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Lichborne: Observations on new death knights in Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne Observations on new 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 a new expansion coming out, it's a perfect time to try out a new character. New skills, new spells, and new mechanics all mean there will be new ways of playing and new ways of looking at things, and sometimes you just want a fresh start. Of course, there are only a few people dedicated or crazy enough to play multiple characters of the same class on a regular basis, but sometimes, I find that leveling the same class more than once gives you insights and helps you remember the basics.

With this in mind, I've started a couple new death knights of my own on the Mists of Pandaria beta. And while there's a lot for new death knights to learn, it's interesting to note what lessons this old death knight learned and what subtle differences herald for the class.

It's easy to become talented

In the original plan for creating a death knight, you got chunks of talent points to spend when you completed certain quests. In theory, this allowed you to slowly build up a talent build as you would when leveling a fresh character, getting small chunks of talent points to distribute bit by bit. In practice, I feel it was a bit more confusing than that. A level 55 character with no talent points getting those talent points from random quests with no real rhyme or reason to when or how they came wasn't a deal breaker, but it really felt like you didn't quite have a handle on your talent points until you were finally caught up at around level 60 or so.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Tweaking your frost DPS talent build

Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly look at news, tips and strategy for the death knight class, with your host, Daniel Whitcomb.

Last week, we took a look at frost DPS. At that time, I posted a basic DPS build for beginning frost DPSers to provide a good balance of DPS and utility. As I mentioned back then, though, the basic frost DPS build is pretty nice in that it does allow a bit of flexibility in your build; that is, there are a few places where you can swap around points a bit depending on your gear level and personal needs. We'll also take a quick look at optimizing sigil usage, which should come in handy for blood and unholy DPS as well. But first, let's take a look at those frost talents.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

The Queue: Questions, comments, complaints...

Welcome back to The Queue,'s daily Q&A column where the team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft.
Allison Robert is your hostess today.

I have absolutely no idea what the hell the above video is about, but have been required to place it there on threat of firing by Alex Ziebart. Questions, comments, complaints? Send them to him!

Pyril asks...

(On the faction champions fight in Trial of the Crusader): Why would Blizzard force PvE players to basically learn PvP skill sets now, when they've been so good about keeping them seperate to this point? Any chance the encounter will be reworked? GC has said he doesn't want to force raids to bring certain classes, but if you don't to this encounter it's a 3 hour wipe fest.

Is the encounter likely to be changed? No, at least not its basic mechanics. Blizzard fielded similar complaints concerning the Priestess Delrissa fight in Magisters' Terrace, which could be an incredibly ugly experience on heroic if you didn't have CC or weren't well-geared. But are aspects of the encounter likely to be nerfed, or at least tweaked? Maybe, maybe not. It'll depend on how much trouble Blizzard sees people having with the fight.

What's certain is that the Faction Champs encounter is a very common target for complaints right now. Some of this is the result of players still gearing up, but others are voiced by people who intensely dislike the arenaesque feel of it all, or who run a raid setup that's less-than-ideal for whatever champion comp they get that week. I think you're entirely correct in saying that the fight becomes significantly more difficult (or at least more gear-dependent) if you're running a raid with limited options for purging/dispelling the mobs' buffs or keeping their healers locked down, and it's probably that aspect of it that Blizzard's keeping an eye on.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, The Queue

Azeroth Idol

In the absence of a ranged weapon or wand, Druids, Shamans, Death Knights, and Paladins all have an interest in filling the little slot directly to the right of their weapons with something good. You won't get the stats from idols, totems, sigils, or librams that pure classes will get from that slot, but with luck you'll significantly improve a core ability or two. However, because these items usually affect only one or two spells or attacks, they tend to be somewhat hit-or-miss in terms of usefulness, and many specs go for a while without having anything particularly good to put there.

Graylo at Gray Matter takes a look at the new idol available to Balance Druids from Ulduar-25, the Kologarn drop Idol of the Crying Wind. After running the math on its stats versus the Balance idols available for badges (Idol of Steadfast Renewal and Idol of the Shooting Star), he reaches the conclusion that this new i-level 226 item is a significant DPS loss compared to its i-level 213 cousins, even if the Druid in question is using Glyph of Insect Swarm and has the 2-piece Tier 7 bonus granting 10% additional damage to Insect Swarm. While I think it's probably a damage increase on very high-mobility fights, Graylo's math is pretty damning. It's hard to argue that a Tier 8 idol providing less than a third of the damage granted by a Naxx piece represents ideal gear scaling.

Bears in Ulduar-25 are looking forward to their first upgrade since the i-level 128 (!) Idol of Terror, but I'm not too sure about other classes. Do you have some hard choices ahead of you, or do you plan on using an older piece?

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Shaman, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight

Death Knights will use sigils

Exactly what weapons Death Knights will be able to wield has been the subject of some controversy. Originally, it was speculated by Blizzard that one- and two-handed swords and axes would be the extent of it. Currently in the beta, polearms and one- and two-handed swords, axes, and maces are usable. Daggers, fist weapons, staves, wands, and ranged weapons are not (updated with verified information).

But not many people have talked about what's going to go in that ranged slot. A moment's thought reminds us that every other class that can't use ranged weapons or wands (Druids, Shamans, and Paladins) have Relics in those slots. If you're not familiar, Relics are class-specific items that typically provide a boost to particular spells; they come in different flavors for the different classes. Druids get Idols, Shamans get Totems (confusing, yes), and Paladins get Librams.

Wrath will add one more to the list: Sigils, for Death Knights. So far only one has been implemented in the beta – Sigil of the Dark Rider, one of the first quest rewards in the DK's starting chain. Blood Strike, as far as I can tell, is meant to be a staple skill for many DKs, like Heroic Strike for Warriors, so this should come in handy. And unlike Paladins, DKs have plenty of ranged spells, so pulling shouldn't be problematic – they even have a spell that brings the enemy straight to them, Scorpion-style. Get over here!

Filed under: Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

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