Unholy Death Knights: Mechanical Shortcomings

90 Troll Druid
11810
For targets more than 1, frost performs exponentially better than unholy for each increase in number of targets.. There is no possible AoE situation where unholy performs better.


I'm going to have to correct you there. Unholy AOE in fact performs exponentially better than frost aoe as the number of targets (and the length of the fight) increases. Remember that Unholy diseases and DnD hit much harder than Frost, while Blood Boil is comparable to Howling Blast in its AOE effect. Once set up reaping allows blood boil to be spammed ad nauseum while Unholy's much stronger diseases tick on every target.

You'd be right if you were talking about Frost DW cleave - the masterfrost rotation means that DW's single target rotation will deal a far greater amount of AOE damage, but that is completely different to AOE damage. As an example cleave damage often does nothing more than pad the meters - dual wielding against protectors of the endless is a great example of this. (There are, however, some fights where cleave is fantastic - Garalon is a good example).

I do, however agree with you regarding Unholy scaling, and Frost's burst AOE damage is superior to Unholy's.


Frost's AoE rotation (both DW and 2H) is Outbreak-->Blood Boil-->Death and Decay--> Howling Blast---> Howling Blast--->Blood Boil.... This leaves 1 Unholy Death Rune ... They just repeat HB, HB, BB, BB and FS when full RP...

Unholy's AoE rotation is Outbreak-->Blood Boil--> Death and Decay -->Festering Strike--> Blood Boil--->Scourge Strike-->Scourge Strike--> (wait for runes) ---> Blood Boil --> Blood Boil --> Blood Boil --> Blood Boil..

While both Blood Boil and Death and Decay hits harder for unholy, frost compensates for that with Unholy's non-aoe-GCDs during Festering Strikes and Scourge Strikes. We have no AoE associated with our Frost and Unholy runes except for a 30 sec DnD.. I am not saying Unholy has poor aoe compared to other classes (maybe even one of the best) but it doesnt come par with frost (especially DW)...
Edited by Dìabló on 12/20/2012 7:49 PM PST
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90 Orc Death Knight
12740
Yes, it does. Once we have our full set of Death Runes. Youd be surprised how much harder Unholy diseases hit than Frost's. But that really isnt the point of the thread.

As much as I would like to see Unholy go back to a 2 rune SS spec, it isnt likely to happen. The issues we need fixed are target switching, Dark Transformation ramp up, poor Gary AI (mixed with a high cost) and Timmy AI issues.
Edited by Rothulean on 12/20/2012 8:07 PM PST
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100 Blood Elf Death Knight
FBI
13415
Frost's AoE rotation (both DW and 2H) is Outbreak-->Blood Boil-->Death and Decay--> Howling Blast---> Howling Blast--->Blood Boil.... This leaves 1 Unholy Death Rune ... They just repeat HB, HB, BB, BB and FS when full RP...

Unholy's AoE rotation is Outbreak-->Blood Boil--> Death and Decay -->Festering Strike--> Blood Boil--->Scourge Strike-->Scourge Strike--> (wait for runes) ---> Blood Boil --> Blood Boil --> Blood Boil --> Blood Boil..

While both Blood Boil and Death and Decay hits harder for unholy, frost compensates for that with Unholy's non-aoe-GCDs during Festering Strikes and Scourge Strikes. We have no AoE associated with our Frost and Unholy runes except for a 30 sec DnD.. I am not saying Unholy has poor aoe compared to other classes (maybe even one of the best) but it doesnt come par with frost (especially DW)...

...
Umm... no. Just, no.

Frost's AoE is literally spamming Howling Blast over and over for all Frost and Death runes, with Death and Decay for Unholy runes whenever it comes off cooldown. Frost has permanent Blood->Death rune conversion, leaving no need to Blood Boil. They don't convert Unholy runes into Death runes.

Unholy's AoE is Plague Strike --> Icy Touch --> Pestilence --> Death and Decay --> Festering Strike --> Death Coil/Horn of Winter while waiting for runes --> Scourge Strike --> Festering Strike --> Death Coil while waiting for runes --> Blood Boil spam on Frost/Death runes and Blood/Death runes.

What they have in common is little AoE to spend their Unholy runes on, besides Death and Decay when it's off-cooldown.
Edited by Leviatharan on 12/21/2012 2:58 PM PST
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90 Night Elf Death Knight
12055
12/20/2012 07:41 PMPosted by Blightraven
i would think that crit would certainly be ahead of haste in that scenario - particularly as the Unholy T14h BiS on Simcraft seems to be prioritising crit already.

I'm running scale factors now, Blight. I'll stick those up on a webserver somewhere so people can see them.

With regard to other modifications I know that Rothulean in particular has been trying to see if the current Unholy numbers can be improved by smarter use of diseases - e.g. applying when lei shins + fallen crusader + xuen + potion are up. Not sure if that's something you'd be interested in.

I don't remember offhand if DK diseases count as infinitely refreshable or not. If they do, then it won't matter, because the first Festering Strike you do will reset the AP/Crit/Mastery values used. If they don't, then it would make a difference - not sure how much of one, but I can play around and see.

Edit: I know for Blood, they update AP/Crit values with each reapplication via Blood Boil, but I'm not sure if it does for Unholy.

12/20/2012 07:41 PMPosted by Blightraven
Either way very cool that you could whip up those SC numbers so quickly.

Hardest part was my own fat-fingeredness. The byte for an Unholy rune is 0x0004, the byte for a Blood rune is 0x0001. Guess which number is right above 1 on the number pad?

Spent a good fifteen minutes trying to figure out why everything was behaving so weirdly.
Edited by Krinu on 12/20/2012 8:23 PM PST
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90 Orc Death Knight
12740
[quote="74141566372"]
Edit: I know for Blood, they update AP/Crit values with each reapplication via Blood Boil, but I'm not sure if it does for Unholy.


Im 99% certain it doesnt. Give me a few minutes and I will check.
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90 Orc Death Knight
16140
I don't remember offhand if DK diseases count as infinitely refreshable or not. If they do, then it won't matter, because the first Festering Strike you do will reset the AP/Crit/Mastery values used. If they don't, then it would make a difference - not sure how much of one, but I can play around and see.

Edit: I know for Blood, they update AP/Crit values with each reapplication via Blood Boil, but I'm not sure if it does for Unholy.


I feel like I need to explain DOT rolling a lot more than should be needed.

DOTs are snapshotted when initially applied with your current stats at time of application. These snapshotted stats will remain in effect so long as the DOT isn't refreshed. Festering Strike does not refresh diseases, but rather EXTENDS them, which lets you roll powerful diseases for extended amounts of time. Blood Boil for Blood will refresh diseases on affected targets, updating the snapshot. This is how all DOTs and HOTs have worked since the beginning of the game, and continue to work at this point in time.

It can be a significant gain for Unholy if you can consistently roll buffed diseases.
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90 Night Elf Death Knight
12055
*shrug* Thanks for the clarification. I was working under the assumption from the blue post a while back that said, in essence, "if you can keep it going indefinitely, it resets, if you can't, it doesn't."

ALSO! Simcraft runs from live and with the mod. I haven't done any reforging, so the gear and reforges on the default T14H profile are distinctly suboptimal. Still, they make for a decent demo.

http://173.164.183.244/phydeaux/wow/unholylive_results.html
http://173.164.183.244/phydeaux/wow/unholymod_results.html

TL;DR: Secondary stat priorities are much closer, Crit and Haste swap places, Mastery is still last but does better. Weapon DPS matters about 17% more.
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91 Draenei Shaman
4400
There are lots of ways to fix unholy. Yours is definitely a viable alternative, although I would personally prefer just moving ScS back to 1U1F. I also don't like the lost GCDs, but that could easily be addressed in a number of ways, probably by reducing the Sudden Doom procrate.

Also while your solution does fix rune desyncing, it doesn't touch a number of other major issues like rampup, target switching, the gargoyle proportionally scaling inversely with gear, etc.

It's not a "complete" solution. But it is an alternative that hasn't been suggested before in any detail, so bravo to you for actually thinking up something new.
Edited by Slant on 12/20/2012 9:39 PM PST
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90 Night Elf Death Knight
12055
Thanks, Slant. I didn't really start paying attention to Unholy until last night, when I decided I was getting tired of Frost as my OS and thought I'd give Unholy a try, so I'm not really as versed in all the issues as I could be. I definitely agree it's not a complete solution. The lost GCDs remind me, not fondly, of 2H frost back in Cataclysm, ignoring the gargoyle and pet issues.

Moving ScS to 1U1F would require a nearly complete spec rebuild, although I agree it's probably more elegant if done properly. However, we'd need to change FS to 1B, approximately double the damage of ScS, figure out the inevitable cluster that AoE would be, and try to balance downtime, which would go up. It's definitely doable, and if you have any suggestions for initial values I'll start work on a SimC rebuild with that in mind.

Another thing that I've seen suggested is moving DC back to a 40RP cost and dropping the stacks required for DT to 3. If there's interest, I'll do a build with that, too. I'm personally not fond of it, largely because I find the pet AI to be annoying to depend so heavily on, but if there's interest I'll give it a shot as well.

Edit: Couldn't we fix the Gargoyle scaling problem by having it do Shadow damage instead of Nature? That would keep its value relative to Death Coil the same as we gear up. Forgive me if that's already been suggested - it just popped into my head.
Edited by Krinu on 12/20/2012 9:59 PM PST
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90 Orc Death Knight
12740
Thanks, Slant. I didn't really start paying attention to Unholy until last night, when I decided I was getting tired of Frost as my OS and thought I'd give Unholy a try, so I'm not really as versed in all the issues as I could be. I definitely agree it's not a complete solution. The lost GCDs remind me, not fondly, of 2H frost back in Cataclysm, ignoring the gargoyle and pet issues.

Moving ScS to 1U1F would require a nearly complete spec rebuild, although I agree it's probably more elegant if done properly. However, we'd need to change FS to 1B, approximately double the damage of ScS, figure out the inevitable cluster that AoE would be, and try to balance downtime, which would go up. It's definitely doable, and if you have any suggestions for initial values I'll start work on a SimC rebuild with that in mind.

Another thing that I've seen suggested is moving DC back to a 40RP cost and dropping the stacks required for DT to 3. If there's interest, I'll do a build with that, too. I'm personally not fond of it, largely because I find the pet AI to be annoying to depend so heavily on, but if there's interest I'll give it a shot as well.


Wait, we lose GCDs going back to a 1F/1U SS build?

12/20/2012 09:57 PMPosted by Krinu
Edit: Couldn't we fix the Gargoyle scaling problem by having it do Shadow damage instead of Nature? That would keep its value relative to Death Coil the same as we gear up. Forgive me if that's already been suggested - it just popped into my head.


We suggested that in beta. GC said it didnt "need" to benefit from our mastery to be useful. Thats all we got as a response from then on.

Edit: This doesnt fix the issue, but a big problem we have with GCDs is how much our specs love haste. Unholy gets a ton of it passively and 2H Frost gems haste through the roof. A lot of our GCD issues would be helped (not solved) by moving us more towards crit and mastery. Masterfrost is just a terrible playstyle that needs to be changed.

But thats not a realistic change "mid" expansion. They dont appear to like to force us to reforge...I think.
Edited by Rothulean on 12/20/2012 10:09 PM PST
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91 Draenei Shaman
4400
Yes, changing the Gargoyle to shadow damage is definitely not an original suggestion. :)

My personal favorite way to fix the Gargoyle is to base it on weapon damage, since Unholy has always had an endemic lack of scaling with weapon damage.

Anyway, as you can see in simcraft, both DW and 2H frost are completely GCD-locked already, at ~3.8% and ~5.3% respectively, if I recall correctly. Unholy is the only spec that has what I personally feel to be the right number of free GCDs-- around 15%.

It's cool that you're messing around with the Simcraft code, and I don't want to take that away from you, but really the devs will handle the nitty-gritty number balancing. If you enjoy it more power to you, but the most productive thing we can do is draw attention to the problems and convince the devs that they are problems, at which point they fix them as they see fit-- often they don't follow any community suggestions at all, instead they prefer to take their own path. Sometimes that's a nice surprise for us, and sometimes it's not.
Edited by Slant on 12/20/2012 10:09 PM PST
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90 Night Elf Death Knight
12055
Wait, we lose GCDs going back to a 1F/1U SS build?

No! No, sorry, that wasn't clear. The frost-as-perma-death-runes gets us very close to GCD locked. Going to a 1F/1U build frees a LOT of GCDs. I don't know exactly how many - if I had to guess, I'd say we'd be looking at roughly 25-35% idle time instead of the 15% or so we have now. Possibly more.

We suggested that in beta. GC said it didnt "need" to benefit from our mastery to be useful. Thats all we got as a response from then on.

Well, developers are human like the rest of us - they can be wrong from time to time, too. I assume this is one of the issues they're hopefully addressing with 5.2. Well. I hope it is. It seems sort of obvious. DPS cooldowns shouldn't be a DPS loss to use, unless they only want us to push it when we have excess RP from AMS.

Which wouldn't be the end of the world, mind, I just don't get the idea that that's what it's for.
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91 Draenei Shaman
4400
12/20/2012 10:09 PMPosted by Krinu
The frost-as-perma-death-runes gets us very close to GCD locked. Going to a 1F/1U build frees a LOT of GCDs. I don't know exactly how many - if I had to guess, I'd say we'd be looking at roughly 25-35% idle time instead of the 15% or so we have now. Possibly more.

How do you not know? Didn't you code it into Simcraft?

Anyway, if the change brings us up to ~30% free GCDs, then we can increase the Sudden Doom procrate, which consumes GCDs and more importantly speeds up the pet rampup time. That addresses a major deficiency for Unholy. It would also feel a lot like the old DW unholy, with its machine-gun Death Coils, and that was a heck of a lot of fun.

The current Gargoyle implementation is never a DPS loss to use in T14 gear, but it is a very small DPS gain over skipping it entirely. Try commenting out the Gargoyle in the T14H profile and rerunning the sim to see what I mean.

Euliat proved in late beta that it proportionally scales inversely as gear improves. What that means is that as you gear up in T15 and beyond, the Gargoyle does less and less damage as a proportion of total damage until you reach an inflection point where it's not worth the cost since it doesn't trigger a L75 talent or stack Shadow Infusion on the pet.
Edited by Slant on 12/20/2012 10:14 PM PST
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90 Night Elf Death Knight
12055
It's cool that you're messing around with the Simcraft code, and I don't want to take that away from you, but really the devs will handle the nitty-gritty number balancing. If you enjoy it more power to you, but the most productive thing we can do is draw attention to the problems and convince the devs that they are problems, at which point they fix them as they see fit-- often they don't follow any community suggestions at all, instead they prefer to take their own path. Sometimes that's a nice surprise for us, and sometimes it's not.

Oh, sure, I know. This is for my amusement, not out of any particular desire that my change be the one that gets made. I'm not a WoW developer (although I wouldn't mind doing it as a job, I like these fiddly sorts of balance problems), and my musings on the matter are for my own entertainment. If I happen to come up with the solution to the problem that they later take, cool, it's nice to know that my thinking is in line with theirs. If not, well, priorities and methods of approaching problems differ, and I enjoy seeing how they think these things through, as well.

I did the same thing back during beta when they were iterating super quickly through Frost changes. Anyone remember the 100% bonus RP frost presence? I had a lot of fun playing with that, even though it was changed after a couple weeks.

12/20/2012 10:11 PMPosted by Slant
How do you not know? Didn't you code it into Simcraft?

I'm being really unclear here, sorry -.-

I coded in permanent frost as death runes combined with a Festering Strike that only costs a single blood rune, which leads to a ~4% downtime as Unholy instead of the ~15% that it is on live. I have not coded in a run with Scourge Strike costing 1F and 1U, but some quick napkin math says that we'd see a pretty notable increase in downtime with the change.

Once I take a shower, I'll start working on that as a design, just to see what happens.

Anyway, if the change brings us up to ~30% free GCDs, then we can increase the Sudden Doom procrate, which consumes GCDs and more importantly speeds up the pet rampup time. That addresses a major deficiency for Unholy. It would also feel a lot like the old DW unholy, with its machine-gun Death Coils, and that was a heck of a lot of fun.

True, that's a good side effect of tossing out more death coils. If you spike the SD proc rate much, though, I'd suggest adding a charge system so people aren't required to immediately hit their Death Coil bind or waste tons of DPS. That feels less like fun and more like an obligation, at least to me.

12/20/2012 10:11 PMPosted by Slant
Euliat proved in late beta that it proportionally scales inversely as gear improves. What that means is that as you gear up in T15 and beyond, the Gargoyle does less and less damage as a proportion of total damage until you reach an inflection point where it's not worth the cost since it doesn't trigger a L75 talent or stack Shadow Infusion on the pet.

Yeah, I figured as much, especially since Gary's AP coefficient and Death Coil's are fairly close. A high-mastery Unholy DK can probably push it even faster, but since Mastery is pretty bad (outside of AoE, where it is godlike), few DKs stack it.
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90 Human Death Knight
11775
Can someone confirm the way Pestilence works for me? When I cast Pestilence will the diseases have the same AP etc as the diseases on my target or will they take a new snapshot based on my current level of buffness?

The question I'm really asking is it actually possible to keep fully buffed diseases for the duration of the fight in a situation where its possible to Pestilence off multiple targets?

I'm of the assumption that when Pestilence is cast, it's a new snapshot.
Edited by Hemalador on 12/21/2012 2:02 AM PST
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90 Night Elf Death Knight
12055
12/21/2012 02:00 AMPosted by Hemalador
I'm of the assumption that when Pestilence is cast, it's a new snapshot.

I believe this is the case, however, you'd have to ask Roth or Semmi. They know better than I do.
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90 Orc Death Knight
12740
It's a new snapshot.
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90 Human Death Knight
13165
Even though we are talking about mechanical shortcomings and whatnot, adding death coil to the t14 2pc would be a neat little hotfix buff for now.

Just sayin'
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88 Goblin Warlock
1410
I always find a melee class with perma pet just doesn't feel right. Unholy should be heavy DoT based and Aids spreader

give unholy a CD popping 2 ghouls like locks for dps CD , get rid of gargoyle summon an abomination instead
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