Saturday, February 21, 2009

OP at 58

So I'm preparing my toon for the Scourge Event (Make sure to sign up) and I just hit outlands at level 58.

I had forgotten how OP we are at that level. If you recall at level 58 you don't have Death and Decay, you don't have your 51 point talents, and if you're like me you went straight to the Dark Portal without buying any Glyphs or Enchants.

Even so, I could easily take 3-5 same level mobs as Unholy and never see my health drop below 75%. If it did, it was just one Death Strike away from being replenished. Rotation was simple, IT, PS, Pest, BS, SS then dump RP into DCs.

With that in mind, here is what my recount looked like.


438 DPS, at level 58?!!? I remember benching a warlock from Gruul's runs in BC because they couldn't hit 500 DPS. Seriously, this is entry Kara DPS 12 levels ahead of schedule. I even have a couple wasted talent points on this toon such as On a Pale Horse just so I can ride around some. I'm guessing I could easily clear 500 in ramparts since the mobs will live long enough to maximize my dots.

It's no wonder so many deathtards are out there. I had forgotten how little skill it takes to level a DK in outlands. It only took me 45 minutes to do all of level 58 and ding 59. Warcraft Realms still only shows about 22% of the 1.5 million death knights have hit level 80. Which is lower than the 30% for all classes. This difference is statistically significant as well. This tells me that once many of the players level past easy mode they start to abandon their toons as they realize getting solid DPS or effective tanking out of a DK at level 80 actually takes some skill.

Still surprised how easy kicking ass at level 58 is. Guess I've forgotten in the 3 months I've been 80.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm on the PTR

We'll at least Omenscourge is. I just got confirmation of a successful copy.

As soon as I can log on the PTR, my plans are to test 5/45/21 for tanking. This combines Howling Blast with Unholy Blight.

I will also be one of the thousands testing dual specs, assuming they are implemented.

Lastly, I will play around with deep Unholy for DPS as well.

Any other DK issues you want reviewed?

EDIT: Well I had copied my toon over but apparently Blizz wiped it out. As soon as they open the copies back up due to the queue being full and I get over there I will start testing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Feeding the Ghoul

I'm sure all you Unholies know that your perma ghoul can be buffed. If you didn't know that, you do now. It's always a good idea to have your ghoul out when the party/raid is getting their buffs on.

Regrettably Mages putting AI on them doesn't convince them they can jump off a ledge.

Ghouls benefit from DK auras, bloodlust, totems, horn of winter, pally buffs, warrior shouts, priest buffs, abom might, ferocious inspiration, and the list goes on.

You can feed them too. That's right, whip up a batch of Spiced Mammoth Treats and watch your Ghoul go wild.


He will hit harder and live longer, which all adds to your DPS. You may be able to find these on the AH and I would assume raiding hunters will be bidding up the price for them. You can make them with a chunk o' mammoth meat and 1 northern spice. The recipe requires cooking 400+



As you can see, Hammersmasher was happy to get a treat. Now I just need to go find some mobs for him to work off all those extra calories on.

Making Headway

So after a week off our two guild alliance went back into Naxx 10 last night. And we are making headway.

As always we start with the Spider Wing where we one shot Anub. Faerlina took us two tries since we changed up tank assignments from what we've done in the past but other than that went real easy.

Maxxena dropped on the first try which was great since we have had problems with her before. Our allied guild has a feral bear that came last night. Varnek is nicely geared and even in 10's was pushing 40,000 health. We let him MT Max figuring he had the health to survive not getting healed during her wraps.

We mostly had cloth caster drops since we didn't have any clothies in the raid but Max was kind enough to drop Cloak of Armed Strife for us. That is such a huge upgrade over the Wyrmest rep blue I wear for tanking. But I passed on it so Dayrok could get it. He tanks 100% of the time whereas I change back and forth based on need. As a guild we will get more benefit from him wearing it. Since my goal is to see content as a raid leader it just made sense to not roll myself.

So the Spider wing was clear we had the choice between construct and plague. I reviewed recount for the first three bosses and decided since we only had two healers and our combined DPS was sufficiently over 12,000 we went to Patchwerk.

There is a little confusion out there regarding Patch's hateful strikes. For 10 man Naxx, Patch will target his hateful strike on the second highest melee threat. Health totals ARE NOT FACTORED. Therefore send in the two tanks, let them get a good lead on aggro, then let the melee run in. We had Dayrok MT him and set up Varnek and his 40k health to soak Hatefuls.

For healing we had our Resto Shammy Nekron keep up Day and Lampost(Holy Pally) watch out for Varnek.

Everyone did their job and Patchwerk fell like it was a scripted event.

Anyone who has ever been past Patches will recognize the chat log I lead off with. To be fair to Beercan he had a weird DC issue that threw him out of the instance and he was bringing some respawn slimes with him. Marxi was trying to show off playing in the frogger slimes.

Hubris will get you every time.

We then put in three attempts on Grobbulus with our best one getting him down to 18%. I've only seen that fight once before in a Naxx 25 pug where we one shot him. Only two others in the raid had ever seen him before either. I considered the wipes as good learning and in fact made sure people still standing continued to fight as if half the raid wasn't dead to get more practice. I truly believe we will get him down tonight.

Our goal tonight is to get through Thaddius. Gluth worries me a little bit with his Zombie Chow. That's a mechanic most of us haven't encountered yet. We are also going to start the night with Obsidian Sanctum and I think I'll leave one drake up for an attempt or two

Scourge Event Sign Up

There seems to be some interest in the Scourge event, but to be honest it we need a lot more interest to truly make it worthwhile. 10 Death Knights doesn’t conjure feelings of dread in anyone. Two level 80’s of any class will come in and wipe us out.

For the event to work we need at least 30-40 people to express interest, more is even better. It’s not like a running of the bulls where everyone sets up a tauren and starts running. Before the event can even start, all the participants will have to complete the class introduction quests in their entirety. That means you will have to invest 2-3 hours in the event before we even start to organize.

I haven’t decided a date or time yet, but if you want to go ahead and start your event DK, roll Horde side on Nazjatar PvP. Y’all know I’m not big on PvP but an event like this will be a lot more fun if we have to worry about the opposing faction. Once we have enough baby Death Knights over there, it is just a matter of calling up the troops to go wreak some havoc.

When it comes time I will see if I can convince my guild to let us borrow our vent channel for awhile. I’m also hoping one or two of you have fraps. At the very least I think it would be cool to mount up in a big line of Death Knights a couple of rows deep and get a good screen shot for Around Azeroth ala Braveheart.

We will start our escapades in Tarren Mill. Activities will include a game of hot potato with the Mayor of Southshore. Rules are simple, Death Grip the mayor to you and try to hit him with a strike before someone DG’s him away from you. Who ever scores the killing blow wins.

Of course we will sack south shore while we are there.

Assuming the local alliance don’t roll out and lay waste to our raid, we will take a few minutes to ride to Elwynn Forest(have your hearthstone set for Stonard) for a Death Knight Hogger raid. This time, the goal will be for someone to kite hogger into my unholy blight. I of course will run all over the place and pop UB at random. Whoever gets Hogger pulled into my traps wins. However, if you kill hogger while pulling him around you will be penalized and force to solo Deadmines before being allowed back in the raid..

From there we will ride to Stormwind and make a beeline for the tram. Once in the tram we will head to Ironforge and whoever gets closest to the Dwarf King before they die wins. You are not allowed to run back to your corpse to improve your position. Essentially this will be a suicide mission at our level and hopefully we will be able to get a good screen shot of a bunch of bodies in Ironforge.

So that’s three contests and three winners. Since I don’t have anything vested in Nazjatar and it is likely most of you don’t either the winners will receive a writeup here at The Scourge. It will be a short Q & A with your primary Death Knight featured.

Signing up is as easy as rolling a Horde Death Knight on Nazjatar and leaving a comment with its name on this post. Once we have a good 30 or 40 I will post a date and time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ask the Scourge Day a little late

Since I had to travel yesterday I didn't have time to put up an Ask the Scourge post. So here it is a day late.

As always I'll try to research your answer if I don't already have a clue on it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obligitory UI Post and Discussion

I had to fly half way across the country and back today so I could sit in 4 hours of meetings. Needless to say my usual morning posting didn't happen.

When I got home and finally checked my e-mail I had a question about an addon I'm using in my UI. After responding I decided it was time for the ubiquitous blogger UI post.

We'll start with a full screen shot from tanking Faerlina the other night.

I have all the really important stuff right in the middle for easy review. As information becomes less important for my immediate attention it is pushed away from the middle.

The center of my screen is dominated by ICE Hud and Deadly Boss Mobs.

The DBM warning moves into position centered just above the ICE Hud information. In this case Faerlina just went into an enrage and at the time of this shot had 7.2 seconds left.

ICE Hud is highly customizable. I have my Health and RP on the left. Just inside those bars are the health and energy of my ghoul. On the right side I have the health and energy/rage/mana of the mob I'm targeting. Just beneath me is the name and meta data. In this case Grand Widow.

To the right I see all the debuffs on the mob. The debuffs prioritize mine on the the top right. In this shot I have UB, Ebon Plague, and Frost Fever up. If she had any buffs they would appear opposite on the left .

The last piece of information ICE Hud give me is my active runes across the top. In this case I have one Unholy rune available for use. Given what I know about my debuffs and my available unholy rune, I should use a plague strike next.

In the Bottom Center of my UI I have my Pet information, Omenmeter, and key abilities.
Here we see a second confirmation my Ghoul is up and currently does not have a lot of energy. He is set to follow and is on defensive stance. More importantly gnaw is on cooldown.

Having Omen meter so visible allows me to quickly decide if I need to worry about aggro issues. This is true for Tanking and DPS. In this case Drax was second in threat and was positioned in case I went down he could pick up tanking.

I also have AMS, a health stone, Empower Rune Weapon, IBF, AoTD, health pot, and AMZ all within easy perusal. I can tell that I have the runes to change stances if needed and see IBF is on cooldown.

On the bottom left I have my primary attacks using Bartender, and my chat window.

DBM gives me lots of information in my chat window. I run prat which provides the timestamps as well as the level and class coloring for normal chat. I also black out the background so it is easily readable regardless of what's behind it.

All my primary attacks are here with bartender and they are keybound to keys I can easily use with my left hand since I drive with my mouse. I also have Dr Damage which puts the average attack value of each ability on the keybind.

The last portion here is DoTimer for my cooldowns. If I need to know exactly how long until I can use an ability I only have to look down to the left from all the action.

The bottom right has more info from DoTimer, Bartender, and includes recount.

Here I see my buffs and timers for the debuffs I have on my targets. Once again if I look here I will notice I do not have Blood Plauge on my target, but I have 15 seconds left on frost fever. My cursor was apparently over one of my raidmembers but it shows down in the corner where I don't have to make an active decision.

You can also see DBM has started the enrage timer since it was getting close. As the countdown closes in on zero seconds the warning moves towards center.

Recount is also down in the corner since I don't make decisions using it while in combat. I'm sure you know by now I like reviewing recount data after raids to decide what is working for me and what isn't.


The last part of my screen I really want to draw attention to is the upper left. I use AG Unit Frames to see the health, or living status, of everyone in the raid. I also have my FPS, latency, and durability displayed here.

I believe it is AG Unit frames that is also putting the heals and damages on each member. To be honest, I only glance at this to see who is alive and who is dead. In 5 mans the frames are configured to show mana so I know when to slow down on my chain pulls.

The top center just has the unit frame for my targeted mob. I primarily have this so I can inspect players when I target them.

The top right has my mini map and shows all my buffs. The only buff I look to find during combat is Horn of Winter. In a 25 man raid I don't even bother. I was one of 3 DK's and I know the DPS DK's will keep that up at all times to increase their position on the damage meters.

With this layout I can get the information I need while in combat by looking at my toon, or down to the right or left. I don't have to go hunting all over my screen to find something important. I'm told by ergonomic engineers this speeds my reaction times and slows the onset of fatigue.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Which Two-Hander is Best

If you read my Heroic Raid Pug post you know I scored a Jawbone last night and am very happy about it. This morning there are a couple active threads on the forums as to which iLevel 213 weapon is the best.

There are currently 5 iLevel 213 two-handed weapons in the game, in addition to the Betrayer of Humanity which is ilevel 226. If you get a chance to roll on a BoH, go for it. Until Ulduar you can not get a better two handed weapon for Tanking or DPS, even then you may have a hard time upgrading this.

Any of these five weapons will be great for Tanking or DPS.

This ranking only matters if you have a choice.

So here are the five contenders:
The Jawbone
Inevitable Defeat
Death's Bite
Cryptfiend's Bite
Armageddon

Not counting racials which favor Axe's for Orcs and Mace or Sword for Humans, as well as Maces for Dwarves we will rank these based on Tanking and DPS.

Tanking
Inevitable Defeat
Death's Bite
Jawbone
Cryptfiend's Bite
Armageddon

Why, ID is the clear favorite with the most stamina, has the most Agility to buff your dodge, tons of Expertise to avoid boss parries, and a good helping of strength to scale your threat. DB and JB are very close for tanking. DB has a bit more stam and you trade Hit for Expertise between them. Crypt beats out Armageddon due to having Agility to help with avoidance.

DPS
Death's Bite
Inevitable Defeat
Jawbone
Armageddon
Cryptfiend's Bite

For DPS, DB and ID trade places. You just can't pass up the Hit and Crit it has to offer. ID has more expertise than JB and I'd take it's agility over the jaw's haste any day for DPS. On the low end, Armageddon benefits from scaling on strength to make it better than the agility Cryptfiend has to offer in addition to its raw AP.

Heroic Raid Pugs

So I scored a Heroic Naxx pug last night. As the main tank. I even was able to bring Dayrok from the guild in as Primary Off Tank.

Two of those previous sentences should tell you a lot about the state of Raid pugging in WoW. A month ago a raid pug was 18-20 members from a guild looking to fill a few spots.

This pug was as pure as it gets. Here are some highlights of the raid base.

12 of the DPS could not clear 2,000 dps, even on trash.
Only two consistently broke 3,000.
Of the sub 2,000 dps 6 were below 1,500 and two of those couldn't even clear 1,000 dps.

It's called hit rating people.

On the heal side our best healers were a pair of priests that could reliably maintain 1,800 hps and a druid that almost single handedly healed me through Anub'Rehkans Locust swarm since no one else bothered to heal me. We even had a pally healer who didn't know how to heal raid members not in his direct party. Not to mention his heals wouldn't have been up to par in most heroics.

For tanking we had myself, Dayrok from the guild, and another prot warrior who couldn't/wouldn't get in vent. Kind of hard to adapt to directions and changing threats when you have to stop and type stuff.

Needless to say we wiped a few times. And when we didn't wipe I died on trash too many times to be acceptable in a guild run. That said, in the 3 hours I was able to stay we downed four bosses which futher convinces me heroic raids are easier than normal ones.

After sortin out Anub, I was asked to use the kite method on the second attempt instead of expecting to be healed through the swarms.

The trick is to stay out of the slime while walking backwards. Note my 3100 TPS, that was fairly typical of my early single target threat.

After we downed Anub we moved on to Grand Widow. Dayrok tanked the adds while I tanked Faerlina. Nice to say we one shot her. With a decent healer corp I beleive I could have withstood the enrages to get some folks their Momma Said Knock You Out acheivements. I did eat one entire enrage since the priest didn't get the MC off until the thing was over. Did I mention about half the raid got their first emblem of valor off of Anub?

Maxenna was our next target. This time it made sense to let Dayrok tank her since she is a single tank encounter. I tossed on my DPS gear and underperformed to my standards at exactly 3,000 dps. That still had me second on the meters :( No way this group will handle patch. Max went down in one shot and I rolled 96 on a new piece of sexiness.



I've joined the 203.6 wep club. There is a lot of debate which weapon is better for tanking or DPS. You hear weps such as Inevitable Defeat, Betrayer of Humanity, Death's Bite, and Demise. Rarely do you hear Jawbone, but the simple truth is, the Jawbone > than any 186 DPS weapon. Any DK sporting a Titan Steel Destroyer or Colossal Skull Clad Cleaver will want this bad boy. Tanks and DPS alike. Gotta say it helped my single target threat. Remember my Anub action shot with 3,000 TPS? You'll see a similar number if you look close at Faerlina.

OK, I'll fess up on this threat meter. It was on trash, pulled away from the group so it was barely taking any AOE from anyone else, and I just scored a big scourge strike crit. But I've never seen 6,400 TPS on my toon. As we went on to Noth I consistently held 4,000 TPS which is a huge improvement over where I was at.

We went on to two shot Noth with Dayrok tanking him while I picked up all the adds. At that point it was bedtime for me so I had to roll. All in all, not bad for a pug that could barely heal and had lackluster DPS.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Props to Big Red Kitty

Over the years I've read Big Red Kitty off an on and was always entertained even though I barely play my hunter.

One of the things I've always respected about him was his willingness to help people help themselves in game. I recall a story where someone begged him for money. He offered them 50g if I remember right(or some other ludicrous amount) for several stacks of light feathers. The player who was clearly new, compared to someone just looking to make a buck, went out and gathered the feathers over a few days. BRK was happy to pay up.

I bring this up because I belong to a blog advertising program called entrecard. You get credits by people advertising on your blog, or you dropping your e-card on other sites. You can see where other blogs advertise just below my blog rolls. You'll notice I only allow WoW blogs to advertise on my site. Anyway, I've wanted to advertise on his site for some time now. Needless to say his site is always more popular than I can afford.

I sent him a note asking if he could clear his ad queue a little bit to bring down his price some. He did one better. He set me up so I can advertise on his site for two days. Once again demonstrating that he is willing to help people in addition to keeping them entertained.

It's not likely that you have never seen his site. In the event that you haven't or its been awhile since you have I highly encourage you to go check it out at http://www.bigredkitty.net/

/Cheers for BRK

Sunday Morning Writer's Block

Other than chasing the AH for a few minutes on Friday and Saturday I haven't been in game much. No way in hell I wanted to tank wife aggro for playing on Valentines.


In the 15-20 minutes at a time I can play I've figured out the most lucrative fishing to do while leveling. I had been using baubles to fish in the highest zone I could to support leveling my cooking. But now my fishing is at 340 and cooking around 430. It will be a long time until the fish I catch will grant skill ups in cooking and by then I'll be capped.


So I fish in the pool just outside the portal in Wailing Caverns. For some reason a lot of people like to pretend to be pirates. At a 22% drop rate Deviate Fish sell for about 75 silver per on my server. I get about 8 per 10 minutes which works out to around 35g an hour. I figure if you're gonna waste time fishing you might as well make some money out of it.


I've also decided high end cooking has one of the best arbitrages in the game. I can buy 15 bonescale snapper for about 10g and sell the 5 snapper extreme for 30g. The trick is stock piling spices but the cooking dailies usually take 5 minutes to do, get 4-5 spices, and grant 9 gold. All told, its like someone giving you 30g a day for 5 minutes of work just because you leveled cooking.


Changing gears, I'm looking through my screen shots over the past year or so. I've always heard healers complain that all they ever see are feet and bars while raiding. Here is what I saw for a year tanking as a feral bear.



I don't miss looking at that furry backside. At best when not backed against a wall I would be able to see a bit more.

This just looks so much better.

This also reminds me I need to remember to take more action screen shots. I inevitably forget to mid fight.

Well it looks like I pushed through my writers block by forcing something on paper.