In today's Queue, I answer a bunch of tanking questions. I know -- I was as shocked as you are.
I finally got around to making a DK and leveling it. (I'm a tank - my first tank!!!) Having said that:
Is DPS in Blood Spec viable for 5 mans? I'm not a raider, I just want to learn my Blood spec and tank with it and dps with it in instances that I am learning about. Is it ok to use death and decay if I'm in Frost Presence when I'm DPS'ing? And I don't yet have unholy presence, so I'll pre-ask: "what spec should I be using as DPS in PvE [assuming i'm a blood dk if that matters]?
Clearly, I don't know this class yet - any good sources to learn about being a DK?
Raegwyn, one of WoW Insider's favorite blood death knights (sorry, Daniel!), is at it again. The blood elf death knight of Onyxia (EU) holds a stunning array of previous solo kill achievements including The Lich King, Kael'thas Sunstrider (at level 80!), and two of the four bosses in heroic Stonecore. Now he's released a new video highlighting the ridiculously cool self-healing power of blood death knights -- except this time, rather than riding solo, Raegwyn brought along nine other blood death knight friends for an epic romp in Firelands. No healers, no DPS ... just 10 tanks.
Part 1 of their adventure has the band of blooders facing off against heroic mode Rhyolith, Alysrazor, and Baleroc. My favorite moment of the video is at 7:30, when all 10 players simultaneously pop their Army of the Dead right before the pull. Part 2 includes normal Beth'tilac, heroic Shannox, normal Majordomo Staghelm, and the fiesty firelord himself. Some of the fun moments here are watching the sole surviving death knight tank Shannox for his last few hundred thousand hit points, and marveling at the talent of these 10 players on the incredibly high-magic-damage fight that is Ragnaros.
As an enhancement shaman whose preferred form of making money is soloing old raids like Caverns of Time: Mt. Hyjal, Raegwyn's videos constantly both amaze and humble me. I get excited when I can manage to down Karazhan's chess encounter weekly, but Raegwyn is a player who constantly manages to push the boundaries of traditional playing, and I'm always excited to see what he has in store for us next. If you'd like to read more about Raegwyn's approach to soloing and what he considers to be the hardest aspects, check out Lisa Poisso's interview with him. Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Review the official patch notes, and then dig into what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!
Looking for Group Productions has been hard at work on its documentary Race to World First for a good long while now, capturing many top-tier World of Warcraft guilds' attempts at claiming coveted world firsts in the raiding game as well as following Blood Legion's race to a top spot. Set to release in a few weeks, Race to World First looks like it's going to be an introspective look at the time and energy that many of these guilds put into the raiding game, as well as an examination of the multicultural nature of the game and the general excitement that goes along with MMO accomplishments.
Each week, Race to World First looks at clips from players in guilds that have been fighting for or actually achieved world firsts. Looking back a bit, this clip with Narilka of Ensidia chronicles her time spent with the guild downing Kil'jaeden at the end of The Burning Crusade when she was still just 16 years old.
We loved having the Race to World First production team at the WoW Insider reader meetup at BlizzCon in 2010 -- they were some of the nicest guys and had a blast talking to real players and real fans. I am excited to see this documentary. Check out the trailer -- you might even see some familiar faces!
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.
Patch 4.2 will likely be on live servers by the time you read this, but I figure we've talked enough about the patch 4.2 in past columns. If you read those, you probably have a good idea of where everything is for death knights. This week, I've decided it would be a good idea to take a break and talk about something that didn't get much attention in patch 4.2: the plight of the death knight tank.
It's been sort of an undercurrent in the death knight community since the beginning of Cataclysm. The death knight blood tanking tree is just sort of gummed up. It's not that we're underpowered, per se. No, a well played death knight tank is pretty dominant in heroic dungeons and even normal raiding. You only start really falling behind in heroic raids, where the problem becomes really evident: You're doing twice as much work for the same results, more or less.
Most of the issues are centered around Death Strike and how it interacts with our resource system. The quirks of said resource system are so demanding that you end up staring at your rune bar more than the battle in front of you, trying to game the system just right to squeeze out one last Death Strike.
There are changes on the upcoming 4.0.6 PTR for death knights. Actually sorting through them may prove a little difficult, as the official patch notes and the datamined information sometimes say two different things. In short, though, we can say that blood has received a bit of a survivability hit, but a nice threat boost; unholy has both become a more solid 2H damage tree and received a sizeable (but expected) DPS nerf; and 2H frost has gotten a nice boost that may actually make it viable in endgame raiding, depending on how the numbers hold out.
Remember, though, that this is the PTR, and things may (and probably will) change before this thing goes live. With that in mind, let's take a look at what the changes say.
Now that we've had a bit of time with patch 4.0.1, hopefully you've settled in to a decent rotation and spec and have begun to feel your way around the new system. Now that you've done that, there's one more step to take: figuring out the best way to reforge and regem your gear. Reforging can be done through certain NPCs in major cities and is a process whereby you take one secondary stat (the ones in green text) and reforge part of it into another stat. This process can be very useful for getting rid of extra stats past the soft cap or just plain getting rid of stats that aren't important for your class or spec. You can't reforge a stat into another stat that's already on the item, but otherwise, your possibilities are endless.
Gemming remains more or less how it always has. The one big, new curveball we've been thrown is the fact that hit gems are now blue. This is probably overall a win for DPS death knights, as it gives us a few more options to aim for gear bonuses without handicapping ourselves as much.
To understand how, when and if to regem and reforge your gear, you'll need to understand stat weights. While it's still pretty early in the 4.0.1 game (and therefore, it's not completely clear what stat weights are for every spec), the death knight community has still done enough math that we're relatively certain of the general order. With that in mind, let's look at every spec and figure out the best ways to regem and reforge.
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Art of War(craft), covering battlegrounds and world PvP, and Blood Sport for arena enthusiasts. Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? Battlemaster Zach Yonzon, old-world PvP grinder and casual battleground habitué, rambles on about anything and everything PvP.
So the bomb finally dropped. As expected, Patch 4.0.1 finally made it to live realms and players are scrambling to get used to everything new. For most players, that first free respec is used for PvE to enable them to join the latest PUG looking to down the week's raid boss. This is when reality bites -- that spec you've been fiddling around with over at Wowhead or wowtal.com isn't delivering the way you thought it would. That's OK. If you're doing some PvP, understand that there are a number of bugs out there, so things aren't behaving exactly as they should. Add to that the fact that the game is balanced around being level 85, that stamina is low, and resilience has taken a hit ... things are going to be somewhat wonky. So don't write off that spec you've theorycrafting on for weeks just yet.
Since specs are pretty complex and fluid at this point, we'll take a look at vital PvP talents instead. The fun thing is that at this point in the game, all specs are good to go for PvP -- although your mileage may vary. There isn't much room for variation, unlike before, when players could reach deep into two trees, especially for PvP. But inevitably, there are talents that are extremely useful in a PvP environment. Today we'll take a look at core PvP talents for each spec for death knights, just in case you were wondering what to do with those last few talent points. For this exercise, we won't bother discussing any 31-point talents because, well, you're supposed to pick those up, anyway.
Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly source for news, guides, tips and opinions on the death knight class.
With this week's Lichborne, I was hoping to have run a few heroic Cataclysm dungeons so I could report back to you on how death knights play through them -- but alas, it was not to be, as my beta client refuses to log in to the game without crashing. Luckily, there are plenty of things to discuss apart from that. This week, I'd like to discuss our talent trees as they currently are in the beta and where things are headed for us as the release date draws nearer.
In the wee hours of the morning, an (as yet unimplemented) beta build found its way out onto the internet for dissection by the usual datamining suspects. As has become a happy habit with the past few builds, there are death knight changes to be had. Now, these changes don't solve all of our problems. In fact, some of them exacerbate a few of them. However, a couple of the changes are amazingly good, and I'd call this patch, overall, another step in the right direction. Let's take a look at what changed and what it means for the death knight playstyle. As a warning, this patch has not yet been placed on the beta as of this writing, so things may still change from what's here.
Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly source for news, guides, tips, and opinions on the death knight class.
Cataclysm beta build 12942 is now on the beta servers, and with it has come a much-anticipated, huge round of death knight changes. There's some deceptively minor stuff, some incredibly game-changing stuff and a lot of in-between stuff. Let's take a look at the changes (some gleaned from in game, some courtesy of MMO Champion) and see what we can figure out about where the death knight class is headed.
Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly source for news, guides, tips and opinions on the death knight class.
As things currently stand in Cataclysm, much of the death knight's famous ability to take tons of punishment and get health back, even in DPS mode, has been removed with the removal of health stealing from the main DPS presence. Unholy and frost death knights will find themselves resorting to using the less damaging (for them) Death Strike while leveling to stay alive and lessen downtime.
Of course, there is one spec that still maintains much of the health-stealing power of our Wrath heyday: blood.
Welcome to Lichborne, the weekly death knight column for the class undergoing some pretty cataclysmic changes to its setup and philosophy in the new expansion.
With the Cataclysm beta out of NDA, we've had a chance to take a look at some of the new death knight changes coming our way. I'm pretty sure (and hopeful) that they're not complete yet, but there's enough of it done that we have a relatively good chance of figuring out where it's going. We'll start our more in depth look into the new sole tanking tree of the death knight class, blood. Blood is shaping up to a very interesting tanking tree. If there's one way I can sum it up, it's this: For all that Blizzard's said they want to move away from the "AoE everything down" model, it's interesting that they've done a lot of work to shore up blood's AoE talents.
Let's take a look at some of the ways blood is changing in Cataclysm.
For those of you who don't know much about tanking, we're going to talk quickly about a stat that won't exist in Cataclysm. This lowly stat is called defense rating, and it's something that tanks need quite a bit of. The nice thing is that it's on just about everything that tanks wear, which means at higher gear levels, we've got it coming out of our ears. The primary point of this stat is to reduce the critical strike ability for incoming melee hits from the standard of 6% to 0%. Druids currently don't need this stat, as they've got a talent called Survival of the Fittest, which means that bosses don't need to drop defense leather.
All in all, the stat is kinda boring, as while it does still do nice things after you reach the defense cap of 690 rating (or 540 skill), most people don't bother with it and stack stamina or other avoidance. So Blizzard decided that they're going to get rid of it.
Around BlizzCon 2009, we were told that the crit reduction we formerly got from defense rating was going to be tied into things that were available to all members of each tanking class. Examples used were baking it into Bear Form for druids, Righteous Fury for paladins, Defensive Stance for warriors and Frost Presence (or rather, Blood Presence in Cataclysm) for death knights. That means that if a retribution paladin or arms warrior wanted to tank, all he'd need to do was swap to vaguely appropriate gear (or just over to a sword and shield), pop his respective abilities, and away he'd go. That's not how it appears things went down, though.
Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly peek into the latest news, tips and strategies for the death knight class.
Last week, we went into the basic outlines of what makes a blood tank: your talent choices, your gearing choices, your threat rotations and things such as that. Once you've got all that down, though, the next thing you can do to take your tanking to the next level is to get some decent gems, glyphs and enchantments. They'll separate an adequate 5-man tank from a tank who's ready to step on and start taking on the game in earnest.
Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly journey into the world of the death knight. This week, we're getting ready for Cataclysm in our own round about way.
While sometimes less considered by the WoW population at large, blood tanking has long been known to serious players and theorycrafters as an incredibly dominant raid tanking spec, thanks to incredibly high health pools. It will also be the sole tanking tree for death knights in Cataclysm. While it is certain that the tree will change extensively under this new system, it is likely to have a lot of the same elements in place that make it distinctively blood tanking, even in the new expansion, so it might not hurt to start practicing with it now.
Whatever your reason for trying blood tanking, this guide is here to help you take the first few steps along that path. Remember as this is a 101 guide, we won't necessarily being doing hardcore theorycrafting, and we may simplify a few basic concepts that can be a bit more nuanced for an experienced, high-end blood tank.