Unholy Death Knights: Mechanical Shortcomings

90 Draenei Shaman
4790
Can you still do all that content (dailies, scenarios, dungeons, challenge modes, etc) without a transformed pet? Of course! And if both specs had all that horrible rampup, it would just be a "deal with it" situation. But that is not the case. You have to choose poor performance by speccing Unholy. You're basically hitting yourself in the nuts.

Anyway, how much of that 3% is the gargoyle, and how much is plague strike applying frost fever? I'd guess it's mostly the latter. Also, can you find AE performance improvements at multiple numbers of targets and time to live? How does unholy AE compare to frost when you don't have to waste all that time on festering strike?

With a 3% total performance boost, Unholy should be much closer to frost on single-targets-- close enough that it should be pretty much a wash. AE/cleave is still up in the air.
Edited by Slant on 12/25/2012 9:11 PM PST
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90 Orc Death Knight
12740
Correct, my opinion. Which appears to coincide with blizzards. Just look at the mmo front page, which has numerous questions on topics fairly close to the one you're debating. For example, unholy is worse than frost at dailies? This is likely their response:

You have two talent specializations. Why not have one for DPS? Even if it's a different healing spec, do you really need it at every single moment of the day? It's your choice to go with two healing specs, and that obviously comes with a downside (just as a tank that decides to go with two different tanking specs and argues his DPS is low on that content).

Proceeding to argue that because you run with a dual healing spec there's no content you can do is not going to get you very far because the answer is simple: use a DPS spec for that content.


Essentially, "If x is stronger, go x for dailies."

If you are arguing that it's bad design that you're expected to do damage to defeat your foes (which is what you do on daily quests and scenarios) then I have the feeling we're just disagreeing on a fundamental level: what makes this game an (MMO)RPG.

You can't heal your foes to death (at least not yet), so if you don't want to DPS but want to do dailies, nothing short of divine intervention will help you solve your case. It really sounds like we just disagree on the most fundamental level: how the game should be played on its most basic level.


This addresses your melodramatic example. Basically, if you don't want to do dailies/scenarios/CMs as unholy, go frost. If you don't want to change specs, don't do the content. Don't expect them to balance us around it though. They appear to mainly care about bosses.

My hope is that they only directed that towards dailies. But given the fact that cooldowns differ class to class (3 min CDs for unholy, 1 min for frost, etc etc) for example, I'd imagine it includes CMs. Even if DT was changed to your liking, the difference in cooldown time would still unbalance the specs in the content you're referring to.
Edited by Rothulean on 12/25/2012 9:23 PM PST
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90 Night Elf Death Knight
12055
12/25/2012 09:10 PMPosted by Slant
Anyway, how much of that 3% is the gargoyle, and how much is plague strike applying frost fever? I'd guess it's mostly the latter.

It's hard to exactly quantify because there are several different things working.
- PS applying FF is a slight DPS increase due to PS hitting harder than IT and allowing for a followup ScS instead of requiring a FS.
- Gargoyle being free is a larger DPS increase for two reasons, first, because it can be easily used at the start when heroism/potion/etc. are active, and second because you gain two death coils for each gargoyle usage. Since Gargoyle usually gets used twice (and rarely three) times in a fight, this nets you between 4 and 6 extra death coils,
- Gargoyle dealing shadow damage is a pretty hefty increase with no mechanical changes.

All combined, it's 3%. Gargoyle being free is a bit over 1.5%. PS applying FF is a bit under 0.5%. Gargoyle scaling with mastery is about 1%. Those aren't exact, but they're pretty close.

Edit:
This addresses your melodramatic example. Basically, if you don't want to do dailies/scenarios/CMs as unholy, go frost. If you don't want to change specs, don't do the content. Don't expect them to balance us around it though.

This isn't entirely an accurate comparison, because they've also said they like people to have the freedom to pick what DPS spec they use. We're not asking that Blood be as fast as Frost or Unholy to quest; we're asking that Unholy not be at a disadvantage relative to Frost. It's asking for parity between DPS specs, not between roles.

(I still don't think it's a huge deal, but I'm pretty sure everyone knows this now.)
Edited by Krinu on 12/25/2012 9:23 PM PST
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90 Draenei Shaman
4790
Interesting. Have you had a chance to look at AE yet?

@Roth: Your post hypothesizing what the devs might say is not really worth a direct response. Even if they do come out and say it, guess what? I disagree. I disagree with the devs all the time. I'm sure you do too.

I already acknowledged that Unholy rampup is unlikely to be addressed due to pushback in this thread. That doesn't mean I changed my mind!
Edited by Slant on 12/25/2012 9:27 PM PST
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90 Orc Death Knight
12740

This isn't entirely an accurate comparison, because they've also said they like people to have the freedom to pick what DPS spec they use. We're not asking that Blood be as fast as Frost or Unholy to quest; we're asking that Unholy not be at a disadvantage relative to Frost. It's asking for parity between DPS specs, not between roles.

(I still don't think it's a huge deal, but I'm pretty sure everyone knows this now.)


I just edited my post so you didn't notice it. But even if DT were changed to slants liking, the difference in cooldown times between frost and unholy would become the next issue. PoF still makes for a far superior cooldown in CMs, for example.
Edited by Rothulean on 12/25/2012 9:27 PM PST
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90 Night Elf Death Knight
12055
Not yet, Slant. I'm just setting that up.

Here's the updated 5.2 run: http://173.164.183.244/phydeaux/wow/unholy52_results.html
Here is the 5.1 live results: http://173.164.183.244/phydeaux/wow/unholylive_results.html

12/25/2012 09:24 PMPosted by Slant
I already acknowledged that Unholy rampup is unlikely to be addressed due to pushback in this thread. That doesn't mean I changed my mind!

Not necessarily. They take our views into consideration, but if they think it's a problem, they'll change it. It takes truly massive and nearly unanimous player consensus to get them to make a change they don't fully back, and to be frank, unholy's ramp up has never garnered the same level of passion and unanimity as, say, the hearthstone cooldown has.
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90 Draenei Shaman
4790
Shorter cooldowns are better than long, certainly. But there's a point at which we stop and agree that every spec doesn't have to be identical. It's just that one spec can't have all the strengths and none of the weaknesses.

Even with all the 5.2 buffs, what are Unholy's strengths?

Unholy Strengths
1) Much stronger execute
2) ...

I can't think of a #2, can you?

Unholy is probably better at sustained AE on large numbers of high health targets. But... is there any of that in T15? There wasn't in T14.

Now, thinking of Frost's strengths is easy. It's a long list. What are Frost's weaknesses? Can you think of any? Any at all?

Frost Weaknesses
1) ...
Edited by Slant on 12/25/2012 9:32 PM PST
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90 Night Elf Death Knight
12055
Eugh, I need to go write an AoE action list for Unholy in AoE. Booooo.

Actually, I need to write two, one for 5.1, and one for 5.2. Sigh.

Edit: A downside for Frost is that it suffers heavily from downtime and can't pool resources for when it gets back on target. Gotta love having 97% active time!
Edited by Krinu on 12/25/2012 9:35 PM PST
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90 Orc Death Knight
12740
12/25/2012 09:24 PMPosted by Slant
@Roth: Your post hypothesizing what the devs might say is not really worth a direct response. Even if they do come out and say it, guess what? I disagree. I disagree with the devs all the time. I'm sure you do too.


Sure. I screamed for a cost removal on gargoyle back during beta. I even remember pennyrush chiming in back then and disagreeing. The difference is, I acknowledge a fix. Which this is. This dramatically reduces our initial rampup from ~20 seconds to ~10 seconds and allows us to get the gargoyle out immediately.

The rest of us realize that it's not realistic to expect instant DT the moment a fight starts.

Shorter cooldowns are better than long, certainly. But there's a point at which we stop and agree that every spec doesn't have to be identical. It's just that one spec can't have all the strengths and none of the weaknesses.

Even with all the 5.2 buffs, what are Unholy's strengths?

Unholy Strengths
1) Much stronger execute
2) ...

I can't think of a #2, can you?

Unholy is probably better at sustained AE on large numbers of high health targets. But... is there any of that in T15? There wasn't in T14.

Now, thinking of Frost's strengths is easy. It's a long list. What are Frost's weaknesses? Can you think of any? Any at all?

Frost Weaknesses
1) ...


That's basically what it would require to make the specs equal in the content you're referring to. Frost has cooldowns better suited for CMs. Even if cooldowns were made equal, frost has better burst. If unholy was given burst, frost would still have an advantage because it doesn't rely as much on execute damage.
Edited by Rothulean on 12/25/2012 9:39 PM PST
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90 Draenei Shaman
4790
12/25/2012 09:32 PMPosted by Krinu
Edit: A downside for Frost is that it suffers heavily from downtime and can't pool resources for when it gets back on target. Gotta love having 97% active time!

Indeed, but frost is highly mobile, since a great deal of its damage can come at range from Howling Blast, so that's not a detriment on real fights. The only blocker is spending runic power to proc L75 talents, and you can just use Death Coil if necessary. I would argue that its high mobility compensates for that.

Regarding AE action lists, I never noticed this before but frost actually doesn't have one either.

12/25/2012 09:34 PMPosted by Rothulean
The rest of us realize that it's not realistic to expect instant DT the moment a fight starts.

This is what's called a "Straw Man" argument. You're positing that your opponent said something ridiculous, so you can easily burn it down. It's a fallacy. Don't do that.

As for realism, how much rampup do other melee DPS specs have?

Rogues: Initially 2 GCDs, generate a combo point + SnD. Varies after that depending on spec, but not much.
Ret: 2 GCDs (at range, even), generate a HoPo then Inquisition. A couple seconds of autoattacking to stack Seal of Truth.
Feral: 1 GCD (at range) for Savage Roar (can be applied at 0 CP), but they have a bunch of DoTs to apply also. Maybe 5-7s total.
Arms: 0 rampup
Fury: 0 rampup
WW Monk: 4 1s GCDs, 2 for 4 Chi then RsK and Tiger Palm
Frost DK: 1 GCD, outbreak
Unholy DK: 15 to 20s without a 5 min cooldown (ERW), 10s with ERW

One of the above stands out.

Come to think of it, here's another possible solution-- what if SI worked like Combo Points, and DT was its finisher? So you could DT with less than 5 SI stacks, but you'd only get 6s of duration per stack. That would solve the initial rampup problem quite nicely, and in a way that's already proven to work for other specs.
Edited by Slant on 12/25/2012 9:51 PM PST
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90 Human Death Knight
12540
So back onto QoL issues.

Rune cost of Transform Ghoul, Pillar of Frost, and Strangulate seems a throw back to the old Blood Tap. These abilities imo should be free. It was okay (if not a little clunky) when you used to have a rune in your back pocket (blood tap) but know we don't it seems like a cost that shouldn't be there.

The impact as far as DPS in a raid environment would be minimal. The QoL in PvE would increase (mostly for Frost). It would make DK's better at PvP (mostly the strang). But more than anything, these abilities having a rune cost seems strange and unnecessary to me.
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90 Orc Death Knight
12740
A rune cost removal on strangulate would be a great qol fix for pvp DKs, for sure. As would a cost removal for ghoul gnaw.
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90 Human Death Knight
12540
A rune cost removal on strangulate would be a great qol fix for pvp DKs, for sure. As would a cost removal for ghoul gnaw.


Totally. And taking Gnaw off the GCD
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90 Night Elf Death Knight
12055
12/25/2012 09:38 PMPosted by Slant
Indeed, but frost is highly mobile, since a great deal of its damage can come at range from Howling Blast, so that's not a detriment on real fights. The only blocker is spending runic power to proc L75 talents, and you can just use Death Coil if necessary. I would argue that its high mobility compensates for that.

It does, sort of, but Frost has a REALLY hard time fueling Death Coil. 25RP versus 40? Ouch.

Plus, for 2H - which most Frost DKs are - HB doesn't hit that hard due to running low mastery and relying on Obliterate for damage.

12/25/2012 09:38 PMPosted by Slant
Regarding AE action lists, I never noticed this before but frost actually doesn't have one either.

Yeah. I am annoyed. I have to go write one now, which means lots of conditional clauses for whether or not the DK is using roiling blood, rune tap, plague leech, or unholy blight.

Aughlblarghlaugh.

A rune cost removal on strangulate would be a great qol fix for pvp DKs, for sure. As would a cost removal for ghoul gnaw.

YES.
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90 Draenei Shaman
4790
Why do you say most DKs are 2H? DW is better. Are 1H weapons going to SMF warriors or something?
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90 Orc Death Knight
12740
Edit: A downside for Frost is that it suffers heavily from downtime and can't pool resources for when it gets back on target. Gotta love having 97% active time!

Indeed, but frost is highly mobile, since a great deal of its damage can come at range from Howling Blast, so that's not a detriment on real fights. The only blocker is spending runic power to proc L75 talents, and you can just use Death Coil if necessary. I would argue that its high mobility compensates for that.

Regarding AE action lists, I never noticed this before but frost actually doesn't have one either.

The rest of us realize that it's not realistic to expect instant DT the moment a fight starts.

This is what's called a "Straw Man" argument. You're positing that your opponent said something ridiculous, so you can easily burn it down. It's a fallacy. Don't do that.

As for realism, how much rampup do other melee DPS specs have?

Rogues: Initially 2 GCDs, generate a combo point + SnD. Varies after that depending on spec, but not much.
Ret: 2 GCDs (at range, even), generate a HoPo then Inquisition. A couple seconds of autoattacking to stack Seal of Truth.
Feral: 1 GCD (at range) for Savage Roar (can be applied at 0 CP), but they have a bunch of DoTs to apply also. Maybe 5-7s total.
Arms: 0 rampup
Fury: 0 rampup
WW Monk: 4 1s GCDs, 2 for 4 Chi then RsK and Tiger Palm
Frost DK: 1 GCD, outbreak
Unholy DK: 15 to 20s without a 5 min cooldown (ERW), 10s with ERW

One of the above stands out.

Come to think of it, here's another possible solution-- what if SI worked like Combo Points, and DT was its finisher? So you could DT with less than 5 SI stacks, but you'd only get 6s of duration per stack. That would solve the initial rampup problem quite nicely, and in a way that's already proven to work for other specs.


The 5.2 changes reduce it to about 10-12 seconds. That's only slightly longer than feral Druids. With erw, maybe 5 seconds. Any other changes might require a change to our rotation (in blizzards eyes), which they generally save for new expansions. You and I might disagree, but blizzard makes the final decisions.
Edited by Rothulean on 12/25/2012 10:15 PM PST
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90 Draenei Shaman
4790
Really? How do you generate 160 runic power in 12 seconds? And remember that you only have 6 GCDs left after casting Death Coil 5 times and Dark Transformation once. Each of those 6 GCDs would have to generate 27 runic power, which is obviously not possible.

Now that I think about it, the 10s figure is obviously bogus even with ERW.
Edited by Slant on 12/25/2012 10:18 PM PST
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90 Night Elf Death Knight
12055
12/25/2012 09:52 PMPosted by Slant
Why do you say most DKs are 2H? DW is better. Are 1H weapons going to SMF warriors or something?

DW is like half a percent better, and it's easier to get one two-hander than two one-handers.
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90 Night Elf Death Knight
12055
AUGH. Freaking action lists. Anyone know a good way to check if an add has a DoT?
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90 Orc Death Knight
12740
You're right, it does still take about 12-15 seconds. Which further strengthens the point: lowering that may require changes blizzard isn't comfortable making mid expansion. Blizzard could have made the changes you describe, but obviously, they didn't. My guess is that there's a reason.

You don't agree, so stick with frost.
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