In the wee hours of the morning, an (as yet unimplemented) beta build found its way out onto the internet for dissection by the usual datamining suspects. As has become a happy habit with the past few builds, there are death knight changes to be had. Now, these changes don't solve all of our problems. In fact, some of them exacerbate a few of them. However, a couple of the changes are amazingly good, and I'd call this patch, overall, another step in the right direction. Let's take a look at what changed and what it means for the death knight playstyle. As a warning, this patch has not yet been placed on the beta as of this writing, so things may still change from what's here.
General death knight changes
- All presences have no cooldown or rune cost, but do consume all runic power.
- Base disease duration is now 21 seconds.
The disease duration buff isn't too bad for unholy, since we have Festering Strike, but it's going to be a bit of a bummer for frost and blood, who will now have to use Icy Touch and Plague Strike more often, eating up another GCD and taking away runes that could have been used for Death Strike and Obliterate. Overall, I have to wonder if there was any real reason to nerf disease duration here. At best, it just makes blood and frost's lives and rotations even more complicated.
- Death Strike now heals for a minimum of at least 10% of your maximum health, up from 5%.
- Killing Machine no longer affects Howling Blast and now affects Obliterate.
- Annihilation now increases damage dealt by Obliterate by 15/30/45% (up from 10/20/30%).
- Necrotic Strike now deals 100% weapon damage (up from 80%) and absorbs the next [75% of AP] healing received by the target (up from 40%); additional effect -- For 15 sec., or until the full amount of healing is absorbed, the target's casting time is increased by 30%.
- Necrosis is gone and is now replaced with Runic Corruption -- Reduces the cost of your Death Coil by 3/6 and causes your Runic Empowerment ability to no longer refresh a depleted rune, but instead to increase your rune regeneration rate by 50/100% for 3 sec.
- Unholy Frenzy now causes the target to lose health equal to 2% of their maximum health every 3 sec. (down from 3% every 2 sec.).
The Necrotic Strike change is excellent news for PvP death knights. Not only is the health absorb have some teeth now, but the extra Curse of Tongues effect should make this a definite must-use in PvP against casters, at the very least. PvErs may even find a reason to keep it on their bar for caster fights, as well. The Unholy Frenzy change is at least a good start, but given the currently issues with soloing and lack of self-healing, it's still at the very least a raid/group-only thing, and even then might not be worth the health drain for the new breed of healing. I'd say the buff needs to be stronger or the health drain removed altogether.
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