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Posts with tag DeathKnight

Is it time to kill pure DPS?

Hi guys, you may remember me from last week when I threw a rock into a hornet's nest. I was frankly blown away by the responses, some of which were very well thought-out, that supported, refuted, or elaborated on the issue of tanking and if it is here to stay or on its last legs. Since I find that kind of discussion valuable, I thought, "Well, I can always find another rock, right?" And so here we are.

The DPS classes in World of Warcraft present us with a conundrum. If we consider the holy trinity of tanking, damage dealing and healing to be a pyramid that the game relies on, then the base of the pyramid is most easily envisioned as cornered by the tanking and healing classes and the apex occupied by the DPSers. The issue is, only four classes can hold up the tanking corner, only four can hold up the healing corner (and two of those classes are also in the tanking corner), and absolutely every single class in the game can stand on the top of the pyramid. This results in a pyramid that's metaphorically heavier on top than at the bottom.

Furthermore, of the game's 10 classes, four of them (the rogue, mage, warlock, and hunter) can only stand at the top. Whether or not they want to do something else is immaterial (although one assumes that they do not, elsewise they might have chosen a different class), because they simply cannot do so -- at least if we continue to visualize the game as based around the tanking/damaging/healing triad. So what to do?

Well, we can get rid of DPS classes entirely.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight

Reader UI of the Week: Ozmorgius' UI and simplicity for tanks

Each week, WoW Insider brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which spotlights the latest user interface addons. Have a screenshot of your own UI that you'd like to submit? Send your screenshots along with info on what mods you're using to

Since Reader UI of the Week is written before (obviously) the date of publication, my opening remarks about the present are actually predictions from a past devoid of clairvoyance. However, today (yesterday), I can say with the utmost confidence and fact (prediction) that patch 4.1 went off without a hitch, children are playing in the streets (of Azeroth), and sunshine and rainbows (of the double variety) have graced our presence. Truly, we live in an age of kings and men. Speaking of that, I need to watch the second episode of Game of Thrones.

Enough of this! Enough, I say. You're here on business, aren't you? A stalwart soldier in the fight against UI clutter and an investigator of all things creative. This week's Reader UI of the Week comes from reader Ozmorgius, whose bottom bar-based user interface is simple enough to take care of clutter but advanced enough to be an effective death knight tanking user interface that facilitates rather than hinders. Let's take a look, shall we?

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Filed under: Add-Ons, Reader UI of the Week

Wrath Retrospective: What we learned from death knights

With the final content patch of this expansion on our doorstep and Cataclysm following close behind, we'll be taking the next several weeks to look back on Wrath of the Lich King and everything that made it what it is, for better or for worse, in Wrath Retrospective.

Wrath of the Lich King
is coming to an end, and with it one of the largest experiments that Blizzard has ever done in the history of WoW. At the onset of this expansion, we were all introduced to a new class; the death knight. The addition of a new class has major complications on the game as a whole: how they fit into PvE, how they work in PvP, what buffs and debuffs they bring, what roles they fill, what unique utility that they provide. All of these things have changed the face of the game as we know it. though fairly new arrivals, death knights have been integrated into the game almost seamlessly; the craters that they made when they first arrived, however, are still highly visible to those that know where to look.

There were a lot of misconceptions about death knights when they were first released. Once they were announced, Blizzard classified them as being a hero class, not to be confused with your ordinary, run-of-the-mill class. To many people, this caused worry that death knights would be grossly overpowered and far superior to all of the others. Blizzard was quick to point out that this was not the case, but it did little to assuage many of the fears that players had. Still, death knights have had their ups and their downs all throughout this expansion, and if that is not a case for removing then from hero status then I don't know what is.

What can we learn from death knights? What has all of the work done with the significant re-balancing changes and the major talent changes taught us about WoW in general? How can we apply that knowledge to all of the other classes in the game? That is what I wish to explore to day, and I hope that you will join me.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

AddOn Spotlight: Paladin, shaman, death knight addons

AddOn Spotlight focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience: the user interface. We'll look at everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your AddOns folder will never be the same! This week, paladins, shaman and deathknights get a little loving of the addon kind.

Class-specific addons are a wonderful thing. These powerful addons serve very specific functions for their intended class. Featuring one of these addons in the Spotlight is a bit of a challenge -- I do not want to alienate the players of nine other classes by showcasing one specific addon for one specific class, and nor do I want to dilute a Spotlight with too many addons. You are witnessing the compromise. Behold! AddOn Spotlight Class for Class. For the next couple Spotlights, we will focus on three to four classes with one addon for each. These addons aren't necessary, but could be extremely helpful to these specific classes. Let's get to it!

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Patch 3.2: Horde Tier 9 plate armor set gallery

After doing some digging in Patch 3.2's latest PTR files, I've assembled a gallery of the new Horde Tier 9 plate sets. The shoulders are slightly unfinished, or at least looked like they were in WoW Model Viewer. The gallery includes Death Knight, Warrior, and Paladin themed sets. In a move that bodes well for Alliance mail armor, the Horde Paladin sets are blood elf themed, so we'll see how that goes for our Draenei Shaman friends (read: me).

I'm not too upset about the looks, myself. They look very Horde, even if the helm screams "Onslaught", and the colors are quite different for each class -- even more so than on the Alliance plate pieces.

Have a gander and enjoy! I'll dig through every new PTR patch that comes out looking for the Horde cloth and Alliance mail and leather sets, so keep your eyes open for updates here.

Patch 3.2 will bring about a new 5, 10, and 25 man instance to WoW, and usher in a new 40-man battleground called the Isle of Conquest. will have you covered every step of the way, from extensive PTR coverage through the official live release. Check out's Guide to Patch 3.2 for all the latest!

Filed under: Paladin, Warrior, Patches, Galleries, Death Knight

Tank Talk: Do you feel lucky, punk?

Tank Talk is WoW Insider's new raid-tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column will be rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and myself (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, raid-tanking strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish. At least, that's what the others said they were doing. I intend to use it mostly as a soapbox to complain. Absolute power tends to......something something.

Welcome to Tank Talk. I am your bear Druid hostess for this week, with a topic that occurred to me while reading a recent article here on the site. Eliah Hecht wrote that his guild is facing a not-uncommon tank shortage and that he has considered the possibility of leveling a tanking class to 70 before Wrath, or tanking on a Death Knight afterwards. A number of people on my server and in my guild have talked about doing the same thing, or switching mains once Wrath hits. With so many people playing Death Knights, I think it's very possible that more people will discover they enjoy -- or at least, don't mind -- tanking, and may seek to do so in a raid environment without necessarily knowing what they've really signed up for.

From those of us who have tanked raid content in vanilla WoW or BC, here are the 10 questions you'll want to ask yourself if you're considering the possibility of tanking serious raid content:

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Bosses, Classes, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Tank Talk

The Death Knight class revealed

Via Gamespy and, we finally have a good idea of what rolling a Death Knight will be like. A lot of the rumors seem to have panned out, but others have not. All I know is that at this point, I am full speed ahead to make a Death Knight my new main come WoTLK. There's a lot of meaty info to dig into, so let's get to it after the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Breaking: Gamespy to release new Wrath info at 12:01 a.m. [UPDATED]

Many thanks to Tisen for tipping off the late night WoW Insider crew that Gamespy will be releasing new Wrath of the Lich King info in about an hour from now – at 12:01 a.m. PST. We'll get it reported to you as soon as we see it. Stay tuned for updates. Their entire announcement reads:

You're going to want to stay tuned until the midnight here on At 12:01AM PST we'll be flooding the site with all-new World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King materials. New movies, media, a preview, a roundtable, two interviews and a look at the Death Knight. Enough for ya?

I have to admit, this is a little strange for it to be posted this late... but I've seen stranger things. More info as it comes in.

Update 12:05 a.m. PDT:
No info yet. Though their website still says it's "Thursday." We're expecting something soon.

Update 12:07 a.m. PDT: Bornakk is up late and posted " They aren't the only ones..." in response to WotLK info being released tonight. More to come apparently.

Update 12:09 a.m. PDT:
News is incoming, possibly from multiple sources, look for more posts soon.

Filed under: News items, Wrath of the Lich King

What we know about Death Knights

Winter is coming: reports have it that WoW's next expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, is in alpha. Wrath will feature a raise in the level cap from 70 to 80, access to the continent of Northrend with ten zones, the new profession of Inscription and, perhaps most exciting of all, WoW's first new class: the Death Knight.

This early on, details are still scarce, and Blizzard has been reluctant to release any information about Wrath since Blizzcon 2007. More information will probably leak as the alpha progresses. However, I've put everything we have been able to find out about Death Knights in the gallery below, so come on in to learn what we know.

Filed under: Classes, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Death Knight "interview" and lore on official site

The official Wrath page is slowly accreting information, which is good, because it started out pretty dang empty. The latest addition to it is an "interview" about the Death Knight class with the developers, along with a page on lore. I put "interview" in quotes because it doesn't feel like a real interview; it reads like an excuse for the devs to give the same information we already have. Which is fine and all, I just think "interview" is the wrong term for it. Here's a summary in my own words:
  • Why did you pick Death Knight for the new class?
    They have a connection to Arthas and Northrend, and we needed more tanks. The playable DKs will be allied with the Horde or Alliance, fighting against Arthas.
  • What will adding another tanking class do to the group/raid game?
    We want all tank classes to be equally good in general, so you can use any of them for a 5-man, but we want them to have distinct raiding roles. (They also took this opportunity to reiterate for the nth time that "hero class" doesn't mean it's more powerful than other classes, just more different.)
  • How is the DK different from other tanks?
    No shield, powerful melee abilities, magic attacks. The devs are making sure they have the core tanking abilities of keeping aggro and mitigating damage, while still making the DK feel like its own thing.
  • Will we see some classic DK spells and abilities?
    Yes, we're taking a lot from previous Warcraft material. One thing that will set them apart as a new class, but still tie them into WC3 DKs, is the rune system.
The lore page is less decipherable to me, since I don't actually know a lot of the background information of the Warcraft universe. It gives a relatively short overview of the evolution and status of Death Knights. Is it new information that "modern death knights consist mainly of paladins who lost their faith and pledged their souls to the Lich King in exchange for the promise of immortality?" If DKs come from paladins, why can we make them in non-Paladin races? So Blood Elves don't get even more popular, I guess.

Filed under: Expansions, Interviews, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Design your own death knight

It's way too soon, of course, to know exactly what powers and abilities the death knights will have; the developers themselves haven't entirely decided. Only they know exactly what stage of the design process they're in, but today let's pretend that we ourselves are the designers, and now we're in the brainstorming stage of what the death knights are going to be like, how they're going to play, and how they're going to be different from other classes. What abilities would you give them and how would you balance them against the classes already available in the game?

While brainstorming ideas, keep in mind that players want the death knights to feel fresh and interesting, so they'll be wanting unique abilities other classes don't already have. At the same time, you can't make the death knight class overpowered in relation to all those other classes -- they will want to keep having fun, too, after all. So every ability you give the death knights has to have its counter in something other classes can do, like rock-scissors-paper. If you're feeling particularly professional this morning, you can go into detail about all these balance issues, or else you can just write the idea you think would be cool.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Death Knight

Azeroth's bad guys aren't always that bad

Malygos is a new kind of antagonist for the Warcraft universe in that he's probably the enemy with the least actual evil we've seen so far, in sharp contrast to the Burning Legion, the Scourge, the Old Gods, and a host of others. As we've already noted, some players think he may actually be right: he wants to protect Azerothians from the magic they're dabbling in, for fear that they might end up bringing the Burning Legion back with it, except that he goes about "protecting" the people by waging war on them, which somehow eerily familiar....

Anyway, Malygos is just the latest example of an antagonist in WoW that we can almost sympathize with, a bad guy that isn't all that bad. Malygos' particular place at the other end of our attack buttons can be attributed mainly to his conflicting point of view rather than an evil and corrupted soul. His ultimate aim is still the greater good of all life -- he just believes (wrongfully, we hope) that he needs to destroy the minority of magic users in order to save the remaining majority of all other life on the world.

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Filed under: Expansions, Lore, RP, Wrath of the Lich King

Official Wrath of the Lich King forums are live

Official Wrath of the Lich King forums
Late this afternoon, Blizzard created an official forum for their next expansion, The Wrath of the Lich King. Both the U.S. Wrath forum and the European Wrath forum are just now filling up with the usual questions, and some are already getting blue responses.

From the U.S. forums:
The European forums have plenty to offer as well:
Keep your eyes on those forums and on WoW Insider for future news about the expansion.

Filed under: News items, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums

The dynamics of Death Knights and Warriors

Over on the forums, poster Berzork makes an interesting point: if both Death Knights and Warriors are designed to be damage-dealers and tanks wearing plate, how will they peacefully co-exist? Though we don't yet have full details on the Death Knight class, it seems as though there's potential for a lot of overlap -- and the big question is how Blizzard can release a class like the Death Knight while continuing to allow Warriors a viable role. And on my end, I have to wonder if throwing another tanking class into the game mix is going to solve any problems -- many Warriors want to DPS rather than tank (see many previous posts on the subject), and can we expect Death Knights to be any different? Bornakk attempts to calm everyone's fears by simply stating:

By adding another dps/tanking class, the Death Knight will give players and groups more options for what they need to complete their objective(s).

Some Druids tank, some Paladins tank, some Warriors tank -- and hopefully some Death Knights will pick up the mantle of tank as well.

Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums

Death Knights not welcome at town picnic

It's a problem: here you are, a master of your very own runed blade, a summoner of an army of undead, an immensely powerful tank and damage-dealer -- and yet no one will let you into the lore party over at Starshine Shadowstrider's house!

"Yuckie!" they say. "He got his powers from the Lich King! ...Eww!"

"But I turned against him!" you proclaim in your defense. "I wised up and came back to the Light, sorta. Okay not really but I'm still not completely bad! It's like... fighting..." your voice gradually gets quieter as party-goers stop listening, "... fighting fire with ... fire. Dammit. I'm gonna go kill Onyxia by myself! That'll show 'em."

Yes indeed. It's looking like the future's going to be pretty rough for Death Knights. As Nethaera explained, "It's most likely that Death Knights aren't going to find themselves being popular guests at the town picnic."

But Death Knights aren't alone in dealing with this sort of thing. "Keep in mind," Nethaera points out, "that Warlocks aren't generally welcomed with open arms either (depending on the culture of the race in question)." Here we have a good role model for plucky summoners of the undead: Warlocks are magic users who use the powers of the Burning Legion against the Burning Legion itself! Have not the Alliance and the Horde not gradually come to accept that just because some people happen to summon demons, cause agony, corruption and ruin, as well as steal people's souls -- that doesn't make them inherently evil, right?

So it is with Death Knights. So what if you betrayed all the peoples of Azeroth to go and serve the Lich King for a little while? So what if his taint of undeathiness is still flowing through you while you draw those unholy runes and create zombies? You can now go to Shattrath to have your picture taken with a Naaru! Your reputation should be squeaky clean.

While Blizzard may yet find a plausible reason for Death Knights to be fighting against the Lich King rather than with him, keep in mind that even if that doesn't work out, you've got one magic word that will make everything okay. Whenever people won't trust you or play with you just because it would seem that you might possibly be technically evil (on the outside)...

Just say: "Lore, lol."

Filed under: Humor, Lore, RP, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

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