Friday, March 13, 2009

Gear, Specs, Ebon Plauge, Desecration

I need to complain about outdated gear more often.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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 12, 2009

And now for something completely different, Blood Tanking

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

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

Talk about a threat test.

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

Here's my overall damage breakdown.

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

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

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

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

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

Gear Problems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some Nights, you just fail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Poll Results: Progression Update & Ask the Scourge

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

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

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

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

In other words lots of good blog fodder.

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

Monday, March 9, 2009

Eye Candy

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

Evolution of Personal Professions

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

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

Stage 1 - Gathering the Gold.

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

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

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

Stage 2 - Bang for the Buck.

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

Stage 3 - Optimizing your choices.

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

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

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chaining Cooldowns

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

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

Wanna know why?

Cooldown Chaining.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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