Cataclysm: Official Death Knight Class 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.
Read the whole Cataclysm: Death Knight Class Preview below:
|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.
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.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
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.
Here is a few clarifications answers to some of the questions that have been forwarded to the developers regarding this preview:
Here are a few points of clarification:
Explaining the rune mechanic
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.
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.
Does this mean that important cooldowns won’t require runes? Instead we’ll see things like Strangulate, Bone Shield, Ghoul Frenzy, UA and stuff cost runic power or just be free? They would be incredibly frustrating to use with such long rune cooldowns.
We don’t think we can make them all cost runes. That would be too hard to manage. If we had to guess, some will be runic power and some will just be free. If we did move Bone Shield to Blood, then that one might be okay as a rune since it’s something you do pre-emptively, but we have some more talent tree work to do first before we can really answer that.
A few clarifications answers to some of the questions that have been forwarded to the developers: