Feedback: Death Knight Hero Talents in The War Within

I believe this would be a great addition to emphasize the Death aspect of the Hero Talent Tree.


Recently I was thinking that Unholy didn’t get anything in terms of mechanics or skills that would deepen his fantasy.

  1. All we got was better mobility and random survivability
  2. There is no better control over diseases or plagues:
  • easier application - e.g. passive aura or free proc (still Frost and Blood are easier to apply than Unholy…)
  • new diseases or better/stronger, or the return of old iconic ones such as wandering plague and necrotic plague
  • new mechanic for diseases
  1. We also didn’t get better control over the undead:
  • Unholy cannot use Control Undead…
  • Army of the Dead still has a long CD
  • we can’t choose the main pet
  • Unholy could summon ghouls like in BFA from Vision of Perfection
  • Pet AI, i.e. its behavior, is underdeveloped ( stops in place or keeps attacking the previous target. eg. like with Emberon on Uldaman)
  • Gargo still has a 3 minute cd / he could have a talent that reduces it to e.g. 2 minutes.

Unholy received absolutely nothing that would deepen his fantasy.

You recently admitted that the Vile Contagion talent failed the test in Dragonflight.
For me it was obvious - I informed about this problems and the mechanics of wounds, but I was shouted down by famous people who praised this talent.

So I’ll repeat - for festering wounds to make sense:

  • the mechanics must be simple like in BFA. Take the Bursting Sores talent, use DT, use DnD and spam SS/CS - without unnecessary additional talents like Vile Contagion…
  • Ultimately, Vile Contagion should act as a passive skill that increases, for example, the range of Bursting Sores, or a double burst of wounds on one target, or a faster application of wounds to nearby enemies, eg. your Unholy Assault applies 6 wounds to the target and hits all enemies within 12 yards
  • increase the number of targets to hit for SS/CS in DnD.
  • it must unfortunately be buffed beyond what you plan
  • you need to increase the range of Bursting Sores and increase the base damage of Festering Wound, which itself is very low.
  • squish festermight to 10 stacks or remove it.

If you continue to complicate this simple mechanic that was bearable and even cool in BFA (due to its simplicity), no one will use it.


So great notes in here. Especially on the fantasy element… When I see the Mage Sunfury and Shadow Priest void themed one, paladin Templar… They just add so much more than just damage and functionality! They make the whole spec more spectacular!

Unfortunately, our hero specs don’t have any of that “hell yeah” vibe… Sure the mount from rider of the apocalypse stuff is cool, but in the end of the day it’s just mobility. Plus the mounted combat animations look real clunky… I really don’t understand why we didn’t have something like “Necromancer” or “Litch”… I get that they’re not directly death knight things but neither are San Layn. Something along the lines of master of undeath or master of disease would have a suited us way more.

They have mentioned they will change Festermight to work more like feral druid’s Ironfur mechanic, which is an improvement although still uninteresting as a mechanic. At least ti will be easy to maintain and will match our ramping gameplay.

I also would like to see us stepping away as far as possible from DD/defile based gameplay. It’s just so outdated in modern m+ gameplay where we’re constantly on the move and irritating affixes constantly require us to step out.



I am not one to make forums post, and this is the first i’ve ever written, but i’ve been playing Unholy since Nyalotha (Not a long time compared to others) and i’ve loved this class fantasy. But since DF i’ve been delving into other classes, and S2 Demonology made me very aware of how dated and old Unholy is as a spec.

I’ll start with Rider of the Apocalypse, because it is a source of frustration that i want to talk about. I understand that the Hero Talent designer is trying something new and cool, and seeing what sticks, but it also raises some questions about their experience with Unholy specifically. We’re a class that has a classic feast or famine playstyle, especially with Sudden Doom RNG that often causes a negative feeling, speaking from personal experience. Wanting to dive deeper into RNG mechanics, if the developer is well versed in how the class already plays, comes across as a strange design decision.

What i learned from Demonology was that interacting with your pets and feeling like a master summoner, was probably the highest high i have been on while playing a spec with a strong summoner fantasy. That makes the state of current Unholy all the more painful to watch.

My first impression of Rider of the Apocalypse as it stands is that the concept of getting divine steed is fantastic, it will help a weakness of ours and make us feel like an unstoppable force, but that is where my praise ends regarding the fantasy and feel of it.

You are currently limiting the tree severly by making 5 of the talents focus on just making the riders interesting, while other trees have the freedom of experimenting with interactions and feedback loops. This once more echoes the limitations of the actual class and spec talent trees and does not give me a good impression for Death Knight going forward.

Now what i personally want is to be able to interact with the riders actively, and have their interactions in turn feed back into my own power, so i feel like a part of the Riders of the Apocalypse. Conduit of the Celestials for Monk does this in some regard, where their thematic abilities summon that celestial. A rough breakdown could be the following:

If you cast unholy blight/Remorseless winter, you spawn Nazgrim, who casts the same ability as you, but he either applies all the diseases to all your enemies (stacks with your own) and if its 3 or less targets, the amount of diseases active increases the damage taken by the target from your abilities by X%. Or he casts remorseless winter, which adds a debuff to your targets every couple seconds that if it’s 2 or less, when you use obliterate, they shatter and take bonus damage or if its 3+ then his ability ramps like yours.

If you cast apocalypse you spawn Whitemane, who ressurects all the ghouls who dies as volatile zombies who explodes when they leap at an enemy, and applies a stacking debuff that makes all enemies hit take bonus damage from you as long as she’s active. Or whenever you use Frostwyrms fury, she spawns Frostwhelps that use mini-breath for X Seconds on the target, making them vulnerable to frost damage.

If you use Dark transformation or Pillar of Frost, you spawn Trollbane, who Cleaves with every swing, applying festering wounds or uses Frost Scythe which applies razorice and if he hits one target only, he applies soul reaper, which applies a buff to you that buffs your next cast of soul reaper.

If you use Army of the dead or Empower Rune weapon, you spawn all the horsemen and Mograine on top of that, who uses Wake of Undeath (A spin on wake of Ashes, since maybe he wields Corrupted Ashbringer in this iteration) Which sends a Argus-looking Slash in front of the Death Knight, applying a permanent Mark of Death to all targets hit that slows the targets attack speed by X%, deals shadowfrost damage and makes all allies who hit the target gain X% leech on all their damage. If any rider is already active, they get empowered, making their abilities do more damage/add different visual effects.

If this is the base talent for the Hero Talent tree, you can use the other talents to balance the cooldowns for each ability to match the other spec, so Unholy and Frost gets the same amount of Riders spawned per minute if that is desired. But it also requires that some talents in the spec tree becomes baseline or moved up to the top so it is always chosen.

Now as for Unholy specifically, it has been a mess of a spec for years and with no clear direction. If you want us to choose between diseases and pets, then you need to do more than give us superstrain, unholy blight and epidemic to work with, or apocalypse and army/gargoyle.

Personally i would like the peaks and valleys removed, and have us be more consistent. I’ll speak of primarily Pets as that is what unholy is to me, though i know people love diseases, i am not that experienced with DoT classes. First i’d love to see you make Army of the Damned into a 2 min CD, or a 3 min CD as baseline and remove the runic power spending thing that lowers its CD, you did that with Demonology already. This makes it feel less bad when you have less uptime.

Bake Magus into apocalypse as baseline, and give us the S3 Tier set as a talent to make Magus cleave, as you did with the recent Demo rework. And rework Ruptured Viscera into an ability that summons X amount of volatile ghouls that leaps at your target to deal aoe damage, like Demo Dogs.

For more passive damage profile, you could make it so that every time you spend a rune, you summon one ghoul that attacks your target. Dark Transformation can keep it’s buff to your active pets but you should move that down so its more accessible without Gargoyle. Give us some talent that adds active abilities to DT, like Demo’s Felguard which has Felstorm and Guillotine. Perhaps a mini-Aoe Unholy Assault to apply more wounds easily.

Maybe add the PvP ability to spawn an Abomination as a capstone that uses Mass Grip when he is summoned, and cleaves with every strike. He gets more powerful with how many of your ghouls have died before summoning him, to a limit ofc.

Have a talent that makes Gargoyle either cleave or empower your death coil.

As for diseases, i am not experienced with DoTs, but take inspiration from Aff if anything. Give us unique diseases like necrotic plague that debuffs enemies or makes us or our allies gain something from attacking afflicted targets.

That’s all i have to say for the moment, thank you for reading this unreasonably long post.

Have a good day/night!


finally someone distilled good points AND comparison to a spec that is in essence the same as Unholy (pet spec), as for Unholy (dot and debiliating spec), it has no clear solution as unholy is in effect both affliction and demonology mashed into one, and it ruins any direction and fantasy.

even with that problem i am still amazed that the blizz designers basically “figured out” pet classes long ago, yet unholy is and has been in a half baked state since forever, and they apparently enjoy that. i will add that Blood and Frost also has great issues, yet Unholy’s inherent design is a mess, and needs addressing first.

what i hate the most of both the devs and people, is that they mostly assume that we are complaining over trivial things, as every class has gotten changed and has evolved with naturally smoother gameplay and design over time ACCORDING to their information, because many of them dont play DK, ive faced such people with such hubris.

let them play This class for a season, they’ll see whats up.

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The War Within Alpha Development Notes - May 9, 2024

Many of the changes look good on paper, but I want to point out:

  • I’m forced to choose army of the dead again (to use the full power of rider of the apocalypse). CHANGE IT TO BASELINE.
  • I will be forced to choose the Ebon Fever talent again, but access is more difficult than it is now
  • Outbreak - remove it and introduce a better infection of diseases (maybe with Festering Strike, Scourge Strike, or Death Coil, or a basic pet.)
  • again I have to waste talents to choose the Commander of the Dead talent - why don’t you swap it with Summon Gargoyle?
  • I don’t see any improvement for mechanics using festering wound. For many years, Unholy has had a problem with switching targets.
    If we still have to suffer with festering wounds, make it more friendly to us, otherwise it will be another compulsion for us - for many years.
    Remove RNG for Festering Strike and set a hard number, e.g. 3 wounds, and make Festering Strike hit e.g. 2 additional targets within 5 yards
  • The Vile Contagion talent still has no cast animation and a use cost that makes no sense.
  • You still haven’t done anything about Death and Decay - you just added another time to track from the many we already have
  • Death Rot is bad to use and not very comfortable. Change it up, especially after the changes for Sudden Doom etc.
  • We still haven’t received the Soul Reaper improvement or any implementation of it for M+
  • Ruptured Viscera - If it doesn’t get meaningful changes to make this talent work, it’s a trash talent. Ghost talent.
    It just doesn’t work because it’s too slow in combat so it usually works outside of combat = adds nothing to combat.
  • Summon Gargoyle - you previously mentioned changing the gargoyle’s rampaging damage, which often looked like stock market action, to something more straightforward.
    I don’t see any changes to the damage profile for Gargoyle, so I’m guessing these changes will come in the next compilation of changes for Unholy.

More opinions coming soon


  • Subduing Grasp.
    You couldn’t have chosen a better place for this talent. I’m guessing this works with Death Grip, while the target skill is Abomination Limb. This talent should be an extension of Abomination Limb, not its beginning.
    By itself, it is useless and expensive.
  1. If it provided a 30% damage reduction and a 30s CD reduction, this talent would make a lot of sense
  2. or 20% damage reduction + 20% inscrease your damage
  3. or for each enemy attracted you would receive a 5% reduction for 15s, up to a maximum of 30% reduction.
  4. or simple trigger Icebound Fortitude
    Abomination Limb lasts 12s, while this talent kind of only lasts 8s.
    In the current version, it is a trash talent, a filler, a tearjerker. I hate it already.
  • Osmosis.
    I also feel the same way about this talent. This sounds weak from the very beginning. Trash talent.

  • Rune Protection.
    Same story. Trash talent. wtf…

  • Raise Abomination - great but why do I have to choose a total of two talents to get this instead of one?
    If this replaces Army of the Dead then give us a simple choice and just create a common selection node for both of these talents in one place.

The last talents (DK tree) should be designed like a warrior’s Thunderous Roar and then its improvement in the form of two talents: Uproar and Thunderous Words, or Champion’s Spear and two additional talents that somehow enhance/modify the main skill.

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I only play Blood and my main end game content is M+, so this feedback applies mostly with those things in mind.

  • Abomination Limb not providing Bone Shield charges is not a good change. Many dungeons have passages where you spend more than 30 seconds out of combat, thus Bone Shield expires. Starting a pull without any runic power or bone shield stacks is the one of the core problems of Blood tanking. You have too much setup required in the opener, often causing instant Purgatory procs from trash mob melee hits. If Dancing Rune Weapon isn’t available, it’s a disaster having to spend your first GCDs on Marrowrend, because you also need to weave in Blood Boil for threat and get your DnD down.

Instantly gaining or refreshing Bone Shield from Abom. Limb makes a big difference because it saves you a few GCDs. If Blood had more ways to either reduce the amount of GCDs when pulling without bone shield and runic power, or simply not die or proc Purgatory in the opener from regular trash mobs, the change wouldn’t feel so bad.

  • Blood is by far the most susceptible of all the tanks to dying in the first ~5 seconds of a pull. The Subduing Grasp talent is a nice thought but 4%/8% isn’t going to make much of a difference, when it only applies to 1 enemy (unless Abomination Limb grip also applies the effect).
    In season 2 of Shadowlands, with the Tormented affix, one of the powers you could gain was called Crumbling Bulwark. It reduced incoming damage by 40%, the first 4 seconds of combat. It was one of the best seasons from a tanking perspective when you had this power, as it basically bought a few seconds to set up properly in the opener.

Now, maybe it’s a core design philosophy that you want very challenging openers to be a part of playing a tank. The problem is that there is too much of a difference between the classes right now. It’s not good design, in my opinion, when you have to choose between gaining threat or surviving at the start of pulls.

I know this feedback has a very narrow focus, but it’s what I personally dislike the most about Blood DK. Setting up in the opener without major cooldowns takes too long, and with the Abomination Limb change you’re making it even worse.

I’m also curious to see the outcome of your latest update where your plan is to reduce the amount of 1 point throughput nodes in the Blood talent tree, that you’re currently forced to pick. Currently it is so restrictive that you have zero options to change up any playstyle, and fun things like Gorefiend’s grasp and Bonestorm are dead talents because of their placement.

I also don’t understand what your goal is with Consumption. After Legion it was just left to rot, and 3 expansion later it’s still never worth taking under any circumstance. Hitting 5 targets heals for 100k, and the damage is ~to a Blood Boil. It needs some serious buffs, redesign or simply replace it with something else. The Venthyr Ability Swarming Mist was an amazing ability, and thematically great for Blood. It also had very good synergy with Bonestorm, and also helped a lot to mitigate the problem I mentioned earlier, dying in the opener because you have no resources.

[I copied this post from another forum topic were i posted my opinion]

There are many issues i have whit the new talent tree.

First row, we are still forced to spend 1 extra talent point to gain access to all the talent paths in the middle row, this being, Improved Festering Strike, Runic Mastery standing in our way for Apocalypse.

Second row is allot better, but there are still to many useless things gate keeping, or still exist as a passive that should be removed.

Ruptured Viscera, this talent passive is just bad, and it will be even worse whit Raise Abomination, next is Bursting Soars, why is it located there why are we forced to pick more wound focused passives, i would rather move it up to the end row and make it a choice nod whit Superstrain, and as for Pestilence, do we really need this passive? can’t we just have something more interesting than hey here you have a 10% chance to generate Wounds… Yawn very boring.

Last row still suffers from the problem of having way to many 2 point talent passives, do we really need Festermight, to have 2 talent point requirement, the same goes for Unholy Aura, it’s boring, it’s uninteresting, and makes me feel like i’m wasting my time.

I had also hoped that we would see more Diseases added in as options to our talent tree, that being Ebon Plague, Necrotic Plague.

Also Blizzard should have made a choice nod for Apocalypse, were you pick between Raising Ghouls, or applying Crypt Fever to boost Disease damage.

Another thing, but this is more so a me thing, i would have loved to see Raise Sludge Belcher added back, so we have the option to replace our base line Ghoul for Bob the Abom, i miss hem very much.

That also brings me to the Undead part, we only got Abom back but i feel we lack more unique Undead models to raise, whit War Within we should have gotten Nerubians, and Crypt Lord to Raise and fight for us, i feel like this makes allot of sense as we are practically going around killing them left and right.


What has been mentioned here is the need to introduce a better fantasy to the class and free us from unwanted choices.

  • Apocalypse should share the choice node with the Necromancer’s Bargain talent (for BIG Crypt Fever).
    After the target dies or the disease ends, Crypt Fever could infect another target. This is just an example.

  • Festermight is a talent that will still be weak, it won’t help me at all, e.g. when fighting bosses, and yet I have to choose it for Unholy Assault.
    I don’t want to have to choose Festermight or Death Rot.

  • Remove All Will Serve or add something new for this talent or make Improved Festering Strike summon one ghoul per talent point, for a total of two, for 15s. and applies diseases to the target. Also reduce its use cost to one rune.
    Just give a different meaning to using Festering Strike.

  • Improved Death Coil - trash talent. Death Coil could passively hit 3 targets

  • Harbinger of Doom - this requires tuning or changes to the proc change calculation for the Death Coil

  • Separate Plaguebringer from Clawing Shadow

  • Combine Pestilence with Defile and increase the proc chance for Festering Wound infection and add a free trigger for Epidemic.

  • Coldtirst - its a trash talent. Once again I have to waste talent on something I don’t want just to get further down the line after Icebound Fortitude.

Blizzard PLS listen.
Delete DND.
Reason : instances like Algethar, Azure vault, Brackenhide, Uldaman,Ruby life pool. WE CANT EVEN STAY for a single second bcs of that much aoe on the ground. ITS NOT WORTH TO PRESS DND. That 4 second wont solve the problem PLS Listen to this. We dont need dnd anymore.
And as frost i dont want use raise dead the first 3-4 nodes on the talent tree is not valuable for frost.


My overall issue whit the UH DK talent tree, is that Raise Abom replaces Army of The Dead. This goes kinda backward in terms of UH DK’s theme of Raising an Army of The Undeads, i hope Blizzard will change this so that abom is simply a new cool button CD, as for the Magus choice nod whit Gargoyle, i don’t like this, i would rather the Magus replace Commander of the Dead passive as it’s just an annoying passive to watch out from bad button pressing. i think also we have way to many 2 talent points in the end talent row for UH DK.

As for the middel row, they really should make it so Apocalypse become a choice nod were you either choose to Raise Undeads from apoc, or apply Crypt Fever that can increase the Disease damage on the enemies afflicted by it. As for Raise Sludge Belcher we should have a way to replace our Pet Ghoul for a stronger abom, maybe they could make the abom Apply 2 individual stacks of Rune of the Apocalypse, up from 1 stack you get from the Ghoul, this could make the value of taking Rune of the Apocalypse be more worth it, whit out it feeling mandatory. As for Ruptured Viscera, it’s a bad passive, and kinda get worse if you pick Raise Abomination, this is a good location were they could add Raise Sludge Belcher in, and as for Pestilence, i had hoped this effect to be just baked in to Defile, and then be changed to a new passive effect that are bit more interesting.

Another thing i feel Blizzard should change, should be Unholy Assault, this should be changed back to Unholy Frenzy, it does the same thing, but, when you press Unholy Frenzy it’s off the GCD, and it applies festering wounds to enemies close to the Death Knight, then they could change Vile Contagion to something more interesting.

It’s kinda odd that Ebon Plague, and Necrotic Plague have not been added to the talent tree, our cap stone talents feel bad, and are very lacking in class fantasy. We are not being offered any meaningful options, and honestly Blizzard can do way better whit our last talent row.

I think also Blizzard miss the mark whit Festering Wound, we should have talents that causes our wounds to Raise Skeleton Warriors, as a way to make wounds feel more interactive, and more thematic. Why we don’t have a talent like this is really odd to me, like we are Death Knights, not Warriors, not Rogues, and sure as hell not a weak spell caster in a dress.

Blizzards should just remove Rotten Touch, and instead, they should just add Doomburst in this location. When your Sudden Doom proc you burst Festering Wounds, and they can even add in, when you generate the 2 stack of Sudden Doom, it auto fires it off at the enemy, that way we will never over cap on Sudden Doom procs.


I second this, Death and decay is an EXTREME vestigial ability at this point, its utility and damage was mediocre at best even back in WoTLK. The only use i see of it is in Bloods kit, and even that is pushing it at this point.

it deals NO damage on it’s won, its an extremely clunky aoe target ability that robs you of a GCD, and does not work in content that is not Solo.

that you double down on it suggests malice or incompetence, because for Frost tying cleaving strikes to remorseless winter is one of the strongest and clear cookie cutter solutions i have seen in my life, it just flows with the spec, and synergizes with itself. ANOTHER damning evidence that you, the devs and designers DO NOT play this class.


Your comment has absolutely no point…
I dont think u understand the problem.
Let me help u.
The problem is. I cant stay in my dnd bcs i have to move evry second.
There is more than a half insta from all insta in this season (4) where i cant stay in place.
Bcs too much aoe comign on the groun. Usually i have to leave my dnd after 4-6 sec.
Not that 1 gcd hurt me Mr Deinhart.
The fact that i have forced to move out of my dnd is hurting.
Bcs i lost almost half of my dmg after i have to leave and again THAT 4 SEC BUFF WONT SOLVE THE PROBLEM Mr Deinhart…

I think you misunderstood my entire point i made.
i am arguing AGAINST DnD as a core ability. It’s damage is laughable and the entire design of it as an static AoE is what is wrong with it.

Let me make it clear, DnD has no place in current game design for us, it should be removed or drastically changed.
i instead advocate to move cleaving strikes to remorseless winter, a buff on ourselfes, EXACTLY like sweeping strtikes on warrior.

That is what i mean

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Reads to me like he’s agreeing with you? I think he’s directing the rest of the message to the devs.

Anyhow as for the new talents…

Everything seems somehow more bloated than before.

Yes making a lot of the mandatory talents in order to make the spec work baseline is a good change. And yes it seems like there might be a viable DC focused build which could be fun to play around.

But please for the love of god and everything that is (un)holy, figure out what on earth is going on with D&D/Defile and the wound system first, SYSTEMICALLY. Not just little talent fix here, little talent fix there.

Also this current iteration, the talent pathing is so messed up again. It’s like a diarrhoea of talents in order to get to where we need to be. Just because some of the new talents are a little more exciting doesn’t make the overall shape better.

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See? :nerd_face: :skull:

Now another point…

Riders of the apocalypse will now be riding Mawsorn Deathchargers or whatever they’re called… Firstly anything that reminds of shadowlands and the maw, should be an instant no. Just forsake everything this expansion did even if us dks got some sick tmog.

Secondly, why change those awesome revamped death chargers we got in Legion? That still look fresh and up to date with the current game aesthetic and polygon count? Why not update… I don’t know… THE OLD DEATHCHARGER FROM WOTLK THAT LOOKS SUPER DATED?! Make glyphs if you want if some people like them, I don’t care. But those mounts are sick and don’t need updating. Wasting serious dev time sometimes.

Yeah, it’s super annoying to rely so much on DnD. If it was just extra damage and slow, it would be fine, but so many important mechanics are tied into DnD. It’s a dmg/healing boost, dmg reduction and increased targets on heart strike. When you design content that forces you to move every few seconds to dodge the abundance of frontals and aoe, having a spell that forces you to stand mostly still is really bad.

Imagine if it was a a damage reduction in the 20% bracket, or even 25%, you would still not stand in the ground Aoe’s that cover your entire DnD as blood tank, because those AoE’s will brick your key if they clip you in high keyes.

goes to show really

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I kinda dont like loosing secon ERW and rime generation on Abbo Limb.
Also on frost, blizz should fuse DnD with RW and frostscythe repleacing obliterate if someones talent into it.

Or u delete GA mand make frostscythe a rp-spender^^