Sunday, December 21, 2008

Talent Spec Discussion post Heroic Naxx

Since I scored a Naxx 25 run last night I’ve been doing some critical reviews of my talent spec. Overall I am very happy with it, but I think I can do better in the DPS department without sacrificing my ability to tank and especially AOE tank. The second aim of this post is to discuss some talents I did not take and why I didn’t think their value weighed enough to drop something else.

Keep in mind I am not looking for a pure DPS build. In no way do I want to sacrifice my ability to tank. In a small guild like Chaos Brewing where there is only two tanks, we can’t afford to lose either one of them. Plus I do prefer tanking.

I may also contradict some of my earlier statements here and on various forums. I am OK with that, as I have had the opportunity to observe and test things in more situations. Learnings are never static.

I will break the remainder down into three sections. One, talents I want to pick up and why. Two, talents I will sacrifice to get what I want and why. Three, other talents considered and why I still haven’t taken them.

In last nights run the other two DKs both had Gargoyles and those added up to 6-10% of their overall damage, much higher on boss fights where it counts. Therefore this is probably one of the largest bang for your buck talents at 1 point.

I have seen enough fights where the magic damage is insane and therefore 1 point in Anti-Magic Zone will definitely pay dividends.

The other talent I want to pick up is 2 points in Unholy Aura. So many of the fights require lots of movement, providing yourself and the raid a 15% movement bonus will allow more melee dps time, and less overall damage as people are able to move out of the shit that kills them even faster.

And for fun, I took one point in corpse explosion. So many of the boss fights have adds that there will always be corpses laying around for some additional AOE output. Not to mention this is being buffed in 3.08.

So I need to come up with 5 talent points from somewhere else. I identified Impurity as my sacrificial target. Impurity impacts your spells, which are Icy Touch and Deathcoil. The only reason I cast Icy Touch is to get frost fever so lowering its damage isn’t a big sacrifice. Recount shows DC as 6.3% of my damage output in heroic naxx, why nerf it? Simple, the only reason I was tossing so many Deathcoils is I needed someway to burn off my Runic Power. Unholy Blight was over 10% of my damage and I had it up almost all the time and still had tons of left over RP. That’s where the gargoyle comes in. While on DPS duty I can’t dump RP into runestrikes and on bosses I know that the Gargoyle will add more overall damage than I’ll lose with deathcoils. Not to mention I will still be able to toss a few when the garg is on cooldown.

That leaves talents I haven’t taken that might have value.

The first one is Butchery, 2 rp per 5 seconds in a fight adds up to a lot of runic power, but the fact is I’m having trouble burning it fast enough as it is, so I have ignored this talent.

Two-Handed weapon Specialization still looks nice but I still think the additional 2% crit that I would lose from dark conviction to get this outweighs the 4% increase in weapon damage. I’ll continue to monitor EJ to see if there is a definitive statement on this.

Improved Icy Touch has a mitigation benefit of reducing boss attack speed. So far I just haven’t tanked an encounter where I needed this additional mitigation. Perhaps if I were main tanking Patchwerk 25 this would be required. But I’m not. I tank him in normal mode eventually.

Along those same lines I can’t justify the three additional points in frost to get Lichborne for the additional oh shit button that it provides.

Virulence increases the hit on Icy Touch and deathcoil. I’ve already said I don’t expect to use DC much so not a lot of help there and even with my 194 hit I only missed 5.4% of my Icy touches over the course of the entire night. I can’t justify spending points here.

Ravenous dead would be nice for the additional strength and ghoul survivability but necrosis and blood caked blade are just too valuable to scale back on.

Outbreak pumps the damage on three attacks that just don’t do a lot of damage to begin with. 3 points in here would increase my overall DPS by 1.4%. I can’t find 3 points I’d be willing to lose mitigation on or that already do less than 1.4% of DPS to move into here.

Desecration is also a great talent on paper and the other Unholy DK we brought in for Noth had this. But the fact is we were running all over the place. There were very few boss fights that did not require a lot of movement and frankly I’d rather have the magic mitigation from magic suppression than a part time 5% damage increase.

Night of the dead has been getting some love in the EJ Unholy DPS thread. When stupid dies, just pop another, why sacrifice 250 dps for 5 minutes? It’s a good question but I’d either lose the utility of Unholy Aura or lose mitigation. Therefore no NoD for me.

The last talent I am missing out on is Wandering Plague. Ostensibly this will increase the AOE damage I put out. But I am still concerned from a DPS perspective of being able to control my AOE damage. There are fights such as Faerlinna where you don’t want to damage the adds and this talent might cause you to do that.

So here is my new talent spec I’ll be running with. I pick up more utility, mitigation, and damage overall. As I continue to run heroics and raids I’ll keep a critical eye out on the performance of this spec and modify it accordingly.


  1. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the diseases benefit from spell power, thus Impurity ?

  2. I found a post from Beta where disease tool tip damage was compared with 5/5 impurity vs 0/5 impurity.

    The results indicate about a 3dps improvement in the tooltip damage with 5/5 impurity.

    Elitist Jerks indicates a 1.07% DPS per talent point for Impurity which is greater than the 0.63% for necrosis which I have.

    One of the posts I am currently working on is a complete rewrite of this and my previous talent spec posts in light of what I've learned over the past month as well as patch 3.08.

    The short answer to your question is yes, diseases do benefit from impurity and I may have been too hasty in selecting that talent to free up points from.

  3. OK, thanks for the tip.

    There's yet something else that bothers me... ain't Subversion somehow mandatory when DPSing, or do you just count on having good tanks and a non-optimized DPS spec ?

  4. Subversion is a great DPS talent with its reduced threat. I talk about it in a couple other posts and currently don't have it. The only times I DPS in 5mans is when I'm doing a guild run with our prot warrior.

    I'll watch my omenmeter closely, not use DnD, and he will put vigilence on me. We also use a kill order when he tanks and I follow it. In the rare occasion my aoe does pull a mob I am capable of taking a few whacks.

    When I DPS in heroic raids I am usually outgeared by the MT to a degree that it doesn't really matter.

    Remember we need frost presence when tanking for threat in addition to mitigation. We naturally have lower threat in blood.

    One last point, the FOTM 0/32/39 duel wield DPS spec that can push 6,000 dps doesn't have subversion.