WotLK Discussion - Talents and abilities.
I am in the process of converting this first post into a small FAQ about the DKs so this thread becomes less cluttered with repeated questions. If there is a question you think should be included here please PM it to me and I will include it if the answer is known. I am not going to include the really well known stuff like "DKs start at level 55" unless we have a spate of people asking things like that:
Frequently Asked DK questions.
Q: Will Death Knights use +SpellPower on their equipment.
A: There are currently no indications that DKs will use any SP on their equipment. The equipment provided to them in their starting quests includes Strength, Stamina, Agliity, Hit Rating, Crit Rating, and Parry Rating and it stands to reason that similar itemisation will continue for the DKs from then on. The DK has a conversion from AP to SP for all its spells and so AP will be the primary scaling stat for the DK. The DK, like Warriors and Paladins, recieved 2AP per STR and will likely share DPS itemisation with these two classes.
Q: Can you change the runes on your blade? Why not?
A: Because the ability to do so would be too hard to balance, and less intuitive for the player. As explained by Ghostcrawler, Blizzard poster:
A: They are a permenant weapon enchante like the existing Enchanting recipies for weapons. Ghostcrawler again:
I don't think it is massively worthwhile talking about specs at the moment, the trees are likely to change dramatically between now and launch. I concede that it is interesting though, and I have spent a while working on trees myself...
Things I have found interesting...
Death Grip appears to have a minimum range and a relatively long cooldwon.
Blood Boil, however, has it's cooldown reduced significantly by less with the Unholy Command talent than Death Grip, so perhaps this is the more "regular" taunt, despite it only affected diseased targets. We still don't know how many are likely to be diseases, but it would seem in a group at least diseasing liberally would be useful.
Interestingly, neither is a normal taunt (like taunt, or druid growl, or RD) rather they are like challenging shout in that they both force the target to attack you for x seconds. If DKs don't get a regular taunt of some kind this would put them at a big disadvantage in some situations, not least grouping.
Other things - checking the spell data, it would appear at least Death and Decay, Icy Touch and Mind Freeze scale with AP, so it's likely that DKs will be using AP for their threat scaling, not spell damage. I couldn't think of any other abilities to check off the top of my head. The talented spells don't appear to, but this could be an oversight, or I could be looking at the data wrong. Impurity seems to suggest there will be some spell damage benefit, but how much remains to be seen. Blood wouldn't seem to benefit a great deal, though, nor Frost, so perhaps the Impurity talent is simply a way of allowing spell damage scaling without requiring spell damage gear for unholy.
Bone armor - has a 30 second cooldown from the info I have seen, which could potentially be huge. It could simply be designed as an "I'm getting hit and I shouldn't be" talent, but I can certainly see benefits.
Also, Lichborne currently lasts 30 seconds. Immunity to fear and 25% extra misses against you for 30 seconds is huge.
Those 2 abilities combined with Icebound Fortitude seem to offer a good amount of extra survivability.
Cooldown on Death Grip is 20 seconds. Minimum range looks like 8 yards.
There's a video circulating of a Death Knight in action. It also looks like they use strictly warrior gear.
1) Too many tanking talents in Blood. Isn't Frost the tanking tree? I was under the assumption that Blood=DPS, Frost=Tank, Unholy=PvP. If not and the trees are more "styles"
2) Unholy looks nearly useless for PvE. It's cool to have talent trees lean one way or the other, but this tree looks entirely too corpse dependent to be of much use in raids- especially boss encounters.
I thought I saw something somewhere official, perhaps in an interview, that said the DK's spells all scale with AP, and that DKs will not be going for +spelldamage gear.
I havn't seen the specifics on Death Grip at the moment, but I suspect that it is not intended to be a taunt anyway, it seems more of a pulling ability (or a "hey you, stop chasing that healer and get here" ability). Blood boil also seems to be more of an "oh shit!" or AOE ability. You wouldn't want to be using it unless you have to as the diseases will be doing more damage than it's worth. (Interesting synergy with Atrocity?) DK tanking will have to require maintaining threat, and the DK seems most likely to do this through damage.
Bone Armor looks huge indeed. I suspect it will be moved or changed. a 30sec cooldown is very low. Lichborne is also very good, if it stays where it is most people will get it. I wonder, can it be dispelled, and what is the cooldown?
It doesn't seem that DKs will tank much cutting edge stuff unless it happens to allow for their strengths, so I don't expect that DKs will have an out-and-out tanking build. The commitment would probably be to a tank/ot/dps build, and in that there will possibly be flexibility as to how far into each of the trees you go. Nothing "must have" seems to be placed very high in each of them at this point, and they look to do more DPS in such a build than some other tanking classes will be able.
There's a thread over on the wotlk.wikidot.com Forums that has a bit of theorycrafting into a DPS build using what we currently know about Death Knights.
Can be found here: General: DK Talent build
War Pirate :: Talent tree Deathknight
I assumed with this that bosses can't get frozen, but can get chill type effects (from what I can recall about icy chill (enchant) changes a couple of months back, and specific mentioning of it affecting bosses)
Threatwise, you get:
It's possible that tundra stalker might end up being a better damage / threat increase than the crit talent, but again that is out of the range of my tinkering. You also get a crapload of runic power from this (150% increased generation, and another 30% increased effect on your runic power using moves).
Mitigation-wise, you get:
Things you miss out on:
Bone Armor - biggest loss, in my opinion. The rune cost really implies that it was intended for a frost/unholy (ie a tanking build) or some sort of jack of all trades build, so they might bring it higher up into the unholy tree as time goes on.
Blade Barrier - how often will you have all 6 of your runes on cooldown?
Veteran of the third war - 3% stamina is nice, but not nearly as must-have as the stam boosts in other classes tanking trees.
Will of the necropolis - already talked about this in the OP quote.
I figure a 4 frost and 2 unholy rune layout, with Icy Touch, frost strike and the frozen runeblade damage on autoattack, along with death chill and death and decay used in aoe situations, and some other unholy move to maintain at least one disease on the mob (I've not looked into the unholy moves enough to make any real guesses for that). I probably should look more at death coil usefulness and how the first tier point allocations should be for blood and unholy in the future - this hypothesiscraft is fun.
I'm going to post a little about some potential options with some of the talents as they are currently in the Alpha:
General: There are a whole lot of talents in the blood tree that seem to point to a Blood/Unholy spec where the main abilities are Blood Strike, Plague Strike and the odd Death Coil.
Imp. Blood Strike: 15% boost is pretty big, especialy considering the number of diseases around. It obviously wont stay like it is if it applies to all diseases in a raid. Perhaps it will only apply to unique diseases. Lots of possibilities when conbined with some Unholy skills and talents.
Rune Tap & Imp. Rune Tap: Depending on the ranks of Rune Tap this could be uselss or ok.
Spell Deflection: This is an intersting spell, especially when you consider the Blade Barrier talent. Given an ability to trigger blade barrier at will you have a good chance of having this kick in.
Blade Barrier: This is an interesting ability due to the fact that using all your runes up is not a random chance. You can most probably deliberatly spam abilities to get this to kick in. Given the combinations (keeping one rune handy, and rune taping whenever you want this to kick in - triggering this and then hopefully spell deflection) it could be a very useful talent.
Mark of Blood: As interesting as Blade Barrier. I'm unsure if the maximum healing applies per heal, or as an overall total. If it is per heal then it's ok, if it's an overall total then it's hardly useful. Could be applicable in Raids as well as PvP depending how it works.
General: Looks to be the Tanking, AoE damage, and ranged DPS tree.
Chromatic Rune Mastery: This looks pretty meh to me at the moment. Low chance, low length abilities like this seem useles. No one is going to hope that they get a proc at just the right time in order to make use of this, they will just put the right runes on their blade to begin with. Increasing either the chance of it happening or the length the rune lasts for would make it much more useful.
Deathchill: Looks to be the only really relaible AoE threat spell DKs have.
Glacier Rot: 15% damage increase for all forst abilites in many situations (another way in which Atrocity might help DKs tank groups of mobs?)
Runic Power Mastrey: This is huge. 30% damage or length increase for any ability that uses runic power. AoE tanking/DPS gets a big boost from this.
Tundra Stalker: 10% damage boost, pretty much.
General: Looks to be a tree that has abilities that work well with both other trees. A few general abilities that will get skipped, but some very strong combinations. I expect this tree will be used in most specs, while either blood or frost gets skipped.
Corpse Explosion + Imp: AoE damage and the way in which to get Diseases up on a group in order to use Blood Boil or Glacier Rotted Deathchills.
Magic Suppression + Magic Domination: With the Spell Deflection from the blood tree this looks to give you some good magic damage reduction. Unsure if the 2% from magic domination will apply to the DK also, but if it does that's a possible 22% spell damage reduction whenever you parry.
Blood Caked Blade: One of the rare talents that would benefit dual wielding more than using a 2H?
Crypt Fever: Considering the possible diseases you can cause (9?!? I think) this could be a big (54%) deal.
Wandering Plague: 15% on each disease tick from up to 9 different diseases? I wonder if the damage causes threat.
21pt Blood, Scent of Blood gives your next X attacks a lifesteal effect after being the victim of a critical hit, lasts Y sec.
If X is high enough this would favor dual wield spec, if is low enough to have the charges easilly used up by a 2H then it is about equally good for 2H/DW. Unless your getting crit often enough that the effect is refreshing before the buff wears out or your target is going to die soon.
21pt Blood, Blade Barrier: Whenever you have no runes active your parry is increased by X% for Y sec.
A very high parry rate resetting swing cooldowns would favor a slow 2H weapon significantly.
26pt Blood, Bloody Vengeance: Gives X% bonus to physical and shadow dmg for Y sec after a melee or spell crit, Stacks up to 3 times.
If Y is low enough this talent could favor dual wielding. Current reports saying Y at 30 secs however would give very little benefit to dual wield.
41pt Blood, Heart Strike: An instant attack, weapon damage + X, has a Y sec cooldown.
This would heavilly suggest using a 2H weapon. Using Bloodstrike in combination with Hysteria, Bloody Vengeance and Dancing Runeblade would also appear to make the latter talents scale better with a 2H?
41pt Frost, Frost Strike: On next attack do weapon damage + X, Chance to freeze target.
At first glance this makes it look like a Heroic Strike effect that would benefit a fast weapon. However unlike Heroic Strike, FS uses runes thus is not the spammable rage dump HS is. With the inability to spam, this talent looks laclustre beyond the chance to freeze your target.
31pt Unholy, Blood Caked Blade: X% chance per melee attack to apply a dot for Y sec .
This would appear to favor dual wield. However if the disease can be refreshed at any point, doesnt stack and is a long duration then a slow 2H may well be able to keep the dot on the target almost as much as a DW'er can.
From the looks of things i cant really see any situation where dual wielding would be a significant advantage in any given role. However the blood tree does seem to favor the use of a 2H weapon. Frost and Unholy seem to be equally viable with a 2H or DW.
Death Strike, Blood Strike, Plague Strike and Degeneration are based off weapon damage, all non-talents as far as I am aware, so I don't see a DK using DW in any DPS roll.
Also, Frost Strike has a 6 second cool down.
As it stands I can see no benefit at all of DW over 2h, that of course could change. I wouldn't even be suprised if DWing Deathknights was a mistake and they'll be 2h only.
Another thing to consider is that Sinister Strike, Backstab, Hemorrhage, Ambush and Ghostly Strike all use weapon damage.
A tanking build
A tanking build, but not frost focused, gets the important passive talents, uses blood strike & plague strike. Frost just gets imp frost aura, armor, and +melee hit. Blood up through Blade Barrier. Unholy up to Bone Armor/Magic Domination.
War Pirate :: Talent tree Deathknight
There's a screenshot with all the DK spells with cooldowns/rune costs going around now.
I found it interesting at least to look at which Strikes are spammable. Death Strike looks like the best bet, although it's not effected by any of the +damage or crit talents like Plague Strike. Neither of those currently has a cool down but Plague Strike costs 1 blood, 1 unholy, Death Strike just 1 unholy.
Perhaps we'll end up using Plague and possibly Degeneration to refresh diseases, Blood Strike on cool down (5 seconds) and Heart Strike when diseases are about to expire, or potentially not at all. Certainly with multiple diseases being placed on Bosses, Heart Strike looks like it would probably end up reducing dps.
I'm not nearly clever enough to work it all out. Of course the whole runic power thing comes into this as well. There simply might not be enough cooldowns to really spam anything.
Also, Death Grip cooldown is 45 seconds (35 talented) with an 8 yard minimum range, and Blood Boil is 10 (8) and all diseased targets within 30 yards, so I still believe Blood Boil will be the primary taunt used. Whether there will be a faster way of diseasing multiple targets than tab/degeneration I don't know, as most AE's seem to be Consecration type, rather than actually diseasing anything.
Does anyone have any information on the Ghouls? It's a 5 minute cooldown at the moment, and the random ghoul for exp/honor kills is only a 4% chance, with 2 maximum, so I'm curious as to how often a DK will actually have a ghoul, and if the ghoul is affected by the orc pet damage racial.
I'm a little confused about the working of the rune-system. I was wondering if anyone could clarify. From what I've read, the rune system works one of two ways:
1. Each rune has a separate cooldown, not dependent on the other runes. In this scenario, you would always want to have all your runes on cooldown to do as much damage as possible, so as not to waste any cooldown recharging time on any of the runes. If you save 1 rune for a spell interrupt, you're effectively using 5 runes every x seconds. If you're not saving anything, you can use 6 runes every x seconds, but can't use any runes for stuff like interrupting spells or stunning.
In pvp you of course want to keep some runes in store for spell interrupts etc, but you need to trade reduced damage for it, even if you don't end up using the interrupting ability. Rogues and warriors don't need to make this tradeoff (except maybe for global cooldown for pummel?), since energy and rage aren't wasted until you go over 100. A rogue can always hemo at 80-90 energy, and still have enough left for a kick.
2. The entire runebar has one cooldown, which restores one rune every x seconds like a rogues energy bar. If this is the correct case, how does it determine what rune refreshes first? In this scenario, it would be good to keep some runes to spare, to be able to respond to surprises, and you also wouldn't be losing any damage by doing this.
But you have to recall that Runes aren't interchangeable; they're divided by type, and each skill uses a different type of rune. Additionally, skills consume "Runic Power" usually as part of the effect, meaning that simply using up a Rune as soon as it comes off cooldown isn't necessarily the best effect; you want to use skills that primarily build Runic power before you use skills that consume it. It's analogous to the Combo Point system in that manner.
This means three things:
1) Spell Interrupts and Utility skills appear to be on different Runes than the primary damage strikes; this means that you can inscribe, let's say, two Frost Runes, Three Blood Runes and One Unholy Rune; while you're constantly using up the CD of your Blood Runes and Unholy Runes, your Frost Runes are always open for your Freezing Mind spell interrupt, for example.
2) Building on the above Scenario, your best DPS may not be from spamming your runes constantly, but rather building up Runic power using a combination of strike; some of your Runes will be off cooldown for longer, but that's because you're using other Runes. It's not directly analogous to the Energy system in that regard, where you want to avoid building Enegy above 100/leaving a Rune off CD; some of the Runes you inscribe are not going to be for your spammable strikes, but rather for your Runic-Power consuming strikes.
3) 1 and 2 may interact in that your "Finishers" and "Interrupts" are on the same Runes (and so available readily), but you have to pick between the two when in combat moment-to-moment.
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