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Lichborne: 3 death knight tanking changes to watch out for in Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne 3 Death Knight tanking changes to watch out for 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.

On the surface, blood death knights seem relatively unchanged in Mists of Pandaria. With Bone Shield and Vampiric Blood off talents and back to being blood specializations, we have our usual toolkit in place. Death Strike still serves as our main source of damage absorption.

However, an expansion always brings with it unexpected changes, and there are a couple subtle little tweaks that may affect blood tank death knights more than you realize. Overall, of course, it's looking like we have at least another month of the Mists beta to go, so any of this could change at any time. Still, it's always nice to have the heads up. In the end, the large changes are the ones you see coming and the ones you can easily adapt to, but sometimes it's the ones you don't expect that can throw you off balance.

Today we'll look at a few of those changes, how they may affect your tanking style, and what Blizzard may or may not do before the expansion goes live.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Death knights remain in holding pattern in Mists of Pandaria beta

Image
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 one takes a two-week vacation, one generally looks forward to things having changed, even slightly, when one returns. This is especially sure when speaking of the Mists of Pandaria beta test. Strangely, that hasn't been exactly the case for death knights. There have been changes, certainly, but not as drastic as we might have hoped -- and not as well-explained, either.

Today, we'll take a look at a few of the more important changes and what they imply for our class. In addition, we'll see what Ghostcrawler did and didn't say about death knights in a recent post.

Plague Leech and disease issues

There've been a few changes to death knights, but the most interesting one comes with Plague Leech. This first-tier talent, which replaces Vile Spew, will allow you to generate a death rune by canceling the diseases from your target.

The nice thing about this skill is that it gives us another much-needed Blood Tap replacement now that Blood Tap itself has been turned into a somewhat more restricted talent. The bad thing about this skill is that it's probably going to become mandatory for min-maxing DPS death knights. If your diseases are about to expire anyway and you can eat them for an extra death rune, it's hard to see how that won't become a DPS increase. Once we all reach level 90 and the math has been sufficiently mathed, it seems relatively obvious that Plague Leech will be considered mandatory by the hardcore PvE community, for better or for worse.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne, 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.

So Mists of Pandaria just got a pretty huge info dump, and while there weren't large amounts of class information in there, who am I to buck the trend and talk about something else? Luckily, there's plenty of gold still be mined from what we do know about death knights. This week, we'll be looking at a couple of the skills, talents, and mechanics coming our way and how you can use them to add a little extra utility and fun to your group experience, outside the normal tanking or DPSing.

Control Undead

Control Undead is honestly something I'm pretty excited for. Coming to us as a new level 69 skill, it allows us to take temporary control of almost any basic (or, I assume, elite) undead mob. Sure, it could be seen as mostly fluff, but it's awesome fluff, and I expect it to have some unexpected benefits.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Why I play a death knight

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.

You know, starting at level 55 and not being a vanilla WoW class, you arguably have to go through a unique process to decide to play this class. It's true that you make a conscious choice to play what class you play, but somehow, starting from level 1, it's as much a dabbling as anything, a solid start point that could branch off. With a death knight, you're already in the game. You make a solid choice to leap from one class to another. It's probably more true of those of us who started at the beginning of Wrath, deliberately choosing to leave our mains to start anew, but on some level I think it can apply to just about anyone who plays a main death knight.

With this in mind, I thought it might fun this week to establish why we play our class, focusing on my own reasons for playing it and sticking with it.

A storied history

I will admit, I tend to be sort of a sap when it comes to stories. I like stories that are clashes between good and evil, with defined boundaries. I like my knights in shining armor fighting the forces of darkness. Some people find that too simple and tidy, but if I want shades of gray, I can find plenty of that in real life. Sometimes, I just want to kick some evil ass.

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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

Lichborne: Preliminary patch 4.3 impressions for death knights

Night Elf death knight
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 the patch 4.3 PTR up for a week now, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about its effect on death knights. It helps that I have been playing a decent amount of PTR over the last week, so I have a lot to talk about. Of course, the first thing we'll want to take about is the centerpiece of the patch, the ultimate and greatest feature of WoW to date, transmogrification.

After much trial, error, and agonizing, I've come to conclusion that Acherus Knight's Gear, the original green starting stuff we get upon creation, is truly the best look. For my personal set, I swapped in my Greaves of the Slaughter just because I didn't like the barefoot look, but other than that, it's pretty amazing. If you didn't save your own set, you may be out of luck, but I am hearing rumors that Darkmoon Faire could give us a chance to get the set again. Unfortunately, the Faire's not up for testing yet, so I can't confirm that at the moment.

Of course, you can only play pretty dress-up for so long before you need to go back to slaying monsters (and I say this as someone who absolutely adores playing pretty dress-up on my WoW characters), so moving on, we'll take a look at the rest of this thing.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Analyzing the proposed patch 4.3 death knight tanking changes

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. This week's header image comes to us from everyone's favorite WoW Insider commenter, Orkchop.

So recently, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street posted a new Dev Watercooler discussing the ins and outs of the new active mitigation tank philosophy. Since he dedicated a whole section to proposed death knight changes in patch 4.3, I figured it would be a good idea to take a look at the stuff and see what it does.

My preliminary verdict would be pretty simple: It's a pretty big help. It fixes or mitigates a lot of our quality of life issues, it makes a little less squishy, and it nullifies rune tetris nicely. I can't really disagree with the individual changes or the rationale behind them. That said, it doesn't completely solve our problems, and there are probably one or two more little things to be done before stuff looks really good. Let's take a look at the specifics.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Why the death knight blood tree needs tweaks

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 4.2 will likely be on live servers by the time you read this, but I figure we've talked enough about the patch 4.2 in past columns. If you read those, you probably have a good idea of where everything is for death knights. This week, I've decided it would be a good idea to take a break and talk about something that didn't get much attention in patch 4.2: the plight of the death knight tank.

It's been sort of an undercurrent in the death knight community since the beginning of Cataclysm. The death knight blood tanking tree is just sort of gummed up. It's not that we're underpowered, per se. No, a well played death knight tank is pretty dominant in heroic dungeons and even normal raiding. You only start really falling behind in heroic raids, where the problem becomes really evident: You're doing twice as much work for the same results, more or less.

Most of the issues are centered around Death Strike and how it interacts with our resource system. The quirks of said resource system are so demanding that you end up staring at your rune bar more than the battle in front of you, trying to game the system just right to squeeze out one last Death Strike.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: The lowdown on diseaseless blood tanking


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights.

With everyone getting used to blood being the sole tanking tree, combined with all the new tanking style changes already here in patch 4.0.1 (and more to come in Cataclysm), we've been working at crunching numbers and figuring out strategies to deal with it all. One of the most interesting new paradigms to come out of this is actually a pretty old one: diseaseless blood. Diseaseless blood DPS did rear its head every once in a while back in the Wrath era, and now it's back for tanking. At both the heroic dungeon and raid levels, death knight tanks all over WoW are reporting diseaseless tanking as a superior playstyle in ease of use, survivability and threat generation.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Cataclysm Class Changes: Death knight analysis

I'll be completely honest: If I were to describe the death knight update with three words, it would be these: We need more. PvP-focused death knights will likely be pleased with the new revealed skills, but for PvE death knights, all three hold little to no PvE applicability. The new rune system's original explanation is somewhat convoluted, and while I think I have a handle on it after some extensive testing and theorycrafting, we really can't say much about how well it will work until we know more about how our abilities will be rebalanced. The talent discussion mostly focused on telling us what we learned a few days ago when we were told blood will be the only tanking tree.

Essentially, given this update, a large part of me wishes they had just held off until the beta. Right now, we just don't have enough information to make anything more than vague educated guesses about how the new rotations and abilities will play off of each other. That said, it's still worth a look at what's going down, so let's start it up and see what we can surmise.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Cataclysm

Swine Flu strikes Azeroth!

I'm sure you all will be quite happy to hear that the Swine Flu has struck Azeroth.

Yes, you read that right.

Out in the Borean Tundra, Unliving Swines near Warsong Hold will cast the debuff Swine Flu on you when you're fighting them. The pigs are dirty little creatures, and luckily anyone can cure the disease that has such an ability.

The Swine Flu disease itself is benign, however every time you attack something it has a chance at triggering an Outbreak. An Outbreak of Swine Flu will cause a fever that inflicts 120 nature damage every 2 seconds for 8 seconds total, and reduces movement speed to 70% of normal. Like Swine Flu, Outbreak is a disease that can be cured.

We should note that this isn't some joke recently put into the game. It's existed since Wrath of the Lich King released, so all the conspiracy theorists that are suggesting Blizzard manufactured the real swine flu in order to make more people stay home and play their game are clearly wrong. Clearly.

Oh noes! There's a knock at the door... I think Ghostcrawler and Belfaire are here with an offer I can't refuse.

Filed under: Virtual selves, News items, Humor

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