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Lichborne: Reviewing death knight talents for patch 5.4

Lichborne Reviewing death knight talents for the patch 54 revamp
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.

Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street has indicated that Blizzard is pretty happy with the new Mists of Pandaria talent design, and I have to agree with him. While it does suck to wait 15 levels between new talent choices while leveling a new alt, otherwise the new talent system allows real flexibility and interesting, meaningful choices, arguably more than we had under the 51 or 31 point talent systems, where almost every tier had a clear best choice for whatever role you were playing.

That said, there's always room for improvement, and the devs have mentioned they plan to use patch 5.4 as another opportunity to go over talent trees and bolster talents that see less use or otherwise feel underpowered. With that in mind, this week we'll look at the death knight tree and pick out some candidates for a patch 5.4 redesign.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Death knight group utility in Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne Death knight group utility in Mists of Pandaria
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.

Death knights are not always the first class you think of when you think group utility. They don't have a long-term crowd control method, they can't summon food or Healthstones, and they don't have one of those long term castable stat buffs like Mark of the Wild or Power Word: Fortitude.

That said, you shouldn't sell them short. We have a lot of little things we contribute to a group in a ways people may not think of. This week, we're going to look at some of the buffs, debuffs, and group utility moves death knights contribute, with an emphasis on things that or new or significantly changed in Mists of Pandaria.

Bringing the Buffs

Horn of Winter has long been a valuable buff that you should never neglect, and it's changed in some interesting ways in Mists. Instead of a flat buff to strength and agility, it now adds 10% attack power to you and your group. This ends up being pretty handy since it should scale as gear levels increase.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne, Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne: Guide to PvE unholy death knights in Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne Guide to PvE unholy death knights in Mists of Pandaria
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.

With Mists of Pandaria less than a month, it's a good time to get caught up on your chosen class' mechanics and playstyle in order to get a good start in the new expansion. With that in mind, we've spent the past few weeks discussing the various specs and how they'll play. This week, we add to the collection with a guide to unholy death knights in PvE. As a reminder, the following guide is for the basics of the class and spec.

Unholy basics

Unholy, much like its sister trees, remains more or less unchanged in basic look and feel. Of course, there's enough tweaks that there's stuff to learn, but if you liked the way unholy played back in patch 4.3, you'll like the way it plays in patch 5.0.4 and Mists of Pandaria. The biggest change you'll notice is that the new version of Ebon Plaguebringer no longer has the magic damage debuff or the third disease. They have upped the damage on our strikes to compensate, but it's one more little piece of unholy look and feel that's gone.

Unholy is, of course, played with a two-handed weapon enchanted with Rune of the Fallen Crusader, as you will need its power to get the most damage from your strikes, and in Unholy Presence. You will also want to make sure you have your ghoul out as much as possible, as it makes up a not insignificant amount of your damage. If you don't want to deal with a pet or want to dual wield, you're better off switching to frost DPS.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Guide to PvE blood death knights in Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Guide to PvE blood death knights in Mists of Pandaria
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.

With Mists of Pandaria fast approaching, we continue our basic guides to the specs as they stand in the expansion. This week, we catch up with blood tanks. As a reminder, the following guide is for the basics of the class and spec.

Blood basics in Mists of Pandaria

Blood has changed remarkably little in Mists of Pandaria. Our basic setup is still using Death Strike to get our Blood Shield up, while trying to keep threat at the same time. Vengeance is now based off the amount of damage you've taken in the last 20 seconds, which won't be a huge deal but may lead to some attack power and threat spikes in the long run. Be aware that, especially at the start of a fight, you may need to work slightly harder for threat.

The two things you will probably notice the most are the 1-second global cooldown and the loss of 30-second Outbreak. The GCD change was one that was very much needed for DPS death knights but wasn't really an issue for us. However, since Blizzard decided to make that GCD change global to the class, we do have to deal with it. It may cause some noticeable downtime. That said, it will also allow you to fit in more emergency health-gaining cooldowns faster, so it may be a fair trade. Overall, it's something that should be easy to get used to and may work to our advantage more often than not.

A 30-second Outbreak is a little more of a solid nerf, in that you will have to deal with Outbreak's being on cooldown just when you need it most, but Blizzard has taken most of that agony out of the equation, since Scarlet Fever now allows Blood Boil to refresh diseases. Just be sure not to let diseases completely drop, and you're golden.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne, Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne: Guide to PvE frost death knights in Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne Guide to Mists of Pandaria PvE frost death knights
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.

With patch 5.0.4 barreling down on us and the release date for Mists of Pandaria itself a mere month away, we've probably seen our new class specs and mechanics get about as solid as they're going to get. With that in mind, we'll start in our guides for all death knight specs. Note that these guides will cover primarily the basics of group PvE for each spec.

This week, we cover frost DPS.

Stat weights and other basics

Frost hasn't changed much mechanically from Cataclysm, at least on the surface. We still have the same strikes and spells serving the same basic function. You can now switch more freely between dual wielding and two-handed frost, as you get both Threat of Thassarian and Might of the Frozen Wastes by default. Frost Presence is now the best DPS presence for frost death knights, in a move that should make literal-minded death knights happy. In addition, the runic power regeneration on Frost Presence helps make up for some the runic power generation talents we lost in the revamp. Your stats priorities are also more or less in the same order they were for Cataclysm, with a few minor changes and caveats.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: 3 quick fixes death knights need for Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne 3 quick fixes death knights need for Mists of Pandaria
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.

We still don't have an official release date for Mists of Pandaria, but conventional wisdom says it's going to be out before the summer's over. I tend to agree with that, so it's getting the point where we have to assume we have two to three months to see our class really where we want it to be before the game goes live.

I have to say, I'm not as optimistic as I could be. The players and developers seem to be at loggerheads to what the real issues of the death knight class are or even if it has any major ones at all. Still, the blues have also shown that they may be coming around to at least some of our points of view, so in the interests of figuring out our major problems (and realizing we're running out of time to do any major revamps), I offer three quick fixes that might hold the class over for a few content patches in lieu of any major class mechanics changes.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Unholy first impressions in the Mists of Pandaria beta

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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.

The strange thing about talking about the unholy tree since Cataclysm is that nothing ever seems to change. Don't get me wrong, unholy's been on a roller coaster of nerfs and balances, it's true, but the basic gameplay stays the same -- and more importantly, the basic problems never really get fixed.

So as we come into Mists of Pandaria, where are we with unholy? It still has a relatively unique playstyle, with a pet and less difficulty keeping diseases up (but more difficulty applying them because of the rune spending issue), but this same playstyle gives it a lot of trouble, as weapon damage scales horribly and strength becomes more important -- some would say too important. This is how it continues to go with unholy.

Today, we'll take a look at the upsides and downsides of unholy as it currently exists in the Mists of Pandaria beta and maybe make some suggestions for things Blizzard could focus on fixing once the death knights' turn for class balancing comes around.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: New Mists of Pandaria talent updates for death knights

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.

As I'm sure you've heard by now, Blizzard treated us to a nice new chunk of news this past week with an update to the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator. Death knights received some new talents and new skills as well as adjustments to old ones that definitely deserve some analysis. We'll start by looking at the talent tiers, then move on to some of the new modified skills we're seeing in this build.

Level 15 begins our journey with a couple pieces of very welcome news. Outbreak is back to a general class skill, once again taking its place at level 81 for all three specs. In its place for tier 1 talents is the old-school Unholy Blight, in all its AoE glory. That's right, you can once again have that awesome semi-permanent damage aura. Alas, this welcome change is accompanied by the similar removal of Corpse Explosion in favor of Vile Spew, an ability that will explode an undead minion for AoE damage and disease infection.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Analyzing patch 5.0 death knight talents

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.

As you probably know by now, Blizzard has drastically overhauled the talent system for patch 5.0, giving everyone a ton of automatic level-ups and then a choice between three talents every 15 levels. This week, we'll take a look at the talents they previewed for death knights at BlizzCon 2011: what they mean, how they work, what looks good, and what sort of sucks. As a reminder, these talents are all a work in progress that can and will change before patch 5.0 goes live, which could easily be over half a year from now. With that in mind, we'll focus more on mechanics and philosophy and less on math. Math can always be tweaked.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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