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Category: Death Knights

Warlords Beta: Blood DK Changes (an initial view)

So I was very lucky to have been gifted a WoD beta key this week, thanks to a generous guildie, and as such I’ve spent a little time over the last few days fiddling around with the Blood Death Knight.

I’m not one for devouring actual content in a beta – I certainly didn’t do it during the MoP one – but I do like to try and see how classes are performing and what, if anything, has changed so as to impact how I feel about them.

Most important to me in WoD, of course, is the Blood Death Knight – the class I’ve played exclusively as a main since mid-Cataclysm (it was always my main-main since mid-Wrath, but I dabbled as a Tank/Healing Paladin for the first bit of Cataclsym).

So, now I’m in beta and able to see what changes are there, as well as what’s documented on sites like WoWHead, we can have a little overview of everything and how it impacts the class I’m aiming to continue to play.


 

Initial experience

No Rune Strike, no Blood Boil, no Raise Dead, no Heart Strike. Ability pruning has hit the DK hard. Instead you will:

  • Use Pestilence to spread diseases, and cleave groups of enemies
  • Use Death Coil to dump Runic Power
  • Death Strike seems to be under-resourced half the time so isn’t available anywhere near as much as it currently is in MoP

This all became surprisingly easy to adapt to.  Having two ranged attacks (Icy Touch and Death Coil) makes pulling a little nicer, although neither of them deal significant enough punch to out do a DPS critting on their opener.


 

Roundup of other Blood DK Changes

Mastery! Blood DKs now have a raid-wide buff other than Horn of Winter’s attack power buff, thanks to Power of the Grave. Not that with 20-man Mythic raids we should be missing any buffs, but it’s nice not to feel so noncontributory.

Army of the Dead is now Blood spec only (yay!) but doesn’t offer any damage reduction during casting (boo!).

Dark Command is now Blood spec only. I’m indifferent to this, but if we had a DPS DK who need to off-taunt anything (doubtful but ya never know) it’d require a Death Grip. But, not a big deal at all.

Improved Blood Presence means when you’re in Blood Presence, damage dealt is increased by 20%. Tasty!

Death Strike now only offers a 30% damage reduction shield, compared to 50% in MoP. It increases your attack power by 8% (which it currently doesn’t), but that’s still a hefty nerf.

Rune Tap now adds an absorb, rather than a chunk of HP. This would explain its appearance to be mediocre.

So that’s a very rough overview of incoming changes. I’m not 100% sure what I think of much of them, but for now the playstyle of Blood DK seems different but acceptable. I’m happy to continue on, which is more than can be said for some others (namely poor Disc Priests).

Thoughts on a Blood Death Knight talent build in Mists of Pandaria

I haven’t had a chance to delve too deeply into the Blood DK changes for MoP as yet, but by all accounts they’re minimal (compared to the changes other classes are), but I thought I would at least look at the upcoming talents now we’re getting close to 5.0.4 landing, with the hope that the system as it is now on the beta/PTR is final.

As you all know, the talent trees have seen a complete revamp, with the ‘must have’ talents now being given to you automatically when you choose your spec, with others being selectable from 3 per ‘tier’. Here is the window as it appears for Death Knights, with the talents I’ve chosen already selected.

Now, these have been chosen with a mix of 5-man and raiding in mind, as that is my general bread and butter. Some talents will be moved around, but for the most part I’m happy with this.

Disclaimer: I am not a theorycrafter. I am interested in my class, and go to decent lengths to be knowledgable about it, but for me it’s all about gameplay, not the stats.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, especially if you have some information to help me choose a better setup, or if I’ve missed the point of a talent altogether.

Level 15
Roiling Blood
Wow. The thought that I could spread my diseases so easily just makes me giddy. I’ve seen this in action in a video, and seeing the black tendrils leaking out to all enemies in a back with a simple Blood Boil (itself already dealing Shadow Damage) is lovely. For AOE tanking, and trash pickups especially, this is ideal.

I can’t see the point of Plague Leech here, and Unholy Blight strikes me as a pure DPS or even PVP ability.

 

Level 30
Anti-Magic Zone
I was tempted to take Lichborne, since it is very useful – especially in 5-mans where your one healer may decide to sit on his hands for a minute, leaving you to fend for yourself. But in a raiding situation, AMZ makes perfect sense to me – and an extra raid wall is always good.

 

Level 45
Death’s Embrace
Moving faster is always a good thing, especially in 5-mans. I was very tempted with Asphyxiate, as a ranged silence is nice and the crowd-control element would be useful, but really your DPS should be taking care of CC IMO.

 

Level 60
Death Pact
Oh my giddy aunt, this is a useful talent. Again, useful for those moments when your healer is picking their arse and leaving you near death: raise a ghoul, then sacrifice it to get a great self-heal. Use Vampiric Touch right before this, and you get healed for even more. Lovely. Death Siphon and Conversion also look very good, but until I get a chance to put them into practice, I’ll be sticking with what I know.

 

Level 75
Runic Empowerment
It’s actually a toss-up between this and Runic Corruption, and I may go with RC if I find my runes – despite depleted ones being regenerated with RE – slow to come back into use. This is a funny tier of talents, as it’s all about those bloody runes, which – to be quite frank – I pay little attention to until I see I’m nearly resource starved. How this will play out in MoP will be interesting. I will say, though, that my limited time in the beta has seen me starved of runes more often than not, but I can’t remember which talent from this tier I’d chosen.

 

Level 90
Gorefiend’s Grasp
Like Roiling Blood, anything which makes everything around you stand up and take notice is a good thing, in my mind. Remorseless Winter is, in my eyes, more a DPS ability to control packs of mobs until the tank can get to them, while Desecrated Ground I see being more useful in PVP, or in fights where there is a mind control or something.

 

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