Upcoming – Frost and Unholy

Between finals, the launch of the expansion, the holidays, acquiring a new job, visiting family, and a few other time consuming events all in the period of a mere three weeks, I haven’t been able to blog nearly as much as I would normally have liked – I haven’t been able to blog at all, in fact! Thankfully, things are now starting to die down, out of game and in, and should allow me to return to writing here on a regular basis, so long as there are topics to write about… which, of course, there now are, with Ghostcrawler having blogged this evening about how the decelopers view each class at the moment, in terms of general balance, and some of the specific changes we can look forward to seeing in the (likely couple month, if I were to guess) future.

The DK relevant info is as follows:

[General]

  • For Cataclysm, we changed Death Strike almost completely into an ability for Blood DK tanks, which is a bit unfortunate. We want to make sure it is still a useful button for Frost or Unholy DKs who need healing.
  • We also want to address DK mobility in PvP.

[Frost]

  • Frost is likely overperforming on multiple targets.

[Unholy]

  • Unholy is likely overperforming on single targets.
  • We want to make sure Unholy DKs prefer two-handed weapons.
  • Necrotic Strike needs to be affected by resilience.
  • Blightcaller simply isn’t working; we’re looking to redesign it to make it similar to Druid’s Symbiosis, where DK attacks do more damage to diseased targets.

My overall impression is that everything is spot on; Blizzard understands the issues (GC doesn’t touch upon all of them, of course, but those he does hit, he responds to correctly and in a promising manner) and they have a good feel for the current balance of the specs. Although it might be a bit early to claim this, they seem to be focusing more on number tweaks then overhauling entire abilities, which hopefully should prevent a lot of the turmoil the Death Knight class (and Unholy spec, specifically) underwent in Wrath due to the constant, radical changes to core spells and strikes. We’ll have to change how we gear – that’s inevitable with almost any change of decent magnitude – but we won’t have to be relearning our rotation, redoing our spec, and compeltely modifying the way we play, which should allow theorycrafting to focus on more important matters, then always having to play catch up to the latest whims of the devs!

As to the specifics?

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Guide(s) – Other Forums?

The last two things I wanted to get done for Elitist Jerks before Tuesday – more stratified stat weights and the FAQ – are all but finished, and will be thrown up before the end of the evening, most likely. Once those are complete (on top of a couple other minor odds and ends, such as discussing DW verse 2H for each spec, which I’ll also knock out), the guides should be in a very strong place for Cataclysm and likely won’t need any factual work done for months. Obviously if there’s anything you believe to be inaccurate, lacking, or otherwise missing, I’m always open to feedback, but I can’t think of much else the two could use without going overly in-depth into a particularly complicated area or a particularly simple one… that’s probably the most difficult aspect of threads such as those: balancing between giving detailed enough information without being overly detailed and balancing between explaining without handholding. Fall too far either which way, and there’s bound to be issues.

At any rate, to the matter at hand: I’ve been wondering if anyone would see any value or benefit in me making one or two guides for the official forums and/or mmo-champion forums. These wouldn’t merely be truncated versions of my EJ ones, but done from scratch entirely, and although it would inevitably contain much of the same information, it would skew more towards that “explaining” end of the spectrum, whereas EJ already leans slight more to the “details” side, and likely could afford to go a bit farther down that route, especially if I did this.

There would be several benefits to be gained: reaching a wider audience (not just on the posted locations, but it would also likely draw more people to the threads on EJ, or even here), helping those who probably need it most (let’s be honest, the sort of person who visits the official forums but isn’t familiar with EJ likely is newer and less knowledgeble of the game), making the official DK forums a somewhat more intelligent place (not that I’m deluded enough to think it would stop even half the stupid threads there, even if it prevented one a week, that’s something), and so on.

To be clear, I’m not asking if any of you readers would use such a thing. Odds are, if you’re here, you’re familiar with EJ and not the sort who needs this sort of thing anyways, although you might still be interested in why certain things are as they are and what have you. I’m asking if you think it would be a good idea, in general, for the DK community and player-base.

I’m very interested in feedback on this subject, so if you wouldn’t mind spending a couple seconds voting and/or commenting, I would be quite grateful! I have mixed feelings, myself, and can’t quite make up my mind.

Leveling – 2H Frost’s Redemption

With Cataclysm exactly a week away there’s a single, vital question that should be on almost everyone’s mind: what spec should I be for leveling?

To an extent, it doesn’t particularly matter. Leveling isn’t intended to be so difficult that if you’re trying to do it with anything less than the optimal spec, you’re essentially screwing yourself over. Nor is it meant to be all that long, with 80 to 85 taking far less playtime than 70 to 80 ever did. Even if neither of those were true and leveling did require any sort of min-maxing in your build, the fact of the matter is: it just couldn’t be done! The number of variables one would have to take into account would be way too long to list, let alone actually attempt to calculate.

So why does a leveling spec matter so much if the content isn’t challenging or lengthy enough to demand anything even remotely resembling your absolute best?

Because unlike raiding and unlike arena, leveling is the one thing every single player in the game goes through. Because unlike any other aspect of the expansion, leveling is likely going to be one of the very first parts you experience on launch day. Because the fact that a section of the game doesn’t require you to do your absolute best doesn’t mean that a certain kind of person would be able to enjoy it to the fullest otherwise… which, for what it’s worth, is why most people also min-max in other areas.

It suffices to say that, yes, a leveling spec does indeed matter.

Fortunately for us, the answer is obvious: Frost 2H is the way to go.

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