I have spent the last few days (since wednesday, when I wrote my hurried updated talent analysis) trying to look at the DK talents a bit more in-depth. Why have I spent so much time with the DK talents instead of the druid ones, seeing as that’s… y’know.. MY MAIN? I’m not sure, honestly. I think a modest part of it may be SERIOUSLY considering switching to my DK for MoP (depending on how monks shape up in the next few months as well). I think another large part of it is that I don’t have NEARLY as much insight on the druid talents as a few other, FAR more knowledgeable people, do. The more I looked at the DK talents, the more a few things started to twitch in my general direction, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Plus, I had since come across a few mistakes I had made the other day, and they’re things I wanted to rectify without editing my other post into oblivion… mainly I just have this thing about editing my posts in general. But that’s neither here nor there.
First, and most obvious correction, (because i DID edit it into the end of my other post) was the fact that Death Siphon, Soul Reaper, and Necrotic Strike are NOT cost-free as the talent calculator had initially shown. They each cost one death rune (which I still find to be EXCEEDINGLY powerful for Soul Siphon, especially in pvp… Expect that to be given a short/moderate cooldown in the future to sync up with the warlock’s current Death Coil.) Next, I mentioned that “Runic Corruption” was exactly the same in it’s iteration released on wednesday as it was 4 months ago when the initial MoP talents were unveiled, and that’s not true. In November, FS/RS/DC had a 100% chance to proc Runic Corruption. The new talents list it as a 45% chance to proc.
Now then, on to the heart of the matter. I failed to mention the change to “Ebon Plaguebringer” in the new talents. Live in-game today (and in the original MoP talents last year), EP was an 8% all-magic-damage increase, and a 30% baseline increase to our own dots. The change here is two-fold. In the new calculator, “Contagion” is an unholy-specific passive that increases our disease damage by 100% (!!!), and allows them to retain full strength when spread via pestilence (live, this is a 2-point talent, that JUST allows dots to retain full strength when spread via pestilence.) Ebon Plaguebringer, instead of granting the magic-damage debuff, has been rolled into the same sort of debuff as frost’s “Brittle Bones” (4% physical-damage debuff).
“Might of the Frozen Wastes” appears to have received a SIGNIFICANT change… at least from the live version. I will admit, I didn’t delve into the actual baseline and spec-granted spells much in the last release. Anyway… currently, MotFW (frost 2-handers only) has a 45% chance for your autoattacks to grant you 10 runic power. In this newest talent roll-out, it simply says “Your … autoattacks generate 15 runic power.” o.O holy shit that is HUGE for frost 2-handers.
“Threat of Thassarian” (the dual-wield frost ability) recieved a similarly interesting change. Currently, it simply makes Death strike, Obliterate, Rune strike, Plague strike, Frost strike, and Blood strike hit with both weapons. In the new talent release, this ability ONLY applies to Death Strike, Obliterate, Plague strike, and Frost strike, but it *also* makes Frost strike, and all off-hand swings hit 50% harder.
“Improved Icy Talons” currently appears to be missing. I’m not how this is going to come into play, as the self-only Icy Talons buff still exists. I’m not sure what the purpose of this was, as Windfury Totem appears to have been removed as well, while Hunting Party (which is not only class-specific to hunters, but SPEC specific to survival) still grants the melee and ranged haste. I am assuming this is an oversight, and will be changed at some point, but as for right now it seems awfully counterintuitive to Blizzard’s normal philosophy.
Alright. As far as baseline and spec-specific spells, those are all the changes I can see. There very well could be some more that I have missed, but I think that’s everything. Now I want to poke about with the talents a bit more. I’m not going to go down every tier of talents, but I do want to point out a few… oddities I noticed, and the first one is in the very first tier. All things being equal, Rolling Blood, Vile Spew, and Unholy Blight are definitely not all the same. They are all new, and rather interesting ways of getting diseases across multiple targets quickly, but a few questions remain unanswered about them. For “Rolling Blood”, i’m curious whether or not that first blood boil will have the increased damage from diseases on the target or not. Overall, not a BIG issue, but a curiosity most of all. For Vile Spew… No cooldown? Really? I know I touched on that briefly the other day, but that REALLY seems pretty strong for heavy add-phase encounters (black blood on Yor’sahj for example), or maybe even pvp bottlenecks. Although, with unholy’s preference for death coils, I suppose the 30 RP cost is enough to dissuade it from happening TOO often, all things considered. Unholy Blight is the real chin scratcher here. Assuming you pop UHB at the right time, and ALL targets in the area are within the aoe for the full 10 seconds, does that mean the duration refreshes every second when it “ticks”? Will Festering Strike (a staple of the unholy rotation) continue to extend the rotation past the 30 seconds, or will it get reset to 30 everytime UHB ticks? If so, and we pop UHB on a boss encounter, should we just essentially skip festering strike for those 10 seconds, or would it be better to still use it and just deal with the “lost” duration? To be honest, the latter is probably the more accurate case, but it’s still an interesting situation to consider.
Next, I want to look at the level 60 talents. Death Pact, Death Siphon, and Vampiric Blood. The more I look at this tier, the more it bothers me. Vampiric Blood really doesn’t belong here, as it’s a pretty trademarked tank ability… I feel like it should *stay* a tank ability. Someone on the forums mentioned replacing it with the old school Mark of Blood ability, but I think, honestly, EVERY tank would take that, and it would be obscenely overpowered with their already amazing survivability and self heals. Maybe they should make it do something with blood strike… since that ability effectively ceases to exist after each spec gets a certain different button. Or even better, make it a change talented change to Anti-Magic Shell. Give it the “Magic Suppression” ability that only unholy DKs can currently talent into. (It would appear the RP generation of AMS is now baseline with the ability, just like it used to be in Wrath.)
The other things I wanted to touch on, quickly, have to deal with Remorseless Winter, Desecrated Ground, and Soul Reaper. Currently, they are all only 1 form of damage, either frost or shadow. Frost and Unholy’s current (respective) masteries increase frost and shadow damage. An unholy DK will get boatloads more damage from Soul Reaper, just from the mastery we have built into our gear. Desecrated Ground will also get the same benefit from Unholy, whereas Remorseless Winter will see a solid buff from Frost’s mastery. An easy fix to this situation would simply be to make all of these abilities deal shadowfrost damage. That way they can either benefit from both masteries, or neither one. Honestly, when I DPS, I go unholy simply because I like the playstyle. I don’t want to have to select Desecrated Ground simply because it’ll deal more damage because of (what is currently) a dump stat for us. I don’t like the idea of DG having to be slapped on the ground and just… being inflexible. We already have Death and Decay for that. Remorseless Winter seems like it would offer *way* more utility for heavy movement fights, and letting it benefit (or not) from mastery would make it an easier choice to make just in general. Also… soul reaper will *definitely* see nerf bats if it benefits from unholy’s mastery and not frost’s… This is something that will most likely change in the relatively near future, but I felt the need to point it out anyway.
Jeez, I don’t normally babble on like this. Thanks for sticking with me, those of you that did. You all get a cookie… at some point.