View Full Version : Desecration: Worth 5 talent points? (DPS)

01-05-2009, 02:24 PM
Summary: I have a theory that for Unholy Death Knights, 5/5 Desecration is not worth the talent point investment given the Glyph of Scourge Strike and other talents on which those points could be spent.

It's pretty well known that Blizzard balances talents around a 1% increase per talent point - its slightly less known (or oft-ignored) that this is only an approximation, and must be weighed against what other talents could be purchased for the same point expenditure. To complicate matters, glyphs can dramatically affect talent choice and skill usage. Most of the readers here should understand all of this.

So let's look at Desecrate. This is an oddly scaling ability that rewards consistency for investing the full five points. At 5/5, you get a straight-up 5% damage increase, as long as you properly maintain the effect, including standing in the appropriate area. Fewer points spent in the talent offer the same damage bonus, but with a cumulative 20% reduced chance to occur, meaning that if you're lucky, you can get better than a 1% dps increase per talent point, but more likely, over the long term, you'll see a significantly reduced efficiency. If you're a gambling man, that's probably all you needed to hear, but I like to have a little more security than that, especially considering the skill we use to proc Desecration, Plague Strike, isn't going to help you top any dps charts on its own.

Yet there's still no problems at this point - you've got your standard unholy rotation:

1) IT > PS > BS > BS > SS
2) SS > SS > SS

Which you alternate in order to keep up your diseases, automatically refreshing Desecration at regular intervals, and of course, you dump runic power as needed. We'll avoid the issue of movement for the time being - it is important, but its not relevant for now, because at this point, desecration is still doing what it should - giving us a 1% damage increase per talent point.

So let's shift gears for a moment and look at glyphs... unholy isn't drowning in good choices here, but the one that does stand out is Glyph of Scourge Strike, which gives you a 25% chance to apply your diseases whenever you hit with Scourge Strike. This is a good thing because it frees up your runes so that you can convert an IT > PS in your first rotation into a SS when it procs, which should be substantially better damage for the rune cost. The glyph isn't as reliable as I would like, but unholy deathknights really don't have any better choices, and when it does work (and it *feels* like it works often enough to keep this player satisfied - even though feeling is a bad sort of evidence, it is important for the enjoyment aspect of the game) it does contribute a good chunk of damage.

Reliability aside, there's just one problem with this glyph: it works in opposition to Desecrate. If you use the glyph, you're hoping for it to work, but if it does work, you have to ignore the benefit in order to refresh Desecrate, at which point, if you're determined to refresh Desecrate, there's no reason to take the glyph in the first place.

Enter into the arcane combination of factors that makes me doubt the usefulness of Desecrate as a talent:

1) Glyph of Scourge Strike is the best choice of dps glyphs for an Unholy Death Knight - while it may not be optimal itself, which is not to say that it is not a noticeable contribution, there's nothing better worth picking in its place.

2) Glyph of Scourge Strike works in direct opposition to Desecrate.

3) Positioning factors further reduce Desecrate's overall dps contribution by some unaccountable degree.

4) Five talent points is too much to spend on a talent that touts 5% dps if it cannot be guaranteed 100% up-time, and fewer talent points spent result in significantly diminished returns.

5) There are plenty of other talents that can be purchased which must yield at least a similar return without the draw backs.

Please discuss.

01-07-2009, 01:16 PM
Desecration is terrible, even without the glyph of Scourge Strike. Every PVE Unholy DPSer has Epidemic. Epidemic increased the duration of your diseases. Epidemic does not increase the duration of your Desecration. You will be Plague Striking only once every 20sec, which means Desecration will be up only 12/20ths (60%) of the time. This means that Desecration is pretty much a flat 3% damage buff, which, for 5 talent points, is very, very hard to justify.

Moreover, it will be buffing the "setup" part of your rotation, and will never be up during the 3xSS and RP dump... which means that even the 3% damage buff estimate is generous.

01-09-2009, 09:20 AM
I have been first and foremost an unholy tank for raiding in the last month and a half, and I couldn't disagree more.

1.) ScS Glyph is good stuff, I use it happily and it can be very convenient in some situations, overall it's let me boost my threat rotation a bit. I view the bonus like only that though, it's an occasional bonus, not a solid buff to rely on.

2.) The glyph does not work in opposition to Desecration, it only means you have to adapt your behavior to compensate. Specifically I will still trade occasional F/U sets to reapply the Desecrated area rather than gambling on a reapply (which is not consistent enough to really be better than guaranteeing 100% disease uptime), or when it works I'll just use one of my Blood Taps to Plague Strike for the zone. Seeing it as an either or is tying your hands unnecessarily, as with so many other things. Disabling thought.

3.) Desecration is far from terrible. If you use it smartly 5% damage/threat buffing (note: multiplicative) can be a very powerful tool. If I can maintain 4k TPS normally (being conservative with raid buffs, etc), then 5% damage translates into roughly 8% threat buffing, or 320 more TPS. Every little bit helps, to be sure, and Unholy threat is a stacking operation. It is a tool best used smartly. To that end, people always forget to account for the additional effects. I've found several situations where the slow is very valuable, every bit as much as the damage increase, though usually more to do with trash of course, than bosses. So the trading balance goes back and forth between trash and boss. On a stationary boss you get a solid flat damage/threat buff. On trash you get that and/or better control over the mobs. On kiting bosses is about the only place where you really lose the value (Grobb is about the only fight that springs to mind for that). It's magical for Gluth, I can handle the ghouls solo easily on 10, and on 25 I need only a little support in pinning them down from time to time to REALLY help with kiting.

The guesstimating on how much 'actual' effect you'll get is a little silly, since the on/off value you get from the damage buff is entirely on the tank and how smartly they use it. You create a zone in which you get the damage buff. It's not rocket science to then move in and out of it as you need to.

The talent has it's points worth of value, you just need to be smart about using it, that doesn't mean you're a fool for not taking, it also doesn't mean you're a fool if you do.

01-09-2009, 10:52 PM
I happen to really like desecration. I think the 5% damage increase comes out to be good and the snare is situationally beneficial. However my question is this, with the buff to Necrosis (from 10% to 20%), is it better to get Necrosis or Desecration? And for those that have used Necrosis, does it trigger off of Rune Strike like BcB does?

01-10-2009, 07:02 AM
Well, it's a little hard to compare Necrosis and Desecration since they're rather different buffs. Necrosis is a single target melee damage buff (and last I checked it's only on melee swings, not on RS hits which means the more RS's you use the fewer swings get the Necrosis bonus), whereas Desecration is a flat damage/threat buff, meaning it'll buff all of your various damage dealers.

I tend not to take Necrosis or BcB simply because I don't tend to specialize in single target threat (and I don't actually need the help right now). I rely on dot stacking for a lot of threat, and I just focus my single target moves on the target I want main threat on in a group pull (boss tanking I just stack dots and trade some aoe moves for a lot more single target hammering, i.e. less DnD more ScS).

The buff to Necrosis will be nice for those who use it for single target threat, and it will likely help your single target threat more than Desecration (though they will actually stack...), but it won't do a thing to your AoE threat which Desecration will.