Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Patch 3.2 goes live today

We speculated last week that patch 3.2 would go live today. Low and behold it is, and there are a ton of changes that I'm sure we'll be discussing in the very near future. Obviously the first such are the changes (nerfs) to the Death Knight class. I've spent the last few nights doing research and spending some time thinking about what spec I might want to switch to after today. I didn't get onto the PTR to check any of this out personally (I hate the laggy PTR and having to run an entirely new client to get there), so all I have to go on at this point is what I've been reading and spreadsheets.

I switched to Unholy several months ago for raiding and have more or less come to enjoy it. As many of the "changes" to the DK class are being visited upon the Unholy tree I obviously am not going to be able to simply remain with the same spec and doing things the way I was before. Since Scourge Strike got nerfed (WHY?????) and the nice changes to Blood Strike got rolled back (without them buffing Scourge Strike again to account for it I might add) it looks like I might have to dip into the frost tree to buff shadow and frost damage (this spec) in order to make up for it. I'll end up losing attack power, crit on some hits, and raw damage with two-handed weapons to do it though. What's worse is I'm reading that because of the nerf to Scourge Strike, Unholy Obliterate builds are actually scaling better now, but require 20%+ armor penetration. I'm sitting at 14.53% at the moment, so it would take a little work before I could switch to an Oblit build. And that of course is contingent upong Blizzard not buffing Scourge Strike again soon to change that.

Death Knights

  • Due to significant talent changes, all death knight talents will be reset for players.
  • Blood Plague: Damage done increased by 15%.
  • Chains of Ice: Now reduces movement by 95% instead of 100%. The main effect of this change will be that targets of Chains of Ice will not have to re-issue a movement command to continue moving.
  • Frost Fever: Damage done increased by 15%.
  • Frost Presence: 10% bonus health reduced to 6% bonus stamina.
  • Frost Strike: This ability can now be dodged, parried, or blocked. Weapon damage bonus reduced to 55%, down from 60%.
  • Icebound Fortitude: Cooldown increased to 2 minutes.
  • Talents
    • Blood
      • Bloody Strikes: This talent now provides 5/10/15% increased damage to Blood Strike instead of 15/30/45%.
      • Dancing Rune Weapon: This ability now has a fixed duration of 12 seconds (which can still be modified by its glyph) and a fixed cost of 60 runic power.
      • Veteran of the Third War: Stamina bonus reduced to 1/2/3%.
    • Frost
      • Blood of the North: Reduced to a 3-point talent. Increases Blood Strike and Frost Strike damage by 3/6/10%. There is now a 33/66/100% chance whenever you hit with Blood Strike or Pestilence that the Blood Rune will become a Death Rune when it activates.
      • Lichborne: Duration reduced to 10 seconds, and cooldown reduced to 2 minutes.
      • Threat of Thassarian: New 3-point talent. When dual-wielding, your Death Strikes, Obliterates, Plague Strikes, Blood Strikes and Frost Strikes have a 30/60/100% chance to also deal damage with your off-hand weapon. Off-hand strikes are roughly one half the effect of the original strike.
      • Toughness: This talent now grants 2/4/6/8/10% armor instead of 3/6/9/12/15%, placing it in line with similar abilities of other classes.
    • Unholy
      • Desecration: This talent has been reduced to 2 points for 25/50% snare and no longer increases damage done by the death knight. It has also been moved one tier earlier in the tree and its spell effect has been made more transparent.
      • Desolation: New talent. This talent is in the position formerly occupied by Desecration. It causes Blood Strikes to increase all damage the death knight deals by 1/2/3/4/5% for 12 seconds.
      • Scourge Strike: Weapon damage bonus reduced to 40%, down from 45%. Damage increased by 10% per disease on the target, down from 11%.
      • Summon Gargoyle: The gargoyle now flies lower to the ground, making it susceptible to melee attacks. This ability now has a fixed duration of 30 seconds and a fixed cost of 60 runic power.
      • Unholy Blight: This talent has been redesigned. It no longer deals damage to nearby targets. Instead, when you deal damage with Death Coil, the target will take periodic damage for 10 seconds equal to 20% of the damage done by Death Coil. This damage accumulates in the same way as Ignite and Deep Wounds.
Of all the changes, the Unholy Blight change I think was the most unwarranted. That change is definitely going to take a bit of a bite out of my AOE damage capability. The Scourge Strike nerf is not very large, but large enough to wonder why it was made in the first place. It certainly wasn't in the same league as Frost Strike, which got a nerf in the last patch (again, attributable from arena whining), so I'm at a loss as to why Blizzard felt the need to nerf 5% raw damage from it, and lower an additional 3% damage from diseases in addition.
I'm going to be extremely interested to see what my numbers look like on target dummies, and in our raid tonight. Stay tuned!