Let’s jump right in, shall we?
Blizzard said previously that they wanted Pestilence to basically be a disease vector instead of a source of damage, and to be honestly it was a pretty wussy source of damage, so I can’t say I’m disappointed in this change. Plus this will finally clear up the bug they were supposed to fix in 3.0.8 and 3.0.9 but never did - currently, if you kill an enemy with the tiny damage from Pestilence, the diseases are not spread. Now that’s not a worry!
Strangulate no longer deals damage.
Grats casters: now we can choke you, but it doesn’t hurt.
Blood Boil damage increased, but its range has been reduced. Blood Boil’s damage increased to make up for Pestilence no longer doing damage. Blood Boil now does some damage to undiseased targets and extra damage to diseased targets. Its radius has been decreased.
Guess it was increased by approximately the damage that Pestilence used to deal - just a guess, though. I never used this outside of tanking or some trash pulls, and unless this is a significant change I doubt I will.
Death Pact’s heal can no longer crit.
A.K.A. the “explode your ghoul” heal. Possibly my least-used spell. I wasn’t aware it could crit… and now it doesn’t, so no big loss, right?
Blood Strike now instantly strikes the enemy, causing 40% weapon damage plus 305.6, increased by 12.5% per disease on the target at rank 6. (Previously caused 50% weapon damage plus 191, and an additional 95.5 bonus damage per disease)
Blood Strike and Heart Strike are sharing a change - both of them do less of a percentage of weapon damage (10% less each), but now do higher flat damage, and a percentage per disease instead of a flat amount per disease. Obviously without testing I can’t say how this impacts the diseaseless build I posted yesterday, but it will definitely impact it in some way. Let’s check, shall we?
Heart Strike now instantly strikes the target and his nearest ally, causing 50% weapon damage plus 368, increased by 10% per disease on the target at rank 6. (Previously caused 60% weapon damage plus 220.8, and an additional 110.4 bonus damage per disease)
Using Cryptfiend’s Bite, my current Heart Strikes do a base damage of 572.4 to 748.8, ignoring any bonus from diseases, glyphs, or attack power. (With one disease, 682.8 - 858.8; with two diseases, 793.2 - 970.2.) On the PTR, my Heart Strikes would do 661 - 808 without any bonuses from diseases, glyphs, or attack power. (With one disease, 727.1 - 888.8; with two diseases, 793.2 - 969.6.)
I sort of wonder if this in combination with the Plague Strike change(s), will bring the other 51/0/20 Blood spec, the “Alternablood,” to popularity again. Still, even without diseases, that’s a pretty significant leap in damage!
Blood Gorged (Tier 10) no longer grants expertise. Instead your attacks ignore up to 2/4/6/8/10% of the targets armor.
This is basically Blizzard admitting Blood is the Ret tree for DKs: as much as they keep saying all three trees can tank, a talent like Blood Gorged granting Armor Penetration (typically a DPS ability, and definitely a good one for Blood-spec) instead of Expertise pretty much solidifies it as the physical damage-dealing tree.
Heart Strike (Tier 9) now strikes the target and his nearest ally, causing 50% weapon damage plus 125, increased by 10% per disease on the target.
This is just a change to rank 1 of the spell. The change to the highest rank is already covered above.
Might of Mograine (Tier 9) now increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Blood Boil, Blood Strike, Death Strike, Heart Strike, and Obliterate abilities by 10/20/30%. (Previously was 15/30/45%)
Ooof. Blizzard giveth with one hand, and taketh away with the other. Nerfing Might of Mograine is not cool, guys. This is the one change I’m most heavily dissatisfied with - we’re the physical damage dealing class, let us keep dealing heavy physical damage!
Sudden Doom (Tier 8 ) is now a 3 point talent and now has a 5/10/15% chance to launch a free Death Coil at your target. (Previously gave a 4/8/12/16/20% chance to make the next death coil cost no runic power and guaranteed it to crit).
I’m like a Lightning Capacitor, only filled with unholy energy! This will ease the need to interrupt rotation and blow a GCD to use a Sudden Doom proc. However, on the downside, this is no longer a free crit. I suppose that’s a worthwhile tradeoff - I’d almost rather just proc free damage and be able to keep on swinging, though it’s gonna be really unnerving when it happens.
Blood Aura (Tier 7) renamed Improved Blood Presence and now while in Frost Presence or Unholy Presence, you retain 4% healing from Blood Presence, and healing done to you is increased by 10% in Blood Presence.
Another hit to our raid buffs. Now Blood only brings those might buffs. (Unholy gets a little of this treatment, too.) On the other hand, this might be a good reason to give Unholy Presence a try, since the healing is retained now. I know I’ll definitely be soloing in Unholy from now on once this change goes live.
Bloody Strikes (Tier 5) now increases the damage of Blood Strike and Heart Strike by 15/30/45%, and increases the damage of Blood Boil by 20/40/60%.
Bloody Strikes now does not increase bonus damage from diseases at all, but the overall damage boost to Blood Strike and Heart Strike is increased by 15% at the highest rank. The Blood Boil addition is just due to the fact that Pestilence doesn’t deal damage anymore. It looks like they really may be setting Blood Boil up to do some serious damage at this rate - at least, maybe for Blood DKs. Now the Might of Mograine nerf doesn’t hurt quite as much, though the nerf to Obliterate due to the nerf of MoM is kind of sad.
Scent of Blood (Tier 2) now can proc off dodging, parrying or taking direct damage.
People take Scent of Blood?
New Talent Improved Death Strike, Tier 8, 2 tale nt points - Increases the damage of your Death Strike by 15/30%.
Remember what I said about Death Strike becoming a damage dealer? With the Glyph, at 100 RP you’re potentially looking at a Death Strike that does 60% weapon damage, plus 40% from the glyph, plus 30% from the talent, plus 178.2, and heals the DK for a percentage of diseases on the target. Of course, that’s assuming (Death Strike + no RP dump) > (Glyphed Obliterate + RP dump). My gut feeling is not. But it should be easier for DKs to do a little self-healing now, assuming they take this talent. Hell, I may take a talent point in this instead of Vampiric Blood.
Just as a side note, the official patch notes are wrong: this is not in the Unholy tree, it is a Blood tree talent.
Blood Plague: Now lasts 15 seconds untalented.
Woohoo: long-lasting diseases! Eases up disease-using rotations a bit.
Bloodworms now heal more.
Good news for people leveling with Bloodworms.
Dancing Rune Weapon: Fixed a bug making it trigger an unusual number of effects from the weapon equipped by the Death Knight. In addition, it will now only echo Death Knight spells whose primary purpose is dealing damage. Also corrected a bug making the effect last 8 seconds longer than intended.
I only wish I had run into one of these bugs. The downside is that this means it won’t be possible to make the Dancing Rune Weapon use Hysteria on itself, and if I were to guess it probably means the Dancing Rune Weapon won’t proc Sudden Doom anymore. Alas. It will still continue to kick ass, take names, and look badass.