- Difficult to get starting gear - For most people, it's hard to get started as a tank. Gearing is an issue, because some tanks (DKs, warriors and paladins) need specific tanking gear, while even the leather tanks still generally use different stats to some degree, different enchants, different weapons for tanking than DPS or (especially) healing. This is a problem the gearing changes in Warlords should really help with.
- Where can you learn it? - Tanking requires a different skill set from DPS or healing. While proving grounds exist, they don't really teach the most important part of being a tank - reacting to other players. It can be hard as a new tank to walk into a dungeon having never done it before. That leads into the third difficulty of picking up tanking.
- Dungeons don't provide any sort of experience right now - With the wildly disparate gear levels on people running random dungeons, you can have a tank in 450 gear trying to hold aggro off of players in 580 gear. While it can be nice to be the tank in 580 gear, even you might have trouble when groups don't cooperate, run ahead of you, pull mobs half way across the zone, and generally simply refuse to act like any kind of groups at all. This is something I'm hoping the gear squish and ten levels will do away with - we'll all basically be on the same page when Warlords dungeons are being run.
Filed under: Death Knight
In addition to new stats, there are the abilities each tank will see affected by readiness to consider. There are also Draenor Perks for each tank spec, granted randomly as we level from 90 to 100. There are changes in what abilities exist, in what specs get them. Vengeance is gone, replaced with Resolve, buffing our self heals and absorbs. In short, while the basic idea remains the same - generate resources via attacks to spend on damage reduction in one fashion or another - how we go about it, how it interacts with us has so many changes that it's worth discussing in length. There's so much change coming in that I don't pretend I'll catch all of it, which is why we have comments, after all.
So what do I expect to see out of tanking coming 6.0? It should be noted, this discussion is based on the Warlords alpha patch notes and such datamining as I've looked over, and I freely admit I only tank on one class, so while these are general observations I may be missing key class specific factors.
The solution being implemented here is to overall increase tank DPS without an unreliable mechanic like Vengeance adding different attack power depending on how much damage the tank takes. This also removes the temptation for tanks to deliberately take more damage in order to get Vengeance stacked up faster. So Vengeance is gone, and Resolve is implemented. How does it work?
- Resolve improves self-healing and absorbs done by the tank to the tank (so no, it won't buff priest bubbles) based on the damage taken (ignoring avoidance and mitigation, same as Vengeance now) within the last 10 seconds, and your Stamina. This means stuff like Death Strike, Shield Barrier, things of that nature. If you cast a heal on someone else, Resolve won't buff it.
- Each tank class' tanking mastery will now add 12% attack power, and the amount of attack power will scale with mastery as well. This is in addition to current affects, not replacing it - your tanking mastery will do what you're used to it doing, it'll just also do more.
- Brewmaster monks will no longer deal less damage. That 15% damage penalty? Gone.
The section of the patch notes detailing the change is, as always, behind the jump.
So you want to play a death knight. You've looked at the class, you've read our descriptions, and figured, yeah. That's something I'd be into. Or maybe you already have a max level death knight but want a second one for fooling around or trying new specs without giving up your carefully crafted setups on your main.
Whichever one it is, I say welcome to the club. That said, at this point in time, you have a unique choice to make, one you wouldn't have had to make it the past. Do you just start up your death knight alt, or do you wait a few weeks and use a level 90 boost instead? Today, we're going to look at the pros and cons of buying a level 90 boost vs. simply leveling your death knight from scratch.
As a tank class ourselves, we have no excuse for doing this, if only as a courtesy for our brother and sister death knight tanks. This week, we're going to go over some basic dungeon etiquette for a death knight tank, designed to make your healer and tank not completely hate your guts. If you're not running dungeons now, you may want to keep it in mind for Warlords of Draenor.
In the comments of last week's article, commentors came up with other pop culture sources of death knight inspiration. A lot of them are great suggestions, some of which I didn't write about mainly because I haven't played them lately, others because they weren't technically games. Still a lot of the suggestions were fun enough that it feels like a good idea to take another week and look at another set of death knights and death knight precursors in games, books, and other pop culture sources. Thanks to all of last weeks commentors for their suggestions and thoughts.
Skyrim: To be a dragonborn dark knight
Yes, I am playing Skyrim right now, so it's kind of fresh in my mind, but I'd argue, at the very least, that Skyrim's relatively flexible spec system allows you to play something similar to a death knight. For example, right now my Dragonborn is using heavy plate armor and dual ebony swords I have enchanted with frost and fire and renamed Lichborne and Hellmouth. While he mostly beats people (and dragons, giants, and bears) up with the swords, he also has a decent amount of work in conjuration tree, summoning and/or resurrecting undead minions. Once I get to level 100 in that skill, I can even get me a perma-ghoul if I want.
On Twitter a few days ago, Technical Game Designer Celestalon asked on twitter what abilities people would hate to see cut in the great button bloat purge. Interestingly enough, when I saw the tweet, the first thing that come to my head was abilities I would LOVE to cut. Still, the tweet was inspirational enough that today I figure we can talk a bit about some abilities. What active, button pressing abilities could death knights stand to lose? What abilities would we like to see stick around even if they seem perfect for chopping? Here's 5 skills I think the devs may be taking a hard look at. Feel free to add any you think I missed in the comments.
So yeah, I'm pretty much there for this. Check out Death Knight Love Story for yourself.
We've got a pretty good set of death knight news to cover this week. While we're still definitely in the pre-expansion lull, Blizzard's been releasing little tidbits of information, mostly on twitter, and a few of the latest live server hotfixes have specifically focused on death knights. Today, we'll root through some of this new info and see how it relates to death knights, now and in the future.
DPS buffs for all
Welcome to 2014. With this, the first Lichborne column of the new year, we're going to examine some of the biggest death knight related new stories of the past year. What were the big things that plagued us, and how were they resolved?
Patch 5.2 and the rise of unholy
2013 began with patch 5.2 on the PTR. This is the patch that gave us some long-needed updates to the unholy tree. Unholy had become a very unpopular tree. While some of this was due to the fact that it just didn't do as much damage as frost DPS, it was also in large part due to its unique rotation and rune-spending scheme, which left some ungainly gaps if you didn't apply diseases just so or pre-load death runes for your AoE rotation. Blizzard finally responded to these complaints in late December of 2012 by adding some changes to the patch 5.2 PTR, including Plague Strike adding both diseases for unholy and Reaping working for Blood Boil and Icy Touch, designed to ease the complaints. Just as a bonus, Patch 5.2 bought us what I still think were some of the most fun and flavorful set bonuses of the expansion, as well as some tweaks to make Conversion and Soul Siphon as enticing as Death Pact.
With the end of the year coming up, it's a good time to sit back and reflect. This week, my reflections on the death knight class have tended towards those little quirks, those mechanics that come up week after week in discussions, pet peeves to some people, things they may want changed, or things that are just a bit weird. This week, we'll look at three of these in particular, why they're sources of such controversy and frustration, and speculate on whether or not Blizzard might consider changing them in the upcoming patch 6.0.
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.
While some of us are still trying to kill Garrosh or grinding rep on Timeless Isle, it's probably safe to say that the expansion is winding down. With that in mind, how do you spend that time, especially if you're already tired of the latest raid? You can always dig into all those games you bought during the last Steam Sale, of course, but if you're planning to stick to WoW, this week we'll cover some stuff you can do to bide your time until you get that Warlords of Draenor beta invite.
By the time this column is published, it will be official. Greg Tiberus Street, the man formerly known as Ghostcrawler, will no longer be Lead Systems Designer for World of Warcraft. For many years now, even if his job encompassed so much more, he was pretty much the target for class-based arguments. The most passionate, angry arguments for class changes were directed at him. In his final days as Ghostcrawler, I noticed he did a lot of tweeting about some of the aspects of his job and how the dev team saw class feedback from the community.
With that in mind, I want to take a look at the forms of class feedback and some terms that come up again and again as discussed by Ghostcrawler, not just as a tribute to Ghostcrawler, but as a way to hone our toolkit for when the Warlords of Draenor beta test drops and it's time for us all to give our feedback on the future of the death knight class.
Last week, we covered the basic class changes of Warlords of Draenor. This week, we're taking a few common questions about those changes and combining them with new information. We'll be discussing the new secondary stats and how they affect tanks, examine the possible return of dual wield tanking, and consider death knight lore in the new expansion. Without further ado, let's get started.
Q: Could dual wield tanking come back with Warlords of Draenor? After all, your weapons hit more now that hit and expertise are gone.
No. Ghostcrawler clarified recently that the miss chance for dual wield weapons isn't going away. You will still miss with "white" hits, it's just that your special hits will never miss (at least, not because of your gear). This will be exacerbated by the fact that blood death knight special attacks will not hit with the off-hand. The reason dual wielding works for frost is that Threat of Thassarian exists. It does not exist for blood death knights, therefore blood death knight dual wielding is still inferior and likely will stay inferior in Warlords of Draenor. The only real advantage dual wield tanking has is that you might get more Bloodworms, but that is not enough to offset the losses.