The State of Talents, Part 1

I figure I should start this blog off with one of today’s most relevant topics, as we’re coming into MOP: Talent trees.

I’ve done some analysis of the talent trees for all classes, and the majority of trees tend to follow a formula:
1 tier dedicated to Mobility, Movement, Instant-casts or Gap-closers
1 tier dedicated to Crowd-Control abilities
2 tiers dedicated to Survival, be it healing or damage-reduction, personal or raid-wide
1 tier dedicated to performance-enhancing Damage (or in the case of hybrids, Healing) CDs
1 tier dedicated either to resource generation or other class mechanics like Totems, Pets or Stealth

There are of course a number of exceptions- Shamans have a fused Mobility and CC tier; Warriors have an AoE tier rather than a resource tier; Druids have two CC tiers, one Survival tier and lack a resource generation tier for a utility tier…

Then you come to DKs. This is where things get a little confusing.

Neither our Tier 58 or Tier 90 are wholly dedicated to either concept of Mobility or CC; much like the Shaman talents, they’re two concepts fused together in one tier… twice. In fact, they draw enough direct parallels to for me to say Tier 90 looks like Tier 58 on crack (Death’s Advance and Desecrated Ground are the only Mobility talents in our tree, Remorseless Winter and Chilblains are the strongest CC options in their respective tiers with a distinct slow/freeze connection). The exceptions to the parallel would be Asphyxiate and Gorefiend’s Grasp, and Blizzard hasn’t exactly hidden the intent there.

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(Credits to Cyphurgaming and HalendirTheDane on Youtube for these screencaps!)

Ironically, despite having two tiers trying to do the same thing, we still come out with only one reliable Gap-closer (Death’s Advance) and one reliable CC from a PVE perspective- our baseline Control Undead.
What’s probably most frustrating about these tiers is that GC has already stated that it’s “closed-minded” of us to label the mixes as PVP tiers, despite the situational (at best) usage of most of these abilities in PVE.

We’re tied with Rogues as one of the only classes without a tier for damage CDs. In lieu of this, we get Tiers 56 and 75, both of which are resource regeneration/conservation tiers (and as a result, contain some of the least popular talents we have as a class). There’s nothing inherently wrong with a resource generation tier… unless it ends up boring, or being easily mathed out. Tier 75 in particular was one of our greatest endeavors to adjust or replace in the Mists beta because of this.

I’ll review individual tiers and abilities in my next post (spoilers, they’re not favorable), but since the tiers were redesigned to be more accessible to new players as they level up, I have to start with asking: Why do leveling DKs get Unholy Blight (the enhanced version of our level 81 spell, Outbreak) before we get a single self-healing spell like Death Pact? And why do we have to wait 20 levels before we can complete the Resource Feedback Loop?

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