Incomplete – We Simply Are
August 16, 2010 55 Comments
This post raises an interesting (if entirely impossible, as I’ll explain) idea; that the reason we haven’t received many changes and literally zero feedback on the class is because we’re actually considered far along (or not needing much work) relative to other classes in the eyes of Blizzard and their developers.
After reading that, most people are probably going to react exactly as Tyds did in the first follow-up response; flat-out rejection! Something along the lines of “that’s ridiculous, you’re obviously wrong and we have to have more in store”. Such a response, although ultimately true, is utterly useless – the answer may be a simple no, yes, but stating that and nothing more doesn’t actually do any one any good.
If people aren’t concretely aware of the very real nature of our issues and how they conflict with Blizzard’s desire for the class/game, then they’re not going to be able to provide the best feedback.
Thus a proper response would answer these two questions: Why can’t we possibly be close to a finished state and what is it about the current design which flat out doesn’t work in actual game play?
Simple questions, yes, and ones which have been answered occasionally throughout the duration of beta, and so nothing in this entry may be considered new or exciting. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to review and summarize our issues periodically, especially since many of them have been around since the start of beta, while others are late comers to the party.
First off, our objective issues. These are problems which we know to be problems (meaning they conflict with Blizzard’s stated view of the class/game, or are otherwise play-impairing) and which are independent of one’s personal opinion (meaning they are provable beyond any sort of doubt):
No empty GCDs.
Although it’s taken a while for the beta masses to see the truth of this issue, likely because the various Runic Empowerment and Death Rune bugs clouding the matter, at this stage I believe near everyone sees our current rotations for what they undoubtedly are: GCD capped, and heavily so at that, even without factoring in the as-yet unaccessible Dark Simulacrum. Even if Blizzard hadn’t stated (numerous times) that they don’t want this to be the case for DKs (hence part of the reason they changed the rune system), there’s numerous logical faults with having every global going towards a dps ability without exception – it devalues certain stats (such as haste), it dvalues certain talents (any which increase gcd usages), it tampers with the 2H/DW balance of each tree, and so on.
We’re GCD capped, no question, and we can’t be – not without ruining the balance of the class and specs before the expansion even begins!
Unholy becoming a DW tree.
It still boggles my mind why this problem has received little to no attention. It’s very real – everything I wrote on the subject back at the very start of Beta still holds true, and what changes we’ve received since that point have just further pushed Unholy towards DW and away from 2H – and Unholy being a DW tree directly conflicts with Blizzard’s stated views on the matter. Even if it didn’t, it’s somewhat troubling if a tree slides from one weapon style to the other without any specific talents (like ToT/MotFW for Frost, or SMF/TG for Warriors) actively promoting the transition. Dual-wielding is taking over the spec, and without any active support! Mind-boggling, to one extent, and somewhat amusing, to another.
At this point, if Blizzard still wants Unholy to be a 2H tree, they need to modify some talents to explicitly promote it as such. Simply removing Sudden Doom or buffing SS/nerfing DC would be insufficient changes on their own, now.
Unholy playing in Frost presence.
Admittedly, there hasn’t been an official statement on the subject, but I believe it’s a fairly safe assumption that they want each spec to run in their namesake presence for PvE (at least for the majority of the time). Blood and Frost are fine in that regard, but Unholy? Not so. Because the tree is so overwhelmingly GCD capped (especially as DW), it’s going to use Frost presence. Very simple math (and common sense without). It’s not that Unholy presence is inherently weaker, it’s that Unholy presence consumes additional GCDs (way more so than Frost presence), and thus isn’t going to be used when we’re getting capped. Even if they did resolve our initial global problems, there’s going to be a point with haste where we might be confronting similar issues again, and if so, we might want to stack haste and swap from UP to FP.
UP can’t have such a large impact on how many empty globals we have. It needs to be potent and viable through some other means.
“Bloat”, of the bad sort, still existing.
We’ll never be able to get all the talents we want. If we were, what would be the point? That’s not the kind of bloat I’m talking about.
The current problem is we can’t get all the DPS talents from a specific tree we want. This directly conflicts with the new design philosophy of the trees; we’ll never be able to get any utility, survivability, or “fun” talents so long as we have damage increases to be had. Worse for some specs (such as DW Frost) than others.
Bland talents being as numerous as ever.
Virulence says hello. As does Improved Icy Touch. And Annihilation. And Icy Reach. And half a dozen other talents which are exactly the sort Blizzard said they were trying to get rid of because they’re just so dull (even if powerful and/or necessary). Unless that only applied to other classes, which it obviously wasn’t intended to.
Current DK state requiring add-ons to be played.
The default rune display is pretty horrid, unquestionably, but it’s functional. You can play with it, even if it might be a huge headache and unnecessarily difficult on you. Although it would be nice it improved, that’s not what I’m actually talking about – here’s to looking at you, Runic Empowerment.
There is still zero notification when RE procs. There is no entry in the combat log. There is no notification in the built-in scrolling combat text. There’s no way of knowing it went off, short of gluing your eyes to the rune display every time you hit RS/FS/DC. That isn’t functional for real play.
Outbreak is, at best, redundant.
It’s been stated (by Zarhym, I believe) that they don’t want Outbreak to be a PS/IT replacement, and in its current state it obviously isn’t… but then what in the world is the point? It’s somewhat nifty to have, in the sense that it increases our dps, but they could have just buffed PS/IT or any of our other abilities to accomplish that much. The cooldown is way too long to be of much use for tanking, and for PvP, Resilient Infection and the overall decrease in cleanses should make it of minimal necessity.
This is the same expansion where they’ve stated they’re trying to cut down on the number of ability classes need to have on their action bar. They’ve merged stuff like Fire and Frost Ward, eliminated stuff like Detect Invisibility, and yet they introduce Outbreak? Somewhat hypocritical!
Of course, then there’s a million and one subjective problems – Runic Empowerment being incredibly clunky, the new Dirge being worse than pointless, AoE rotations being all sorts of messed up, Necrotic Strike being in an awkward position for Frost PvP use, and so on.
There’s no question – we’re not done yet. We have to have more in our future, because if we went live as is, then Blizzard wouldn’t have applied their new design goals and ideas on an entire class.
This isn’t to say freak out, or start posting threads daily begging for some blue feedback (as nice as receiving some would be). Remember: all it takes is one patch to fix everything. Now, yes, odds are, Blizzard (or anyone else) wouldn’t get everything right on the first try, but still. One build is all it takes to turn things around, so until the launch of the expansion is imminent, there’s little reason to fret… although being anxious is quite understandable!