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Pondering Ghostcrawlers recent Death Knight Tanking Blue post

December 5, 2008

Points from Ghostcrawlers Blue post and my (opinionated!) view:!!

Ghostcrawler says:

1) Death knights seem to tank well when they have cooldowns available and take too much damage otherwise. The change here seems obvious – boost Frost presence’s mitigation while reducing the mitigation of some other abilities, especially Icebound Fortitude and Bone Shield.

2) One idea we have for Icebound Fortitude is to scale the mitigation based on defense skill. This lets the ability be less of a paladin bubble in PvP for dps knights, while still letting it act more like Shield Wall for tanks. It also has the side effect of making defense slightly more attractive to death knights. (Let me add before it’s asked that yes we understand Ferals have this problem too and we are working on it.)

3) Unholy is a very popular tanking spec, largely on the strength of Bone Shield. Expect to see some buffs to tanking talents in the Blood tree especially.

4) Rune Strike was intended to be a reactive tanking tool, not a rogue killer. We will probably chill its weapon damage and increase its threat.

5) We don’t like the behavior where DKs feel like they are supposed to drop Death and Decay to generate runic power before a pull. It just looks goofy. We will probably lower the runic power costs of Unholy Blight and Horn of Winter, which seem to be the primary reasons to generate RP. Horn of Winter will probably be something like no cost, 30 sec cooldown, generates 10 rp.

EDIT: I am refering to using DnD outside of combat just for the runic power (kind of like Bloodrage for warriors). It’s totally legit and intended to use it to start a fight to gain threat and hurt the bad guys.

6) There are some odd situations caused by Shadow of Death that we would like to fix. The talent isn’t designed to let you escape durability damage or rez by zoning into an instance.

7) There are some annoying parts of the non-pet ghoul. We want to lower the aggro range (for less accidental pulls) and spawn the ghoul in quicker when dismounting. The ghoul, at least Unholy’s version, could also use some AE avoidance like other pets.

My View..

I find a few days pondering a ‘blue post’ usually cuts out any initial gut reaction like ‘oh noes, they are nerfing us’!!!

Rather surprisingly the usual forum chatter after this one were a lot more positive than I expected. Many agreeing with the proposed direction Blizz ‘may’ be taking with DK’s (or lots of Rogues rolled DK!). Once again, it looks like PVP QQ’s lead to Blizzard class design questions. Although Ghostcrawler seems to have emphasised our tanking role here, and this is a good thing. As long as they don’t ruin DK tanking I’ll be happy, as PVP is way down my list of priorities.

From point 1, boosting Frost presence’s mitigation at the expense of Icebound Fortitude and Bone Shield potentially could increase our overall mitigation in longer fights, as both these abilities are for a limited duration. So this sounds positive. It’ll be hard to swallow if we don’t get something that will help against hard hitting bosses, but scaling Icebound Fortitude with +def from point 2 sounds like it may do that.

I hope they don’t break my Bone Shield as there is nothing more about this spell in this proposal. I like it as it is, if anything I’d like a lower cooldown, or more charges!! But I am realistic enough to appreciate that this won’t happen!! I’d actually like to see Bone Shield become a Death Knight spell rather than a feature of the Unholy talent build, with perhaps some extra charges/increase mitigation for Unholy DK’s due to their AOE role.

I’d guess point 3 is there because there are so many Blood specs running about… I’m unholy and I’d never moan about a talent boost to another tree where it is needed!! What I’d really like to see is Blizzard keeping their promise of dual talent specs because Blood could be an awesome single target tanking spec (and maybe already is… I’ve not played it yet). How cool would it be if we could have two specs one for AOE and one for single target tanking and they could be switched about as and when they were needed?

The proposed changes to ‘Rune Strike’ worry me a bit, they are 100% PVP driven. Rune strike is all you can do if you are AOE tanking with DnD and keeping up your diseases. I suppose increasing threat and decreasing weapon damage may allow this strike to scale… well I hope it does anyway.

I realised after reading this why I got so many ’spits’ from rogue players on my first walk to Ogrimmar after completing the DK start areas with my second DK, well one Rogue player did…. (and I know your name!!). In the light of this it probably wasn’t Role Play motivated!!

For Ghostcrawlers next point, I’ve not had too many issues with runic power myself, it favours a good rotation and actively using your abilities. However reducing cost of Unholy Blight will definitely make things easier! So this proposal got this DK smiling, I just hope they don’t reduce the time it is active for.

For point 6, I’ve enjoyed minimal repair bills so far, so I’d better get my Epic mount skills before they do this!! I (naively) thought that this was done purposely to help with the usual nightmare of paying tanking repair damage bills. It is perverse that a good tank keeps other players repair bills down by increasing their own…. Please think about this Ghostcrawler if you ever venture to this part of the bloggosphere!! I’d guess other tanks would find this hard to stomach but Plate armor upkeep is expensive…..

For point 7, perhaps they can look at making it easier to shift from a passive to a defensive pet… the pull behaviour is ‘unfortunate’ at best (despite my slightly Ironic post about it!!). That’s my main issue with Ghouls, well if I be honest pet classes should be actively using their pet bars and shouldn’t moan about behaviours that can be beneficial if used in the right context. Some AOE avoidance would definitely be a bonus for Unholy perma-pets.

All in all, it’s good of Blizz to keep us in the loop…. we’ll see what comes out of these proposals

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