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:


  • 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 is likely overperforming on multiple targets.


  • 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?

Death Strike being too weak for dps is a given, and something which was discussed (among the playerbase) heavily during the end of beta. That, Death Pact, and Fallen Crusader are all the dps specs have left for self-healing, and with Death Pact having a lengthy CD and Fallen Crusader being weak/uncontrollable, DS is what we rely on when we want to heal ourselves up. The fact that it has a heavy damage cost is inevitable; at least let the heal be noticeable. As it is, it doesn’t even equal a health potion! Reassuring to know that they admit the problem, and are looking to tackle it. Of course, it would have been nicer to have a fix in place before we all had to level, but hey, better late than never!

PvP mobility… pass. Not something I’m knowledgeable enough to speak on.

There is no question that Frost is overperforming on AoE. This was seen months ago, and talked about to death during the beta process. Howling Blast is simply too strong; there’s no denying it, and a look at any parse of, say, Magmaw, with a Frost DK, will prove it clear as day. I’m glad to see they’re addressing it, but I’m still concerned that they’ll merely nerf HB and call it a day. HB is integral to Frost’s single target dps, and simply lowering it’s damage would just cause the another equal, but opposite imbalance. I discussed the matter months ago; it suffices to say that Blizzard has plenty of options to nerf the AoE aspect without hurting the single target.

That Unholy is overperforming on single-target is true, and I would argue it’s primarily due to the ghoul. It simply does too much dps while being immune to fight mechanics which force us (and others) to move.  Were I a dev, I would nerf Dark Transformation to 75% damage (instead of 100%), and then allow the Ghoul to scale with our crit and our mastery. This would be just enough to do the trick to our overall damage, while also having the side benefit of making our ghoul a smaller fraction of our dps (overall), making all the secondary stats almost equally desirable, and making our Ghoul scale with more than just pure strength (which it scales with ridiculously well). If it still did too much damage overall, nerf the Glyph; change it to 20% strength, or who knows. Many ways it could be tackled, and likely something I’ll discuss in more depths sometime over the coming weeks.

Unholy DW dying is likely for the best, I suppose. Not much to say on the subject, besides being curious as to how they plan to accomplish it. Moving NotCS and/or nerfing/changing SD are the likely means, but who knows. Blizzard could always surprise us.

Necrotic Strike, as with all PvP matters, isn’t something I have the expertise to analyze, but I will say that the change seems very common sense based, and generally speaking, balancing decisions based off common sense are almost always for the best!

Oh, Blightcaller. Good riddance. The new version of the mastery sounds rather uninteresting, but whatever – it will be a million times easier to make attractive, and everyone likes bigger numbers, anyways. Unfortunately, however, without knowing the specific details, it’s hard to delve too far into the subject. Will it be all of our damage, or only our yellow damage? If our yellow damage, will it be all of our yellow damage, or just our strike damage? Will it affect the ghoul? If it affects the ghoul, will it affect all of his damage, or just his yellow damage? What percent will it be? Will Scourge Strike double dip into it? Those questions are just the first to come to mind, but there’s surely dozens more. Whatever they do, it’s unlikely – impossible, really – that the new mastery could be any more boring and any more impotent then the current one, so they can only go up! A side benefit of a buff in this department is that switching from Frost to Unholy or viceversa won’t require totally different gear sets.

Like I said, in general, I’m pleased with… well, all of the above. Not a single thing posted this evening troubles me. Sure, most of these issues could have been (and/or were) foreseen in beta, but whatever; better late than never, to be sure.

Anyways, I’ll leave it there for the evening. Once again, I’m sorry for the extended gap between blogging, but hopefully things should be normal-ish after this week. Much to discuss, I’m sure.


73 Responses to Upcoming – Frost and Unholy

  1. Frozen says:

    Lookin forward to the Mastery change. Also hoping it’s as good for us as Frost so if, say, I want to PvP as Frost I won’t be strongly hurting my potential dps.

    • Consider says:

      Indeed. It’s plain annoying to have to avoid a specific stat like the plague because it’s barely even a third as strong as its weakest competitor, not to mention the whole swapping spec thing.

  2. Leviatharan says:

    I’m confused as to whether I should be concerned that GC called out Unholy Dks for being on top of the meters (I rather like being on top, beating warriors and mages for the first time since prolly 3.0, and it will certainly be missed) or delighted by the change to our Mastery that creates endless possibility. It seems like acknowledging ONE needs a change is in direct conflict with acknowledging the OTHER does as well…

    But all in all, it would be interesting to see how this plays out. If they do nerf Dark Transformation only to have the ghoul and our overall damage be effected by Mastery, then it will really only make us more powerful by having us rely on the pet less (losing the ghoul to some fight mechanic would be a smaller loss than it is now).

    • Consider says:

      We are on top. No one likes nerfs, but we kind of need them – specifically, our ghoul. The fact that so much of our dps continues when we’re not on the boss/moving/debuffed/whatever? Yeah. ~25% or so of our overall damage would be far more balanced.

      Shifting damage from the pet to us would make us less powerful, not more. Ghoul death isn’t really an issue, especially since we can instantly summon it for free if it’s been two minutes, and it doesn’t even need to be rebuffed. Quite painless when it happens, which isn’t even that often. The benefits of having a solid third+ of your dps on the boss 100% of the time regardless of fight mechanics or strategy is far, far more valuable.

      • Leviatharan says:

        Wasn’t saying we aren’t on top, just saying that I really enjoy it. It’s necessary since we’re a good distance away from most of the pure DPS classes, yes, doesn’t mean I’ll be any less disappointed to see it go. ;3

        And I suppose it really matters on whether or not the mastery affects the ghoul as well, since we should have the diseases up on the boss ~90% of the time when we’re not called away to deal with adds or fight mechanics. It might not change anything at all, far as our maximum damage goes. Who knows.

        All I know is that this Mastery better be enjoyable, since it’s as prevalent on gear as crit that I’ve found (since it’s valuable even to tanking specs…). I almost doubted being given Akirus over the Whitefin Axe until tonight. :3

      • Jonneh says:

        My raid has continued to be amazed by my single target dps, which is admittedly emphasised by the presence of a ret pally as the other melee dps.

        It’ll be a shame to get nerfed, but its needed really. And the ghoul is the place to do it. Our non-pet DPS as a class is fine, but the pet brings far far too much more to the table. Not to mention that really, DT ghoul’s Claw is really a violation of the new design which shuns abilities that have passive cleave for no extra cost. I’m sure you’ve all been abusing those heroic trash packs and bosses with adds by making sure your ghoul is hitting with every cleave. I know I am!

        Here is hoping that they don’t go too far. (cough SS hotfix) I think we pay a heavy price for our high dps, in terms of effort and skill required. Unholy is not faceroll. I’d like to remain one of the higher dps specs!

      • Croaena says:

        I have played Unholy from day one, so have been there for all the growing pains the spec went through with Wrath. The Death Coil>stacking buff>Empowerment has been a lot of fun since it was introduced, particurlarly with the procs for extra Death Coils added into the mix.

        I absolutely have to agree, though, that the ghoul has felt completely overpowered, especially in Cata dungeons and raids. I’ve gotten used to its dps essentially replacing my auto attack, and there is a certain amount of effort required to keep it empowered as much as possible, but this is the first time I’ve looked at dps meters and said, “Dear Lord, I need a nerf.”

        A nerf to Howling Blast, in whatever form, will also be welcome. As it stands, I’m pretty much expected to have the frost spec ready so that I can stand on the sidelines with the ranged dps and spam HB on Magmaw’s adds.

  3. Waylandyr says:

    I’m wary of the nerfbat on Hb, not because I want to remain OP as hell on aoe (which, lets face it, we are) but because I’m scared it will showcase the amount we rely on it and show off frost’s lacking single target dps without blizz addressing those two concerns.

  4. Jonneh says:

    I thought they had fixed the ghoul’s crit. Last time I checked recount I was sure he’d crit for 11% or so.

  5. Velk says:

    It’s possible the mastery fix will be a 2 for 1 in making dual wield undesirable as well. If it’s changed to what I had suggested for it previously ( which GC seems to be suggesting ), then it would change the additional percentage part of strikes, e.g. scourge strike’s 12% per disease would be increased by mastery.

    If that is the case, then scourge strike will become significantly more important, and the loss from dual wielding will be significant, a bit of finesse you get one fix for both.

    Of course, from Blizzard’s subtle balance adjustments of the past, I’d imagine that would also be accompanied by sudden doom getting an internal cooldown and death and decay being halved in damage.

    My main concern with the suggested change to mastery is that it will go live in a reasonably balanced state and then be nerfed to the ground in a hotfix a day later due to pvp whining.

    • Consider says:

      The mastery can’t just affect SS, as you’re suggestion does. FeS doesn’t have a disease modifier, remember, nor do any of our other abilities, actually. At the very least, it needs to affect all strikes (SS and FeS), although affecting all of our yellow damage (Those two + DC + disease + DnD) or all of our damage period (All that + auto-attack) is a possibility, depending on the number.

      The more things it affects, the lower the percent can be, and thus the fewer PvP issues. If it only applies to one or two abilities, however, it’s going to have to be a high number, and that would cause problems. Affecting all strikes is most likely, I would bet.

  6. Rythian says:

    Disappointed in not a single mention of 2H Frost just being plain worse than DW. :/

    • Bruescrues says:

      And that’s how it should be. Blizzard is obviously stating that Frost should be DW, and Unholy should be 2h.

      • Frostfright says:

        Please leave that crap on the official forums. DW and 2H Frost are meant to be equally viable. Saying otherwise is moronic.

      • Sag says:

        I’m actually pretty sure that Blizz has stated that frost is intended to be DW, they would make it possible to use a two hander, but the gist of the statement was that DW will be the way frost works. we’ll prop up two handers, but don’t be expecting top dps from it.

        Granted 2 handed is far from the top, but who knows what blizz thought. I took from it that 2 handed frost would not get top raid dps unless they completely outgeared everyone else there.

      • Thyrial says:

        No Blizz specifically said they wanted 2H Frost to be a viable option so that people who wanted to use 2-Handers weren’t forced to play with a pet (Alot of people really dislike pets)

  7. Branith says:

    Changes that should be made:

    Blightcaller- Increases the damage of the Death Knight’s Strikes on targets afflicted with Blood Plague by 12%, each additional point of mastery increases this damage by 1.5%
    Unholy Blight- Removed replaced with a crit modifying talent for our diseases
    Dark Transformation- Damage reduced by 50%, Ghoul Sweeping claws now only hits 1 addtional target damage reduced by 25%
    Summon Gargoyle- reduced cooldown to 2 min, duration by 10 sec, damage increased by 25%, no longer melees the target
    Necrotic Strike- Healing Absorption Increased by 100%, cooldown of 20 sec. Strike added to Rage of Rivendare
    Glyph of Death Grip (major)- no longer increase range, now immobilizes the target for 5 sec.

    Howling Blast- Damage split evenly between all targets, Ignores any target under the effect of a spell that is cancelled by taking damage.
    Hungering Cold- 20 yd range, 1 min cooldown, Purges the earth around the target of all heat. Trapping them in ice and incapacitating them for up to 1 min. (lasts 10 sec on player characters)

    Death Strike- now heals for minimum of 10% of your maximum health.
    Glyph of Death Strike- (new major glyph, will need a name change though) Your Death Strike will heal for an additional 10% of your maximum health but your Death Strike now has a 30 sec cooldown

    There I fixed DK’s issues, or at least I think I did.

    • Rodalpho says:

      Your proposed howling blast nerf is exactly what I expect (and dread) happening. It would be a damn crying shame and would personally turn me away from the spec entirely.

      It’s very possible to change frost so Howling Blast is not used in single-target rotations for free cleave without totally destroying its AE utility. Just change rime so it buffs icy touch sufficiently that DKs will use it on single targets.

      Conversely, it’s possible to nerf the Howling Blast AE damage numbers to meet developer goals without turning it into garbage like paladins’ holy wrath and making it utterly useless to AE.

      I like your death strike changes, but haven’t done the numbers to see if your mastery/pet changes make sense.

      The only change I would add is some form of active threat management for DKs, particularly frost DKs. We need a button to push that either drops our threat by 5-10% every 10s or 20% every minute.

      • Sag says:

        Why would you be riding the threat wave that close? I mean wtf are you or your tanks doing? It’s pretty difficult to pull off of a tank if you’re hitting the correct target. If you’re not, well, I don’t know what to tell you, be happy to wear plate and pop your CDs. If the tank isn’t marking then ask him to mark, and if you need to give him a threat lead.

        When i’m tanking with the healer I normally run with if you are actually pulling off of a non marked target she’ll let you tank it. If I’m not marking I get yelled at. If you’re still pulling off from me then we need to do more talking, and you apparently outgear the shit out of me. I haven’t seen it happen yet.

      • Rodalpho says:

        I don’t know why, but it won’t let me reply directly to you.

        I’m primarily talking about horrible PUG tanks here, primarily paladins for some reason. With no way to manage my threat, I end up just autoattacking. I literally pull single-target threat on bosses 30s into the fight after waiting 10s to start attacking.

      • ODK says:

        how about popin out of blood presence? heh, i can do that if i TRY, but if your not redicilous useing unholy frenzy right off the bat and blowing everything you have as hard as you can, even then it takes a bad tank, a paladin should be fine, my guess is your attacking the wrong target or your tank is being lazy (ive got a tank that can do his job great, i can tell when he is bein lazy), use a /focus macro, focus your tank every time your with one and use his target as yours..with nameplates (” v “) on you should also get a clear message of which targets are going to need focus at specific times…(tho i prefer tidyplates)

      • Sag says:

        Don’t know why I didn’t see this earlier, but I do PuG tank. I have a problem occasionally because I am too lazy to mark at times. Still, I’ll usually mark the first skull. After that, the DnD, pested diseases, BB, and HS usually keep the things glued to me. As a pally AS + Consecration + HotR one time keeps them on me. No idea how those tanks are failing at threat.

  8. Branith says:

    Oops forgot 1 change.

    Might of the Frozen Wastes, no longer grants additional Runic Power, now increases damage of 2h weapons by 20%.

  9. StormCraft says:

    Howling Blast – Hits the Target for X damage and additional all Targets with 10 yards for y Damage.

    Simply nerfing its aoe without its single target capabilitys.

    • Rodalpho says:

      That would work too, sure.

      It needs to not break CC if it’s going to be part of our single-target rotation, though.

      • Branith says:

        Hence the: Ignores any target under the effect of a spell that is cancelled by taking damage. part I placed on the spell. HB is atrocious for DPS as it stands in any 5 man due to it breaking every sort of CC. Then again I also wouldnt mind if they changed our 31 pt talent, placed HB further up the tree, and made Rime buff IT to equal the same amount of damage as HB.

  10. Grave says:

    One thing to note, is that pvp mobility can translate to pve mobility… an area where I believe dk’s are lacking as well. We have 0 usable gap closers in pve, where as warriors fly around like superman with multiple abilities to quickly switch targets across great distances.

    I feel like when I have to run over to another target I am always the last person to get there…..because I am the slowest and have no buttons to get there any quicker.

    • Sag says:

      It’s funny the opportunities that DG creates and the frustration it is for times when it is not useful. Levelling an alt prot pally with a ret pally and I have to say Pally charge is fun and I remember when people said it would not be useful. I’m curious to see how they will work on DK mobility, things like increasing base runspeed don’t really help. I’ve had ideas about having DG become spell reflected on immune targets (if you’re curious duel a warrior and have them spell reflect and then cast DG on them. Make sure to stand far away for the full affect.), but that only helps on either vehicles, or boss mobs. While those are probably the places they are most needed I am not sure that would completely help the pvp part. Maybe having a sprint tied to DG, so DG causes a movement speed increase? Any other ideas about that? I think that blizz is more likely to tie something to an old ability rather than make a new ability, or is it a consensus that a new ability is what is needed?

    • Consider says:

      I’ve always though that what we lack for in PvE mobility we make up with our extraordinary (for a dps) PvE survivability. We can get away with so much which we otherwise wouldn’t thanks to AMS. If we had the same movement tricks as some of the other melee specs, it would likely give us too much time on the boss, if anything.

      • Sag says:

        AMS has something of a medium CD, really is it that much better than cloak of shadows? AMS has a damage cap that can get eaten through (and does in early expansion), cloak is a steady 90% spell damage reduction (or did that change and I missed it?) and as far as I know, no cap. How many more ways does a rogue have to get to a target than we do? Some of that depends on spec, but aside from sprint there is at least KS and shadowstep. Granted, this is one example, and different classes are different yeah yeah, but when a warrior can charge/intercept/intervene/heroic leap 3+ times in the duration of my DG CD… I mean that’s just getting ridiculous. And the pally sprint 4 seconds every 8 seconds 30 yd range, min 15 yds away. I’m not sure the CD on kitty charge, but 15 seconds and usable in combat if I recall. Have I missed another melee? All I’m really asking for is 1, even on a min CD, its something.

      • Consider says:

        AMS has half the cooldown of Cloak, and the same duration. The damage cap is plenty sufficient, for the most part, especially with health having scaled as it was. If I had to choose between the two, I would always take Shell for PvE purposes, not to mention we have IBF on top of it.

        Our mobility is definitely lacking, but I’ld still arguing out survivability – combined with the fact that at least 50% of our dps (ghoul, diseases, DnD, IT/BB/DC) continues unabated while moving – is perfectly sufficient for balance’s sake.

        But, of course, more mobility would be most welcome, and likely wouldn’t make a noticeable impact on our overall performance, anyways. More of a lifestyle buff, if anything.

      • Sag says:

        Granted IBF is a powerful cd, which does make DKs difficult to kill, even without pvp or tanking gear, I don’t think it is quite as powerful as you believe. With the self heals that go on these days, its diffcult to say that we actually have more survivability than the next dpser. I’m not 100% sure of the mechanics yet, but I’d say pallies are probably back to being the most survivable dps. Not that they aren’t broken as dps, but hey at least they’ll live through stuff.

      • Rattlejack says:

        DKs are becoming focus targets in arenas due to the lack of mobility and the prevalence of CC right now. It’s also related to CoI being almost useless as it used to be our gap closer. We have tools to prevent some of this but nothing really good to break out. I’d expect baseline or glyph options to AMS or IBF that break snares/roots or something of that nature. Could translate into PvE but with the predictability of most raid encounters a change like that shouldn’t matter much.

        You might also see some form of CC break/resistance for the ghoul. I believe it’s the only pet without any.

      • Sag says:

        Warlocks have demonic empowerment, which unless they pvp they generally skip last I checked. With that warlocks get snares removed on 3 of 5 pets. Void and imp are screwed, but the imp doesn’t really care if he is snared and well, if you’re depending on the tanking pet for DPS you’re kind of doing it wrong. Aside from beastial wrath I have no idea what hunters have.

        I generally tank more often than not and while AMS is a situational spell the major glyph for that is awesome right now. Since blood had a few options for the major glyph spot I changed things up while pvping and forgot to return them. A few extra seconds of standing in the fire, or running out of the fire and getting hit with dragons breath and taking 0 damage really help out a healer.

        I am not a fan of the change to CoI. Yes a ranged snare is awesome for a melee class to have, but it just sucks compared to what it was.

  11. Grave says:

    Can you say the same for frost?

    You are obviously biased from unholy’s (overpowered) point of view, but frost definitely needs to get into melee range in order to deal any decent punishment.

    Consider I respect a lot (almost everything) of what you say, but you can’t just keep the mentality that if it’s not a problem for unholy then it’s not a problem for the class. That’s just terrible design. I know you have been an unholy DK since the dawn of time, but if you are going to be the torch bearer on EJ for both frost and unholy, you have to consider that we aren’t all unholy dk’s, especially since the spec has already been tagged for the nerf slate.

    • Sag says:

      I haven’t done this in a while, but last time I checked unholy’s pet was pretty squishy when actually focused. So a good mage could easily kite us while destroying our pet and finish us at their leasure. A hunter could pretty much do the same thing. Maybe this was “scaled out of” so to speak, but somehow I doubt it. Any comments on that?

      • Grave says:

        We discuss pve here, not pvp.

      • Sag says:

        My apologies that should have been posted under Branith’s post. While his suggestions would possibly fix some pvp issues they could have drastic pve issues, even from a numbers balancing perspective. DKs have been nerfed enough already because of pvp. Just as Consider shouldn’t say “it doesn’t matter because it’s not an unholy dk problem” neither should PvEers think that changes won’t come because of pvp, its already happened numerous times to us and other classes. It’s not a bad thing to speculate on any upcoming changes.

      • Branith says:

        Im 2200 MMR in Arena, have a crappy Rated BG rating but I havnt done much but play 5 games, and I have yet to lose my ghoul to focus fire. If a target focuses my Ghoul they arent killing me or my partner and a few cheap as hell DC’s to heal my pet (plus stack SI to boot) is plenty to keep him up.

        As it stands, I also dont consider UH over the top in DPS, but I do think the Ghoul contributes to much of the damage and I think the new Master ychange will help us in the long run as we will scale much better with strike damage as compared ot pet damage.

        The killer for UH and DK’s in general in PvP is our mobility and reliance on our 1 true overpowered ability (necrotic strike). I get demolished by any class that can kite, which at this point is pretty much anything but a Lock or Priest.

  12. Branith says:

    either/or add a Immoblize or root effect to DG up the target landing and/or give UH DK’s a way to break roots and or snares thru Unholy Frenzy or Dark Transformation. In turn nerf the damage of shadow infusion and DT by 50%, place a cooldown on DT of 1 min, remove the stacks required to transform the ghoul to 2 and the DK is immune to movement impairing effects for the duration.

    Hell there is so many ways they can address the things we obviously see and now the Devs have offically recognized, we could all theorycraft all day long. My only hope is they dont go overboard one way or the other and as much as Consider knows about the PvE side of the house I think I am the same with the PvP side.

    • Frostfright says:

      The mobility improvements need to be de-linked from Death Grip. Death Grip in PvP is mostly used as an interrupt ability that cant be countered with things like aura mastery, at least in arenas. Coupling it with AMS may be a reasonable idea, but IBF is on too long a cooldown.

      • Branith says:

        I agree with that statement as well. One of the posters on arena junkies suggested a moblity buff thru Rune Tap, but I dont like it as much as say Dark Transformation or possibly Endless Winter talent since every PvP spec will get that. Another Idea would be to tie our new mobility into On a Pale Horse, but I dunno how to do that as a passive.

      • Sag says:

        I’m curious to see how that buff would work through runetap, and where it would be placed. I mean blood has a talent to reduce runetap to every 30 seconds. Having that up is huge as a tank. As a root breaker that might be OP, if it’s just a sprint, well, that’d take some getting used to as a tank that is for sure.

  13. coldazice says:

    Well tbh I really didn’t saw unholy that far ahead that I’d already jump to class imbalance issues. There are enough classes that deliver nice numbers, namely Mutilate rogues, enhancement shaman, survival hunters and destruction locks. Even furys are maybe only 3-5% behind and just as mages they haven’t even reached half their potential due to the lack of gear yet. But well once again they proof to me their lack of knowledge of their game and their unwillingness to hire anybody who could provide them with decent simulations or spreadsheets.

  14. Zebrahead says:

    It’s sorta funny that one fight, Magmaw is the reason they finally decided to adjust Howling Blast. Ever since it was changed to 1 frost rune, it was obvious that our AE was ridiculous 😛 Way back when in ICC, but there aren’t really any fights in ICC that had mass adds.

    But to adjust it for what amounts to basically throwaway AE dmg on a massive pile of weak adds, not the boss, for a fight or two… seems sorta weak. It’s already limited by having to have runes ready when you want to nuke, and after the first couple casts, you’re really just sitting waiting a long time just to HB once again. Not to mention the massive aggro you build from using it, generally means you get to tank whatever it is you’re hitting, though that isn’t an issue if the enemies are snarable, but this isn’t usually the case for regular packs of mobs.

    I’m hoping they just add a cap to the damage, like various other AE spells, to at least save face for regular single target dps rotations.

  15. Last I checked, Unholy DW was the highest spec, but it’s going away. Coincidentally, Unholy is called out for perhaps too high single target damage. Now I see people talking about the ghoul doing too much damage, but the highest end spec (UH DW) is going away anyway. Is UH 2h doing too much single target damage? Or just DW?

    And by definition, the ghoul’s cleave (a target for most people wanting to nerf the ghoul some) is not improving single target damage anyway, right?

    • Magdalena of Turalyon says:

      DW Unholy only begins to pull ahead as one transitions into 372 gear. Considering that there are very few DKs out there at that level of gear, I doubt that DW Unholy has has time to become the staple spec that it threatened to be.
      The complaints about damage being too high are from Two Handed Unholy.

      I’m grateful that they don’t think Unholy’s AoE is too high- it certainly has incredible potential but is much more engaging to maintain and doesn’t include obscene passive AoE like Wandering Plague.

  16. Sag says:

    Consider, I’ve looked through your threads on EJ and in this blog and I know I have mentioned something about it before, but what about the situational usage of empowered Rune weapon. Yes, there are very few times when doing DPS that would would be low on runic power and have all runes on CD. At the start of fights could be one, and maybe a horribly unlucky string of no RE procs. I have noticed that if there are fights with constant interrupts, and I am in a group lacking in interrupts, that MF sucks my runic power away like mad. I’m wondering if anyone else has had this experience and maybe if it would be OP to have MF attached to RE as well. There are a few other classes that have incentives to interrupt, but for a DK of nearly any type it seems like this is a dps loss. I’m not sure how the warrior and rogue talents pan out, but increasing str, or damage or AP or whatever after a successful interrupt seems like it would be good all around. Or is this the sitution where empowered rune weapon is actually for?

  17. Kegbane says:

    My PvP Mobility suggestion :

    It seems it would need to be accessible to both Frost and Unholy specs, so it would have to be low in the talent trees if it was to be a talent, or higher up in both trees.

    They could tack it on to an existing cooldown like Icebound Fortitude or Lichborne, but that would be clumsy I think, as those have long cooldowns to begin with.

    I don’t think any new functionality could provide Root/Snare immunity. Between going Fear immune with Lichborne and Stun immune with Icebound Fortitude, it would reach oldschool Beastial Wrath levels of annoying.

    My suggestion : have root/snare/cc effects decrease the cooldown of Death Grip, and have it be part of the Unholy Command talent in place of (or in addition to) the “killing a mob resets the cooldown” portion of the talent. The amount would be somewhere between 2-4 seconds reduced for each effect.

    They have similar talents like this for Hunters in regards to Deterrence and Disengage, so it seems possible to do.

    It also highlights the DK’s unique ability in PvP.

    • Sag says:

      I don’t have a problem with that, as long as killing still resets that CD. That is completely handy while tanking an instance. Esp if the CC breaks after the first kill. It doesn’t change too much for PvE I think, but I still think for the DPS DKs that there should be some way to gap close without running up to the mob. I realize 2 of the 3 dps specs use UP, It just seems like a missing part of the toolbox. Maybe that’s ok in raiding though.

      Side note: found out that pally sprint has a 1 min internal CD. Kind of sucks for them, I don’t think it’d be too OP if that got moved a slight bit lower than 1 min.

  18. Branith says:

    Ive actually thought about this a little more over the last few days and I think the perfect way to fix DK mobility, Change the Glyph of Chains of Ice from dealing damage to Rooting the target in place if the target is 15 yards or more away. Kind of makes since to return some of the original function of CoI back to it original flavor.

  19. Nahela says:

    Best way to fix HB is probably making it only 50-75% on additional targets beyond the first. I think a strong AE is needed for the way raids are currently balanced (and for the matter of fun!) and that Survival/Frost should be taken down slightly while the others are increased.

    At this point in time I can’t see IT coming back as our go-to, too many situation hotkeys in that case.

    As for mobility, I don’t think we need more ways to slow a target down, but we definitely need more ways to actually catch up to a target. DG once every 25s (talented) just isn’t cutting it anymore.

  20. Branith says:

    I also feel that HB needs ot ignore targets that are under crowd control effects, its so pivitol to our DPS rotation and not being able to use it for fear of breaking sheeps or fears is a killer on my DPS, its the reason why I went back UH.

    And yea we need soem sort of gap closer that isnt tied to Death Grip, something like Chains of Ice roots targets further then 15 yars away for 5 sec, and this abilty can only occur once every 15 secs.

  21. Insolence says:

    Hopefully they’ll also address other issues, like:
    – 2H Frost. This wasn’t mentioned. What are they planning? Scrapping it means they can move Nerves of Cold Steel to be a Frost Passive, along with the entire ability to even equip 2 1H Weapons, so no other Trees ever DW-ing again.
    – Virulence + other Tier 1s could look nicer. Just move things around a bit. Butchery could go for Hand of Doom.
    – Dancing Rune Weapon is too expensive.
    – Will Blood’s Bloat be sorted out?
    – Or more specifically, will we finally see a re-design to horrible old Crimson Scourge in the form of Imp. Blood Tap saying bye bye and being replaced by a deep Blood Talent that has that effect + reduces Outbreak Cooldown to 30 seconds?
    – Removing Imp. Blood Tap means DPS Trees finally have free points to spend….
    – Will they cave in and let Frost work solely off Frost Fever?
    – Blood Rites need a re-vamp just as much as Blightcaller. Right now people just want to turn it off so they don’t end up accidentally spending Death Runes on Heart Strike.
    – The Icebound Fortitude change imo needs to be un-done and applied to Sanguine Fortitude instead. 3 Min CD on our only Stun Immunity Ability is too long. They just want each Tank to have one 50% DR 3 Min CD Cooldown, so apply it to our IBF Talent, SF.

    Glad with the announced changes so far, still hope there’s more coming however.

    • Baphomette says:

      They should scrap Nerves of Cold Steel entirely. 2H and DW Frost would then be a lot closer to each other, and NoCS wouldn’t be propping DW Unholy up.

    • Jonneh says:

      Blood and unholy can expect reasonable to heavy nerfs, imo.

      Blood is totally OP in any tank and spank mentality. The few fights where blood really sucks and suffers are also because its so heavily reliant on OP self heals (Halfus, I struggled no end on that fight and took double the damage of our pally tank, for example.)

      The whole mechanic, while more successful than thought.. has just gone the other way. Totally gimmickly overpowered on some/most fights and completely gimped on anything with a healing reduction debuff.

      Personally, I think its too hard to balance properly.. and it’ll always either be too good or totally inconsequential (read: sub-optimal).

      As for unholy, yeah.. beating hunters and rogues has felt good these weeks. I only hope and pray for some careful nerfs instead of stupid swathing hotfix of death again.

      • Insolence says:

        They should scrap NoCS, but they won’t. They can buff Threat of Thassarian damage but not put the 3% Hit NoCS has on it.

        Blood is fine. We have more Self-Healing than other Specs which makes us the best Soloing Class, that’s about it though. There’s a sensible amount of DK Tanks out there, and Top Guilds aren’t over-stacking them.

        Halfus is fine as a DK, you just need to go Stamina/Avoidance instead of Mastery.

      • Jonneh says:

        I have to strongly disagree.

        I’m afraid the mastery stacking DS and Blood Shield spam is totally overpowered in any traditional fight where there are no mechanics to prevent it from being abused.

        Its quite easy to see. Load recount, compare damage taken and healing done (including absorbs). Then look at a paladin, warrior or druid. The difference is huge.

        Nevermind 30k self deathcoil heals, rune tap, AMS, VB…

        Then tank a mob with a mortal strike, or one that deals mostly magic damage.. or a heroic pack of mobs. Your HP is like a yoyo, giving healers and yourself a heart attack.

        “Halfus is fine” doesn’t really address the issue. Halfus is ‘better’ with another class tanking it. Just the same as the melee heavy gimmikless bosses like Atramades or Meloriak.

        Chimaeron you can pretty much main tank without a healer. Just pop yourself back over 10k 75% of the time! Disgustingly OP.

      • Jonneh says:

        “Just the same as the melee heavy gimmikless bosses like Atramades or Meloriak are ‘better’ with a DK”

        is what I meant to say.

        Too much swing one way or the other.

      • Insolence says:

        Lichborne should really not be used by Tanks, personally hoping they’ll break that stupid thing.

        On the other hand I’m watching several forums with people from Top 100 World Guilds and nobody has so far called Blood Shield out to be Overpowered.

  22. Gordak says:

    I think as far as mobility goes they should simple allow AMS to remove slow/root, this will give as the choice to use AMS aggressively to keep on our target or defensively.

    • Jonneh says:

      AMS is already on the verge of being overpowered. I doubt very much it can expect a buff. The HP cap for example was added to prevent PVE abuses and limit the survivability it offered in pvp. 50% health used to be ~15k or slightly more. Now its more likely to be 70k in full pvp gear. A caster in pvp gear stands no chance of doing anything to us for those 7 seconds.

      An incredible tool.

  23. Leviatharan says:

    Mobility in PvP? I say move On a Pale Horse up and have it reduce all CC by 30%, then have a way for Death Grip to pull you towards the target like what happens when you spell reflect.
    OR, have Lichborne or AMS or IBF remove all CC on you when activated.

    Now what I think is a problem though, is that Death Strike doesn’t work with Unholy’s rune model. Frost’s, perfect. Blood’s, made for it. Unholy… they should just remove Blood Strike and Pestilence from Reaping since we’re entirely dependent on Festering Strike anyway. I say they just give Unholy a new attack or spell for the job altogether. We do need a new Unholy Rune AoE that we can spam, like a Divine Storm (DnD is like Consecration in this case; Blood had Blood Boil back when it could DPS, and since we’re the new Blood DKs…), so all you’d really have to do is make a spell that causes the Unholy DK to eat the health of surrounding diseased targets and kill two birds with one stone. Again, just like Divine Storm.

    And I say if they’re gonna nerf DT anyway, they should at least have the mastery affect the ghoul yellow swings as well. That might put Mastery on par with Crit (since crit doesn’t effect the ghoul and mastery probably won’t effect white swings) based on how well Mastery scales.

    • Branith says:

      Reducing CC by 30% sounds nice on papaer but in practicallity isnt very good. We need on demand gap closers that isnt tied to Death Grip. Death Grip already has a 25 sec (talented) which is already the longest Cooldown gap closer in the world which already doubles as a Inturrept and a peel, therefore we cant expect to see a buff to grip.

      Making it 20 sec, and adding a root/snare removal to soemthing else or an on demand root to CoI on targets further then 14 yards (akin to Ret and Enh gap closer) is the only logical place to give us mobility. You also cant tie mobility to any of our defensive cooldowns. As previously stated AMS is borderline OP, and IBF is pretty horrible in PvP now, in fact a huge mantra this season is train the DK. Our survivablity is the worst of the melee classes a huge difference from seasons past. DK’s are now the easiest melee class to kill and kite which is a crying shame. (2400MMR so I know what im talking about)

      Blood Strike needs a way to revert to 1 blood cost or implement a glyph that heals for a shit ton (10-25%) but places a cooldown on it so it doesnt get abused by Bloods.

      • Leviatharan says:

        I assume you meant Death Strike…? Cause Blood Strike doesn’t “need a way to revert to 1 blood cost”.

  24. Artholas says:

    While I won’t disagree HB is pretty OP for AoE, I also laugh at how it’s not even topping the WoL rankings in the heaviest AoE encounters this tier. I’m looking at Magmaw and see a Fire Mage and Prot Warrrior as 1st and 2nd, then a Surv hunter 3rd, with Frost DKs filling out the rest of the top 10. Then I look at Halfus and see Unholy DKs dominating by up to 10k above the highest DW Frost parses.

    If they’re planning on nerfing AoE, I think they’re gonna need to look at more than just Frost DKs and Surv hunters.

    • Anaroth says:

      Increasing yellow strike damage for unholy against diseased targets is a pretty simple way of boosting mastery for unholy, and also assuming they get the balance right, it will help push the balance towards a 2Her.

      Of course they could also do the warrior thing, and basically make NoCS and even DW, frost passives. Personally I’d like to see them go the other way, and make DW viable for all three trees, but that’s probably a balancing nightmare.

      One of the issues I think we have for unholy, is that strength scales too well. Yes it should be the best stat, but I doubt it should be more than four times as valuable as any other main scaling stat. Unholy might is a culprit, but so is the weakness in the effect of the various ratings.

      The obvious way to fix howling blast is to make it used solely for ae (balance it as such), and give frost talents to significantly boost the intial damage of icy touch.

      Unholy can use DS just fine. Sure it’s not optimal dps, but extra isolated blood runes aren’t really a problem. DS doing a big heal with an appropriate cooldown is a great way to get it working for the dps specs.

      I think the shield part of the blood tanking model actually works quite well, but the fact that it’s tied to a self heal is a bit problematic. Ultimately with enough mastery the shield part becomes more effective than the healing part, but perhaps that should be the normal state, as it would be less affected by healing buffs/debuffs. Perhaps the solution would be to put a cooldown on DS and change it to be a purely hp based heal, and move the (slightly buffed) shield to another ability like obliterate or blood strike.
      An alternative if they wish to make it less dependent on an actual strike would be for mastery to effect the damage absorption of blade barrier. In fact you could make that into a purely physical DR if you boosted our magical damage reduction elsewhere.

  25. Artholas says:

    Oh and I forgot Maloriak. In the Top 40, there’s 39 Demo Locks and 1 Frost DK, who’s sitting ~27th place. rofl.

  26. Darei from Bronzebeard says:


    I made this before, and i’ll post it here. The two changes to frost would A) eliminate DW Unholy and B) Bring back blood caked blade in some respect for frost’s single target. I’ll never understand why they made blood caked blade a tanking talent. I’ve yet to see a DK tank actually using it.

  27. Darei says:


    I made this before, and i’ll post it here. The two changes to frost would A) eliminate DW Unholy and B) Bring back blood caked blade in some respect for frost’s single target. I’ll never understand why they made blood caked blade a tanking talent. I’ve yet to see a DK tank actually using it.

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