Blood - What is the developer's design goal?

90 Orc Death Knight
10740
So I see that other tank classes have been getting some insight and developer time about the design goals of all their specs with 4.1 around the corner. Maybe we can too. I have been wondering for a long time what the design intent for some of our abilities have been, and how the developers expect us to be played, so here are some of my observations and thoughts on Blood - maybe we can hear what the developers think of the DK tank spec too.

TL,DR - check out the last sentence of this post.

Survivability resources and the undervalue of everything else
Death Strike and our diseases are our survivability abilities and they compete for the same FU resources. Blood runes are also a source of survivability, although indirectly through Blade Barrier. This sets up a situation where FU runes are highly coveted and where we don't necessarily care how we spend our B runes as long as we can get them on CD for Blade Barrier.

The Pawning Off of Responsibility: the survivability vs survivability game
We can either put up the standard tank debuffs (STDs) via Icy Touch and Plague Strike or use those two runes for a Death Strike. I believe we are the only tank that has to make such a choice and its usually either a non-choice or a choice that we try and pawn off. In the first situation we can look at the math between the choices and choose the path that leads to better survivability - this is similar to how dps would choose between two dps abilities or talents and one would always loose out. In the second situation, we can try and get other classes to bring these abilities for us. I do this all the time, but I have the luxury of 3 hunter pets and a dps dk in my 25 mans. This principle really started to annoy me last night during Heroic Halfus though. I was tank swapping Halfus with another Blood DK and we had it so that the OT would be in charge of maintaining diseases on Halfus while the MT would just focus on Death Strike. This dramatically made it look like we are designed in such a way that not supplying our own STDs is by far the best survivability 'choice' we could make. If a DK wants to maximize his survivability he gets other people to supply his STDs. If say a Warrior wants to maximize his survivability, he can apply his STDs and not take a hit in survivability, he just takes a mild hit in threat. I'm all for not having classes being the same, but is the DK design a good design?


FU rune abilities are loaded with meaning, B rune abilities are whatever we can use to get them on CD.
This lopsidedness isn't my favourite design as I'd rather have all my abilities to have meaning. The most obvious way to shift meaning onto Blood runes would be to get them involved in disease management.


Old Death Knight Abilities - lessons from the past
My suggestion, at the bottom of this post, has been in the game previously, so lets take a look at its origins.

Pestilence - pre 3.1.0
When DKs first came out, Pestilence was designed to spread disease AND do damage. This was changed to its current form in patch 3.1.0 as it was ruled that DKs do too much AoE damage as it was (full strength diseases anyone?) and no one was really using Blood Boil because Pestilence would spread diseases and hit for a decent chunk of damage. The logical AoE application was then to use one Blood rune on Pestilence and then with the fast refresh rate of Blood runes in the old system, spam the rest of them with Blood Boil. This doesn't work as well with the new rune system where one Blood rune will be on CD already, and both are on a relatively longer CD than compared to the old rune system. I don't know the answer, but ask yourself this question, thinking back to WotLK and then thinking about Cata: After spreading diseases with Pestilence, how many times could you spam Blood Boil (using just Blood runes) before the diseases fell off? ...Is Pestilence really a good ability for Blood?

Disease Management 3.1.0 - the glory of Glyph of Disease
3.1.0 blew open the door for easy disease management for tanks with the inclusion of the much coveted Glyph of Disease, and all it did was allow Pestilence to refresh disease on one more target, your primary target. One GCD and diseases were managed easily, which made it a favourite glyph of tanks that had other things to manage other than the burden of diseases.
90 Orc Death Knight
10740

Borrowing from the Old - making Blood runes matter
If you allow Blood rune abilities to manage diseases, Blood runes would then hold a lot of meaning other than being just the means to getting Blade Barrier. This would involve both disease refreshing and disease spreading. Blood talents would be a perfect candidates, and we have some room in our tree where some useless talents are, like Blood Caked Blade. So how about for the disease refreshing talent:

Blood Caked Blade
Your Heart Strike and Blood Strike abilities refresh your diseases on your primary target. (either a 1 talent point talent or a 2 point talent for 50/100% chance of refresh)

The danger though is that whatever Blood rune ability was tied to the disease refreshing could potentially be the only Blood rune ability we would ever use. Both Blood Boil and Heart Strike are AoE abilities, if one also refreshed our diseases, especially if it was Blood Boil, then the other might not be used ever. The other ability could however be used for disease spreading, with a talent such as:

Crimson Scourge
Blood Boil spreads existing Blood Plague and Frost Fever infections from your target to all other enemies within 10 yards. Diseases spread this way deal 50% of normal damage. When you land a melee attack on a target that is infected with your Blood Plague, there is a 10% chance that your next Blood Boil will consume no runes.

The point of this is to eliminate the confliction between Pestilence and Blood Boil resources by rolling them into one streamlined ability. If its deemed too powerful to refresh diseases AND do damage, there could be an internal CD placed on the disease spreading effect, say the disease spreading portion of Blood Boil cannot happen more than once every 15-20 seconds. This may not be necessary though - in dungeon settings where mobs don't last long this wouldn't matter much and in raid settings where mobs last longer, you would have to break up any Blood Boil spam to refresh diseases with Heart Strike to keep Blood Boil spreading those diseases (or switch targets and Blood Boil) - interesting choices either way. This also allows us to spread our STDs easier when lots of mobs are beating on us, while having the decent snap threat of Blood Boil over the watery initial threat of Pestilence.

The proc of Crimson Scourge still feels out of place, as a free Blood Boil during an AoE situation feels pretty awesome, but while single targeting a boss its kinda weird. It is still nice to break tanking up a bit by being able to react to a proc though, so I guess I could live with it. Kinda tired after writing all this to brain storm up another idea.


So long story short, are the rune abilities and rune management of Blood within the design goals the developers have for Blood tanks?
85 Worgen Priest
2610
I don't see the problem with having 1-2 strikes to make up the whole of our main-stay blood rune usage. Tanks aren't meant to have that much effort go into their regular strike priority, that effort is supposed to be largely expended on proper cooldown usage (espcially rune-tap, which happens to be bloodrune related), mob positioning, proper application of debuffs when necessary, and (apparently) some negation of raid or party damage (though dk tanks are bereft of this kind of ability at present).

Presuming the bulk of general tank changes are indicative of a new tanking paradigm i'd say we can safely bet on an overhal of blood mechanics and talents to come. Over-simplified it's square peg/round hole, but the actual issues are (as you poined out) interior (the rotation, the rune system both promoting diseaseless and debuffless play, and the fishing stratagy that plagues our regular rotation) and exterior (the lack of defensive raid utilites that warriors, paladins, and druids will soon share with raidwall, sac, and tranq respectively).

I think the initial design goals were largely centered on self-healing (and shielding) making up for a relatively weaker baseline mitigaiton. Unfortunately this isn't working. I would also assume they understand this both from community concern and in-game data. Will we hear about it from a blue perspective soon? Maybe, who knows? But I think the debate over what can be done, what has been done wrong, and what will happen has been done to death. Dig up some of the half-dozen blood threads that are still around, trolled or not they have some good posts and it's a shame they recieved no feedback themselves.
85 Blood Elf Death Knight
5990
You, as others, hit the key issues on the head for the most part.

Basically, the issue lies in Death Strike's power. It's our self-healing to make up for our lower mitigation, it's our block equivalent, it's one of our major threat abilities, and it consumes 2/3 of our runes to use.

We plan Blood Tap and other abilities around Death Strike. We waste Blood Runes to game Runic Empowerment for more Death Strikes. We ignore diseases for more Death Strikes. It's far too important and powerful to our mechanics, and that's the key issue at the heart of all of our problems.

Our mastery also fights with avoidance, as no other tank's mastery does. Block provides combat table coverage alongside avoidance, SD isn't removed or altered when the Druid dodges (unless you count the lost Vengeance AP, which is similar but not quite the same). Then there's DKs. If we avoid multiple attacks and then use Death Strike, we'll have a pitiful shield. Then, when we take damage a second or two later, we hardly had any mitigation for it, since our avoidance reduced the damage we took in the past 5 seconds, which reduced the mitigation we got for the future hits.

Our mastery and mechanics also work from compensating us for damage taken rather than proactively preventing the damage in the first place. If I was a block tank taking a big spike of physical hits, the blocks could keep me from a certain death by reducing incoming damage. Death Knight? We hope we live through the burst long enough to compensate ourselves for that damage though Death Strike.

I don't entirely like the mechanics personally, and I think Death Strike and the Blood Mastery are the two culprits.

Your suggestions are also interesting, I just don't know that I want any more reason to put more talents in Blood than I have already- increasing the nearly required talent point allocation to Blood to 35+ would be somewhat excessive.
85 Blood Elf Priest
3165
Is Pestilence still able to be glyphed to refresh your diseases on current target?

Mix that and outbreak, and now arnt all your diseases spreading and refreshing linked to one blood rune?

If the glyph no longer exists ignore this post.
85 Human Death Knight
11920
Tanks aren't meant to have that much effort go into their regular strike priority, that effort is supposed to be largely expended on proper cooldown usage (espcially rune-tap, which happens to be bloodrune related), mob positioning, proper application of debuffs when necessary, and (apparently) some negation of raid or party damage (though dk tanks are bereft of this kind of ability at present).


Except I spend half of the fight looking at my runes/blood shield.
90 Orc Death Knight
10740
Yes, none of what I said was new. I've read every page of the PTR Blood discussion and the 4.06 Blood discussion and these arguments have been done to death. However, we have never heard from the devs what they thought about us and where we are going.

New patch, new chance to gain some insight.

Presuming the bulk of general tank changes are indicative of a new tanking paradigm i'd say we can safely bet on an overhal of blood mechanics and talents to come.


I never thought if it that way, so here is hoping something will be thrown our way. Particularly about the raidwall, sanc and tranquility - I wonder what we would be getting? A raid wide blood shield or heal? Can only speculate, but have grown accustomed to nothing.
90 Orc Death Knight
10740
Is Pestilence still able to be glyphed to refresh your diseases on current target?

Mix that and outbreak, and now arnt all your diseases spreading and refreshing linked to one blood rune?

If the glyph no longer exists ignore this post.


It never made it over to cata.
90 Orc Death Knight
10920
None of the posts since Cata release haven't covered anything new that wasn't covered in the beta thread that had over a half million views. That's where alot of the frustration about blood dk's comes from. Yes we are slowly seeing some of the ideas from that thread make into the game but we've had absolutely no insight from the Dev's about the class at all.
84 Goblin Death Knight
650
I never thought if it that way, so here is hoping something will be thrown our way. Particularly about the raidwall, sanc and tranquility - I wonder what we would be getting? A raid wide blood shield or heal? Can only speculate, but have grown accustomed to nothing
.

They could make the glyph of rune tap be raid wide, which would be a very nice utility (it already is) cd. Maybe even bump it to 7% health.
90 Orc Death Knight
10740
The cooldown would be longer then to compensate for hitting more people... would we really want that?
85 Blood Elf Death Knight
10020
Your TLDR doesn't really match up with your post. While I certainly understand all the things you are talking about, your post doesn't really support your title. You end up pointing out issues that blood is having and making suggestions instead of endeavoring to understand the design goal. Many of those suggestions are bandaids that aren't going to hold together this heart attack. I'd ask them these questions about their design goal.

1- Are you content with the power contained by DS? Right now, that ability accounts for our block and a portion of our armor. Is the design goal of blood to use DS over anything else?
2- Are you content with the timing constraints on a DK? Premature DS can mean a significant block loss, does the fact that DKs are using a mod to try to guess their shields match your goals?
3-Are you content with the punishment for errors in the DK rotation? DKs that mis-spend a F/U rune are out a descent amount of mitigation. Do you envision mistakes costing DKs that much?
4- Applying diseases presents a clear danger when you do it, are you content with DKs actively striving not to put up diseases or striving to time them when there is a 0 second grace period?
5-Are you satisfied with the healing done by DKs? As it stands, DK overhealing increases with boss damage. DKs on hard modes are healing for about the same as DKs just starting in raids, is that satisfactory?
6-Are you content with the current clarity of DK design?
7-Are you satisfied with the signature strike being on such a low use priority?
8-Are you content that DKs are willing to dump 5 talent points for lichborne? Are you content knowing that there is very little to do with the remaining 10 talent points after a DK finishes their talent tree?
9-Are you content with RE and other quirky mechanics that DKs are working with?
10- Above all, are you content with the current DK QoL? DKs have been moaning and groaning about a number of things. Many are trivial. Many just want to be heard. Many don't understand what they should be doing. Does the DK tank class feel polished and smooth to you?
90 Blood Elf Death Knight
11380
11- Are you happy that DKs have to put considerably more resources into their defensive abilities than other tanks?
12- Are you content with how DKs have to choose between threat and healing/mitigation more than other tanks?

While we're at it.
Edited by Cashballer on 3/2/2011 2:26 PM PST
85 Night Elf Warrior
0
While there are some ideas out there to address some basic class issues, it doesn't address a bigger issue. The current DK tanking design too strongly rewards counter-intuitive gameplay while very strongly punishing what would seem like the correct methods.

This is due entirely to the over-emphasis on Death Strike. It is the central pillar around which everything else about DK tanking either sinks or swims, and it's just too much. Worse yet, it is strongly and negatively impact far more so than anything else in any other tank.

Blood Shield Mastery? Not against anything with a -healing debuff you won't.

Then there's the core problem with a compensatory damage "reduction" design. Damage taken 5 seconds ago is in no way, shape, or form indicative of the damage you'll be taking in 5 seconds, any more than that damage is connected to the damage you'll take 2 seconds later. The two are as wholly and utterly unconnected as the current health based shield cap is.

Worse yet, and perhaps the most damning of all, you can't reclaim damage taken when you're DEAD. That seems like a pretty damned important distinction between dks and other tanks. Another tank might survive that fatal hit because their armor and passive reductions cushioned it just enough. The DK does not. He dies because the spike was just large enough to do so. Tell that DK how you're going to compensate him for that fatal spike now.
90 Blood Elf Death Knight
11380
This guy knows what he's talking about

03/02/2011 2:29 PMPosted by Feandel
Blood Shield Mastery? Not against anything with a -healing debuff you won't.

Plus when the boss has a shield up, is out of range, has a miss chance debuff on you, or your expertise and hit are too low (as they should be).
85 Human Death Knight
11920

1- Are you content with the power contained by DS? Right now, that ability accounts for our block and a portion of our armor. Is the design goal of blood to use DS over anything else?
2- Are you content with the timing constraints on a DK? Premature DS can mean a significant block loss, does the fact that DKs are using a mod to try to guess their shields match your goals? Do you feel that Blood has to pay an overly large amount of attention to their resources to maintain their mitigation?
3-Are you content with the punishment for errors in the DK rotation? DKs that mis-spend a F/U rune are out a descent amount of mitigation. Do you envision mistakes costing DKs that much?
4- Applying diseases presents a clear danger when you do it by taking runes away from Death Strike, are you content with DKs actively striving not to put up diseases or striving to time them when there is a 0 second grace period?
5-Are you satisfied with the healing done by DKs? As it stands, DK overhealing increases with boss damage. DKs on hard modes are healing for about the same as DKs just starting in raids, is that satisfactory? Do you think this healing design will scale correctly into future tiers?
6-Are you content with the current clarity of DK design? Many Death Knights are literally playing the class incorrectly and have to use outside sources to learn how to get their mitigation up to par with other tanks.
7-Are you satisfied with the signature strike (Heart Strike) being on such a low use priority?
8-Are you content that DKs are willing to dump 5 talent points for lichborne? Are you content knowing that there is very little to do with the remaining 10 talent points after a DK finishes their talent tree?
9-Are you content with RE and other quirky mechanics that DKs are working with? DKs are able to game RE procs by sitting on their blood runes, forcing additional FU runes for Death Strikes. This goes against the design of Blade Barrier, but more importantly is still more powerful.
10- Above all, are you content with the current DK QoL? DKs have been moaning and groaning about a number of things. Many are trivial. Many just want to be heard. Many don't understand what they should be doing. Does the DK tank class feel polished and smooth to you?


Expanded your questions for clarity.
85 Night Elf Death Knight
8150
03/02/2011 2:58 PMPosted by Communism
7-Are you satisfied with the signature strike (Heart Strike) being on such a low use priority?


Besides the other very good questions, I'm really curious about this one, on single target fights using HS over blood boil makes maintaining blade barrier tougher and can cause it to fall off due to it being dodge/parried/missed. Never using HS (single target or AoE) makes maintaining blade barrier smoother and easier to maintain. Using HS is a detriment to our survival. It really doesn't feel right.
14 Dwarf Hunter
30
I never thought if it that way, so here is hoping something will be thrown our way. Particularly about the raidwall, sanc and tranquility - I wonder what we would be getting? A raid wide blood shield or heal? Can only speculate, but have grown accustomed to nothing.


glyphed Rune tap is what we get/have. and we'll take it and like it.
90 Dwarf Paladin
16185
The Blood Tree is a mess. They took all the tanking talents from the other two trees and just dumped them into blood without much thought or preparation. Heart Strike was the signature move of Blood DPS wasn't it? They felt honorbound to still keep it even when Blood became tank only, so now its largely superfluous despite supposedly being Blood's signature move. And Dancing Rune Blade - they felt honorbound to keep this too, despite its enormous cost and limited utility, and despite the fact Blood DKs now have plenty of cooldowns already.
Community Manager
Are you content with the power contained by DS? Right now, that ability accounts for our block and a portion of our armor. Is the design goal of blood to use DS over anything else?

Death Strike is a centerpiece of the Blood Deathknight arsenal. It’s your core strike, and we expect that’s where most of your runes go. Still, it's easy to over-simplify the mitigation picture. Mitigation is always important for a tank, but its value also varies according to the scenario you're facing. If you’re tanking a hard-hitting boss, or a pack of heavy-hitting lieutenant elites in a dungeon, then survival and minimizing damage are definitely top concerns, and Death Strike is crucial there. But there are plenty of tanking situations where you're not in any danger of suddenly dropping dead from a huge damage spike. You might be rounding up loose mobs, for example, or trying to get very solid aggro on something that needs to be DPS’ed hard. In those cases, using other abilities might help you meet the objective more efficiently, and doing so involves making effective choices as the situation demands.

Are you content with the timing constraints on a DK? Premature DS can mean a significant block loss, does the fact that DKs are using a mod to try to guess their shields match your goals? Do you feel that Blood has to pay an overly large amount of attention to their resources to maintain their mitigation?

We changed Blood Shield to stack cumulatively in 4.0.6 to help ease these constraints.

Are you content with the punishment for errors in the DK rotation? DKs that mis-spend a F/U rune are out a descent amount of mitigation. Do you envision mistakes costing DKs that much?

We’re okay with the way this works out. The deathknight class isn't innately easy to play. We start them at high level and require players to have some familiarity with World of Warcraft (in the form of a higher level character) before they can make one. It's not intended as a class for beginners. That said, while the best DK tank in the world can do some impressive things, we don't expect every player to perform at that level to be a good tank. While it might be challenging to execute perfectly, the rotation is also reasonably forgiving, especially for heroic dungeons and normal raids.

Applying diseases presents a clear danger when you do it by taking runes away from Death Strike, are you content with DKs actively striving not to put up diseases or striving to time them when there is a 0 second grace period?

Outbreak helps with this, and having diseases up helps with threat in general. On the other hand, if you’re specifically in a situation where you've got solid aggro on a mob and you only care about your survival, then it's probably a good idea to prioritize Death Strike over disease reapplication. If you need to handle more than one creature, Pestilence can help by letting you use Blood runes to spread diseases.

Are you satisfied with the healing done by DKs? As it stands, DK overhealing increases with boss damage. DKs on hard modes are healing for about the same as DKs just starting in raids, is that satisfactory? Do you think this healing design will scale correctly into future tiers?

DK healing is intended to scale with incoming damage. A heroic raid boss hits much harder than a normal raid boss and the DK will accordingly self-heal more.
Edited by Daxxarri on 3/2/2011 7:29 PM PST
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