A few weeks back, I decided to take a look at the potential talent setup for Druids in Mists of Pandaria. Today, i’m gonna take a stab at the DK talent tree, and do a quick breakdown of the choices as they relate to both tanks AND DPS death nuggets.
(Image courtesy of MMO-Champion)
Level 15: Rolling Blood – Corpse Explosion – Outbreak
As cool as it is to see Corpse Explosion back in the game, i’m saddened by the fact that it’s in the same tier as Outbreak. Rolling Blood is a decent secondary choice, in terms of trash packs, or heavy AOE phases, but by and large, Outbreak is the far and away winner for both DPS and tanks. Two global cooldowns, and 1 rune spent to apply both diseases to every nearby target (outbreak & pestilence) is ALWAYS going to win out over 3 GCDs and 3 runes spent. Kind of sad, but there’s really almost no choice here.
Level 30: Lichborne – Anti-Magic Zone – Bone Shield
It doesn’t get much more clear-cut than this, role wise. Lichborne is almost certainly a pvp-centered ability, AMZ is great utility for dps, and Bone Shield is a solid, minor defensive cooldown for tanks. Depending on the fight, it could benefit tanks to take AMZ, but I can’t see many situations where DPS would pick up Bone Shield.
Level 45: Death’s Advance – Chillblains – Asphyxiate
Death’s Advance and Chillblains are currently rolled into the unholy and frost trees (respectively), and bring a bit of utility depending on circumstance. Asphyxiate, replacing Strangulate, is some interesting flavor… and seriously, who DIDN’T see the Black Knight do this in ToC 5-man, and think “DAMN why can’t my DK do that?”, but honestly it’s going to be more pvp centered. The missing wording (for until cancelled) makes it sound to me like the ability will be channeled, which is pretty much going to be useless in pve content. Death’s Advance could be *somewhat* useful, but situational at best, and Chillblains would have far more uses in pve, but even still is situational. Pick your flavor, I suppose.
Level 60: Death Pact – Death Siphon – Vampiric Blood
The change to Death Pact is pretty damn cool, in that it doesn’t insta-kill your pet anymore. This could definitely come in handy as an “oh shit” button, but more so for DPS I think, in higher aoe-damage situations. Death Siphon rings very similar to the warlock’s (pilfered) version of Death Coil, but i’m not seeing a cooldown for it. May not be a high damage situation, but if you could spam it 6 times (depending on your spec, and availability of death runes), I think it could be very powerful in pvp, or pve. Vampiric Blood is pretty much the same iteration that currently exists in game, and will be a strong cooldown for tanks. DPS have a couple options, but tanks, again, seem to be pretty clear-cut.
Level 75: Blood Tap – Runic Empowerment – Runic Corruption
I don’t like this version of Blood Tap. a 1 minute cooldown, on something that you have to “build up” into? I don’t like it. I much prefer the current version of it.I realize that there’s not many situations where you wouldn’t have 3 charges to burn, as DKs use death coil, rune strike, or frost strike rotationally… so why make it a requirement? Runic Empowerment is currently a baseline ability for death knights of all specs, and unholy flavored ones spec into Runic Corruption, so that will make the choice more of a “pick your flavor”. The more I look at the specific wording (which is something that will probably change in the future), it seems like Runic Corruption has a 100% chance to proc when you use the corresponding ability. This could make rotations interesting, in order to maximize RC uptime instead of worrying about RNG to give you a rune back with RE. Probably the most difficult choice thus far.
Level 90: Gorefiend’s Grasp – Remorseless Winter – Desecrated Ground
Ah here we go. This is where the true awesome comes in… Gorefiend’s Grasp would be most useful to tanks, but it doesn’t mention anything about a targetting-focus (as is baked into Death Grip), so it could be useful to DPS as well, as a gap closer, or to bring casters in. It deals damage too! Awesome! Remorseless Winter *should* sound familiar to you, and again could be useful to tanks for the aoe damage/threat (rune free, it would seem!). The stun would only be effective on minor enemies, of course, but it seems like a pretty powerful ability overall, most likely taken by frost DKs to benefit from their mastery. Desecrated Ground has a bit of a pvp utility cooked in with the CC-immunity, but the damage component seems like a secondary Death & Decay, again useful for aoe damage or threat. GG or DG would be more appropriate for unholy DKs to take over RW as it will benefit from their mastery.
By and large, i’m a little bit let down by the illusion of choice offered to the Death Knights in the first 4 tiers. Again, there’s a lot of change that could happen between now and the next expansion, so this is all to be taken with a grain of salt, and a lot of patience. It just seems to me that there are so many “choices” (bone shield, vampiric blood) that are very specific to certain specs, or (outbreak) one that literally outpaces the other options without even a second thought.
The level 75 and 90 selections are by far the most interesting, but level 90 will probably again be culled to spec choice between the DPSers, at any rate (mastery-boosted damage). One way to fix that, I think, would be to have all three abilities deal shadowfrost damage, so that they benefit from both frost and unholy’s masteries, allowing for choice to REALLY be offered based on personal flavor It’s really a minor gripe, all things considered though. 75 has the opportunity to provide one of the most interesting playstyle differences. Runic Corruption could bring a more controlled, but difficult rotation that some people will really enjoy, whereas Runic Empowerment will be the “old standby”, if you will… a lower risk rotation that will be easier to pull off properly, but may offer a bit of downtime if RNG decides to dislike you.