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Friday, April 4, 2014

6.0 DK Changes, Part 1

Today is a good day. After months of drought, we finally have the first batch of changes for the 6.0 WoD expansion, and I'm going to take a look at the ones pertaining to DKs. Keep in mind all of these are, as always, subject to change, and the full list of changes can be found at battle.net, and mmoc.


Revised Level 100 Talents:

Necrotic Plague - A powerful disease that deals XXXX Shadowfrost damage per stack every 2 sec for 30 sec. Each time it deals damage, it gains 1 stack, and infects another nearby enemy within 8 yards if possible. You gain 5 Runic Power whenever a target infected with Necrotic Plague attempts to attack you. Replaces Blood Plague and Frost Fever, and is applied by any ability which applied either.

With a base damage of X, and gaining 1 stack every damage deal, the first tick will do X damage, and the final tick will do 15X damage. The total damage is X + 2X + 3X... or 120X. Under half of this damage (55/120) is done in the first 20 seconds, and the majority takes place in the last 10 seconds. The free spreading infection will be a very nice cleave boost, especially on streaming adds, without requiring constant reapplication of pestilence/BB. How high X is will determine whether or not this is worth sacking FF and BP and a talent slot for. From a DPS perspective, you will not often have targets trying to melee you, so the defensive benefit is likely to be moot.

Defile - Defiles the ground targeted by the Death Knight, causing XXXX Shadow damage every 1 sec for 30 sec. Each time Defile deals damage, it increases in area and damage by 5%. This growth can occur a maximum of 3 times per second. Enemies standing in your Defile deal 10% less damage to you. Replaces Death and Decay. 1 Unholy, 30 yd range, Instant, 30 sec cooldown

Defile has had it's duration increased from 10 seconds to 30 seconds, which is huge. Below are some tables of the overall damage with both 1 and 3 targets total. Assuming that the 10% less damage debuff applies to AE abilities, defile has the potential to be a great defensive CD as well, 10% less damage taken with 100% uptime is silly for both tanks and dps, and I expect to see that nerfed. 

With each defile tick hitting 3 targets:

Tick 1: X
Tick 2: 1.15X
Tick 3: 1.3X
Tick 4: 1.45X
Tick 5: 1.6X
Tick 6: 1.75X
Tick 7: 1.9X
Tick 8: 2.05X
Tick 9: 2.2X
Tick 10: 2.35X
Tick 11: 2.5X
Tick 12: 2.65X
Tick 13: 2.8X
Tick 14: 2.95X
Tick 15: 3.1X
Tick 16: 3.25X
Tick 17: 3.4X
Tick 18: 3.55X
Tick 19: 3.7X
Tick 20: 3.85X
Tick 21: 4.0X
Tick 22: 4.15X
Tick 23: 4.3X
Tick 24: 4.45X
Tick 25: 4.6X
Tick 26: 4.75X
Tick 27: 4.9X
Tick 28: 5.05X
Tick 29: 5.2X
Tick 30: 5.35X
Total: 92.25X

With each defile tick hitting 1 target:

Tick 1: X
Tick 2: 1.05X
Tick 3: 1.1X
Tick 4: 1.15X
Tick 5: 1.2X
Tick 6: 1.25X
Tick 7: 1.3X
Tick 8: 1.35X
Tick 9: 1.4X
Tick 10: 1.45X
Tick 11: 1.5X
Tick 12: 1.55X
Tick 13: 1.60X
Tick 14: 1.65X
Tick 15: 1.7X
Tick 16: 1.75X
Tick 17: 1.8X
Tick 18: 1.85X
Tick 19: 1.9X
Tick 20: 1.95X
Tick 21: 2X
Tick 22: 2.05X
Tick 23: 2.1X
Tick 24: 2.15X
Tick 25: 2.2X
Tick 26: 2.25X
Tick 27: 2.3X
Tick 28: 2.35X
Tick 29: 2.4X
Tick 30: 2.45X
Total: 51.75X

Breath of Sindragosa - Continuously deals XXXX Shadowfrost damage every 1 sec to enemies in a cone in front of you within 12 yards, and affects them with Mark of Sindragosa for 6 sec. You will continue breathing until canceled or Runic Power is exhausted. Mark of Sindragosa causes you to be healed for 5% of spell damage dealt by afflicted enemies. 15 Runic Power, plus 15 per sec, Instant, 1 min cooldown

It's possible to keep this up for a long period of time, starting with 100 runic gives you the 85/15, or 5.6 seconds, during which you can pretty easily generate another 50, which is another 3.3 seconds, after which you can AMS for 100-200 runic over 5 seconds, which is another 13 seconds, and you can continue generating runic as you go along. I'd imagine it's possible to keep it up for about 20-25 seconds max, but not much has changed about this talent since blizzcon, and I'll still need to know what X is before I can do much more with it. The defensive benefit is better than necrotic plague's, but worse than defile, IMO. 

LV 90-100 Perks:


All:
Improved Diseases - Increases damage done by your diseases by 20%.
Improved Soul Reaper - Increases Soul Reaper damage by 20%.

Blood:
Enhanced Will of the Necropolis - Allows Will of the Necropolis to be triggered again 30 sec sooner.
Enhanced Rune Tap - Reduces the cooldown on Rune Tap by 10 sec.
Enhanced Death Grip - Reduces the cooldown on Death Grip by 5 sec.
Enhanced Bone Shield - Bone Shield has 2 additional charges.
Improved Heart Strike - Increases Heart Strike damage by 30%.
Improved Death Strike - Increases Death Strike damage by 20%.
Enhanced Rune Strike - Rune Strike also creates a Rune Shield, absorbing the next XXXX Physical damage within 10 sec.

Frost:

Improved Razorice - Rune of Razorice deals an additional 12% weapon damage when it triggers.
Improved Cinderglacier - Rune of Cinderglacier has 3 additional charges when it triggers.
Improved Soul Reaper - Increases Soul Reaper's Shadowfrost damage by 40%.
Empowered Pillar of Frost - Pillar of Frost provides an additional 10% Strength and no longer costs any runes.
Empowered Icebound Fortitude - Icebound Fortitude reduces damage taken by an additional 10%.
Empowered Rime - Rime also increases the damage done by Howling Blast and Icy Touch by 20%.
Enhanced Death Strike - Increases Death Strike healing by 20%.
Unholy:
Enhanced Death Strike - Increases Death Strike healing by 20%.
Enhanced Dark Transformation - Dark Transformation no longer costs any runes.
Improved Scourge Strike - Increases Scourge Strike damage by 20%.
Improved Festering Strike - Increases Festering Strike damage by 20%.
Enhanced Fallen Crusader - Rune of the Fallen Crusader heals for an additional 7%.
Enhanced Death Coil - Increases Death Coil damage by 20% and range by 10 yards.
Empowered Gargoyle - Increases the duration of Summon Gargoyle by 10 sec.

Most of the perks are only number changes, which are irrlevent. The numbers only matter compared to each other, and don't make much of a difference in a vacuum, as balance is way too far off to even consider. I'll list the mechanical changes below, and talk about them a bit. 

Blood:
Enhanced Will of the Necropolis - Allows Will of the Necropolis to be triggered again 30 sec sooner.
This is.... insane. Will of the Necropolis has a 45 sec ICD right now, so this brings it down to only 15 seconds. True, the 25% damage reduction for 8 seconds is being nerfed down to 4 seconds, but it's still overall a massive buff, and makes blood a better tank at surviving more damage when already at low health. The free rune tap every 15 seconds is nothing to snuff at either. 

Enhanced Rune Tap - Reduces the cooldown on Rune Tap by 10 sec.
This brings rune tap down to 20 seconds, and when combined with the above change to Will of the Necropolis, it means you can rune tap 7 times a minute, (if Will of the Necropolis has no downtime)

Enhanced Death Grip - Reduces the cooldown on Death Grip by 5 sec.
Brings the CD down to 20 seconds, nice QoL change, will give blood a little more utility in certain raid encounters, and help the leveling process a bit. I wish this applied to DPS specs as well. 

Enhanced Bone Shield - Bone Shield has 2 additional charges.
Up to 8 charges baseline, nothing major, but a nice little defensive bonus for blood. 

Enhanced Rune Strike - Rune Strike also creates a Rune Shield, absorbing the next XXXX Physical damage within 10 sec.
This is a pretty major mechanical change. Now, both death strike and rune strike create a shield. Rune strike will no longer be a filler, used during low damage periods to ensure you have the runes available to survive burst damage, but instead be a part of the survival cycle, depending on how they balance the shields. Assuming they are at least somewhat similar, and taking into account the fact that death strike shield no longer scales with short term damage and rather long term vengeance, I believe DS timing will be a thing of the past, and be replaced with a constant flow of DSs and RSs. 

Frost:
Improved Razorice - Rune of Razorice deals an additional 12% weapon damage when it triggers.
This is a pretty significant change, RoRI only deals 2% weapon damage now, so this will increase it to 14%. Still only a numbers change though, so not much to say, other than it looks like they are giving runeforging a look like they said they would. 

Improved Cinderglacier - Rune of Cinderglacier has 3 additional charges when it triggers.
I expect this change to put cinderglacier on the map. Considering how hard I expect defile, necrotic plague, and sindy's breath to hit for, and the fact that 5 charges is a lot better than 2 charges, this could well be the de facto runeforge by the time WoD rolls around.

Empowered Pillar of Frost - Pillar of Frost provides an additional 10% Strength and no longer costs any runes.
Nice QoL change, you'll no longer need to bank a rune right before pillar's CD comes up, and this should overall increase our pillar uptime by a small amount (more for less skilled players). You also get a free rune! 

Empowered Icebound Fortitude - Icebound Fortitude reduces damage taken by an additional 10%.
Nice to see a 50% buff to our main defensive skill, which has always felt very weak-sauce. 

Empowered Rime - Rime also increases the damage done by Howling Blast and Icy Touch by 20%. 
Another significant mechanical change. This will probably kill mastersimple, as even DW's obliterates will give you free, juked up HBs. Only time and math will tell. 


Unholy:
Enhanced Dark Transformation - Dark Transformation no longer costs any runes.
Nice, small QoL change, similar to PoF. We no longer need to bank a rune, and get slightly higher on DT, AND a basically free rune.

Enhanced Death Coil - Increases Death Coil damage by 20% and range by 10 yards.
Death coil range is the interesting thing here, and even that's not very interesting. It's nice, but we out of range rarely enough that it won't matter much. 

Empowered Gargoyle - Increases the duration of Summon Gargoyle by 10 sec.
40 second gary is nice, but still basically just a numbers change. the longer solid block of casting won't cut off as many casts, on a per fight basis, which is nice. 



Megablog:

Each point of Agility or Strength now grants 1 Attack Power (down from 2). All other sources of Attack Power now grant half as much as before.
Weapon Damage values on all weapons have been reduced by 20%.
Attack Power now increases Weapon Damage at a rate of 1 DPS per 3.5 Attack Power (up from 1 DPS per 14 Attack Power).

Leaving this here for my reference more than anything else, this is the most numbers we've gotten in ages. This isn't that interesting now, but will be very useful later on.


Army of the Dead now deals 75% less damage and is only available to Blood Death Knights.
Dual Wield is now only available to Frost Death Knights.
Horn of Winter no longer generates Runic Power, has no cooldown, and lasts 1 hour.
Necrotic Strike is now learned only by Frost and Unholy Death Knights.
Raise Dead is now only available to Unholy Death Knights, summons a ghoul as a permanent pet, and has a 1-minute cooldown.
Master of Ghouls has been removed.
Rune Strike now replaces Death Coil for Blood Death Knights.
Frost Strike now replaces Death Coil for Frost Death Knights.
Obliterate now replaces Blood Strike for Frost Death Knights.
Unholy Frenzy has been removed.
Our CD pruning! Overall, I think we got off pretty easy. Frost/unholy lost army, frost/blood lost raise dead, and death coil, and unholy lost unholy frenzy. All specs also lost HoW as a runic generator, and frankly, it was probably one of least interesting abilities. I have no idea what the comment about frost being the only spec that can DW means, as frost is currently the only spec that can DW. Other than CDs and HoW, we didn't lose anything.

A few things have happened for Death Knights. As described above in Ability Pruning, several cooldowns were made spec-specific. Rotations remain unchanged for the most part. One thing we did polish up is the effect of Diseases on the damage of other abilities. Diseases now do enough damage on their own to warrant using them, so having them act as multipliers on the damage of other abilities was extraneous, and just cluttered up the tooltips of those abilities. We removed those multipliers, and just baked in their benefit to the corresponding base spell. This slightly reduces ramp-up time.
Blood Boil damage has been increased by 50%, but no longer deals additional damage to targets affected by Blood Plague or Frost Fever.
Heart Strike damage has been increased by 30%, but no longer deals additional damage for each disease present on the target.
Obliterate now deals 25% more damage on both main- and off-hand weapons, but no longer deals additional damage for each disease present on the target.
Scourge Strike no longer deals additional damage for each disease present on the target. The ability now deals 50% of the Physical damage dealt as additional Shadow damage; this effect can critically hit and no longer ignores modifiers.

This is old news from blizzcon, diseases no longer scale ability damage up. This means pretty much nothing for us, other than what is described above, that we have slightly less ramp-up time. Disease uptime will still probably be essential, if the application remains as easy and painless as it does today.

In order to better balance the scaling rates and value of secondary stats for Unholy Death Knights, we reduced the power of their passive Unholy Might ability.
Unholy Might (Unholy) bonus changed from +35% to +10%.
Numbers nerf! 50 gold says by the end of WoD it's back up to 50%.


Active Mitigation was a very successful design that was inspired by Death Knights' tanking style. However, it went beyond that, and Death Knights themselves were somewhat left behind in that regard. We made several changes to bring up the interactivity of Blood combat. This includes making Death Strike cause healing based on attack power, but be affected by the new Resolve passive (see Tank Vengeance and Resolve, above), which gives it the traditional increase from recent damage. Plus, Rune Tap is being significantly improved, to become a strong Active Mitigation button. To tie those together, Blood's Mastery is being changed to affect both the size of the Blood Shield absorb, and the new Rune Shield absorb. Additionally, we removed Dodge and Parry from gear, and expect Blood Death Knights to value Haste and Crit as important secondary stats. In order to achieve that, we made Riposte give defensive value to auto attack and Rune Strike crits. Finally, we tweaked the targeting AI of Dancing Rune Weapon, and fixed it up to use most Talents that you know.
Heart Strike now only cleaves 1 additional target (down from 2).
Death Strike now causes healing that scales in effectiveness with attack power, instead of based on damage taken in the last 5 sec. This healing is affected by Resolve.
Blood Rites now causes Death Strike to also cause an absorb for 50% of the amount healed.
Rune Tap now grants an absorption shield that scales in effectiveness with Attack Power, instead of a heal based on a % of maximum health. It also now has 2 charges, with a 30-second recharge time.
Will of the Necropolis now grants an immediate charge, and makes your next Rune Tap free. However, its damage reduction buff now only lasts 4 sec (down from 8sec).
Mastery: Bloody Shields now increases the effectiveness of Blood Shield and Rune Shield by 16% (percentage increased by mastery), instead of adding the Blood Shield effect.
Riposte has been redesigned.
Riposte: After getting a Critical Strike with an Auto Attack or Rune Strike, you gain +100% Parry chance until you Parry an attack. This can stack up to 2 times.
Dancing Rune Weapon’s summoned Rune Weapon now remains fixated on the Death Knight’s target at the time of summoning, and copies the effects of Talents that are tied to the Death Knight, such as Blood Boil, Frost Fever, or Asphyxiate. Should the original target be dead or otherwise unavailable, the Rune Weapon will switch to assist with the Death Knight’s current target.

Blood stuff! Not my specialty, but I'll go into these changes a little. The primary difference between blood and the other activate mitigation models for mop has been that blood scales with mitigated damage taken, while every other spec scales with vengeance, or unmitigated damage taken. That means that every healer absorb, defensive cooldown, or even our own blood shields reduced the value of our next blood shield, and basically led to us shooting ourselves in the foot. That, combined with the short 5 second window for DS timing, lead to some interesting gameplay to try to overcome our weakness. This was called DS timing, and is described a lot more masterfully by reniat and tyvi in their respective blood guides on mmoc and EJ. Changing blood shield over to the new resolve system removes that timing, and to some degree removes an aspect of skillful play for the blood spec. However, at the same time it removes a major weakness of the blood spec, so I believe it's for the best. Combined with rune strike and rune tap also creating a shield, I expect blood rotation will look more like a flowing chain of DS, RS, and RT, trying to get as many DS/RS out as possible in the given period of time. It's possible this will popularize RE as the most throughputty talent for rune regen. The new riposte looks to be basically making crit rating a direct conversion into parry rating, (when 1 crit gives you 1 parry, they are essentially one and the same, assuming you have as many chances to crit as you do to parry), though it will fall very short on AE tanking.

Since the Ghoul pet is now Unholy only, that presents a problem for Death Pact. We revised Death Pact to not require an undead minion, but work a little differently. We left it at 50% heal, which is effectively a 33% buff to it from before (see Healing and Player Health above), and added a heal absorb for half the amount healed, instead. It should now be a relatively more effective heal for staying alive immediately, but with the downside of needing to heal through the heal absorb before you can be healed any further.
Death Pact no longer requires an undead minion, and instead places a heal absorb on you for 50% of the amount healed.
I felt a little indifferent about this change at first, but I'm pretty sure I agree with it now. Death pact is a major defensive cooldown, and one of the abilities I'm very happy was not pruned. It loses a little flavor without the pet sacrificing, (I suppose that's the sacrifice we have to make, flavor to make the game mechanics work) yet remains one of our few strong survival CDs. The anti-heal was an..... interesting way to handle the health absorb, and I'm not sure if it was entirely necessary. They've doubled health pools, but they've also doubled the damage dealt by creatures, so the "33%" healing buff described is only true when compared to other healing spells, this is a nerf compared to existing mob damage. It reminds me a bit of dark bargain, prevent/heal the damage now, and pay for it later. We'll have to see what this actually looks like in a raid setting.


There were also a few other miscellaneous changes. The Runic Power generation of Anti-Magic Shell was standardized, to make it more understandable, and balanced.
Anti-Magic Shell now restores 2 Runic Power per 1% of max health absorbed.
Major AMS regen nerf. Right now, the conversion rate is 1 runic per 1000 health, and AMS absorbs up to 50% of your max health, which meant about 350 runic for a max absorb, in BiS gear. With such a short CD on AMS with the CDR trinket, AMS was a very important part of playing a DK correctly, and the difference between using AMS intelligently or not could amount to as high as 10%-20% dps on certain fights. With this nerf, a fully absorbed soak for 50% of your health (which isn't that hard to get to be fair), will only grant 100 runic. While most of the runic over 100 was wasted, this will make soaking runic from smaller damage sources much harder, and actually reduce your damage as you gain more stamina. I expect people who want to parse as high as possible to actively remove stamina buffs to soak just a little more runic per AMS. 
Overall, this can be considered both a negative change, because it lowers the skill ceiling on how well you can play a dk, and a positive change, because it helps (slightly) to address the fact that we are GCD locked with no haste and a 1 second GCD baseline.



Mastery: Blood Shield now also passively increases Attack Power by 12% (percentage increased by Mastery), in addition to its current effects.
This is a necessary change, now that vengeance no longer increases damage done, to help tank damage scale with gear.





And that's all I have to say about these patch notes in their current state. I'm sure we'll see more information released over the next few months, and as we incorporate this into simC, and start getting some hard numbers, we can begin to run balance checks on the new talents, specs, and rotations to see if anything has changed on that end.

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for the breakdown. I have 2 quick thoughts:

    1. "I have no idea what the comment about frost being the only spec that can DW means, as frost is currently the only spec that can DW." I read this as meaning that Blood and Unholy will literally be unable to equip 2 1-handed weapons. This will hopefully stop people from constantly asking "Can Blood tanks duel wield?" (But that also might be the joke you were making and it just went over my head)

    2. "I believe DS timing will be a thing of the past, and be replaced with a constant flow of DSs and RSs." This is possible but it depends on the numbers. If it is impossible to keep a BS up 100% of the time then the timing will switch from the current model of reacting to damage (to get the largest BS possible) to a new model of anticipating damage. This is how Paladins work right now. Their active mitigation can be up most (but not all of time) so they need to make sure they cover big hits. DKs could be moving in a similar direction.

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    1. You think using duel spec to swap from frost to unholy will literally unequip 1H weapons?

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    2. In the off hand, sure. If people want to equip 1 1-handed weapon there isn't much blizz can do to stop them.

      That is already how it works if you go from Brewmaster to Mistweaver (Brewmasters can DW, Mistweavers cant.)

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    3. That would be pretty cool.

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    4. So I double checked on my monk. Switching spec does not un-equip the off-hand but it does only use the main hand weapon. Also, as soon as you un-equip the off-hand weapon you cant re-equip until until you switch back into a spec that can duel wield.

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    5. Perhaps they'll do the same thing for unholy/blood. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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    6. They have already made that change for Warriors, where only Fury can dualwield, and Prot for example, cannot.

      The only disadvantage are switch macros. It's easy to make a macro that switches gear and spec in one button. However, you need to switch gear first, and then your spec, as switching spec has a cast time. On my warrior, it means that if I spec from Tank to DPS, I get an error that I can't equip that offhand weapon, and have to equip it separately after. I'll probably end up having to do the same thing for frost.

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    7. Well that sounds like this change will be more of a headache than a help.

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  2. Thanks for your personal summary

    Even if i don't play tank, i read through blood changes.

    You linked an image with Celestalon saying that 'Rune Shield' WILL absorb magical damage. (For now...)
    Afterwards, you talked about both Blood- and Rune Shield, which will absorb only physical damage.
    It seems to be corrected? And if 'Rune Shield' will stay absorbing magical damage, we have to rethink?

    ---
    I really like every change, especially that 'Soul Reaper' will now deal Shadowfrost Damage.
    I am glad that Army and Ghoul fall away for Frost (& UH). It just feels bad, Frost-Ghoul making not that much damage, same as army for the whole fight length.
    I think AMS soaking will become fair. The actual soaking feels like you get 100 RP for 10k damage income, sort of op.

    I'm glad they redesigned the lvl 100 talents a bit
    I'm very very very interested in how numbers will fill the X
    Furthermore I want to know the Unholy Festerblight spec combined with Necrotic Plague

    Greetings, Cize (EU)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for pointing out my rune shield oversight! Fixed.

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  3. Hi Mend,

    Probably a silly question so earlier into the life of WoD, but with respects to Frost and Necrotic Plague, do you see NP finally allowing us to drop PS from our 'rotations'?

    Single target, we spend runes on Obliterate only (for both 2H and DW) for the Perk increased Rime procs. And HB only with Rime.

    Seeing as Obliterate no longer requires diseases to deal full damage, we won't require FF/BP (or NP) to be up before we deal full Obliterate damage. By not having NP up to start, all we're losing is some disease damage, and not impacting our other abilities.

    NP replaces both FF and BP and is applied by HB, to every target in range. Leaving us without the need to use PS to apply one of our Diseases.

    If NP is worth taking (and deals more damage than FF and BP), and assuming you don't take Defile/Breath, is it worth using a non Rime HB and PS instead of an Obliterate?

    I guess we won't be able to judge until the numbers are a little more solid. But I'm interested in the arrival of a differnet type of 'mastersimple' playstyle, that is basically Obliterate spamming rather than HB spamming.

    Also, it will be interesting to see how NP works with Plague Leech. If it replaces both FF and BP, can you leech it with Plague Leech?

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  4. Obliterate spamming already exists as 2-handed frost. As far as necrotic plague goes, we will probably either be dropping obliterate or plague strike from our rotation, and taking whatever the strongest unholy rune spender is. You're correct in that if NP is applied by HB, there will be no need to PS to generate diseases, but it's currently a stronger unholy spender than obliterate, and only time will tell if improved rime is enough to stop that from happening again.

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