Saturday, January 31, 2009

Professions for a Death Knight

I had a request the other day to review professions in light of their benefits to Death Knights. Needless to say this will be a long post. For the min/maxers in the crowd you will need to compare the benefits of each profession against its closest substitute. For example, how much better are the Inscription Shoulder Enchants than the exalted Sons of Hodir ones? Questions such as these will help you decide which two jobs you want.

I will try to break the walls of text down enough that their crits don’t kill you. I’ll review the 3 gathering professions first and then cover the crafting ones. I am also assuming money is no object and you are making your decision based purely off of benefits.

Gathering Professions:

It’s safe to say all three gathering professions are moneymakers. If you are willing to devote an hour a day to these you can rake in big bucks. But that’s true for any class, so the question becomes how do these directly benefit the Death Knight.

Skinning – At max skill you get Master of Anatomy rank 6. This gives you an extra 32-crit rating. DK Tanks can skip this but DPS may be interested,

Herbalism – Lifeblood allows you to restore 2,000 health over 5 seconds at max skill. This doesn’t have a lot of benefit for DPS and even when tanking, the likelihood that this skill is the difference between living and dying is incredibly small. This provides less than 1% of health per second for most tanks.

Mining – Cap mining and you’ll pick up 50 stam. For tanks this will translate to 550 health in Frost Presence, Taurens will get even more. As a tank you are better off with this health buff than Lifeblood from herbalism.

Crafting Professions:

Hope you saved a lot of gold. After you get your epic cold weather flying leveling these to cap will cost you. However, these will provide much more benefits than the gathering professions ever will so min/maxers take heed.

Alchemy – The first benefit is Mixology, which doubles the duration of flasks and elixirs you can make as well as buff their effects. Wowhead comments indicate buffs between 20% to 50%. That means your Mighty Strength gives at least 10 more STR than the usual one etc. There are also two nice trinkets currently, one for DPS and the other for Tanking. Neither is best in slot, but they are nothing to sneeze at either.

Blacksmithing – As of patch 3.08 there are no craftables in BS that a Death Knight would kill for that are Bind on Pickup. Therefore the only benefit this has for us is the ability to add 2 gem sockets, one to your bracer and one to your gloves. If you are a tank and stacking stamina you can easily surpass the stam that Alchemy has to offer with these two slots. Needless to say, two extra gems can be a great boon to DPS as well.

Enchanting – As with most crafting professions there are very few benefits you can’t get off the auction house. For enchanting, what Deathknights will look for are the two enchant Ring spells, 24 Stam for Tanks and 32 AP for DPS. Since these are the only way to improve your rings you will realize the full gains from these.

Engineering – The beauty of this profession remains its helms. You can get some of the best DPS and Tanking helms as early as level 72. Titansteel helms for DPS and Tanking, which you can buy from any Blacksmith, will surpass these in quality. There is also a good trinket that is really nice for tanks and can be fun for DPS as well. The sonic booster grants 81 stam but can occasionally buff AP by 430.

Inscription – The only reason to take this profession is the best in class shoulder enchants. Getting Exalted with Sons of Hodir is nice, but these chants for Tanking and DPS blow them out of the water.

Jewlcrafting – BoP Trinkets for Tanking and DPS, check. Sweet sweet JC only gems, check. The trinkets aren’t best in class but they are very good, it’s the 41 stam and 27 str gems that should get your juices flowing. That’s 17 more stam and 11 more strength than any non JC gem. Add in the fact that these will fill any color and your golden.

Leatherworking – How does 114 AP sound to your wrists if you're DPS, 90 Stam sound better for tanking? If this sounds good, get yourself some Fur Linings and prepare to be OP.

Tailoring – DPS might be interested in the 300 AP proc cloak enchant but there is nothing for Tanks.

Let's see how the professions stack up on some key stats.

Jewlcrafting - 51 Stam (17 more stam per gem x 3 prismatic gems)
Leatherworking - 50 Stam (90 fur lining - 40 enchant bracer)
Mining - 50 Stam
Blacksmithing - 48 Stam ( 2x24 stam extra gems)
Enchanting - 48 Stam (2x24 stam ring enchants)

Jewlcrafting - 66+ AP (11 extra str per gem x 3 prismatic gems)
Black Smithing - 64+ AP ( 2x16 Str gems)
Leatherworking - 64 AP (114 AP - 50 AP wrist enchant)
Inscription - 64 AP (114 AP - 40 from Sons of Hodir)
Enchanting - 64 AP (2x32 AP ring enchants)
Skinning - ~36 AP (Crit rating 32 x EJ APE factor)

I didn't include trinkets since they can be replaced by drops. These two rankings also do not do justice to the buffs to Elixirs and Flasks.

Thanks to all the commenters in helping to clarify this post.

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Little Progress

Yay!!!! Chaos Brewing killed Sarth 10 last night. OK seven out of the 9 members who are level 80 killed Sarth. We had to bring in 3 friends from former guilds to help out.

Originally I planned on tanking but our newly respeced feral druid is still too undergeared to provide DPS. So we put him on off tank duties (Survival of the Fittest FTW) and he helped our warrior take care of the trash and he grabbed adds on the boss.

That put our Warrior as main tank on Sarth and left me to DPS. We cleared through the Drakes so effectively that a couple people suggested we try One Drake Up. I made the call to take them all down anyway. It was the right call. We wiped on Sarth once and at the kill on the second attempt had our Main Tank, an Elemental Shammy, and a Hunter standing at the end. It wasn't pretty but it was a kill.

I'm confident that with our full crew of nine and our combined friends list we can start making some progress. Lootwise our Mage got the sweet caster neck which is a huge upgrade for him and our new Bear scored the T7 glove token which will really help him convert from Boomkin to Bear.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Raid Consumables DK Style

Face it, if you're guild is not topping your server and dropping Sarth 3D on a regular basis, you can use some help in the stats department while raiding, and possibly in Heroics.

Most of the following will apply to both Tanking and DPS so if you can find a good supplier for one just stock up and you'll be good.

I'll break this down into Battle Elixirs, Guardian Elixirs, Flasks, Food, and Others.

Battle Elixirs

Elixir of Mighty Strength - This is the premier battle elixir for Deathknights. At 50 strength this will dramatically increase your, and your ghouls, DPS and your TPS while tanking. Even better this will scale with Blessing of Kings. This should be your default choice.

Elixir of Accuracy - If you are seriously hurting for hit take this elixir over the mighty strength. At 45 hit this will ensure you land more blows on the bosses which will increase your DPS and TPS more effectively until you are close enough to the hit cap that this will put you over.

Guardian Elixirs

Elixir of Mighty Fortitude - Whether Tanking or providing DPS this guardian elixir will take some pressure off your healers. It increases your over all health by 350 and returns 20 hp5 to you. The hp5 will really help with splash damage as DPS and will reduce mana taxation while tanking. Like Mighty Strength, this should be your first choice for guardian elixirs.

Elixir of Protection - If you are DPS don't bother with this one. If you are tanking and undergeared this might be worth looking at. 800 armor is nothing to sneeze at, but with the buff to Frost Presence this is probably not going to provide as much value as Mighty Fort. But if you absolutely need the extra mitigation on melee heavy tank jobs, this is the way to go.

Elixir of Mighty Defense - Ideally you are defense capped without Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle or Sigil of the Unfaltering Knight. But if you aren't and the 45 defense rating this elixir provides gets you over the 689 defense rating threshold use this. Don't ask, just do it. Then go out and put swordshattering on your weapon and smash some faces. DPS don't try this one at home.


Flask of Endless Rage - If you are on a progression raid night and know you will be wiping a lot, quaf one of these and enjoy its 180 AP increase. From a DPS and TPS perspective this better than the elixir of Mighty Strength. If you are DPS and don't have to worry about AOE damage because you have great AOE heals in your raid go ahead and use this full time. If you are tanking, make sure you don't need the buffs from the guardian elixirs first.

Flask of Stoneblood - Very few fights will you absolutely need the 650 health this gives you. That said, as a tank on progression runs where you expect to wipe a lot this will be preferred over the Elixir of Mighty Fortitude.


Dragonfin Filet - Mmmmmm, Yummy. 40 Strength and 40 Stamina good for Tanks and DPS alike. As with all things Death Knight, Str > 2 AP due to scaling which makes this the first choice in food buffs.

Snapper Extreme - Like the Elixir of Accuracy this food buffs your hit rating, 40 hit to be exact. It also tosses in the obligatory 40 Stamina. If you aren't hit capped this is a good choice.

Worg Tartare - Provides the exact same buffs as Snapper Extreme. Which one you use doesn't matter.

Mega Mammoth Meal - Chances are your favorite chef will drop one of these and with 80 AP and 40 stamina you won't go wrong by pulling up a chair and chowing down.


In the event your raid or heroic does not have a priest, you can use Scroll of Stamina VIII to replicate the 132 base stamina that their buff provides. Don't bother with the Strength or Agility versions since your Horn of Winter will overwrite them.

All that's left are the BC Weight and Sharpening Stones. While they will increase your DPS and TPS a little they probably aren't worth the effort to go back and farm. If you can't drop the boss with all of the above, you probably won't with these either.

EDIT-- thanks to Wheresmydrink for reminding me the sharpening and weight stones don't work in wrath anyway.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Single Target Damage Breakdown

The recount shown above was from the Heroic Sarth kill I DPSed last weekend. I was on Sarth the whole time I did not try to provide AOE assistance on the adds since we had plenty of mages and locks.

Even with a Big Two Hander, ordinary melee came out on top. I burned my runes as fast as they'd pair up for a scourge strike and stayed under 100 RP as much as I could.

What catches my eye in this report is Necrosis kicked out 5.8% of my output and I only had 4 points in it. What you don't see is the 3.5% of damage blood caked blade caused for me fully talented. This indicates that Necrosis is now providing more bang for your talent point buck than BCB post 3.08.

Also not seen here, is my DoT uptime was 74%. It should have been 100%, or very nearly there. I got lazy and relied on my glpyh of Scourge Strike since I only used Icy Touch and Plague Strike 4 times. I think I will need to adjust my addons a little to make the debuff icons more apparent so I don't miss them falling off as much.

Wandering Plague contributed a nice bit of damage to all the mobs running around me even though I did not intend on hitting them. A nice little side effect. Had I tossed a few pestilences my overall DPS would have shot up a few hundred points.

Take aways, between Necrosis and BCB get the former. Make sure you keep your diseases up. And free AOE attacks are good.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gotta Question? Ask the Scourge.

So today is maintenance day and I'm on my last day of being out of pocket. I haven't had much time to troll the forums or other DK sites but I will tomorrow.

I know a lot of people are afraid to post a question on EJ or the forums because you don't want to get flamed. Here's your chance to ask it.

You can leave a comment here, or you can send me an email at my address listed at the bottom of the page. Either way I will answer it. I will keep you anonymous if you want, and I won't call you a deathtard.

If you are actively trying to improve your game (ie asking a question) you will never be a tard.

Besides, the former professor in me believes if you have a question someone else wants to know the same thing. In fact, I expect I will learn a thing or two as well.

So whatdya want to know?

Monday, January 26, 2009

DPS in Tank Spec

Before I got back on the road for the last leg of my travels I scored a Heroic OS run. I went as DPS.

First thing I did, was port to Ebon Hold to change out the rune on my new axe to fallen crusader and took the summon.

I'm sporting my unholy Tank/DPS spec. As I've said before the purpose is to be capable of tanking through Naxx 10 as well as provide solid DPS regardless of content. I did drop the point in Corpse Explosion for one more in Necrosis.

I also strapped on all my DPS gear since the tank stuff just doesn't pack the punch. Unfortunately I didn't have the foresight to screen shot the damage distribution of my attacks before I headed out.

I will say my rotations on the trash packs were IT, PS, Pest, UB, BB, SS.

On the drakes and Sarth I used IT, PS, BB, BB, SS followed by SSx3+. Using the sigil of scourge strike I rarely had to reapply my diseases. I also dumped RP into my gargoyle, unholy blight, and deathcoils.

My ghoul also did much better surviving the AOE with night of the dead, and I wonder if it doesn't help the gargoyle as well. I know mine took a wave and kept on hitting.

I didn't top the charts but I was close. The 3832 I tossed was on the second drake where melee stayed on the whole time. For the entire run, including Sarth, I cleared 3k dps.

Min/maxers would have done more with the pure unholy dps spec or the dual wield spec, but I like that I can hold my own as a tank and dps without respeccing.

Your turn.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

It Finally Dropped

3 pugged DPS, my favorite Pally to heal me, and two people rolling on the drop.

To make matters worse, the batteries in my mouse died on the first attempt and I use the mouse to drive so I stood in the novas and died.

Second attempt looked good and my computer DC'd after the second nova.

Third attempt, the ele shammy who was undergeared died before he could pop Blood lust.

But third time was the charm and we downed him fast enough a couple people got the timed achievement.

And I won the roll.


As far as tanking went, threat appeared to be well in hand. In fact I had such large threat leads I went ahead and used my gargoyle on the bosses. Lamp said post patch 3.08 I'm a tad easier to heal, but I can still take a few spikes in damage.

With my new gloves, titansteel helm I finally bought this morning, and my new axe my health is 26.4k and armor is pushing 28.8k.

Emergency Funds

I always keep about 1,000 gold on my bank alt for rainy days. You never know when you'll need it.

Last night was a good example. I managed to squeeze in an hour's play time and after killing King Magni we were able to put together a guild Vault 10. Well I say guild but we still needed 3 members from an allied guild.

I was MT, and while keeping an eye on Omen was pushing upwards of 4200 TPS when he wasn't picking me up and tossing me across the room.

After killing him, he was nice enough to drop a new pair of gloves for me, specifically the tanking variety. Too bad my other Tier piece is the DPS chest. In any event, these had 28 less defense rating than the daunting gauntlets I had been wearing.

So I needed to regem at lot to get back to the crit cap. I also had to enchant these. I went with armsman for the extra threat and parry. All told I spent about 300g.

This is where the emergency fund comes in. I'm not a farmer. Its not in my play schedule to grind for hours or fly around and herb every zone. Therefore, when I'm less than 1,000g I will focus on getting back to that level as quickly as possible. Once there I will stop so I can go back to doing what I enjoy most. Running heroics and raids.

Keep a stack of gold on hand, you'll never know when you'll need it.