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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Death Knight changes for Cataclysm

Hello again!

First and foremost, apologies, for this being so late, from my twitter you'll know that I had computer issues all weekend, and up through today. On to the good stuff...

So Blizzard posted the Death Knight changes for cataclysm, and overall things look pretty good. however it does seem to me that most of these changes are for PVP more so than PVE.

  • What I really want to know is when, according to their information, bone shield moves over to the blood tree what am I going to lose?

  • What other talents are changing/moving/going away, what is replacing them?

  • Will I be able to 2Hand solo dps, on the rare occasion I dps somewhere, or will I have to dual wield/have a pet consistently out?

These are the questions I want answered.

Lets go over each change:

Outbreak (level 81): Outbreak infects the target with both Frost Fever and Blood Plague at no rune cost. This ability allows death knights to apply diseases quickly when they are switching targets or when their diseases have been dispelled.

Outbreak looks great being able to refresh and apply diseases without using a rune, my guess is there will be a 1minute CD on this. Seems like good usage in PVP and PVE. I'm thinking of a rotation like this when I'm tanking: (DND, OB(outbreak), Pestilence) for AOE and (OB(outbreak), Strikes) for Single target. This looks great for DK tanking.

Necrotic Strike (level 83): Necrotic Strike is a new attack that deals weapon damage and applies a debuff that absorbs an amount of healing based on the damage done. For context, imagine that the death knight can choose between doing 8,000 damage outright with a certain ability, or dealing 6,000 damage and absorbing 4,000 points in incoming heals with Necrotic Strike -- the burst is smaller, but a larger overall amount of healing would be required to bring the target back to full health. This ability is meant to bring back some of the old flavor from when death knights could dispel heal-over-time (HoT) effects. It also gives the class a bit more PvP utility without simply replicating a Mortal Strike-style effect.

Necrotic strike appears to be purely a PVP usage strike. I really don't see any use for this in PVE. As a PVP strike this is going to be used at every possible chance, I foresee DK's spamming this in PVP, depending on cost, and CD etc... Not so good here for tanking.

Dark Simulacrum (level 85): The death knight strikes a target, applying a debuff that allows the death knight to copy the opponent's next spell cast and unleash it. Unlike Spell Reflection, Dark Simulacrum does not cancel the incoming spell. In general, if you can't reflect an ability, you won't be able to copy it either.

Dark Simulacrum again here is another PVP focused strike. This seems like it will see little use as there is no consistency here, on one use you might get a polymorph, the next a huge arcane missile crit. This is a make or break option and I think it is very situational at best. Only really good PVP'ers who use a mod to see the incoming spell will make good use of this utility strike. Again not so good here for tanking. Unless I can copy a bosses huge damage spell and bounce it back at him.


Rune system changes

On first read through these changes my reaction was... huh? /scratches head

I agree with what blizz says about runes sitting idle that Dk's are losing out on potential damage output/threat. Runes not spent can be wasted, and latency can have an effect on play. I'm not exactly sure how the sequential filling of runes is going to play out, I guess we won't know until we can get in on the beta PTR and try it out.

Blizzard talks about reducing rune costs? um.... how can you reduce the cost of a strike that only uses one rune? make it only use half a rune? wtf?... That too me sounds ludicrous. I don't see this happening. However I can see some strikes that use 2 runes now reduced to one, and also some strikes that use a rune perhaps reduced to use runic power instead.

As a tank so far we have one spell we like, one strike we won't use, and one strike that could possibly see use depending on if it can be used in PVE on boss fights, and we have a new rune system that requires much more explanation/testing.


Talent Changes

I admit I will miss the variety Dk's brought with so many options to their trees and specs. As far as blood being the tanking tree, most raiding DK tanks I think are using blood now and have been for quite some time. Tanking with blood has always seemed the best fit for me and so I don't for see any problems myself in this change.


Mastery Passive Talent tree Bonus

Since blood is the tanking tree to be, I will focus on those Mastery changes.

Damage Reduction: Who doesn't love this? Damage reduction is always good for a DK tank.

Healing Absorption: Again a great bonus to DK tanks. "Helloooo Nurse!" Spam those Death Strikes.

Vengeance: Stacking attack power buff. It will be interesting to see if this stacks with Horn of winter, and other AP bonuses. I'm also curious to see how this works with Vampiric Blood. This should help with threat although I've never had an issue with threat while tanking.


I'm excited for all the new changes even though some are not so great in the specific area of tanking. I'm looking forward to more information from Blizzard. Tanking as a Death Knight certainly looks challenging and fun for the expansion.

Thanks for reading


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