Tuesday, May 19, 2009 Incidental Damage and You - Or, Why nerfing Unholy Blight won't do a damn thing

We think Unholy dps is probably too high on fights with adds, which ends up being a lot of Ulduar bosses. From looking at the numbers, the main culprit seems to be using Death and Decay, Unholy Blight, Pestilence and Blood Boil all together. None of those are a problem alone, but they work really well together. Unholy Blight is the spell we would most likely change. It has never really found a niche.
Lead Systems Designer

So there you have it, Unholy Blight is getting tuned down.  But will that really help with Unholy's high damage output?  I highly doubt it.  The problem is that topping the meters is what it's all about as a DPS class - well topping the meters without pulling aggro or dying.  So at the end of the night if you look at WWS or Wow Web Meter you'll see something like this for total outgoing damage...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------> Unholy DK
--------------------------------------------------------------> Frost DK
-----------------------------------------------> Blood DK

First glance some might think "Lawlz, those two other DKs are slacks!" but in reality it's from the incidental damage that Unholy does in it's single target rotation.  

Lets break down the abilities for a single target rotation for each spec (single target rotations here, no DnD, no Pest).

Ebon Plaguebringer: Your Crypt Fever morphs into Ebon Plague, which increases magic damage taken by 13% in addition to increasing disease damage taken.  Improves your critical strike chance with weapons and spells by 3% at all times.
Wandering Plague: When your diseases damage an enemy, there is a chance equal to your melee critical strike chance that they will cause 100% additional damage to the target and all enemies within 8 yards.  Ignores any target under the effect of a spell that is cancelled by taking damage.
Desecration: Your Plague Strikes and Scourge Strikes cause the Desecrated Ground effect.  Targets in the area are slowed by 50% by the grasping arms of the dead while you cause 5% additional damage while standing on the unholy ground.  Lasts 12 sec.
Unholy Blight: A vile swarm of unholy insects surrounds the Death Knight for a 10 yard radius.  Enemies caught in the area take 48 Shadow damage per sec.  Lasts 20 sec.
Rage of Rivendale: Your spells and abilities deal 10% more damage to targets infected with Blood Plague.  Also increases your expertise by 5.

So as an Unholy DK you start your rotation with PS - IT, now you have Frost Fever, Blood Plague and now Ebon Plague on your target and are doing 10% addtional damage right off the bat because of RoR.  Wandering Plague now spreads these 3 diseases to all enemies within 8 yards. The Unholy DK is now standing on Unholy Ground and doing an additional 5% damage and then uses Unholy Blight (which is shadow damage).

Howling Blast: Blast the target with a frigid wind dealing 518 to 562 Frost damage to all enemies within 10 yards. *Glyph of Howling Blast: Use: Your Howling Blast ability now infects your targets with Frost Fever.
Glacier Rot: Diseased enemies take 20% more damage from your Icy Touch, Howling Blast and Frost Strike.

GR will only take effect from the Frost DK's 2nd HB as the intial HB will apply FF (when glyphed - and it should be glyphed).

Heart Strike: Instantly strike the target and his nearest ally, causing 50% weapon damage plus 368, total damage increased by 10% for each of your diseases on the target.

So in order for the cleave to hit a 2nd target both need to be in front of the DK...woo?

Basically, the nerf to UB won't do a dent to Unholy's incidental damage because of how the encounters were made in Ulduar and Unholy has too many AoE tools.  UB was the icing on the cake and Blizz is just making the icing less sweet - nothing else.

The problem is that there will still be a vast amount of QQ'ing from the masses as they don't look behind the numbers to see why Unholy is inflated.  Maybe Blizz should come up with their own parsing meter to offset this so they can make a column like "Total Damage done to the Boss" and with that they should make it so that shields and other disc abilities show up.