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Ghostcrawler explains the DK aura changes

When the first set of 3.1 patch notes popped up, many Death Knights were surprised to see that their auras were being reworked into something that, well, just isn't an aura at all.

Instead, the effects are being rolled into talents so that, if talented, the Death Knight herself still gains the benefit, but does not extend it to party or raid members.

Although they will now be called, for example, Improved Blood Presence, the benefits will be applied regardless of the presence assumed by the character.

I have to admit that my first reaction to the change was a negative one. It feels weird to me switching from a Holy Paladin to a character that simply does not have a comparable range of buffs and auras to offer.

That's when my roomie and addict of WoW forums and websites, piped in with the why. Today, Ghostcrawler gives an official explanation.

Unholy Aura, which grants a 15% movement speed increase, was slowly "becoming mandatory as a raid buff." The ability is not only handy for long corpse runs, as well as fights where movement speed and reaction time are critical, but it seriously impacts the overall damage done by the meleeing crowd.

Melee characters spend an annoying amount of time backing out of range because of AoE or ground effects, running around the mobs to always stay behind them, following after a mobile tank, and the like. This disrupts their damage, and because this has always been the case, classes and encounters are balanced assuming that this is still going on.Ghostcrawler also mentions that Blizzard "considered giving it to other classes" but, as you can imagine, that "would just be accepting all players moving faster all the time." If that were the case, many boot enchants would have to be reworked, and in fact, it would likely just be easier to increase everyone's base speed and call it a day.

So why not simply change Unholy Aura? Frost Aura was, to quote GC, "kind of lame", and I'd have to agree. Overall, "the [dk aura] mechanic was just a little awkward and hard to explain."

After all, it is a unique aura system. Paladins can toss up any aura, regardless of spec, while a raid would have to insist on an Unholy Death Knight for the speed boost benefit. Allowing this to continue would be contrary to the direction that Blizz has been taking raiding. They don't want any class and spec combo to get an automatic, necessitated, raid invitation.

Considering that Blizzard is also working to make Blood and Frost specs more appealing to entice more of the Death Knight population to let go of their Unholy ways, this change will not only be fairer to every class that wants a shot at a raid spot, it will also allow Death Knights to be accepted regardless of spec.
Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Talents, Death Knight

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