Friday, March 6, 2009

Raid With Us: Guest Post

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


"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.

PTR Blood Tank Results

I didn't get a whole lot of time to test my Blood tank spec yesterday like I had hoped. My better half was sick and my folks came to visit. I did sneak in a Heroic Violet Hold run. I may have just converted to Blood for tanking in 3.1. It was that good.

First the bad news, AOE threat is an issue. Even with Morbidity and a 15 second cool down on DnD it is possible to lose adds. Worse, it becomes even more important you establish a kill order or at least ensure DPS is using an assist to target your target. We had a Hunter pulling 3k DPS on the run and whenever they targeted someone I wasn't they pulled aggro.

This is easily solved with smart play and shouldn't truly be an issue. As for grabbing snap aggro on adds when DnD is on cooldown? The new and improved, as well as talented, Blood Boil will do just fine. Even without diseases up, this will capture the attention of all the badies long enough to cement threat properly so your heals don't get ganked.

To make this even easier, I have determined it is best to go with the numbers and trade out Subversion and get Death Rune Mastery. My Heart Strikes and Obliterates won't quite hit as hard on average but overall I will get more Heart Strikes in which should increase my overall threat as well as even it out since I will spam 6 strikes per 10 seconds instead of 4.

Doing the easy math, my OB's hit for 2,249 on Cyanigosa while my Hearts nailed her for 1,750. I'll still use OB's to convert the Unholy and Frost runes over to Death Runes, but that will allow me to pop a lot more Heart Strikes. In addition I am more likely to have a rune available for Blood Boil should an add show up.

Overall single target threat is good as well. We were maybe 15 seconds into the fight and I was already pumping 4,400 TPS in a 5 man with Horn of Winter being my only buff. Give me might, kings, mark of the wild, food, and a flask and this number easily grows past 6,000.

Lastly, I would add that this output was done primarily without the benefit of glyphs. The bone shield and scourge strike glyphs I was rocking just don't add any value to a blood build.

I need to do some research on the new glyphs before I really have some recommendations for blood. Unholy Tanking is easy, the new Pestilence, Scourge Strike, and Bone Shield and you should never have to worry about keeping your diseases up. For blood I would definitely keep the Pestilence, might get the new Plague Strike, and need to think about the third. I am a little torn on the PS one as well. With the pestilence glyph I may not be using PS all that much, even on single target.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

PTR Blood Tank Spec Details

I've modified my original blood tank spec and still haven't had the chance to test the mitigation side but raw DPS on the test dummy is really improved over what I've been getting with other specs.

So I went to work on what was left of the test dummy in Ebon Hold.

It can still be targeted but it is no longer a tall wooden figure with a sword and shield. Makes me wonder if Blizz doesn't have a sense of humor.

You can also see the new desecration animation in the shot. Its the golden circle on the ground from another DK.

OK, on to the numbers. My Unholy PTR Tank Spec generated 962 DPS on the boss test dummy with Horn of Winter. On Patch it tossed 1600 DPS. I will caveat that bladed armor was not working at the time.

My first pass at a blood spec gave me 1020 DPS on the target dummy. This includes Horn of Winter and the BA fix. That clearly wasn't a huge improvement so I went back to the drawing board and modeled a new spec off of some high end blood tanks I've seen in various places. New DPS in Frost Presence with Horn of Winter: 1198.

Now you're asking what's the spec?



Subversion 3 points
Blade Barrier 5 points
Bladed Armor 5 points
Two Hand Specialization 2 points
Rune Tap 1 point
Dark Convition 5 points
Improved Rune Tap 3 points
Spell Deflection 3 points
Bloody Strikes 3 points
Veteran of the Third War 3 points
Mark of Blood 1 point
Bloody Vengence 3 points
Abomination's Might 2 points
Vampric Blood 1 point
Will of the Necropolis 3 points
Heart Strike 1 point
Might of Mograine 3 points


Improved Icy Touch 3 points
Toughness 5 points
Icy Reach 2 points
Lichborne 1 point
Annihilation 3 points


Anticipation 5 points
Epidemic 2 points
Morbidity 3 points

My test dummy experience did not match what theory crafting would suggest. I did better without death rune mastery by spamming obliterates whenever I didn't need to refresh my diseases. However, I should have been able to generate about 500 more raw damage with one extra cooldown for each pair of unholy and frost runes converted to death runes using Heart strike. Recount didn't agree. That said, it would be easy to move the points from subversion to death rune mastery with further testing.

Beat by the tanks

Construct Quarter Naxx 10. I'm on DPS for the night. Running a 17/0/54 spec. Be Imba and Wow-Hero's says I'm geared better than anyone in the raid. And I go and turn this performance in on a boss.
Varnek was one of our tanks no less. Would you be surprised I was actually proud of myself, and not for sucking. Does the damage breakdown help?

Death and Decay plus Unholy Blight accounted for 85% of my output on a boss fight. WTF was I doing?

I was kiting Zombie Chows on Gluth.

Unholy DK's are excellent Chow kiters for 10's and pretty damn good in 25's too. It's actually quite easy. Keep UB up at all times and drop a DnD every 15 seconds. All that changes is the positioning.

10 man version is on the left and 25 on the right. The red circles are Gluth where he should be tanked on the far side of the room. The light blue squares are the grates where the Chow's spawn. The black circle is the path you should run in and the arrows point the way. The red X is where you should drop your Death and Decay.

In normal mode the Chow's only spawn from the center grate so it makes sense to keep your DnD right next to it. In the heroic version they spawn from all 3 grates. This requires you to run in a larger circle and placing your DnD near the middle of the room will go a long way to ensuring that you pick them all up as the run for the dog.

In both cases getting an earth bind totem or frost trap makes things a bit easier. Having unholy aura does as well. The reason you run in a circle rather than back and forth is so you can avoid as many of the infected wound stacking as possible. You want to keep these low so you don't get instagibbed by all the chows.

Since you are running in a circle and have all of the Chow's aggrod on you, they will be nicely packed for AOE during the decimates.

Last, if one seems to be getting away you have IT, Death Grip, and Death Coils to bring them back to you.

Keep your Bone Shield up and you'll do your part to down a boss and toss some really impressive DPS to boot. Just kidding on the DPS part.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

PTR Blood Tank Test Dummy

So I've fooled around a bit with a Blood Tank spec on the PTR this evening. I hope to raid test it tomorrow afternoon or Thursday.

Right now I have my doubts. From a physical mitigation standpoint I am trading Mark of Blood, Improved Rune Tap, and Vampiric Blood for Bone Shield, and Lichborne.

For magical mitigation I loose the improved AMS and AMZ and get Spell Deflection.

On the boss test dummy I put up 6% more DPS than the Unholy build. The problem is, the unholy build relies on Necrosis and BCB which don't count fully against the dummy.

Gotta say the extra 1,300 Health unbuffed isn't anything to complain about.

Needless to say, I am worried about AOE situations though. I did make sure to grab morbidity for a 15 second Death and Decay, but that, diseases, and blood boil are all I have. And before some of you say the only additional thing Unholy has is Unholy Blight, I'll remind you UB, DnD, and the diseases are buffed through Impurity which any blood tank build will not have.

Initial reactions are mixed. I'll reserve judgement until I have a chance to actually tank something in Naxx.

Poll Results: Patch 3.1 DK Plans

So the patch has been on the PTR for a week and we have all had a chance to read up on all the changes and perhaps even test them out. Right off the bat I knew my interest in a 5/45/21 Frost AOE tanking build was dead in the water with Howling blast moved to the 51 point spot in Frost.

Therefore I decided to stick with Unholy for both my tanking and my DPS specs. So did a lot of you.

What surprised me is that 10% of you thought you would retire your Death Knight and go back to your old main. I know my sample is highly biased in favor of Death Knights just because the people who read my blog play them. Could this result help explain my VoA pug yesterday? Have a lot of Death Knights decided to go level their old main and get it to 80 prior to Ulduar's release?

Either way, for the time being it just does not look like Blizzard is succeeding in balancing the trees. The majority feel Unholy is the way to go. While blood is left hanging in the dark.

I question whether blood scales better though. One of the top raiding guilds in the US is on my server Alliance side. They got special access to Ulduar to do some tank testing the other night. Regrettably they biased their results with using more healers on the DK tank than the other classes but it was interesting to me the used a Blood Tank for the test.

I should be able to score some PTR time this Thursday and maybe I'll try out a Blood 2H tank spec. Something along the lines of 50/8/13 so I can get morbidity in Unholy to help with the AOE and obviously skip DRW in blood.

I have a new poll up and I'm asking an old question. How far is your progression with your DK? Last time I was surprised by the number of people still leveling.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Culling has begun

The astute among you will recognize this as VoA. Heroic to be exact. What else seems odd in this picture?
Any guesses?

If you guessed I'm the only DK you are right. I know its Monday and most people have already done this but seriously I've never seen a VoA pug with less than 5 DK's in it.

I should have tanked instead of DPS. The two pallies we had were teribad. 1800 TPS FTW. Needless to say, several of us were one shot before everyone figured it out.

Longest Arch kill I've ever seen.

Stumbling blocks and other musings

The Four horsemen determined we would no make any more progress for the week. I need to do more research before we hit them again. Our biggest issue appeared to be class composition. We just didn't have a way to tank and heal four separate quarters. We had a hunter in one corner using a gorriladin and mend pet. Trading horsemen with a DK who wasn't on vent.

I was tanking in a pure DPS spec (not advisable even with the gear). On our best try we got Baron to 18% and Kor to 31%. Perhaps a bit more practice would help. We also had a few members in the raid who typically don't run with us.

Either I miss read wowwiki or there is another trick I'm missing. Either way we cleared 3 quarters and 2 bosses. Last week we cleared 1 quarter plus 1 boss. That's a lot of progress in one week. Tomorrow everything resets and we will start all over again.

Two months ago I set a goal of getting all 10 classes to 80 this year in addition to raiding on my DK. I can't say I've made a lot of progress. I'm just having too much fun with my death knight. Especially since I can do a dungeon or two in the hour and a half I have in the afternoons. In BC I would use that time to work on alts. Now I can farm emblems, or work on my fishing.

Since I set my goal I've got my Shammy to 64 from 61 and is still resto. My druid was resto for most of 71, but I respecced him boomkin to finish it out and ding 72. I had sold/deleted all my feral gear when I went resto so I wouldn't go back. I went Boom so I could DPS on quests and actually make some progress. I also dropped about 400g into getting his alchemy from 375 to 424. I was happy to make that all back by selling the elixirs of strength and agility I created while leveling it.

I also staged my Hunter in Howling Fjord and thought I might work on leveling him some, especially since he's my only miner. The other advantage to leveling him and by druid is they both already have epic flight. That's 10k gold I don't have to spend on these toons anymore.

Before my DK I had never bothered with Cooking and Fishing. Man I was missing out. I have cooking at 448 and fishing is 380 something (Armory is down atm). I'm at the point where I can fish up the good stuff for my favorite strength and hit foods. Combined with daily cooking rewards and spending the award on extra spices means I can cheaply keep myself supplied and sell the extras. I can easily make a couple hundred gold a day with this. Only problem is that it cuts into my Sons of Hodir time. I'm about half way through revered with those guys.

I'll put up another Ask the Scourge day tomorrow so feel free to e-mail me any questions you have in advance.