Hypotheticals – Frost First

Let us say that tomorrow was Ghostcrawler’s birthday. Now, I don’t know how old GC actually is, but I imagine he’s somewhere in his 30s (give or take). According to Google, that’s the sort of age which most species of crab would never meet, as their lifespan is apparently a mere 15-20 years. So, his birthday would be a rather big deal, would it not? It would be record breaking, in fact! Having been a marine biologist, GC knows as much and, being the fun loving guy that he is, decides to invite all of the various Cataclysm class delevopers and designers to a party on his yacht. Now, he knows that things might just get wild and out of control, so he does the most responsible thing he can think of: He picks a random person of each class to formulate a patch’s worth of beta changes (for their specific class) and see how the forums react to them.

Let’s pretend that in this hypothetical I was the one to be given the reigns to the DK class for the duration of a single beta build. I had to refine (not define or rebuild) the class and keep to Blizzard’s stated vision and intent.

What would I do?

Consider this, pun intended, a rough draft.

My Goals

Obviously I wouldn’t just start randomly changing this and that, left and right, to see how people respond. I would have some sort of plan, which would be based on the current problems of the class (both acknowledged by Blizzard or otherwise overwhelmingly perceived by the playerbase). It would make for a checklist which looked something like this:

  • Ensure the class used the majority of our globals, but wasn’t capped in ordinary circumstances.
  • Eliminate any redundancies in our abilities.
  • Ensure each ability has a clear purpose in the scheme of the specs.
  • Ensure no two abilities were too similar.
  • Ensure both specs were less static than they are currently.
    • Maintain Frost’s slightly more “proccy” nature relative to Unholy’s more predictable one.
  • Ensure Frost still adhered to its themes of heavy Frost damage, physical damage, procs, runic power generation, and attack speed.
  • Ensure Unholy still adhered to its themes of heavy Shadow damage (via spells and strikes), diseases, pets, and ‘anti-magic’.
  • Although the focus at this stage of beta is PvE, try to ensure there aren’t any major repercussions for PvP.
  • Can’t be said enough, but refine the class. Not remake it. Not redesign it. Fix it and enhance it with as few and as “simple” changes as possible.

Note: I wouldn’t be focusing on specific talents, but rather the general playstyles and feel of each spec. Talents are easy to make and unmake, easy to mold to a specific need or desire. The overall gist of a spec is far more important.

With all of that in mind, where would I take the trees?


For those who didn’t catch the self-leak on twitter:

That’s how I picture the Frost playstyle ending up. But how did I get there, and what does it all mean? That’s the real matter of importance, so working from left to right, top to bottom –


Having to both Plague Strike and Icy Touch in PvE is moderately redundant. The fact of the matter is that 98% of the time, we’re going to want to apply both diseases. There’s just little-to-no reason to apply one but not the other. On top of this already existing problem, Blizzard went ahead and introduced Outbreak, a means of applying both diseases at once… the catch being the lengthy cooldown and lack of damage.

Tackle all of these issues at once. Relegate IT and PS strictly for PvP (where you will want to use only one but not the other fairly regularly). In doing so, you could adjust their damage as needed, and give them various side effects (for instance, why not just combine CoI in its new state with IT?).  Make Outbreak the primary source of disease application for PvE. It’s easy to do; make it cost UF (with a talent in Unholy converting it to BU). Make it do something like 150% weapon damage (or the equivalent AP coefficient, if it were still a spell) without a disease modifier – or whatever number is enough so that it gives Blood some sort of initial aggro while at the same time making sure it’s clearly lower than DS/Oblit/FeS. Remove (or severely lower) the cooldown.

The advantages are pretty obvious, and what drawbacks are there? None, that I can see. It just makes no sense to have the specs using PS, IT, and Outbreak to apply diseases in PvE. This solves that, and then some.

[Runic Empowerment DC]

Let’s face it; the current iteration of Runic Empowerment is pretty much a failure. It eats up too many additional GCDs. It’s terribly difficult to make use of without an add-on. It doesn’t meld well with double-rune abilities. It promotes IT/PS use when you don’t have to apply diseases. It’s a bit too RNG – although the proc itself has a decent chance, you then have to remember that you have three totally different reactions pending which rune it brings up (and the ongoing fallacy on EJ and elsewhere that Unholy, at least, can guarantee it procs its namesake rune by specific tailoring of the rotation is completely wrong due to Sudden Doom interaction).

I’ve tossed out a variety of means to fix it in the past, but came up with a new view the other day while playing my Night Elf Mage.

Take Runic Empowerment. Take Rune Strike. Give it the Arcane Missiles treatment, talents and all.

For those who don’t keep up on mages, Arcane Missiles is being redesigned in Cataclysm. It will have a 30% chance to proc on any offensive spell. Each tree then adapts this proc to its specific needs. The arcane tree, understandably enough, empowers it – it increases the damage of AM, it provides an ability (Arcane Barrage) which guarantees an AM proc, so on. The fire tree converts it – instead of fire spells proccing AM, when three of your fire spells crit within 6 seconds of one another, your next Pyroblast is instant. The frost tree also converts it – instead of frost spells proccing AM, frost spells have a chance to proc an instant mana-free FFB/FB.

RE is problem-ridden as already stated and between the avoidance nerfs, lack of  “Icy Slam” and the damage gap between it and DC, RS is shaping up to be an issue for tanks. So here’s what I propose: Scrap Runic Empowerment and make RS it’s replacement; give all rune-based abilities an X% chance to proc RS’s availability. Adjust RS’s damage as appropriate, of course.

Then take each tree and have it adapt the proc to suit its needs. Since RS has always been a fixture of tanking, not to mention Blood places an emphasis on physical damage, let Blood treat RS like Arcane treats AM. Give it talents which boost the damage. Give HS or heals or whatever an increased chance to proc it. So on.

But, of course, I’m currently talking about Frost – for Frost, give a talent which eliminates the chance for rune-based abilities to proc Rune Strike. Instead, Obliterate has an X% chance to cause your next Death Coil to be RP Free and deal Shadowfrost damage instead of Shadow. Would fit perfectly into the various themes of the Frost tree, and give it automatic talent/mastery support.

For Unholy… well, you’ll see what I would do with the proc for them later!

Suffice is to say though, done right, this could be such an interesting and integral aspect of the class which mixes rotations up – which was the idea of RE, before it fell on its face!

[Frost Strike]

Although adapting Runic Empowerment into the sort of proc I mention above would solve a lot, it wouldn’t fix the GCD problem developing.

Make Frost Strike work off of a “Ferocious Bite” model, where it will consume additional runic power (up until a specific amount) beyond the stated cost, thereby increasing the total damage done by a certain percentage.

It could be done in two ways: where it’s optimal to hit FS when you’re at whatever the max RP cost is, or whenever you’re at the minimum RP cost. I tend to think the former would be superior; it would ensure you had free GCDs, still let PvPers do the damage on demand as they saw fit, and still give you the option of dumping RP on FS even if it wasn’t optimal over the long run if it superior short-term.

The latter (optimal when at the min RP cost) could work, but it would keep you GCD capped – it would simply prevent you from wasting GCDs, and make it less punishing when you have to use one.

Either which way, easy enough to implement.

[Killing Machine]

KM’s great and all, the only issue with it is that anything which guarantees a crit automatically lowers the value of crit to a spec. Simply change it to 50% increased crit chance and 25% increased damage of your next Frost Strike, or some such nonsense. Or, perhaps, play it off the new Frost Strike design – “Increases the crit chance of your next FS by 50% and causes it to do damage as if it were to consume an additional X runic power, but without actually doing so”.

It’s fixture of the spec, so I wouldn’t want to see it too changed, but 100% crit is just inherently problematic for stat weights. Not a huge deal, though.


I’m sure you’ll have noticed the cooldown box at the bottom.

For PoF, change it to runic power. A single frost rune is just a pain for a spec which doesn’t use frost runes by themselves. Huge inconveience, but simple fix.

Raise Dead, for Frost, functions just fine. No need to touch it.

Army of the Dead is a bit “whacky” at the moment. It does a sizable amount of damage over its duration (and has a cooldown to match), but it’s a pain to use – aside from on the pull or during specific phase changes, it’s rather limited. You could always have it put a 4 second buff on you which prevents you from parrying/dodging, decreases damage taken by your parry + dodge, and summons a ghoul every X seconds as it currently does – in other words, keep it as is, but without it interrupting your gameplay. Alternatively, you could simply allow us to attack while it’s channeling, similar to what Enhance Shamans will be able to do with Spiritwalker’s Grace. Very iconic and potent ability, just a bit annoying in actual use.

ERW is great for its intended purpose – fixing your rotation if you mess up, allowing you to get runes on demand for PvP/tanking/dps-utility usage, and what have you. But as a cooldown, it’s a bit lackluster considering it can throw you off your rotation just as easily as “restart” it. Simply tack on a +10% damage for 10 second buff (numbers tweakable, of course). DKs could do with a little bit more burst in PvE, and in PvP it would come at the cost of sacrificing utility later on.

Everything I didn’t mention – current RP generation rates, frost presence, etcetera – I would leave untouched.

So, in summary, what would that do to the Frost playstyle?

Basically what the picture says!

Although you would use each ability for its own personal damage, that alone makes for a rather dull class. Instead, everything would play into something else:

  • You would use Outbreak to apply diseases, which are naturally fundamental.
  • You would use Blood Strike to make use of Blood runes and to convert them to Death runes for Obliterate.
  • You would use Obliterate to proc Rime and to proc “RE DC”.
  • You would use Frost Strike to burn RP and manage your free GCDs.
  • You would auto-attack to proc KM to benefit your FS.

So on. The trees could easily be made to fit such a rotation and playstyle, and it’s a rotation/playstyle which I, personally, think would better the spec (and the class).

At any rate, as I said in Twitter, I did unfortunately run (way) too long, and thus am going to leave Unholy for another entry (tomorrow; if I do it right now, many people will miss this post since it won’t be on the front page). That, and the changes to Unholy are a bit more extensive (in some ways, not in others – I don’t mean to be cryptic, but you’ll see!).

Although I always enjoy comments and normally get a healthy amount, I am especially interesting in feedback to this entry, so post away, lurkers and others alike!


75 Responses to Hypotheticals – Frost First

  1. R says:

    The only major issue I see that you haven’t addressed is the problem with Runic Power being a one-button dump. All of these changes would be fantastic, if nothing else they’d certainly make things more interesting than they are currently, but they will do nothing to change the fundamental playstyle of spamming Frost Strike as much as you possibly can because it’s Frost’s highest damaging ability and the only thing to spend RP on.

    The Execute-style changes to FS would help this, it would make it less spammy (assuming an optimal when max approach is taken) but it still doesn’t present options for RP usage. For PvE Frost you could probably remove RP entirely and make FS the Runic Empowerment proc you suggest and nothing would really change.

    • Consider says:

      You could always just change the “RE” proc to leave the cost of DC intact, and simply have it convert to Frost damage (and, possibly, buff the damage a bit). I considered that. Forgot why I ruled it out.

      At any rate, the whole idea of the Frost tree is maximizing Frost damage – through FS, yes. Everything builds towards that. There’s nothing wrong with it, really, as long as other abilities deal self-sufficient damage on their own (which they do) and have a purpose, which they do. It’s simply how the tree is designed, and it actually functions rather well with itself.

      Although I would like to see more RP options added and the pre-existing ones diversified (FS and DC having identical cost is a bit annoying, although the FB/HS model for FS would change that), I don’t think Frost specifically needs it for single target. For Unholy, yes. For AoE, yes. For Blood, possibly. But for Frost single target… FS is actually its focus, so having that be your only decision is acceptable, I’ld say. If you were to add anything, it would have to benefit from all of the same features.

      • Fahar says:

        Why not add Howling Blast as a RP dump!?
        Have FS cost 40, PoF cost 80 (on a 1 min cd), and HB cost 60. That would be rather interesting. Make RE for frost proc a Death rune, which would speed up the process of transforming 2 blood runes into 1 Obl. Resulting in more Obl spam which also is equal to more Rime procs and so on.
        I honestly would rather that than having to use DC as Frost.
        Everything else sounds great.

      • Consider says:

        RE proccing death runes is a bit better than its current implementation, but still dull. Yes, it would speed up your next Oblit from death runse, but that’s it – it wouldn’t add anything different to your rotation, simply let you do what you already do a bit more often. Almost like a haste proc from a trinket! Yawn, I say, yawn!

        Besides, a single rune – death or otherwise – is just inherently problematic for a spec which focuses on a two-rune strike. You either use it immediately on a single rune ability which tend to hit for peanuts, or you hold it (which can potentially desync your runes as it can lead to a blood rune being paired with an unholy or frost rune), which isn’t really a proc if it doesn’t make you do anything when it happens.

        HB costing RP would be a change I fully support though, for the sake of AoE.

    • Ledge says:

      He did introduce an alternation between FS and DC depending on procs, so there’s that.

      Also, he said his goal was to REFINE the system, not rebuild it, which he said before was what it would take to fix Runic Power.

  2. vel says:

    I wish you would play a tank so we could have such a well-thought post for blood as well.
    Though, I do not know if I like the idea of RE doing something completely different for each tree, but maybe it is the most elegant solution.

    • Consider says:

      I’m actually well versed in tanking. Time wise, I’ve spent more of this expansion tanking than I have dpsing. I’m as familiar with the mechanics as anyone. I could easily do a post like this for Blood (and probably will), I just try to avoid tanking topics because most of my audience is dps-oriented (presumably), and there’s a couple other DK tank sites/blogs out there.

      The thing about RE is that it has to be different for each spec. It’s simply inevitable. Anything else – such as its current design – is going to cause certain trees to use spells and abilities which are awkward or off.

      • Sag says:

        Hey not all of us can get all of those other blogs while at work. This is pretty much all I can get, pwnwear, skeletonjack, and all others I have tried are blocked. Not sure what magic you have working, but hey my work doesn’t block you and I’d still like to know the tanking information.

        As a side note, I think it is important to know what other classes are capable of.

  3. Roth says:

    Love the ideas for Outbreak applying both diseases.
    Love the idea of PS/IT being made into PvP moves.
    PoF costing Runic Power makes sense but should really just be free like Unholy Frenzy.
    I like the direction for your Killing Machine but it still needs tweaking. The direction its going is correct tho.

    And Frost Strike getting the FB/HS treatment…dear god yes please.

  4. frostfright says:

    I like it all, except for the “frost DC.” It’s a cool concept, but it adds another button we would be hitting regularly. If Icy Touch and Plague Strike were to become PvP functions (Chains of Ice and Desecration respectively), that becomes a lot of buttons I want to have hotkeyed.

    Wouldn’t it be better to have it related to a button we already regularly use? I know I put Death Coil on one of my click-only bars whenever I spec Frost.

    • Consider says:

      In PvE, you’ll have less buttons overall.

      In PvP, I’ld be surprised if you didn’t have DC hotkeyed to begin with, if for no other reason than the range factor. That aside, I’ld personally combine IT and CoI (were Outbreak to be changed as such), so that button saved could go to DC easily enough. Thinking of it, you could potentially combine PS and NS as well, were Outbreak done in such a way. Hmmm.

      Anyways, I don’t see that as a real problem, but what else could it proc? If you limit yourself to already used skills, that’s not much to choose from.

      • Roth says:

        A single target Howling Blast?

      • Consider says:

        No different than Rime, really.

      • frostfright says:

        In PvE it would work but in PvP it’d be a nightmare. As for what else it could proc, I’m not sure. Howling Blast already has Rime, though it was the obvious choice. Possibly it could proc a Runic Power gain for more Frost Strikes?

        I liked your ideas on Frost Strike hitting harder for more RP, and Killing Machine changing slightly to make it hit as if you had a set amount more RP than you actually did… Possibly something with that.

        It’s tough, though, because you cant add something new, and the Frost DC is thematically appropriate – and cool, to boot. It just gives me more buttons in PvP than I would want to be hitting (Obliterate, IT, PS, Outbreak, BS, FS, HB, Strang, Mind Freeze, Pest, DG… And all of them need to be a hotkey).

        I really don’t have an elegant solution in mind, though. :/

      • Roth says:

        True, it is no different than Rime. But a Frost Death Coil is also a single target Howling Blast as well.

      • Consider says:

        Single target, yes. Different range. Different scaling/base damage. Different talent support. Different sigil/set bonus support. Different RP regen (rime procs give CotG RP, remember). Could make it shadowfrost instead of frost damage, for increased flavor. So on.

        Abilities can only be so differentiated in some cases. Some measure of similarity is inevitable, and I don’t think it’s unduly high in this case. I forsee HB becoming AoE only (or, rather, it’s damage being balanced around AoE), which would set the two apart quite a bit (i.e, Rime would shoot to the bottom of our priority, while RE would stay up top).

      • Roth says:

        Shadowfrost…no theres an idea!

      • Sag says:

        I like the idea. I really like the idea of a frosty DC. While I don’t really know the issues with changing it graphically giving DC a blue frosty tint as opposed to the green one would be nice.

        I wonder if I it might be better if this was rolled into Rime, so that it is up to a player to decide if s/he is going to DC or HB. If the proposal to make HB runic power went through I would see that as a great idea. Maybe make it so that your FS’s proc the DC, if the desire is to focus more on FS than OB.

        Given that KM idea you have went through, would KM affect this DC, or still only HB, FS and IT?

    • Fahar says:

      I suggested above as a reply to another issue but I believe it would work great for frost RE proc. Quote “RE for frost proc a Death rune, which would speed up the process of transforming 2 blood runes into 1 Obl. Resulting in more Obl spam which also is equal to more Rime procs and so on.” Besides that I totally agree with consider that RE has to be different for each spec or at least proc death runes for every spec. The way it is is just nonfunctional.

  5. QXQ says:

    Lots to digest here! Alright, I’ll try to break this up piece by piece to not get overwhelmed here:

    Outbreak: Good idea, but 150% is probably overpowered. Not important though, the idea is good.

    RE: I am still not convinced that the current RE fails with 2-rune strikes, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need a rework. I like your idea here since it adds some flair to ability usage and as an added bonus, one could imagine a pretty awesome-looking shadowfrosty bolt for this effect.

    I find tying it to OB odd, I mean, OB already has Rime, does it really need another proc tied to it? Have you considered the effects of it being on FS?

    For what it’s worth (which probably isn’t much) my own idea for a reworked RE would be: “Adds a permanent Death Rune to your weapon. This rune does not recharge over time but instead recharges by a percentage equal to the Runic Power cost of abilities used.” That is, when you spend RP abilities costing a total of 100 RP, you get a free Death Rune that’s separate from your normal runes.

    Frost Strike: Gameplay-wise, I think the latter (maximum RP usage sub-optimal) model produces more interesting gameplay, but when just considering performance the former model is clearly superior.

    This is the right idea though, as it contributes to more interesting interactions with RP consumption, a mechanic woefully in need of depth.

    KM: No real comment, since at this point I care about mechanics/feel more than damage and scaling and whatnot. It’s a valid issue and that is a valid solution.

    PoF: Fair enough, but PoF being on 1F isn’t THAT bad, since we have Blood Tap. HB being 1F is more of an issue with the changes your making, the way I see it. Yeah, the rune cost doesn’t matter in single-target because of Rime and so we just wouldn’t use a Rime-less HB, but in AoE situations Rime-less HB jumps way up in the priority list. So what do we do with the extra U rune, without the old RE giving a chance to replace it?

    AotD and ERW: Sounds good to me.

    Overall, sounds interesting. I think I’m going to work this (with some interpretation) into my simulation script to get an idea how it would feel, effects on GCD usage, and such. Yeah that’s right, instead of playing games I write code, for fun, to get an idea how it WOULD feel to be playing a game. I must be insane.

    • Consider says:

      Outbreak’s damage was just a placeholder. This isn’t a “numbers post”. It’s a conceptual one ^^.

      The DC being shadowfrost damage instead of simple Frost is an even better idea. Doesn’t change much, but better flavor. I approve!

      RE being on FS I did indeed consider. But then you have a very “processional” play style: Outbreak -> Oblit -> Rime Proc? -> BS -> FS -> RE proc? -> So on. It’s almost like going down a playlist. Yeah, the procs aren’t guaranteed, but if they only happen off one ability, and that ability can only proc one thing, it’s not all that “reactionary”, if you will. It doesn’t take much thought. I don’t know if proccing it off Oblit is a ton better, but at least that way you have one of two procs, and must switch depending.

      The rune system in general is so inherently rigid. It’s a pain to try and break the mold. So much more difficult to do than it is for most other combat systems in this game.

      Having to use Blood Tap on a specific ability kinda ruins the point of the spell though, my changes or as is. It’s not difficult or anything, it’s just unfortunate that BT – which is supposed to be a “I need to use X now but the rune isn’t up” sort of ability is instead a “I must use it now just so I can use PoF/BS/VB, and can’t possibly save it for anything else”.

      • QXQ says:

        Yeah I said “Not important” on the Outbreak damage. I certainly knew it wasn’t a numbers post and as I said I don’t even care about numbers. I probably should’ve just not even mentioned it at all.

        The funny part here is shadowfrost damage for RE DC wasn’t even in my mind at the time. I was just imagining a graphical effect for the ability. I thought it’d be cooler than just shooting an ice bolt.

        Fair points on RE off FS and the rune system in general. I wish I had an idea to add flexibility to the system, something I think a rework of RE could address, but I’ve got nothing.

      • Roth says:

        The shadowfrost idea makes Frost a little less gimmicky in PvP. Revolving around nothing but Physical and Frost damage can be problematic when you have things like Frost resistance aura and Mark of the Wild/Kings around. Giving Frost this Shadowfrost Death Coil would give them another wrinkle and a counter to resistance stacking.

      • Sag says:

        As I understand it Mark is turning into kings, and the only resistance buffs running around will be from priests, pallies, hunters (maybe they are taking that aspect away?) and maybe shaman (which I don’t believe affect DKs). Aside from Mages, who can only self buff their resistances. As much as those pally buffs have helped me on many fights I am inclined to think that resistance buffs should go away.

  6. Anaroth says:

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot too, and I went and posted my idea of how to fix DKs over on pwnwear. http://pwnwear.com/forum/anaroth-vision-t521.html
    I’ve gone with a pretty conservative visions that seeks to make changes without changing too many core abilities. (That said RE and Death runes are considerably changed).

    As for what you’ve suggested, I like the idea of replacing RE with an rune use based proc of RS. I’m not sure about the frost particular implementation of it, and I think the RS should be free of RP (for blood at least). The ferocious bite equivalent probably makes more sense for DC as then unholy can use that as well.

    As it stands in an environment with free GCDs the specs would use Outbreak over an IT-PS combination whenever they could. I like that, but it does feel a bit sad that the original skills become neglected. Is there any reason why PvE should require less buttons than PvP? Playing as unholy on live I feel like I press far too many buttons, but then I typically run a Weapon switching GoD build, which does require different key presses.

    • Consider says:

      For DC, I had other means to reduce its GCD consumption. Frost has it worse though, largely because you need to ensure MotFW doesn’t cap you either – and FS having the RP modifier plays very well with that talent.

      PvE will always require less buttons than PvP. Simply how this game works. I don’t think there’s a single class (and certainly not a hybrid) which is an exception to that fact, for better or for worse!

  7. Nessad says:

    I agree with most of your changes, except FS consuming X RP. I played as a cat druid and I hated FB. Warriors and blizz didn’t like HS consuming 10-30 rage, and execute is a special case. Sure it solves the RP issue and is “unpredictable”, but you will always think you are doing wrong when you cast it at 40 instead of 60 (except X or Y happens, like KM procs, I dunno…).

    The RP generation should be solved at it’s core or by something clever, that makes you want to use it instead of FS (Hello, slice n’ dice/ CD on FS./ Inner Rage/Razorice as an ability).

    That remembers me, you forgot to comment on razorice and cinderglacier.

    • Consider says:

      A new ability would be most welcome – ideally some sort of buff we keep up on ourselves, similar to snd/savage roar/inqusition.

      But, as you’ll notice, I tried to make things work without introducing any new abilities, and the scaling RP cost is the best (in my opinion) manner of doing that… aside from just straight up nerfing RP gen and buffing damage to compensate (which is certainly an option).

      As for RI and Cinderglaciar, RI is perfectly fine – it has it’s place, and a valuable one at that . CG is a bit more tricky, and I honestly haven’t given it much thought. I’ll dwell on it, though!

      • Nessad says:

        RI may be a problem to the viability of 2h frost. That’s my issue with it. But it may not be too, time will tell.

      • Consider says:

        I don’t see the problem. The enchant are passive damage boosts, in essence, so 2H Frost’s lack of one or the other can just be compensated for with a passive damage boost – just slightly buff MotFW or what have you. No big deal!

        As long as Blizzard remembers to factor it in when doing their math, should turn out fine.

      • Anaroth says:

        The rune-forges are actually a good way to balance between 2H and DW builds. While I like MotFW I think I’d change it’s functionality a bit because the value of RP can be too dynamic for reasons you mention.

        I rather like the idea of a cooldown that consumes RP and boosts damage and self healing, that way you can blow it when you have gcd issues and you basically don’t have to do rune dumps. The scaling rune dumps is an alternative that works well too.

        The base problem is that haste doesn’t reduce the melee gcd, while it reduces the spell one. and now buffs rune regen. That basically makes our rotations very sensitive to haste. At present DKs don’t really have the option to switch up strikes as the differing rune requirements mean there’s very little scope for that. With the current death rune behaviour there is also limited scope to ignore strikes. The best solution might be to just reduce melee gcds as well, however we might then scale too well with haste.

    • Zombona says:

      I suppose they could come out with a new runeforge, much like they gave hunters a new aspect, perhaps one that combines some of the exhisting runeforges

  8. Fahar says:

    Language: English (change)

    Quote: “For what it’s worth (which probably isn’t much) my own idea for a reworked RE would be: “Adds a permanent Death Rune to your weapon. This rune does not recharge over time but instead recharges by a percentage equal to the Runic Power cost of abilities used.” That is, when you spend RP abilities costing a total of 100 RP, you get a free Death Rune that’s separate from your normal runes.

    TWO THUMBS UP! AMAZING solution I really like it. So far the best idea I’ve heard for solving RE. It is a proc, but still fairly predictable, per say. It gives u flexibility to use your runes and it fit the runeforging system perfectly. The amount of RP to proc it could be tweaked but the idea behind is is awesome.

    • Consider says:

      Not to shoot it down, but that solution doesn’t work for a couple reason.

      1) A *single* death rune just isn’t that valuable for specs built primarily around two-rune strikes. What do you use it on? IT/PS/BS are all way lackluster, and HB is almost inevitably going to be nerfed.

      2) Utterly predictable. It’s not a proc if you can control exactly when it comes up, and there’s absolutely zero RNG to it!

      3) It’s almost a third resource to watch. There’s runes… to generate runic power. There’s runic power… to generate an unlockable death rune. Then there’s that unlockable death rune… which works totally different than other runes. I’m not saying it’s a complicated mechanic, as it’s really quite simple, it’s just whatever RE is it’s best off being in the confines of our current dual-resource system, not an outside addition which is simply linked to it.

      Cool in theory, perhaps, but wouldn’t play out very well.

      • Anaroth says:

        I think my version would probably work better

        RE procs death runes and the existing death passives are replaced by increased regen rate for the trees namesake runes, although I’m not welded to that later mechanic.

        As currently constructed blood and unholy probably use the death rune on a single rune attack under most circumstances.

        Frost is more problematic as it stands anyway. It my system it pretty much relied on 1 death rune every 2 cycles in order to get a Oblit/Fest//Oblit/Fest cycle going. However you could buff blood strike for frost and rely on a simple Oblit/BS cycle with death runes been used on one of those two depending on how many you get.

        An alternative would be to make Frost Strike cost a frost rune and do damage based on how much RP you have. That gives frost a “new” strike that doesn’t really replicate RS, and it could be added to rime.

      • kc102 says:

        Iirc DKs originally had 3 runes which they forged into their weapon so you got to pick what 3 to run with.

      • Vulgor says:

        I remember the old early early wrath beta being more along the lines of, you have 6 rune slots fill them with whichever type you want, so 6 frosts or 4 frosts and 1 blood, 1 unholy etc.

        Was good they made the current system, since i think even now balancing based on flexible rune types would be a nightmare for the devs.

        The 3 runes thing is a misconception of the current cata system.

  9. QXQ says:

    Alright, I’ve got ten minutes of pretend (and a bit suboptimal from what I can gather) ability usage based on these changes. I don’t know how useful this is, but maybe it gives an idea of how it might play out. Page through it if you want; if not I’ll just say it frees up plenty of GCD’s and properly spending RP indeed isn’t quite as trivial as before.

    (If you do look at it, there’s some floating point imprecisions I didn’t round off in the display; just ignore them. I apologize for being lazy.)


    • Consider says:

      Very interesting. There’s a lot of knobs to turn – tweak the RE proc chance up or down, Rime chance up or down, exact amount of RP FS can consume up or down, whether RE and Rime can both proc at once or not or work off the same table, etc. Easy to adjust the exact number of GCDs used, depending what Blizzard feels is too much/little.

      Thanks for generating that. Excellent food for thought.

      • QXQ says:

        On that note; I found this amusing: I changed the RE DC proc rate to 100% and turned off extra FS RP consumption, and it’s STILL not using as many GCD’s as the current beta simulation (it’s close though). What a GCD hog old RE is! Anyways, looking forward to the Unholy post.

    • Anaroth says:

      Cool. A couple of questions, how well does it work with 2H frost?
      How many less GCDs will you have then?

      Secondly what running during bloodlust? Does that change the amount of free GCDs considerably?

      • QXQ says:

        The amount of free GCDs in 2H actually doesn’t change that much! What happens is your extra RP is usually consumed less by additional FS’s, as is the current reality, and more by the “Frostocious Bite” consumption. MotFW doesn’t give you more FS’s as much as it gives you better FS’s. To be thorough, with a 3.5 speed weapon it adds between 0.01 and 0.02 GCD’s per second; about 1 a minute. This number goes up if you were to save up for 60 RP FS’s more consistently than the program does in the DW version.

        I added 30% attack haste and rune regen (to simulate Bloodlust, I don’t have a Bloodlust button), and pretty much all (but not all) the free GCD’s evaporate. Resources don’t cap so much as they are on the current real mechanics, but they do cap a bit. I’d give exact numbers but unfortunately there was a bug in my script where whenever Rime procced it would add 2 GCD’s instead of 1 to the counter; I just fixed it but all the counts I have from before are now useless.

  10. woohaa says:

    I like the idea of making RE more tree specific. instead of proccing a rune they could make it a passive ability you get when picking your tree and of course change the name accordingly.

    Empowered Blood: You have a X% amount of chance when you use a RS to proc a free DS or HS (1charge)
    Frost Empowerment: You have a X% amount of chance when you use a FS to proc a free OB (1charge)
    Empowered Death (unholy sounded weird): You have a X% amount of when you use a DC to proc a free SS or FS (1charge)

    right now there’s too much RNG built into RE that it can become too problematic. This way you have choices, but not so many that it’s confusing. Frost i put only OB, because i have other ideas for HB and aside from HB what other button would you really push? whereas for blood some people may want the self heal over HS’s threat and for unholy some people may want the extended diseases over SS’s dmg.

    One thing i’d really like to see changed is RP dumps. i think each tree should have 2 options (aside from CDs) to dump RP. A Single target and an AoE. In aoe situations RP dumps are pretty useless. trying to spread RS’s around 5 mobs is rather difficult and using FS/DC on a few mobs is also pretty pointless. right now our aoes are pretty limited and i think they should change HB to rp and make it cost somewhere around 40rp and of course make similar changes to each tree. For blood they have a few options, they could change DnD to RP…since they want to make DnD less passive they could increase the dmg and reduce the duration to somewhere around 5sec and also remove the CD since it’ll be on RP and not runes OR they could switch back to the old pestilence and change BB to a 40rp cost. Unholy also has a few options. they could bring back corpse explosion on RP cost and have a minor glyph that made it not require a corpse that way it would be less situational or make DnD the aoe for blood and unholy. yes it’s not ideal but it’d be less design cost.

    I do like the idea of making FS consume more RP for a increased dmg tradeoff. However, if RE still procced off RP dumps, you’d see a reduced amount of RE procs if you were only able to use FS when your RP was high due to lack of GCDs. I would like to see this change to FS/RS/DC respectively though. but that’s just my opinion

  11. Skaarrj says:

    I like your idea’s, but only if we had no other choice and continue down the road blizzard has laid out for the class. I don’t think we are at that point yet though.

    I read a beta-forum post from another DK, he was talking about how one of our two resources will not matter if we are going to be near or at GCD cap when you perform your rotation. He explained that if your Runes matter too much, then your runic power will not. Or if your runic power matters too much, then your runes do not. One basically feeds the other.

    The problem is we have 2 different resources that both work towards the goal of activating abilities to do more damage. This is the primary problem no one seems to understand. When you have abilities that require one or the other resource to actively use to trigger an ability, then there’s really no decision being made. You use them or waste the resources. With the way runes work now, you have to use your resources in a way that gives you the most runic power at any given time. If not you lose out on damage. All blizzard has done was devalue runes by making them less available than they currently are, which makes runic power more important than Runes.

    The solution is to make Runes the cost for activating the strikes. Like Rage, Energy, and Focus. Then, make runic power what determins the potency of all of your runes, and the chance to turn a rune into a death rune. Let me explain. Very Very briefly.

    Frost Strike, Death Coil, and Rune Strike no longer deplete runic power. Infact, the generate it.

    Scourge Strike/Obliterate/Heart Strike/Festering Strike/Blood Strike use runes still, but also deplete runic power to have additional affects. The higher the runic power you have while the runes are being used, the better the effect your Runed Abilitys will be. (It’s not required to HAVE runic power to active runed abilities btw, its only there to make the abilities do interesting things depending on how much you have).

    The Goal is to maintain high medium-high runic power so that your Runed Attacks have more potency, which leads to more damage and more interesting effects from those abilities. This will leave us with 1 resource system that maintains our GCD outputs (which puts more control in the DK’s hands rather than helpless to the dual-resource GCD eating behemoth it is now), and leaves runic power to be monitored so we can use our abilities to our fullest.

    • Leviatharan says:

      Except that this solution would result in leveling/Unholy/PvP DKs spamming DCs for runic power- which is in itself a little ridiculous for a melee class (and this is discounting Blood DKs who haven’t dodged or parried for a RS). There would be no point in using rune-based abilities except to apply diseases, or once you’ve reached maximum RP, because otherwise you’re burning valuable resources for minimal damage increase/output. There wouldn’t even be a point in having 2 of each rune or Death Runes, because you’d only need to use one at a time between DC binges! And of course, this isn’t considering other Runic dumps like Mind Freeze or Summon Gargoyle- which will just end up weakening your rotation instead of increasing utility or burst.

  12. Vulgor says:

    Reading though this post the design seems solid but i have one thing that sorta stands out.

    The “RE DC”.

    Although i think having a frost flavored DC proc sounds cool and fitting my issue is with procing off oblit.

    The current design of RE is based off giving our RP ability’s something to proc, since we’re gonna use more with the new rune system. I don’t think RE DC it’s a good replacement for RE since it’s point is to have something interesting happen in the RP dumps. Am obviously ignoring all the current issues with RE and there’s more than enough suggestions for RE implementation about the place.

    The RE DC idea fits frost well, but i currently don’t see it fitting in the RE spot and would fit better as just another proc talent somewhere.

  13. Clevinger says:

    Some feedback:

    Outbreak change – very good idea.

    Frost strike consuming available runic power – the best solution there is to GCD issues.

    Killing machine – I agree with your point about scaling but I think that knowing that you will see huge numbers when you FS or HB on a killing machine is what makes the spec fun.

    Runic Empowerment – giving obliterates a chance to proc a free death coil as well as howling blast doesn’t add much for me. I’ll just press death coil when it procs and I have a spare GCD. Frost already has two proc’s to watch for and I’m not sure another adds much.

    I wonder if we need runic empowerment at all. Frost is fun to play at the moment and requires skill to maximise damage. The only real issue I see is the GCD problem which could be fixed by the outbreak and frost strike changes you propose.

    However, I’m all for adding complexity to the class if it adds interest. My suggestion for Runic Empowerment is that it allows us to buy death runes for runic power.

    Let’s say the cost was 30 runic power per rune and I was sitting at 60 runic power I would have the choice of:

    a) Frost striking (hopefully buffed by the extra runic power).
    b) Buying two death runes for obliterate, outbreak or death strike.
    c) Using a runic power driven cooldown.

    The choice between frost strike and obliterate would depend on the relative damage of each and how long was left until my next two runes refreshed. I think that would be an interesting choice.

    It would also give the ability to use utility abilities and repair broken rotations more often.

  14. Aku says:

    I like the idea of a RE DC proc but I wouldn’t tie it to Oblit as it already procs Rime.

    Maybe make it work similiar to Blade Barrier: whenever your Frost Runes are on cooldown, you have a chance to proc a free (shadowfrost?) DC. That way we would be more flexible in our rune-usage e.g. CoI in PvP or HB for AoE without hurting our DPS.

    Another thing I would like to see is more rune-dump abilities. A self-heal would be great (DC yourself for a heal – scrap that undead restriction) and as already suggested some kind of self-buff like SnD or Inquisition.

    • Consider says:

      Just rework death pact to not kill your ghoul (although maybe sap life from it, or some such thing). There – RP self-heal!

      But, yeah, an SND/Inquisition type self buff would be very nice. Make it cost, say, 50 RP and last 10 seconds, plus an additional 1 second/RP (meaning a max of 100 RP for 40 seconds). Tweak the numbers as necessary to consume the proper number of GCDs. It would be really interesting to make the self-buff increasing our mastery by a percentage – far more interesting than haste (already taken by SnD) or plain dmg (Inquisiton/Savage Roar).

      Anyways, I really struggled with what to make the RE DC proc off of. I almost said frost damage (FF ticks + Rime procs + FS, with the latter two having a higher chance then the first), but wasn’t sure how that would fit. Your idea has merit though. Hmmm.

      • Aku says:

        Well the death pact thing would work great for Unholy but as Frost (and Blood) you don’t have a perma pet and a self heal ability only available every 2-3 min is not so smart. But we’re getting slightly OT here…

        The mastery self-buff sounds pretty neat because it would work for all 3 DK specs. I would adjust the RP costs though otherwise we are probably to constrained to alway use it at 100 RP (as it gives the best duration per RP ratio). And Blood maybe needs a talent to refresh its duration (maybe with RS – as a tank you have other things to watch for).

        On the whole I am not so sure if it is really a good idea to trash IT/PS completely (at least from our PvE rotation). I could easly imagine a buff to both abilites giving them more dmg if their disease is already active on the target. Something like Base-DMG + instantly 50% of the disease DMG (similiar to Conflag). Now with the current RE proc (a free random Rune) it wouldn’t feel so awkward to use IT/PS mid-rotation because they would deal some serious DMG.

      • Sag says:

        Blood has several ways to heal themselves already, aside from Death Pact, there is Rune Tap, Blood worms (yes they heal every I know), and spamming DS (which provides a shield). It’s worth noting that VB increases the healing done by all of these methods currently. I doubt they need more, and if they do it’d be more of a numbers balancing thing in my opinion.

        As I look at the frost rotation I wonder if there isn’t a way to work in FeS. It seems to me that saving up 1 death rune with the blood rune could work wonders. FeS hasn’t been put into the frost tree, but maybe it should be. I realize that this could cause some rune replenishment issues, but would those issues get worked out in a pass or two? So if we went:

        Outbreak(in it’s free version)-OB-OB-BS-BS-FS-FS-OB-FS-FeS-OB-FS-BS-BS

        Checking the very fine work that QXQ did he never once used FeS to prolong diseases. I think this would depend on RE procs, death runes and whatever priority that can be developed, but isn’t this worth looking into? Also, maybe I added too many FSs in there.

    • Sag says:

      If you didn’t already know this, as frost you may have picked up Lichborne. It makes you undead and your own DC will heal you. Very handy to have in PvP. Lichborne is a very underrated skill, and powerful if you know how to use it.

  15. TKC says:

    I had some thoughts myself and I like some of your Ideas.
    My approach was to make it more challenging when to use Froststrike and when not so I tried to weave it even more into the ‘rotation’.
    Honestly I believe it’s far to much work to all of this, but maybe this keeps the frost (ehh fire) going:

  16. Zombona says:

    How about they give us a whole new button similar to enhancement shamans stacking buff that gives them an instand lightning bolt or whatever, just give us a move that would only be usable when we had a runic empowerment proc.

    Maybe this runic empowerment proc could do something like double the effectiveness of some new runeforge we get.

    Perhaps runic empowerment could cause a extra damage attack when it procs, so for frost the proc would happen like your next Obliterate also casts frost strike(for half the cost or something) at the same time, another way to free up some GCDs, or you could combine the frost strike with the same obliterate that proc’ed it.

    just a few ideas that poped in my head when i was reading through

  17. Mysiana says:

    I really liked Skaarrj’s idea on all abilities proccing RP, and having RP enhance abilities we would already be using. If you could fit that into your idea model, Consider, then you’d have me sold – although the idea of deathcoiling as a frost DK still makes me cringe (maybe having it be shadowfrost would lessen the bad taste in my mouth).

    You could simply make it so that more RP was used to increase the damage of the strike used, OR you could do it on a strike-to-strike basis. Maybe just increase FS’s damage, while BS will grant you a self-buff whose duration is dependent on the amount of FS consumed. Just tossing out some half-baked ideas here.

  18. Gosox says:

    I find it interesting that Frost presence did not take up the effects of unholy presence. Based on what you’ve said it already appears that GCDs are still going to be a problem and with even more RP to worry about for say 2hand frost Unholy presence is going to be the only option.

    For the most part Unholy specs have shyed away from unholy presence throughout the course of LK where as it was the only way that 2hand frost was remotely viable back when Frost strike hit like a truck. The only unholy spec I personally used with unholy presence was the illfated DW DC spam build early in the year before SS was fixed.

    If GCDs are such a huge problem for frost wouldn’t it make more sense just to swap the effects of frost and unholy presence. Would solve 2hand frost’s excess RP problem without wasting talent points. Not everything would have to swap, blood still has the healing component. So frost could take the RP generation, haste, gcd and unholy would get damage, run speed.

    • Anaroth says:

      The thing is the current implementation of (improved) unholy presence actually has a larger gcd issue of its own. They removed the 1 second gcd from unholy presence. Unholy presence is 10% melee haste improving to 15% with the talent. That means faster rune regeneration, but you don’t actually get any gcd relief.

      Unholy has typically used blood presence and the + damage bonus, although it’s a bit annoying as it doesn’t apply to pet damage. They changed pets in Cataclysm to use more of the owners stats and modifiers but the damage modifer was one that slipped through.

      On the surface it might appear to be comparable to the damage bonus of frost presence, but it’s not really the case. If it was a flat + haste boost and you got some melee gcd reduction then it could be considered useful. As it stands it doesn’t give you more DoT ticks, so in an ae situation is going to be inferior to the the standard damage boost of frost presence.

      In practice a damage boost is far more useful that the equivalent haste boost, especially if you consider fights where your time on the target is reduced and so the quicker rune regeneration isn’t really noticeable.

      I don’t think the dps presences should have either a flat damage bonus or a flat haste bonus. One thing that would be kind of cool and thematic would be if frost presence had some sort of gcd reduction for RP dumps while unholy presence had the same for rune abilities.

      • Zombona says:

        that would be really cool, the trees having reduced GCDs on certain attacks. it would help illeviate the GCD locked issues that are showing up and it would add some flavor

      • Consider says:

        Reduced GCDs on some attacks but not on others would be a pain to try and remember, especially since the GCD isn’t really shown with the default UI (not as a specific measure of time, at any rate).

      • Sag says:

        It was an odd mechanic to have for druids as well. Remember they changed Gift of the Earth Mother which did essentially the same thing. When there were times as a druid I had to cast faery fire it always seemed to take soooo long to get through that global. Having hte 1 second GCDs as unholy would be nice though.

  19. Thefiretruck says:

    I for one would like to see some Army changes, i think being able to cast while attacking would make it pretty ridiculous in pvp tho, i know you can’t use it in arenas, but just unleashing it while fighting seems pretty overpowered. I think it would need you to take extra damage while casting, not just lower your avoidance – as it stands, it does a lot more against casters than melee. Would it be interuptable if it was a cast while attacking?

    Another possibility is you use the spell and it procs the ghouls on attacks or something, with the same kind of increased dmg taken debuff, so you could be stunned during the duration to stop you proccing them. Could make it last like 10 seconds or something a bit longer than the normal cast, so in PvE you sit there and get them all out, but in PvP if you used it, enemy players could switch to you and you either cancel it or take the extra damage. Would make it just a little less fire and forget, which would be nice.

    Also, could do a bit less damage for a shorter cooldown maybe (with appropriate rune/rp cost, or free??) would be nice, maybe so that unholy you got to use it twice per fight (assuming a night of the dead type talent tie in), and frost at least once per fight. At the moment as frost in ICC its only a every second boss/attempt cooldown which is annoying when the rest of my raid doesn’t want to wait! well except the enh shaman for fire ele who is in the same boat.

    Another idea for army (last one sorry), as unholy, could be instead of just spawning extra ghouls, it made your perma ghoul stronger for the duration, by increasing its damage kinda like Bestial Wrath type thing, make it grow bigger and do extra damage, something along those lines would be pretty cool – more interesting than ghoul frenzy. I guess it could replace ghoul frenzy? As it stands, probably the most boring cooldown ever if your like me and run with pet damage turned off because it already spams too much. Maybe it wouldnt proc the extra ghouls in Arena, but just buff your ghoul? could work.

  20. woohaa says:

    the idea to make RS/FS/DC generate RP and our rune abilities get increased dmg based on our RP would be hard to balance. you’d need to make those abilities hit way less then they do now. otherwise you could just sit there and spam it to no end. It would pretty much break frost’s current design in that the frost dmg would have to be reduced to the point of non-recognition. in 3.0 DS used to have increased dmg and healing based on the amount of RP you had over 25. You could get a nice big crit with DS and heal yourself for more HP then you had. It was fun yes but ridiculously overpowered as long as you kept your RP full.

    i think the shadowfrost DC is an interesting idea and imo should be tied with rime instead of RE. Currently what is our use for rime? either a free HB or IT. For aoe HB is great but in single target the dmg is probably gonna be far less potent then it is now. IT would probably be the best choice but it would unsync your diseases which for people with OCD like me…would be irritating. I think they should change the rime talent to “Gives your Obliterate a 45% chance to make your next Deathcoil cost no RP and also changes the dmg to shadowfrost.

    I don’t really see too much issues with it. changing it from HB/IT to DC would reduce your RP generation slightly but since we’re GCD capped as it is anyway i don’t see that as much of a problem. KM wouldn’t work with it so they’d need to change KM to something more like…gives you a 100% chance to crit on your next non-periodic frost damage attack.

  21. Jonneh says:

    Lets see the Unholy post!

    The way I see it, the more we give Blizzard to think about while everything is up in the air, the better off we all might be if they decide to listen.

    • Consider says:

      Unfortunately consider it delayed another day. The change to Dirge/CS, although it doesn’t affect things all that heavily (one more GCD/minute is easy to take care of), did get me rethinking the strike. The fact is, FeS does have to have talent support. That’s just a given – it creates too many issues, in terms of actual play and in terms of player perception, otherwise. But Dirge/CS really bring the problematic nature of Reaping back to light.

      Does Unholy really need death runes at this point? I’m thinking no, not for PvE – and for PvP, just make the runes brought up by Resilient Infection death ones (or whatever). Death runes have next to no benefit and have caused (and continue to cause, even though they’re now “free”!) so many issues. I’ld say scrap them, at least for Unholy PvE. That, or rethink the FeS/SS relationship involving them.

      • Jonneh says:

        I hear that, but the pvp solution wont really work. Nobody is ever going to dispel our diseases now. It costs 2k mana or so (I’ve heard). Its too punishing and completely pointless as they can be reapplied very simply. I’ve not seen the numbers anywhere to verify, but even so.. death runes in that situation would just be used to reapply diseases – you’d never use them to SS since you’d be missing disease modifiers.

        A bit too situational.

        The idea behind Death runes is fine, but to make it work we need more emphasis on our ‘signature’ strike for each spec. Something which makes it the best button to press in all situations, except perhaps diseases down or w/e.

        Before now they’ve not been able to balance that without it being stupidly overpowered. It may even be worse for Unholy now because Death Runes actually cost us a GCD instead of giving us one (per pair).

        I’m ok with it either way though. Use or dont use them, so long as we have a unified vision for how the class is meant to play and we get our promised ‘free’ GCDs without haste screwing it up.

        Big job

  22. Tenacyti says:

    I’m not sure if this should be included here, but i believe there is a rather elegant fix for the issues of howling blast being an integral single target ability and also such a potent AoE. Simply change the ability to only deal damage to targets infected with Frost Fever, it would then no longer interfere in CC situations, wouldn’t just be completely passive AoE, and would also give the talent reason to be linked with HC. If the ability still dealt too much damage to adjacent enemies (once diseases were applied), that portion of the damage can simply be adjusted. It would allow for continued use for Single Target and provide the ability with a niche for AoE as well.

  23. Leviatharan says:

    The other possibility for PoF is simply to add another ability that costs 1 Unholy rune that would only be cast once a minute, specifically geared towards Frost DKs (like how Festering Strike is for Unholy or Death Strike is for Blood). That way you can just remove one Obliterate from the rotation, like how Unholy removes a Scourge Strike for a Ghoul Frenzy (instead of attempting to perfectly time burning the Death Runes, Blood tapping, using it on PoF, and then going back to the rotation, which can be a pain and destroy your DPS if poorly done).

    There are three things that would gear it towards Frost instead of Blood and Unholy:
    1. Runic Power generation (a signature of the tree like Diseases for Unholy and Healing for Blood, however useful it may actually end up being)
    2. Frost Damage (which would be strange for an Unholy Rune to give, and be repetitive of Razorice- but especially useful to 2H builds who use Fallen Crusader instead of Razorice)
    3. Armor Penetration (which was removed as a stat given by gear, but is still provided by some talents and abilities like Sunder Armor or Expose Armor; debatable usefulness to Unholy as well, however)

    Putting any combination of the above into a strike and giving it a 1-minute CD or 1-minute uptime would be extremely potent for the spec. For example:
    “Mark of the North: Marks the target for 1 minute. Whenever the target takes Frost damage, their armor and Frost resistance is reduced by X% as long as the mark is active, stacking up to Y times. When the mark is removed or dispelled, the Death Knight is refunded Z runic power. 30 yd range. 1 Unholy.”

    Nerf at your own pleasure. 😛

  24. Elseagoat says:

    I agree with most of what is said, especially the stuff concerning Runic Empowerment.

    One way to solve this problem is to reduce the proc chance across the board, and add mastery passives to each spec that do the following:
    Blood-Each time your Runic Empowerment refreshes an Unholy Rune, a Frost Rune is also instantly refreshed and vica-versa.
    Frost-Each time your Runic Empowerment refreshes an Unholy Rune, a Frost Rune is also instantly refreshed and vica-versa.
    Unholy-Each time your Runic Empowerment refreshes a Frost Rune, a Blood Rune is also instantly refreshed and vica-versa.

    But of course I like your idea for Rune Strike better, but the only problem I see here is how you have this mechanic work for Frost, you say you would make Oblit proc a Shadowfrost Coil, but this would unfortunately create problems with Howling Blast, which already has a very very specific role in the single target rotation. Having an ability which procs at the same time would cause the ability to complete with Howling Blast, which is currently not worth using a Frost Rune for, only worth using a proc for.

  25. Alrenous says:

    I thought frost basically never used DC? Having RE proc DC – while shadowfrost damage sounds spiffy keen – puts another button on an already overstuffed bar.

    • Consider says:

      You have to look at it in the greater picture of my hypothetical. If you replace PS/IT with Outbreak completely in PvE, then you’ll still come out ahead (in terms of open space on your action bars). Besides, your single target rotation would consist of 6 regular (meaning ignoring cooldowns and such) buttons; Outbreak, Obliterate, Blood Strike, Howling Blast, Frost Strike, and Death Coil. Not that excessive, really. Our current rotation uses just as many, for that matter.

      • Alrenous says:

        Right, outbreak. Though following that logic warlocks get a single spell that casts all their dots at once, wouldn’t they?

      • Consider says:

        Different classes are different. You can’t really make that comparison for any number of reasons, but primary among them being the fact that our dots are “costly” to apply (so to speak; runes are a limited resource) whereas their’s aren’t (mana doesn’t really matter for dpsers). On top of that is the fact that they primarily use dots for the dots themselves whereas we (Unholy aside) primarily use dots for the sake of all our other abilities.

        There’s a lot of other issues in play, but at the end of the day, this isn’t an area where I would try to compare cross class. It just doesn’t work for a dozen and one logical reasons.

      • Alrenous says:

        And now I completely understand. Thanks.

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