Hey folks! Now that the latest PTR build is out, wanted to give some updates on the future of Death Knight’s sets + tuning, by spec.
As a general disclaimer, tuning for Tier Sets as a feature is happening across all classes asynchronously, so while it may feel to you that some sets are being buffed/nerfed unjustly, our intention is to hit the same target across the board - while there will naturally be variance, this means that comparing future plans detailed in this post to classes that have yet to receive tuning or more recently received an update to their functionality isn’t super productive. Let’s start with the good news!
This set’s update just hit PTR this week finally, and so far it seems like it’s being well received. As some of you may have noticed, the 4-piece is a little different than the one posted a while back, but overall seeks to keep an Execute theme to set while not tying the entirety of the set’s power to just those windows.
There’s unlikely to be any major updates left beyond tuning from here on in, but one change that will be coming (hopefully in the next update) is a change to make the 2-piece only stack Harvest Time on Scourge Strikes/Clawing Shadows that cause Festering Wounds to burst. This is to address the feedback that while in your execute window, you just mash Scourge Strike/Clawing Shadows without any regards for Unholy’s core gameplay, which would feel unsatisfying but necessary to perform optimally.
Overall, interested to see how this one performs now that Raid Testers can get their hands on it, and will be seeing tuning after it’s had some time to sit.
Coming in the next update will be a change aimed at addressing how Blood’s set performs in Solo Tanking/Raid Content (where you are only tanking a fraction of the time, and the amount parryable attacks is often not under your control) and how it performs in Mythic+ / AoE tanking, where it performs far better. The change (which is also being applied similarly to Protection Paladin’s set, as they have a similar bonus & dichotomy) reads:
‘Whenever you take damage, your weapon has a chance equal to your parry chance to lash out, Heart Striking your attacker. Dancing Rune weapon now summons 2 Rune Weapons.’
This change has a few advantages, like still triggering when you’re not the main tank (but still in range), and triggering more often vs certain enemy types and bosses that wouldn’t have been affected previously, like those that predominantly cast spells. This change will also ship with a higher internal cooldown than it previously had (because of how often it’ll activate, and frankly because y’all already had a bug that let you solo entire dungeons once this cycle already), but like all bonuses is subject to tuning.
Lastly, there’s still an issue we’re tracking down not allowing the 4-piece’s Heart Strike to function as an actual Heart Strike, which has proven a bit trickier to fix than intended - this will also represent a pretty significant power increase, as they’ll be able to interact with the 2-piece’s strength stacking as well as generate Runic Power.
Lastly, the bad news. The proposed bonus we talked about last time has proven to be a lot more difficult to implement than we’d hoped, and considering Frost has a functional & balanced 2-piece, it’s been hard to prioritize solving it over focusing our efforts and dev time on more critical elements of the patch. At the risk of leading you on, there is a chance a new bonus could be considered on the conditions that 1) the aforementioned elements are finished with time to spare and 2) we have the QA resources to support testing it later on, which isn’t a non-zero chance, but the more-than-likely outcome is what’s currently on PTR will stay without major overhaul for 9.2’s launch.
To reiterate from a previous post - Frost’s set is exactly on-target for our tuning goals at the moment, and any rework or update would be to repackage that same power level in a potentially more interesting fashion, so this isn’t a concern that Frost Death Knights will have a ‘bad’ or undertuned set. Regardless, we know for those of you that were looking forward to testing it that this news is disappointing, but it felt better to give you a transparent look at the why & how rather than to stay silent and cause further harm & expectations down the road.
So TL;DR - a power-neutral update will be coming for Unholy to fix a rotation issue during Execute, Blood’s being updated to smooth out the best and worst cases, and Frost is likely to stay as-is. After the next update where Blood & Unholy are updated, it’s likely that these posts will become less frequent (and certainly less lengthy) as we’ll be moving into the stages of reacting to feedback with smaller, mostly numerical tweaks to hit our final tuning targets before it’s ready to go.
I want to say thanks to all the Death Knights who’ve been instrumental in shaping these sets into what they’ll be in the future, both in your testing and the effort it takes to document bugs and write-up informative posts. Have a great week!