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Lichborne: A final look at the patch 5.4 patch notes for death knights

Lichborne The death knight and patch 54
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 we've certainly discussed the patch 5.4 changes for death knights in the past, this week is the big week when patch 5.4 finally comes out and we put it all in action. With that in mind, today will be devoted at look at the patch notes from a death knight point of view and making some quick pronouncements about what we can expect when the servers the come back up.

The short version of the changes is this. All 3 specs are buffed overall, DPS more so than tanking. In PvE, blood is about the same, while unholy and frost specs are close enough together that you can either stick with your usual choice, or go with whatever you have the best weapons for. Unholy is slightly behind frost, but not so much that you'll suffer greatly.

For a more in-depth look at what's changed, read on.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Proving grounds, proc rate bugs, and more patch 5.4 news

Lichborne Energy changes, proc rate bugs, and more patch 54 news
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 5.4 continues on the test server, introducing new class changes, new features, and more. Today, we'll keep looking at what the latest changes are, both those specific to death knights and those that affect death knights. Do proving grounds prove useful to death knights? What's the latest one weird bug that does weird things for death knights? Read on for the answers to these and other questions.

A ghoulish energy

While most of the major death knight class changes appeared done a few weeks ago, Blizzard just dropped another one that should be a nice game changer for unholy death knights. Gnaw and Leap, as well as their Dark Transformation equivalents, no longer have an energy cost. This means more energy available for Claw, and the ability for death knights to use those two skills freely without having to worry that they won't have the energy.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Switching death knight specs for patch 5.2

Lichborne Switching specs for patch 52
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.

When a new patch comes, especially one with some major class changes like patch 5.2, it becomes a good time to reflect on your play style and priorities. Does your spec serve those priorities? With a new patch coming, it's a good time to experiment with new stuff. You can do it pretty easily on the PTR, and when the patch goes live, the game's got some fresh new content, so it's as good excuse as any to jump into a new spec and get used to it while killing trolls for all these new quests. You'll also be getting new gear, so changing up gearing priorities becomes easier.

Today, we'll take a quick look at all the death knight specs, with some of their pros and cons, so you can make a solid judgment call as to whether to switch and try something new, or stick with the familiar. This isn't meant to a complete guide to playing each spec, just a quick overview so you can decide if the play style and responsibilities of the spec are right for you.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Closing the unholy gap in patch 4.3

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.

If you read Brian Wood's state of the DPS feature a week or so back, you probably noted something that the death knight community's been arguing since somewhere back around patch 4.0.6: The unholy tree is lagging behind, and it's only getting worse. While the raid attack power buff coming with patch 4.3 should help out a bit, unholy may still need a bit of extra help to get back to at least that median DPS area. Today, we'll look at the problems facing the unholy tree and what we might like to see in the way of buffs on the patch 4.3 PTR.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for death knights in 4.0.1


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.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Death Knight, The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

Lichborne: Guys and Ghouls

Welcome to Lichborne, where we ask the tough questions: Will Death Knights be ready for launch? Will they really have 3 trees that can tank and DPS? And what kind of a ghoul name is Eyeslobber?

Ghouls
have been one of my most beloved features of the Death Knight for some now. I like having an undead squire by my side, and they can be pretty useful for some extra dps and even some lifesaving interference in a pinch. However, they also felt like one of the least firmed up aspects of a Death Knight for some time now, with abilities coming and going on a patchly basis, and bugs that kept the ghoul from being summoned or allowed to summon a massive army of ghouls in no time flat.

Still, they have their uses, and despite still being incredibly flimsy healthwise, do offer a decent amount of extra damage when they're up. The drawback is that 50 silver is a lot for a pet that lasts less than 5 minutes, and without points in the Unholy tree, the Ghoul is completely uncontrollable, and may have a tendency to run into suicidal situations without listening to a word you say.

As far as perfecting the Ghoul and deciding on its place in the class, there seems to be two schools of thought. The first, mostly made of Unholy specced Death Knights, sees the Ghoul as a fun and useful part of the class, and wants to see it tweaked to have good survivability, good dps, and generally be worth keeping out. The other class see Ghouls as mostly a novelty, a thing to be bought out occasionally, and such a pain to upkeep that they don't really want to have to deal with it as a pillar of the class. They'd rather be able to forget it exists when they want to.

Both positions have their passionate supporters, but Blizzard seems to have found a rather ingenious way to give both sides what they want: Talents. Recent talent changes provide a lot of buffs, and if you collect them all, you should have a much easier time using your ghoul to your hearts content.


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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Expansions, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: PvP, grinding, the Unholy tree, and you

Every weekend in Lichborne, Daniel Whitcomb will take you through the ever-changing (Beta) world of World of Warcraft's first hero class, the Death Knight.

With a new Beta Build on the test servers, Death Knights have received a massive amount of talent changes. Many of them have been hinted at on the test servers for eons, and I've covered much of them in last week's Lichborne. The new disease changes are in, as is the changing of Chains of Ice's Snare component to an undispellable physical effect. You can check out the full list of changes here.

Among the new changes is a very extensive revamp of the Unholy tree, which features quite a bit of talent consolidation and quite a few new and interesting mechanics and abilities. In fact, I'd have to say that the current build may very well mark the rise of the Unholy Tree, with the changes making it an amazing tree for grinding and PvP.

As a disclaimer, there's still lot of bugs in this build. Many abilities don't seem to be working quite right, especially Blood Caked Blade (which only hits for 1-4 damage based on the number of diseases instead of 60% weapon damage per disease), Raise Dead, and Night of the Dead. Because of that, it's often hard to say how or if an ability would be better or worse if it actually worked. Therefore, I'll be discussing the abilities based on if they actually did work, backed with some feel for them from Death Knight play on the Beta Servers.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP, Expansions, Leveling, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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