Tag Archives: Blizzard

The Big Book of Blood DKs

6 Sep

With 5.0.4’s recent release, and random spigots of incorrect or simply mistaken information, I thought that I would go and give a full on “How to Blood DK” guide for 5.0.4 and beyond (barring any weird changes that may be patched in). I shall warn you now… this may be a VERY wordy post. Also, this is geared to level 85s

“Wat buttan does I hit?”

Blood DKs abilities have changed very little from before-to-after 5.0, but the way you weave them into battle may be different than what you’re used to. Let’s start with our “rotational” priorities.

1st – Diseases (Frost Fever/Blood Plauge). These can be applied by either using Outbreak (1m cooldown), or Icy Touch and Plague Strike respectively. To be honest, you shouldn’t ACTUALLY be hitting Icy Touch/Plague Strike very often (more on that later). Any time you are facing any enemy, these diseases should be on them. Strive for as high of an uptime as you can possibly manage.

2nd – Death Strike (Blood Shield). Death strike’s purpose is two-fold. It heals back a percentage of damage we received over the last 5 seconds, (minimum of 7% of your max health), and creates an absorption shield equaling a percentage of the amount healed. (This absorption shield is made bigger by your Mastery stat, more on that later). Also, if you’re not actively tanking, the more death strikes you do, the bigger shield you have built up for when you have to take the boss back.

3rd – Free Blood Boils or Death and Decay – This is going to be a personal choice here. If your diseases have a long duration remaining, and Death and Decay is off cooldown, it is a dps gain to use it. If the diseases have less than half of their duration (under 15s), use Blood Boil to refresh them. The idea here is that free buttons are free damage, and free damage is never bad, except when it interfere  with your survivability (thus Death Strike ahead of BB/D&D).

4th – Rune Strike – Depending on which level 75 talent you picked, Rune Strike is always going to be what triggers it. More rune strikes means more regenerated runes, meaning more death strikes, meaning bigger shields and/or more healing.

5th – Heart Strike/spent Blood Boil – Heart strike is going to be where the majority of your actual blood runes go on single target fights. That said, because of Crimson Scourge, there is nothing wrong with using Blood Boil to refresh your diseases in between Outbreak cooldowns. Up to three targets at once, you’ll still want to use your blood runes on Heart Strike. More than 3 targets, and you can use them on Blood Boil.

6th (or whenever you have downtime) Horn of Winter – This gives you 10 runic power when you use it, and ensures that you’re always hitting buttons, as well as keeping the buff up (if you’re the one responsible for it… if you’re not, it’s still good for the free runic power).

Diseases > DS > Free BB/D&D > RS > HS/BB > HoW. Diseases are the most important to your survival because they apply the Weakened Blows debuff to any enemy, and reducing their damage output right from out of the gate is the single best thing you can do for mitigation. Death Strike is unique in it’s both reactive and proactive abilities. It heals you up, as well as gives you a shield (which only applies to physical damage, but it’s still very important). Blood Boil is simply a way to make sure your diseases are constantly rolling. Rune Strike is how you make sure you have as many runes returned through your regeneration gambits as possible. Heart Strike is purely a DPS button really. Horn of Winter keeps a buff up on your raid, and provides you a minor amount of RP, so you can rune strike more.

“OMG How I not die?!”

Death Knights have *absurd* amounts of defensive cooldowns at their disposal, and are easily one of the most survivable classes, both independently, and in a group situation. A well-played blood DK can keep a group going long enough on an unexpected healer death for that battle rez to fire off, whereas other tanks might simply melt away going “OMG HEAL ME NUB?!”

Icebound Fortitude – Reduces ALL damage taken by 50%, lasts 12 (3 glyphed) seconds. 3 minute (90 seconds glyphed) cooldown.

Anti-Magic Shell – Absorbs 75% (100% glyphed) of magic damage done, up to 50% of the DK’s health. Absorbed damage generates Runic Power. Lasts 5 seconds, 45 second cooldown. (Note: the tooltip says 50% of the DK’s health, and I assume it means 50% of the DK’s *maximum* health. I am looking in to it to be certain though).

Dancing Rune Weapon – Mirrors the DK’s attacks for 12s, and grants an extra 20% parry chance for the duration. 90 second cooldown.

Vampiric Blood – Temporarily increases max health by 15%, increases healing recieved by 25% (or, simply increases healing recieved by 40% glyphed) for 10 seconds. 1 minute cooldown.

Bone Shield – Reduces ALL damage taken by 20%, lasts 5 minutes or until 6 charges are depleted. 1 minute cooldown. (It’s worth noting that this no longer costs an unholy rune. It’s arguably worthwhile to just use this on cooldown, as it lasts a pretty solid amount of time)

Rune Tap – Converts 1 Blood (or death) rune into 10% of your health. 30 second cooldown.

Army of the Dead – Summons an army of ghouls over 4 seconds. While channeling, the DK takes % less damage equal to his dodge + parry chance. (so if you’re at 15% dodge, 15% parry, you take 30% less damage for those 4 seconds). 10 minute cooldown.

Empower Rune Weapon – Empower your rune weapon, immediately restoring all runes from cooldown, and giving 25 runic power. 5 minute cooldown.

No other tank, to my knowledge, has THIS MANY DIFFERENT BUTTONS you can hit when you’re in trouble, or when you know there’s trouble coming, or to recover from OH DEAR GOD SHITSHITSHIT moments. I included “Empower rune Weapon” in this list, because one of my favorite past-times (especially when soloing things) is to wait till i’m in trouble, hit Vampiric Blood, death strike twice, ERW, and death strike two more times. That will fill your health bar more than enough to let the healers stop hyperventilating.

“Wat gear does I wear?”

One of the things that 5.0 changed, dramatically, for death knights is the importance of hit/expertise. Previously, even if Death Strike was dodged, parried, or missed, we would still lose our runes and receive the healing/shield from it. Currently, that’s not the case, but to help combat this, Death Strike can now only be dodged, not parried. What this means to us, is that Expertise is important up to the parry cap. A lot of websites will show you some bizarro stat priority that is something along the lines of:

Mastery >= Stamina > Dodge/Parry > 7.5% Hit/7.5% Expertise.

I don’t entirely buy this line of thinking, and i’ll tell you why. If Mastery (blood shield) is our most important stat (and it is), then why do we place such a de-emphasis on hit and expertise. In very low gear levels at 90, it’s VERY possible that a death knight is going to find himself with absolute shit for hit and expertise. And this means that our mastery is useless because we’re going to get our death strikes missed and dodged all over the place, which DIRECTLY translates into our best survivability tool. So, why are we forsaking hit and expertise again?  Now, don’t get me wrong, i’m not saying we should completely forsake dodge and parry to reach hit cap either, but the trick is to find a balance. I recommend shooting for between 4-5% hit and expertise before loading up on the dodge and parry. Especially now at 85, our gear levels can readily sacrifice some dodge/parry for hit/exp without giving up survivability. For me, the more “realistic” stat priority is probably closer to this:

Mastery > 4% Hit/4% Expertise > Dodge/Parry >= Stamina > 7.5% Hit/7.5% Expertise.

You’ll also notice that I moved stamina down from being 2nd in priority. As it is, DKs already get a MUCH bigger stam bonus than other tanks do, so prioritizing it so high (in gems and enchants) strikes me a quite a bit wonky. I would put it roughly on par with dodge/parry, possibly even a bit below it. That may be more personal preference than the rest of the stats.

Blurring the line between DPS gear and Tank gear

When you’re looking for gear pieces, you always want to pick something that has either mastery, dodge, or parry. Occasionally, you’ll see pieces with Mastery/Hit, or Mastery/Expertise on them. Y’know what? I would pick those pieces up too. Mastery is STILL your highest valued stat, and ignoring that is just plain silly. Besides, I already gave you my opinion on hit and expertise over dodge/parry ;D. That said, your biggest tell might come from socket bonuses. If something has a red socket, with a strength socket bonus, it’s most likely meant to be a DPS piece (but not always! Stand up for yourself in your knowledge that YOU KNOW your stat priorities). I can show you several pieces right now (coming out in Mists) that have dodge or parry on them, but still have a strength socket bonus. Why? Who the hell knows, but there it is. Anyway, ignoring socket bonuses is a time honored tradition for tanks anyway, so feel free to roll need on that Exp/Mast gear, and load it up with the Fractured gem of your choice. All of that having been said, it is going to be up to your raid leader/loot council/whatever to decide if you need it more as a tank, or if the dps needs it more. Arguments can clearly be made in either direction here.

“How does I glyph?”

Glyphs are funny things these days. By and large, they are mostly a preference choice, or situational glyphs. So lets take a look at them starting with the major glyphs:

Anti-Magic Shell – this is pretty much the only one I would say is “mandatory” for tanks. Why take 25% of the magic damage, when you can take 0% of the magic damage? This is a no-brainer.

Dancing Rune Weapon – If you are having trouble generating threat, this one is a necessary glyph, but honestly unless you’re a fresh 85 running against DPS in full dragon soul gear, you SHOULDN’T have issues generating threat. The problem with this glyph is that it takes a couple globals to reach the 60 runic power needed for DRW, and you can’t rune strike while you’re banking that much. Since Rune Strike is our highest threat generating ability, this seems a bit… counter-intuitive. Situational at best.

Death Grip – An extra 5 yards of gripping range can be nice for you, but it’s hardly necessary. Preferential thing.

Icebound Fortitude – This is an interesting glyph choice, and can DEFINITELY be nice to have for situational boss fights. High damage in short bursts occurring regularly make this a nice glyph to keep in your book, along with some dust handy to throw in or remove depending on the fight.

Mind Freeze – We’ve spent all of Cataclysm with a 10 second interrupt cooldown, so 15 seconds probably feels weird as shit to us. This is a way to help combat that, some (reduces to 13s). I personally would *never* use this glyph because I am of the opinion that RP should be used for rune strikes. This will be another personal preference choice.

Outbreak – This is just a terrible choice for a glyph, if you ask me. Since Crimson Scourge was baked into a baseline talent ability, you should almost NEVER need this more often than every 60 seconds. Free blood boils that refresh diseases are one of the best things to happen to blood DKs in 5.0.4, and 40 RP is just way too high of a price to pay, for me, for having an ability i almost never hit after the start of a fight anyway.

Pestilence – This glyph has carried forward ever since the release of the DK class in Wrath, and ever since then, I have felt very hit or miss about this glyph. Is 5 extra yards useful? It can be, sure. Can it potentially get you into trouble as well? Sure. This glyph always has, and will always continue, to scream “personal preference”.

Shifting Presences – Another one of the nice, relatively unnoticed changes of 5.0 for DKs is that rune strike works the same way for blood spec, regardless of which presence you’re in. Now, of course, you lose stam and crit-immunity by shifting into frost or unholy presence, but you ALSO are far less likely to rip threat off your co-tank at inopportune times. This may be a worthwhile glyph to have for tank swap fights, but again, it’s all kinds of personal preference.

Unholy Command – This is a glyph I have grown to love the shit out of. Everytime your manage to get a killing blow, your death grip’s cooldown is reset. Chances are, you can strike one killing blow per trash pack, at least, so this glyph is SO awesome for 5-man groups.

Vampiric Blood – This is another glyph that has seen a great debate. A little bonus health, or some extra bonus healing? Guess what. This is a personal preference too. It always has been. Some people like having that 15% extra health as a buffer, some others like seeing the bigger green numbers over their head. It’s definitely something that’s worth keeping in your glyph list, just in case you wish to swap it out.

Are you seeing a recurring theme up there for the major glyphs? A lot of them are “Personal preference” or “Situational”. Hell *all* of them are, except for Anti-Magic Shell. This was Blizzard’s goal for overhauling glyphs, and I think it works beautifully for us. Now, let’s move on to the minors.

Actually, there’s only one minor glyph I really want to mention, because the rest are purely flavor glyphs (hooray for CORPSE EXPLOSION!)

Army of the Dead – I am of the opinion that every death knight in the history of ever should have this glyph in an active slot 100% of the time. Why? Well Army already doesn’t taunt raid bosses, so it’s not going to save THAT wipe. All it does is piss off the tank in 5-mans, and at worst, can cause you to play SPIN THE DRAGON, which leads to unnecessary breath damage and/or tail swipes. Get it, Glyph it, Love it.

“How does I talent?!”

I’ve already done several posts on the new talent tree, so I will try to keep this part somewhat brief. A lot of this is going to be (even more!) personal preference, or situational. Currently at level 85, this is the talent spec I am using. Generally, for progression, I will switch out Anti-Magic Zone for Lichborne to give myself *yet another* self-healing cooldown, but AMZ is generally more useful raid-wide on the fights in Dragon Soul.

For Level 15, on single target encounters, “technically” Plague Leech is the talent of choice, because it will let you rune tap on demand, and outbreak can drop diseases back on the target in a hurry. I stick with Rolling Blood, because right now, I just find it more useful. Also, it’s *amazing* to do some real AOE dps for once.

For Level 30, you probably want to avoid Purgatory until you have a *long* discussion with your healing team. In heavy profession I will switch out between AMZ and Lichborne. It depends on whether there’s more call for raid-magic damage, or tank painful ouchy damage. Personal choice here.

For Level 45, this is another personal choice, but I feel that Death’s Advance will, by and large, be your best bet the majority of the time. Asphyxiate is clearly meant as a pvp talent (and probably to stoke a bit of nerdgasms about force choking), so it’s usefulness is limited. Chillblains is situational at best, but there are other classes that are much better suited to kiting than a tank.

For Level 60, Death Pact is the clear winner. It’s a 2 minute cooldown (which lines up with your Summon Ghoul cooldown) and restores 50% of your health in one go. If you have 2 globals to pull it off, or you KNOW there’s a big hit coming that you can prepare for, this can be an absolute wipe saver. It really comes down to knowing the encounter. Death Siphon is wonky because it uses a death rune, and those are almost ALWAYS better used for Death Strike, and Conversion is just…. I don’t even know.

For Level 75, the debate rages on. I have become a big proponent of Blood Tap. I loves it. It feels so smooth in our rotation, and it’s a *smart* button, that you can macro into EVERYTHING. By “smart button” I mean that if there’s not a rune for it to regenerate, if you hit the button, it won’t waste those 5 charges. However, if you’re used to the rune-gaming that Runic Empowerment brings along, feel free to take that. There’s nothing wrong with either choice. RE has the *ability* to gain more runes than Blood Tap, but it also has the ability to gain less… this is part of the problem when dealing with RNG systems, and why I like Blood Tap so much. Your mileage may vary, of course.

“Wat is dis runeforge thing?”

Runeforging has never been a very complicated thing for DKs. There’s always been one choice for DPS, and one of two choices for Tanks, depending on several factors. This hasn’t changed any with 5.x. In spite of some reports to the contrary, Rune of Swordshattering still does not suffer from diminishing returns, and is a pure 4% parry chance. Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle is the rune that provides better effective health via stamina and armor. Both of them are perfectly legitimate options for tanks of all gear levels, and both of them continue to scale well with gear (although SSG might have a bit of a sharper curve. It starts off weaker at low gear levels, and improves much more strongly as your stamina and armor improve). There’s really not any wrong choice between the two, and you can pick either without looking like a nub. Don’t put Rune of the Nerubian Carapace on though… because I *will* point and laugh.

Now then. 3 thousand words on blood DKs, with changes more than likely to come at some point or another, and updates and yadda yadda. I felt like I had to put this all for several reasons.

A – Seriously, most of you people come here for Blood DK stuff, and end up looking at my posts that are several months old with outdated beta info.

B – I’ve been to several different “theory-heavy” sites, and not all of them say the correct things. Hell, not even all of them say the SAME incorrect things. I felt compelled to set the record straight on some things (BONE SHIELD DOESN’T COST A FUCKING RUNE ANYMORE PEOPLE. HOW DID NO ONE ELSE NOTICE THAT?), and give my own PERSONAL experience with others, instead of going with what the sims and theorycrafters have only pitted and postulated about. Empirical evidence. Or something, I dunno. (gimme a break, i’m running out of words here)

C – Navimie took a comment out of context, and now picks on me that I don’t care about my readers. Clearly this is not the case because I’M DOING THIS FOR ALL OF YOU AS MUCH AS MYSELF. In spite of this, she’s actually a VERY nice person… more on this at a later date.

D – I will admit to getting pretty excited when I see large amounts of blog hits, which I have been getting lately. I don’t write BECAUSE I WANT BLOG HITS OMG, but the traffic is a wonderful side effect, and it makes me feel good to know that people are giving a solid shit about what I have to say. Plus, I feel like my point of view, while not necessarily unique, has it’s own unique voice to lend to certain situations.

Suffer well, or something like that. In case you couldn’t figure it out, i’ve decided on my main for Mists 😀

Can’t blog, Killing hellspawn…

14 May

I just wanted to throw up a quick poll to see what everyone plans on doing for D3 day (T-minus 12 hours and 36 minutes as of this moment).

So… I know a lot of you are going to be fighting mass quantities of hellspawn in a few hour’s time. Question is, WHAT will you be playing?

As for me? This is what i’m gonna be playing…


Did Blizz really screw up DKs for MoP?

12 May

It never fails to surprise me that every time I look at my dashboard, generally my highest searhced pages are my DK posts. I figure it’s time to update my talent analysis for some of the newer beta builds that have come out… BECAUSE YOU ASKED FOR IT! 😀 As always, I preface this with my notification that again, this is still BETA information, and is subject to change on a regular basis. Blowing a gasket will not help anything, as Blizzard tends to be 3 or 4 patches ahead of what is currently on the beta. THAT SAID, however, constructive criticism and helpful feedback will go a long way, keeping well in mind that Blizzard is well within their rights to disagree with you and go a completely different direction.

Now then… if you’ve stopped by the beta forums, you may have noticed a lot of animosity between die-hard DK lovers and Blizz at the moment, because they feel like there’s a distinct lack of direction for MoP. Generally I stay away from extreme hyperbole (the class is unplayable! they fucking suck now! neutered my class! etc etc etc), because it’s usually ridiculous. However, I *do* feel like Blizz is uncertain what they want to do with DKs for 5.0. I’ve played my DK a little bit in the beta, and found that both unholy and 2h frost play *exactly* the same as they do on live. While I am appreciative of “don’t fix what’s not broken”, there’s a LOT to be said for giving people something newer than what they’ve been playing for the last couple years. DKs are liable to see a significant exodus if nothing changes between 4.0 and 5.0, just because you can only play the same thing for so long before it gets stale.

Here’s the rub though. Blizz HAS given DKs a few new buttons to push. First is “Control Undead” (woo-fucking-hoo /sarcasm), and the second is Soul Reaper (goddamn bloody fantastic, AND fitting into the DK lore). On top of this, we were given a couple new utili-damaging abilities in the level 90 talent tier in the forum of Gorefiend’s Grasp, Desecrated Ground and Remorseless Winter… And then, they went and pulled the blanket off of what could’ve been the most anticipated talent selection… to make them all impotent. Or, to phrase it better, none of them deal damage anymore.

Now… before I get into a rampaging obnoxious rant about things, I would like to point out something. EVERY other class has a damaging talent or output (damage or healing) increaser, SOMEWHERE within the tree.

Warriors: Bladestorm, Shockwave, Dragon Roar, Avatar, Bloodbath, Storm Bolt

Warlocks: Archimonde’s Vengeance, Grimoire of Supremacy, Grimoire of Service, Harvest Life*

Shaman: Echo of the Elements, Elemental Mastery, Elemental Blast, Primal Elementalist, Unleashed Fury

Rogues: Deadly Throw, Shuriken Toss, Versatility**

Priests: Archangel, Twist of Fate, Power Infusion, Halo, Divine Star, Cascade

Paladins: Sanctified Wrath, Divine Purpose, Execution Sentence, Light’s Hammer, Holy Prism

Monks: Chi Wave, Zen Sphere, Chi Burst, Rushing Jade Wind, Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger, Chi Torpedo

Mages: Presence of Mind, Scorch, Ice Floes, Nether Tempest, Living Bomb, Frost Bomb, Rune of Power, Incanter’s Ward

Hunters: Wyvern Sting, Thrill of the Hunt, Readness, Fervor, A Murder of Crows, Dire Beast, Lynx Rush, Barrage, Powershot, Glaive Toss

Druids: Force of Nature, Incarnation, Soul of the Forest, Nature’s Vigil

Death Knights: Death Siphon

*Harvest Life replaces Drain Life, which is already a part of the warlock’s toolkit, so this may or may not “count” as far as we’re concerned. Even if we eliminate it from this list, they still have plenty of others.

**Versatility doesn’t offer a direct damage or stat increase, but giving Redirect no cooldown is definitely an overall damage increase for any fight with more than one target ever, so I think it counts.

It’s worth noting that some of the abilities I mentioned used to be in the talent trees as they exist on live currently, but a lot of THOSE cases make a difference because now they’re accessible to ANYONE who plays that class, regardless of what spec they are (Presence of Mind is no longer restricted to arcane mages, for example). Now then, after looking at all of that mess, do we see something a little bit out of balance here? Yeah. DKs have *one* ability that does damage, and it’s not a button most DKs are going to be hitting for the sake of DPS right now, it’s more a survivability/PvP ability (although, admittedly, not a bad one). I will freely admit that Rogues are the only ones who are probably as boned as Death Knights are in the form of damaging talents. I mean honestly, two ranged attacks, one of them a finisher? Urgh. BUT i’m not here to write about rogues, because I am mostly unfamiliar with them on the whole.

When the other 10 classes have extra buttons they can hit to deal damage or increase healing (or both, in some cases), and Death Knights are shown these really damn cool new talents at level 90, only to have their damage component cut off, it’s easy to see where a lot of the vitriol is coming from. I don’t think the DK community wants an entire overhaul of the class like Warlocks are getting, I just think they want a bit of variety and fairness. Add the damage components back to the level 90 talents, and that will bring things about equal with the other classes. A little bit of freshness can REALLY make a difference to a DK. Soul Reaper, while a *damn* cool ability, just isn’t enough when nothing else is different from how it’s been the last year or so.

Will the REAL Fuzzbutt, please stand up?

10 May

If you’ve been following me on twitter or my blog for a while, you may’ve noticed that I am somewhat impulsive. I tend to make rash decisions based on very little, empirical data… mostly relying on hearsay or VERY minor anecdotal evidence. I’ve spent a lot of talking about monks lately, and a tiny bit of time talking about DKs, but i’ve not spent a lot of time talking about druid-type things, because well… I wasn’t overly impressed with where they were taking the class for MoP previously. Since playing the monk so much, I figured it would be good to have a basis for comparison when it comes to tanking, so I dusted off my copied-over druid and shoved him into a few dungeons.

Keep in mind, first off, that this druid is considerably better geared than my monk is… he is at a 398 ilvl whereas premade toons start with a 378 ilvl, so that’s a relatively significant difference. Even with that in mind, holy shit on a cracker, what a difference there is in how the two tank. Right now, the monk’s rotation is panicky and spastic, and requires on a 100% uptime of one ability to even THINK about surviving (shuffle via BoK). When I took my druid into Temple of the Jade Serpent, it was like slipping on an old glove again. Bears on the beta feel smooth, and powerful and…

Wait, what the fuck is this? Lacerate is on a cooldown? Pulverize is gone? Swipe is (situationally) back in our single-target rotation? Wat the hell?

And what are these two new buttons i have? (Well.. actually only one is a new button, but Frenzied Regen has taken a SIGNIFICANT redesign from what it currently is on live.) Holy shit does that say 45% dodge? HOLY SHIT DID THAT JUST HEAL ME FOR 80K? /drool.

As you may have guessed, i’m starting to feel comfortable with the druid again (as it were). I may have been pretty rash in my earlier write-off of the class for Mists. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not writing off monks either, but right now they have a lot of work to do, and maybe I would do better sticking to what I know and simply adjusting… I mean it is kind of the druid way really. Take what we’re given, and make it work awesome.

So, let me take a brief minute and discuss what’s going on with bears in the beta.

Glyphs are in a decently fun place. There’s lots of actual CHOICE involved here, instead of “OH MY GOD YOU MUST TAKE THESE OTHERWISE YOU’RE BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD”

Except of course the Glyph of Rebirth. Seriously… I don’t care what role you are, you *have* to have this glyph. My other major glyphs are Maul (an old standby, and probably one that most bears WILL take), and Survival Instincts. SI glyph provides an interesting form of choice here. Reduce the cooldown & reduce the duration via glyph? It’s worth testing, at the very least. Of course, there are plenty of other glyphs that are worth considering. I won’t go into each and every one, but feel free to check out the list and decide for yourself what may work for you.

Talents, at the moment, are a bit less ambiguous for bears, in my opinion. The level 90 talents have been under EXTREME amounts of discussion, dissection, and dissertation on the beta forums, and there is probably an entire blog post I could devote to just those talents… but I will leave those discussions to people far more eloquent and well-versed in theorycrafting than myself. With the exception of the level 60 talents, the ones that I picked are pretty much no-brainers for bears. I picked “Incarnation” because it’s basically a second berserk, without the added gigglefits of hitting 3 targets, but that’s neither here nor there. Force of Nature is pretty amusing… it’s basically a bear’s “Army of the Dead”. Drop treants, watch them run around taunting everything in combat, profit. Soul of the Forest is a hard talent to skip over, but it’s also hard for me to give it a place right now, as well, simply because mangle giving me rage in GENERAL is bloody fantastic… I haven’t felt myself overly starved for rage when in any 5-mans, so I don’t predict raids to be much different.

OH MY GOD WE'RE ALL GONNA DIENow, I fully expect this is going to change in the future, but hitting Incarnation and then having Kiril proc (making me DOUBLY HUGE) is worthy of mass amounts of giggling. I had to screenshot it while it was still a thing.

NO HE'S NOT OVERCOMPENSATING THANK YOU VERY MUCHIn other news, i’m considering making my druid back into a night elf. You may remember that I race changed him the very day that Cataclysm dropped, and i’ve been modestly happy with that decision. (Oh darkflight, you made Atramedes *POSSIBLE*) But as i’ve gone on through Cataclysm, i’ve noticed that capes and helmets all look like absolute shit on worgen. Night elves, on the other hand, look 84 kinds of awesome with both of them on. If I were to go out with no transmogged gear (except for the weapon, because Kiril is an ugly son of a polearm), this is what I would look like, on the left over here. Damn… that’s kinda hawt. Maybe i’ll race change him back to his original elven self.

A brief look at Brewmaster Monks in MoP

27 Mar

So last week, Blizzard finally released the first go-round of the monk’s abilities and it’s talent trees. I want to take a look at them, and see how they will relate to the various roles.

I’m not going to list EVERY SINGLE ability the monk has, but I will cover the spec-specific ones, and maybe some of the basic ones that synergize with them.

First up is the Brewmaster, the tanking spec. First thing I should mention for Brewmasters is a word you come across a lot.. “Stagger” – To stagger damage is to take 50% of it up front, and the other 50% 3 seconds later. Pretty cool way to somewhat mitigate damage. Now then, onto the actual abilities.

(Any notes I have regarding the abilities will be in italics after the description)

Stance of the Drunken Ox – Reduces damage taken by 20% and increases chance to stagger damage by 25%. (Typical tank stance. Since “uncritable” is baked into the spec as a passive, this is pretty standard fare now. Any abilities I list below require this stance)

Breath of Fire (40 yd range) – Breathe fire onto the target. Damage is increased by the number of Drunken Haze stacks on the target. (This will most likely be one of the ways to ranged-pull targets towards you. Also *YOU GET TO BREATHE EFFING FIRE*)

Drunken Haze (40 yd range) – Hurl a keg of your finest brew, reducing the movement speed of all enemies within 8 yards by 15%. Afflicted targets have a 3% to have their attacks missfire and damage themselves instead. Stacks up to 3 times. (Okay, aside from this being one of the FUNNIEST damn tooltips, this ability seems pretty awesome. Also, an AOE ranged pull? Kinda nice)

Guard – You guard against future attacks, absorbing (some formula) of damage for 8 sec. Any heals you apply to yourself while guarding are increased by 30%. (Sounds a bit like a DK’s style of absorb/self healing. Could be interesting, but could also be broken as fuck. Will have to see)

Elusive Brew – Increases your chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks by 50% (Typical tank-style defensive cooldown, but for avoidance instead of mitigation… interesting.)

Avert Harm (15 yd range) – You reduce damage taken by all friendly targets within 10 yards by 20%,  and cause half of all damage they take to be redirected to you. Lasts 15s. Will be cancelled if you reach 10% health or lower. (Now this is interesting. It has two different ranges, which is probably just a mix-up on Blizzard’s part… or maybe even Wowhead’s part, who knows. This could be a nice “Save my co-tank” ability, or “everyone’s stacked, taking big damage” ability, not unlike the Paladin’s “Divine Guardian“)

Recoil – Whenever you dodge, you gain 5 energy. (I have to admit, I find myself really confused thus far with the resource system that monks have. Chi, Force, and Energy. Seems difficult to keep up with, but i’m sure it won’t be so bad once I can get in and PLAY the class)

Summon Black Ox Statue (40 yd range) – Summons a Black Ox statue at the target range for 10 minutes. Only one Black Ox statue can be summoned at a time. This statue interacts with your Provoke and Leer of the Ox abilities. Guard (on-click effect), allies can right-click the statue to gain the guard effect, absorbing x damage. Any healing done by the monk is increased by 30% while the guard effect is active. 10 charges. (Now *this* is interesting. It’s  like a lightwell that gives absorption bubbles instead of HoTs. Also, works like a taunt-totem, but more on that later. Sounds busy, but pretty damned awesome too.)

Brewmaster Training (passive) – You become adept in the ways of the brewmaster, amplifying two of your spells. Tiger Palm – Increases the amount of your next guard by 5%, lasts 30s, stacks up to 3 times. Blackout Kick – When you parry, your next Blackout Kick will cost no force, and can be used on targets regardless of their health percentage. (Another *really* interesting ability. I like how they’re taking baseline abilities and changing them to be suited to your spec. That’s a very cool way of keeping the ability-bloat down, while still making the specs all feel very different.)

Purifying Brew – Instantly purifies all of your staggered damage. (If i’m understanding this correctly, then any damage you have coming in a stagger will be wiped out. This could end up being VERY powerful, as it’s only on a 45s cooldown.)

Leer of the Ox (100 yd range) – Your Ox statue stirs hatred in the target, reducing their movement speed by 50%, and causing them to attack the statue for 8s. The statue must be within 40 yards of the target. Requires Black Ox Statue to be active. (This is what I was talking about earlier with the statue behaving like a taunt totem. Although, i’m not sure how much use this ability will normally get, since I would think the raid’s bubbles could be more useful. Maybe as a way to round up unexpected adds? /shrug. Something that will be interesting to see, at any rate)

Mastery – Drunken Brawler – Reduces Staggered damage by 1%, and increases the effect of your Guard by 1%. (I’m sure these numbers will be tweaked at a later time, but it seems like a standard tank mastery. What remains to be seen is whether it will end up forever useful like DK mastery, useful to a point like Pally/Warrior mastery, or simply meh, like Bear mastery in their live forms)

Shuffle – You shuffle around, causing the next 3 melee attacks to be staggered. While shuffling, you cannot move, attack, or cast spells. (Notice it doesn’t say that you cannot dodge or parry. This could be pretty amazing with a high-avoidance monk, provided it’s not a movement heavy fight. Situational at the very least)

Now then, I’ll briefly touch on the baseline abilities that are directly synergized with Brewmaster-spec abilities.

Tiger Palm – Strike target with the palm of your hand dealing (damage formula) physical damage. Deals (another damage formula) additional damage if the target is above 50% health. (This seems like it will be one of your main abilities, especially with how it works with Brewmaster Training. Defense through offense is one of the big things that Blizz is going for with tanks this xpac, and this seems like an interesting way of pulling that off.)

Blackout Kick – Kick with a blast of Sha energy for (damage formula) physical damage to an enemy target. Only usable on targets below 25% health. If a target is killed by Blackout Kick you are refunded 1 focus. (It’s a basic execute ability, but the way it interacts with Brewmaster Training lets it be used far more often. This could be a lot of fun)

Provoke (40 yd range) – Mock the target, causing them to rush forward and attack you with an increased 50% movement speed. If targeting your Statue of the Black Ox, you provoke all enemies within 8 yards of your statue. (I’m not entirely sure the reasoning behind the increased movement speed… it sounds like the enemies are going to move faster towards you, but I suppose it’s not that important. Also, the aoe taunt through the statue seems like it could be a bit wonky at times… Target the statue, hit taunt, then tab back to something else. Although, this could easily be fixed with a macro I suppose.)

Initially, I was going to go over both the Brewmaster and the Windwalker (dps) specs, but this post ended up being a LOT longer than I had expected. I probably won’t mess with the Mistweaver (healer) spells until I get a chance to actually go play one, because I’m not entirely sure I understand how it is supposed to work just by reading the tooltips. I’m sure it’ll make a lot more sense whenever I *do* finally get my beta invite. Also, a few glyphs have been released, but only a few at this point. I will save a post on glyphs and talents until they are in a more finalized state (some of the monk talents are just placeholders that say “Coming Soon” right now).

All in all, just from reading the abilities of the Brewmaster, I think they could be a hell of a lot of fun to tank with.

Digging a little deeper – DK talents reanalyzed

19 Feb

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.

Death Knights in MoP – Updated

15 Feb

So, today, the new talent calculator for Mists of Pandaria went live. And all I can say is HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS THIS IS AWESOME.

I’m going to touch on the DK talents first, as that’s the one I’ve spent more time looking at currently. You may remember my original DK talent analysis from a couple months ago, and it looks like a few things have been changed and updated… for the better! \o/

Tier 1: Rolling Blood – Vile Spew – Unholy Blight

First thing you might notice is that Corpse Explosion is now gone… /sadface. Another thing you may notice is that Outbreak is no longer on this tier of talents. That’s actually a *good* thing, because it’s been rolled back into the baseline abilities. Your DK will recieve it at 81, just like s/he currently does. Now then. This tier is suddenly much more awesome than it was four months ago. All of these talents are ways of spreading around the love (and by love, I mean diseases. Yes, that’s right folks, it’s a VD joke. I’m such a classy blogger) on AOE packs. While we’ve never had much issue with disease spreading (because of Pestilence), this makes it a LOT more interesting way of doing things. If Blizzard was going for “flavor” abilities in their talents, they got a running start with tier 1 DK abilities. Rolling Blood is the same as it was a few months back, but the addition of Vile Spew and the change/return of Unholy Blight make things *way* cooler. Vile Spew is clearly intended for unholy DKs (with their permanent ghoul pets), and offers a rune-free, minor RP cost to AOE diseases across an entire pack. Also, it appears to not have a cooldown… that may or may not change, but it’s pretty sick. Unholy Blight is much closer to it’s original form, but instead of doing damage it afflicts everyone in the area with your diseases. AWESOME. I was among one of the more sad people when Unholy Blight was changed from an AoE dot to the pathetic little death coil addition it is now. Great changes here, and fun things to think about.

Tier 2: Lichborne – Anti-Magic Zone – Icy Grip

Two out of three stayed the same, but Bone Shield is now rolled back into a blood-specific ability. It probably works for the better this way, as it would’ve only been situational at best for non-tanking DKs. Icy Grip, however, is more of a pvp-flavored talent I think. It brings some interesting utility for yoinking a flag-runner or picking a healer off of his buddies. An interesting change, but not one that has much effect in PvE overall, I don’t think. Sorry folks, i’m no pvper, so I have really very little to say on that subject.

Tier 3: Death’s Advance – Chillblains – Asphyxiate

This tier remains unchanged from the original release. Good flavor and situational abilities, nothing make-or-breakish either way. Although it is ALWAYS fun to see NPC’s abilities folded into a player’s ability (Asphyxiate was originally an attack The Black Knight in ToC5 did)… makes for fun times.

Tier 4: Death Pact – Death Siphon – Vampiric Blood

The talents here are the same, but a couple key changes are worth pointing out. Death Pact has had it’s wording clarified to note that it doesn’t NECESSARILY kill your ghoul pet. Also, it used to cost 40 RP, and that appears to have been removed. Death Siphon used to cost a death rune, but now it appears to have no rune or RP cost… and no cooldown. Expect that to be changed. Vampiric Blood is exactly the same, far as I can tell. Overall, tanks will still probably take Vampiric Blood, unless Death Siphon REALLY rolls out with no sort of limitation other than the GCD.

Tier 5: Blood Tap – Runic Empowerment – Runic Corruption

Blood Tap is still kind of weird to me. It did have it’s cooldown (apparently) removed, in favor of putting a cap on the number of charges you can have. It’ll be interesting to see how this fits in to any of the spec’s rotations. Runic Emp and Runic Corr are exactly the same as they were 4 months ago, and that is exactly the same as they are currently in game… only now you have a choice instead of it being baked into your spec. It’ll make for an interesting differential in your preferred spec, I think. Fun little choices, if you ask me.

Tier 6: Gorefiend’s Grasp – Remorseless Winter – Desecrated Ground

This tier is exactly the same as it was 4 months ago, with a bit of wording changes that don’t really affect the ability itself any. I have to say though, looking at the talents from a raider’s perspective, i’m not sure how much I like “Desecrated Ground” in it’s current iteration. I think, overall, Remorseless Winter is the much better ability as it follows YOU around instead of being slapped on the floor like a consecration. (Seriously, do paladins even consecrate anymore?) Also, the uneven cooldowns between the two of them do little more than to increase my confusion. With the increase in the number of movement-based fights, I don’t see Desecrated Ground continuing to be useful other than the occasional stand-and-nuke fight they’re giving us… maybe once a tier these days. Gorefiend’s Grasp is totally going to be a tank talent, with some added pvp spicyness to it. The fact that it pulls in AND damages is pretty damn sexy.

Now, that’s all of the talents for DK’s, thus far, but I would be extremely remiss if I didn’t mention this one little addition to the DK’s ability list.

We get a fucking execute, people. Holy shit.

Soul Reaper: Required level 87. 6s cooldown. Strikes an enemy for 50% weapon damage and afflicts the target with Soul Reaper. After 5s, if the target is below 35% health, this effect will deal 46,549 additional Shadow Damage. If the endmy dies before this effect triggers, the DK gains 50% haste for 5 seconds

Does that ability sound familiar to anybody else? Holy shit on a stick, we’ve got another Lich King ability. AND it’s an execute. There are no words.


ETA: It would appear there were a few oversights in the costs of some abilities.

“The death knight abilities Death Siphon, Soul Reaper, and Necrotic Strike cost 1 Death Rune. They are not free.”  Source found here.


Monk vs Monk

7 Feb

So, this isn’t a Diablo 3 post. Or is it?

(no, it really isn’t)

(except in the parts where it is)

Sorry… I watched Eddie Izzard’s “Dress To Kill” last night, and i’m *still* not entirely sure if Engelbert Humperdink is alive or not, and if you catch that reference then good on you.

But no… This is not a D3 post.

Except it just might be.

…….okay i’ll stop.

I actually want to talk about the Monk class being given to us in Mists of Pandaria… but I also want to compare it to the Monk class given to us in Diablo 3. Perhaps there’s some serious corollaries there, or perhaps I am just talking out of my hat. Speculation is fun, and I don’t care if I am right or wrong. (Do you at least understand all the waffling between whether or not this is a D3 post? Good, cause I don’t either)

Now then. The monk in WoW has been relatively closely guarded, mechanic-wise thus far. What do we know about it? Well… We know they will have a tank/heal/dps spec. And……. hmm. I guess that’s about it, isn’t it? No, there are a few other things they’ve given us snippets of, but not a whole lot to work with really. However, I think we could draw some parallels between it’s cousin, the monk of Diablo 3.

Now, it is important to say that in Diablo 3 there is no such thing as “tank/dps/healer” really. If you’re in a group, you pretty much have to do all of them. You will get enemies on you, they will punch you in the face, and you will have to know how to take care of yourself. How you do that varies from class to class. Some classes have pets, some have nice utility in the form of snares and stuns and escapes, others just bring MASS AMOUNT OF FACE NUKING. They’re all equally effective, given your comfort with a given hero. Obviously, this is not the case in WoW, but I *do* think some similarities will be seen between the two.

I’m going to go ahead and link the talent calculator to you now, for easy reference.  Bam.

First off, one thing we DO know about monks in WoW is that they will have no auto-attack. They will use abilities to build up “chi” as their resource (except for the healer spec, if I remember correctly), and use that to set off other abilities. Well, monks in D3 have combo-abilities that build up their “spirit” resource, which they can then use for other abilities (everything in the “Spirit Builder” category).

Let’s look a little bit at the tanking aspect of monks. If you glance quickly through the Diablo monk’s talent calculator, you may notice some abilities such as “Mantra of Evasion”, and “Serenity” that definitely sound… tankish. You may also have noticed an ability called “Cyclone Strike”, which has a progenitor found in Death Grip, and a cousin in Gorefiend’s Grasp/Ursol’s Vortex (DK and Druid talents upcoming in MoP). Blinding Flash is a sort of minor avoidance cooldown mixed in with a warrior’s Shockwave, which could prove to be an interesting combination. “Seize the Initiative” is a passive ability that almost *screams* “TANK”. “Your armor is increased by 25% of your Dexterity (agility)”.

Looking further into the Passive skills, you can see “The Guardian’s Path” which reads an awful light like two spec bonuses (as they exist now) rolled together, doesn’t it? “When dual-wielding, you gain a 10% chance to dodge incoming attacks. While using a two-handed weapon, all Spirit (chi) generation is increased by 20%.”. “Fleet-Footed” is another passive that has found a common place in WoW, as movement speed increases are almost ubiquitous these days for both PvE and PvP. “Pacifism” (When Stunned/Feared/Charmed all damage taken is reduced by 75%) is pretty standard fare for a PvP talent, although the damage is much higher in that particular case.

Now obviously, i’m not going to go line by line, talent by talent (and DEAR LORD no, i’m not getting into all the runestone combinations, because this would be THE POST THAT DOESN’T END), but I think we could probably expect to see a fair amount of overlap between the Diablo monk and the WoW monk. I’ve got to admit though… the monk in Diablo is fun as hell to play, and it would make some of the other classes in WoW seem pretty boring by comparison. By the way… I’m not really going to make any comments on the healer aspect of monks in WoW, because I have honestly NO IDEA how that’s going to work out. Should be interesting, at the very least.

Diablo 3 – Talents and Runestones

28 Jan

I already briefly touched on the talent selections for Diablo 3, but I want to give a bit more detailed information on this unique approach to character powers. First off, here is a link to a workable talent calculator (much like what Wowhead has).

As I already mentioned, there are 9 spaces total that unlock as your character progresses. 6 active skill slots, and 3 passive skill slots. If you’re anything like me, you could easily spend a lot of time just tooling around with this calculator and seeing what you can come up with. The best part of this is that there is no right or wrong way to build your character. Whatever abilities you want to use, that’s what you can pick. The power is really in your hands.

Now, in addition to just the baseline talents, D3 introduces runestones that can augment or change the functionality of each individual active skill. You could sort of think of this like the glyph system in WoW, only the runestones attach directly to the skill instead of your talent tree as a whole.
There are 5 different types of runestones: Crimson, Golden, Alabaster, Indigo, and Obsidian (or red, yellow, white, blue and black). Each runestone will do something different depending on the active skill you attach it to. Unfortunatly, the runestones are not in the beta so my experience with them is limited to hearsay, and the limited information released by Blizzard.

The way I understand it is that there will be a different levels for each color of rune stone. This is a sort of way of adding extra power to your spells as you level, even after you’ve unlocked all the abilities for your class. Let me give an example using this very simple build. Mousing over the Cleave ability, you will see that it deals 115% weapon damage. Socketed with a crimson runestone (we’ll call this a level 4 crimson runestone) it increases the ability to 150% weapon damage.  Now a level 7 crimson runestone may give you 200% weapon damage, whereas a level 1 crimson runestone may only give 125% weapon damage. Another example would be this witch doctor build. Haunt, by itself does 500% weapon damage over 15 seconds. With a level 4 obsidian runestone socketed, it also slows the target by 37%. A level 7 obsidian runestone may slow the target by 60% whereas a level 1 obsidian runestone may only slow it by 10%.

The level cap in Diablo 3 is 60, but as you can see, you get no more new abilities at level 30. However, I feel that the runestone system is a way of giving new flavor to the abilities as you continue to progress past the point of getting new skills. As I understand it, socketing runestones doesn’t cost anything, but removing them in order to slip a new one in it’s place will. This cost will, presumably, scale with either your character’s level, or the runestone level you’re removing. At this point, I’m not sure how switching talents out will affect runestones. To me, the way that would make the most sense is to have a runestone tied directly to the active skill, and if you swap that skill out for another skill (say.. swapping Haunt out for Poison Dart), the runestone will stay attached to Haunt. This keeps you from having to spend unnecessary gold removing runestones you don’t want from new abilities, or from accidently destroying them. It also keeps you from having to go back into town every time you want to change out an ability (which is part of the reason they removed the Nephalem Altars in this most recent beta patch).


Diablo 3 – Patch day changes

25 Jan

Blizzard updated the D3 beta on Tuesday morning with beta patch 10. There are a couple of significant changes regarding things I’ve already posted about, so I figured it is probably worth it to make a new post and let you all know.

First – Pages and Tomes of training are removed from the game. Now, upgrading your crafting NPCs is simply a gold sink instead of something to gather for. All in all, I think its a pretty good change. Now upgrading your NPC is something that can be done on your own terms, instead of dependant on the amount of something you’ve picked up.

Second – the Nephralem Cube (used to break down items into crafting parts) has been removed from the game. Instead, the blacksmith will be able to salvage items for components. This change will add a little bit of extra time to your game, but isn’t particularly a bad thing. If nothing else, you may need to go back to town a little more often for bag space. Not a terrible change, all things considered.

Third – Grey and White quality items are no longer salvageable. Because of this, the white-quality components have been removed from the game. I actually really like this change. If you’ve played D1 or D2 then you know that there comes a point where its really not worth it to pick up grey or white items anymore, and this just makes the same true for D3. Plus, getting rid of unnecessary crafting components really streamlines the whole process. After a certain point the “common scrap” (previously received from salvaging greys and whites) would simply become redundant and time consuming at best, so this is a pretty good change overall. In the screenshot below you can see what the new tab looks like for salvaging gear via the blacksmith.

New Salvage Interface from Crafting NPC





Fourth – The Nephralem Altar has been removed. Unlike the first three, this is completely unrelated to crafting, but it is still something I briefly covered in my first Diablo post. The altar used to be where we would go to switch out our active and passive skills (unless you levelled up and unlocked a new slot, then you could just slap an ability into the mix). Now abilities can be changed anywhere, almost at will. The downside of this is that when you swap out an ability it triggers a 30 second cooldown. This cooldown prevents you from using the ability you swapped in, and prevents you from switching the ability out for something else.

If you think about it, this change makes sense. You can change your skills any time you feel like, but at the same time you can’t game the system and use a bunch of high-cooldown abilities back to back to back. This will, essentially, keep you out in the world more, while still making you have to pre-plan your skills.

There was a little bit more to this patch, but I mentioned those things specifically because they’re things I have discussed in my previous D3-centric posts. If you’re even slightly interested, you can see the full patch notes for Beta Patch 10 here.