Starym

Upcoming Survival Hunter, Frost DK BfA Changes - June 6

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And we're back with another installment of the class feedback series, where devs talk about plans for significant spec changes on the BfA beta. Today, following the Arms Warrior ones, we have two more specs getting some tuning, starting with Survival Hunters who are getting their old Carve ability back in a new form, supporting the AoE side of things and also getting a QoL change to Hydra's Bite, which will make spreading Serpent's Sting easier.

Then we have the Frost DK side of things, with some much more significant changes - namely a whole lot of talent revamps. There are apparently even more changes coming later, but to start with we have Empower Rune Weapon becoming what Hungering Rune Weapon is on Live now and is on the GCD, Pillar of Frost is gone in its current form and only the name has been kept around with the Obliteration talent stats, and then there's 7 talent row modifications on top of that!

Blizzard LogoSurvival Hunter (source)

Greetings, travelers!

In the next beta build you’re going to see a familiar ability in your spellbook: Carve! The ability is in a pretty raw state at the moment and we’re going to continue to iterate on it if this version doesn’t feel right. We’d love to hear about your experiences on Beta after playing with it.

Carve:
• 30 Focus cost. 6 second cooldown (reduced by Haste).
• A sweeping attack that strikes all enemies in front of you for Physical damage. Reduces the remaining cooldown on Wildfire BombWildfire Bomb by 1.0 sec for each target hit,
up to 5.

Please be aware that Carve doesn’t yet have full talent support. In a future build, things such as Birds of PreyBirds of Prey, or Shrapnel BombShrapnel Bomb from Wildfire InfusionWildfire Infusion, will interact with Carve. ButcheryButchery will likely be a Carve replacement, and get tuned accordingly.

We want to give Survival a clear path to take when there are many enemies, whether that’s a group of raptor hatchlings, or a double-pull of trolls in Atal’dazar. Serpent StingSerpent Sting and Wildfire BombWildfire Bomb don’t quite fill that space -- applying  Serpent StingSerpent Sting to more than ~3 enemies (without Hydra's BiteHydra's Bite) is often more frustrating than it is fun, and Wildfire BombWildfire Bomb 's cooldown prevents it from being “the AoE button”.

Survival has a variety of AoE tools through talents, and Carve should add a better foundation for those talents to build around. By reducing Wildfire BombWildfire Bomb ’s cooldown it gives you enough to do that spreading  Serpent StingSerpent Stings to numerous targets is far less necessary. It also interacts strongly with the Guerilla Tactics talent, so all of the level 30 talents have a similar level of impact on how you AoE. The short cooldown is there so that your AOE rotation becomes weaving in your other buttons –  Serpent StingSerpent Sting, Kill CommandKill Command, Wildfire BombWildfire Bomb,  etc – in between Carves, instead of just pushing it repeatedly.

Separately, we have a quality-of-life change for Hydra's BiteHydra's Bite that will arrive in an upcoming build. With Hydra's BiteHydra's Bite talented,  Serpent StingSerpent Sting will prefer to select additional nearby targets that are not already affected by Serpent StingSerpent Sting. This should make it far less frustrating to try to apply  Serpent StingSerpent Sting to a whole pack of mobs.

Again, we’re still iterating on the specifics of Carve, and we greatly appreciate your feedback on how this version plays. Thank you!

 

Blizzard LogoFrost Death Knight (source)

The next Beta build will include updates to Frost Death Knight. There has been a little more iteration since then (details later), but it will have the bulk of the changes, which are mostly focused on adjustments, rearrangements, or replacements for talents. The baseline spec and core rotation hasn’t changed much – Frost remains a fast-paced, proc-based rotation. The goals for the changes include:

  • Consolidate the multiple self-buff cooldowns available
  • Add the artifact active ability to the talent tree
  • Look for opportunities to update/improve the talent tree


The noteworthy change to the baseline spec is that the self-buff cooldowns have been consolidated:

  • Empower Rune WeaponEmpower Rune Weapon has become what the Hungering Rune WeaponHungering Rune Weapon talent is on live (with tuning adjustments), granting 15% Haste and generating 1 Rune and 5 Runic Power instantly and every 5 sec for 20 sec, on a 2 min cooldown (down from 3 min on live). Now that Empower Rune WeaponEmpower Rune Weapon is on the global cooldown, the full 6 Runes it instantly provided always felt a bit like you were wasting it – shifting it to resources over time to add to a pretty full rotation made sense.
  • Pillar of FrostPillar of Frost has been removed baseline. Since the knockback immunity portion of it was moved to Death's AdvanceDeath's Advance, Pillar ended up being a pretty bland 20% Strength buff. We’ve renamed the talent ObliterationObliteration into Pillar of Frost to keep that name around on the spec.


The next build you’ll see will be just slightly out of date in regards to the Frost talent tree – the most current version is outlined below. Any talents not described are mostly unchanged.

Level 56 row: Inexorable Assault, Icy Talons, Shattering Strikes – primarily single-target/constant value

Inexorable AssaultInexorable Assault has been redesigned – it now periodically grants a buff (stacks to 5) that causes your next ObliterateObliterate to deal additional Frost damage. This additional damage is a flat, separate add to ObliterateObliterate’s damage and doesn’t benefit from Killing MachineKilling Machine (you aren’t intended to play around it + Killing MachineKilling Machine). The talent is mostly passive, but with the added bonus of providing some benefit at the start of an encounter or when you’re off-target.

Level 57 row: Runic Attenuation, Murderous Efficiency, Horn of Winter – this row adds resources/speeds up to the rotation

Runic AttenuationRunic Attenuation now generates 3 Runic Power on a more controllable procs per minute system, instead of generating 1 Runic Power on autoattacks (which didn’t have a good way for us to tune it). It should still feel like pretty consistent resource generation.

Level 58 row: Winter is Coming, Asphyxiate, Blinding Sleet – crowd control

AsphyxiateAsphyxiate has replaced Abomination's MightAbomination's Might in the talent tree, and now all 3 Death Knight specs have access to this single-target stun cooldown. Abomination's MightAbomination's Might wasn’t very reliable and wasn’t even always desirable as a random single-target proc stun.

Level 60 row: Avalanche, Gathering Storm, Glacial Advance – primarily AOE/scales up with #targets

AvalancheAvalanche has been redesigned to trigger from casting Howling BlastHowling Blast with RimeRime active, and is intended to be the simple passive option on the row.

Level 75 row: Permafrost, Wraith Walk, Death Pact

Death PactDeath Pact has replaced the version of Inexorable AssaultInexorable Assault from live, giving both damage specs access to this survivability talent.

Level 90 row: Freezing Fog, Frostscythe, Frostwyrm’s Fury – primarily AOE/scales up with #targets

Freezing FogFreezing Fog is planned to be unchanged from live. The version you’re going to see soon includes an additional mechanic (which is probably being removed), that was added in order to make it fit better when it was on a different talent row.

Frostwyrm’s Fury is the artifact active, Sindragosa's FurySindragosa's Fury, with a slightly different name so that it doesn’t sound too similar to Breath of SindragosaBreath of Sindragosa. Its cooldown is 3 min instead of 5 min (like the artifact active) – a shorter cooldown as a talent feels better to be usable more often and allows it to be better tuned against its competitors without requiring a large damage reduction in PvP due to being a huge single damage event.

Level 100 row: Icecap, Pillar of Frost, Breath of Sindragosa – Damage modifiers/works in most situations

IcecapIcecap now affects Empower Rune WeaponEmpower Rune Weapon instead of Pillar of FrostPillar of Frost, reducing its cooldown by 3 sec (pending tuning) when it triggers.

ObliterationObliteration (the talent on live) has been renamed Pillar of Frost as mentioned earlier, and has the same mechanics on the same 1.5 min cooldown.

Breath of SindragosaBreath of Sindragosa is mostly unchanged. However, worth noting is that its 2 min cooldown lines up better with the new Empower Rune WeaponEmpower Rune Weapon, which now also has a 2 min cooldown.

Note: Runic EmpowermentRunic Empowerment has been tuned down from 1.8%->1.5%. The spec often just had way too much resources to spend. This is the spec’s primary pacing controller and we’ll continue adjusting it in the future to what feels good.

Thanks for all the continued feedback.

And here are some previous beta feedback posts:

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Glad to see classes getting some love and actually getting responses from blizz, but man it really hurts that we havent had a single thing about DH yet. Feel they need a really big set of core changes and the longer we go without seeing anything the more I think the class is going to just have to suffer through the beginning of the expansion.

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3 hours ago, Whisla said:

Glad to see classes getting some love and actually getting responses from blizz, but man it really hurts that we havent had a single thing about DH yet. Feel they need a really big set of core changes and the longer we go without seeing anything the more I think the class is going to just have to suffer through the beginning of the expansion.

There were some changes already, as far as I know, if not, there are definitely a few planned

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9 hours ago, Starym said:

We’ve renamed the talent ObliterationObliteration into Pillar of Frost to keep that name around on the spec.

Other than the pointless above, it seems like Frost has some solid changes.  Much more meaningful changes.  

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