Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pug Joy

Three hours , two heroics. Took out Azjol-Nerub for the daily and traded out one dps and beat up the nexus.
I think I need a bigger toilet to flush this guy with. Reminds me of a story from a long time ago. Mrs. Scourge said we had a spider in the house. At the time where we lived we had big spiders and little spiders. The big ones were about 1". "Is it big or little". The answer was big. So I grab a tissue and proceeded to the living room to squish the damn thing. She didn't say it was BIG. Thing was the size of my fist and jumped. I used a golf club on it. Kinda like death gripping a mob into a rune strike.

Annomolus in Nexus gave us a little trouble but we one shot the big tree and the dragon. I picked up the Rift Striders off him for my trouble and was my only drop for the night. The only true tanking problem I had all night was on this fight. We tried to score the achievement by leaving all the rifts up. I got unlucky and took 6 different chaotic blasts within a couple of seconds and my health went down by half. IBF was on cooldown and for that matter so was bone shield and I dropped like a bad habit.

Nexus has a lot of caster mobs and AMZ would have been handy. Perhaps when we get duel spec I'll devote one to magic tanking and one to melee tanking.

Sigils in 3.08

So I got my first look at the new sigils. I'm sure you have too. I hope the "tanking" one gets changed before live.

First of all, 15 heroic badges for 53 defense rating. By the time you have 15 heroic badges you should be getting close to the defense cap anyway. Granted this does provide more flexibility in gearing decisions. What concerns me, and everyone else I've read is that its a proc on Icy Touch. Even if this procs 100% of the time you use icy touch, there is always the possibility it wears off prior to your next icy touch and all of a sudden you are critable for a short duration. If you are in the PTR please post feedback on this item to be defense on equip with no proc criteria.

Moving on.

Here's what I'm most likely to go get as an Unholy Tank. Until I can trust the defense sigil I'd much rather have a huge buff to my bread and butter strike. 203 to scourge is looking a lot nicer than 90 to blood strike.

Our Frosty friends will like Frozen Conscience, same damage but applies to Icy Touch which they buff through talents.

The Wild Buck, I'm not sold on. I think I'd rather keep dark rider with its 90 damage to Heart Strike than this.

Looks like Blizzard is batting .500 coming out of the gate with the new sigils. I'm sure our friends over at EJ will do the math on Wild Buck to see if it's ever worth taking. The frost and unholy focused sigils look sweet though.

Please bring your seatbacks to the upright position

Ok, Ok, the picture is in Barrens. And I actually took it a few weeks ago when I was going to level my herbalism. But it's been so long since I put an in-game shot up. I haven't played in close to a week. But I'm back. I'll be up to my usual shenanigans including pistol whipping Farva for saying it.

Before I left, I hit revered with wyrmrest and got my chest and boots. So now I'm repping for Argent Crusade to score some head enchants.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Strategic uses of Raise Dead

Raise dead, soon to be raise ally, is a situational raid DPS preservation tool. Some of you are asking me, scourge WTF did you just say? There are times when you can maintain high levels of raid dps but using raise dead.

The first and most obvious use is when a non critical role dies in a boss fight. You can ghoul your friends and get them back in the action to continue to lay the smack down on the boss. Why non critical, If you have a druid or a lock in the group you want to use their battle rez capabilities on healers first, then tanks. Therefore you don’t want to kill their ability to rez one of those players. Unlike a druid’s battle rez, since ours is instant we can get someone up while tanking, take that you furry beast.

Here is a more creative use of raise dead. Again it is highly situational. Lets say you have a caster that is just scraping the mana barrel towards the end of a long fight and you’re worried about an enrage timer. They’ve used all their tricks to regen their mana but it’s just not happening. With all the AOE damage a group takes on boss fights, they can sacrifice themselves and you can pop them back up as a ghoul to they can continue to add some damage.

The first technique is easy to pull off without much prior planning, in fact you can do it in your next pug. The second is probably best left for guild runs since it takes more coordination than most pugs have. The caster has to let you know they are done, and gonna sac themselves, the healer has to know to not waste their own mana by healing the victim, you have to know that they will need to be raised as soon as they drop to maximize the time they can say braaiiinssss.
This is essentially the same thing healers who are soulstoned will do to squeeze that last bit of healing out at the end of a long fight. Tricks like these can be the difference between a 1% wipe and a guild first kill.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm a Tank, why should I roll on DPS gear

So I'm still stuck in the great white north without Wow. So I'm limited to topics that I can write about without pictures, or in game research.

So far 78% of y'all have said in my poll you want to tank. Why the hell would I go out and tell you to get a DPS set of gear. Quite simply, you will spend a lot of time as melee DPS.

Like Feral Druids we can switch very easily between providing DPS and tanking. In fact we are supposed to be the DPS tanks. Even when tanking we do some nice damage and can compete with the best of them.

Why will you be DPS when you're a tank. One, when soloing, you want to kill mobs as fast as possible and good DPS gear that doesn't have itemization points spent on Stam or Defense will get the job done all the quicker. Two, while building out your defense set you can run heroics as DPS. Three, even in Naxx, it makes more sense from a raid optimization standpoint to have us OT and provide DPS if we are sharing tanking with a Warrior or Pally. Why because we can do twice the damage they can.

Just because we can be every bit as effective as a tank as any other class doesn't mean we should always be the main tank, we can do a lot more DPS than other tanks so plan on standing behind the bosses a lot of the time.

So what makes good DPS gear versus Tank gear. We all know for tanks we need defense, stamina, strength, parry, dodge, and to some degree hit and expertise. For DPS gear focus on hit, strength, and expertise. When you stand behind the mobs and they are not attacking you, you don't need dodge or parry. Consequently, as DPS you won't be using rune strike either.

So the trick is to get big bags and carry two sets of gear. One set for tanking and one for spanking. As a Bear I liked the outfitter addon(closet gnome and itemrack do the same thing). This allows me to establish gear sets for the role at hand and could incorporate gear changes into a macro. So as a DK, if you switch from blood/unholy presence to frost presence it will automatically equip your tank set. Of course if you are in combat only your weapons will change until you exit combat. The same holds for going from frost to blood. This saves you valuable time between pulls and ensures you have the best gear on for the job at hand.

I'll say it now, and I'll say it later. Because we have such a dps advantage over other tanks, we will OT and we will DPS even when we want to be the first person on the bosses shit list.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Poll Results: My former main

Y'all took me by surprise. I wasn't expecting ranged DPS to be the greatest source of new DKs. Then again, I know my polls will be biased.

I remember my transition from ranged DPS to tanking/melee DPS. There is a learning curve, at least I had one. My first toon I ever raided with was an Affliction Warlock. Even though I participated in guild first kills of such bosses as Attuemen, Moreos, Maiden, and eventually Shade and Illhoof on this toon I always felt divorced from the action. I stood in back, moved when I needed to, and paid attention to my cast rotations.

Though I never played WoW pre-BC, I can see how ranged DPS could take it easy in a 40man raid.

When I rolled my Bear, and went out and researched how to tank, or supply melee DPS in cat form as needed, I quickly realized raiding with the boss smacking you around is a lot different than going pew pew in the back.

For those of you new to being the front line, expect more responsibility. When you are doing a 5 man or heroic, or even Naxx, as a tank or off tank you will be expected to know the fights. Not just the bosses, but the trash too. Marking mobs doesn't seem to be important so far in Wrath the way it was in BC, but you should still learn which mobs to kill in what order. Casters first.

You will also need to develop a greater level of situational awareness than you had raining death from a distance. As the tank you need to know where people are. You also need to know who's second on the threat lists of all the mobs. Because when one breaks free you want to know where its headed.

I know people joke that the tanks death is the healers fault, the healers death is the tanks fault, and dps deaths are their own damn fault. Use your threat dumps ya jerks. The fact is, when tanking you tend to take any ones death personally.

There isn't a post you can read that will teach you situational awareness. You just have to get that by experience. I'd also recommend getting experience in more than one roll. So you used to be a mage/lock/hunter. Now go out and roll a healer, even if its for lowbie instances. Learn what the other classes can and can not do. It will save your ass when all hell brakes loose. Trust me. I consider myself casual but I have one of every class at least level 60, 3 70's and my new pride and joy. I'm not the best frost mage or holy priest, but I have an idea of how they can work with me to get the baddie down.

As for the former tanks, you know what to do. Always keep an eye on the trade off between threat and mitigation and you'll be fine with the new DK.

Healers, my best advice as a DK is look at the mob, not your parties health bars.

Melee, remember we don't have a threat dump. We can talent lower threat for DPS but we can't clear it the same way a rogue can or to a lesser degree cower for cats.

If you haven't responded to the new poll on what you want to do with your DK please do so. Also for all you lurkers (I say that as if I have more than 5 people who have been here more than once) leave me a comment, tell me what's on your mind regarding DKs. We are a new class and our collective thoughts will define who we become. Let's make sure people want us for our abilities not for a perception of OP. After all GC says bring the player not the toon.

Ghostcrawler Speaks Again.

Here is the link on Deathknight.info to the full text.

Runestrike, Icebound Fort, and Boneshield all took a hit from the Nerf Bat. Honestly, can't say I'm surprised. But all the changes actually make me a Happy DK. We are allowed to be happy as we kill everything in sight, right?

But keep in mind when considering the IBF nerf. It is set to scale with your defense so a DK at the defense cap is still getting the vast majority of the mitigation we are used to seeing.

Our mitigation should hopefully balance with the buff to Frost Presence. It is getting even more armor which should add another 2500 to 3000 armor beyond what you are getting now. It also gets an extra 10% magic damage reduction. Gotta love that.

Our AOE tanking abilities just got better, especially for Unholy. No more cooldown on Pestilence means you can spread your diseases that much faster when adds come running in. That means you can be even more effective in keeping them off your healers. Unholy Blight has its RP reduced by a third. You can now get UB up in your first rotation.

When this makes it through the PTR and hits live, the first thing you need to do is review your sigils and glyphs. They are both getting an overhaul. As soon as I learn some details, I'll pass it on with my thoughts. Now where's my penny?

No more death and decay before the pull. Horn of winter no longer costs RP, but generates it. That's right blow your horn for free RP and DK goodness. You're friends will love you for it.

Having trouble hitting the defense cap to tank heroics and Naxx? We get a new rune that gives a massive 25 defense skill. That's right I said skill not rating. Holy shit. It also gives 2% stamina. This is a fantastic bridge as you gear up. However, once you have the gear for the defense cap, you will still be better with the rune of swordshattering for its 4% parry.

There are also a host of other changes to strikes that warrant further review when I have some more time. All told, I think our tanking just got better and I'm not overly concerned with the nerfs that are coming with all the buffs.

Live from Northrend

So I'm traveling, won't say where, but when I landed the outside temp was 7 degrees and plenty of snow. If there were mountains I'd say Icecrown but it has more of a Borean Tundra feel.

Since I don't have a lot of time here is my Heroic Nexus tip.

Bring a mage.

OK, I'll elaborate. You know those little rift mobs that spawn adds that you have to kill first. I have first hand witnessed a mage frostfiring them and killing them without aggroing them or their group.

I don't know if it works with a lock and shadowbolt or any other mage spell, but I know it works right now. Expect Blizzard to fix that sometime soon.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Not sold on Dual Wield Tanking

So I just came out of Heroic Drak, we never downed the first boss. Once again it was a pug run and I had my reservations about going but I need the rep so I can def cap.

The tank was another DK, frost spec. He was defense capped, but he was duel wielding. I know DK.info has an official thread regarding duel wielding and so far the gist is, with enough hit and expertise it might be viable.

I was worried about Parry-Haste but that doesn't seem to have been an issue with only 22 parries he caused. He did go down faster than Brittany's Spears' career and I don't know why. He has the big three early mitigation talents. Maybe we had bad healers, since we had two of them. Not sure.

What really amazed me was the threat problems. On AOE pulls, just pestilence and unholy blight were grabbing aggro from him in a big way. I didn't even think about using DnD. I'm sure his lack of threat is due to low hit and expertise, especially for a duel wielder.
Holy Crap!!! 17% Miss, 10% Glance, add in another 5% between Parry and Dodge, he only landed 67% of his attacks cleanly. Here I was bitching that my glance and miss were 15% combined and was not pleased with the impact it had on my output.

There is something to be said for BC's heroic requirements as well. We had a rogue in the group that was sporting 807 dps. That's acceptable, if you're T4 and level 70. Quite honestly, I don't think the big boy guilds would take me for dps with my 1500 in their heroics, and I'm OK with that.

Poll Results, Why did you roll a Death Knight

Let me start by saying, I'm a professional statistician. I will give some interpretation of my polls but I KNOW that the data is biased. Anyone coming to my blog has an interest in Death Knights beyond a passing fancy.

OK, 20 of you were kind enough to respond and not surprisingly nearly two thirds of you have switched to a Death Knight as your new main. 25% of you were interested in the lore, while the remaining 3 of you just wanted to OP.

Let's start with the idea of Death Knights are over powered. At level 58 in Hellfire we were. Out of the 10 toons, every class, I've taken through Hellfire, the DK was far and away the easiest. Now I don't have any comparison at level 80, but I know when I run or tank a dungeon I don't feel over powered any more.

The lore, Blizzard did a great job with it. Too bad I'm just not caught up in it. Prior to WoW, the last time I played warcraft was the original Orcs versus Humans. Even then I never owned it. So I'm sure I missed out on some of the grandeur of the back story. C'est la vie.

New mains, dominated the sample. I was surprised to find myself one of them. My original Wrath intentions were to continue to level my Bear and keep tanking with him. I guess I just like the complexity of the DK over being a feral druid. I know some of you are saying being a druid can be complex to, and they can. Managing which form to be in and when can be quite involving, but in the middle of a fight, you just don't change to cat form when your tanking very often. I should confess my first toon was an Affliction warlock which had complex damage rotations to perform well and the DK kind of reminds me of that but in a more forceful way fighting the mob face to face.

So now that we know why you rolled a DK, go check the new poll and let everyone know what you plan to do with it. I purposely left PvP off the poll. Quite frankly, if you want PvP advice and anecdotes you are in the wrong place.

Tankin Heroics one wipe at a time

So I ran Old Kingdom heroic yesterday. I wasn't supposed to tank. It was a pug group and I was brought in as DPS. The problem is, my 526 defense turned out to be a lot better than what our warrior was sporting.

The Pally healer we had was fantastic in his ability to keep the tank up. Things went reasonably well until we got to Jedoga Shadowseeker. She crit the tank and dropped him in one shot about a minute in. Luckily I was second on the aggro list. I popped my Empower Rune Weapon and changed to frost stance and managed to stay vertical as we slowly killed her. With the tank down and me in frost we didn't have the DPS to kill the minions outright so I would save IBF for her buff right after the sacrifice.

For my efforts I scored the Edge of Oblivion. A sweet Axe if I ever saw one.

My DPS on the run was Meh. I had two issues. Stupid like to die, a lot. I got to the point I just left him dead. So there's a dps hit. I'm starting to think my treatise on ghoul vs gargolye was not well thought out, assuming I seriously underestimated ghoul survivability. The second issue is best shown with a picture. Wow that's a lot of glancing blows.
Miss is a little high too.






Skeleton Jack did a great post about hit and expertise. Basically says, you need 295 hit for the hit cap to eliminate glancing and misses.

My hit is 54. Oops. Needless to say, this is a stat I need to go find as I finish getting my defense capped. The wyrmrest boots I'm repping for has 29 which will help and I have my eye out for a scroll of Enchant Gloves Precision for its 20 to hit as well. That still leaves me woefully short of the hit cap. However, as I saw first hand yesterday. Def Cap > Hit Cap.

You can't hit shit when you're dead.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ghouls vs Gargoyle

There is still a lot of debate, which is better. Stupid or the Gargoyle.

Let's start with some assumptions and do some math. I promise it won't be that hard, but then again I may be biased since I do math for a living.

Most reports seem to agree that Gargyoles do 550 dps for the minute they are up and have a 3 minute cooldown. On a five minute fight you could call him twice. Let's further assume you have enough RP to keep him up the entire minute both times. That gives 550*120 = 66,000 total damage.

Now lets make the big assumption, the boss fight is not AOE intensive and your Ghoul will stay up the entire time. Most the smart folks agree that ghouls contribute 200dps. Therefore ghouls will pump out 5*60*200 = 60,000 total damage.

Gargoyle 66 > Ghoul 60 game over get the garg.

Not that easy.

All the runic power that generated and ran the Gargoyle can be used for other fun stuff if you have a ghoul. When tanking, I can use the RP for Unholy Blight and Runestrike. I have a 3.5 second weapon swing and I convert 30% to rune strikes. My RS hits for 2542 on average while a weapon swing hits for 933. This means each rune strike adds 1609 damage. 5 minutes * 60 seconds divided by 3.5 per swing means I will get 85.7 swings in. 25 will be rune strikes which will add another 40,225 damage to my totals.

Plus, I will also have the RP to run unholy blight. I currently don't have numbers for how much it ticks against a single mob, but it ticked for 137 damage on my gun'drak run. To be conservative, I'll say I get 1/4 of that on bosses or 34.25 dps. Over the course of 5 minutes that gives me another 10,275 damage.

Therefore with a ghoul out I can do a total of 60,000 + 40,225 + 10,275 for a total of 110,500 damage between my Ghoul and rune strike and unholy blight.

Now to be fair, the Gargolye is only consuming RP for 2 minutes out of 5. But you do have to build a cushion prior to summoning it. So lets add 2 minutes worth of UB and RS to its damage. That gives me an additional 4,110 damage from UB and another 16,550 from rune strikes. Now its total jumps up to 86,660 damage.

Therefore Ghoul > Garg.

Dam this is turning into a long post. It's still not that easy.

The difference between the two is 23,840. If you divide that by Ghoul DPS that means you have 120 seconds of using the ghoul you can spare for its damage to be greater. If your ghoul dies in less than 3 minutes on the fight you would have done more damage with the gargoyle.

A couple more things to consider from a tanking perspective. The extra damage you get from UB and RS when you spec Ghoul contributes to your threat. Not only that, you have an emergency heal with Death Pact, assuming it isn't already dead.

From a DPS perspective, you shouldn't be getting all the rune strikes so it comes down to losing a minute of UB, not that big a deal, and a minutes worth of Death Coils to use the Gargoyle. If you're all about burning down the boss take the Gargoyle. If you want to look good on the entire run, take the Ghoul. Then again, if you are DPS there are a lot of points in my tank spec that can be freed up to get both.

So there it is, for an Unholy tanking/dps build the Ghoul is preferred to the Gargoyle.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Lucky Bastard and some Runestrike Love

I'm a lucky bastard yes I am. I had some time to squeeze in a Gun'Drak run trying to improve my defense and become uncritable. The run went smooth as butter except for two problems.

On the second boss I disconnected as soon as I started the fight. I managed to log in and find one dps still up and my healer. I grabbed aggro back and we proceeded to burn him the rest of the way down. Woops.

The other problem came on Gal'darah. None of us knew he had a whirlwind, and wowwiki didn't tell us. Prior to the fight our healer asked us to close in tight so she could AOE heal through the charges. Well first whirlwind comes and we loose 2 dps and our heals. Thanks to IBF, Bone Shield, and shadow of death, we still got him to 18% before we wiped. Needless to say, Gal'darah does a whirlwind. Stay out of it.
The good news is, he dropped my tanking ring. This is the second dungeon I've received the drop I needed for my defense gear on the first try. Guess the RNG is making up for a year of no Moroes Pocket Watch or T4 helm for my Bear.


My total defense is improving and I've actually deviated a little from my easy to get gear since I take upgrades as I find them. Right now I stand at 525 and I still only have 399 natural skill. What does it take to get that last point?! As you can see my avoidance is starting to look nice as well and I clear 45% when blade barrier is up without any buffs other than horn of winter. When I'm in frost stance I'm also pushing 21,800 armor.

Last thing I want to talk about from my Gun'Drak run is runestrike. I did a total of 365 weapon swings over the entire run. 107 were converted to rune strike for 30% of my swings. This pushed RS to the top of my damage output. This was a heavy AOE tanking event and you can see death and decay along with unholy blight did a good chunk of my output. Pestilence itself didn't show up very high but it pushed a lot of disease damage out.

I continue to be impressed by the DK's tanking ability, both to withstand punishment and to dish out the threat and the damage. One of the things I like best, is when I have DnD and Unholy up, loose patrols just increase my DPS.