Don’t forget to check out the other class changes as well.
Death Knight Cataclysm Talent Preview
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will bring with it several changes to class talents and abilities. In this preview, you’ll get a glimpse at some of the new abilities, spells, and talents in store for the death knight class, along with an early look at some improvements we plan to make to the rune resource system.
New Death Knight Abilities
Outbreak (level 81): Outbreak infects the target with both Frost Fever and Blood Plague at no rune cost. This ability allows death knights to apply diseases quickly when they are switching targets or when their diseases have been dispelled.
Necrotic Strike (level 83): Necrotic Strike is a new attack that deals weapon damage and applies a debuff that absorbs an amount of healing based on the damage done. For context, imagine that the death knight can choose between doing 8,000 damage outright with a certain ability, or dealing 6,000 damage and absorbing 4,000 points in incoming heals with Necrotic Strike — the burst is smaller, but a larger overall amount of healing would be required to bring the target back to full health.
This ability is meant to bring back some of the old flavor from when death knights could dispel heal-over-time (HoT) effects. It also gives the class a bit more PvP utility without simply replicating a Mortal Strike-style effect.
Dark Simulacrum (level 85): The death knight strikes a target, applying a debuff that allows the death knight to copy the opponent’s next spell cast and unleash it. Unlike Spell Reflection, Dark Simulacrum does not cancel the incoming spell. In general, if you can’t reflect an ability, you won’t be able to copy it either.
Rune System Changes
While we’re satisfied with the way the rune system works overall, we’re making a few major changes to the mechanics that will ultimately help death knight players feel less constrained. Here’s the rationale behind the changes, followed by an explanation of how the new system will work.
- In the current rune system, any time a rune is sitting idle, death knights are losing out on potential damage output. By comparison, rogues spend most of their time at low energy levels, and if they’re unable to use their skills for a few seconds, that energy builds up and can be spent later, minimizing the net loss from the interruption.
- A death knight’s runes, on the other hand, cannot be used until they are fully active. If a death knight ever goes more than a few seconds without spending an available rune, that resource is essentially wasted. Because the death knight is pushing buttons constantly, it can be difficult to add new mechanics to the class because the player doesn’t have any free global cooldowns to use them. We can’t grant extra resources or reduced cost, because there is no time to spend them. Missing an attack is devastating, and it’s impossible to save resources for when they’re most useful.
- Additionally, each individual death knight ability has a fairly low impact on its own, making it feel like most of the death knight’s attacks are weak. The death knight’s rotations are also more easily affected by latency or a player’s timing being just a little off. At times, it feels like death knights aren’t able to take advantage of their unique resource mechanic, which can diminish the fun.
- The new rune system will change how runes regenerate, from filling simultaneously to filling sequentially. For example, if you use two Blood runes, then the first rune will fill up before the second one starts to fill up. Essentially, you have three sets of runes filling every 10 seconds instead of six individual runes filling every 10 seconds. (Haste will cause runes to fill faster.) Another way to think of this is having three runes that go up to 200% each (allowing extra “storage”), rather than six runes that go up to 100% each.
- As this is a major change to the death knight’s mechanics, it will of course require us to retune many of the class’s current abilities. For example, each ability needs to hit harder or otherwise be more meaningful since the death knight is getting fewer resources per unit of time. Some abilities will need to have their costs reduced as a result.
Next we’ll outline some of the death knight talent-tree changes we’re planning in Cataclysm. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it should give you a sense of how we’re intending each death knight spec to perform.
- One of the biggest changes we’re making is converting Blood into a dedicated tanking tree. While we feel that having three tanking trees was successful overall, it’s less necessary in a world with dual-specialization. In addition, the current breakdown isn’t as compatible with the Mastery-based passive talent-tree bonuses we want to add (see below). We’d rather spend time tweaking and balancing one good tanking tree rather than having a tank always wondering if they picked the “correct” tree out of three possibilities.
- Blood seemed like the best fit for tanking. Unholy has always had a strong niche with diseases, magic, and command over pets. Frost now feels like a solid dual-wield tree with Frost magic damage and decent crowd control. Blood’s niche was self-healing — fitting for a tank — as well as strong weapon swings, which could easily be migrated to Frost and Unholy.
- Our plan is to move the most interesting and fun tanking talents and abilities to Blood. For example, you will likely see Vampiric Blood and Will of the Necropolis remain, while Bone Shield will move over from Unholy.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
Runic Power Generation
Melee and spell critical damage
Healing Absorption: When you heal yourself, you’ll receive an additional effect that absorbs incoming damage.
Runic Power Generation: This will function as the name implies, and the new rune system will make generating Runic Power more appealing.
Disease Damage: Unholy death knights will be able to get more out of their diseases, which are integral to the tree’s play style.
Vengeance: This new mechanic is designed to ensure that tank damage output (and therefore threat) doesn’t fall behind as damage-dealing classes improve their gear during the course of the expansion. All tanking specs will have Vengeance as their second talent tree passive bonus. Whenever a tank gets hit, Vengeance will grant a stacking Attack Power buff equal to 5% of the damage done, up to a maximum of 10% of the character’s unbuffed health. For boss encounters, we expect that tanks will always have an Attack Power bonus equal to 10% of their health. The 5% and 10% bonuses assume 51 talent points have been put into the Blood tree; these values will be smaller at lower levels.
You only get the Vengeance bonus if you have spent the most talent points in the Blood tree, so you won’t see Frost or Unholy death knights running around with it. Vengeance will let us continue to design tank gear more or less the way we do today; there will be some damage-dealing stats, but mostly survival-oriented stats. Druids typically have more damage-dealing stats even on their tanking gear, so their Vengeance benefit may be smaller, but the goal is that all four tanks will do about the same damage when tanking.
We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.
Cataclysm Stat & System Changes: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=23425636414&sid=1
Mastery System Preview: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=23710210871&sid=1
Additional Blizzard Clarifications
- We want to provide a 2-handed style for Frost since we recognize that pets are an acquired taste. We think we have the design space to do that now that we don’t need to support Frost tanking. We’re definitely committed to making Frost work as a dual-wield tree though — that isn’t going away.
- Outbreak is free with a 1-minute cooldown. It’s not supposed to completely replace Plague Strike and Icy Touch.
- We’re not sure how we’re going to handle presences yet. We recognize the oddness of Blood death knights playing in Frost Presence and Frost death knights not playing in Frost Presences. We might rename the presences or take some other action.
Cataclysm Death Knight Rune Mechanics
I’ll take a stab at explaining the rune mechanic. Once you see it in action, it’s pretty easy to understand.
Just focus on Blood Runes for the moment. The big change is that rune #2 will never start filling up until rune #1 is full. They always fill 1 then 2. Today 1 and 2 can both fill at the same time.
In Cataclysm, when you’re killing things, you use rune 1. Then any extra “red” in rune 2 will fill rune 1 back up again. If both of them are full, you can use 2 Blood Runes immediately. But after that, rune 1 will fill up first and then rune 2. If it helps, imagine rune 2 is the extra tank.
This sounds like it will slow down DK attacks, and it will to a point. That’s part of what we’re trying to accomplish. We can then fill those extra GCDs with things like free abilities or runic power abilities or we have room to add talents that make runes fill faster. Remember, slow attacks can hit harder though. Instead of DKs hitting fast like a rogue, they’ll hit slower and harder, like a warrior, which fits a lot of player’s image of a DK anyway. Dual wield will hit faster of course.
I’ll try another comparison. Imagine that all rogue abilities cost 100 energy. They have to wait until they get 100 energy, and then immediately use an attack so that they aren’t wasting future energy. That’s how DKs play now, except they have 6 runes to watch. Now imagine the same rogue except all his abilities cost 50 energy. If he hits an attack when he has 60 energy, then 50 is consumed but he has 10 energy still left and a head start on the next attack. That’s the way we want DKs to play.
If that still doesn’t make sense, then focus on what the experience will be, which is that you’ll have more breathing room in your rotation and won’t have to hit a button every single GCD. If you don’t use a strike the second it’s available, that’s more okay because the extra tank will store extra rune resources rather than just wasting it. You’ll still be hitting a lot of buttons though. We’re keeping double rune strikes and Death Runes and disease multipliers and all of that. We’ll have to make some changes in some abilities to accommodate the resource change, but it won’t be unrecognizable to you.
We’re not sure DKs even need Rune Strike any longer. If it survives, we’ll turn it into an instant swing. But if we turn it into an instant swing, then it really isn’t that different from existing strikes so it’s possible we can just make a tanking rotation without it.
t ZugGaming we have a great set Death Knight talent builds for you to check out. Death Knights are a very diverse class right now and all three specs are useful. Death Knights have a lot strong talents in each spec so these are a general outline of the Death Knight talent builds, feel free to adjust certain talents to your playstyle.
Death Knight PvP Builds
Death Knights are very powerful class in arena and can play in almost any arena team. For arena, there is really two
main Death Knight talent builds. A lot of variety comes from these talent builds but these are the the basic building blocks for Death Knights in arena. A lot of the variety in the different specs are from personal play style and arena team makeup, but these builds can get you started in the right direction.
- Frost PvP 14/54/3 – Crowd control DK PvP build
- Unholy PvP 0/17/54 – High damage output with controlled burst
Death Knight PvE Builds
Death Knights have two main roles they can spec for in PvE. A Death Knight tank is very strong with lots of cooldowns to rotate and Death Knights can also spec into blood and put out some nice dps. Most Raids are filled with at least one Death Knight who is tank spec and some even use Death Knights for both tanks.
- Blood Dps 51/0/20- Blood dps spec, scales well with gear
- Unholy Dps 12/0/59 – Unholy dps spec, is better before Ulduar gear
- Frost Tanking 13/51/7 – Frost raid tanking spec
- Blood Tanking 55/8/8 – Blood self healing tank spec, better for 5 man dungeons
Death Knight Leveling Builds
For leveling Death Knights really don’t have a talent build outside of blood that is good. Blood spec leveling allows for a lot of dps while being able to heal yourself leaving very little down time and letting you solo elite quests. Don’t worry about pvp, any spec Death Knight can hold his ground while leveling with a lot of cooldowns to use to keep yourself alive. If you prefer to instance level feel free to use the blood Death Knight talent build for tanking instances.
- Blood Leveling 54/0/17 – Blood leveling build
- Blood Leveling 61/0/10 – Blood leveling build with more survivability
Yet another hilarious death knight bug, once again affecting the death grip ability. I don’t want to ruin the surprise so I’ll let you check out the video and see for yourself what you’ve been missing out on.
On a brief sidenote, do be aware that game masters are aware of this bug and have given warnings to players who they felt were exploting the bug. Never the less, it’s still pretty damn funny.
Macros for any class are going to be important, but for death knights they are absolutely vital. This death knight macro guide will help you implement key combination macros into your death knight’s arsenal. These macros will help you consolidate keybindings and quicken your overall rotation and hotkey speed.
Looking for focus macros? Head over to our death knight focus macro guide.
Useful Macros for Death Knights
- Death Grip / Chains of Ice
- Frost Defensive Panic
- Ranged Ghoul Stun
- Blood DPS Rotation
- Unholy DPS Rotation
- Pull Target and Taunt
- One Button Pet Sacrifice
- Mouse Over Strangulate
- Mouse Over Strangulate / Mind Freeze
- Heal Pet Without Losing Target
- Death Pact Pet Without Losing Target
- Disease Sequence Rotation
- Rune Strike (several variations)
/cast Death Grip
/cast Chains of Ice
Will cast death grip first, if death grip is on cooldown will cast chains of ice instead.
/cast Unbreakable Armor
/cast Icebound Fortitude
Combo defensive macro for frost spec.
/castsequence Leap, Gnaw
Your ghoul will leap then stun, requires 2 clicks.
/castsequence reset=6 Plague Strike, Icy Touch, Heart Strike, Heart Strike, Death Strike, Death Coil
DPS rotation for blood spec.
/castsequence reset=6/combat/shift Icy Touch, Plague Strike, Scourge Strike, Blood Strike, Blood Strike, Death Coil, Scourge Strike, Death Coil, Scourge Strike, Scourge Strike, Death Coil
Complete unholy DPS rotation macro.
/cast Death Grip
/cast Dark Command
Combo macro to death grip target close and taunt.
/cast [target=pet,exists] Death Pact
Sacrifice your minion in one click to heal yourself.
/cast [target=mouseover] Strangulate
This macro will cast Strangulate on the mob/player your mouse is hovering over, without changing your current target.
/cast [target=mouseover, exists] Strangulate; Strangulate
/cast [target=mouseover, exists] Mind Freeze; Mind Freeze
This is macro will cast Strangulate on your current moused over target, if you have no moused over target, it will cast on your currents selected target; if Strangulate is on cooldown it will perform the same exact function using Mind Freeze provided you have the necessary Runic Power.
/cast [target=pet] Death Coil
Automatically heal your pet with death coil without targeting it.
/cast [target=pet,exists] Death Pact
Cast Death’s Pact on your ghoul, without losing your current target.
/castsequence reset=combat/target/6 Icy Touch, Plague Strike, Pestilence
This macro casts your diseases in sequence, then casts Pestilence to spread it. It will resort back to Icy Touch whenever you change targets or enter or leave combat.
#show Blood Strike
/cast Rune Strike
/cast Blood Strike
Rune strike followed by Blood Strike.
#show Heart Strike
/cast Rune Strike
/cast Heart Strike
Rune strike followed by Heart Strike.
#show Scourge Strike
/cast Rune Strike
/cast Scourge Strike
Rune strike followed by Scourge Strike.
#show Icy Touch
/cast Rune Strike
/cast Icy Touch
Rune strike followed by icy touch.
#show Plague Strike
/cast Rune Strike
/cast Plague Strike
Rune strike followed by Death Strike.
#show Death Strike
/cast Rune Strike
/cast Death Strike
Words I thought I would never type…truly, now the DK community can rest easy knowing one of their own now wield the legendary blade, Thunderfury. My good friends over at deathknight.info broke the news a bit ago and I have to say it left me a bit baffled…don’t get me wrong, I think it’s cool that the guy got a thunderfury, really cool in fact.
But let’s be honest, to say the item is a novelty would be a gigantic understatement. With so much you could be doing at level 80 I just can’t even begin to understand why you would want to spend so much time, effort, and gold in a 4 year old instance. Maybe that’s just me though. Anyway, congrats to Dragoth, World’s First Thunderfury wielding Death Knight!
The time has finally come, we are now just a few short hours away from the greatest expansion World of Warcraft has ever seen. I know I can’t hit all the changes in this wrap up, but I’ll do my best to hit all the major additions, changes, and other note worthy points regarding the WotLK.
- WotLK Mounts
- Flying Mounts in Northrend
- Profession Bonuses and Perks
- Dual Specs Feature
- New WotLK Enchants
- Updated Horde and Alliance Racials
- WotLK Titles
- Profession Daily Quests Token System
- WotLK Spellpower Change
- WotLK Honor Gear Prices
- WotLK PvP Changes
- Wintergrasp Boss Drops
- Season 5 Honor Gear
- Season 5 Arena Armor
- Knights of the Ebon Blade Reputation Guide
- Jewelcrafting: Gem Perfection
- WotLK Enchanting Guide
- WotLK Enchanting Scrolls
- WotLK Alchemy Items
- Inscription Shoulder Enchants
- Inscription: Glyphs Compiled
note: more to come later
Aspects are now off the GCD. It’s true. There will still be a 1 sec cooldown to switch from one aspect to another. It should feel a lot more like warrior stances or death knight presences.
We’re also going to be putting a little bit of dodge (~10%?) onto Monkey. I’ll update when we decide on a final number.
Just for consistency, paladin auras will probably get the same treatment. These changes should go live before Nov 13. As always, thanks for all of the feedback, and please keep it up now that many of the changes are live.
EDIT: After further discussion, we’re not crazy about the “stance dancing” that hunters need to do to switch to Monkey when someone is in on you in melee. As we’ve said a few times, Disengage and Deterrence should be your go-to abilities at that time. If anything, removing Aspects from the GCD makes it feel like you are supposed to go Monkey every time you’re in melee.
Rather than revert the change, we are introducing a new spell!
Instead of getting new ranks of Hawk at level 75 and 80, you now get the new Aspect of the Dragonhawk. This powerful aspect combines all of the effects of Hawk and Monkey. Any talent or glyph that affects either Hawk or Monkey also affects Dragonhawk the same way. The idea is that you retire Hawk and Monkey at level 75 and go to essentially two Aspects: Dragonhawk for combat and Viper for mana regen.
New Hunter Pets?
Now that we have a better system for introducing pets, I have no doubt we’ll add more per family and more families over time.
Issues with Exotic Pets
On the exotic pets issue, I have said before that we want to be very careful with the balance here. If the pets are immensely better, then the talent becomes a non-decision (which isn’t so bad) but the exotic pets also becomes a non-decision, which means that the tree that is supposed to be all about pets has fewer options to choose from.
At a slight dps increase, the particular pet you choose is still up for debate. On a boss where you need to go all out and the pet’s debuff isn’t important and survivability isn’t important, then yeah maybe you take the devilsaur or core hound. But when farming, running heroics, PvP or in other situations you still can bring which pet you want.
We did a big pass at pet dps and found that while some exotics were near the top, others were near the bottom. We made a big numbers pass to consolidate things a little better, and make sure the exotics were all near the top or at the top. Cats and other pets without a strong debuff should also do good dps as well.
How do I gain reputation with Knights of the Ebon Blade?
There are several ways you will be able to gain reputation with Knights of the Ebon Blade.
- If you’re a Death Knight you’ll have the option of doing four quests which give you Knights of Ebon Blade reputation. These include: Taking Back Acherus, The Battle For The Ebon Hold, The Ebon Watch, and The Light of Dawn. Note: only Death Knights can complete these quests.
- For everyone else, you can complete the normal mode daily dungeon quests. These quests reward 1 of 4 reputation tokens, one of which is Ebon Blade Commendation Badge. This badge awards +250 Knights of the Ebon Blade reputation when used.
- Timear Foresees Centrifuge Constructs in your Future! – The Oculus
- Timear Foresees Infinite Agents in your Future! – CoT: Stratholme Past
- Timear Forese es Titanium Vanguards in your Future! – Halls of Lightning
- Timear Foresees Ymirjar Berserkers in your Future! – Utgarde Pinnacle
Finally, you’ll have the option of championing the Knights of the Ebon. To champion this faction you must wear your Tabard of the Ebon Blade while you completing other level 80 5 man dungeons. This will award you reputation with the Knights of the Ebon Blade for any mobs or bosses you kill.
- Non-Elite Mobs Normal – 0
- Non-Elite Mobs Heroic – 1-2
- Elite Trash Normal – 5
- Elite Trash Heroic – 15
- Super Trash Normal – 10
- Super Trash Heroic – 30
- Boss Normal – 50
- Boss Heroic – 250
Knights of the Ebon Blade Rewards
- Arcanum of Toxic Warding (Head Slot Enhancement)
- Dark Soldier Cape (Caster Cloak)
- Pattern: Nerubian Reinforced Quiver (Leatherworking Pattern)
- Toxin-Tempered Sabatons (Plate Foot Armor)
- Unholy Persuader (Slow Off Hand Fist Weapon)
- Arcanum of Torment (Head Slot Enhancement)
- Design: Wicked Monarch Topaz (Jewelcrafting Design)
- Reaper of Dark Souls (Slow One-Handed Melee Sword)
- Runeblade of Demonstrable Power (Two-Handed Melee Sword)
- Spaulders of the Black Arrow (Mail Shoulder Armor)
- Sterile Flesh-Handling Gloves (Cloth Hand Armor)
- Wound-Binder’s Wristguards (Leather Wrist Armor)
- Pattern: Abyssal Bag (Tailoring Pattern)
- Belt of Dark Mending (Cloth Waist Armor)
- Darkheart Chestguard (Leather Chest Armor)
- Death-Inured Sabatons (Plate Foot Armor)
- Kilt of Dark Mercy (Mail Leg Armor)
- Design: Glowing Twilight Opal (Jewelcrafting Design)
Q. What races can be a death knight?
A. Every race has the availability of being a death knight.
Q. Who is eligible to create a death knight?
A. Players who have at least one level 55 character on a realm may create a death knight on that realm.
Q. What if I have a level 55 character on one realm but want to create a death knight on another realm to play with friends?
A. At the launch of Wrath of the Lich King, you will only be able to create a death knight on the same realm where you have an existing level 55 or higher character. In the future, we plan to allow the creation of a death knight on any realm (provided you have at least one level 55+ character).
Q. Can I create a death knight on one realm and transfer it to another realm?
A. Yes, you will be able to transfer a death knight, using either a free character move or a paid character transfer. Normal fees still apply.
Q. Can I create a death knight on one account and transfer it to a new account?
A. Death knights can be transferred with the same fees and restrictions as any other character.
Q. If I move a death knight to another realm now, can I get a refund later when the option to create a death knight anywhere is available?
A. We will not be giving refunds to players who have relocated a death knight to another realm prior to the open creation point for all realms.
Q. Can I create a death knight on the opposite faction?
A. You will be able to create a death knight on the opposite faction provided that it is on a PvE realm. The standard restrictions for character creation apply for PvP realms.
Q. Is there a limit on how many death knights I can create?
A. You will only be able to have one death knight per realm at any one time. Should you delete a death knight, you will still be able to create a new one.
The past few days have been a whirlwind of class changes and blue posts. Make sure you haven’t missed any of the past few days worth of updates.
Daily Blue Wrap Up
- Mage Mana Longevity Buffed
- Death Knight Changes
- Feral Druid Changes
- Hunter Arena WotLK Discussions
- Protection Paladin Buffs, Ret Paladin Nerfs
- Resto Shaman Changes and Spirit Wolves Buffed
Other Important Posts
- WotLK PvP Changes
- Patch 3.0.2 – Build 9038 Class Changes
- WotLK Profession Perks and Bonuses Summary
- WotLK Enchanting Guide