With the new alpha build in place for World of Warcraft: Legion, it seems a good time to check out some of the significant changes coming to every class with the arrival of the expansion in Summer 2016. While the Demonology Warlock, Outlaw Rogue, Enhancement Shaman and Survival Hunter are undergoing the most drastic changes, all other classes and specs have also been revamped in one way or another to fit what Blizzard calls the “core fantasy” for each.
One of the most stable and popular tanks in the game, Blood Death Knights bring a special combination of crowd aggro and survivability to the table. As with all things Death Knight in the past couple of expansions, the line between each specialization has blurred with crossover skills and abilities. Blizzard aims to change the basic way that Death Knights play, while remaining confident that their core fantasy is well in hand.
We always want to reflect the Death Knight origin story and identity in how they play. The biggest area where we see room for improvement is in their resource system. Runes are a very iconic resource, but their functionality has always been convoluted. In Legion, we’re making Runes more straightforward by removing their division into separate Blood, Frost, and Unholy types. Death Knights now have six unified Runes to spend, with a maximum of three recharging at any one time.
In addition to the above, each specialization of Death Knight will receive a single disease with a unique trait and making the talent tree for each different enough so that each one has its own style and strength. Blood Death Knights will be more focused on “that sinister command of blood and bone to fuel survivability.” Bone Shield and Death Strike will become complementary defensive abilities that allows for more flexibility.
The Blood Death Knight will be given an artifact that is much-less steeped in game lore than many classes, a 2-handed axe called Maw of the Damned, but one that brings a plethora of interesting traits to bear depending on how the DK chooses to “level” the weapon. Keep in mind that this is a very early alpha build of Legion and that things will doubtless change over the months leading up to the expansion’s release, but the talent tree below gives a good idea what developers have in mind for Blood DKs:
While passive abilities and traits are fantastic and add a lot to the overall power and utility for Blood Death Knights, it’s the revamped talent tree that shows the biggest differences for the specialization. In the first image, you can get a look at the BDK’s talents as they currently exist in Warlords of Draenor, most notably that bloodworms, a primary healing ability for BDKs since the class arrived in Wrath of the Lich King, were removed for last year’s expansion. Realizing that this was an iconic and needed talent for BDKs, Blizzard has reinstated the little guys, albeit in a slightly different form than before -- and all at level 56!
Let’s look at the upcoming Legion talents for Blood Death Knights, keeping in mind, of course, that things can and will change prior to the expansion’s launch in 2016. New talents are starred.
Level 56: 3 new talents
*Bloodworms: If Death Strike heals past full health, a Bloodworm is created. Bloodworms explode if they aren’t fed for 10 seconds or when player health drops below 50%, healing for 100% total amount of excess healing
*Feeding Frenzy: Excess Runic Power consumed by Death Strike increases the potency of the heal effect by an additional 15%
*Rune Tap: Consume a Rune to restore 20% of health. Ability can be recast within 3 seconds without triggering a cooldown (up to now, Rune Tap has been a level 64 spell, but is now moved into the talent tree)
Level 57: 3 new talents
*Rapid Decomposition: Defile or Death & Decay deals 25% more damage to targets infected by Blood Plague. 50% increased healing is gained from Blood Plague when standing in Death & Decay
*Ossuary: Standing in Death & Decay causes Marrowrend to hit multiple targets. If Marrowrend hits at least 2 targets, an additional Bone Shield charge has a chance to be generated
*Consume Vitality: Drain the life from all nearby enemies damaging them for 75% of Attack power Shadow damage and restoring 25% of missing health
Level 58: 1 new talent, 2 realigned
Runic Corruption and Runic Empowerment moved to Level 58 from Level 60
*Runic Longevity: Gain a 7th Rune and the regeneration rate of Runes is increased by 10%
Level 60: 2 new talents, 1 realigned
*March of the Damned: Become immune to all movement impairing effects and effects that cause loss of control for 10 seconds. Does not break effects already in progress
*Spellbreaker: Increases Anti-Magic Shell’s duration by 60% and maximum absorption value by 50%
Desecrated Ground realigned from Level 90
Level 75: 1 new talent, 1 realigned, 1 remains as-is
Purgatory realigned from Level 57
Death Pact remains as-is
*Exhume: Gain a charge of Bone Shield every second for 10 seconds
Level 90: 1 realigned, 2 remain as-is
Gorefiend’s Grasp and Remorseless Winter remain as-is
Asphyxiate realigned from Level 58
Level 100: 1 new talent, 2 remain as-is
Defile and Breath of Sindragosa remain as-is
*Bonestorm: (Sorry, Lord Marrowgar!) A whirl of bone and gore batters nearby enemies 3 times per second to deal 75% of Attack power Shadow damage and heals for 1% of maximum health per strike. Lasts 6 seconds
As is readily apparent from all of the above, the Blood Death Knight looks well-situated to once again become the “go to” tank for raids and dungeons. With key talents focused on survivability and protection, Blood Death Knights will definitely gain a unique gameplay style that differs greatly from both Frost Death Knights and Unholy Death Knights.
And the worms are back! FTW!