Overhaul of the DK Talent Tree almost done
We're almost ready to show the updated death knight talent tree. It was quite an overhaul but we're pretty excited about it. In case the talent trees go out before a new data push, I wanted to explain what we're trying to do here.
We revamped the DK to have a standard rotation that used all the runes intelligently. Then we tweaked a lot of other abilities to be able to swap out one for another with similar rune costs. Some talented abilities can be used situationally for this purpose, while others just flat out replace one of the core abilities. I don't want to give the impression that "standard rotation" means the DK loses all its depth (or that the game forces you to use this rotation at all). On the contrary it feels like you are making an intelligent decision about what to do next instead of just randomly pounding abilities when they light up.
- 1) Icy Touch -- 1 Frost -- Pull a mob and get a Frost Fever disease on it.
- 2) Plague Strike -- 1 Unholy -- Get a Blood Plague disease on the enemy.
- 3) Blood Strike -- 1 Blood -- Do extra damage for getting both diseases up.
- 4) Blood Strike -- 1 Blood -- Do extra damage for getting both diseases up.
- 5) Obliterate -- 1 Frost, 1 Unholy -- Your diseases are going to expire soon, so time for a big hit.
- 6) Death Coil -- Runic Power -- You probably have enough Runic Power by now.
Those are the basics, but you can swap out those moves as you see fit. If you're wounded, instead of Obliterate for Step 5, you can Death Strike instead for the same cost. Or you can Chains of Ice. Or Howling Blast. If you are deep Blood, you can Heart Strike instead of Blood Strike for bigger damage and an all new debuff. If you are deep Frost, you can use Blood of the North to earn 2 Death Runes and then get 2 Obliterates next time around. Or you can Frost Strike instead of Death Coil, especially if the target is really wounded and you also have Merciless Combat.
We are trying to fix the Unholy Rune demand in a few ways:
- Degeneration is now an upgrade to Plague Strike. It was such a situational ability (but a very good one in that situation) that we thought it was a good opportunity to merge it with something else. The risk is that serious PvP players will feel like it's mandatory to only go Unholy. If this happens, we'll try something else, like making it core again. The runeforge idea is also intriguing.
- We're going to try Chains of Ice as 1 Frost. Certainly not too many people seem to be complaining that the DK has too much CC. :)
- Raise Dead doesn't cost any runes. The cost was irrelevant outside of combat and hard to work into a rotation once in awhile.
- Empower Rune Weapon activates all your runes and provides some runic power. Its cooldown is probably long enough to handle this.
- This isn't a recent change, but remember that with Annihilation more available you can sometimes save a Plague Strike when you Annihilate. Likewise, with the Icy Touch change, you can still get a disease out without spending an Unholy.
It probably feels like we are focusing predominantly on the DK's PvE options for now, which is probably true. But PvP will start to get a lot more testing as some of the new features (arenas, Wintergrasp) come online.
Significant tanking changes coming soon
When you see the new talent trees, there will be several significant tanking changes that I wanted to explain. Don't worry -- they're all good.
- 1) Forceful Deflection is gone. Why? It is now a core ability all death knights get!
- 2) The top of each tree has a really desirable tanking talent. We figure it's not painful to spend points in tier 1 of any tree. You can, and probably should, get all of these.
- 3) Near the bottom of each tree is another really desirable tanking talent. You will still be able to grab this talent and sub-spec into other trees, but you won't be able to get the gold medal in more than one tree.
- 4) These talents are more predictable and more under your control. For example, we changed Unbreakable Armor to have a 30 / 60 / 100% chance of boosting your armor by 25% whenever both Frost runes are inactive. To balance this, there is a 90 sec internal cooldown (which we will show in a debuff aura). So you can choose when you want the armor buff. Hold that second Frost Rune until just before the enrage or whenever. Stack it with Icebound Fortitude or Anti-Magic Shell (or both) for truly amazing mitigation.
- 5) I am not trying to imply there are only 2 tanking talents per tree. The point is that there are some talents we can assume all DK tanks will have, and some others that will be more variable (but ideally equal in utility).
- 6) No, Blade Barrier is not the ultimate tanking talent in Blood. :)
- 7) With the disease changes, getting diseases on multiple enemies is much easier than before. We're also positioning Pestilence to be better at multi-target tanking. A much improved Death and Decay will be nice for pulling, but it's not Consecrate.
Forceful Deflection is bonus Parry Rating equal to 25% of your Strength. There is one "rank" and you start with it at level 55.
The concern about saving your Runes for the bonus mitigation is totally valid and we're just going to have to try it out. We didn't want the bonus to be up for a very short period of time, and we didn't want the bonus to be trivial but up nearly all the time. We think it's okay to have to surrender a little bit of dps (in the form of saving a rune you might have used for Obliterate) in order to boost your survivability periodically -- to some extent that is what tanking is all about. You also have core abilities like IBF that you can use if you get caught with the ability on cooldown.
Part of the DK tanking style is that you have high enough dps to generate sufficient threat. Still we recognize that you can get into a situation where say the ret paladin is catching up to your threat level too fast and you need to do [something] to really pour on the threat. If we find that a few DK abilities need to generate extra threat, we can go that route.