WoW Insider received an email this morning about a small change that has us all a'fluster. Saruya sent us a notification that the restriction preventing players from having more than one death knight per realm has been lifted. We immediately logged into WoW to check this out, and as the eagle eyed among you will be able to see, this is definitely the case. I was able to make six death knights on Argent Dawn, with no issues whatsoever, and many more on other realms.
What's got us a little confused, though, is that we're not entirely sure when the restriction was lifted. Nethaera posted on the official US forums on April 14th, after the release of patch 5.2, that there was no update on when it would be lifted. This implies to us that it's a recent change, but it is conspicuously absent from the patch notes! Funny enough, when you assume there is not the possibility to create more than one DK per realm, you don't often try. So, we thought we'd post this here to clarify: you can now have all the DKs your cold, frostbitten heart desires.
Yes, patch 5.3 isn't even out yet, and we're already looking towards patch 5.4. Thanks to Ghostcrawler, we have this to think about for the future, namely that Vengeance is getting capped at a significantly lower threshold in raids in the future. If you remember back at August of last year, Vengeance saw some significant changes that increased how fast it could ramp up in raids and also gave it a far larger maximum potential. It's been adjusted over time, but in general what GC said back last August has held true -- tank DPS in raiding really did go up. To the point where on some pulls it's not unusual to see tanks leading the DPS, sometimes by extremely large numbers.
Since this is a big change that will drastically lower tank damage output (25-man tanks with their 600,000 or more health buffed will lose roughly 300,000 AP on fights where Vengeance was capping at 100% of their health) I'm not surprise it won't be coming in 5.3 -- I am a little surprised it's happening at all, because we all knew Vengeance and tank damage would do exactly what it has done when it was changed. Still, I wait to observe if it has much practical difference since aside from AoE tanking where a multitude of hits can roll in a short window of time (that 20 second ramp up period) and the tanks can make effective use of all that AP I'm not sure it will matter. 5-mans and scenarios were not mentioned, so for now I'm assuming this is only for the raids mentioned.
I have been informed by The Management that the answer to this question is a rogue. This is probably objectively true. Rogues are a finicky class to play. Gearing can be an inordinate pain, with new pieces of gear often requiring complete regemming and reforging for optimal DPS output. Rotations, priorities, and situational attacks are also quite complex, and I have a lot of admiration for accomplished rogues. I have a rogue myself, and if I'm away from her for even a few days, it takes me a little while to get back into the rogue play style groove. However, I cannot truthfully say that a rogue is the most difficult class for me. My main is a druid, and I have played feral spec since I started WoW (though I raid and run dungeons mainly as Restoration - I prefer healer queue times, who doesn't?) so roguish game mechanics are pretty familiar to me. No, to me, the hardest class to play would be a death knight.
I have never been able to make sense of death knight mechanics. I can recite them: abilities consume runes, which produce runic power, which is necessary for other abilities. In practice, though, when I play a death knight it always eventually boils down to button mashing, which is not fun at all. So, despite having rolled a death knight at least three or four times, each in an attempt to finally stick with the class, I've given up. Death knights and me, we just weren't meant to be.
I still don't understand why, though, because honestly the concept behind both death knight and rogue mechanics is really similar! It doesn't make any sense that I'd be perfectly at home with one class but not the other. What gives, brain? I feed you and give you sleep when you need it, the least you could do is be more consistent in your virtual-world data processing, okay?! Alas, I cannot change the natural order of things, and death knight mastery will likely remain my World of Warcraft white whale. What about you, fair readers? What is the hardest class for you to play?
Evidently, the EU realms are a hotbed of death knight creativity and initiative. While he might be among the best-known players for his crazy soloing accomplishments, Raegwyn is hardly the only DK to crack the code of soloing endgame content. Mionee, a savvy and seasoned death knight from top EU guild Envy, is also making name for herself from soloing a few little things. What kind of things? Everything from Deathwing, Ragnaros, and a challenge mode dungeon down to older content such as Yogg-Saron/0 keepers and the Lich King.
"The only normal mode encounters that cannot be soloed right now as a DK are Kalecgos in Sunwell Plateau, Valithria Dreamwalker in Icecrown Citadel (unless you're a draenei with Gift of the Naaru), Conclave of Wind in Throne of the Four Winds, as well as Hagara the Stormbinder and Spine of Deathwing in Dragon Soul," Mionee muses. "That leaves quite a lot of soloable encounters. On a more general note, what's left to solo are the heroic versions of some encounters, or the 25-man versions of bosses that have only been soloed in 10-man."
"To give a rough estimate," she continues, "by the end of Wrath of the Lich King, I was doing Mount Hyjal; by the end of Cata, I had completed nearly every possible heroic encounter from Wrath (a few exceptions aside); and right now, I have completed everything in Cata aside from the three above-mentioned encounters."
Mionee gives us the inside scoop on soloing some of the game's toughest content and answers the question of whether death knights are really overpowered, after the break.
Proving once again that there is just about nothing that can stop the former servants of the Lich King, level 90 death knight Mionee from the Auchindoun server (EU-H) has managed to solo Madness of Deathwing. Although the kill was done on 10 man difficulty it didn't really make the fight any easier -- Mionee hit the enrage timer and lived just long enough past it to happily murder the giant metal-jawed dragon seconds before taking a dirt nap of his own.
Death knights have long been amazing at soloing content -- earlier this week, we featured a video of Aelobin, a level 80 death knight who soloed 25m heroic Baelroc. But it's absolutely mind-boggling to think that a player can gain a mere five levels and solo the final boss of the expansion prior, mere months after the new expansion launched. And it's even more entertaining watching a dragon being smacked around by a character who is smaller than even one of said dragon's teeth.
Check out the video above for the full fight and a jaw-dropping look at the capabilities of a death knight. And just because I'm curious ... what's the hardest thing you've soloed in game, past or present day?
Raegwyn has previously held the crown of death knight soloing, but from the ashes of the Firelands, a new pretender to the throne has arisen. In the header video, you can watch Aelobin, a solitary blood death knight, take down the Firelands gatekeeper, Baleroc, on 25-man heroic difficulty by himself.
And no, that's not a typo in the title, he really is level 80. You can check his armory if you like, as a link is provided in his channel. Aelobin has a mixture of Cataclysm blues and Wrath purples equipped, and as you can see one minute and 30 seconds into the video when the boss hits his enrage, he has managed to hit the avoidance cap.
Thanks to the changes to vengeance, Aelobin's attack power is also rather high, 1.5 million when he brings up his character pane at 1:59, awarding him a melee damage increase of 109,766 damage per second. It climbs still higher after that, peaking at almost 1.9 million attack power, and his damage meter reports his DPS as 275,715 for the entire fight!
It's very entertaining viewing, and congratulations to Aelobin on the kill, and on getting Share the Pain at the same time! A cursory check of his raiding achievements indicates that this isn't his first trip into the Firelands at level 80, either. Cutaia noted that, actually, this is the first boss he's killed in Firelands. Thanks, Cutaia!
When World of Warcraft launched, we were told that one of the features that would make it into the game was the hero class, although at the time there was no definition of what, exactly, a hero class would be. We ultimately found out when Wrath of the Lich King gave us the game's first hero class, the Death Knight, a class that started at level 55 and had unique mechanics, blue gear to start with, and a starting experience unique to the class.
Neither Cataclysm nor Mists of Pandaria have introduced another hero class. The former instead chose to bring us two new races, the goblin and worgen, while Mists of Pandaria added the pandaren race and the monk class, but the monk starts at level 1 like any other class. Forum poster Lobster asked point blank if monks were a hero class, and the answer was a definitive no from Ghostcrawler.
Ghostcrawler - The Term "Hero Class"
"Hero class" meant that the DK started at higher level (and also with a lot of blue gear and so on). We thought it made sense for the DK story because you're treated as a high-level character and veteran of past events. We didn't think that made as much sense for the monk, especially when there were so many low-level pandaren running around, and the (perhaps flimsy) justification for non-pandaren monks learning how to be monks from the pandaren. We might very well use hero classes again if it makes sense for a future class though.
This got me thinking: do we want another hero class? Clearly, Blizzard isn't ruling it out. As the game continues, max level increased, and we all find ourselves having to get from 1 to an ever increasing number, the idea of starting at level 55 (as per the DK) or perhaps even higher starts to have some serious appeal.
When the new 5.0 patch flips over on Aug. 28, will you be ready with glyphs? Blizzard is recycling old glyphs instead of making new spell IDs and charring old ones. Some glyphs are staying the same, some are new, but some share IDs with old Cataclysm glyphs.
Below is our list of new or changing glyphs for death knights. This is not a list of changing tooltips, just which glyphs you ought to have if you want to automatically have the new glyphs when the patch flips over.
It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!
Most players seem to have some form of love-hate relationship with death knights. They adore the solid utility of the class, or they deplore its highly tuned versatility. They embrace launching a character from the relatively rarified atmosphere of level 55, or they scorn the ranks of players who are still trying out class mechanics and tactics in Burning Crusade and Wrath content. Most players seem to loosely string together all of these opinions, leaving death knights blinking like deer in the headlights when facing the wall of preconceptions in a pickup group.
You'll find no such equivocation in The Knights of Menethil. This all-DK guild on Moon Guard (US) roleplays its military aspect and origins in vengeance-soaked lore with an icy-fisted gauntlet of iron. The group has turned the story of death knights into what officer Eredis calls "as engaging a storytelling experience as any other class that people play" -- not only for itself but also for the rest of the realm.
The Knights of Menethil are what you might call approachable creeps. "[Approachability is] vital for any guild, but especially for one where the bosses appear to be grim, paranoid, morally ambiguous hard-noses when in character," says Valdiis, also a guild officer. We interviewed the leading triumvirate of the Knights of Menethil to trace what GM Celuur calls an evolution of its original story of vengeance against the Lich King and true service to the Alliance in the name of the last true king of Lordaeron,Terenas Menethil II, to the new goal that finds a place for every undead knight.
I'd been off in my own little world watching health bars and thinking about next week's Shifting Perspectives column and hadn't paid any attention to the group's composition. It turns out the DPSers were a mage, a hunter, and -- oh, there we go -- a frost death knight. So in the event that the strength trinket dropped, the warrior tank wanted me to roll on it and, if I won, give it to him over the DK. He probably asked the mage and the priest to do the same thing, but the group was quiet in party chat, so I have no way of knowing.
We had a small and, to his credit, civil conversation over it, and there are a few issues here on which I'd like to get readers' opinions.
The folks at GuildOx have gone through their database and done some simple filtering that reveals some fascinating things about who is raiding heroic Dragon Soul. GuildOx started with level 85 characters, filtered for characters with ilevel 400 gear, and then filtered out anyone with PvP gear. What you see in the chart above is the result of that work -- a representative sample of who out of the over 13 million level 85 characters in the GuildOx database is raiding heroic Dragon Soul.
Warriors aren't doing much better, really. Most other classes seem fairly healthy, with classes that have healing specs doing fairly well and rogues absolutely ruling heroic raiding despite being one of the least-played classes in the game overall. It gets even more interesting once we get to look at the GuildOx spec-by-spec breakdown.
It's a troubling yet underpublicized fact that four out of five shadow priests respecced shadow for the first time after experiencing a romantic break-up. Recent studies show that priests are 63% more likely to respec shadow within 72 hours of a break-up, while a separate poll found that 78% of healing priests had seriously considered respeccing to shadow after having an argument with their spouse or significant other. To the tenderhearted healing priest, shadow probably seems like a quick way to steel yourself and mend a broken heart; unfortunately, too few priests realize the two points they're putting into Masochism 'til they're staring down into an empty bottle of Volcanic Potion and wishing they could do the same DPS as a warlock.
The simple way to avoid all these drastic courses of action is, of course, to skip getting your heart broken in the first place. Easier said than done, you think? Perhaps, but knowing the battlefield of love will certainly help you avoid the more obvious pitfalls. Want to know what your best match is? What about your worst? This week, I've got the answers in a special guide to the classes.
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!
Tanking is designed around holding threat and using abilities to stay alive. The current paradigm, wherein tanks work hard to passively gear themselves for predictable incoming damage in order to make healing them easier, has its drawbacks. Tanks usually ignore stats that contribute to threat generation (to a degree that baseline threat generation has repeatedly been increased, currently sitting at five times damage dealt by the tank), which has led to the discussion of active mitigation in the tank design of Mists of Pandaria. The goal is to make tanks desire threat generation stats such as hit and expertise by making them not just threat stats, but also to tie them into survivability.
By making threat gen stats also generate resources that are used to actively mitigate incoming damage, the goal is to make tanks want those stats, rather than simply aiming as close to complete coverage of the combat table as they can get, reducing incoming damage to something as reliable and easily anticipated by healers as possible. Tanks currently value dodge, parry, and their mastery stats well over any potential threat generation from hit and expertise.
Since we've already seen quite a bit of the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator, we know that design of the new tanking system is probably fairly well advanced. We also know that the monk, another tank/DPS/healing hybrid class, will be debuting with the expansion. Therefore, it's worthwhile to examine tanking changes that could be implemented, even to stretch our vision of tanking significantly past where it is now and most likely past where it will go in Mists.
The Darkmoon Faire is offering old sets as promised! Vendors Barum and Baruma currently sell replica armor -- that's armor with old models but no stats. For now, only Dungeon Set 1 and Dungeon Set 2 models are available to choose from, but perhaps we'll see other models added to the vendors' inventory over time.
There's a bonus to that replica armor: It's not restricted by class. Though Dungeon Set 1 was never restricted, Dungeon Set 2 originally could only be obtained on a per-class basis. That's not all, however. Right next to the replica armor vendors is an heirloom vendor who sells all heirloom items for Darkmoon Tickets. Heirlooms that were only previously available through points are now available for playing games and racking up tickets at the Darkmoon Faire.
And if that weren't cool enough -- hey death knights, remember how you wanted to get your hands on your old starter gear sets? If you hit Acherus on the 4.3 PTR server, Quartermaster Ozorg has all death knight starting armor sets and weapons available for purchase. For those who are not death knights -- no, you cannot purchase the death knight starter gear. It's for death knights, not for you!
Check out the gallery for the full array of items on the heirloom, replica armor, and Ebon Hold vendors.