I spend a lot of time writing in my free time. Generally I'll write about what I'm thinking about that day and save it on my desktop. I reformatted yesterday when I got home and WoW happened to be on my mind at the time. Just wanted to share my opinion, since I thought it was relevant to this thread.
Writing is a great way to organize your thoughts about any topic. You can go back and correct errors as you go, so proofreading helps refine your opinion on anything.
It was really written for myself, it doesn't have an introduction. It's supposed to be about where Blizzard went wrong with each spec, how it used to work, and how the spec works now. The class is nothing like what it was.
Now that I'm done reformatting, I kinda wanta login, and I don't want to write about this topic anymore. In other words, I'm done writing about this topic, here's my thoughts.
I changed the font so you can read the textwall if you feel like it.
I think the main point of this post is that it's never worth ruining a whole class over balance changes. It's not that we enjoyed being overpowered - it's that we enjoyed having an interesting class. The class is clunky now and nothing like it used to be.
When PvE/PvP became more serious for other classes, they were given new abilities to compensate. We had abilities taken away. I think things should have been done differently.
Anyway, here it is, thanks. I can't guarantee that there's no typos, I punched it in wordpad because I hadn't installed any software yet.
Where Blizzard Messed Up
Blood used to be the self healing in your face melee spec that had nothing to do at all with diseases. Hysteria broke CC on yourself and partners, Dancing Rune Weapon could do like a million clutch things, and you could heal yourself for a lot using an interesting interacting system involving Vampiric Blood and Rune Tap and Death Rune Mastery. Bursted using a proc guaranteed crit deathcoil system like Nightfall.
Now, Blood scales off diseases in a really idiotic way which is impossible for PvP, even though it originally had nothing to do with diseases. Dancing Rune Weapon has been marginalized in literally every way, with an almost 50% damage and 75% duration reduction, and also doesn't work with non-damaging attacks. Hysteria doesn't break CC on yourself or partners. The nightfall proc was made automatic instead of on press and doesn't crit.
The main strike was changed to Death Strike from Obliterate for some reason as well. You can't keep diseases up with the required rotation; it's impossible. The changes to this spec were a total failure. Also, if Bladestorm had the treatment this ability did in PvP, it would last 1.5 seconds and do half a whirlwind of damage.
This spec originally was an interaction between Icy Touch, Hungering Cold, Howling Blast, and Frost Strike. It was pretty much like a melee frostmage. Now it's an obliterate based dual wield build that doesn't even use ranged attacks.
Howling Blast doesn't crit into Hungering Cold. The interaction between Icy Touch and Howling Blast, which was the whole build, was removed. Howling Blast was heavily nerfed and does horrible damage now, has a cooldown, and was moved to the 51 point talent slot. Icy Touch doesn't do any damage anymore. I don't even bind it as frost now because it wastes procs.
The spec was made to scale with diseases, and like the other two specs, has no disease protection. Because the build was made completely dependant on obliterate instead of ranged attacks, this spec is now useless in PVP. The chain crit mechanic was completely removed and is now on a PPM system. The frost-mage style snare was made worthless to the point where nobody specs into it anymore. Hungering Cold is now extremely easy to counter because it doesn't interact with our damaging mechanics anymore.
DW doesn't work with the build either, because it's too difficult to get reliable burst with two weapons. Two chances to dodge/parry you doesn't help either, and feeds people free damage/rage.
Works alright though if you keep FF up with Rime procs, still inferior to Unholy though. Better to play with a 2H because you can afford to spec into Icy Talons and other advantages like not having to buy three weapons.
This spec went from what I might call a 'melee warlock' to something completely different. Honestly, I don't even know what to call it now.
Originally, this spec worked by doing high AOE pressure to the whole enemy team. It had some pretty good CC and lock down, so it could keep the pressure rolling. It was pretty difficult to attack and pressure a Death Knight, so mobility wasn't as big of a problem as it is now.
The spec worked by spreading diseases, which were better back then, and then igniting that damage with Blood Boil, which had three times the range it does now and scaled with diseases. It had another spell, Unholy Blight, the old 51 point talent, which caused spell knockback, destealthed people, and did really good AOE damage. Diseases do less damage than they used to because they don't scale very well with attack power, and AOE pressure is irrelevant now without Blood Boil, D&D, or Gnaw. HOTS, which are the main reason why 75% of our damage is completely worthless, arn't dispelled by Blood Plague any more.
When Blizzard changed 'diseaseless blood', they decided to implement the same change to the other trees for some reason. We were basically told to use Scourge Strike, which would then scale three times off diseases, making the damage totally insignificant if diseases were completely removed. Still, we did alright, even though we were pretty hard hit by mechanics that were introduced back in vanilla like Abolish Disease and Cleansing Totem. The main reason why we were still OK was that we still did enough damage to kill people if they cleansed too much. Still, we were marginalized in 3s and 5s by the disease change.
Eventually things got worse. Death Knights were too influential in 2s, so the raising people from the dead mechanic was removed. Unholy Blight was deleted.
- Lowered Scourge Strike's damage.
- Made Blood Boil useless and told us to use Blood Strike for reaping instead.
- Made it easier to cleanse diseases.
- Took our 10% parry away from us.
- Made Gargoyle fly on the ground.
- Made Icy Touch do next-to no damage.
- Lowered IBF's damage reduction from 50% to 20%.
- Lowered Bone Shield's damage reduction from 40% to 20%.
- Doubled the cooldown on IBF from one to two minutes, effectively removing our prediction-based stun immunity.
- Put a cooldown on raise dead.
- Took the fear effect away from and lowered D&D damage by 30%.
- Lowered the damage from Scourge Strike by about 10%.
- Put a cap on AMS and AMZ.
- Lowered the damage done by Plague Strike.
- Lowered the snare % on Chains of Ice and fixed the 'stop moving' mechanic and removed the dispel protection.
- Lowered the spread range on Pestilence and removed the damage (spell knockback).
- Lowered the damage added by Sigil of Awareness.
- Lowered the healing from Death Strike by 20%.
- Made Death Pact unable to crit.
- Lowered the charges on Bone Shield.
- Lowered the effectiveness of Frost Presence.
- Lowered the duration of Gargoyle, even though it was a bug, and said it was a tooltip error.
- Made it easier for rogues and warriors to disarm us and made us use way more physical moves(see: blade barrier and ibf and stance changes) making us even more vulnerable to it than before.
- Nerfed WOTF. ;_;
- Removed totemstomping
Still, some of us adapted. We casted Chains of Ice a lot and put some reasonable damage in with Scourge Strike. We played with the two best classes in the game, holding targets in place so they could do the most possible damage. We went with paladins to help with mobility and CC problems. We learned to manually stomp totems with mouseover macros and apply diseases through dispels depending on what was removed and call for abolish poison dispels.
Then, they changed Scourge Strike to physical damage and even lowered the damage of Unholy Blight by 50% (to compensate for the change).
Honestly though, I wouldn't mind the changes so much, it's just that I don't feel like a Death Knight anymore. Blood doesn't feel like Blood. Frost doesn't feel frosty. Unholy doesn't feel evil or like a disease pressure build.
I miss having a good pet as unholy. I think one reason why Gnaw had its cooldown tripled was that they made the spell available on autocast in environments such as BGs. If they removed that from the ability they could lower the cooldown, I think. Deathgrip and Gnaw had great synergy once, and now that's gone.
I miss having cool ranged abilities and an interesting damaging system as frost. I miss all the cool blood-themed healing abilities as Blood, and the Dancing Rune Blade, which used to be really cool. I miss spreading diseases, and AOEing with Blood Boil, D&D, and Unholy Blight. I miss breaking my paladin out of CC with Hysteria. I miss Strangulating a paladin and priest at the same time, and I miss bouncing players around with DRW Deathgrip.
One thing that I think is kinda strange and a prime example of terrible class design is the 'Chains of Ice' problem. The rune system is what keeps this ability under control. Sure, it's being spammed like crazy now, but that's because of our rune system. Our other abilities are worthless. If we were given an ability that did a reasonable amount of damage, I bet Chains of Ice spam would go down by 50%. I just hope they don't make the spell useless before implementing real changes.
I guess the obvious question is: Why did these changes happen? Why would such idiotic changes be introduced?
I think these are the reasons why:
- Raiding, IE tanking and DPS
- Over-responsiveness to uninformed QQ from low-rated players
- Initial class power level too high, and the stigma that resulted
But mostly, this resulted from a terrible Blizzard dev team. According to Blizzard, it's led by Greg Street 'Ghostcrawler', who, to me, seems like an uninformed jerk that refuses to admit that he's wrong about anything. It baffles me that this man has anything to do with game balance for any class, much less our class, which he's failed to get right time and time again. He appears to spend a good portion of his 'dev' time trolling the forums.
Sometimes, you make mistakes. That's understandable. But an unwillingness to go back and say 'Hmm, we can revert this change' is unacceptable.
This has happened repeatedly, with abilities like Unholy Blight, Icebound Fortitude, Blood Boil, and Icy Touch. The initial change is made, it becomes obvious that it was a bad change after the initial stigma passes, and then nothing is done about it. Not enough players care at all about the class because the team totally failed to respond to real problems in season 5.
I think a good first step to 'balance' in Cataclysm would replacing Greg Street. He seems like a nice guy, but there's a lot of people that would probably tackle game balance more seriously. A lot of people play this game. Just my opinion, though.
Anyway, that's what I came up with in about 3 hours of spare time while computer's reformat went through. I hope that you'll respond to or +rep my post if you think it was relevant, or vice-versa. I don't spend a lot of my writing time on this subject, my last topic was actually a short story.
Thought I should share it. Might entertain somebody. Thanks for reading, or not reading.
Flame if you want, but keep in mind that this should be relevant, considering that we're talking about 'fixing DKs', but balance might not even be the problem. Players have shown all over that the class is still viable at high rated. Personally, despite balance, I don't think the class is even fun anymore. Changes need to be made to make the class 'fun', again, more than anything else.
I think a good start would be reverting back to more original mechanics and then balancing them. Design doesn't move forward by deleting spells and mechanics. We either need our old stuff back, or we need new stuff. That's all folks, thanks.