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Patch 6.0 Death Knight Changes

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Patch Day today, and brother it’s a game changer.

Sentry Totem posted the Patch 6.0.2 Blue Notes that outlined all the changes. It was a big patch, and there was much to say. Here are the changes for Death Knights.

A number of changes were made for Death Knights. Several cooldowns were made spec-specific. Frost and Unholy’s rotations remain unchanged for the most part. Blood received revisions to their Active Mitigation design to bring them up to par with changes to other Tanking specializations. Runic Power generation of Anti-Magic Shell was standardized, to make it more understandable and balanced.

Ability Pruning
See the Ability Pruning section above for a discussion of why we’re pruning class abilities. For Death Knights, this focused on removing abilities that were redundant, cooldown reduction, or abilities that were not used often.

- Blood Parasites has been removed.
– Blood Strike has been removed.
– Dark Command is now only available to Blood Death Knights.
– Dual Wield is now only available to Frost Death Knights.
– Frost Strike replaces Death Coil for Frost Death Knights.
– Obliterate replaces Blood Strike for Frost Death Knights.
– Necrotic Strike has been removed.
– Raise Dead is now only available to Unholy Death Knights.
– Rune of Cinderglacier has been removed.
– Rune of the Nerubian Carapace has been removed.
– Unholy Frenzy has been removed.

Ability Consolidation and Refinement
The biggest change here is the merger of Blood Boil into Pestilence. This change effectively turned Roiling Blood into a passive ability; which we replaced with a new talent, Plaguebearer. For Blood specialization, we removed Rune Strike and are adjusting the cost of Death Coil so that it can be used in Rune Strike’s place.

Another change was to polish up the effect of diseases on the damage of other abilities. Diseases now do enough damage on their own to warrant using them. Having diseases act as multipliers on the damage of other abilities became extraneous and cluttered up the tooltips of those abilities. Those multipliers have been removed, and consolidated their benefits into the corresponding base spell. These changes also results in a slight reduction to ramp-up time.

- Horn of Winter no longer generates Runic Power, has no cooldown, and lasts 1 hour.
– Blood Boil has been removed and its effects have been merged into Pestilence.
– Pestilence now deals damage to all enemies within 10 yards, and spreads any diseases on targets hit to the other targets hit.
– Army of the Dead now deals 75% less damage.
– Master of Ghouls has been removed and its effects have been merged into the baseline Raise Dead ability for Unholy Death Knights.
– Threat of Thassarian has been removed and its effects have been merged into Might of the Frozen Wastes.
– Rune Strike has been removed. Blood Death Knights should now use Death Coil in its place.
– Dancing Rune Weapon now lasts 8 seconds (down from 12 seconds).
– Death Coil now costs 30 Runic Power (down from 40 Runic Power), and has a 40 yard range for both hostiles and allies.
– Sudden Doom no longer reduces the cost of Death Coil.
– Icebound Fortitude now lasts 8 seconds (down from 12 seconds).
– Boiling Blood has been removed and replaced with Plaguebearer, a new Level-56 talent for Death Knights.
– Plaguebearer causes Death Coil and Frost Strike to extend the duration of Frost Fever and Blood Plague, or add a stack of Necrotic Plague.
– Pestilence now deals 50% more damage, but no longer deals additional damage for diseases being present on the target.
– Pillar of Frost now increases Strength by 15% (down from 20%).
– 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.
– Rune of the Fallen Crusader now increases Strength by 20% (up from 15%).
– Scourge Strike no longer deals additional damage for each disease present on the target. The ability now deals 100% Physical weapon damage, and 50% Shadow weapon damage. These two effects can independently critically hit.
– Vampiric Blood now increases the amount of healing received by 15% (down from 25%).
– Glyph of Vampiric Blood now increases the amount of healing received by an additional 10% (down from 15%).

Frost Changes
In Mists of Pandaria, Frost Death Knights suffered from rotations that were designed to allow flexibility in ability usage, so that you could pool some resources in order to make decisions about which ones you spent and in which order. Dual Wield vs Two-Handed had different rotational priorities, with different strengths and weaknesses. However, tuning ended up such that you reached a point where you just had to spend all of your resources as fast as possible to avoid wasting any, and all of that depth went out the window. For Warlords, we’ve adjusted the tuning of several abilities and passives, to ensure that that doesn’t happen again, and the rotational decisions and skill are maintained.

The goal is that Two-Handed Frost Death Knights favor their physical damage, slicing through their enemies with heavy Obliterates, whereas Dual- Wielders favor blasting their foes with frost damage, but both overlap considerably to maintain a cohesive specialization.

- Frost Strike’s damage has been increased by 100%, but its Runic Power cost has been increased by 5 (up to 25 Runic Power in Frost Presence, and 40 Runic Power in other Presences).
– Icy Talons now increases attack speed by 20% (down from 45%), and haste by 5% (up from 0%).
– Might of the Frozen Wastes now increases the damage of Obliterate by 50% (up from 40%) and melee damage by 35% (up from 30%) while wielding a two-handed weapon, and increases the damage of Frost Strike by 50% (up from 35%) while dual-wielding.
– Razorice now deals 4% additional weapon damage (up from 2%), and increases Frost damage by 2% per stack (down from 3%).
– Obliterate’s damage has been increased by 30%.

Unholy Changes
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, and added a new passive ability to make Multistrike more effective.

- Necrosis is a new passive ability for Unholy Death Knights.
– Necrosis causes Multistrikes from Festering Strike, Pestilence, Plague Strike, Scourge Strike, and Soul Reaper to also deal a burst of Shadow damage. The amount of burst damage is based on Attack Power, not the damage from the triggering Multistrike.
– Unholy Might now increases Strength by 10% (down from 35%).

Blood Changes
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.

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 Critical Strikes, and Scent of Blood give defensive value to Multistrike. To solve GCD- capping issues and increase the value of Haste, we also removed the passive rune regeneration increase from Improved Blood Presence. Finally, we tweaked the targeting AI of Dancing Rune Weapon, and fixed it up to properly copy most Talents that you know.

- Blood Rites now also causes auto attack Multistrikes to generate 15 Runic Power. The Death Strike damage increase it provided has been moved to Veteran of the Third War.
– Blood Presence now increases Stamina by 20% (down from 25%), and armor by 30% (down from 55%).
– Bone Shield charges can now be consumed at a rate of once per second (up from once every 2 seconds).
Crimson Scourge now increases the damage of Pestilence by 50% (up from 10%) and now also increases the damage of diseases by 30%.
– 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.
– Death Strike now causes healing that scales in effectiveness with attack power, instead of based on damage taken in the last 5 seconds. This healing is affected by Resolve.
– Heart Strike has been removed. Blood Death Knights should use Pestilence in its place.
– Improved Blood Presence now increases all damage dealt by 15%, instead of increasing rune regeneration rate.
– Rune Tap has been redesigned. It now reduces all damage taken by 40% for 3 seconds. It also now has 2 charges, with a 40-second recharge time.
– Will of the Necropolis has been redesigned. It now automatically triggers an immediate, free Rune Tap when you take damage that reduces you below 30% health. This effect cannot occur more often than once every 30 seconds.
– Glyph of Rune Tap has been redesigned. It now reduces Rune Tap’s recharge time by 10 seconds, but reduces the damage reduction it provides by 20%.
– Scarlet Fever has been removed. Its effects have been merged into Scent of Blood.
– Scent of Blood has been changed. It now causes Pestilence to refresh diseases, and increase the healing of your next Death Strike by 20%, stacking up to 5 times.
– Veteran of the Third War now increases Multistrike chance, and haste by 10% (instead of 9% to Stamina), reduces the chance for attacks to be parried by 3%, increases the damage of Death Strike by 100%, and grants 1 Runic Power per second while in combat.

Death Pact
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 Retuning Healing Spells and Player Health and Resilience above), and added a healing absorption shield for 50% of the amount healed instead. It should now be a more effective heal for staying alive immediately, but with the downside of needing to heal through the healing absorption shield before being healed any further.

Death Pact no longer requires an undead minion, and instead places a healing absorption shield on the Death Knight for 50% of the amount healed.

Miscellaneous
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. Level-60 and Level-75 talent rows have swapped places, so the important rune regeneration talents could be acquired earlier. Conversion was changed to cost different amounts by specialization, instead of reducing Runic Power generation differently by specialization. This way, Runic Power beyond what you spend on Conversion is not penalized.

- Anti-Magic Shell now restores 2 Runic Power per 1% of max health absorbed.
– Desecrated Ground now also makes the Death Knight immune to Roots and Snares.
– Conversion no longer has an initial tick, and now costs 30 Runic Power/second for Blood, 10 Runic Power/second for Frost, and 20 Runic Power/second for Unholy.
– Level-60 and Level-75 talent rows have swapped places.
– Level-60 rune regeneration talents can now be triggered by all Runic Power spenders
– Blood Tap now generates one charge for every 15 Runic Power spent.
– Runic Empowerment now has a 1.5% chance to trigger per Runic Power spent.
– Runic Corruption now has a 1.5% chance to trigger per Runic Power spent.

Good thing we’ve got a month before Warlords of Draenor is released. There’s a bit of a re-learning curve that needs to be addressed.

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