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Blood Sport: The PvP perspective on 4.0.6, part 2


Death knights

Icebound Fortitude now breaks stuns when used, in addition to providing immunity to them. Needed. Death knights were far too easy to stun and kite -- coupled with low mobility, it made peeling them incredibly easy. Death Knight no longer have to guess when stuns are incoming to successfully use Icebound Fortitude. Props.

Necrotic Strike's absorption effect is now reduced by the target's resilience. In addition, its debuff duration has been reduced to 10 seconds, down from 15. Great change, but there's still work to be done. This change is actually already on live servers (Necrotic Strike being affected by resilience). The way the spell works with multiple death knights could change, however. If you have multiple death knights beating up on you, they refresh each other's stacks of Necrotic Strike and the healing absorb grows higher and higher. This makes teams that use multiple death knights very deadly.

Chilblains now also causes Chains of Ice to root the target for 1.5/3 seconds. Unnecessary.

Howling Blast now deals 40% less damage to all targets other than the primary target of the spell. I've seen Howling Blast do some really ridiculous things in rated battlegrounds; hopefully, this will fix some of the pressure frost death knights are currently putting out.

Might of the Frozen Wastes now also increases all melee damage by 4/8/12% while wielding a two-handed weapon. I've been absolutely amazed at the damage from dual-wielding frost death knights in rated battlegrounds. Hopefully, this will be able to tone them down a bit (or it might not, I don't really know how these numbers work).

Death's Advance (new talent): While both Unholy Runes are depleted, movement-impairing effects cannot reduce the death knight below 75/100% of normal movement speed.
What the Flux? Okay, so this talent has my award for patch 4.0.6's biggest buff. Really, how this talent should work (if it should exist at all) is that if a death knight has 4 or more runes available (that is, not on cooldown), the movement impairing effect comes into play. As it is right now, this encourages death knights to spam unholy rune usage to gain the benefit of Death's Advance.

It makes death knights who are already on their target incredibly hard to kite while not providing incentive for a death knight to save unholy runes for any reason. If there was incentive to save runes to gain the benefit, once death knights are starting to get kited, they will have to sacrifice something (small dps increases) to gain what amounts to a permanent Hand of Freedom buff.

Even in that incarnation, the ability is probably overpowered. As it stands at the moment, this talent is downright game breaking. Expect to see lots and lots of death knights post patch if this goes live.

Desecration is now also triggered by Necrotic Strike. Unnecessary.

Glyph of Dark Succor (new glyph) raises the minimum healing done by Death Strike from 7% to 15% of maximum health, but only while in Unholy or Frost Presence. This glyph was absolutely bonkers at 20%. Right now, it's much closer to balanced, although 15% is still a pretty big boost. I suspect some death knights will try this glyph out although most won't be salivating over it like they were when it was 20%.


Barkskin is no longer dispellable.
Dispelling survival mechanics is not great design -- it gives classes that can dispel a giant advantage (as well as stuff that should be looked at like a felhunter's auto devour) and takes the fun and balance away from buffs that make it easier to survive.

Buffs that provide large offensive increases on the other hand should probably be looked at to become dispellable -- weakening classes by Purging them should be an interesting line of play rather than either trying to survive the onslaught or heal through it.

Lacerate damage has been reduced by approximately 20%.
Mangle (Bear Form) weapon damage (at level 80+) has been reduced to 235%, down from 300%.
Maul damage has been reduced by approximately 20%.
Rake damage has been reduced by 10%.
Rip damage has been reduced by 10%.
Mangle (Cat Form) weapon damage percent (at level 80+) has been increased to 460%, up from 360%.
Shred weapon damage percent (at level 80+) has been increased to 450%, up from 350%.

It's pretty clear Blizzard wants to nerf feral damage, although Cat Form Mangle and Shred seem to be getting buffed (even though it didn't seem like cats were doing low damage in PvP). Some nerfs are needed, although feral survivability and instant cyclone are arguably far more important to the long-term viability of the spec right now.

Moonfire mana cost has been reduced from 18% to 9%.
Sweet change. Moonfire spam is awesome and is way more fun to not be penalized harshly for spreading DoTs. I'd like to see a lot more Moonkins in arena.

Prowl is no longer broken by enemies using Demoralizing Shout or Demoralizing Roar.
I guess I kind of get this change -- warriors and feral druids are pretty big counters to rogues. That's cool, classes need counters. Removing shouts takes a large potion of skill out of the arena, though -- players who could consistently hit rogues with shouts have lost another skill that sets them apart from an average player. I'm sad to see this go.

Shapeshifts: Entering or leaving a shapeshift no longer cancels root effects. It continues to cancel movement slowing effects.
This is probably balanced. I'm on the fence about this change -- it takes something very unique and arguably skill-intensive away from druids, while at the same time giving a lot more utility to classes with roots.

Moonkin Form now grants 15% damage reduction instead of increased armor.
Oh yes, this is awesome. Every time my team has seen an opposing boomkin, we've dropped whatever we were doing and train him relentlessly. Maybe this will make us think twice, which is always a good thing in arena.

Wild Mushroom is now instant-cast, down from 0.5 seconds. In addition, the radius of detonation has been increased to 6 yards, up from 3, and damage done increased by 30%.
Wild Mushroom needs more use in arena. I support this buff.

Berserk (instant Mangle proc) now has a new Spell Alert identifier. In addition, Berserk no longer breaks Fear or makes the druid immune to Fear.
100% needed. Can we get something done about Berzerker Rage?

Disentanglement (new specialization): Causes shapeshifting to remove roots in addition to snares. This is a great example of a useful talent that everyone might not necessarily want to pick up. This is a talent done right. Whoops, this isn't a new talent, it's a new specialization. Thanks to everyone in the comments section that pointed this out, looks like I was way off on this.

Glyph of Entangling Roots redesigned. It now reduces the cast time of Entangling Roots by 0.2 seconds, rather than making it instantcast. Needed. Instant Entangling Roots was incredibly powerful. Decreasing the time by 0.2 is an ultra-nerf, though; it will make the glyph completely unused.

Part 3 and 4

Look for part 3 and 4 later on in the week. We'll be wrapping up the last of the PvP changes when we discuss hunters, mages, paladins, priests, rogues, shaman, warlocks and warriors.

Listening Music: Air with "La Femme D'Argent." I'll have something similar (Zero 7) in a few days.

Want to ascend the arena ladders faster than a fireman playing Donkey Kong? We'll steer you to victory with the best arena addons and let you in on some rank 1 gladiator PvP secrets. If you're looking for the inside line on battlegrounds and world PvP, read The Art of War(craft).

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