Here we go again folks! It's about time for the 6.2 version. Everything is different now and 2h is taking the back seat while DW appears to be the best early in the season with amazing sustained pressure and the ability to mow plate wearers into the ground!
TLDR: See my 6.2 frost stat priority and gear suggestion at the bottom.
Jan 13, 2015 - Haste rating effect buffed by 11.1%, Icy Talons buffed to 20% haste, up from 5%. Note that tooltips in the game are not updated yet (possibly requires a client patch), but I can confirm the changes are live due to seeing them on my stat sheet. See edits in green throughout the post.
July 12, 2015 - Updated for 6.2. See edits in blue throughout the post!
(*) means I assume it's correct if not bugged but I didn't test it. I'll put this next to things I take for granted.
(**) means I actually tested this to prove that it is indeed this way. For brevity, I didn't outline how, but I can if requested.
(?) means I'm not sure, but if someone could test this somehow, it would be great
Let's start with seconday stat ratings and how much damage they contribute.
Rating points required for 1% increase (** tested this myself):
Let's take a realistic but nice looking number of how much of each stat you could stack, say 1000 rating points.
For 1000 rating points you would get:
In addition, most stats scale linearly with the exception of stats that add flat % bonus damage ( Versatility and Mastery), which become more and more powerful as you add other stats.
NOTE: Crit and MS are nerfed in PvP! This may be obvious to some, but a lot of people don't take this into account when calculating stat priorities! Each Crit does 150% damage instead of 200%, and there is only one chance at a 30% MS instead of two chances. This also applies to heals!
Taking the nerfs into account, let's do an average damage increase you would get from each stat if you stacked 1000 rating worth. I will not account for burstiness here, because getting a string of lucky crits of multistrikes can always happen, but it will even out in the end, and you don't want to rely on pure luck to win arena matches.
Haste (13.86% (given infinite uptime) DPS increase per 1000 rating points):
Haste is a good stat for frost and provides excellent boosts to sustained DPS. Here's why:
Icy Talons(10% and 20%) and Unholy Aura(5%) apply multiplicatively, all haste you equip is getting multiplied by 1.1*1.20*1.05 = 1.386.
Let's take an example:
I have 15.50% base haste with nothing equipped. Icy Talons gives 10% flat, plus an additional 10% modifier on every other haste effect except Unholy Aura for some reason. Unholy Aura gives 5% flat, plus an additional 5% modifier on every other haste effect. This gives 10 (icy talons) + 5 (unholy aura) + 10*0.05 (unholy aura bonus to icy talons base 10%) = 15.50. I am an NE so I get 1% Haste at night, but I did this test during the day where I did not have that 1% buff to Haste. I also did the test at night and the numbers I see are consistent.
Icy Talons (recently buffed) also adds 20% more of the equipped haste stat.
When you add Unholy presence on top, it adds yet another factor, multiplying (not adding to) every source of haste by another 10 or 20% (depending on spec), as well as adding its own 10 or 20% base amount.
1000 Haste rating / 90 pts per % rating * 1.386% extra for Frost DKs = 15.4% Haste, but let's use 15% for the sake of example since it's a nicer number.
- 15% haste means 15% faster attack speed, which means 15% more auto-attack damage (**).
- 15% haste also means 15% more Killing Machine (KM) procs (**) due to increased attack speed.
- 15% haste also means 15% faster rune regeneration (**), meaning that (for ex) over 100 seconds, a rune would fully cycle 11.5 times instead of 10 if you depleted it instantly every time it came back.
- Haste does NOT affect the GCD because it's already capped at 1 second (**).
- Haste does NOT affect diseases (**).
- Haste does NOT affect Conversion, or Breath of Sindragosa (BoS), or any skill that says it ticks "every X seconds".
- Haste does not fully kick in immediately once you start attacking. At first you will get faster auto-attacks, so about 2.6-3 seconds after you attack, you will get a second auto-attack that will be sooner with more haste. But after that, it will take around 7 seconds for runes to start coming back due to higher haste.
- Haste does not affect diseases. From my tests, diseases seem to compose at most 10% of my DPS. I don't personally think it's worth noting spread damage from having it on multiple targets as Frost spec. The damage is so pitiful that it will not factor into you winning games. You are not a rot spec.
- Haste does not affect the GCD.
- Haste does not affect Breath of Sindragosa while it's up, so it will not make it burst faster. However, it will make your runes come back faster, which might allow BoS to stay up longer due to the extra runic power you will have. This only applies for 2h because BoS is bad as DW.
- Haste can at most affect the recharge of 3 runes simultaneously. If you don't have one rune of each type depleted, then Haste's contribution is being reduced. If you have 2 runes recharging, then you're getting 66.7% of Haste's effect. One rune is 33.3% etc.
- Haste is uptime dependent. (See below for uptime explanation) This means that if you can't keep one of each rune type constantly on cooldown, then you won't get all of its DPS increase.
- Haste also adds some utility because you will be able to use Icy Touch more often for purges, plus more uses of Chains of Ice, and you will have more RP for interrupts, Conversion, and Dark Simulacrum.
- I also see a lot of people saying that if you have a crappy connection, Haste is worse. This may be real if you lose some time after runes come off cooldown. Try switching to Unholy presence and feel the effects of 10% more haste. Imagine that effect in Frost presence where you don't lose the RP gen, and see if it would be better for you.
- There is concern that there's such thing as too much haste. This is true to an extent. As you stack more and more haste, Versatility and Mastery (DW only) become more powerful, so you don't want to stack haste. You just want some of it.
Crit (3.64% DPS increase per 1000 rating points):
Yes, Crit is really bad, and probably the worst stat for Frost, including DW. Here's why.
1000 rating / 110 rating per % = 9.09 Crit chance for 1000 rating.
So we are adding a 9.09% chance to do 50% additional damage, meaning on every attack that can crit we are adding 4.545% damage.
- Diseases can Crit! Actually all damage a DK does can Crit! (*)
- But there's a catch: Killing Machine. KM guaranteed Crits means the your Crit is useless when KM procs! Based on my tests, about half of my Oblits and Frost Strikes are used when KM is up. If you are really good at managing your resources, it might be more than half, but let's assume half for now. On my tests, my Frost Strikes and Oblits (2h or DW) combined do between 40-50% of my overall damage no matter if I'm bursting, or just normally DPSing. So that means that if half my oblierates/frost strikes don't use KM, then my Crit is not being used half the time, so the real Crit contribution is more around 4.545% * 80% = 3.64%.
As Blizzard themselves have said, Crit and MS are equal, even in PvP.
1000 rating / 66 rating per % = 15.15% MS chance for 1000 rating.
So we are adding an 15.15% chance to do 30% additional damage, so by simple math: 15.15% * 30% = 4.545% damage increase.
- Every attack can MS, including diseases. I am not sure if Death Strike healing can MS (?), but I am pretty sure that Conversion cannot (?).
- Multistrikes can crit! And KM procs (if they proc MS), will automatically Crit on the MS proc.
For 2h Mastery is kinda weird and hard to calculate, but it proved to be pretty crap in 6.1. Now in 6.2, DW is heavily favored due to the savage buffs to Frost Strike and Howling Blast. So much so, that Mastery is easily the best stat for DW.
1000 rating / 55 rating per % = 18.18% Mastery for 1000 rating.
- This means 18% increased Frost and Shadowfrost damage (**). But how much of our damage is actually Frost or Shadowfrost?
- For 2h: According to my tests, I get between 25-40% Frost damage (when doing regular dps), averaging around 33%. Strangely enough, this applies even when doing crazy burst with BoS, because you are not using Frost Strike.
- For 2h: So therefore 18.18% * 33% = ~6% damage increase per 1000 Mastery. This beats Crit and MS assuming at least 25% of your damage is Frost or Shadowfrost, which is a pretty safe assumption.
- For DW: According to my tests, I get between 67-70% Frost or Shadowfrost damage (when doing regular dps).
- For DW: Therefore 18.18% * 67% = ~12.2% damage increase per 1000 Mastery.
This is the easiest one to calculate. This is a great stat because it offers healing and defense bonuses.
1000 rating / 130 rating per % = 7.69% Versatility for 1000 rating.
- 7.69% Versatility means 7.69% more damage across the board on all damage DKs do (*).
- 7.69% Versatility means 7.69% more healing on Deathstrike, and other heals that are not %life based. Versatility does not increase Conversion healing!(**)
- 7.69% Versatility also means 3.85% less damage taken from all sources (*).
- The PvP target dummy at the Glad Sanctum takes double damage from crits instead of 50% more - probably a bug. Multistrikes are also causing 2 strikes instead of 1.
I didn't test anything for Strength, but it almost never overlaps with secondary stats, so not much to discuss here. Even if it does, Str gets so many insane %-based bonuses from DK passives and procs that it easily outdoes the other stats (*).
Putting it all together:
- All the numbers are for 1000 rating in isolation. Some may wonder if it changes when you throw all the stats together and in different amounts. It does make a difference for % damage increase stats like Mastery and Versatility, but you need thousands of rating points to see a difference. I once graphed it out and found the sweet spots and everything, but it's not worth showing here. I think the conclusion is: stack % damage stats and just get some of the rest while avoiding crappy stats like Crit.
- Strengh is most likely the best stat in all cases, unless someone can prove otherwise.
- For 2H: Haste and Versatility are both really good. Haste is better in terms of pure math, but Vers benefits your early burst more (i.e. the first 7-8 seconds of DPS after starting with full runes). We are looking at 13.86% more DPS (but not in the first few seconds of damage) vs 7.69% more DPS (active at all times). Haste's benefits will only fully start showing up after runes start coming off cooldown. During the initial burst, you will only gain the increased auto-attacks and KM procs. Versatility does have the healing and damage reduction benefits, though they are less important for DKs compared to the damage benefit, and Haste has some built-in survivability too due to the rune regen for Death Strike, and extra RP for Conversion. This could make a great discussion to see which is better, Haste or Vers. Looking at the DK gear though, it looks like you can usually get them both together. If your connection sucks, or you think that Haste feels worse when you play, go for Vers since it is by far the best other choice.
- For DW: Mastery is hands down the best, followed by Versatility due to the % damage increase nature. Crit and MS remain crap, and Haste is somwhere in the middle. Haste is nice to have, but not nice to stack.
- I have studied the uptime requirements of Haste and here's what I see: you are getting 100% of Haste's effect if you constantly have at least one rune of each type on cooldown. That is, you must have at least 1 death rune, 1 frost rune, and 1 unholy rune on cooldown. Haste also increases autoattack speed, but most of the benefit is in the runes, not the autoattack. It's probably common knowledge that only one rune of each type can be recharging at a time (if not, see Haste section above). Haste DPS is only worse than Versatility if you are sitting on
two runes of the same typetwo rune pairs for a significant period of time. I have been checking my runes for a few weeks now, and I am almost never sitting on two rune pairs while in combat (except at the beginning when all runes are up, but it takes only 1 GCD to put enough runes on cooldown). Even if you're kited, you are still using icy touch for purges (thanks Scoot), chains of ice, howling blast, etc and using up those runes.
- There is no doubt that for 2H, Vers is better for bursting. Haste doesn't help you much if you're blowing ERW and Plague Leech.
- Crit is flat out the worst from the numbers.
So the stat prio for 6.2 DW Frost in my opinion is the following ('>>' means much better).
Str >> MA >> Vers > Haste > MS >> Crit
The stat prio for 6.2 2h Frost remains:
Str >> Vers > Haste > MS >= Mastery >> Crit
Go DW this season. The pressure it puts out is unreal! Hope they don't nerf it...
Here is my best attempt at putting together a gearset that satisfies the above.
Note: For DW I'm recommending the 4 piece bonus, but I'm not 100% sure that it's the way to go. You gain 10% more frost damage, but you're trading around 5-6% DPS and 1% damage reduction for it. If it turns out that 4 piece bonus uptime isn't close to 100% during bursts (uptime seems pretty good from my experience), then we should ditch all the set pieces and stack mastery.
Armor option 1: 4 set pieces
Helm: Set helm
Shoulders: Set shoulders
Gloves: Set gloves
Legs: Set pants
Armor option 2: 2 set pieces
Shoulders: Set shoulders
Legs: MA/Haste (you can take the MA/Vers pants but haste is really low with this setup so I prefer the Haste)
Trinket1: Str with on use Vers
Trinket2: If human the alternate Str trinket or Vers+proc Str one. If any other race, the 800 Vers stun breaker trinket.
Weapon Enchants: Fallen Crusader mainhand, Razorice offhand
Final projected bonuses:
+8.4% MS option 1, +12.7% option 2
+43.3% MA option 1, +47.2% option 2
+11.5% Vers option 1, +13.5% Vers option 2 (with 800 Vers trinket)
+7.4% Crit option 1, +2.9% option 2
+15.5% Haste option 1, +11.1% option 2