Frost Death Knight in 7.3

Class Development
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The next PTR build should have a round of changes aimed at addressing various concerns with Frost. The major issues we're focused on are:
  • The spec is too dominated by Breath of Sindragosa (which has knock-on effects on talent choice throughout the tree).
  • Breath of Sindragosa, when you do use it, can be maintained for far too long. In addition to causing the talent/legendary lock-in around it, it means the demand for continuous time on target is very strict for extended periods of time.
  • The spec has many talents/legendaries that (individually or taken together) flood it with resources. Breath contributes to this by encouraging you to take all of them, but it's also a problem on its own.
  • Talent balance generally has to be reviewed, especially after addressing all of the time.
  • We're trying to limit the scope of the changes in the patch, to address the above without opening up the core rotation for changes.


  • All damage abilities increased by 27%
  • Hungering Rune Weapon (L58) and Glacial Advance (L100) swapped positions
  • Breath of Sindragosa damage increased by 10%

We want to preserve the identity of Breath of Sindragosa, including the steady resource drain being the main limiting factor, and the expression of skill in optimizing around that. So in trying to avoid less natural solutions like capping the duration or redesigning how it works, we're trying to limit the talent/legendary synergies that cause huge variance in how long Breath can be maintained. And breaking the Breath of Sindragosa/Hungering Rune Weapon interaction, on its own, goes a very long way toward making Breath's duration more reasonable again. DPS adjustment for the change is being put mostly into the baseline spec rather than into the power of Breath, because it's currently so far ahead of other setups.

  • Murderous Efficiency (L56->L57), Frozen Pulse (L57->L90), and Runic Attenuation (L90->L56) swapped positions
  • Hungering Rune Weapon duration 12s (from 15s) and additionally grants 20% haste
  • Bugfix: Hungering Rune Weapon correctly generates a Rune every 1.5s instead of every 1s
  • Murderous Efficiency chance 50% (from 65%)
  • Horn of Winter cooldown 45s (from 30s)
  • Koltira’s Newfound Will generates 1 Rune (from 2) and now causes Obliterate to deal 10% extra damage

Using even a small subset of all of the above effects causes the rotation to be quite flooded. They are all being either weakened in power (with compensation to the baseline spec), or given non-resource-granting effects for part of their value. In addition, the two most egregious offenders (Murderous Efficiency and Horn of Winter) can no longer be taken together.

Overall, there should now be a much broader set of talent combinations that produce a good-feeling rotation in which there are resources to do something on most GCDs, but you're still able to spend them down. Including, for example, during Hungering Rune Weapon, which is overly hectic or frustrating right now when you can't spend all of its resources.

In addition, the talent rearrangement puts Frozen Pulse on a row with two predominantly AoE talents, which is a better home for it. The Frozen Pulse/Icy Talons ("machinegun") synergy is preserved, but can no longer be taken alongside Runic Attenuation as well.

NB: The Hungering Rune Weapon bug may be fixed on live shortly as well, after we test the fix and analyze the impact.

  • Icy Talons bonus 15% (from 10%)
  • Shattering Strikes bonus 60% (from 40%)
  • Freezing Fog effect 20% (from 30%)
  • Obliteration duration 10s (from 8s)
  • Frozen Pulse damage reduced by 39%

Minor talent rebalancing to match the above rearrangements and talent changes; numbers are likely to be updated as the rest of the changes settle into place.

EDIT: Added Frozen Pulse change which was missed when I copied changes into the post earlier. As with the other changes, this is meant to make Frozen Pulse balanced within its new row, and meant to be accounted for in the overall DPS increase above.

Breath can retain its role as a talent that encourages building around it to some degree (and its synergies with things like Runic Attenuation, Koltira's Newfound Will, and Seal of Necrofantasia are preserved). But without the overpowering Hungering Rune Weapon interaction, there is a lot more room for other builds to compete, and we've buffed the spec's baseline damage a great deal to shift the landscape towards all talents being closer together in DPS. As always, we'll continue to examine all of these changes based after people can start to test them on PTR.
Honestly not sure why we see changes like these to classes that have multiple DPS specs over others with taglines "7.3" and we need changes to some here and now. I feel for Ret/WW who are down with frost but yet don't have any alternative to switch to. We have no ETA on Ret/WW changes and they basically get shafted from raids? Feel like solo specs should have more immediate reaction and push to be fixed. I know different teams etc but still you would think we would get announcements about them rather than this first.
Horn of winter off GCD please
Well about time, BoSindragosa build is heavily based on the necro ring and the bracers just make it even more powerful.. I'm start thinking to move to unholy on my dk personally since the game play for frost didnt move for the last 2-3 patches and it's starting to get boring in my opinion.

I hopefully this might open new changes to play some other build and not the "default" build otherwise you're not performing well..
calm it down bulb im sure they will work on ret and ww as well. frost needs changes im tired of everyone having the mindset that "if a class has multiple dps specs one can suck for a while" why? why cant both be competitive? what if someone like myself doesnt like unholy and is a true frost main? you want me to suffer for multiple raid tiers so unholy can be top like you said? i dont find that fair at all.
Rearranging a lot of the talents really does nothing with the choices, GA and RA are basically dead talents right now regardless of where you place them.
07/14/2017 05:56 PMPosted by Artrin
calm it down bulb im sure they will work on ret and ww as well. frost needs changes im tired of everyone having the mindset that "if a class has multiple dps specs one can suck for a while" why? why cant both be competitive? what if someone like myself doesnt like unholy and is a true frost main? you want me to suffer for multiple raid tiers so unholy can be top like you said? i dont find that fair at all.


A) Its not coming till 7.3 competitiveness is a non factor as who knows the DPS landscape in 7.3

B) You ain't suffering? I mean hell NH was yesterday, sorry you had to step off your throne for a little bit. Says more about the class design process how you went from first to last more then simply balance stuff.

C) Nothing is fair but atleast we have an out in an expansion that punishes you for playing alts. Feelsbadman for solo spec classes. I played frost when it was OP, playing UH when its OP. Gotta stay current if "competitiveness" matters to you anyways. If not play your lower tier spec its your call
07/14/2017 05:56 PMPosted by Artrin
calm it down bulb im sure they will work on ret and ww as well. frost needs changes im tired of everyone having the mindset that "if a class has multiple dps specs one can suck for a while" why? why cant both be competitive? what if someone like myself doesnt like unholy and is a true frost main? you want me to suffer for multiple raid tiers so unholy can be top like you said? i dont find that fair at all.


I don't think anyone would suggest that one spec be great and others "suffer. I think it's simply a matter of prioritization. It seems logical that if you have limited resources to throw at a problem then you start with the spec that has no other option other than reroll to an entirely new class.

This, of course, assumes that resource allocation is a concern To begin with.
Interesting changes. Really hope this opens up more build options. I do enjoy breath but its cookie cutter spec was literally the best spec for every situation. Only thing that mattered was what legendaries you had.

Getting Glacial Advance and Obliteration at the same time should make people who don't like the breath spec quite happy.
Thanks for the attention. Are any changes planned for the near future to hold us over?

Also Runic Attenuation is more of a machine gun build talent, whereas breath usually takes Gathering Storm. Moving it onto the same row as icy talons damages that build somewhat.
One of the big issues with the obliteration talent is its scaling inversely with gear (primarily Crit chance). This is rooted in the Killing Machine procs. Any or all of these changes would go a long way in bringing obliteration up to par as a legitimate raiding talent.
  • Killing Machine procs (especially during obliteration) should also make obliterate (and frostscythe if talented) to do additional % damage based upon your critical chance as frost.
  • Allow Killing Machine procs to stack up to 2. Preventing wasted procs from occuring during obliteration.
  • Have some interaction for skill in the rotation. Talents like Frozen pulse and Avalanche could be tied into actual mechanics that feel less passive.
I'm happy with any changes that make the spec less reliant on the BoS build. It always felt like an almost unintended playstyle similar to the double ice lance builds. You find he one way to maximize the gimmick. BoS didn't require network tweaking or anything like that but it never felt natural, especially for those who enjoyed the MG style of play.
See, this is why devs now interact less and less with the community. Address certain concerns and you get people hijacking the thread with a completely irrelevant topic. Little feedback on how the changes are good or bad occur because people prefer to !@#$% about how their spec isn't good right now.
07/14/2017 06:08 PMPosted by Koralygos

Also Runic Attenuation is more of a machine gun build talent, whereas breath usually takes Gathering Storm. Moving it onto the same row as icy talons damages that build somewhat.


That's the whole point, bud. They're trying to break apart the talent synergy.

I agree that having one build and one build only work for everything was a problem and Frost does need the kind of flexibility with talents that UH has right now. But that being said this feels a bit like taking a sledgehammer to a nut. In particular having HRW and Breath share a talent row feels honestly strange to me, because on live, outside of BoS you just don't take HRW. If you're playing with Obliteration or Glacial Advance, you're much better served taking Icecap or Avalanche. Basically HRW is good because of BoS, and BoS to an extent is good because of HRW. So by putting them in the same row, you're basically turning HRW into a dead talent. No one will ever play with it if they can't use it in tandem with Breath, and that's namely because as a CD ERW is mostly useless because Frost doesn't really need to be periodically flooded with resources, unless you're playing BoS. And sure, having a pseudo-lust effect added might make it appealing on the surface, but then I have to ask, what's the point of having a haste spike attached to a surge in resources that can't even be spent fast enough? All it does at that point is increase our attack speed, which is already accomplished by Icy Talons if you're playing MG--not that you'd take HRW for MG anyway bc the whole point of Frozen Pulse, which is the other basic component of the playstyle necessitates having your runes in a constant state of flux to benefit the most from it, so having this resource-flodding CD runs counter to that.
Glad to see these changes! Now i can focus on my 904 frost dk to :D
First thank you, frost dks need changes, so thank you.

That being said off the top of my head:

10sec obliteration is a step in the right direction but you still have the issue of wasted rime procs during obliteration.

The nerfed murderous efficiency and Horn of winter. If I remember correctly these abilities where buffed from their previous incarnation yet we are returning to the old "weaker" Horn of winter and murderous efficiency- why?

Is it possible to revert the nerf to thronebreaker trait? (Though maybe the 27% damage buff makes up for it)
Holding out hope for a Ret Paladin post like this one.
why is obliteration going to 10 sec to should be changed to stacks of KM so when we get CC'd we wont lose the procs.

again you listen to our feedback and go your own way with it.
07/14/2017 06:59 PMPosted by Jovey
Holding out hope for a Ret Paladin post like this one.


Havoc was told it was going to be receiving major overhauls for an entire PTR cycle. They delivered on none of the proposed changes and left it worse off than it was before. Better to deal with the mess you have now than deal with the ramifications of fickle and incompetent class devs.

Side note, frost does need the help, so I'm glad at least someone seems to care about that spec.

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