped even if we do get a few free GCD’s with in our main rotation we can always add HoW, blood tap -> BS to eat up some for this free GCD’s.

      I guess it’s the way the class plays out and it’s nice to get some new cool stuff to rotate around come cata 🙂

      • Roristus says:

        I don’t think that being GCD locked as unholy at the beginning of the expansion is going to be a scaling problem. Haste scaling with unholy will improve the amount of main strikes you can use in a given time period by reducing the length of a rune cycle. You won’t be using more abilities overall, but you’ll be using more of the ones you want to use due to runes refreshing sooner. We may run the risk of becoming RP capped very often in later tiers with more haste, but I expect it will be worth over capping RP to ensure that you’re using the most scourge strikes as possible.

        Frost is in a similar situation, but talents like Might of the Frozen Wastes and our increased RP generation mastery will actually lose value as we gain the ability to use more obliterates in a given time frame. When you’re GCD locked, increasing the regen rate of RP won’t matter, because the amount of frost strikes we’ll be using, relative to the amount of obliterates, will decrease as our haste increases. You’ll still gain damage because you’re using more Obliterates, but the extra RP from those aspects of the specialization will only lose value as gear scales higher.

  7. Anaroth says:

    As a kind of weird aside, do we even need blood plague?

    Frost fever at least has a practical debuff effect, blood plague does nothing other than damage.
    Something that might be kind of cool would be to almost double the frost fever damage (and per disease multipliers), and merge ebon and blood plagues, that would free up PS as a scaling unholy strike, and you could reintroduce SS as a UF strike.

    • casja says:

      I dunno reducing DK’s to tracking only a single dot would take away from the class IMO. If anything i never understood why blood plague was never attached to blood strike.

      • Anaroth says:

        If blood plague was attached to blood strike you’d have the same issues with having to spam an ability that puts up a debuff.

        That’s kind of what the position they’re in now with frost runes, for two of the three specs, and also with unholy runes for blood. (with it’s weird plague strike blood boil linkage).

        It’s actually why I suggested this out of left field change 🙂

    • casja says:

      I wasnt meaning make the change now but in the original DK design why would you put blood plague with plague strike when you have a blood strike.

      • Sag says:

        I think because blizz originally wanted UH (which it is) to be the disease spec, so the disease was attached to PS. So the real question is probably why call it blood plague? No idea on that one.

  8. woohaa says:

    quick question…you may answered this on a previous post or it may be common knowledge for everyone here but i haven’t been able to confirm this yet. if you get an RE proc on a depleted rune that is supposed to become a death rune does it come up as a death rune?

    and if it does would it be better to use your RP dump abilities, after you use your abilities that proc deathrunes to attempt to proc RE on a deathrune?

    i realize that frost would have some issues with that as you’d want to use FS whenever you got a KM proc.

    Also i was wondering if it would seem like a DPS loss for, say frost for example, to let a RE proc on a frost or unholy rune to sit till you could get another rune up for an OB. After reading alot of your blogs on GCD locks for frost i was wondering if sitting on some of those procs till you could get an OB off would be more beneficial instead of trying to use an HB or PS per proc. It would eliminate many of the GCDs and hopefully be a dps increase.

  9. Raxxnamus says:

    The thing you have not mentioned is that at the moment, it refreshes a depeleted rune, that means you can actually manage WHICH runes if refreshes to ensure you get the biggest hits.

    Well you could if Death Runes ACTUALLY WORKED.

    Death runes are buggy as hell, even when up they don’t always work.

    As an example, hit boss with PS-IT-BS-BS-SS-SS RE refreshes either a BR or UR as IT is already almost charged SS-SS-SS-SS RE refreshed BR or UH as both IR are recharged.

    This is just an example and currently doesn’t work as DR’s are not working with SS correctly, but you get my drift.

    Now what we need to work out is if not casting IT is that a DPS loss compared to guaranteeing a refresh on a blood or UH rune?

    I am presently uploading a video to youtube to show how bad the death runes are at the moment, even worse than they have been in WotLK.

    • Alrenous says:

      Death runes work fine.
      Unless you get an RE proc, which apparently un-deaths the death runes.

      • Raxxnamus says:

        So they are far from fine then?

      • Sag says:

        Even now there seems to be a slight delay in death runes, I don’t know that it affects actual play. It just seems like death runes are a bit slow. I wouldn’t call them far from fine, as you still get the rune back, and it’s still a DPS increase to get that rune back faster, even if all that is spammed with the refreshed rune is IT for UH or PS for Frost. It just isn’t 100% where it should be. Not really defending blizz here because this needs to get fixed and I think they realize that.

        Personally I am waiting to see Blizz do something like they did to hunters and erase every talent. I loved that post. It was pretty much the blue poster going “Oops sorry guys my bad”.

      • Raxxnamus says:

        Sag how can it be a dps increase when a DR SS that hits for 5-10k gets replaced with a blood rune Blood Strike for 2.7-5.4k just because RE procs a new frost rune? Sorry but my definition of far from fine is obviously different to yours 😉

        And at the moment, the attack that makes most damage, by a country mile in UH is death coil, even without morbidity as that telent is broken.

        Interestingly tho, untalented Obliterate is hitting for approximately double what a scourge strike hits for, so my rotation atm looks like PS-IT-BS-BS-OB-RP DUMP and use Obliterate as main attack replacing it with SS when only 1 UH rune available with no frost.

        Now, if I could put 3 talent points in Anihilation, well you get my drift 😀

      • Sag says:

        As I am not in beta I can only go off of what Consider is saying and that is:

        “If you’re really curious about the actual dps of the talent in general, it’s pretty easy to calculate. For example, for Frost, it’s: 0.45 * RPDumps/second * ((AvgBS + AvgPS + AvgHB)/3) + 0.45 * RPDumps/second * AvgFS * (((11 + 11 + 16.5)/3)/32). Of course, it’s slightly more complex than that, but short of writing out an entire sim, that’s accurate within less than 5% either which way (assuming GCDs aren’t a problem). If you take this parse and plug in the numbers as appropriate, you’ll see RE provides about 1200 dps. Not shabby, really.”

        And that is with the talent as it is in beta right now. Maybe I am reading that wrong. If I am not then I can only guess that you were taking my comment wrong, which was that the talent is strong now as is. I may not have been clear in saying that it would be better if Runic Empowerment procced a death rune. In that case my mistake.

        We’ve made note of how Unholy my forgo SS in favor of OB, esp because the rotation would be easier. Esp since it would be possible to get full talent points into that spot of the frost tree. So blizz has two options, buff SS or give UH something really good to do with that Frost Rune.

      • Sag says:


        I forgot to comment on DC being strong. That is actually my issue with UB, I like the talent, but let’s look at the UH rotation Consider has posted here:

        Notice that he DCs back to back twice in that rotation. That cuts off UB, meaning that the talent does absolutely nothing for him at those spots. I love the talent, but I hate knowing that there are instances it does nothing for me. Worse if the first DC crits that 10% could be written over by the DC afterward which does not crit. So I either sit on runic power, or hope I crit again.

      • Roristus says:

        Unholy blight doesn’t get clipped in the way you’re describing. The remaining damage is rolled into the new unholy blight debuff, so that the overall damage dealt by the ability remains roughly 10% of your DC damage. Its not a perfect system, and i would definitely like to see it redesigned, but you the talent is never “wasted” unless you use DC within 10 seconds of your target dying.

      • Sag says:

        You’d probably be surprised how often DC is my killing blow. DKs have pretty limited burst, setting up a SS, two DCs in a row and maybe another SS is about as good as I can get.

  10. Raxxnamus says: video of the clearly faulty death runes

  11. Zombona says:

    I have been following this sight for a while, but this is my first time posting so play nice

    I had a though, what if they made a Frost-Blood strike for unholy that converted those runes into death runes…also change the play style up a bit more. why not make unholy more depentent on unholy blight insteat of just two disease, use runes on hard hitting abilities, and dump runic power when neccessary, plus a pet. make unholy blight be the only thing that applies ebon plague and every scourge strike on the target lengthens the duration of unholy blight(maybe).

    as it is now I don’t see much difference between frost and unholy. One has a pet and a single rune nuke, the other has extra RP and a double rune nuke.

    • Sag says:

      Consider has already mentioned that UB is pretty weak and needs some sort of change. I agree that 10% of a DC isn’t much damage. I suggested if they aren’t going to change it to at least give me another runic power dump because Why would I want to cut off UB, if I would get more damage by letting it run out.

      How much difference do you expect to see? They are still both DKs. They use different rune abilities once diseases are up (HB and OB for frost and SS for UH), they have different RP dumps, UH has a pet, Frost is much more likely to DW, UH can, if specced, negate magic damage to a group, frost can CC unlimited targets in range every min. So what exactly are you looking for?

      • Necrotize says:

        Sag I am fairly certain that UB acts like Ignite where the DoT is refreshed and the damage from the previous UB is rolled into the now refreshed UB.

      • Sag says:

        I was pretty sure that there was a cap on that, not sure when that cap happens, but I know that after an 8 minute arena match (UB up virtually all of the time on a rogue) that would probably get pretty insane and make me wish I did just that.

      • Mitranim says:

        UB works like Ignite and Deep wounds. It’s basically a stack of several independent dots that happen to tick simultaneously. New applications do not affect the damage and duration of remaining dots.

  12. QXQ says:

    I still don’t understand why RE procs HAVE to be used by 1-rune abilities. As Frost, why can I not wait for a frost and unholy to proc to use Obliterate? (Important to realize here that if we’ve got an extra unholy rune from RE, we can’t proc another one because we won’t ever have a fully depleted unholy rune while we have a fully charged one, and eventually we’ll get that frost proc) I could see this wasting small amounts of “rune energy”, but I would think getting an extra OB out would be worth it, considering how hard OB hits and the rather high chance to get a free HB out of it.

    Or spend that extra Unholy with a death rune I happened to have waiting on an OB? I could see this causing weird rotational issues where maybe we don’t get a rune of some type when we need it to refresh diseases, but I imagine Outbreak would be perfect for such situations.

    • Sag says:

      I don’t think that anyone likes to sit on runes, if you do that currently it is a DPS loss. I think that with the new runic system that would be more forgiving, but I think that this is a bigger deal with unholy than it is with frost right now and that is more the issue. In his frost rotation entry Consider has hinted at several ways to work with runic empowerment in frost and one of them was ignoring all runic empowerment procs unless they come from frost sources. here is the quote:

      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). – Consider

      • Anaroth says:

        Firstly about UB:
        UB combines the DC damage much like ignite does. So in theory it should be a 10% damage boost on an infinite fight. However you often get your targets dying before it has completely ticked.

        RE and Frost:
        I can see that waiting for a rune might be a dps loss if you were going to waste gcds or some other procs as a result, but it isn’t always the case. Assuming that we are in fact close to being gcd constrained then we should always be doing something. With frost the problem is that it can be quite hard to identify what that something is because your RE and Rime procs (and maybe KM) will make your rune state rather random. Assuming the new F based attack is better for single target than IT and HB and is added to rime then you’re probably better off waiting for a chance to hit obliterate than do something (other than PS to keep up blood plague) with the unholy rune. I guess that’s kind of what Consider is saying, although if RE procs were working correctly with death runes I’d keep using BS.

        Unholy AE:
        AFAICS unholy AE is kind of silly right now. you lay down DnD every time it’s cooldown is up. Pestilence to spread diseases and then blood boil with your blood runes while tab targetting to put up better diseases. I think that’s kind of silly.

        I think the solution is to make it so your single target rune attacks interact with your diseases in some way. One solution would be have them have a chance to trigger damage ticks of the diseases on your nearby targets. Another would be to change it so unholy blight was applied to all nearby targets with your blood plague on them.

        In any case disease damage is an important component to unholy AE, so I have to wonder if unholy presence decreases time between ticks, or should unholy do AE in frost presence which would be a bit of a pain.

      • QXQ says:

        As a sort of follow-up to what I had said, I have 10 theoretical minutes of theoretical DW Frost ability usage that hopefully help bust once and for all (what I believe to be) a myth that RE in its current form doesn’t work well with 2-rune abilities. Forgive me for focusing on Frost; it’s just my favorite spec, and also Unholy’s pretty much established to have serious problems so I don’t think there needs to be more evidence of such. I also don’t claim to be an expert of any sort so the ability use logic may be off, and there’s a bunch of assumptions (listed at the top).

        There’s a stretch of about 7 seconds where both unholy runes are fully charged at around the 220 second mark and another 7 seconds or so shortly thereafter where both frost runes are fully charged (just bad timing on the RE procs), but other than that there isn’t a whole lot of evidence of extended “rune waste.” On the other hand though, it can> happen. I think if I could actually play the game with the changes thus far and things actually worked this more or less would be my playstyle.

        Really though, there’s nothing all that exciting here (in this post). I’m ultimately saying that Frost is actually in pretty good shape right now design-wise and has a lot of opportunities for reaction and fun decisions (e.g., spending the RE Frost rune on HB immediately or holding out for an OB). We already knew that.

  13. Zokrah says:

    I’d rather them put SS back to using a UF and have more synergy with unholy blight.

    To be honest I’d like to see more synergy overall in Unholy especially with how broad its specialization is. Things like a ghoul ability to refresh or spread diseases and perhaps some sort of temporary offensive aura or even a execute type ability that consumes the diseases and does the full duration of diseases damage to the target.

    I guess I want to see less GCDs used on strikes and more used for synergy with pets/diseases.

  14. Raxxnamus says:

    Copy of my post from EJ

    Been doing some testing on UH 2h on the Cataclysm Server

    Obliterate (untalented) hits for roughly twice that of SS so I think with 3 points in anihilation (facilitated by IIT and whatever replaces RE) will give an alternative attack when a FU combination is available but diseases do not need refreshing.

    Did some quick parses:-

    SS in UH Presence 3400dps

    OB in Frost Presence 4222 dps

    Not very scientific I know, but best I can manage, both have extra Blood strikes due to runic empowerment making death runes back into blood runes /facepalm so presumeably both will be higher when RE works as intended.

  15. woohaa says:

    So atm RE procs on death runes don’t work right so i guess my question will have to wait to be answered.

    anyway the idea that someone posted earlier about controlling which runes were fully depleted got me thinking. i’m gonna use frost for example since well i like frost too =P i realize that currently our mentality is to use up everything as quickly as possible to not waste our runes. however, that won’t affect us in cata and we can sit on runes atleast until we have 2 fully charged runes in which case anytime after that would be wasted.

    But it got me thinking about controlling RE to our benefit…mind you if we do this it could get nerfed, but what if we let our blood runes sit….atleast to the point that we never have a fully depleted blood rune for more then a few seconds. Basically, this would force RE to recharge a frost or an unholy rune and with this in mind we would get more OBs out of the proc instead of using them on random abilities.

    i don’t have a beta key so i can’t test this out for myself but if anyone is willing to try it on a target dummy to see if using this strategy may result in a dps increase. atm i see frost having alot of GCD issues and i’d like to think instead of trying to spam 1 rune abilities and FS’s every GCD we could use OB more often to save GCDs.

    i realize that this would be hard to monitor and doing something like this wouldn’t be for every DK but more for experienced and more skilled players that could control their button spamming, monitor procs, and watch their rune recharges. and since this is mainly for theorycrafting purposes we should assume it’s a stationary-single-target raid boss and not argue about movement fights or other things that would hinder your abilities to dps.

  16. raxxnamas says:


    DC is indeed very powerful, so powerful that a build that favours runic power generation will be very atrractive, making the UB talent almost worthless as you say.

    I am no longer using SS, as obliterate makes it look like a tickle with a wet flannel, and uses the frost runes /cheer frees up massively more gcd’s and gives loads of thinking time – made of win and simplicity in so many ways including a great deal more damage… UH is so badly broken it is not true and this patch has done nothing to improve it, well except making ghoul frenzy well worth taking for the spare UH runes (ghoul hitting for 1.2k 50% faster has got to be good).

    This is the talent build I am using on Beta at the moment.

    Rotation is IT-PS-BS-BS-OB-DC-GF then (if DR’s worked) OB OB

    Presence is frost for inc damage and rp generation, as UH presence only seems to give increased attack speed not “Haste”

    It WILL make more DPS than UH proper spec, it is far from GCD locked and it is DULL as hell.

    Oblits hiting for @8k critting for 15.5 is nice tho 😀

    What is making this is incredibly frustrating to play though is the breaking up of all the rune cooldowns. Because of RE, and random procs, you have almost never got the right combination of runes to refresh your diseases at the right time. This FORCES you to refresh them early when you have the right runes further lowering potential DPS as all our attacks get massively nerfed without diseases.

    Whilst I have utmost respect for consider, theorycrafting the GCD’s just wont work right as you never know the likely resources you are going to have at what time, maybe this will improve when the death runes are working right, and runes refresh a lot faster due to haste, who knows.

    Anyway, back to testing hoping to get some parses from some instances today rather than training dummies, wont be posting them on EJ tho as fed up with getting infractions, they can do their own research 😀

    • Sag says:

      picking up Dirge in your build doesn’t seem very useful as you’re still probably only PSing every 40 seconds or so and not using DS or SS. I still feel that virulence really sucks, and I am not a fan of necrosis, at least with a two hander.

      I have recently been informed, thought these comments, that I was wrong about the UB overwrite, and that UB’s dot works like ignite, in which case that dot could get very strong, very quickly.

      Why would you be using frost for incoming damage? I thought that was changed to blood? It should be if they are going to make blood the tanking tree.

      I can only go by what I see in the tool tip, so UH should be giving you haste. Regardless of that it (currently) allows you to enchant something like icewalker on your boots instead of tuskarr’s. People really seem to value movement speed increases.

      I realize that these trees are already voided by runic empowerment becoming baseline, but here is what I would be looking at for a pvp build in UH

      I really don’t know what to do about pvp in frost and I think that resiliant infection would be necessary, but I think that attaching it to virulence makes me want to figure out how to make a build that is less dependent on diseases.

      • raxxnamas says:

        Frost is not for incoming damage it is for outgoing damage and RP production.

        I am dps not tank 😀

        Dirge is required to get to the next tier, sadly it is wasted.

        The tooltip says increases attack speed and rune regeneration, it does not say haste, only improved UH presence says Haste, but the attacks hit less hard and with the buggy death runes it results in a DPS loss so far.

        I am not doing any further testing with UH for now, it just seems like too much standing around doing nothing vs doing very low dps, so am playing 2h frost which is much more fun atm.

        Couldn’t get any proper parses from Stonecore, they were very messed up sadly.

      • Sag says:

        your post said inc damage, I guess I got confused. You could have grabbed magic supression. If you know that damage is coming dump all runic power hit AMS and watch your bar fill up. Not a huge DPS increase, but possibly better than dirge for utiliy sake.

    • Consider says:

      Just because procs are RNG doesn’t mean you can’t theorycraft the number of GCDs you’ll have open over time. Yes, there will be points where you might end up going for 3 globals (the maximum for Unholy) without having a single thing to do. That’s *highly* unlikely though. Theorycrafting GCDs right now works just fine and is perfectly accurate, as long as one understands that it works off averages; yeah, just because it might say you have no free GCDs doesn’t mean you might not occasionally have one due to poor luck with procs. RNG is RNG. One isn’t going to say trying to calculate the value of hit is pointless because (unless you have 100%) you never know for sure that it will actually benefit you. Same deal!

      But, yeah, </3 Unholy at the moment, and using Obliterate may be superior to using SS from a numbers perspective (although just going Frost is far better than either).

      As to RE, there's no way for it to actually cost you dps. It might seem like it is when you have trouble reacting to the procs, which is a very real issue with its current state on the beta, but in reality, it isn't losing you a single bit of damage. Yeah, you might have to think ahead and realize your runes are desynched (which can only happen if you forgot a proc/tried to save it for a double-rune strike) and that you'll have to stagger your disease application, but that still isn't going to cost you dps unless your rigidly try to refresh them together. At any rate, you could always just not spec into it as is. It's not (yet) mandatory!

  17. raxxnamas says:

    Only if the damage is magic, all seems to be physical in stonecore, but yes, probably a better option, worth changing even for only 2 points.

    • Sag says:

      I’m sure that you checked it out, but it is surprising to me exactly how much damage in this game is magic. Take the last boss in UK. When he is alive he has smash which is physical, but when he is turned UD smash becomes Dark Smash, which is 100% magic damage, and AMS/AMZ will nulify the entire thing. Wish I had noticed that when that instance was actually mildly difficult.

  18. Zombona says:

    this sounds good in my head so lets see if i can spit it out so can understand it.

    what if unholy dps’ed with one of its frost runes and blood runes off CD and ready to use, that way when you get a runic empowerment it is garenteed to be unholy, then when the next frost/blood runes are about to come off CD use the fresh ones before you start to Runic power dump, that way the only fully depleted rune is your unholy rune, meaning it is the only rune that can be refreshed

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