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Lichborne: Mists of Pandaria beta first impressions for death knights

A Death Knight in the Jade Forest
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.

Having finally had a chance to play the Mists of Pandaria beta, I'll be looking this week at the basics of the experience for a level 85 death knight coming into Jade Forest, the first zone in the leveling experience.

The setup

Upon logging in to Mists of Pandaria for the first time, you will, of course, have to choose new talents. With the talent system being so radically changed, there's really no around it. Luckily, it's a relatively painless process. Having played around a bit with most of the choices, I'm not sure if many of the choices are that dynamic, but your mileage may vary.

On tier 1, you may see some blood death knights going for Unholy Blight to have a nice bit of runic power AoE, but other than that, the three choices are pretty clearly split between the three specs. That said, it's not a horrible tree, either. You can pick some cool stuff that'll help with your desired role and keep on playing, and I like that. It's just not going to be a free choice, per se. At the moment, it just appears that there's almost always a clear winner for most situations on any given tier based on your preferred spec, role, and playstyle.

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

Lichborne: A look at the death knight tier 13 set bonuses

Thassarian
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 got a nice bit of weekend news a few days ago, as Zarhym unveiled the tier 13 class set bonuses for all to see. Tier 13, of course, will come to us with patch 4.3. They've definitely provoked a lot of discussion and debate, and the death knight bonuses are no exception. Unfortunately, the early consensus on the status of the bonuses leans toward "failed experiment." After the break, we'll delve in a bit deeper and discuss how the bonuses fail and succeed.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: A guide to death knight spell alerts


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

One pretty cool change coming to Cataclysm is the advent of spell alerts, on-screen notifications that direct you to a button you really should be pushing when you get some sort of class-specific proc or buff. Of course, many high-level players have had this for a long time in the form of player-made UI mods, but now newbies, UI minimalists, and people who just get confused by UI mods get a chance to have them, too. This week in Lichborne, we'll discover what spell alerts death knights get and discuss how best to apply them in battle.

Generally, when a spell alert goes off, you'll hear a sound and see a certain graphic envelop your character on screen. If you have scrolling combat text turned on, you'll also see green or yellow text describing the buff. Finally, the button for the affected ability or abilities will light up on your action bar, telling you exactly what you need to push. Once you understand all this, it's pretty easy to anticipate the effects, but let's take a quick look at what you'll see so you know exactly what to expect and what to do.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Death knight beta diaries, part 4: Two-handed frost and other beta minutae


Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly source for news, guides, tips and opinions on the death knight class.

In the latest beta patch, Blizzard was so kind as to bump the level cap up to 85, in addition to opening Uldum and Twilight Highlands, the last two major leveling zones in the expansion. Unfortunately, neither zone is itemized, but more on that later. In my testing this past week, I've delved in the long-dead, dormant spec of two-handed frost. The spec was officially killed off (at least in the sense of having competitive DPS) in the latter part of Wrath, when Blizzard decided to make frost the official spec of dual wielding. However, with the advent of Cataclysm, that is changing. With blood becoming a dedicated tanking tree, it left unholy as the only two-handed weapon tree. Recognizing that some players might dislike the pet-tending aspect of unholy, Blizzard decided to support two-handed weaponry in the frost tree once again.

That said, deciding to support it and succeeding at it are two different things, and in addition, there seems to be a lot of people who are still confused as to whether or not Blizzard plans to support it. You can put your mind at ease now though. Very recently, Ghostcrawler (lead systems designer) confirmed that, yes, Blizzard is supporting the two-handed weapon playstyle for the frost tree.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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

Death Knight changes in WoW Patch 3.1 PTR build 9733

Although this wasn't the biggest PTR patch in the world (they're coming smaller and faster now, perhaps suggesting that 3.1 is near), there were still some notable changes for my new favorite melee class. The changes for Death Knights are as follows:

  • Frost

    • Howling Blast cooldown has been reduced from 10 sec to 8 sec.
    • Rime now resets the cooldown on Howling Blast when it procs, in addition to its previous effects.

These Frost changes are a clear buff to deep Frost DPS builds. Which was needed, because nobody plays Frost 2h.

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Filed under: Patches, Death Knight

Lichborne: Howling Blast and other patch 3.0.8 follies

Welcome to Lichborne, WoW Insider's weekly Death Knight column.

Yeah, I definitely have to put out a mea culpa here. Alas, Lichborne is a little bit late again. I have a valid excuse, I swear. It involved a flaming plum pudding, a flailing geist, and a sudden snowstorm at the Shadow Vault over in Icecrown. But after an emergency eye transplant by a Forsaken Death Knight who used to be a member of the RAS, I'm back in the saddle and this week's column is only a few days late.

Anyhow, this week I thought I'd take a look at the deeper implications and meanings behind some of the Death Knight changes coming our way in 3.0.8. Our newest Mike has summarized and analysed quite a few of them, but I have just a few more things I want to say, especially about a new change that was added in a recent PTR update.


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Filed under: Blacksmithing, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Buffs, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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