Saturday, January 10, 2009

You Might be a Deathtard if.....

If you QQ on the official forums you won't be OP after the patch, you might be a Deathtard.

If you use Deathgrip on melee mobs ignoring the casters, you might be a Deathtard.

If you DPS in Unholy presence because you have 2 points in Unholy Aura, you might be a Deathtard.

If you fight with only one single hand weapon, you might be a Deathtard.

If you roll on loot that has spell power (raises hand), you might be a Deathtard.

If you keep your Ghoul on aggressive, you might be a Deathtard.

If you think you can tank without Blade Barrier, Toughness, and Anticipation, you might be a Deathtard.

If you think you can only tank specced as frost, you might be a Deathtard.

If you think you won't pull aggro while DPSing in Frost presence, you might be a Deathtard.

If you wonder why you can't use the Titansteel Mace every DK wants, you might be a Deathtard.

If you stand there watching your Ghoul Die to Svala's Ritual of the Sword after you've been freed, you might be a Deathtard.

If you refuse to spec into any talent that converts runes to deathrunes, you might be a Deathtard.

If you finish fights with 100 runic power, you might be a Deathtard.

Now I know y'all aren't Deathtards but I know you've seen plenty of examples so feel free to share them.

The Sky is NOT Falling, Patch 3.08

Here's the link to the most current patch notes. For the Lazy, I've copy/pasted the DK parts.

Players may now create death knights on any realm once they reach level 55.

Bonus Armor: The mechanics for items with bonus armor on them has changed (any cloth, leather, mail, or plate items with extra armor, or any other items with any armor). Bonus armor beyond the base armor of an item will no longer be multiplied by any talents or by the bonuses of Bear Form, Dire Bear Form, or Frost Presence.

Death Knights
All multi-rune abilities generate 15 runic power.

Anti-Magic Shell: The cooldown has been lowered to 45 sec from 60 sec.

Blood Aura now grants 2/4% instead of 1/2% healing.

Blood Presence now grants 2/4% instead of 1/2% healing.

Bloody Strikes will receive extra bonus damage from Pestilence.

Bone Shield: The mitigation has been reduced from 40% to 20%.

Corpse Explosion: Damage increased substantially, added 5 sec. cooldown, and changed cost to 40 runic power.

Dark Command: Range increased to 30 yards.

Death Knights have access to unique death-knight only facial textures and skin tones. These can be selected at the character creation screen.

Death Pact now grants 40% instead of 20% healing.

Frost Presence: The bonus armor has been increased from 60 to 80% and magic damage reduction increased from 5 to 15%.

Heart Strike no longer has a haste debuff but will now be able to strike two targets.

Horn of Winter now has no cost and grants 10 runic power in addition to its stat buff, but has a 30 sec cooldown.

Icebound Fortitude now reduces damage by 20% instead of 50%. The amount of damage reduced increases with bonus Defense (to about 35% for 540 Defense, but can go higher).

Night of the Dead now grants 40/70% passive area spell avoidance to your pet in addition to its current effects.

Outbreak will no longer receive bonus damage from pestilence. The bonus from Plague Strike and Blood Boil has been increased slightly.

Pestilence no longer has a 10 seconds cooldown.

Raise Dead has now been split into two spells: Raise Dead now raises a ghoul or pet ghoul (if talented). Requires corpse dust if no humanoid corpse is nearby. Raise Ally now raises a fallen party member as a ghoul and has no reagent. Available at level 72. This should now last for 4 minutes.

Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle (two-handed only) now grants 25 Defense and 2% Stamina.

Rune Strike: Damage decreased from 200% to 150% but threat increased to 150% from 100%.

Shadow of Death: The duration has been changed from 45 seconds to 25 seconds.

Unholy Blight had had its cost reduced from 60 to 40 runic power.

Wandering Plague will now properly reset after being cast.

Vampiric Blood: In addition to its current effects, also adds 20% health temporarily.

Will of the Necropolis will now reduce the damage of any attack that takes the DK below 35% health by 5 /10/15% instead of boosting armor when wounded.

Missing from this list are the changes to Gargoyle, Necrosis, and Anti-Magic Zone.

Gargoyle, we knew this was coming, but wow. It looks like its base damage is being hit for 25% which will take its DPS from ~ 1000 to ~750. I can live with that, don't like it but on the grand scheme of things shouldn't be more than 50 dps on a boss fight by itself. The duration on Gargoyle just got cut in half.

Necrosis is getting buffed to do double the damage which may make it more desirable than Impurity. Pending testing on PTR and Live this may or may not be worth changing some talent points.

Anti-Magic Zone is also taking a hit. The up-time of the zone is getting reduced from 30 seconds to 10 seconds.

Needless to say there are a ton of Chicken Littles on the forums decrying the end of the Death Knight, the end of Unholy DPS, the end of Unholy Tanking.



Is that clear enough?

The losses in IBF, BS, and AMZ are made up for in the buffs to frost presence. Not to mention we can cast AMS 25% more frequently when taking lots of magic damage.

Fully talented AMS nets us 20% baseline magic mitigation in frost presence after the patch. The armor improvements will also encourage the use of BS for when we know we will have spikes. I have also seen reports that the glyphed BS will be 6 bones instead of 5. This will allow more uptime.

We are losing DPS on bosses with the nerf to Gargoyles. This is offset in two ways, talented properly, our ghouls will have better survivability which will increase their contribution to your DPS and Necrosis is getting buffed. For the average player like you and me, we are not going to see any real difference in our abilities to kill a boss.

Now I want you to take a deep breath, relax, and go kill some mobs.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Don't tell Jaina but Thrall

is having an affair.

Just digging through some of my old screen shots and found this one of our holy priest all diseased up in Thralls arms during the invasion.

The second she turned into a Zombie the guards pwnd her big time.

I took this shot after the two of us spent an hour terrorizing Astranaar. I don't PvP often but I had a lot of fun that week even though I was leveling 2 alts to 60 and literally had to avoid Org like the plague.

Here we see my druid and a friend having some fun before SSC. Who says DK's are the only ones that can walk on water.

DK's aren't OP. Seriously, we aren't. Level 59 and I survived a Fel Reaver. Granted the mages at Thrallmar burnt him down but I kited the Fel Reaver there without heals. It was then I learned the only thing he drops is for the shattered halls key quest. No loot, not even a copper.

After that I realized Thrall was not fit to lead. He fooled around with my friend and I could solo Fel Reavers so I dethroned him.

Then I made my escape.

More Nerfs Incoming for 3.08

So I log on this morning and first thing I read is more nerfs are incoming.

I haven't been able to confirm the source but specifically two of them impact some of the talent decisions I made yesterday.

Gargoyle, we knew this was coming, but wow. It looks like its base damage is being hit for 25% which will take its DPS from ~ 1000 to ~750. I can live with that, don't like it but on the grand scheme of things shouldn't be more than 50 dps on a boss fight by itself.

But wait that's not all.

The duration on Gargoyle just got cut in half. Ouch! When you add this in, with the same cool down timer our boss DPS just took a 200 dps hit.

On the plus side Necrosis is getting buffed to do double the damage which may make it more desirable than Impurity. Pending testing on PTR and Live this may or may not be worth changing some talent points.

Anti-Magic Zone is also taking a hit. The up-time of the zone is getting reduced from 30 seconds to 10 seconds. On paper this looks huge, I'm not sure it will be in reality.

The reason I'm less concerned about this nerf is AMZ is typically limited by its damage absorption capability anyway. Pop this on Faerlina while she rain of fires when you have a lot of melee and you'll burn through the 15k-17k it soaks pretty fast.

All in all, if you are using my spec for tanking and dps I don't believe you will be hurt too bad as Gargoyle is primarily a DPS talent and should only be used in tanking when you have a massive threat lead since it's damage doesn't contribute to your TPS.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Talent Spec Revised for Patch 3.08

EDIT: This spec is only truly viable in Heroics and Naxx 10. For the past several weeks I have been respeccing between dedicated DPS and dedicated Tanking. In 3.1 with dual specs this spec should no longer be used. 3/27/09

This will be a long post. Warning you now.

The purpose of this build is to provide enough mitigation to tank heroics and 10 man raids while providing solid DPS at any level of content. As this is a hybrid spec there are clear mitigation talents that will be skipped in addition to clear DPS talents that will be missed.

I tested this spec in Naxx 10 last night and believe its DPS to be better than my previous spec while maintaining all the same mitigation talents I already had.

The post will be broken down into sections.

Section 1) Unholy Talents
Section 2) Blood Talents
Section 3) Frost Talents
Section 4) Talents Skipped

Each talent will list the points taken, whether it is dps/threat or mitigation, and why.

Section 1 Unholy Talents

Vicious Strikes - 2 points. dps/threat
Buffs my primary attacks crit rate by 6% and its crit damage by 30%.

Morbitidy - 3 points. dps/threat
Increases my Deathcoil damage by 15% and more importantly reduces my death and decay cooldown to 15 seconds. When AOE tanking this is a must. Pumping up an attack (DC) that did 4.6% of my overall damage output doesn't hurt either.

Anticipation - 5 points. mitigation
Getting 5% more dodge is an absolute must for tanking.

Epidemic - 2 points. dps/threat
An additional 6 seconds on my diseases gives me more time to use scourge strike. Even better, with scourge strike glyphed I have more opportunities to refresh these. One scourge strike easily does more damage with a single global cooldown that an Icy Touch and Plague Strike combined with two cooldowns.

Necrosis - 5 points. dps/threat
Elitist jerks theorycrafters assure me that point for point necrosis leads to more dps than the strength gains from ravenous dead.

Blood Caked Blade - 2 points. dps/threat
This talent gave me 2.6% of my overall damage (with 3 points when developed) for the night, which is not bad. The problem I have with this talent is that I could get more damage for the same talent points elsewhere. The reason I have it once again is tree lock.

Shadow of Death - 1 point. dps/threat mitigation
This talent gives a nice little boost to strength and stamina. Both are good to have, not to mention self rezzing as a ghoul to put a little more damage out to help get the kill is nice.

Impurity - 5 points. dps/threat
I have done a 180 on this talent. Earlier I dropped it not believing it to be very good. I was wrong. Not only does this pump damage on death coils and icy touch, it also increases the damage of Death and Decay and more importantly, your diseases. With 5 points in this talent my frost fever and blood plague did 9.9% and 9.6% of my overall damage respectively. This is up from around 3%. Get impurity.

Dirge - 2 points. dps/threat mitigation
This is the talent that ensures you have lots of runic power. Runic power translates into lots of dps goodness through gargolyes, unholy blight, and deathcoils. It also runs Icebound Fortitude for tanking.

Magic Supression - 5 points. mitigation
Gives a pure 5% reduction on all magic damage taken all the time plus it improves your mitigation when you use your shell for soaking the really big spells.

Reaping - 3 points. dps/threat
Converts your blood runes to death runes. This allows more scourge strikes which do more damage per rune/cooldown than blood strikes. This also works with the synergy of the scourge strike glyph.

Master of Ghouls - 1 point. dps
My perma ghouls put out between 240 and 430 dps depending on fight, survivability, and buffs. That's a lot of damage for one talent point.

Anti-Magic Zone - 1 point. mitigation
This is a situational talent but very useful when it arises. Depending on your attack power this will absorb approximately 15,000 in magic damage. In addition, it converts magic damage it absorbs into runic power.

Unholy Aura - 2 points. dps/threat
This gets you in and out of combat faster when you need to move. That leads to more actual attack time. The best part is that it is raid wide.

Night of the Dead - 2 points. dps
Earlier I indicated that my ghouls were doing between 240 and 430 dps. Makes sense to always have a ghoul then. This talent can virtually eliminate the raise dead cooldown and it can also allow you to use army of the dead every 10 minutes.

Crypt Fever - 3 points. dps/threat
30% more disease damage please and a third disease which counts towards all your strikes that benefit from diseases on targets. When patch 3.08 hits this will stack properly when there are more than one unholy DK in the group.

Bone Shield - 1 point. mitigation
Even with the upcoming nerf this will be a staple of Unholy Tanking. 20% mitigation from all damage sources is a lot of mitigation and should not be missed if you are this deep in the tree. It also has a nice little damage benefit as well.

Wandering Plague - 3 points. dps/threat
I have also reversed course on this talent as well. My primary concern is there are times you just don't want to dps some targets and you have no control over when this procs. Even when we tanked Faerlina in the middle of her adds this did not cause us to kill an add when unwanted. When you add in the fact that 4.1% of my damage came from these three talent points there is no reason to pass this up anymore. Remember this has a chance to proc every time every disease ticks on every target. Even while tanking and your crit is 10% you have a 30% chance per second to proc this on a single target. By the time you have multiple mobs the proc rate of this per second will skyrocket.

Ebon Plaguebringer - 3 points. dps/threat
This further enhances disease damage, increases magic vulnerability, and grants a higher crit chance on that mob. More damage for me and my friends.

Scourge Strike - 1 point. dps/threat
This defines Unholy single target damage. Enough said.

Rage of Rivendare - 5 points. dps/threat
Extra expertise is nice, so is 10% more damage done to all diseased targets.

Unholy Blight - 1 point. dps/threat
Great runic power dump, great aoe damage. I'll use this before I'll use a death coil even on single targets. Patch 3.08 is reducing its RP cost to 40 as well.

Section 2 Blood Talents

Blade Barrier - 5 points. mitigation
This is a must have for tanking. Burn your two blood runes and get 10% parry. Don't tank without it.

Bladed Armor - 2 points. dps/threat
I'd really like to maximize this by pulling points from necrosis, too bad I can't since they are needed to break tree lock. If I ultimately drop corpse explosion its point is coming here.

Section 3 Frost Talents

Toughness - 5 points. mitigation
This has a benefit to movement when you are impaired but the real reason to take this as a tank it for the 15% armor. I suppose if you are super geared and brushing the armor cap in frost you can pull points from here, but you're not so take it.

Section 4 Talents Skipped

Subversion - 3 points. dps Blood
This provides a nice threat reduction but to be honest I haven't really had issues pulling threat.

Two Handed Weapon Specialization - 2 points. dps/threat Blood
Per EJ bladed armor produces slightly more benefit per talent point and will scale better.

Improved Icy Touch - 3 points. mitigation Frost
Slow the bosses attacks and additional 6%. So far I just haven't needed the additional mitigation. If this were a pure tanking build I would have this no questions.

Icy Reach - 2 points. dps/threat Frost
A bit more range on Icy touch would be nice on pulls, but the reason to take this if you are tanking is to open up Lichborne.

Lichborne - 1 point. mitigation Frost
Another fantastic Oh Shit button. Again if this were a pure tank spec I'd take this talent.

Corpse Explosion - 1 point. dps/threat Even with the buff in 3.08 this talent has proven lackluster in my eyes and I moved its point to Necrosis.

Virulence - 3 points. dps/threat Unholy
More hit on spells. Even though I need to stack a bunch more hit on my gear, the additional damage per talent point spent here is just not worth it compared to other options per EJ.

Desecration - 5 points. dps/threat Unholy
5% more damage would be nice, but the fact is most fights involve so much movement you won't be able to capitalize on this frequently. Not to mention you would have to use the incredibly low damage plague strike to re-establish this every time you move. Even the much maligned necrosis generates more damage per talent point. Looks cool but that's about it.

So that's it. You can find the full spec here.

I told you this would be a long post.

3 down, 4th oh so close

I mentioned we were going to do our guilds first Naxx 10 yesterday. Our priest and mage couldn't come so we picked up an elemental respecced resto shammy for our second heals and a hunter from another small guild we have an alliance with.

Right off the bat, one of my plans had gone awry. Needless to say, we weren't able to sacrifice our favorite mage. An hour before raid time I logged on to find that Wintersgrasp has a battle in progress. Since I wanted to give us a Vault 10 warmup I zone in to WG just in time to see us win. I never even saw one ally.

After the fight there were a bunch of people looking to group for a 25 run so I quickly grabbed Marxi and posted lf23m and organized a pug run. Turns out Marxi was already saved which was too bad. There were no rogues in the pug and the T7.5 rogue pants dropped.

Raid time comes and we eventually get organized after being rusty from not raiding and we go into Archavon 10. It was a nice clean one shot. However, my plan of using him as a warm up and to grab some easy loot didn't quite work out. If you've been in there you'll know he always drops tier gear instead of the tokens. Our two pieces were the rogue boots (marxi already had) and the mage gloves, which Kahl couldn't make it. So we had to shard both.

On to the Arachnid quarter in Naxx.

First up, Anub Rekhan. I'd like to say we one shot this fight, but we didn't. On our first attempt our MT healer didn't have enough range and was silenced by the locust swarm and that was that. We had no problems on the second try.

Then we moved on to Grand Widow Faerlina.

The screen shot was from our third attempt. Once we decided to tank her on the platform with the adds instead of pulling one to us to stop the enrage we had no issues. In fact I expect we will one shot her next week.

This lead us to Maexxena the big spider and our heartbreak.

We had a late start and it was already 10 to midnight when we got to her. Our first attempt we took her down to 14% and lost the tank during a web wrap. I was second highest on aggro table and just couldn't survive in my DPS gear.

Our second attempt was fail from the word go. Val went do at 90% health. Dayrock did a good job tanking her down to 30% and once again died during a web wrap.

Our last attempt I decided I would dps in my tank gear. That way should we lose a tank during the web wrap I should be able to hold her off and get the kill. As a Decision Scientist by trade, I make distinctions between the quality of decision and the results. In this case it was a good decision with a bad outcome. We wiped with 102k left on her health after 4 minutes.

I still believe preparing to lose the tank since we didn't have much in the way of HoTs for the web wraps was the right one. The reason for the bad result, my DPS dropped from 2600 on the prior attempts to 2000. That's 36,000 damage per minute I gave up for tank insurance. Three minutes of that level of increased DPS would have scored the kill.

Now for the unbiased critique.

All the DPS, myself included, needs a lot more +hit. Recount reviews indicate that we could have picked up between 200 and 600 dps per individual based on their hit ratings. That alone would have generated enough damage in one minute to finish off Max.

As raid leader, I should have encouraged our Boomkin to lay all of his HoTs on the tank for web wraps including stacking lifebloom first to allow it to bloom when no heals were possible.

We also had issues with the three ranged dps getting people shot down off the wall.

Since I hate to end with a negative note, I was very pleased overall with our performance last night. We were a little rusty but we quickly figured out what we needed to do so we could be successful. We still got three bosses down and a couple members picked up some beneficial upgrades. Our lowest DPS for the entire night was 1250 and three of us are clearing 2,000 now.

I have no doubts that we won't get Max later in the week and maybe score a couple more bosses as well.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Naxx 10 Tonight

Chaos Brewing is finally at the point where we are going to attempt our first 10 man raid. The goal is the Arachnid quarter though we will start off with Archavon if Horde holds WG.

I expect it to be a rough night. It’s not that I don’t trust my guildies. In fact I trust them a ton, which I why I choose to run with 10 other people compared to being in a big raiding guild. I don’t have high expectations since real life issues prevented a couple DPS and one of our Healers from being able to level quickly and more importantly gear up.

Here is the breakdown that I expect to see tonight.

MT – Prot Warrior. So far he has MT’d Arch 10 and OT’d Arch 25 in addition to tons of heroics. He was also the MT and co raid-leader in all our T4 exploits in BC. There is no doubt he is up to the challenge.

OT – Prot Warrior. This is a new member of the guild and is untested to date in a raid environment. He has the health, crit immunity, and armor required for the job.

Heal Lead – Holy Pally. Our Pally can and has rocked the healing meters in several 25’s we have been invited too. Be Imba suggests she could perform well on Malygos Heroic. Not only is she geared, she is skilled.

Healer – Holy Priest. She was one of our most reliable and capable healers all through BC. Going into tonight she is under geared due to RL constraints on her raiding ability. The skill is there as is the desire to see the boss fall.

Melee DPS – Unholy DK(me). I’d prefer a tanking spot tonight but as the raid leader I have to do what’s best for the raid. My DPS can easily triple what the prot warriors can put out so it just makes more sense for me to DPS and let them tank. I will take my tank gear with me just in case.

Melee DPS – Enhance Shammy. Well geared for 10 mans and is a wind fury god.

Ranged DPS – Elemental Shammy. Can toss chain lightning with the best of them. Between two Shamans and my Horn of Winter we will have tons of great buffs up all the time.

Ranged DPS – Arcane Mage. Like our holy priest, he had some RL issues that forced him to level slow and not have as many heroic opportunities yet. He’s geared enough to perform in heroics now so that will help.

Ranged DPS – Boomchicken. Also had some issues that cut into run time but is just hitting the gear requirements for Naxx 10.

Missing 10th. Hopefully our combat rogue can make it. He is capable of producing 2,000+ dps.

While I’m concerned about our healer and a couple DPS we do have a lot going for us.

First, with the exception of the new OT, the other 9 of us have been together since we were all learning Kara. We went on and drove our guild through Gruul’s, changed guilds and cleared Mags, and a number of SSC/TK bosses together. Needless to say, we are comfortable with each other and trust each other.

Second, several of us have already seen tonight’s fights in the 25’s. That includes me as the raid leader, the primary healer, and some of the DPS. Our MT has already done Arch 10 and used to lead Naxx raids back in classic.

Third, since it’s just us friends we aren’t under undo pressure to perform and show off. We raid because we enjoy it, including the wipes. We aren’t out to score server firsts. When you are truly doing it just for the fun of it you will be successful. Now when I say we are just out to have fun does not mean we won’t bring a bevy of food and flask buffs. We are serious about our raiding we just don’t stress each other out about it.

Fourth, we can always trade some dps for more heals by getting the boomkin and elemental shammy to toss some extra heals as needed.

Last, I have a plan. Back when we were learning Kara our group had a nickname. “Sacrificial Mage” Because every AOE pull going into Moroes our Mage grabbed some aggro and died. I am going to find a way to get our mage killed on the first trash pull without wiping the raid. I’d be really happy to get our rogue to come so he could use stealth tricks of the trade. Either way, I will find a way, the loot gods will be appeased and we will score a kill or two.

It’s going to be a fun night.

Poll Results: Tanking Talent Test

The results are in and most the class passed. The former professor in me knew that if I only included tanking talents it would trick some of you into the wrong answer.

Which talent is a must have for tanks?
a) mark of blood
b) lichborne
c) anticpation
d) bone shield

Had I included e) all of the above I would have expected a lot of people to answer that as well.

The correct answer is C) anticipation. Anticipation is one of the three tier 1 talents that all Death Knight tanks must have. This one specifically increases your dodge by 5%.

The other two must have talents are Blade Barrier, which provides 10% parry, and Toughness which gives a solid armor boost for more mitigation.

Mark of blood, lichborne, and bone shield are all solid tanking talents and any death knight tank should have at least one of them.

I am testing a new unholy tank/dps spec tonight in Naxx10 and will do a full write up combining my learnings from tonight, the last month or so, and patch 3.08 notes.

I think I'll get another test question up soon, make sure you're paying attention to my ramblings :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gargolye getting nerfed..... FYI

He doesn't say when or how much but it comming.

Death Knight T7 Set Bonuses

I got an email from a prominent guild leader asking for some insight on the T7 set bonuses for Death Knights. Seems that guild wants to consider the impact of them in making loot decisions. Needless to say, I thought that question would make great post fodder.

So are the set bonuses good enough to sway decisions on who gets what piece of loot? With all things WoW it depends.

DPS Set Bonuses

2 pieces: Increases the critical strike chance of your Obliterate and Scourge Strike abilities by 5%.
4 pieces: Your Obliterate and Scourge Strike generate an additional 10 Runic Power when used.

I personally like these bonuses. Then again I'm unholy and Scourge Strike is a major portion of my damage when I'm on DPS duty. Buff it's crit rate. MMMMMM. The 4 piece gives me more runic power for every use?! Now I can continue to spam Death Coils while my Gargoyle is up and my runes are down. Over the course of a 5 minute fight the extra RP can easily add up to another 200 DPS, for the entire fight!!!

Non Unholy specs will break down to those with the Annihilation talent and those without. Annihilation gets rid of the disease removal component of Obliterate which encourages its frequent use in damage rotations.

Without Annihilation, the DK should only be using Oblit right before their diseases expire and won't see quite as much benefit from these set bonuses as someone with Scourge Strike or Annihilation.

Tank Set Bonuses

2 pieces: Increases the critical strike chance of your Plague Strike by 10%.
4 pieces: Increases the duration of your Icebound Fortitude by 3 seconds.

WOOT!!!! 10% more Plague Strike Crit!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, If you really believe I'm that excited about the two piece set bonus for tanks please close this window because I'm obviously a moron. C'mon every DK tank I know specs into Epidemic just so they can wait 6 seconds longer before needing to use another Plague Strike. Unholy DKs will glyph their Scourge Strike in the hopes it will proc and not require another use of Plague Strike.

Why the PS hate? Simple, it doesn't do any real damage. If you're burning runes on PS for an extra attack you are gimping your damage. The ONLY REASON TO USE PLAGUE STRIKE IS TO APPLY DISEASE.

The additional threat generated by the two peice set bonus is so minimal any DPS class sneezing on their keyboard will out do it.

The four piece bonus does get me excited. Even with the 3.08 nerf to IceBound Fort, an extra three seconds of this oh shit button is golden. 25% longer damage mitigation. This is the difference between the tank surviving a boss enrage and dying at 1% and wiping the raid.

4T7 DK tank bonus is pure gold.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Keeping your Healers Happy

This is a guest post that I wrote for World of Matticus. The link to it is here.

Some of this advice will apply to all tanks and some to Unholy Death Knights only.

I love healers.
I love the two healers in my small guild.
I love all the healers that are on my friends lists from guilds past.
I love all the healers that I pug with.
I pug a lot.

My first goal in every Heroic or raid is to complete the run. The second is to make my healers so happy that they want to heal me again. As I write this, patch 3.08 is still on the PTR and keeping healers happy as a DK isn’t always easy. It seems the damage we take can be inconsistent. For some reason healers like consistency, I figure Matticus and crew can tell you why.

Overall basics to keep your healer happy
First: Make sure you are geared for the content you are running. That means defense capped, plenty of health, armor and avoidance, proper gems, chants, and glyphs and a kitchen sink. You never know when you’ll need the kitchen sink.

you better be specced properly for the job. When Ghostcrawler says all DK specs can tank he doesn’t mean spend 71 talent points willy-nilly however you want and you’re golden. There are clear mitigation talents in every tree and you need to have them if you want to tank.

come prepared. Food, pots, flasks, repaired, all standard stuff. But if you want to get on a healers friends list, which makes pugging a heroic real easy, you need to be prepared.

Healers get mad when other players take unnecessary damage because they have aggro. Now Ron White says you can’t fix stupid and any DPS who focus fires secondary targets get what’s coming to them, but you should provide enough AOE or set up enough CC so you are the only one taking non AOE damage.

Death Knights take inconsistent damage because we try to avoid it altogether. Let’s face it we stack parry and dodge to avoid incoming damage and reasonably geared have around 50% avoidance. That’s a coin flip. Every time the boss swings we either get hit or we don’t. Right from the start we are inconsistent in the damage we take.

Death Knights also have a number of talents, spells, and abilities that either increase our avoidance or pump up our mitigation for a short period of time. These also lend themselves to taking inconsistent damage.

To start us out, let’s look at the two abilities all DKs have.

Anti-Magic Shell and Icebound Fortitude

Both of these are on a one-minute cooldown and provide great mitigation. For 5 seconds, Anti-Magic Shell will mitigate 75% of the magic damage a DK is taking, while Icebound Fortitude will reduce all damage by 50% currently for 12 seconds. Fantastic mitigation while in use, if we use these whenever the cooldown is up that creates sudden drops in the damage we take which may lead to greater over healing. Whoops. Healers don’t like wasting their mana.

That leaves talented mitigation abilities. Any DK tank worth their salt will have at least 3 of these, some may have four. We’ll break these down into avoidance, mitigation, and healing efficiency.

Avoidance talents

The avoidance talents are Blade Barrier and Lichborne. Blade Barrier procs off of using both your blood runes and increases your parry by 10%. A good tank will have this up just about the entire fight, which contributes to the coin flip. Lichborne, on the other hand, adds a flat 25% chance to be missed and has a cooldown. Needless to say, when your healer is charging up a big one and the tank pops this and the boss misses a couple in a row the healer may have wasted their time and mana.

Mitigation talents

For mitigation DK tanks will have either Bone Shield, Unbreakable Armor, or even Anti-Magic Zone. Once again, all three have a cooldown and provide excellent mitigation when active. BS can by glyphed and kept up around half the time in most boss fights. UA increases the armor damage reduction even further, while AMZ drops a stationary bubble everyone can get into to avoid all the magic damage flying around.

Healing efficiency

Blood tanks (yeah I know lolbloodtank, for now) have a couple talents that help with the healing load. Mark of blood** will give back 4% of damage dealt by the boss for 20 seconds out of every three minutes and Vampiric Blood will increase healing efficiency by 50% when its in use. Want to see a big fat heal, crit a blood tank when Vampiric Blood is up.

The trick to keeping your healers happy with all these talents at our disposal is to use them judiciously. Pop them when you know there is an incoming damage spike, whether an enrage, adds, or whatever. The other time to use them is when your healers are low on mana; just let them know you will be giving them a break. Nothing says healer love like telling them the next 16,000 in damage won’t need to be healed and they can score some non-casting MP5.
** This regretably is not correct. Specifically Mark of Blood gives the player hit by the target 4% of their own health back. Effectively, for a 30k health tank, every time they get hit by the mob with Mark of Blood on it, will be healed for 1200 hp.

Rep Grind

I hit exalted with Wyrmrest last night. I grabbed a pair of Legplates of Bloody Reprisal for my DPS set. If you armory me right now they still aren't chanted yet. They will be though.

Now I have to decide which faction to wear a tabbard. I'm already revered with Argent Crusade for the tanking head enchant. But AC has jack squat at exalted for Death Knights.

Knights of the Ebon Blade have a nice pair of DPS boots at exalted and a good two-handed sword at revered. Neither of which are better than my Heroic Naxx boots or Heroic VH pole arm.

What about Kirin Tor? They have some sugar for me. Fireproven Guantlets. Epic Tanking gloves. They don't quite have the defense that my Daunting Handguards have so I'll have to play around with enchants and gems to maintain defense cap but I'll gain 27 str, 27 stam, and 33 dodge in exchange.

Who says DK's can't look badass in Pink?

Poll Results: DK Progression

An interesting phenomenon occurred in my poll. No one selected one of the options.

Specifically, everyone who was 80 was already in Heroics and Raids. No Dingers running regular content.

This is a big departure from BC when you hit 70 and probably had difficulty in Shattered Halls right out of the gate. The removal of barriers to entry into heroics has made it possible and acceptable for any 80 to go.

I'd recommend you don't. Not until you are ready.

First, know how to play a DK in a 5-man or raid. Don't be a Deathtard.

Second, run some regular 5 mans for some gear. Yes there are lots of good quest blues, but the 5man drops and rep rewards you can get will go a long way to pumping up your gear.

Third, if you plan to tank learn how and make sure you can take a hit or two.

Finally, take pride in your toon and show some dedication.

Do these four things and you will rock your Heroics.

I'll be getting a new poll up soon and as always feel free to comment on any post or send me an email.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Money Shot

That's right Patch 25 is dead and hasn't even hit the floor yet and yours truly was one of the tanks.
Vindicar and I took all the hateful strikes. He is a frost tank and much better geared than I. His avoidence was approaching 70% compared to my 55%. But I had Bone Shield. That was good for another 5,000 mitigation every time I got hit. Even better, at 55% avoidance I was able to keep BS up the entire fight which made a huge difference.

Yesterday, I mentioned I took a little flak on my spec over at the official forums since the guy couldn't tell if I was shooting for DPS or tanking. As y'all know I beleive my spec can do both. Between all the heroics, Archavon 10, and now soaking hateful strikes from Patch 25 I beleive I have demonstrated that I can tank with this spec. How about DPS. Check out my performance on Farelina on the right.

Just shy of 2900 dps without AOE'ing the adds. Which is not to say we didn't go ahead and kill the adds for fun and profit. Scored an acheivement in there for not stopping any of her enrages.

So there you have it. Tanking and Spanking all in one night. No loot for me but that's OK. Chaos Brewing is going to finally field it's first 10 man Naxx later this week. Only four of us have raided in wrath so far but the 10 of us learned Kara together so I beleive we should be able to score some kills.