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World of Warcraft Patch 3.2 Death Knight Guide


WoW.com has covered patch 3.2 extensively. Everything from the surprising changes to flying mounts, to the latest and greatest loot, and all the changes in between. In our patch 3.2 class, raiding, and PvP guides we take a look at exactly what changes and how the changes will affect your playing.

With the arrival of Patch 3.2, let's take stock of what's going on with Death Knights and how things have turned out for us. The Patch 3.2 PTR's been the testing grounds for a few major changes to various trees and play styles, and now it'll be interesting to see how things play out on the live server. You can see the basic size of the Death Knight changes in this original analysis of the patch changes, but some things have changed since then, as we will note below.

Tanking

We do get a couple hits to tanking this patch. Frost Presence will be switching from a health buff to a stamina buff, and Veteran of the Third War will be nerfed to only a 3% stamina gain at the top level. Toughness is also dropping from 15% to 10% armor buffed at its top level. Honestly, I don't think these changes alone will be so bad as to drop us too low on the tanking totem pole, especially since we've been up at the top so long.

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Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Instances, Raiding, Guides, Talents, Death Knight

Lichborne: The Future of Death Runes in Patch 3.2

Welcome to Lichborne, the Death Knight class column, with your host, Daniel Whitcomb, who's still wearing mourning black for AE Unholy Blight. And also because black looks awesome.

I admit to being a bit underwhelmed by the Death Knight Q&A. To be fair, this is primarily because most of the things covered were already in the 3.2 patch notes, and the rest was pretty common sense stuff. However, one little comment by Ghostcrawler did catch my attention: His praise of Death Runes.

This caught me more than a bit by surprise, since, if anything, the Death Knight changes in Patch 3.2 seem tailor made to discourage the use of Death Runes, at least for Frost and Unholy.

Between the damage buff to Blood Strike and diseases, and the nerf to Scourge Strike, we have a pretty good chance of seeing people move away from using Death Runes. The major reason to use Blood Strike in both trees right now is to create Death Runes so you can use higher damage abilities on your next refresh cycle. If Blood Strike becomes the higher damage ability, it's not worth it to use the Death Runes on something else. There's a off-chance, I suppose, that you might want the Death Runes handy for an emergency use of Ghoul Frenzy, in theory, but that chance is so slim that no-one's going to want to waste the talent points in Reaping, at the very least.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: One more round of Death Knight changes in 3.0.8


Welcome to Lichborne. Your host is inflicted with the space plague this week, but has done his best to write for you people anyway, so be grateful, you hear?

We've covered 3.0.8 pretty extensively, between Mike Sacco's coverage of the initial round of changes and our week before last discussion, but the devs weren't done yet. With 3.0.8 likely to make it to live servers in the next week or two, this is probably a good time to discuss the Death Knight tweaks that have gone in the last few PTR updates.

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Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances, Bosses, Death Knight, Inscription, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Talents for catching up


Welcome to Lichborne, where Daniel Whitcomb is doing some last minute agonizing over what face to give his Death Knight on Thursday.

So there are quite a few of us, I imagine, who are still on track to switch to a Death Knight, or at least play one quite extensively, immediately when Wrath of the Lich King hits the live servers. But the fact remains that you'll be 15 levels behind everyone to start, and if you have friends to catch up to, you're going to want to get up there pretty quickly, most likely. Even if you plan to take it slow, you'll still want a good effective leveling build, most likely. So today, we'll look at three solid solo DPS builds from each tree, and discuss how to use them most effectively for grinding and leveling.

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

Lichborne: Unholy Blight, or I spent 51 points for this?

Welcome to this week's edition of Lichborne, where Daniel Whitcomb is totally bumming out that he won't be getting a sweet axe on his Death Knight.

I know a few of you have been asking for some good solid builds for powerleveling your Death Knight through Outland and through to Northrend, and I'm hoping to deliver soon enough, but unfortunately, it's hard for me to recommend something when it could very well change another couple times before release.

We're getting down to the wire, though, so it's likely the trees will solidify soon, and I'm hoping to have some recommendations on good Death Knight builds in the next week or two. For now, I've decided to take a look at one of the 51-point Death Knight talents to give you a taste of how things change in Beta. Specifically, I'm talking about Unholy Blight.

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

Tips for new Death Knights from a fellow tank, part 2


Dear corpsified bundles of beautifully-armored joy (but more particularly those who tank Azjol Nerub while wearing Expedition Bracers of the Bandit),

We had a little bit of controversy in the first installment, so I'm just going to state this as baldly as possible; if you hated what I wrote last time, there's a good chance you'll walk away from this one thinking I eat babies. Delicious, delicious babies. While I never mean to offend people, I reserve the right to tell them the truth, or at the very least a highly entertaining and plausible lie.

Truth, she be at times an ugly mistress. And she ain't gettin' any prettier as we move from DPS to tanking.

Tanks have significantly more responsibility, both in groups and raids, and they face the competing directives of maximizing mitigation (to keep their healers happy) and maximizing threat production (to keep their DPS happy). I've healed dozens of Death Knight tanks at this point, and while the average pugged DK tank has gotten noticeably better, there are still a few trends you'd want to be aware of as a healer. The problems in beta right now are made worse by Blizzard unintentionally overselling the ease of tanking on a Death Knight in 5-man runs. Many people seem to have interpreted the statement that they should be able to tank well with Blood, Frost, or Unholy specs as being tantamount to saying they can tank well regardless of how their talent points are spent in those trees.

Any experienced tank can tell you right now that this is not true, but people believing that it is is how you wind up with 11K-life Death Knights taking 7-8K enraged hits from Keristasza in the Nexus. If you've never tanked before but you're interested in tanking on a Death Knight -- or pragmatic enough to know you'll probably wind up tanking a certain number of 5-mans on your DPS Death Knight -- I hope this article helps you avoid what I went through in May 2007 when I started tanking and sucked at it.

I came to the beta to slowly lose my mind trying to heal insane tank damage and gulp Extra Strength Tylenol. And I'm all out of Extra Strength Tylenol.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Expansions, Features, Humor, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Lichborne: Death Knight glyphs

Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly weekend look at the first hero class, the Death Knight. Daniel Whitcomb is back after dealing with some light administrative work back at the Ebon Hold.

Inscription seems to be coming on to the beta server in bits and pieces, especially when it comes to the much looked for glyphs. One or two classes seem to trickle in each build, and in the latest build, it is the Death Knight's turn. Today, we'll take a quick look at the new Death Knight glyphs, and figure out how useful they'll be to the various playstyles and specs of the Death Knight. As always, it's worth noting that these are beta numbers, so things could change by the time Inscription and Death Knights see the light of day on live servers.

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

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

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: Frost spells and talents


The Frost tree was originally designated the tanking tree, and the Frost Presence will likely still be the presence of choice for tanking Death Knights. Interestingly enough, very few of the other spells and talents in the Frost tree -- with the exception of Icebound Fortitude -- really scream "tanking." However, some of them do scream "crowd control," which may amount to the same thing in the end -- just freeze, slow, or silence extra mobs until you have a chance to focus on tanking them.

The "frozen" bonuses in some of the talents also suggest that Frost Death Knights may have a lot of good synergy with Frost Mages as well, assuming their frozen status afflictions are identical to each other. Below is a listing of some of the Frost spells and talents shown in the WWI Death Knight demo:

Frost Spells:


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.

Chains of Ice
Requires level 56
Costs 2 Frost Runes
Instant cast, 16 second cooldown
20 yard range
Description: Freezes the target in place for 3 seconds. the target regains 10% of their movement speed each second after breaking free of the chain

Frost Presence
Requires level 57
Instant cast
Description: The death knight takes on the presence of frost, increasing armor by 45% and threat generated by 25%.

Mind Freeze
Requires level 57
Requires Runic Power
10 second cooldown
Description: Strike the target's mind with cold, dealing 100 frost damage modified by attack power and interrupting spellcasting while also preventing any spell in that school from being cast up to a maximum of 4 seconds.

Obliterate
Requires Level 61
Costs 1 Blood Rune, 1 Frost Rune
Description: A brutal instant attack that deals 100% of weapon damage plus 330 and 122 additional damage for each of your diseases on the target, but consumes the diseases

Empower Rune Weapon

Requires level 68
3 Minute cooldown
Instant cast
Description: Empower your rune weapon, immediately activating one of each rune type

Icebound Fortitude
Requires level 72
Requires Runic Power
1 minute coooldown
Description: Consumes all available runic power, causing the Death Knight to become immune to stun effects and increasing armor by 50% for up to 12 seconds. Does not remove existing stun effects.

Frost Talents:

Frozen Rune Weapon

Requires 10 talent points
Costs 1 Frost Rune
Requires melee weapon
Instant cast
Description: Imbue your rune weapon with frost, causing 29.9 to 92 additional frost damage, based on the speed of your weapon. Also has a chance to cause your target to be vulnerable to frost damage. Lasts 10 minutes.

Deathchill
Requires 20 talent points
2 minute cooldown
Instant cast
Description: When activated, increases your critical strike chance with frost spells and abilities by 100% for the next 6 seconds.

Howling Blast

Requires 30 talent points
Costs 1 Frost Rune
30 second cooldown
Instant cast
20 yard range
Description: Blast the target with a frigid wind, dealing 278 to 302 frost damage to all enemies within 10 yards. Deals triple damage to frozen targets

Merciless Combat

Requires 35 talent points
Costs up to 3 talent points
Description: Your frost spells and abilities do an additional 20% damage per talent point when striking targets with less than 20% health.

Frost Strike
Requires 40 talent points, Merciless Combat
Costs 1 Frost Rune
Requires melee weapon
Next Melee
Description: A strong attack that deals weapon damage as frost damage. Has a 10% chance to freeze the target.

Hungering Cold
Requires 50 talent points
Requires runic power
1 minute cooldown
Instant cast
Description: Unleashes all available runic power to eradicate all heat from around the Death Knight, freezing enemies within 10 yards and preventing them from performing any action for 2s per 10 runic power. Enemies are considered frozen, but any damage will break the ice.


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

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