Why not restructure Death Knight talent trees?

dk-symbol Over a quiet sandwich and cake today for lunch I pondered why Death Knights have three talent trees that each can tank and dps. In isolation I love the concept; it give a variety of choice and flavour to the the class. The choice of Blood, Unholy, Frost makes the Death Knights feel different.

Our choice of Presence already has such a great influence on what we can do – and I really appreciate that I can switch from an Off-tank to a Dps role at different stages in the same fight by switching my Presence. And if it all goes badly for the main tank, a DK can switch back to Frost Presence and be in Meat-Wall mode almost immediately.

But when compared to other classes it seems odd when I think of it. No other class can do this at the moment (although Druids get close by cat-bear). Now I realise that for some true hybrid classes the talent trees are how they specifically split roles, so a true comparison against Druids, Pallys, etc, is not really affective. But many classes have a Healing talent tree which is not suited to dps when selected.

Is the three tree all role potential perhaps part of the undefined “heroic” feel? Maybe, I’ve not really followed the bait-and-switch discussions on what is a hero class for a long time.

I am not calling for a nurf. Far from it, I’m wary of anything where downward adjustment can occur. But I think this is something that might make Death Knights stronger. A more concentrated and solidified talent structure.

It also got me thinking that I might advocate for this to end, and the developers place specific powers and specific role strengths in selected trees. The three trees doing tank and dps feels at odds to satisfying the breadth of wants by the player community. Death Knights have two roles to fill, and therefore I assume that they have some similarities to the Warrior class, where the dual role is what you’re expected to bring. Warriors don’t as a rule try to tank in Fury or Arms spec though.

Don’t think for a moment that I’m suggesting a change without powers greater than me considering all the options. I like the three trees having all roles roles. Its just that I wonder if by maintaining three talent trees for both raid roles the Death Knight might be more difficult to balance, and also widely misunderstood.

What if:

  • Unholy – Dps only tree, and openly acknowledged and encouraged AoE and single target dps. May combine talent choices for 2h and dual wield dps.
  • Frost – Dual wield dps and 2h tanking, with a bent toward AoE tanking. What about dual wield tanking too?
  • Blood – 2h dps and Tanking, with a bent toward single target tanking.

The fundamental change is here is making Unholy no longer a Tanking tree. I think this would be seen as a serious nurf by folks who enjoy the Unholy tanking. But I think as long as the other aspects of the roles and configurations are altered to balance this up, the overall affect on the class would be a bonus.

Frost already has the dual wield integrated into it, so why not take that a step further. Make smashing mobs with two weapons at once a stable of Frost, for both Tanking and Dps.

Then Blood can remain a two role tree as well, but be the tree that considers large two handed weapons as the only way to roll, for both roles.

I could argue that the community already has some preconceived notions of which trees do better at each role, and therefore the pruning of the lesser trees is not overly harsh.

Am I off my rocker?