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Posts with tag blood-strike

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

Lichborne: State of the Death Knight

Welcome to Lichborne, WoW Insider's newest class column. Every week in Lichborne, Daniel Whitcomb will explore the ins and outs of Blizzard's newest class, the Death Knight.

It's Wrath of the Lich King Beta time, and finally time to meet the new Death Knight class. Unfortunately, we can't really guarantee you'll be meeting the same class that you'll see in the live game, per se. It's not that the class isn't shaping up well or isn't quite distinctive, it's more that there's just so much that's changing.

The next build that's scheduled to hit the Beta servers is a perfect example. Not only will talent trees be changing extensively, with some talents becoming baseline and some baseline abilities becoming talents, some talents switching tiers, and others even switching trees, but the very way we inflict and stack diseases will be getting some tweaking as well. In addition, many of the Death Knight's baseline abilities, especially related to disease and damage rotations, are changing as well.

So with all these changes, what can you say about a class that's changing drastically on a weekly basis, and may look completely different from how it does now by the time Wrath goes live? Is it really possible to speak about an overarching unifying theory of Death Knights?

Well, let's try. Welcome to the first annual State of the Death Knight address.

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

Death Knight Frost tree changes in latest Wrath Beta build

Between Blood's lack of downtime and Unholy's AE abilities and Ghoul control, Frost is starting to feel a bit like the unwanted orphan of the Death Knight trees. While it's heavy on the tanking talents and has some burst potential, we've been there done that, perhaps, already have Frost Mage alts, and so on and so forth.

Luckily, Blizzard recently made some changes to the tree on Beta which look like they may be nudging the tree in the right direction toward equality with the other two trees. Here's a concise list of the changes via MMO-Champion:

  • Improved Icy Touch now increase the damage of your Icy Touch by 10/20/30/40/50% and its damage against Frozen Targets by 20/40/60/80/100% (Old version : Reduces the cooldown of your Icy Touch spell by 1/2/3/4/5 sec and increases its critical strike damage bonus by 10/20/30/40/50%)
  • Nerves of Cold Steel has been moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2.
  • Annihilation has been moved from Tier 6 to Tier 3.
  • Aneurysm has been moved from Tier 8 to Tier 7.
  • Merciless Combat has been moved from Tier 8 to Tier 6.
  • New Talent - Blood of the North - Tier 8 (5 Points) - Whenever you use a Blood Strike there is a 20/40/60/80/100% chance that the Blood Rune will become a Death Rune when it activates
  • Frost Aura increases your Frost Resistance by 32/65 instead of 22/45.
  • Frost Strike prerequisites have been removed. (Merciless Combat was required before)

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

The Art of War(craft): Dreaming about Death Knight PvP


I know, I know. It's too early to actually figure out how Death Knights will work in PvP. Humor me for a bit. The new class, with its juicy talents and abilities, even if they will get changed before Wrath of the Lich King hits the shelves, have got me really excited. They have some pretty cool spells and a new resource mechanic that promises to shake things up as far as gameplay is concerned. I'm not big on alts, and I play mostly on my main and a secondary toon that really needs more love, but I actually want to make a Death Knight. I'm not an alt-o-holic, but I think I'll be taking it all the way to Level 80.

Of course, while I tell all my friends that I'm finally making a toon I'll be happy to tank with, what I'm really thinking about is PvP. I had initially wanted to make a Death Knight class when the game was announced, Death Knights being my favorite Hero in Warcraft 3. I thought Warlocks were the going to be it, considering the Death Coil spell, but I ended up never making a Warlock at all. But now here's the real deal. Plate armor, badass Rune weapons, Deathchargers, and all things ooky, spooky, and vile. Sounds like a lot of fun to me.

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

WWI '08 Death Knight Demo: General Impressions


We learned at the Q&A panel on Saturday that Death Knights will be starting at a new area just off Eastern Plaguelands called Ebon Hold, but for now, it remains unimplemented. Thus, these demo Death Knights start at Tirion Fordring's house in the west of Eastern Plaguelands.

On Death Knight Gear and Gear Mechanics:

They start with a complete outlay of green gear with DPS Warrior type stats: strength, agility, critical strike rating, and stamina. Their sword itself is blue quality 2 hander named the Massacre Sword. It does 127-191 damage at at a speed of 3.1 seconds, giving it 51.3 DPS. It also provides 22 strength and 23 hit rating.

It should be noted that the gear did not have spellpower, and it doesn't look like Death Knights will need it at all. Almost every spell that did magic damage specifically stated that the damage was modified by attack power. This is perfectly in line with Blizzard's recent trend to simplify and consolidate gear, which they discussed in relation to Retribution Paladins at Saturday's class panel. Perhaps we'll even see this mechanic show up on other magical melee hybrids in the future.

The Death Knight came loaded with 6 runes on their rune weapon bar: 2 Blood Runes, 2 Unholy Runes, and 2 Frost Runes. Talents points were unavailable with this demo, although we could see the talent descriptions themselves.

Death Knight Starting Spells and Playstyle:

The Death Knights started with a few basic skills:

Blood presence:
Requires level 55
Costs 1 Blood Rune
Instant cast, 1 second cooldown
Description: Strengthens the Death Knight with the presence of blood, increasing damage done by 15% and healing the Death Knight by 4% of damage dealt. Only one presence may be active at a time.

Blood Strike:
Requires level 55
Costs 1 Blood Rune
Instant cast, 1 second cooldown
Melee range
Description: Instantly strike the enemy, causing 60% weapon damage plus 55 for each disease effect on the target.

Icy Touch:
Requires level 55
Costs 1 Frost Rune
Instant cast, 6 second cooldown
20 yard range
Description: Deals 217 to 235 Frost damage modified by attack power and reduces the target's ranged, melee attack, and casting speed by 15% for 20 seconds.

Death Coil
Requires Level 55
Requires Runic Power
Instant cast
30 yard range
Description:Unleashes all available runic power, causing up to 460 shadow damage modified by attack power to an enemy target or healing up to 460 damage from a friendly undead target.

Death Gate
Requires Level 55
Costs 1 Unholy Rune
10 second cast, 15 minute cooldown
Description: Returns you to Ebon Hold (Note: Since Ebon Hold is not yet implemented, in the demo it returned you to Tirion Fordring).

Death Grip
Requires level 55
Costs 1 Unholy Rune
Instant cast, 35 second cooldown.
30 yard range
Description: Harness the unholy energy that surrounds and binds all matter, drawing the target toward the Death Knight and forcing the enemy to attack the Death Knight for 3 seconds.

Plague Strike
Requires level 55
Costs 1 Blood Rune and 1 Unholy Rune
Instant cast
Melee range
Description: A vicious strike that deals weapon damage plus 37 and plagues the target, dealing 350 shadow damage over 12 seconds.

Casting these spells uses up the listed runes, which have a cooldown of 10 seconds. Our (lucky) play tester reported that the system felt a bit like having 3 seperate mana pools with their own spells, but that the pacing seemed to work well, and that she was now interested in actually trying one out in when beta rolls around where she hadn't been before.

Introducing the Knights of the Ebon Hand

After roaming about a bit and killing stuff, Elizabeth stumbled upon Light's Hope Chapel. This venerated base of the Argent Dawn had some new guests known as the Knights of the Ebon Hand, lead by a night elf named Siouxsie the Banshee, a Death Knight trainer. It's likely, of course, that these NPCs will be gone and moved to Ebon Hold once it's implemented, but for now, they gave us a sneak peek at the new Death Knight faction and some of the spells Death Knights will get post-55.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Events, Expansions, Leveling, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Worldwide Invitational

WWI '08 Death Knight Demo: Blood spells and talents


The Blood tree was originally designated as the primary DPS tree, and a lot of the talents still reflect that, such as Dark Conviction, the ever-present critical strike talent, and Dancing Rune Weapon, the 51 point talent.

However, it's also worth noting that the Blood tree provides quite a few healing skills and talents which may end up making it a useful type of tanking tree via allowing the Death Knight to keep himself healed and keep a bit of grief off his healers: for example, Death Pact will be useful for finishing off a ghoul who's about to die anyway and getting a bit of health back. Below is a selection of some of the spells and talents available to Death Knights in the WWI demo.

Blood Spells:


Blood Presence:

Requires level 55
Costs 1 Blood Rune
Instant cast, 1 second cooldown
Description: Strengthens the Death Knight with the presence of blood, increasing damage done by 15% and healing the Death Knight by 4% of damage dealt. Only one presence may be active at a time.

Blood Strike:
Requires level 55
Costs 1 Blood Rune
Instant cast, 1 second cooldown
Melee range
Description: Instantly strike the enemy, causing 60% weapon damage plus 55 for each disease effect on the target.

Blood Tap:
Requires level 64
Description: Immediately activates a blood rune and temporarily converts it into a death rune. this rune counts as a blood, unholy, or frost rune. lasts 10 seconds.

Death Pact:
Requires level 66.
Description: Sacrifice an undead minion, healing the Death knight for 1200 health

Blood Talents:

Rune Tap
Requires 10 talent points
Instant cast, 1 minute cooldown.
Description: Converts 1 Blood Rune into 10% of your maximum health.

Dark Conviction
Requires 10 talent points
Costs up to 5 talent points
Description: Increases your chance to get a critical strike with melee weapons by 1% per talent point.

Improved Rune Tap
Requires 15 talent points, Rune Tap
Costs up to 3 talent points
Description: Improves Rune Tap's health gain by 15% per talent point

Vendetta
Requires 15 talent points
Costs up to 2 talent points
Description: Heals you for 3% of your total health per talent point whenever you kill a target that yields experience or honor

Scent of Blood
Requires 20 talent points
Costs up to 3 talent points
Description: After being struck by a ranged or melee critical hit, you gain the Scent of Blood effect, causing your next 2 melee hits to steal life from the enemy. lasts for 12s. this effect can not occur more often than once every 12 seconds (Note: the effect of putting more than one talent point in this skill is not yet listed in the description).

Blade Barrier
Requires 20 talent points
Costs up to 3 talent points
Description: Whenever you have no runes active, your parry chance increases by 5% per talent point for the next 8 seconds.

Mark of Blood

Requires 20 talent points
Costs 1 Blood Rune, 1 Unholy Rune
Instant cast
30 yard range
Description: Place a mark of blood on an enemy. whenever the marked target is healed, all party members receive 5% of that healing (up to a maximum of 5% of the Death Knight's health). if a marked target that grants experience or honor is killed, all party members are healed for 10% of their total health. Lasts 3 minutes.

Hysteria
Requires 30 talent points
Costs 1 Blood Rune, 1 Unholy Rune
Instant cast, 2 minute cooldown
30 yard Range
Description: Induces a friendly unit into a killing frenzy for 30s, increasing their physical damage by 20% but causing them to suffer damage equal to 1% of their total health every second.

Heart Strike
Requires 40 Talent Points
Costs 1 Blood Rune
Requires melee weapon
Next Melee
Description: A debilitating attack that lowers the target's total health by up to 20% for 30 seconds.

Dancing Rune Weapon
Requires 50 talent points
Requires Runic Power
Requires melee weapon
Instant, 1 minute cooldown
Description: Unleashes all available runic power to summon a second rune weapon that fights on its own for 1s per 5 runic power, doing the same attacks that you do.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Expansions, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Worldwide Invitational

The rise of disease

Death Knights. Seems like they're all the rage these days, and they haven't even been released yet. It was revealed that Death Knights start at Level 55, the only requirement being that the player has an existing Level 55 character. Daniel has even declared his intention to make a Death Knight his main when the time comes. I wouldn't be surprised to see a proliferation of Death Knights when Wrath of the Lich King is finally released. When that time comes, prepare to get inoculated because the class is the first to finally use diseases as a core class mechanic.

Aside from Undead Priests and their Devouring Plague, there are no player abilities that inflict the disease Dispel Type. So far, two disease-based abilities have been revealed: Blade Strike and Blood Strike. Designed to work off each other, Blade Strike is an attack that applies a disease on the target in addition to base damage while Blood Strike deals damage based on the number of diseases on the target. Death Knights are also able to raise Ghouls to fight for them and are projected to have an ability that applies a disease on their targets. Load up on Airborne, because it's going to get pretty toxic in Northrend.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Death Knight

The Death Knight class revealed


Via Gamespy and Worldofwar.net, 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

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