Incomplete – We Simply Are

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!

55 Responses to Incomplete – We Simply Are

  1. Orkchop says:

    So,… have you posted this in the Beta forums for other beta testers, and Blizzard, to see? I kinda assume that all the awesome feedback you post here makes it’s way in one form or another onto the forums.

  2. Raenis says:

    Yeah I agree, this needs to go public or we may be waiting a lot longer than you think, when it can all be ended from the knowledge of your awesome blog. 🙂

  3. Frostfright says:

    This is a good post, and it’s appreciated. When people who have no idea what is wrong with DKs say things like “DKs are fine, what are you guys expecting?” we can point to this post as a summary of what’s wrong with the class. Getting pretty antsy to see what they’ve been coming up with to solve these problems, though.

    On a side note, I’d like to see Necrotic Strike apply Blood Plague and possibly act as a trigger for Desecration (which I can see becoming baseline on Plague Strike if your idea for Outbreak goes live). I’ve also heard suggestions to put it on the Blood rune, which would mean we could replace Blood Strike with it in PvP entirely.

    Some other good ideas out there as well… Mainly I want them to do something interesting with Blood Strike to make it seem like more than just a boring filler ability that creates Death Runes (Make it buff your next damaging ability by 10%~). More fun stuff, less filler and disease application!

  4. Anaroth says:

    I think it’s fairly clear that they’re just tinkering with DKs at the moment trying a few things out. Thus you get the pretty random changes they’ve made in the last few patches. That’s perfectly fine, assuming they plan to actually get down to the details of their DK redesign. It would be good to get some blue posts to state that fact, and Ideally to list some of the issues they think DKs have.

    Sudden Doom is the main reason why DW seems attractive to unholy isn’t it? That’s something that’s pretty trivial to fix. Yeah I realise there’s also runeforges and talents like necrosis, and BCB and the lack of a 2H damage talent, but those things are counter balanced by the fact that our strikes should hit for much more with a 2H. I’d personally like to see both 2H and DW viable for unholy. Surely the situation isn’t too different from live (where the specs are very close modulo weapon choice).

    The dirge change makes little sense, I thought the whole purpose of adding Festering strike was to move away from spamming single rune abilities. In really makes tab targetting in an ae situation even more beneficial. Overall, I suspect that Festering strike may actually now be marginal in non gcd-constrained situations (although I’d have to see some numbers to check).

    One thing you didn’t mention was the pestilence spread disease nerf, which is a really poor way to reduce unholy’s dependence on disease damage in ae situations. I actually kind of like the way the hunter equivalent puts up shorter lived debuffs, and had thought of is a possible way of weakening pestilence spread diseases without relying on reduced damage, although I doubt it would really work. The obvious solution however is to just remove some of the +disease damage buffs for unholy (like the ebon plague one), and add in another single target source of disease damage. The easiest option would be to make the magical part (at least) of SS do “plague” damage.

    The GCD and unholy presence issues are quite bad. That said they’re putting a lot of effort into to making sure that warriors aren’t resource constrained (GCD or rage), so I can’t believe they’ll ignore similar issues for other classes.

  5. poiso says:

    What honest to god scares me the most, is that the lack of commentary and the changes that keep creeping into every patch seem to indicate a complete lack of if direction.
    With every other class and spec, blizzard clearly has a direction, such as spell damage improvements for enhancement, more useful spells for elemental, less emphasis on shields and more on healing for disc, and so on.

    DK changes show none of this direction. We’re going back and forth on little, seemingly worthless things like dirge, and yet the elephant in the room, or well several in our case just keep getting utterly ignored. And this is frightening because the it starts to paint the picture of blizzard devs having painted themselves into the corner with the class and now they’re stuck, not really knowing what to do with it. So instead of picking direction, they just change little stuff around and hope that some of it would actually be meaningful. Throwing the dog a bone if you will.

    Great example of this is the addition of festering strike to jury-rig a fix to scourge strike, which in turn was a jury-rigged fix to obliterate similarity, which in turn was a jury-rigged fix to scourge strike changes on live, which in turn was a jury-rigged fix to our scaling with gear…
    It just seems to lack direction, and instead is more of a “react to shit after it has happened and hope that band aid stick well enough to last”. There is no grand plan, no direction for any of the specs of the class other then blood whos direction is questionable, but visible (self healing tank with no block mechanic).

    And obviously, the whale in the room is PvP performance of the class. As it stands on live, the only two comps that sometimes still take us to play on live, PHD and TSG only take us because we have chains of ice. There is no chains of ice in cataclysm, it’s replaced with what essentially amounts to ranged hamstring that happens to share a name with the original skill, which means that even these comps will have absolutely no use for us. At the same time we’re given a massive overall nerf to our PvP capability with frost talents going out of reach, losing multiple important PvP talents and becoming the weakest peelable class in the game by a very wide margin.

    The reason we have to believe that they haven’t even started working on DKs yet is not because of any reasons you mentioned, but because in the light of the above the alternatives are too horrible to even consider.

  6. Branith says:

    I hope the Devs listen to you and other testers, as it stands right now I dont have no desire to play this F’ed up class so im waiting on SW:TOR or RIFT or GW2. If any of the problems arent addressed soon then I feel alot of players will leave too.

  7. Suffer says:

    It’s obvious we weren’t finished. It’s kinda hard to believe people actually thought we were. Blizzard can’t heavily modify all 10 classes at the same time. They do like 3-4, then make small changes for the remaining.

    DK’s (next to paladins and maybe warriors and hunters) are requiring probably the most overhaul because our resource is being completely overhauled. Sure it’s still runic power and runes, but the way runes are being renewed completely changes the pace of the game for DK’s.

    Hunters were about (in terms of game mechanics, not practicallity) making them more sustained than bursty
    Warriors were about just making their resource matter after certain gear levels
    Paladins were about introducing complexity
    And DK’s is about freeing our GCD’s for other abilities that aren’t dps.

    Our talent tree’s need to be reviewed again because there’s too much dps talents and not enough utility talents. I’m going through my Frost tree, and there’s 2 talents that i pick that have absolutely no benifit to dps. Endless Winter and Icy Reach. Every other talent contributes to my dps.

  8. Suffer says:

    The necrotic Strike problem is an easy fix.

    Turn it into a Runic Power ability. You have to choose between Frost-Strikes/Deathcoils and using Necrotic Strike. Having it tied to runes at this point is not a good idea, it would constrain the Death Knight in pvp. Examples can be seen by seeing all the abilities the DK will use in pvp, at any given situation. Most of them cost Runes. Adding another rune ability is not a good idea.

    • Vulgor says:

      That would be a good idea considering our past with unintended shadow frost specs.
      Having to choose between less healing and a deathcoil is a much better choice then less healing vs a strike.

  9. Concerned says:

    I agree with everything that you have posted Consider. These issues need to brought to the attention of Blizz Dev Team and they should in turn provide some form of feedback. I have been wondering why that they havent been addresed thus far. It occured to me that perhaps blizz is simply in an unofficial sense trying to phase out the Death Knight class for cataclysm for reasons Im not sure about …maybe lore reasons…. Whatever the reason is this class could be in real trouble come Cata.

    • Disargeria says:

      “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…”

      “At high level, abilities like Outbreak will let you skip the disease application abilities and go right to the big guns.” – GC

      Yeah, I dunno.

      • Consider says:

        Of course, things could certainly have changed… but without any blue feedback or the like, how are we to know!

        Besides, if Outbreak really is intended to be a complete PS/IT replacement, then it obviously fails at that for all three specs, PvP or PvE, tanking or dps.

      • Suffer says:

        Just get rid of Outbreak imo, it’s not going to be doing anything meaningful now that our diseases can be reapplied if we get our non-pestilenced ones dispelled.

        Or just change outbreak to be a cooldown that makes our diseases do something special.

      • Anaroth says:

        Well assuming unholy works in a sensible way, outbreak could definitely easily fit in a single target rotation for unholy. Outbreak + FsS + SS should be a better use of runes that IT + PS + BS. Although it probably wouldn’t be with the current dirge. (I think the first combo gives you 60 RP, the second 105). Things get a bit more complicated with RE procs, but I really think they should discourage IT spam.

        Actually with the current dirge an SS + IT + BS -> SS + IT + SS rotation makes RE easy to deal with, and generates 180 RP over the full cycle. By comparison the SS + FsS -> SS x3 rotation generates 135 RP, so does FsS+1SS hit harder than 2xIT+BS+DC? Of course the single rune rotation effectively uses 2 more gcds (at least).

        Personally I think blood should have an easier time maintaining the diseases than the dps specs, and it has a clear case for preferring to use the UF runes for other things, so adding a talent or appropriate glyph to reduce the Outbreak cooldown for blood makes sense (or allow blood to renew diseases another way)

      • Consider says:

        You’re making a big assumption. Outbreak not applying EP may be a bug, and that’s what one would logically conclude (because it seems rather irrational and plain silly for it not to do so), but the few indications we have point to it being intended, unfortunately. Ebon Plaguebringer’s wording was very specifically changed to PS/IT/CoI instead of BP/FF. The only consequence of such was that Outbreak no longer applies it – nothing else. I can’t imagine why they would intentionally make such a change, but it’s a bit unlikely that they randomly change the wording of EPB, the bug suddenly develops, and the two are unrelated! Likely Blizzard was just experimenting with something or other.

        Of course, if we had any sort of blue feedback, perhaps we would know if it was a bug or (if it isn’t), what the intent was… but who knows!

        Anyways, as to your comparison, that’s part of the reason why DW is growing superior even without SD. With two one-handers, there’s no doubt that 2x IT + BS + DC > FeS + SS. Zero question, assuming you have the extra gcds. For a two-hander, the latter still loses out currently, but likely won’t at 85 (with how weapon damage is scaling relative to AP). Number tuning will come later though, so not a huge deal.

      • Anaroth says:

        Yeah I just rembered that outbreak doesn’t currently apply ebon plaguebringer. Of course losing that would actually push things towards the SS IT BS single rune cycle anyway.

        As it stands, either of the unholy single target damage cycles is very conceptually simple, with random RE procs being the only issue, especially with the long lived diseases that unholy will probably be running. Perhaps forcing someway of switching between two cycles would actually make sense. (Kind of like eclipse for balance).

  10. Scuzoid says:

    One point I haven’t seen made. We’re expected to maintain 100% disease uptime on our main target. In Wotlk we’re expected to maintain 100% disease uptime on off targets when AoE is required. Why am I going to be required to have a pestilence disease mod or tab targeting to determine the disease timers on my off targets in Cata as Unholy? Persistent AoE will still exist somewhere, and when I’m mixing FeS’s with Death Rune Pest’s, it just seems like one factor in the intentional lowered AoE damage will be a number of people just won’t be able to plan out their AoE at all.

  11. Jonneh says:

    I, like many of you, am just so frustrated with each build. Reading the changes – which are datamined remember. The last official words we heard were in the FAQ months ago regarding the ‘new solution’ for SS being 1U. We’ve seen that put in, and its given us nothing but more confusion.

    Since then there seems to have been no attension to feedback or concerns. They say they read everything on the forums, great… and they say that we should trust that they have gotten the message without a post. But tbh the real probelm is the fact that in this case, no reply just makes all of us interested in the beta completely frustrated while we think about the issues.. talk them out and at the end of the day have no idea if we’re suddenly going to fall out of the sky when they totally change everything.

    All I want is an update on the state of DKs internally, so we can either all shut up and wait or shout louder cause we’re not being heard.

    The million dollar question is, we’re broken.. how are you going to fix us? You do know whats going to happen when/if this goes live (in its current state) don’t you? You don’t just think we’re in need of minor tweaks do you?

    Talk to us, we’ve been talking for weeks and months now, isn’t it time we got some response instead of the paladin/warrior whine threads which get answered everyday?

  12. Vorga says:

    It’s interesting. I think the stumbling point at the present time would be Blizzards previous statements about the class. If those statements are still valid (if they haven’t changed their minds) then we have some work. If you discount their prior statements, or assume the statements to be some general thing they’d maybe like to achieve, we’lll be ok as long as our dps/threat/survivability is on par with other classes. There is a lot we currently don’t know. Still… I’m glad these forums exist to express opinions related to the state of the class as is, all assumptions included.

  13. QXQ says:

    I think the reason for the silence regarding DKs is because…well, they have nothing they want to release. Honestly, I think at this point they’ve realized they’re going down the wrong path mechanically, but they don’t know what to do to fix it. We have a new rune system, I think, for two reasons:

    1. They wanted our resource to scale with haste, but unchanged that was going to be completely useless.

    2. They wanted the design space to have talents/abilities that award extra resources, like other classes.

    But I think they’ve realized that RE as it is now is a complete headache, that the window of satisfaction between GCD capping and resource starving is very narrow (and no matter what, it’ll only feel right at certain levels of haste), and that runes themselves are such an inflexible, discrete resource to deal with as a primary resource that it’s really hard to find “sweet spots” in terms of mechanics for each spec where the rates of resource generation/consumption work out nicely, and that when you put those last two points together, you get yourself quite the challenge.

    I can’t help but wonder if it would be easier to deal with the resource design if it were inverted; i.e. RP, not runes, generated over time like other primary resources in the game (maybe through autoattacks or just passively over time, or some combination), spending RP on certain abilities generated runes, and then you’d spend your runes on “finishers”. I could never actually recommend or see them doing this, since this would just completely change how the class plays/feels and a lot of work would be required to make it work; most abilities would need costs changed and so forth, and the design would feel more like other classes to the point where many players would feel like the uniqueness of DK play was removed; the point isn’t to propose a change but to make a point that runes have a discreteness to them that makes designing around them more difficult than rage, energy, etc, as a PRIMARY resource (other classes have discrete resources, especially in cata, but they’re all secondary resources).

    But I don’t really have any real ideas because, well it’s hard. Surely you all have tried to think of your own solutions; they’re probably all different, and they probably all have their own problems. I know I have had my own ideas, and discarded every one for one reason or another. I’m positive the devs going through the same thing. So I, for one, am willing to be patient. They couldn’t possibly let us hit live like this. They just can’t.

    • Rebellion says:

      Well I’m not sure I would like a reverted system, because that would throw everything we have off and would need a complete overhaul for the class.
      But I still think blizzard should consider (well I guess they already have) scraping runes as 6 independent or 3 codependent sources and just give us 3 engergy bars + 1 runic power bar, one for each rune. That would solve alot of the UI issues, the endless amount of working around the costs, because then, you would open the endless possibilites of varying costs, because engery is way easier to balance, there is more than a 1 and a 0 to choose from. Of course deathrunes would need to go, but lets face it … death runes only exist because of the static nature of the current runes and the uselessnes of some of them, because certain specs can’t utilze them well or at all. With the option of variable “rune power” costs and diffrent refresh rates for each spec (think about higher refresh rates for blood or cheaper costs so they are not as restricted as they are now), there are nearly endless possibilities to shape the death knight in any way they want w/o working around a system that limits them to no end.

      But of course even this would take a considerable amount of time to balance and and I guess blizzard would want to release the game before 2012 … so I guess my idea would not work, as well as yours. And of course the whining of some players would flood the forums again, I doubt they would dare such a thing at this moment.

      P.S. Lots of “would” in my reply ..

      • QXQ says:

        I didn’t really mean to say the existing rune system sucks or anything; I actually like how runes in general play; that wasn’t the point. The point was that it’s more difficult than the other class systems to design for, which contributes to the challenge the devs have in fixing DKs.

        And in fact pretty much everything you just said contributes to my point. This is hard stuff and I can’t blame the devs at all if they wanted to seek out some of the easier design issues first.

      • Rebellion says:

        Thats by no means what I wanted to imply, it is defineatly a unique and often fun resource system, it also works quite well in the flavor-department, but still we all know its a clunky mechanic to work around. When they came up with the dk class they wanted to make the runes customizable, but scrapped that due to balancing issues, so they settled with a static system and a rotation they build the system around. But now, at the point that they want to add stuff, they often hit walls, because the system they build won’t allow for easy changes. Thats why I’m not sure that the current (live and beta) rune system has a bright future ahead of it.

  14. psyquest says:

    We dont want to be like rogues or mana users. Runes are a good design, it is just that the current design does not allow us flexibility.

    Want to reduce incoming heal on target? you do so at the cost of damage.

    You put your desease on the target and wait for rune to come back to do damage. If dispelled you are back putting them on.

    There are too many redundant talents, mandatory talents for dps, and fun talents we cannot take because we need to take the dps ones…

    The feel of any of the rotations is utter rubish. It is not helped by a crappy default UI.

    Let me just quote Ghostcrawler here:
    “I know some players will be offended by the notion that psychology can play a role in game balance alongside math. The emotional response is a critical part of the experience. Ghostcrawler.”

    My emotional response right now is that the class is not incomplete, no, it is in a state of flux: it feels as if the developer do not know how to “cook” us.

    Sustained damage? Burst damage? Slow down DKs and give them bigger hits with empty CDs for fun stuff (MS, DS?): this is the issue at hand. Contrary to last beta the blues are not at all communicating on their design goals for DKs, they are playing a game of trials without telling us what they are trying.

    My fear is that we are going to ship as is because of time constraint and there will be a DK patch eventually to correct the current crap state. Anyone remembers ret paladins in TBC?

    • Aku says:

      Well Ret Palys were only 1 spec – our broken resource system affects the whole DK class / all 3 specs!

      If I had to guess I’d say QXQ is absolutely right: the devs “realized they’re going down the wrong path mechanically, but they don’t know what to do to fix it”. If they already had a grand masterplan how to fix all DK problems they would surely communicate with us and outline the changes.

      Anyways: Palys, Warriors, Mages and Rogues seem to be nearly finished (from the re-work aspect). I’d say that might open up some manpower for the more important classes 😉

      • Leodar says:

        Your (and QXQ) assumption is kind of baseless. “They don’t know how to fix it.” I’m not going to defend Blizzard, they are big boys and girls that can do that themselves, but beta is a place where they piss people off left, right, and center. That’s how beta works, they change things constantly. I think most people have to stop taking the lack of blue feedback so personally, getting offended over slights to your character class is downright silly.

        I’ll attack the phrasing again. In my opinion, there is rarely a situation in which the devs “don’t know how” to fix something – I think its FAR more likely they “haven’t decided how.” Which is where I see the DK right now. The reason forums like this exist is the free exchange of ideas – there is rarely a single good answer to a problem. From the DK feedback I’m sure they are reading I’d be willing to bet that they have 3 or 4 ideas, and they just haven’t decided on which one to implement first. I’m also of the camp that no change is better than a bad change, so I’d rather see no overhauls that bad ones.

      • QXQ says:

        I think you misinterpreted what I was saying. By “don’t know how to fix it”, I meant, “don’t yet know the way they want to fix it.” If anyone can get this right, they can. Let them take their time; it will be worth it.

      • Leodar says:

        Fair enough. I concur.

  15. Vorga says:

    We’re the Advanced Fast Hand Finger Wizard Master Class.

    So it’ll take them a second to figure us out. Then we’ll have to figure out if it’s awesome or if they had an allergic reaction to bbq sauce.

  16. Leodar says:

    I’m curious as to what people think about adding the new warrior mechanic to DKs. Specifically the 100 rage effect. If we were to adopt a couple of proposed changes (from Consider and other DKs in these comment sections) like making BB a runic power cost, and adjusting weapon strike damage based on amount of runic power (more RP = inc % dmg to strikes), and then add an effect (Unholy Frenzy?) if we reach 100 RP. Now, obviously RP generation wold have to go down (which is something that has already been addressed in this blog), but I think it adds some player choice to the GCD problem.

    Should I pop Gargoyle now or wait?
    Should I use an RP dump (FS, DC) before 100 to keep my strike damage up, or let Unholy Frenzy pop for some burst damage?
    Obviously the min/max conversation will find the best balance, but wouldn’t maintaining and understanding that balance (and when to deviate from it) a good way to distinguish good players from facerollers? And wouldn’t a talented DK less button mashing and provide raid utility while a poor player would be GCD capped?

    I’m sure I missing something as to this being viable or not, so feel free to point it out. Also, this obviously doesn’t address our talent bloat.
    As a side note, I really try to keep up reading these posts and the comments so that I don’t repeat what someone else has said, and I haven’t seen someone post this idea yet.

    • QXQ says:

      You’re right in that something like this is worth considering, although Inner Rage isn’t exactly a success story right now (but I think once it gets properly tuned it will be pretty cool).

      Regardless of anything else that happens, IMO there should to be a clean way to convert excess resources into more powerful attacks (not just more attacks) so that the range of gear in which resource generation/consumption feels right is wide enough to get through the whole expansion without much resource-related frustration. This is one valid solution to that.

  17. Dashiva says:

    I agree with basically everything written by Consider. I’ve got my hands on the beta a while back, and I do try to give some feedback to Blizzard regarding DK’s as a class, but it just seems that they have absolutely no idea or plan for what to do with DK’s as it is right now. Our new abilities were Dark Simulacrum, which I believe is an exciting talent, but the others? Festering Strike and Outbreak? Really? Consider has already covered Outbreak, so I don’t feel like I have to say anything about that. Festering Strike feels like all the other strikes we have. Death Strike is the same as everything else except it heals you, Scourge Strike does some “shadow damage” and Obliterate, oh, isn’t that Scourge Strike? Couldn’t tell the difference. Blood Strike? Same, but weaker. And while we’re on Festering Strike, that together with Epidemic makes for probably the most boring rotation ever. If people complain about DK’s facerolling now (granted, they have no idea what they’re talking about), then.. I don’t know. I can’t even find words for how boring Unholy DK’s will be to play.

    My apologizes that this turned out to be a whine post, but I just had to let my frustration out. It’s frustrating to see every other class get a whole page of changes and exciting abilities, while DK’s stand firm on one or two lines if we’re lucky. I just feel so weak and powerless, and worry that my beloved DK will be nothing but a muppet at the character screen come Cataclysm.

  18. Andeus says:

    I agree with what Consider wrote on his post (even though i’m not in the beta /cry ) but you peeps also forget something else.

    I believe that DKs are gonna be last on the design meetings for a few reasons.
    First we got the bugs Consider mentioned. They have to fix them first in order to get some serious feedback on the new mechanics. They are probably fixing them already but until they get released they are working with other classes.

    Second, our changes seem reliant on other classes changes. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I think we had the most new abilities that are “heavy” in PVP, so its probably safer if they finish up most of the other classed before they get onto us. We also see that they are still tweaking tanking for paladins and warriors, later on when they figure out all the mechanics they are gonna bring us (ie our shield mastery) up to par with their Block mechanics. Etc etc.

    It’s easier if they finish up everyone else and then go with a big DK pass (when the bugs will be fixed too so that we can actually test the changes) than change the ame 4 things each patch just because the whole game design keeps changing.

    Just be patient. 🙂

    • Andeus says:

      Argh, sorry for the typos in the reply above. I thought there was an “edit comment” option, so I decided to proof-read it afterwards. Again, sorry.

  19. Leodar says:

    I suppose its my own fault for trying to inject some intelligent conversation into the comments section of’s most recent lichborne post, but I have to say – if the devs are getting any percentage of feedback from players as incompetent as these mouth breathers I wouldn’t blame them on waiting to fix us. The subtle differences between the way most resource systems work and how the DK one works is apparently too complicated for anyone to spend more than 3 minutes thinking about.

    • psyquest says:

      Discussing anything in the post section of is exactely like discussing anything in the official forums: useless waste of time. You will get biased bitches that have no interest in your class, posting with ungeared DKs and telling you to l2p.

      DKs have been broken in pvp during the entire wotlk. I did not bother participating in the first 2 seasons although I had the best gear possible. What is the point, there were no difference between a skilled DK and a spammer, burst was kind. The following season saw shadow frost becoming the spec for arena. What a heresy! You also need a lucky drop from ulduar, the sigil, to make the spec stupidly overpowered.

      We were then hit with the nerf bat, real bad and since the DK has become a back up class, the side kick of an MS class where the MS class did most of the pressure and dps while you did the control and hit with a wet noodle scourge strike and suffered badly from mindless spam dispell and spam totems.

      Yesterday I went into BGs and found myself facing druids: 2 players hitting a druid with rolling hots was an exercice in utter futiity. Shadowmourne, bleh. I was in pve spec, the druid could just shapeshift at will, hot and regain full life. Stupid? Hell yes. When a class in bis gear, hitting a healer with another dps against one healer, using all CDs and gargoyle and the healer survive ghould stun into silence into mind freeze, it points to a class lacking in pvp. And please do not question my pvp abilities, I have been playing for a long time (also please do not mention using ghoul explosion…).

      So where are we heading in pvp in cataclysm:

      I read the new dark simulacrum: great against casters if it works as intended. If it can be easily dispelled it is another story.
      We got a new type of mortal strike: but seriously, have you read the numbers? Can we expect to kill anything with absorbing 2000 heals when healers can crit currently for 16k +. What about the fact that when we apply this heal reducing debuff we are doing so at the cost of dps, unlike other MS classes…

      So blizzard want us to hit less often and harder? Is that it? It does not feel like so at the moment.
      So blizzard want us to hit less often but harder and have empty GCD for clever play, ie dark sim and what not? It does not feel possible at the moment.

      In short, in pvp we will be as shit as ever if things stay as is.

      PVE: check consider, he hits the spot on about every single issue. What more is there to say?

      I would just say one thing, Consider, your title is wrong.
      It should say “Broken and out of shapre: we simply are.”

  20. Raxxnamus says:

    My assumption (rightly or wrongly) has always been we were the last class to be created, we will be the last class that receives attaention.

    I agree 100% with poiso that we have been bandaged beyond belief since launch (understandable as a new class) But the biggest issue I see at the moment is the band aid of RE added to cope with a lack of resources on the new Rune System.

    Fixes I would like to see would be along the lines of UH presence Proccing the Sudden Doom death coil automatically (and it working as intended ie not using RP). – Saves a GCD makes UH presence more attractive.

    SS back to 2 runes and hitting like a signature attack. (read truck rather than wet flannel)

    UH Blight treated as a disease for Rune Attack purposes and stacking up to 3 times. (some skill involved keeping it stacked 3 times I believe)

    Blood having a talent higher up that allows their runes to recharge faster when hit, ala Rage.

    DW UH killed off completely, maybe by having a damage penalty when dual wielding?

    FeS costing a frost rune and making a more significant disease extension (perferably resetting duration ala glyph of disease) but less damage so we want to use SS more. (If SS goes back to FU runes then FeS will be used in conjunction with GF in rotations ie every 1 minute ish).

    RE proccing a death rune, not a random rune.

    I am no expert on frost so will refrain from making suggestions for that tree, but some combination of the above would increase UH reliance on diseases, make GF almost compulsory with a single Unholy rune, relieve some GCD issues (maybe not enough I havent run the numbers) make FeS a fun ability rather than a part of the rotation to avoid re-using IT-PS like the old glyph of SS.

    Blood getting increased rune regen from being hit is pretty much how warriors etc get dealt with for rage so fits the class, and SHOULD leave them with more resources when they need them.

    Anyway, whatever peole think of my ideas, great post Consider, and bang on the money, I am glad someone else thinks Outbreak’s interaction with EBP was intended and not a bug after I got bitch slapped about it on the Cata forums xD

  21. Leviatharan says:
    Just an attempt of mine to see if I can patch up a few of the concerns of the trees.
    Of course I have right to touch Blood since I have no tanking experience… whatsoever… so I’ll leave that for another day.
    Look forward to some constructive criticism on what I’ve put in so far. 😛

    • Leodar says:

      This will be disjointed feedback, but whatever. Also, this is feedback of Unholy tree only.

      1. I wouldn’t use a new(old) talent to fix the Pestilence nerf – just fix Pestilience. I think rather you need a talent that has some interaction between diseases and strikes, Blizzard is strongly moving away from such passive damage bonuses and are cutting such abilities from other classes daily.

      2. Sudden Doom needs to go away from the build. This is true in the beta tree and yours. It contributes to our GCD lock problems, and doesn’t have any interaction with diseases or pets – the 2 standbys of our talent tree.

      3. I like the Ravenous Dead talent, but I think there are too many effects baked into it. I wouldn’t mind seeing a third linked talent (Rav. Dead —> Ghoul Frenzy —> Talent X) in place of Sudden Doom that has the disease damage portion of your current RD talent, and an effect the\at interacts with our Scourge Strike somehow.

      4. Your change to Virulence is interesting, I’m surprised to see that I didn’t notice we failed to have a talent that increases our damage to low health mobs – it seems most DPS specs do. Not sure if its the right place, but that high in the tree would certainly help the leveling process.

      5. The Necrosis talent is decent, and I think the wording was an attempt to force UH in 2H weapons, so I would go the whole way and say 30% Shadow dmg with 2h weapons.

      On a final note, I would love to do something with AMS. Its a utility talent we can’t take because of tree bloat, or that we can’t use because of GCD lock. It could be something amazing …. and it just sits there all sad currently. With the RP generation issues we have, there is no need to take it.

      • psyquest says:

        Sudden doom can be just a “proc a free deathcoil at the target and reset desease duration to full” . It will just be a bonus, no GCD involved and give room to do other things.

      • Leodar says:

        That won’t happen, and it probably shouldn’t. Free DPS with no brain activity required is out in Cataclysm.

        In saying this I’m assuming you mean that you don’t have to press a button and the DC goes out on its own.

    • Leviatharan says:

      Forgot to mention before, I’ve updated the calc to version 2.0, so let’s see how it goes.

      • Leviatharan says:

        Replaced Sudden Doom with an ability that would tie the ghoul into the strikes: A new disease.
        Of course, the idea of Sudden Doom was appealing to me because you could Death Coil and still save some runic power for Gargoyle, so the disease will increase RP gen a little, like a second Butchery. It *could* increase shadow damage, but that would dip into EP territory, so I’ll just let it be affected by Necrosis 2.0 (technically this means Scourge Strike and the Ghoul are tied in together, just not quite the way you were expecting!).

        For the Wandering Plague 2.0, the idea combined two things: The concept that the ‘Pest-like abilities’ other classes get are all talented (so only one spec has access to it per class), and an idea I heard some time back (from this site I believe) that Unholy Blight should work like a reverse of the Glyph of Holy Shock, damaging nearby foes (like WP, hence the reincarnation of it). There is no incidental AoE involved- there’s a “diseased enemy only” restriction so you have to conciously spread the diseases, and Pest will ignore CC like the old WP with it, which actually emphasizes the Cata philosophy of CC being more important.

        I moved down Nerves of Cold Steel so as to eliminate DW Unholy as a possibility, since it really *never should have been supported*. And it’s already been mentioned by dev’s that its not the intention for Blood to DW tanking weps since that would damage their threat, so the only spec that really would use Nerves of Cold Steel is Frost. Now while replacing it with a talent like On a Pale Horse may injure DW Frost DPS by forcing them to pick Icy Reach and IIT… Well, I just had to increase the potential for each of those two.

        Virulence, Icy Reach, and Improved Icy Touch were all modified to be fill more niches, as opposed to being removed or combined: Unholy was a spec lacking a finishing move like Merciless Combat, and Blood Plague was underpowered compared to the slowing-and-stronger Frost Fever (plus, after it lost the ability to prevent disease dispels, the connection between Virulence and Resilient Infection seemed non-existent). I lowered the talent cost to the number that Unholy DKs would have actually used to reach past the second tier;
        PvPers will never use IT (since they’ll use the Glyph of CoI) and IT is only used once a rotation in PvE while HB is used far more often, so I combined all three (and renamed it, since it’s not just Improving Icy Touch anymore is it)… in hindsight, MAYBE I should have added Chill of the Grave to that, but I figured leaving Chill would give Frost an option to pass the second tier;
        Icy Reach was flat boring. The concept behind Icy Reach’s change is pulled from Glyph of Pestilence (in other words, “a godsend for AoE”). I figure a 20 yard splash at the push of a button is a little big, though, so I settled on 15 yards total, a range equal to that of Pestilence.

        Harvest Souls addresses the issue of a Frost DK getting an Unholy Rune proc from RE; If it were Blood, they could just BS, Frost they could just HB, but Unholy was left open. So, in the tradition of the proc-iness of the Frost spec, I gave them a new proc that makes Obliterate work on one rune (which still ties into how the spec works!), but only when the proc is active. And if your diseases are running out anyway, there’s always Plague Strike or Necrotic Strike (assuming theres a glyph for Necrotic Strike to inflict BP, this will be more useful in pvp). Currently I dont think it’s necessary for Blood or Unholy, since 50% of the time those unusable runes will be Death Runes anyway.

        After fiddling around with the idea of increasing the ghoul’s Energy so as to get out more Claws because of Infectious Claws, I realized that a decent way is for AMS to energize both the Death Knight and the Ghoul. The ghoul doesn’t need it as much though, since it constantly generates energy, so “50% of the RP gained as Energy” seemed to be a good number.

        And while I have no experience tanking, I did include one small change to Blood talents: Bone Shield seemed sort of out of place. Sure, it’s obviously a tanking talent, but it doesn’t work in with the Blood philosophy of self-healing (I only found 4 or 5 *deep-end* talents that self-heal anyway). So, I figure that the bones can just heal the Blood tank when they’re consumed.

        Oh, and Hand of Doom is gone. I combined it with Endless Winter for ‘Silent Winter’. I considered naming it ‘Endless Silence’ but that seemed a lil’ too… emo.

        All other ideas used sparingly from this site. :3

      • Leviatharan says:

        Updated again.
        After reviewing the Unholy and Blood trees, I have decided that a ‘Harvest Soul’ type ability would be useful to it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any room in the Unholy tree to fit a new ability… so I combined it with Improved Unholy Presence. And out of all fairness, I had to remove some of the Frost Bloat I created, and combined Harvest Soul with Improved Frost Presence. And I’ll probably do something similar with Improved Blood Presence… SIMILAR, not the exact same. I’m thinking more along the lines of “Proccing a frost rune procs an unholy rune as well and v.v.” or something like that. Time will tell.

  22. Noin says:

    I implemented a lot of Consider’s suggestions, as well as some of my own harebrained ideas, into this War Tools build.

    If you deign it worthy of attention, note the following:

    1. Please read the build description. It details a lot of the corresponding ability changes I would make were I King For A Day.

    2. Please read the Talent Tree Bonuses at the bottom of the trees for clarification. Most of them haven’t changed, but there’s a minor change in the Blood tree that may be significant.

    • Aram says:

      Not to rain on your parade, but your mock up needs work.

      1) Some talents or effects that are getting cut from other classes, you included. See Bladed Armor or your Merciless Combat.

      2) You have 1 talent per tree that disables Runic Empowerment. Its not like Arcane Missiles for a Mage. They want Runic Empowerment procs to be a core part of the class.

      3) You have the old Unholy Blight. They aren’t bringing it back. They want to tone down AE damage.

      4) While talents based on Gargoyle are creative. Its not out enough for them to be meaningful at all.

      5) Talents are partially designed for leveling, not just end game. A talent based on a level 85 ability that you can get at level 55 is not a good talent. (See Nystagamus)

      I could go on and on but I think you get the idea.

  23. criticize says:

    I’ve been reading this blog for a few weeks now, really good stuff here. I had some ideas of my own and I put them down the other day on

    The idea is that Blood and Unholy use Blood Plague, resulting in a decent buff in Plague Strike. Frost continues to use Frost Fever via Icy Touch, which is also saw some buffs.

    Frost becomes dual wield with range on demand tree.
    Blood & Unholy 2-hander trees, with deathcoils for range.

    Take a look.

  24. Noin says:


    1. I’m trying to stick to the current beta trees as close as possible. Bladed Armor and Merciless Combat still exist therein, and thus they still exist in my build. It’s not like I’ve found anything adequate to replace them.

    2. Runic Empowerment has many flaws, as described by Consider. This is one effort to correct some of them and make the basic idea work more for each tree. Right now, RE is simply a headache.

    3. The “old Unholy Blight you described is designed specifically to be used for AoE and/or utility. It would not be used on single targets except to protect CC from DoTs. The current Unholy Blight is incredibly boring, although useful in PVP.

    4. The talents based around Gargoyle were suggested by Consider. “They aren’t enough” is not exactly a compelling argument against them. Explain why they aren’t enough to be meaningful, because they all seem quite significant to me.

    5. Considering that the talent is based on Mind Freeze as well as Dark Simulacrum, this point is invalid.

    • Aram says:

      1) Ok. But get creative. They want the first 2 tiers to be general purpose so they can sub-speccable.

      2) The GCD lock issue aside, Runic Empowerment is a great concept but they need to work on it. Giving us a free rune of any type of totally worthless. You know why? Because for 2/3 rune types for each tree, you’ll be hitting a disease applicator or an irrelevant button like Blood Strike. What if it gave a free Death Strike/Obliterate/Scourge Strike instead? That doesn’t mean we need talents to disable it. They need to work on it.

      3) Unholy Blight is going to change. At the very least, the dispel protection will pruned in favor of Resilient Infection.

      4) Just because they are suggested by Consider, doesn’t makes them good. A Gargoyle is out for 30 seconds every 3 minutes. Having limited scope talents that only affect that little a window is not good game design, because you’ll notice when your gargoyle is not out. The extreme between having Gargoyle out and not having it out will cause serious balance problems.

      5) This will be chalked up to my bad. But you should clarify the talent. Gnaw and Strangulate can interrupt also in various situations.

      • Frostfright says:

        I think a free dual rune attack would make for DKs using Obliterate and Death Strike too often. The idea of it proccing a death rune (for Howling Blast/Scourge Strike/Heart Strike) is more appealing because Howling Blast isn’t used as much as Obliterate. But Consider’s idea of a third option – even if it was a third option that means I would be using Death Coil regularly and would need it in a “high traffic” area on my bars – was an even better idea than either of those.

        As for your fourth point, giving Scourge Strike some interaction with the ghoul instead of the gargoyle (and keeping the gargoyle as purely an occasional burst cooldown) would solve the problem of having your abilities affect something that’s only sometimes actually up.

      • Aram says:

        The death runes idea for Runic Empowerment is an interesting idea but I don’t think they’ll go for it. I think they want it to be semi-predictable in how we use that rune(s) since that will be a lot easier to balance.

        I think talents based on the Ghoul are ok since Night of the Dead got cut and I bet they cut the glyph and Ravenous Dead. (Well maybe they won’t be cut, but they’ll integrated into the “base” ability, Master of Ghouls or as a Passive for Unholy)

  25. Baadshah of Dawnbringer says:

    Not on Twitter, so I’m going to reply to your question here: I’d love to see a post on the “history” of DPS DKs (or just Unholy if you like) throughout WoTLK. I believe I posted on that idea in more detail in an earlier comment somewhere and others seemed to like it!

  26. Tsaria says:

    I also had a suggestion for an article and don’t have twitter set up (sorry for the spam). When you posted your Frost and Unholy hypotheticals you mentioned you might do one for blood also? If you think your thoughts are still relevant as a DK tank I would be interested to see what ideas you have.

    • Leviatharan says:

      Agreed. I have no experience as a blood tank, so I have no idea what needs to be implemented into the Talent trees on War Tools aside from what I’ve already thrown in for leveling DKs.

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