Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Accountability

Time to hold myself accountable. At the beginning of the year I set the ambitious goal of continuingng to raid with my DK and provide reasonable if not exactly cutting edge suggestions on how to get the most out of your toon. I also had the ancillary goal of leveling all 9 other classes to 80.

Of course what I didn't know at the time is which way my life would turn. These WoW goals were set assuming life outside in the real world would remain stable.

It didn't.

However, I still believe it is important to see how I did against these goals as with all goals in life.

The real world saw my work schedule become very busy as we had several major initiatives going in the office. It also saw the decision to have another baby, the full pregnancy, and the birth of my daughter. These factors led me to quit WoW at the end of March. I just couldn't do it all.

After four full months away from game I came back to find my small group of friends mostly back in a guild we ran Kara and Gruul's with and I was welcomed back there as well. I spent a couple solid months leveling toons when time permitted but never got The Scourge out for another spin beyond respeccing him when all the points got refunded.

I took additional breaks from WoW on a regular basis especially after my little girl was born. So here are the results.

As you can see my druid went from a T5ish feral tank to 80 and is a boomkin. My lock is back to affliction after leveling as a felguard siphon life spec. Gotta say with full Frozen Shadoweave this build had so much self healing I don't think I ever ate or drank. My hunter languished and went from 70 to 73. I took my rogue up to 70 and have plans on finishing it someday. My Shammy made it all the way from 61 to 80 and is now a heroic resto but I just don't make the effort to be a fantastic healer and usually let a dps or two die during the run.

My mage is up to 70 and remains the frost AOE grind champion but has yet to go any farther. My pally went from a resto pocket healer at 60 to retribution for the solo push to 71. There is no spec more OP than Ret Pallies IMO. My priest went from being a pocket dual box healer at 60 as well and is now full shadow. It is also a hard to kill toon with all the self healing. If it has mana, the mob(s) is dead. My warrior is a dual wielding titan gripping disappointment. At level 70 it has the lowest dps by far from all my toons and while I may not be optimal at rotations I do look up standard rotations for each class so I am somewhat competent.

That leaves my DK. The Scourge sits in the same gear he had the day I retired. He hasn't stepped foot outside of Dalaran except for a single fishing excursion. It was a very fun toon but I think I don't run heroics with it to collect badge gear because I don't want WoW to have that much influence on my life again.

On the subject of heroics and the new random pugs I have run a ton this week while on vacation on my Lock, Boomkin, and Shammy. Overall I have had good experiences. Only one run did I have to deal with asshats and I can count the complete wipes from 30-40 runs on one hand.

Lastly, I am somewhat amazed that after 9 months of shutting this blog down I still average 100 hits a day. That is a long way down from the 750-1000 I had at my peak and I wonder how far could this have gone had I devoted the attention to it that it deserved. I had several good e-mail interviews for DK of the week feature but ultimately the feeling of obligation to generate fresh, relevant, daily content was also a contributing factor to my departure.

I hope 2009 treated everyone who shared this journey with me well and I wish you all the best in the new year.

Regards,
Omen aka The Scourge

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Life after WoW

It's been two months since I canceled my account. In some ways leaving the game has been easy, in others not so much.

The biggest issue I have with WoW is also its biggest attraction. The persistent nature of the game. Even when you are logged out events that affect you continue to transpire. This is a powerful motivator to not log out, not miss anything.

I figure I was playing 20-25 hours a week before I quit. Six to eight of those would have been raiding, the rest doing the daily grind. Fishing, crafting, dailies, running heroics for rep, etc, etc, etc. Most of that time was not truly fun.

The time spent raiding also included tons of down time for breaks and wipe recovery.

Outside of the game I was putting another 10-15 hours a week into this blog. Between the two it was as if I had a second full time job with no pay. I'll admit it was one I enjoyed.

In my resignation post I identified two aspects of my personal life I had let slack. Reading and my health. I have addressed both of those.

I have read a couple books but have focused most of my readings on online journals and blogs that deal with my professional interests of data modeling, economics, decision theory, and personal finance.

I write a blog on my professional interests and it is achieving my goals. I don't update it near as frequently as I did The Scourge, but then that is the nature of my professional thoughts. Insight takes longer to develop and distill in that arena. My readership is also much lower but that is also a nature of the material. However, I am getting the right readership. People who can further my career.

As for my health I indicated I had put on a few pounds. I know myself. If I don't have a good kick in the ass by someone other than my wife I will not exercise. So I hired a trainer. In just a few weeks I've dropped a few pounds, lost an inch from my waist, gained a lot of endurance, am a little stronger, and have the energy to keep up with my son at the park.

Gaming wise, I played a number of games. I tried Diablo 2 again. It was fun and I could see a lot of the Death Knight in my old favorite class the necromancer. I also finally got Warcraft 3. I'm not and RTS fan and WC3 is definitely not WoW. I did join iRacing and settle into it. I've always had a love affair with racing and this is much cheaper than buying a spec Miata. The beauty is, I can fit my racing schedule more easily into my routine and if I need to quit for something in RL, 9 or 24 people are dependent on my being there.

But it's not easy walking away from something that was a big part of your life for two years. I still lurk on a few blogs. Afterall, WoW blogging really is a community and especially amongst us fellow DK bloggers. Death Knights continue to be in the good hands of Me And My Ghoul and Death Knight Tactics, though the loss of Skeleton Jack leaves another hole in the group.

I have no intentions on removing this site from the web, but two months after WoW I can say I have no intentions on coming back.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Following the herd

out the door.

When Phaelia left to have a baby it didn't really phase me since I never followed Resto4Life.

Yesterday BRK pulled the plug.

Today it is my turn.

To be honest it's something I've contemplated. I like to claim I'm pragmatic and can be happy with 95% of the benefit for 50% of the effort. But when it comes down to it, I'm not satisfied. Never have been, never will.

I launched this blog for two reasons, one I wanted to give blogging a spin, and two, at the time I couldn't find any good DK blogs. If you look at my link list on the right you will find plenty of good blogs.

The reality is, to achieve my blogging goals I need to put in more than 50% of the effort. That is time I can not afford to commit. For the past two years WoW has dominated my nights once my son goes to bed. I've given up more sleep than I care to admit. I've done what I could to minimize the impact on my personal and professional life, but I know I haven't eliminated it.

In the year prior to taking up WoW I read the following books:

Cowboy Capitalism: European Myths, American Reality
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Intelligence, Genes, and Success: Scientists Respond to The Bell Curve
The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
The Purchase of Intimacy
The New Direct Marketing: How to Implement A Profit-Driven Database Marketing Strategy
How to Lie With Statistics
Making Great Decisions in Business and Life
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
Personal Financial Planning
The Nine Nations of North America

Since I started WoW I haven't read a single one. I personally believe I am not as interesting as I once was.

Before WoW I was a part time college professor in addition to my day job. I haven't taught in two years. Though to be honest I don't think I will take that up again anytime soon. Student demands for grade distortion, cheating, lack of willingness to study or do homework frustrated me to no end. There were exceptions of course.

I've put on 15 pounds while my bike gathers dust.

So there I was deluding myself I could have it all. After all BRK was a middle aged professional like myself. He had a wife and kids like myself. He was more successful at raiding than I ever was. He was more successful at blogging than I ever was, or likely ever would be. What I didn't see was how much he was sacrificing at home until he admitted to it yesterday.

Truth is, I don't want to be BRK, or even like him. I want to be the same guy my wife fell in love with 13 years ago, only a little older. That will still include computer games, just not ones with persistent worlds where I fear if I'm not online I'm missing something. They will be the kind where I can hit save and walk away and don't rely on 24 other people to achieve my in game goals.

To those of you who know me IRL, we'll keep in touch. To everyone else I've met in this fascinating game, I wish you the best of luck in achieving what you want out of life. It's a rough world out there and I hope I have added a little enjoyment to y'all as I know I have received my share of enjoyment from you.

Cheers,

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Morning Blues

I didn't get much playing done over the weekend. Outside of a couple dailies and fooling around in a couple dungeons didn't do anything exciting.

I'm still trying to score my first Maly run. I honestly don't care whether it's 10 or 25. I also don't care(but wouldn't pass up) about loot in there. I raid to see content and I still haven't seen this fight outside of Tankspot, or gotten a kill.

I'd really like to have that before 3.1 hits.

In the meantime I'm collecting mats for Northrend Inscription Research. One I can use the mats to finish capping my scribe prof, two I'll hopefully discover some of the better new glyphs early on and be able to make some easy money.

I have about half a dozen good entries for my next DK feature. It's going to be a hard decision. If you aren't chosen don't worry there are always future weeks as well.

I ran a nexus regular pug on my hunter over the weekend. We had a DK tank. He was level 70 with 61 points in Frost. Not exactly ideal spec and I would argue that while leveling just grab a few pieces of +def gear and tank with a DPS spec. But it was clear the guy hadn't tanked before. That's OK too, we all need to learn sometime.

The tanking basics that you need to know regardless of class.
1) Only pull when your healer is ready
2) Know where a safe place to tank the pull is
3) Don't pull when a Patrol can join the fight
4) Make sure you have a way to establish and maintain aggro on all mobs that are not CC'd
5) Use Line of Sight to ensure casters come to you
6) If you do not have the health, mitigation, and avoidance to survive a 5 pull, use CC
7) Slow Down and Think

For DK's Items number 4 & 5 means use DnD either on the mobs where they are (assuming #2 isn't violated) or apply rule #5 and make sure all the mobs have to run through your DnD as they come to you.

I bring this up as there were numerous trash pulls I died on since feigning death would have put the mobs back on our healer that much faster. I'm sure some of the expert hunters out there could give me some tips on kiting casters in tight spaces. I know I wasn't good at it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fun night out

Nothing exciting was going on so several of us friends decided to run the daily heroic UK last night. Ordinarily there would be nothing of note from that place. What made it more entertaining is I tanked it in a full DPS 17/0/54 spec.

With my tank gear I was uncritable of course and still had 30k health unbuffed with 26k armor nd 34% avoidance. Needless to say that was still more than enough to handle the place. Not to mention we all have raid experience.

Ingvar only got one dark smash off before we dropped him. The extra 500 DPS I brought to the table really sped the place up.

We also do this for out alts on occasion. We did a regular UK 4 man with an Enhance Shammy as the "tank" a hunter kitty as off tank, my boomkin and a holy pally. Since the shammy didn't really have any aoe aggro tools beyond pulling with a chain lightning we used lots of CC. I'd root melee toons and the hunter would range ice trap casters.

So remember raiding is srs bsnss but kick back and have some fun on occasion.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Changes on the PTR and other things

Let's start with the other things. WoW Insider linked my feature of Mundien which lead to my second largest daily visit total. I got an e-mail from Mundien stating that his graphic card died so he can only access e-mail on a friends computer. He wanted to pass on his thanks for y'alls interest and support and added that tanking with 1000ms means you really have to anticipate where the mobs will be versus where they appear on your screen.

So lets talk PTR. MMO Champion has the latest build notes up and if you haven't heard by now master of ghouls and night of the dead are changing places.

Unholy DPS specs that rely on a perma ghoul will be just fine since you will still be able to get both talents. Blood and Frost DPS specs that used to dip into unholy to get the perma ghoul are going to go without.

Now we all know perma ghoul without night of the dead is not that permanent since they die to AOE a lot so this may not be as big of a nerf as we think on the surface. That said, I'll leave the hard core theory crafting up to our friends over at EJ. The same goes for Death Strike nerf.

Over the next few days I will replace my hybrid Tanking/DPS build linked on the right with several builds for 3.1. I honestly haven't used my hybrid build in a while. It works great for small guilds in heroics and Naxx 10 but it just doesn't perform well enough to forego the respec costs to change back and forth between dedicated tank and dps in Naxx 25.

The builds I am planning on putting up are Blood Tank, Unholy Tank, and Unholy DPS. The expectation is that you will have dual spec and pick two out of three. I have seen rumors that ebon plague stacking has been fixed but I don't yet have evidence I'd rely on 100%. As soon as I find it I'll pass the confirmation on.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Featured Death Knight - Mundien

This weeks Featured DK is Mundien of Spirestone. He's an Unholy Troll Tank still getting geared up for Heroics with his friends. His biggest problem, you can't play WoW while deployed at Sea.

Mundien is in the Navy and life shipboard isn't conducive to doing anything other than reading the webs. Therefore his play time is limited to days in port.

When Mundien is available to play I'd recommend running dungeons with a Wyrmrest tabbard on. As he gets honored and eventually revered with them they have 3 solid tanking peices that will last him well into heroics and even Naxx. Regular Halls of Lightning will be a good place to start. If Loken can be convinced to give up his trinket Mundien will be well on his way to getting the 689 defense rating needed for raids when he's back this summer.

What was your former main? I raided on my undead lock, Mundin, formerly of Team Cartel on Dunemaul Through the second half or so of BC, and back in Vanilla WoW days, I was a dwarf Healadin with positively mediocre gear in a guild called Not in the Face on Gorgonnash (also named Mundin).

How does your DK compare to your former main? The DK is pretty much exactly the class I’ve been waiting for. I love the lock, and the pally was fun, and I enjoyed my warrior for the little bit I played him, but I always wanted something that I viewed as kind of a mix of the three. The other classes never really appealed to me. The DK is almost TOO much fun.

I have to agree with this. My lock was fun and so was my bear, but the DK really combines some of their playstyles quite well.

My least favorite thing about DK's is ....... the stuff I’m seeing on the PTR reports, I don’t know how fun it’s going to be when I get another chance to play. I’m optimistic, but I’m also seriously considering going back to the lock for a while. That nerf bat can hit pretty hard.

I honestly believe we will come out of 3.1 in decent shape. The tanking nerfs won't be fun but I don't feel they are game breakers for us. Both blood and Unholy will have viable tank specs. I can't say much for frost since I still haven't done much with that tree outside of dual wielding.

What are you most proud of with your Death Knight? The fact that he was 73 when I left for deployment, and through a few port visits on really spotty internet in several different countries, he’s now 80 and not terribly far off from heroics…I know he’s got SSG, but give me a break, I don’t have much choice right now :P

Not only will I give you a break on using SSG, I'll suggest you are the prime example of when and how to use it. SSG provides the bridge required to get uncritable and makes gearing up much easier. Keep rocking the instances while in port and I have no doubt that you'll make a fine tank when you can dedicate the time to it.

So for all of you on Spirestone, give Mundien a /Salute when you see him. He's out there doing the work that allows us to have fun back here.

/attention
/salute Mundien

As a reminder if you want to be featured fill out the form here.

No Immortal for me

After my previous night of Disconnects I get logged on for the remainder of Naxx last night. I am pleastantly surprised to learn that everything but Four Horsemen and Frostwyrm is clear. That tells me despite my DC issues the guild did well in the remaining quarters.

I was still in a DPS spec from the night before where I had been asked to respec. We only had two tanks so I was asked to tank Baron in my DPS spec. My only concern was I just traded out my tank cloaks for a shiny new Platinum Mesh Cloak. The only problem was since I didn't expect to be tanking and our guild chanter didn't have any titanium it was chanted with +16 def rating. That left me 11 def rating below the cap.

I advised the RL and my healers and they said don't worry. We use the zerg technique where all DPS starts off on Thane and kills him first. Then Baraon, then Lady, and last Zelick. My job was simply eat however many stacks it took to get Thane down while tanking Baron. As soon as Baraon was taunted off of me go relieve the holy pally tanking Zelick in the back.

Went like clockwork.

I honestly never asked whether there were any boss deaths yesterday but it didn't matter come Saph. We had a new ele shammy in the guild who didn't have a chance to get any frost gear and he went down on Saph. But that was the only death in there.

Kel took us two attempts since the RNG played mean with us on the first one. We have two off tanks pick up the scarabs when they come out. Both of them got mind controlled at the same time while tanking scarabs at around 15%. Needless to say that lead to a complete wipe.

The second attempt, everything was going smooth. The rogues, DPS warriors, and all 3 of us DKs were doing a good job interrupting the Frost Bolts. Mind Freeze FTW. Then I got mind controlled. I was sheeped twice but not long enough to keep me from death gripping a resto shammy and one shotting him. Why can't I do that when I actually want to?

Still a fun relaxed night of raiding.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Disconnects FTL

I was all excited to run Naxx 25 last night, grab some emblems, grab some screenies, and have something interesting to say on the blog.

Guess the interwebs had another idea. We were doing a slow thorough clear trying to ensure no one died on boss attempts.

On Anub, I DC'd 30 seconds in. I think I'm logged back in, I see my UI is hosed and DC again. I relog see Anub is almost dead on the other side of the room and DC again. I get back in and was able to grab my emblem. I still don't know what dropped. Not that I contributed.

On Faerlina, I DC two more times. And when I can get logged in my latency is anywhere between 500 and 1300 ms. Things are not looking good.

I whisper the RL that I am going to entirely reboot my computer and router while they clear trash to Max to see if that helps

On Maxx I DC right when she enrages.

I had been hoping to tank but I'm glad they asked me to be DPS. With the plague quarter coming up I excuse myself from the raid. There is no way I'm surviving the dance with these DC issues. Not what I wanted to do, but not fair to blow everyone's chance at an achievement because the interwebs decided to be mad at me last night.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Major Tanking Glyphs in 3.1

Tanking Glyphs are going to be tough come 3.1. There are a lot to choose from. I took a trip to the glyph vendor on the PTR and took a few screen shots for you.

I've broken them down into four categories. Non tree specific, and each tree.

Non Tree Specific


Right off the bat we have 5 major glyphs competing for three spots. All 5 are threat related.

Rune Strike is straight forward increase in TPS for all DK's. Given the changes to Blade Barrier it's not my favorite, but it's still damn good.

Death and Decay is an oldie but goody. Who doesn't want an additional 20% damage on our highest threat AOE tanking ability.

Dark Command may or may not be the biggest tanking DK glyph in the game. It is situational but when you absolutely need the taunt to hit, this glyph puts a melee hit capped tank at the hit cap for their taunt as well. If Ulduar has lots of mechanics like Gluth where two tanks have to taunt off of each other this will be required.

Glyph of Disease is the much ballyhooed glyph that allows pestilence to refresh your diseases on your current target at the same time as spreading/refreshing them on the AOE packs you are working on.

Dark Death is a straight up threat increase by pumping up death coil damage. Though as a tank this is probably lowest on my priority simply because death coils are lower priority uses of RP than other abilities.

Blood Tank Glyphs

The reality is, Death Strike can apply to all trees but I put it in blood since it is the primary strike FU for blood given the changes to lichborne. More damage equals more threat. This will be a common theme.

Vampiric Blood brings the healing benefits to this talent up to 25% uptime given the 2 minute cooldown nerf.

Frost Tank Glyphs


Unbreakable armor buffs the mitigation of this talent even further. Like all our mitigation cooldowns this took a nerf but for the 20 seconds its up this will go a long way to ensuring you survive what ever is thrown at you.

Howling blast, Obliterate, and Frost Strike are all threat enhancers. They all contribute to your damage output which will ensure the mobs hate you that much more.

Unholy Tanking Glyphs

Bone shield's two extra charges becomes even more valuable as our avoidance and BS's cooldown got nerfed.

Unholy Blight's 10 extra seconds frees up more RP for rune strikes and deathcoils to increase your threat.

Scourge Strike remains the same and continues to refresh your disease on your primary target.

Summary

It remains to be seen whether Dark Command will be required. Right now if you miss a taunt on Gluth or the 4 horseman you can survive until it comes off cooldown with good gear and decent healers. That may not be true in 3.1.

Assuming Dark Command is not required my immediate reaction is to take Vampiric Blood, Disease, and Rune Strike for blood tanks. I'd lose disease for Dark Command. While refreshing diseases is nice for main target and AOE, I'm not hosed if I don't maintain 100% uptime for either single target or AOE.

My Frost Glyph selection would be Howling Blast, Unbreakable Armor, and Frost Strike. Since I've never tanked as Frost I won't be offended if any Frosties suggest otherwise. If I need Dark Command I'd probably drop UA. 20% on oh shit is nice, but the likelihood that the 20% is actually the difference between a wipe and a kill is probably less than that of a missed taunt.

Unholy tanks will have to take Bone Shield. With impurity I would also grab Death and Decay to take advantage of the AOE synergy. Last I would grab Scourge Strike to keep my single target threat up. The disease glyph doesn't do anything for AOE threat and we will be spamming SS on our main targets anyway. If I have to lose one for dark command I'd drop the DnD glyph.

Ask The Scourge Time

It's Tuesday and the servers are down.

It's Tuesday and I haven't had much to blog about in the past few days.

It's Tuesday and I haven't had an Ask the Scourge post in a couple weeks.

So if you have a DK question, I will provide a DK answer.

On unrelated notes.

I have a couple great DK features coming. Some of you have some fascinating stories. Keep 'em coming. If you want to be featured you can fill out my form and e-mail it to me.

I've also had just a couple people step up on the Scourge Event. About a month ago I proposed this idea and several of you said that would be cool. Very few of you have gone out and rolled an extra DK over on Nazjatar to make the event happen. As a reminder the sign up is on the right and can be found here.

Last for some entertainment, BRK has been doing Baby Hunter movies. If you haven't seen them go check them out. My hunter is level 70 and I've learned more about strafing than I ever knew before. I was just happy I knew how to trap. So for fun I went out and rolled a hunter for kicks and giggles and using BRK as a guide I leveled to 6.


Check that out, the first 6 levels and only 5.5% of my damage came from melee. Apparently BRK can teach an old dog new tricks.

As for patch 3.1 I'm calling for it to drop in two weeks on 4/6. (I have no basis for this opinion)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Foul Trouble

I'm personally a Football fan. But my Alma Mater is in the big dance. They were also highly seeded and was carrying a 15 point lead in the second round just before the half. With 3 minutes left we are behind by one because we've given up 26 points in Free Throws.

Foul trouble is costing us the game.

OK Scourge what does this have to do with raiding?

Fair question.

Every time you make a mistake it's like a foul.

Pull aggro off the tank and at best the raid needs to reposition. At worst you just got ganked.

Miss a taunt, foul.

Violate Raid Rule 1B and die because you stood in the shit that kills you, foul.

Snipe a heal, foul.

AOE a CC target, foul.

Some fouls are more egregious than others. Anything that gets the main tank killed will generally lead to a wipe.

But enough of the little fouls will wipe you as well. They add up. Every time a DPS dies that puts more pressure on the healers and brings you that much closer to the enrage timer.

You can take action to foul less. Stack your stats properly. Make sure you have the right gear, chants, gems, consumables. Practice your techniques in heroics. Listen to your raid leader.

The point is, don't sweat one or two small mistakes. But if all 25 players are making one or two its going to be a long night of wipes. From a raid leaders perspective, sometimes you just have to bench a player that commits too many fouls.

5 seconds left and my team has a 2 point lead. But we just dropped a couple free throws and have to go back on D. We were heavy favorites in the game and just may prove that over matching your opponent, or over gearing the raid may allow sloppy play to not ruin the night.

Surviving foul trouble on Sarth + 0 when over geared happens. If its Sarth + 3 you just can't afford to commit the fouls.

Missouri pulled it out and beat Marquette 83 v 79 and moves on the the sweet 16. Now we have a few days to regroup and clean up our play.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Featured Death Knight - Deekow

Deekow was the first to fill out my questionaire. Since he's an entertaining blogger I figured I'd feature him. So if you want to be featured next week, fill out the form and I'll pick the most entertaining one and get you posted.

First let me say its nice to see you back in action again Deekow. I look forward to what's next with your blog.

If you happen to be on Runetotem Horde side /who Deekow and tell him hello.

At the time of this writing Deekow has a whopping 4,265 achievement points and is sporting a 0/31/40 dual wield build. You also won't find a nicer collection of gear than what he has. Epic may be achieved but its truly impressive.

Prior to rolling DK two weeks after Wrath Deekow could be found leveling his hunter to 55. He claims to have really liked his hunter but "The Death Knight is everything I wanted a character class to be."

I got a kick out of his answer on being a deathtard. "I seem to screw up spark duty the first attempt any given week on Malygos. Second attempt onward, I'm golden though." Now I've yet to see Malygos myself, but I'm told there is a good macro to help with that on wowwiki.

#showtooltip
/cleartarget
/clearfocus
/tar Power Spark
/focus
/stopmacro [target=focus, noexists]
/cast [target=focus] Death Grip

I like to (raid, pvp, instance, solo, etc) Please provide details.

Raid and instance. I'm a social player as it is, and the fact that I can bring Deekow to the party and tank or dps as needed, even swap on the fly, means I'm playing exactly the class I want, having fun the whole time. And raiding, well... I'm new to WoW raiding and it's entirely different from what I was used to with EQ in years past. In some ways, WoW has dumbed down raiding, especially when you look at seriously involved lore and scripts like you had with EQ Planes of Power and such. But, it's also much faster paced, which I can entirely appreciate, and no matter where you raid, there's NOTHING like the feel of pulling off the seemingly-impossible with 24 of your closest friends. Nothing in gaming anywhere will come close to the feeling of Sarth 3D the first time, for example. 3 Weeks later and I'm still buzzing from that when I think about it.

What are you most proud of with your Death Knight?

Earning my place with the J!NX raid team. J!NX is a big name and kind of intimidating, but the raid team is really just a bunch of raiders with individual goals and personalities. As a newer raider, I had more of an uphill challenge than I think most other raiders do; but, I think I'm also a good gutcheck and example of why EVERYONE should bring their A-game (research fights, know your class, bring consumables)... if I'm doing it as a self-proclaimed scrub, there's no excuse for anyone else. There are certainly many better players than I am, but I've proven I'm an asset rather than a liability, to be sure. We're a newer raid guild as well and it's fraggin' awesome to be a part of that guild getting where we are today. Man... I raid with J!NX, how fucking cool is that?

Dekow's blog is linked at the top of this post as well as in my blogroll, it's good reading, entertaining, and something you should go check out.

Now don't feel you have to be an Uber raider like the Kow is to be featured. You don't have to be a blogger either. If you are having fun with your DK and have a cool story of something you did that works great too. If you're level 58 fresh out of starter, the PvP king, or just can't survive the first boss of a heroic you're toon is still worth being featured.

Kara Key Solo'd

Here it is. My fourth Kara Key. Big difference from my first one. When I keyed my lock I basically relied on others to walk me through each step and while I contributed reasonable DPS I definitely needed a good group to run the dungeons.

My second key was on my Bear. I was focused and tanked all the runs needed. They weren't clean runs but they got the kills required.

My third key on my hunter was just for fun. By the time I leveled him to 70 the key requirement was already dropped. But I keyed him anyway since I didn't think a non attuned toon belonged in Kara. This is the same feeling I have about Death Knight tanks getting uncritable by relying on Stoneskin Gargoyle. Some of the earliest posts I did were about getting 540 defense long before 3.08 came out.

Before you go off and think I'm being elitist about SSG, just realize that as you gear up and get defense on all your gear its possible to hit 540 with just a few enchants and a couple gems. Overall your stats will be better balanced between mitigation, avoidance, health, and threat.

Back to the key chain. I digressed more than usual but I just finished dinner and an adult beverage with it.

I only ran the minimum required for the key. Therefore my foray into SV and Arcatraz avoided all the bosses. I also skipped Murmur in Shadow Labs. I did full clears on Sethek Halls, Old Hillsbrad, Mechanar, Botanica, and Black Morass.

I did them all solo in an Unholy tank spec. For the most part I did them in my tank gear with frost presence because the 1700 DPS was more than sufficient. I only died once on a trash pull in Labs where I wasn't paying attention.

Black Morass was a little hairy since my new mouse decided to not respond and 500 ms lag didn't help.

The mouse and lag problems led to me missing 2 mobs as they made their way to the shield. All in all, soloing with 86% shield left wasn't bad. My Death Strikes healed me for around 2,600 health per pop and I used those about as often as scourge strikes.

So if you have a touch of nostalgia and looking for something to do before 3.1 hits, getting keyed on your own is very doable.

Featured Death Knight of the Week

I'm toying with another idea for a regular feature. My Ask the Scourge hasn't played out as well as I'd like. So here's my idea. I have a form as part of this post. Copy paste it into an email to me at
o m e n s c o u r g e @ g m a i l . c o m and fill out the questions.

Once a week I'll select an entry based on whatever criteria grabs my attention. I'll then write a blog post about the player and their answers. Whenever possible I'll use your own words as well.

The armory link won't be posted, it will just save me some time in looking stuff up. I may also email back a few questions based on your answers.



Death Knight Name & Server:

Armory Link:

Screen shot:

When did you roll your DK?

What was your former main?

How does your DK compare to your former main?

I was called OP because I ........

I was called a Deathtard because I ........

My favorite thing about DK's is.......

My least favorite thing about DK's is .......

I like to (raid, pvp, instance, solo, etc) Please provide details.

My favorite tree is...

I prefer to DPS/Tank/Both

What are you most proud of with your Death Knight?

If I could change one thing about the class I would change......

Anything else about your Death Knight we should know?

Closer to Kara and other fun stuff

Of course I forgot to send my screen shots so no pretty pics today.

I have one more step before I get my Kara key. Black Morass. Yesterday afternoon between fishing to restock my dragonfin fillet I ran Old Hillsbrad. Gotta say, other than the annoying first half this was the easiest dungeon to solo on the chain.

Why annoying?

When you are clearing and burning the shelters the guards do two things that annoy the crap out of me. They run, and they scattershot.

The running is annoying since you it takes more time to loot them since they aren't piled up at your feet.

The scattershot is 3 seconds where you can't do crap. Usually it comes the same time I want to mind freeze the warden to prevent its heals. Speaking of mind freeze, it works on Kel Thuzzad's frost bolts in Naxx.

Once you get to Thrall the rest is easy. Just remember to death grip the casters to you in the waves before Epoch and you're good as done.

I also ran some of our mid 60's alts through Slave Pens. Make sure you keep your health within a runic healing potion from full health so you can clear Rokmar's DoT on you when you drop him. Other than that real easy place.

Last AN heroic was a little buggy on Anub. When he would resurface he would run directly away from me. Guess he was scared. Omen showed I had aggro, target of target showed I had aggro but he wouldn't let me tank him properly. This also meant I had no control over which was he was facing for the pounds. Not to mention his pounds were hitting with the castbar only being half full.

Made the fight a little harder but we still scored the kill.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Naxx Clear

OK, so for my new guild this isn't a big deal. But for me it is.

Now I'm just a Malygos kill away from scoring my Champion of the Frozen North title. In two years of playing this will be my first title. I came too late for the battleground PvP titles and I never was progressed enough in BC to get those titles. Not to mention I'm too cheap to shell out 1,000g for "of the Shattered Sun."

It's interesting to me how different groups can struggle with different fights. My friends and I have tons of trouble with Four Horsemen, but one shot the construct quarter. My new guild is the opposite. Grob and Gluth just give us all sorts of fits.

On our third attempt at gluth one of our chow kiters went down early. I was dpsing in my tank gear since we had lost tanks in the prior two attempts. I popped frost presence ran back and picked the chows up. It was the difference between a kill and a wipe and I was proud of myself.

Grobbulus just farted all over us. Someone kept taunting right when he would spray his slime which kept us DPS from staying on the boss since we had to kill slimes. I don't know how many times the raid leader yelled about that as well as tanking the slimes in the clouds.

Thaddius was a clean kill this week and we have to give our heals tons of kudos for it. I DC'd right when a polarity shift occurred. I saw the DC coming so I warned everyone on vent and of course my polarity changed and I stood there trying to blow up the raid. By the time I logged back in I was dead and the boss was 20%.

It's not uncommon for me to get one DC a night but this was actually my third. The first came right when I had a mutating injection on Grob. Any guesses on whether I lived through my own cloud?

After Thad we went into Frostwrym and this was my first time ever seeing Saph. The fight was actually pretty easy. I imagine it will be tougher when the healing regen nerfs hit and all us melee actually have to care about staying out of the blizzards.

Kel on the other hand proved a little difficult. I'm not sure what the problems were but we had off tanks die on a couple attempts as well as the main tank. On the last attempt we lost the main tank and the remaining off tank with about 400k health left. As one of the remaining players, I called the army out and blew every other cooldown I had. I was at 25% health and one of 5 remaining players standing when Kel went down. Ugly but done.

I picked up 3 more pieces for my tank set including my 7.5 legs. If I choose too I could have the 4 piece bonus by combining the 7.5 chest and legs with the T7 Shoulders and Gloves. Three more seconds of IBF would be nice, but the shoulders and gloves I am currently wearing are too much of an upgrade.


My health using the standard Unholy tank spec has me at 29.6k unbuffed. My AP in this shot is still buffed from endless rage so it should be 3418 which is still not bad for a tank. I will also eat a snapper extreme when tanking for an additional 40 hit which I sorely need. I am also 3 emblems of valor away from a nice cloak upgrade and my bracers are still DPS bracers. If I ever replace those I can free up some gems for strength or stam depending on need.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Not bad when all said and done

Naxx 25. We are clearing 3 quarters for the night. I log on all ready to tank and was one of 6 tanks in the raid. My new guild has a raid policy that they will pay respec fees if you are asked. For loot you still roll on your main spec which has been identified as tank. Outside of 5 mans I've only DPS'd for them in the week since I joined.

My time will come.

Since my main spec gear is mostly Naxx 10 and Heroics I had priority over any offspecs for tank drops I could use. For the other main spec tanks in the raid, most of them already had the i213 level gear. So I cleaned up. Tanked my EPGP rating down the drain but at least I'll be on more level footing.

So lootwise here's how I did.

For the second time in a week I upgraded my tanking shoulders from the Halls of Stone quest blues I had. Earlier I picked up the T7 shoulders, but those got upgraded again last night with the Pauldrons of Unnatural Death. I had the mats for my scribe chant, but I will have to gem these this afternoon. I'll put a +27 def in those so I can crit cap with the gear changes.

I also scored a pair of Callous-Hearted Gauntlets. These will be getting the armsmen enchant on them for the additional threat today.

The last piece I won was the T7.5 chest. Only due to a bug it got miss looted to a shaman who was supposed to recieve the shamy chest that dropped. So in the next few days I'll go from T7 to T7.5 and get my Valorous Scourgeborne Chestguard.

As for dishing out the pain.....

Like my tank set, my DPS gear is primarily Naxx 10, crafted, and heroics. Which is not to say it's bad gear but there are clear upgrades in heroic raids for me. I went with the 17/0/54 2H Unholy DPS spec even though there were two others in the raid. After two quarters one of the other DK's had to leave so I only fought for Ebon Plague with one DK for Military Quarter.

I'd like to say I held my own in there.

I should have been 3rd overall for the night but you can't DPS when dead and Azzure went down when a mind controlled understudy broke free on Raz early in the fight. On most boss fights I was in top 3 as well. Tonight should be interesting to see how I do on Patch. It's been a very long time since I've seen him in heroic where my raid buffed AP is well in excess of 5000 and my paper doll says I'll do 900 white damage DPS.

So with 3 Quarters down for the night with no wipes I picked up my 50th emblem of valor and Heroic Military Quarter achievement.


As I said, not bad, not bad at all. Tonight we should clear the place. All we have is construct and Frostwyrm. Assuming we get the clear I'll pick up 3 more achievements including the fall of Naxx and be a Malygos kill away from getting Champion of the Frozen Wastes.

Kara Key Update: Mech

I'll be putting up a Naxx 25 post in a bit but wanted to keep you aprised of my Solo Kara Key quest.

I hit up Mechenar yesterday so I could finish getting my Arcatraz key. As with previous dungeons trash is easy. DnD, IT, PS, Pest then spam RS and trade off between DS and SS depending on health needs.

One boss was a little harder.


Notice anything missing from Mechanno Lord's debuffs? Should be to the lower left of my ICEHud. No Diseases. Damn thing was immune.

No diseases means no self healing. It also means I don't hit as hard. To compensate I put more focus into maintaining my mitigation cooldowns cycled. I also changed my rotation to be BS and OB only for runes. BS to convert the bloods to death and Obliterate since it plain hits harder and I was no longer worried about cleansing my own diseases.

Had it gotten real hairy I could have called the army out. I also still had lichborne in reserve. As it was, I downed him with about 6k health left but by the time I was around 10k health I knew I was winning the DPS race.

The rest of mech was easy. The mini gauntlet to Panthelon was fun, but they were spaced well enough I could keep my self healed and only fight one group at a time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Another step in the chain

Since I won't be raiding again until tomorrow I'm going to abuse my power and continue to regale you with my quest to solo the entire Kara key chain and all keys and attunements required.

This afternoon I went into Botanica. I need it and Mechenar to get my Arcatraz key. My memory tells me that Bot was one of those instances I liked to avoid since it usually took forever.

I went in with my tank gear on in frost presence. At 1600+ DPS I had the firepower, but the real beauty is by keeping my diseases up on all the mobs and death strikes I had virtually no down time.

The only two bosses that posed any hardship, though not much, were Laj and the Warp Splinter. Laj summoned a lot of flowers that were out of my AOE range. I decided I needed to seriously up my DPS so I called the Army out and essentially put round up on the weed and was done with it.

The only issue Warp Splinter caused was also with his adds. I wanted to maximize the time between his heals with the adds so I kited him around his room.


He was still getting his heals but I was doing more damage between them than he was healing himself for. I was also maintaining my health so it was just a matter of time before he dropped.

There's a side benefit from soloing these as well. My alternative activity in the afternoons is pug or farm. I looted 86g and vendored another 65g between boss drops and vendor trash. I also walked out with 8 greens to DE, 4 stacks of netherweave, and 16 sunfury signets. Surprisingly my Auctioneer tells me I can expect another 75g from selling that crap. Not bad for 45 min and a lot more fun than fishing.

Bring Back Attunements

I'm going to beat a dead horse this morning.

I think we should have attunements for raids, and heroics. Four months into Wrath has convinced me of it.

Blizzard dropped attunements so more people could see raid encounters. I'm going to assert without any supporting evidence that attunements did not serve as effective gate keepers to keep the multitudes from raiding.

I started playing WoW a little after BC was out. I don't know anything about the Classic attunements. I do know what was required for Kara. As for T5 and T6 requirements, those were dropped before I ever considered hitting those raids.

My first Kara toon was a warlock and I was terribad. I didn't know squat about hit rating. Aggro management was a foreign concept. Consumables, yeah right. Yet I still got my Kara key without any real difficulty. In fact I had to do less work to key my lock than I am my Death Knight.

Why? I got carried. I never even had my own Shadow Lab or Arcatraz key. All it really took was a run through of Labs, a few trash pulls in Steam Vaults and Arcatraz, complete Durnholde, and finishing Black Morass. Needless to say since I was carried through that, my lock had to be carried in Kara as well. 350 DPS FTW.

In addition to the above, my Death Knight also has to do/has done full clears of Sethek Halls, Mechenar, and Botanica so I can get into Labs and Arc.

When I decided I wanted to raid on my Bear I started doing research. I wanted to tank and I quickly learned tanks can't be carried. I looked forward to and enjoyed getting my bear keyed for Kara. I willingly ground instances for rep and drops to better my toon so when I was keyed I would be prepared. By the time I hit revered with the factions I knew their dungeons and was ready to handle them as a heroic.

Fast forward to Wrath. Only key you need is Violet Hold. Talk to two people and you're done. Heroics, be level capped. Naxx, nothing. Malygos, so long as you know someone who's downed Saph you're in.

I know all the hardcore raiders say lol naxx, but the fact is people still wipe in there. Hell I still wipe in there. With no attunements you would think more than 30% of the player base would have seen the inside of Naxx by now. Wowjutsu only show 3.7M raiding toons. Of those only 78% have downed Anub'Rekhan.

If the attunement process was actually a roadblock to raiding I would expect many more players/toons would have been to Naxx, but with a lower percentage of boss kills.

So if the attunements aren't a road block what value to they bring to a player who wishes to raid. It sets clear measurable goals that provide feedback that you and your group are making progress towards being able to kill a raid boss. Attunements provide gear checks, and gear that will aid in scoring a kill. Attunements provide practice for movement, situational awareness, and developing and implementing tactics that will allow you to progress.

Attunements assured your fellow raiders you had the basic commitment to not waste their time and gold on needless repair bills.

Back in BC, the requirements to enter T5 and T6 content was simple. To get attuned you cleared the previous content. Even for alts, this gave players and opportunity to gear up and learn how to employ their new toon.

Blizzard missed the boat on Naxx. But it's not too late to put some requirements on Ulduar. Even if its as short as Heroic Loken drops a key it will go a long way towards ensuring players are ready for the content at hand. Or Heroic Halls of Stone and complete the tribunal if the Lore fits. Even better, require a full Naxx clear before you can move on to Ulduar. The hardcore raiders can spend 3 hours for their alts while the casual raiders can learn not to stand in the fire, let the tank get aggro, and have a clue on what gear is good for our toons.

After all raids aren't fun when you wipe on the first boss half a dozen times or more.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tank Kiting

Based on previous polls I've done, I know quite a few of you are new to tanking. One of the skills you will need to master is kiting bosses.

When moving a boss around you never want to turn your back on them. As soon as you do you lose all your avoidance and your healer starts burning their mana faster. Assuming you don't die.

So to move the boss safely you need to either walk backwards or strafe the mob.

I'm a mouse driver which means I have to kite bosses with the keyboard since my 3 button mouse doesn't let me go backwards. Whenever I need to kite I use the arrow keys. It's not as smooth but its better than turning your back.

My mouse died on me so I did get a cheap $40 5 button mouse and my two extra buttons are bound to backing up and strafing left. I tend to go left more than right. Kinda like the reverse of Zoolander.

So what does this have to do with learning to tank kite. If you read my last post I'm working on my Kara key and I'm doing it solo. Grand Master Vorpil in Shadow Labs has to be kited.


So here I am kiting him backwards to avoid the void walkers getting to him. This is on the south pass after we already went north. For an 80 DK tank this should be relatively easy to solo, or take a dps healer if you want. This is a good boss to practice kite tanking on if you don't have a lot of experience.

Just keep moving. Never turn your back. Profit.

Going Old School

Last night I did my first ever AQ20 run. We 6 manned it with me tanking. I didn't think to take a single screen shot.

We also 3 manned Attumen to try and score the mount. He dropped like a rock but didn't give the horsey.

Next we 2 manned Onyxia since we were in the mood.

However, I decided I need my kara key on this toon so I started the quest chain. I'm at the point where I need to go into Shadow Lab. Problem is, I don't have the key. So it's time to solo Sethek Halls.

I'm sporting an Unholy Tank spec at the moment, but went in with my DPS gear on and in blood presence.


Looks like I needed to refresh my diseases and hit a death strike instead of taking pictures like a tourist. That said, self buffed in a tank spec I was still pushing 2,100 DPS which is more than double what this instance was designed for in regular. I think the rest of the chain should be fairly easy as well. If it gets rough I can always put on my tank gear too.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Gear, Specs, Ebon Plauge, Desecration

I need to complain about outdated gear more often. Apparently the loot gods heard me. Since Naxx 25 was clear for the week we did Naxx 10 last night. Gluth hooked me up with a new set of Tier tanking shoulders. Good Doggie. Slotted these with a +27 def gem and made sure to put my inscriptions Pinnacle enchant on em too.

When I logged on I was still in the Blood Tanking spec but we already had two prot pallies so I was asked to respec DPS real fast. In the interest of time I went with a 50/0/21 Blood DPS spec since I was already glyphed for blood.

Perhaps it is unfamiliarity, perhaps it is the spec, but I only did 3,100 DPS on Patch. With 17/0/54 I've hit 4,500 DPS on Patch 10.

This brings me to the Ebon Plague stacking bug. T'hell with only one unholy DK in the raid. Losing 1,400 DPS is likely worse than two Death Knights going down 300 DPS due to fighting for the third disease.

If you haven't seen it by now, there is a new build on the PTR and I want to talk about one item only. Desecration. That one talent that just seems so good on paper, but in reality, just doesn't make the cut. Sure if you have an extra 5 points in a deep unholy DPS build you might take it. Even then, it was mostly for filler. Let's face it. Relying on a plague strike, which we try to avoid using, to keep this up and hoping the boss doesn't move wasn't the best idea.

Everyone please cross your fingers that the desecration change goes live. If you still don't know what I'm yammering on about, the new Desecration procs off of Scourge Strike. I don't care if you are meleeing Grobulus, you will almost always be standing in a desecration area. For every 1,000 DPS you do, this will increase it by 50. On a 3 minute patch fight where you would normally do 4,000 DPS this will increase your total damage by 36,000. It adds up.

Look for desecration to become a staple of Unholy DPS builds if this goes live.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

And now for something completely different, Blood Tanking

Since I needed to respec tank, and most the raiding DK's in my new guild are unholy I decided to spec blood to tank. I went with the live version of my PTR Blood Tank spec.

So far all I've had to test it on was a mount run in Heroic CoS. My biggest fear would be holding AOE aggro and to make it worse, one of the best DPS locks I've seen from my new guild came along.

Talk about a threat test.

I even had the pally put might on me instead of kings. I saw this lock throw 4500 DPS the other night so I knew it was going to be rough. Especially without impurity or unholy blight to juice up the AOE threat.

Here's my overall damage breakdown.


With all the AOE trash pulls DnD on top is no surprise. HS and RS were absolute staples. However, with all the AOE I need to get in the habit of using blood boil, especially when 3.1 hits.

Overall by DPS was 1655 which equates to 3,144+ TPS. The DnD and RS would bring that average higher. The threat is not as consistent as it is with Unholy. It is much more dependent on strikes than disease damage or DnD so it varied a lot. I spiked to 5k several times but barely had 1k at times as well.

Mitigation wise I feel the absence of Bone Shield with this spec. That lead me to using the rare health potion a couple times. I'm not about to say blood is squishy. I didn't stay on top of my cooldowns. I never used IBF and I think I remembered vampiric blood twice and rune tap 4 times the entire run.

They only concern I have prior to 3.1 is snap AOE aggro. As unholy I would have blight up the entire time you do the gauntlet after the third boss on the way to getting the mount if you beat the timer. Towards the end of the gauntlet the last pack of adds aggrod on us and my runes, DnD, and empower rune blade were all on cooldown. 4 mobs aggrod and ganked the healer.

When 3.1 hits that won't be an issue since you can hit blood boil to pick them up. Just something to watch out for in the mean time.

Gear Problems

Sooner or later everyone realizes one or two pieces of gear are in need of serious upgrade. For me, it is my tanking shoulders and tanking cloak.

Currently I'm sporting the Pauldrons of Reconnaissance from Halls of Stone. I've been wearing these to tank with since late November. My upgrade options aren't great either.

There's Abomination Shoulderblades from Patch 10, but he only gives those up for me on the PTR.

Burdened Shoulderplates and Pauldrons of Unnatural Death both drop in Naxx 25. I may have a shot at these now that I changed guilds. Problem is, it will take a bit before I get priority in the EPGP system we use. However, most of the other tanks may not need these.

I also have 6 heroic emblems right now, 69 more or the tier piece from Loatheb or Gluth and I can get my T 7.5 Shoulders. There's also the 10 man version but I haven't had much luck with those either.

My last shoulder option is Wapach's Spaulders of Solidarity. I may get lucky and see these drop, but then again even if they do I'll have to roll against everyone and their mother since they sell for ten grand a pop on my server.

As for cloaks, I'm in much the same boat. I've been wearing the Wyrmrest rep piece since November as well. Here I only have 5 options and three of them require 25 man raids and my luck sucks on the other two.

Personally, I plan on taking luck out of the equation and saving my emblems for Platinum Mesh Cloak.

To offset the expected reduction in defense rating between 13 and 20 rating I'm sitting on a +27 defense JC gem so I can change out without any issues. Now I just need a bunch of emblems or luck and I'm good.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some Nights, you just fail

Last night was one of those nights for me. I hadn't planned on raiding and wasn't prepared to do that when I logged on. It was late and I planned on doing a little fishing.

The back story goes, I applied and was accepted to a raiding guild on the server. I truly enjoy my friends but due to RL we are down from fielding 9 people in January to 4-6 people now including myself. When I joined the new guild in the afternoon I asked whether I would be needed as a tank or dps. I was told we'll figure it out tomorrow, don't bother respeccing.

So I log in and its 10:30 which is half way through their raid night. I instantly get whispered, can I tank zombie chows. I reply that I'm still DPS spec and that I can't get on vent due to my son trying to go to bed. They ask me to come anyway.

You pick up a lot more chows in 25 than in 10's and in a pure DPS spec even with tank gear on I just couldn't survive the stacking debuffs with that many. Not how I wanted to make a first impression.

On to Thaddius, they ask me to tank Stalagg. I reiterate my concerns that even though I'm uncritable I'm in a DPS spec. Apparently, this was missed. I dropped like a rock.

We sort out that I shouldn't be tanking in a DPS spec and re-attempt the fight. First polarity I blow myself and 3 or 4 other people up. Who's the leet raider now biatch?

At this point my son is asleep so I sneak onto vent. Once on vent and I can hear everything I did my part. I DPS'd, made my jump, and stayed tight to stack my charge, and didn't blow a transition.

This morning before I left for work I made sure to respec tank so I can actually survive a hit in 25's. Now I just need to find some gold so I can get some Icebane gear. I'm broke after powerleveling Jewelcrafting last weekend.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Poll Results: Progression Update & Ask the Scourge

There has been a clear shift towards the content being clear since the last time I ran this poll. That said about a quarter of you are still leveling your DK to 80. Are these alts perhaps?

Another quarter are in Naxx but haven't gotten Maly down yet. Our small guild coalition cleared Naxx for the first time last week. Too bad I missed 4H through Kel so I still haven't gotten the achievements.

Nearly a quarter of you are in Heroics while another quarter have cleared Maly and are probably waiting on Ulduar.

What does this mean? There is a good spread in Death Knight experience to draw upon for topics. Raids, Heroics, general specs, gear questions, etc etc etc.

In other words lots of good blog fodder.

I didn't do an Ask the Scourge last week so I'm tying one into this poll results. Have a question? Just drop a comment and I'll give an answer.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Eye Candy

Every now and then you just get a killer shot, then you find it in your folder.

Evolution of Personal Professions

I've noticed something I do with all my main toons over the years. My profession choices go through three stages.

Each stage is all about getting the most for my toon with the least amount of effort.

Stage 1 - Gathering the Gold.

This stage is characterized by two gathering professions. I always take skinning and depending on the server economy will take mining or herbing to go with it. The goal is to maximize earnings while developing the toon. For my DK, I took Herb since there would be tons of new scribes. I know a lot of new DKs picked up JC and or BS, but all classes went inscription and herb prices were through the roof. Skinning is just extra income on kills.

I do not bank mats for later use, I sell them at the highest possible price I can get. It makes more sense to buy everything you need on the AH and focus on the easiest method you have for making gold.

This stage lasts until I have epic flight on the toon as well as all the epic craftables I reasonably plan on getting.

Stage 2 - Bang for the Buck.

Once I've covered my big ticket items I look for a crafting profession to replace skinning with. My criteria are ease and cost of powerleveling and immediate value to the toon. For Scourge that meant Inscription. Since I still had tons of Sons of Hodir rep to farm I knew I would get the most value out of the shoulder enchants for tanking and dps. Not to mention I could still make some good money buying cheap northrend and lower herbs to create glyphs while selling the icethorn I was herbing on the AH.

Stage 3 - Optimizing your choices.

Once you have one crafting profession up and running its time to save up and determine which additional crafting profession will add the most to your toon. For Death Knights, jewelcrafting has a minimal edge on most the other profession due to Str scaling better than straight AP. So over the weekend I dropped about 4,000g and powered my JC up after dropping herbing.

Net result, I have best in slot shoulder enchants for both roles. 3 27 strength gems in my DPS gear along with one of the better DPS trinkets replacing my meteor whetstone. And soon I will have 3 41 stam gems for my tank set, also upgrading one of my weaker tanking trinkets along the way.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chaining Cooldowns

I've been out of touch the past few days with the folks coming to visit, my better half being sick, and watching the progeny go apeshit with grand parents in town.

Doesn't mean I don't have any thoughts on the DK changes announced on the PTR. A lot of our tanking Oh Shit buttons got beat up by the nerf bat.

Wanna know why?

Cooldown Chaining.

If you had been following the PTR forums there was some substantial tank testing done with a patchwerk like boss that increased its damage continuously and attacked every second. With proper usage of cooldowns and will of the necropolis the DK tank lasted way longer than the other classes.

A couple months ago I suggested you can keep your healers happy by actively managing your defensive cooldowns. This was taken to the extreme.

Now Bone Shiled has a 2 minute timer and Blade Barried was modified so it will be effectively impossible to stack enough avoidence to keep BS up 100% of the time. Lichborne has been modified, Vampiric Blood, and Unbreakable armor have been hit.

What this means is, we can no longer ensure we have a defensive cooldown up at all times. We actually have to use them for their purpose, Oh Shit moments and boss enrages at the end of the fights.

From a tactical standpoint, look to stack cooldowns instead of chain them. Boss gonna dish out 20,000 DPS to the tank in plate for 30 seconds, pop everything and ride it out.

Other changes I like. A lot of you will be unhappy with a 10 second howling blast that does its full damage again. I like it as a snap aoe aggro generator for when adds spawn.

Other changes appear to be focused on evening out the damage we do and make it lest bursty. This will upset our PvP friends but in the long run will be fine for PvE, both as DPS and TPS.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Raid With Us: Guest Post

One of my Chaos Brewing (CB) guildies Nekron posted this up on our guild forums.

Enjoy.

"Raid with Us"
Nekron of Sen'Jin
Parody of "Come Sail Away" By Styxx
Horde Capitol Recordings

I'm zepping away, off to find the new Lich King
I've got to be Strong, strong to face the mobs that out level me,
In group, I'm the healer, don't die on me,
we'll search for the rare spawn, at every chance,
and we'll try, oh Thrall, we'll try, to kill 'em all!

I look to the group, scars of past attempts with one drake up,
Some geared, some not,
I think if I were DPS, this boss would be dead,
We move on to the next boss, so the raid lead says,
But somehow we messed up and wiped again,
But we'll re-group and try once more, to fight again

A gathering of Horde Del appeared before our group,
they cried this this Battle Cry, and here's what they yelled
They yelled 'Come raid with us, come raid with us,
Wanna raid with CB!
Come raid with us, come raid with us,
Wanna raid with CB!"

"Come raid with us, come raid with us,
Wanna raid with CB!
Come raid with us, come raid with us,
Wanna raid with CB!

I thought that they were newbies, but to our surprise,
They mounted up and charged in, headed for the boss,
Yelling, "Come raid with us, come raid with us,
Wanna raid with CB!
Come raid with us, come raid with us,
Wanna raid with CB!"

Come raid with us, come raid with us,
Wanna raid with CB!
Come raid with us, come raid with us,
Wanna raid with CB!

I'm pleased to say I was not online during this Sarth Attempt :)

Thanks for the laugh Nek, and thanks to our coalition guild Horde Del Diablo who makes our 10 man raiding possible.