Build 12644 – Masteries Return

This appears to be it. Little news, but what can you do.

Although Unholy’s mastery is still bland on top of bland, and Blood’s mastery was nerfed, the change to Frost’s is promising. Sure, X% frost damage isn’t exactly thrilling, but considering runic power generation would have been useless, anything’s an improvement, and it’s a sign that Blizzard recognizes the problem that was (and still is) developing with our rotations being GCD capped.

Note: Masteries aren’t actually available inbeta yet. The simply all got names (ours, and others), and many got tweaked in different manners, such as the Frost one.

Death Knight:


  • Life Shield – “Each time you heal yourself via Death Stike, you gain 50% of the amount healed as a damage absorption shield. Absorb increased further by mastery rating.”


  • Frozen Heart – “Increases all frost damage done by 20%. Damage gains increased further by mastery rating.”
  • Runic Empowerment test – Not a new ability, per se, but a sign they’re working on refining RE, presumably.


  • Blightcaller – “Increases the damage done by your diseases by 20%. Damage increased further by mastery rating.”
Others Affecting/Related to DKs
  • (Warlocks) Soulburn: Seed of Corruption – “Your Seed of Corruption detonation effect will afflict Corruption on all enemy targets. The Soul Shard will be refunded if the detonation is successful.”

66 Responses to Build 12644 – Masteries Return

  1. Minaka says:

    It’s Blightcall ER, no Blightcall ED.

  2. Jonneh says:

    You know its funny, I just finished my monster rant post and at the end I say about how bad the design for blood is based on taking more damage to balance self healing, and then they go and do what I said in that post and add a 50% absorb component to DS!

    Still doesn’t feel right though. We get a *block* but still take more damage on the whole to compensate for the heals we do once every 10 seconds. 10 Seconds is a long time when a boss is swinging at you, and if those swings are higher because we heal, then the heal needs to be more present throughout the whole roation, not just in little bursts. We need the heals when we need them, not just randomly when we’re mashing keys for threat. Can’t think how that might work right now, but its an issue I see with the design intent.

    • Leodar says:

      But is 10 seconds going to be long anymore? There are certainly a number of issues in regards to runic power, death runes, GCD’s, etc. But I am anxious for the beta cap to reach 85 and to start getting some raid boss results before i worry about how quickly the boss hits.

      In other words, with the increased health pools and game design moving away from the 2 shot tank death, maybe it won’t be a big deal.

      • Vorga says:

        I’m certain the bosses still hit more than 2 or 3 times/10 sec… 10 Sec does seem long to me… any comments from beta players?

      • Sag says:

        I believe Consider has left beta tanking issues to Gravity at That being said numbers are easily tweaked at this point. One would think that with Vengence a DS could hit quite hard and heal for a lot on a predictable rotation. We may not be able to heartstrike away our deathrunes like we can now as blood.

        Last I really heard threat generation was a larger tanking issue. Something about tanks not generating enough, or not getting credit for enough threat.

  3. Jonneh says:

    I don’t think I can really comment anymore than I did in my comment!.

    Until we know more about the design intent its hard to provide feedback. At the moment, we’re broken and we’re waiting for changes to make sense. Its been weeks, and they still aren’t forthcoming. Help us out here Blizzard 😦

  4. Roth says:

    How in the world can they justify full strength Corruptions on AOE pulls? That is mind boggling.

    • Jonneh says:

      It is datamined so, always possible that its just not included in the tooltip or code yet. Could be a 30% effective dot or whatever 🙂

      I doubt that Seed giving a full corruption is the actual design intent. If it is, then someone very insane is at the helm!

      • Roth says:

        I would certainly hope so, considering SoC is probably the single most powerful AOE spell in the game.

      • Sag says:

        I think that the difference here is that it is 1 dot on everything. If pest only spread FF, then FF could be at full strength. It’s not like it is spreading every single warlock DoT to everybody + haunt. Haunt is a 20% damage increase by itself. It is one of the huge reasons affliction has high dot damage.

        Also a soul shard only comes back every 30 seconds in beta (if that) and currently warlocks would only get 3 per fight. They are working on warlock mechanics a lot as well. Lastly the longest warlock DoT only lasts 34 seconds and that is Bane of Agony (currently curse of agony) and that is with the glyph. That’s a pretty far cry from all diseases lasting 30 seconds as a base.

    • Anaroth says:

      It does require a soul shard. So it’s not quite as OP as you think.

      That said they really need to do something with pestilence, add a major glyph or something that returns the old behaviour, or give us some reason to go with weaker diseases, especially for unholy. I really don’t want to have to be going around tab targetting and putting up stronger diseases in true ae pulls, that reeks of bad design.

      I agree that the DK DPS masteries are pretty boring, and each is likely to be underpowered in either ae or single target situations.

      The whole unholy tree is a bit of mess, and to my mind rather bland. One one thing they could easily do would be to add more disease interaction. How about if the mastery or a talent said that your scourge strike and blood boil abilities had a chance to trigger an extra disease damage tick on their targets.

      • Consider says:

        The soul shard requirement would be a nice balancing mechanism… if it didn’t refund the soul shard as long as the SoC went off (which, if it didn’t, means you shouldn’t have used Soulburn on it anyways).

      • Jonneh says:

        We’re pretty much waiting for the ‘Golden Build’ at the moment. Nobody has said its coming, but we must be looking at some major and sweeping changes on the horizon somewhere.

        At the moment DKs and especially Unholy are just a mess. I really hope we get some clarity on the entire design intent. Its just hard to know what to even think about changes when we have no idea what context to put everything in. Out best toys have been taken away, and we’re just sat on the playroom floor trying to entertain ourselves with broken ones.

        Its demorralising, but all we can do is voice our concerns about the issues and hope that its getting read and acted upon.

        Read this!

      • Roth says:

        Id rather us get a more interesting mastery. For example:

        *Your auto-attacks have an X% chance to increase your rune ability damage dealt by X% per rune ability used, lasts Y seconds.

        Auto attacks would proc the mastery, but rune abilities would build up the power of the mastery. This also has the benefit of favoring 2h over DW.

        *Your auto-attacks have an X% chance to summon a [InsertSomeRandomUndeadHere] for Y seconds.

        This could allow them to bring back Corpse Explosion (when the timer on the undead was about to run out, we Corpse Explode it). You could also have Corpse Explosion spread full damage diseases.

        Consider had a really good idea for a mastery too.

        *You ghoul’s autoattack has an X% chance to place a debuff on the target, causing your next SS to deal 50% more damage.

        Ties together a lot of abilities and makes Ghoul Frenzy even stronger.

        Anything would be better than “+20% disease damage” at this point.

      • Roth says:

        *Your auto-attacks have an X% chance to summon a [InsertSomeRandomUndeadHere] for Y seconds.

        For that mastery, you could have the undead minions damage be based off of 50% of your mainhand. Further benefiting 2h over DW.

      • SupSup! :P says:

        i think jonneh hit it right on the button too, they took all our best toys away leavin us on the floor playin with the broken ones (pictures a buncha intelligent confused babies trying to play with their severely broken toys in a daycare)

  5. frostfright says:

    Saw the change to the Frost Mastery coming – it would’ve been very, very difficult balancing the new rune system around two stats that could alter how many free GCDs we have. How much does Haste affect the new rune recharge rates? If we make it not that much, then the stat becomes worthless. If we make it too much, leveling Death Knights become resource-starved. And even if we find the right balance, suddenly we have to worry about Frost DKs who have a bunch of Mastery that is giving them excess RP that they cant spend!

    No, the improvement to Frost damage does two good things:

    -Removes the headaches present in balancing around mastery-increased RP gains.
    -Makes Frost Strike the main focus of the Frost tree again, instead of Obliterate.

    I don’t have much to say on the subject of Blood, other than that 50% number will probably see further tweaking as they see how much self-healing Blood tanks actually do with their halved number of Death Strikes, and the new healing system. Depending on how it goes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that Mastery maybe include Rune Tap’s healing as well/instead. Right now the Death Strike vs. 2xHeart Strike decision has only one answer.

    Unholy I hope sees some kind of overhaul for diseases. A static improvement to their damage is not fun, and feels really boring. Affliction has ways of interacting with their DoTs, Unholy could really use a way to interact with theirs.

    • Roth says:

      What they need to do is change Death Rune Mastery.

      “Your Blood Boil, Pestilence, Heart Strike and Rune Tap convert your Blood runes to Death runes.”

      • Leviatharan says:

        Well, think of what they’re doing for Unholy: The change to Reaping, the addition of Festering Strike, gives us the ability to convert most of our runes into possible Unholy runes, opening the options of using our single-rune abilities like Ghoul Frenzy or Anti-Magic Zone in place of just spamming Scourge Strike or Necrotic Strike.
        If they change Blood so it’s just like Frost rune-wise, then Blood has fewer Blood Runes to use for things like Rune Tap and Vampiric Blood, which are still more potent than Death Strike healing-wise.
        I would agree with the idea that the mastery should include all of the Blood DK’s self healing (which would include all of… Rune Tap and Bloodworms, since VB is ‘temporary’ healing really), due to the lacking number of Death Strikes that a Blood DK can use at a time.
        Although, of course, a single Death Strike does produce a shield that absorbs up to 8.75% of the DK’s max HP, and a single Rune Tap (assuming the glyph makes it through release) would do the same for 15%, so Rune Tap could be seen as a little ‘strong’ for Blood DKs if you add it in, especially since it’s used more often…

  6. Disargeria says:

    I do think it’s weird that Warlocks are getting both AoE Ebon Plague and full strength DoTs while those are being taken away from us. O.o

    • Leviatharan says:

      I would guess it’s out of the concern that a melee class is doing stronger AoE magic damage than some actual spellcasting classes, especially since Blizzard has clearly expressed their feelings that Frost is supposed to be the spell-based tree for Death Knights and NOT Unholy.
      Which is why they gave Unholy the power to increase the target’s susceptibility to magic, am I right?

      Although hopefully there’s an Unholy talent or a glyph that removes the 50% damage reduction effect from Pestilence, which would make it clear that Blizzard intends for Unholy to be the strongest disease spec. If the 15 yard range on Pestilence remains in effect, then Jinx SHOULD be powerful enough to prove a warlock’s superiority.

      And in a warlock’s defense, they do have to be spec’d Affliction to get Jinx, or for Soulburn to effect Seed of Corruption.

      • Sag says:

        Jinx is low enough on the affliction talent tree that any warlock could get it (T2). Though they give up a lot to get it.

        Have you guys looked at how nerfed AoE is as a whole? From the numbers I have heard a 50% pest sounds about right. Yes numbers can change, but at this point in beta everyone’s AoE sucks. So honestly I’d worry more about single target rotation because as of right now AoEing stuff hasn’t gone well for people.

  7. Anaroth says:

    Yeah I missed the successful detonation effect. That’s kind of lazy design really. What’s the point of having that?

    The frost mastery change is interesting. And certainly a lot more easy to balance across multiple environments, as it’s hardly likely to effect rotations in any major ways. At least frost damage is a major portion of both frost specs single target and ae damage.

    Maybe they’ll change unholy up similarly, switching it to shadow damage would be boring, but at least it would be easy to balance.

    I think the GCD issues are the biggest problem for dps DKs (and to a lesser extent for all melee). We need to either have smart ways to deal with the extra resources we get under boosted melee haste or it needs to effect the melee GCD, which would do nothing for rogues and cats.

    As well as the masteries they need to fix up the dps presences and improvement talents. Unless they fix the myriad of things wrong with the concept of unholy presence there is simply no comparison between +15% damage and +15% melee haste. So remove both of those effects. Frost presence can be say the increased attack speed from icy talons and the runic power generation, and unholy presence could be say spell damage/haste and something crit related. The improvement talents could work off these effects or add something new like gcd reduction.

    I’m not a fan of ghoul frenzy as written. It’s kind of boring. I’d just about reverse the concept. Make it something like Your ghoul does 50% more damage and attacks 50% faster for 20 seconds on a 60 second cooldown. Then it would be more interesting. You could also add and its claw hits up to two additional targets for a bit of ghoul based ae.

  8. gravity says:

    I don’t see this in-game, Consider, after logging on and testing Blood and Frost.

    • Consider says:

      The masteries? They’re still not on the trainers yet, no, but they’re definitely they’re in the files again, with the names/changes/etc.

  9. SupSup! :P says:

    how does Seed of corruption affect DK’s? wasnt seeing the reasoning in your sentence there…confused me a bit…

    • Consider says:

      It doesn’t, per se, but as other commenters have noted, it’s just plain bizarre that they go and give locks an AoE corruption in the same expansion where they cut the potency of our AoE diseases in half. It’s not as if Locks were suffering in terms of AoE damage with just plain SoC, so I’m not sure how they justify it (while, at the same time, justifying our nerf which, when combined with the loss of WP and the DnD cuts, is going to mean Unholy’s AoE is just a pittance, no matter how generously they tune the final numbers).

      • Ledge says:

        SoC could be nerfed pretty heavily and this is their way of making it preferable for Afflic Locks.

        But besides that, we probably won’t be hitting the AoE cap anytime soon in this expansion, so, what, we’ll get three-four mobs with Corruption on it at the same time?

        This is also ignoring the possibility that “Corruption placed by Soulburn does half-damage”.

  10. woohaa says:

    i think they should take RS, FS, and DC off the GCD like how their making heroic strike. this and the other change they made to Heroic strike would solve any GCD issues imo. make the abilities hit harder if there’s more RP available. then we’d have a real RP dump =P.

    the only real side effect i see is the increased burst dmg you’d have in pvp. but seeing as our burst kinda got nerfed with the new rune system i think it would balance it out a bit =P

    • Sag says:

      Maybe I missed where we had burst in pvp? I do a lot of damage, but DC is my only “burst” and that is saved up. It’s pretty easy to see my burst coming, if you even call it burst.

      I do wonder if they try to do that rage normalization with our runic power. I could see it coming, but I don’t know that it is working out all that wel for warriors or bears either.

  11. Jonneh says:

    Shadow priests ‘being worked on now’, guess that pretty much makes us dead last!


    • Roth says:

      Save the best for last maybe? *Fingers crossed*

      Then again, given the complexity of our issues…it may be a case of “save the most complex for last.”

  12. Roth says:

    “At the moment we are thinking of nerfing any of the really passive AEs, including Swipe, Death and Decay, Damage Shield and Consecrate.”

    Isnt DnD already horrible atm on beta

    • Rebellion says:

      Thats kind of a sad excuse tbh.
      “We can’t hink of something that makes warrior multi threat fun, so lets ruin it for all the other 3 tanks as well.

    • Raaj says:

      Well this is just wonderful. We are getting gutted because “all tanks need to have ae or none of them”. And here I thought it was a balance issue… nope, just another failed all or nothing approach.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t see how death and decay can even be considered passive with this rune system, It locks you out of a death strike/plague strike for 10 seconds, which also means you can’t use the plague strike to proc a free blood boil or death strike to proc a life shield.
      Considering the fact that as it stands cooldowns still have rune costs; nothing about a death knight is passive beside the chunks of down time.

      • Leviatharan says:

        I think what they mean by ‘passive’ is any sort of AoE that you don’t have to channel like casters; abilities like Death and Decay and Consecrate, once dropped, you don’t have to worry about them anymore until you’re forced to drop another one.

  13. Vanq says:

    Im still holding out that they will change life sheild to also effect “Rune Tap” or atleast proc a sheild via overhealing like they are doing with paladins new talents (absorb sheild via overhealing).

    We all saw the frost DK mastery change coming but 20% frost dmg not very exciting stuff, I like the idea of Life sheild but deathstrike healing effect is only great for survability once we get threat lead and can time our death strikes till then we have to do our rotation to sustain threat. Other tanks such as Druid/Warriors get thier passive mitigation via SD/blocking with sheild block as a semi-cd. Pala use one GCD evry 20 secs for 15% block rating and now absorb sheilds via heals. Everybody can see in terms of survability 50% life sheild via deathstrikes with no overhealing counted isnt really going to compare to blocking or savage defense.

    DK been getting alot of tweaks but no major changes so im really hoping things like this and the “Bloated” unholy/frost trees can be sorted.

  14. raxxnamas says:

    Would make sense as we were the last class to be created 😀

  15. raxxnamas says:

    PS. Sudden doom is broken in this patch completely, no longer casts free of Runic Power cost.

  16. Caligo says:

    To improve dps for unholy dk with current talents and situation, they (Blizz) can change 2 things at all.
    1. Blightcaller – “Increases the critical chance and damage done by your diseases by 20%. Critical chance and damage increased further by mastery rating.”
    2. Shadow part of SS can be a critical again or making SS as shadow magic.
    I think its completely fare.

  17. Derah says:

    U_U no! why did they had to nerf blood?

    as it is, we will be the tanks taking more damage due to our generous self-heals and shields, and now they come and nerf our mastery……

    can we at least get it to 100% if we stack enough mastery rating?

  18. Derah says:

    also I think the blood mastery should be re-named.

    Blood-shield sounds way better (and more fitting) than “Life-shield” I mean, since when does a DEATH knight has anything to do with life? is even more weird when said life-shield is procced by a DEATH strike


    • Vorga says:

      I can rationalize this one: you steal the target’s life to restore your own. You use the bits of their life you stole (and didn’t absorb as a barrier against them). Blood is about blood, but blood is life, so in essence we are manipulating life-force.

  19. Rhunon says:

    Roth i love your idea
    *Your auto-attacks have an X% chance to summon a [InsertSomeRandomUndeadHere] for Y seconds.

    For that mastery, you could have the undead minions damage be based off of 50% of your mainhand. Further benefiting 2h over DW.

    Tbh Bliz stated that unholys focus was diseases and unholy pets, which atm is only a perma ghoul and a summonable garg (I dont count army, its currently very situational). For a “pet orented” spec I feel all in all its lacking depth and varaity. 😦

    • Roth says:

      If they wanted it to fit with the spec better, they could make it “every time your diseases deal damage” or “whenever your ghoul hits a mob” instead of auto attack. Tbh, anything would be better than 20% disease damage at this point.

  20. Minaka says:

    Not related but;

    From a Ghostcrawler post: “We’d like to give Prot paladins (Ret too) passive spell hit somewhere. ”

    If they are doing that for pallies, there is a very good chance that they will do the same for DKs.

    • Jesabelle says:

      They did already… it’s called Virulence 😦

      This post made me sad because it made me think they’re just gonna do the same thing for paladins. Hopefully they combine that talent with something else, but we’ll see

    • Leviatharan says:

      I think that’s what Virulence is for…

      • Minaka says:

        Oops. When I read that, I wasn’t thinking of ‘passive’ as ‘taking a talent’. It certainly counts as passive, of course, but it didn’t occur to me at the time that the method would be a talent.

      • Minaka says:

        When I posted my comment, it seemed very deep and wise and insightful… it doesn’t anymore.

  21. Leviatharan says:

    While Blightcaller is “bland upon bland”, Unholy is suffering a bit in the disease department after the loss of Wandering Plague and the nerf on Pestilence. So we could use it, I suppose…
    What would be more interesting, though, is if they brought back a bit of the Wandering Plague mechanic- something along the lines of:

    “Blightcaller: Your Scourge Strike critical hits have a X% chance to make your diseases painfully erupt, dealing Y% bonus damage to your target and all diseased enemies within 10 yards of your target. Disease damage and chance increased further by mastery rating.”

    I don’t see why not, considering Blood’s ability is proc’d by Death Strike, and it would give us the benefit of ‘cleaving’ with Scourge Strike like Blood DPS DKs used to…
    OR, of course, replace “Your Scourge Strike critical hits have a X% chance…” with “Your melee critical strikes with a two-handed weapons have a X% chance…” to build support of Unholy 2H style and kill two birds with one stone. All the same to me.
    The ‘diseased enemy’ restriction gives us the benefit of not accidentally cleaving targets during sensitive fights for tanks (ie Lich King, Deathbringer, or Blood Princes), a benefit that Wandering Plague didn’t have (and not breaking CC just like WP of course), while still bringing back the flavor of WP for DKs who enjoyed/miss it and keeping Blizzard happy with the ‘bonus to disease damage’ mechanic.

    • Roth says:

      Adding a Wandering Plague mechanic is kind of the same as +disease damage though. Just in a different form.

      • Leviatharan says:

        But not as bland now, is it.
        Okay, maybe it could be changed to:
        “Your melee critical strikes have a chance to make your diseases erupt with necrotic energy, dealing X% of mainhand weapon damage as Shadow damage to your target and diseased enemies within 10 yards of your target. Damage and chance increased further by mastery rating.”
        This way it’s based off of weapon damage instead of disease damage, and further cements 2H Unholy style. It’s like an Unholy Cleave. 😀
        …Blightcaller might be an inappropriate name for it though, as if it mattered.

      • Leviatharan says:

        Or, better yet, ‘…splitting X% mainhand weapon damage as Shadow damage between your target and diseased enemies within 10 yards of the target’. That way, there’s no major increase or decrease in DPS between single- and multi-target fights.

    • Leviatharan says:

      I saw another interesting one on WoWhead that I thought was worth voicing:
      “Blightcaller: Your Scourge Strikes apply a disease the deal X% of the strike’s damage over Y seconds. Damage increased by mastery rating.”
      For some reason, reading about an Unholy-only skill applying a disease made me immediately think of Degeneration.
      This would be an amazing counterpart to the Life Shield, honestly.

  22. woohaa says:

    unholy mastery should have been a tie in between sudden doom and your pet. like chance on your pet’s attacks to proc a deathcoil. chance increase with more mastery rating. that would tie in ghoul frenzy and make certain talents like morbidity and unholy blight better.

    yes i realize it’s just a passive free dmg but it’s better then 20% disease dmg >_> not to mention it makes your pet more then just a dot. it would be a dot that causes a proc =P but atleast you’d have a good reason to keep up ghoul frenzy. instead of how it is on live…useless >_>

  23. Roth says:

    increased damage to diseases is incredibly boring. Allow Unholy diseases to summon a minion of the Scourge. Allow our Ghoul’s melee attacks to give us a proc that increases our next SS or DC by 20%.

    Just…anything that isnt a boring passive bonus.

  24. Roth says:

    Heres a crazy idea for a Frost mastery…

    “Grants a X% chance for ________to occur. ________ causes a Frost Strike you cast to trigger a second and third, similar spell on the same target at no additional cost. Each strike deals 25% damage of normal Frost Strike damage and causes no threat. Chance to trigger increased further by mastery rating.”

    Windfury + Frost Strike!

  25. Exo says:

    They should just make Runic Empowerment increase the refresh rate of all runes by X% over Y seconds.

  26. Roth says:

    Anything would be better than the Unholy mastery.

    “Your disease ticks have a chance to summon a minion of the Scourge for Y seconds which deals 50% of your weapon damage.”

    “Your Ghouls attacks have an X% chance to cause your SS or DC to deal 20% more damage.’

    How about this for a Frost mastery:

    “Grants a 20% chance for _________ to occur. ___________ causes your Frost Strike spell to cast a second and third, similar spell on the same target at no additional cost. Each additional strike causes 25% of normal Frost Strike damage with no additional threat. Chance to trigger increased further by mastery rating.”

    Windfury + Frost Strike!

    • kc102 says:

      20% chance to take 1 FS off GCD?

      • Roth says:

        Or that. Just about anything is more interesting than +20% Frost damage.

      • Vulgor says:

        Sounds more like 20% chance to take a quarter of a frost strike off the gcd.
        Imo we have enough passive melee procs between blood caked blade(which is already effectively windfury mechanics) Necrosis and Razorice (which’s 1% weapon frost damage would be boosted by mastery atm).

        Now i know we can’t have all three of those now but even so, i don’t think increasing melee proc’d damage is a good idea. Don’t really wanna turn into shaman who have about 60% of their dps just white damage and procs.

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