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Lichborne: Major patch 4.0.6 changes for death knights


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. Join World of Warcraft's first hero class as we head into a new expansion and shed the new kid on the block label.

Patch 4.0.6 was surprisingly busy for death knights. While we did cover some of the specifics back when the first patch notes came out, how it's all played out is a little different, especially with some additional hotfixed nerfs that dropped for death knights. That said, despite the nerfs, we're really not in that bad a place, and for certain death knights, there's even good news. This week, we'll take a look at some of the most important changes that came with patch 4.0.6 and how they affect your playstyle and gearing decisions.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Haste and spell hit issues in patch 4.0.1 and beyond


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

Patch 4.0.3 and the Cataclysm expansion are approaching quickly, and frankly, we're in pretty good shape right now. Yes, there are issues you can point at in almost every tree that could be just a little better, but honestly, most of them are pretty minor. We're really solidly set up for leveling (if you don't mind leveling in a tank spec), dungeon running, and even the first tier of raiding, and for now we can feel pretty secure about ourselves (or at least about our class).

That said, there are almost always improvements to be made, and I do want to take a little bit of time to talk about the issue of the unholy tree's complicated love-hate relationship with haste. Now, you're still going to be stacking and gemming strength as much as possible when you gear up. Strength is still king, don't get me wrong, and you'll always want to get your melee hit capped out. But after that, haste pretty much rules for the roost for unholy. It vaults past critical strike rating and leaves mastery somewhere two or three miles down the road, it's so good.

This isn't too much of a problem at first glance. It's arguably a little boring stacking one secondary stat over others, but that's more or less a reality of gearing up a DPS. It's very rare that two secondary stats share equal billing. We did have a problem with reaching the GCD cap early on in the beta, but the addition of a GCD reduction element to Unholy Presence fixed that pretty handily.

That said, there's still two big problems, one of which primarily affects unholy, the other of which affects all three trees.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Dispel resistance mechanics changing in 3.0.8

Here's a mechanics change that's been sort of sitting in the 3.0.8 patch notes that deserves a closer look: Dispel resistance mechanics via talents are being changed.

As Ghostcrawler describes it, essentially resistance mechanics will now only protect your harmful damage over time spells and your buffs. Other types of Debuffs and Crowd Control effects, such as Fear, Psychic Scream, and Ebon Plague, will no longer be able to take any bonus from dispel resistance talents such as Silent Resolve, Contagion, and Virulence.

It seems like it's one more way in which, since Wrath of the Lich King came out, Blizzard's been shying away from crowd control mechanics as anything more than a stop gap measure, in both PvP and PvE. Whether this will hold up in the long term remains to be seen, but crowd control artists, be prepared to recast those spells just a bit quicker.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP, Talents, Buffs, Battlegrounds, Arena

Lichborne: A Death Knight statistics primer

Death Knight Itemization: This guy is doing it wrong.
Welcome to Lichborne, the weekly Death Knight column by professor Daniel Whitcomb, who totally has a PhD in Death-Knightology from Ebon Hold University. It's the truth, I swear.

I've seen a lot of people asking these questions as we've been getting into the expansion: Now that I am trying to gear by Death Knights, what stats should I get? What's good for a Death Knight? Which armor should I take. We've started getting in that somewhat in the last few columns, with advice on reputation gear and starting zone gear, but I figured today we should delve a little bit more into the why of Death Knight stats.

Today's column will double as a little bit of primer on how Death Knights get their power, and what stats you should be looking for on armor in general to make your Death Knight the best it can be. It's not completely in depth, but it should get you well on the road to understanding just how Death Knights get all that awesome power and sexiness.

We'll have 3 sections today. The Good are stats that are excellent choices for DPS, Tanks, or both. The So-So are stats which still do us some good, but are pretty situational or conditional in their usefulness. The Outcasts are those stats that you should avoid -- Well, I'd say avoid like the plague, but we're Death Knights. We like the plague around here. So I'll just say you should avoid them.

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

Lichborne: Death Knight Tanking


Welcome to the first post-Wrath installment of Lichborne, the weekly Death Knight column. Join Daniel Whitcomb on the bleeding edge of a new and untried class.

So Wrath is upon us, and we can finally start leveling our Death Knights on the live servers. That's right, this time it's for keeps. I'm pretty excited about that. One thing, though, that I haven't gotten to do yet on live servers is tank a dungeon. It's not that I don't want to, it's that 98% of the people leveling through Outland right now are Death Knights, so finding a healer is a bit difficult. Still, I did my fair share of tanking on Beta servers, and I played a Druid tank for years, and I'm figuring I'll do my fair share of tanking again at 80. Thus, I decided that this week is the perfect time to start getting ready to tank, even if Utgarde may be the first instance most Death Knights will get a group for.

Let's get down to the basics:

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Filed under: Tips, Raiding, Bosses, Guides, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Of Cabbages and Kings

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of other things...
Welcome to Lichborne, where each weekend, Daniel Whitcomb helps you keep pace with the ever-changing Death Knight class.

This week, While Death Knight tweaks continue, there's no big piece of news that really stands out. We got a nice bump in damage to our base weapon strikes, Death Coil, and the abilities that mimic them in the talent trees in the latest build. Unfortunately, poor Plague Strike still sits at a sort of dismal 30% weapon damage, meaning it still doesn't feel like it scales as well as it should. But preliminary reports are still that it's a noticeable DPS increase.

At the same time, our PvP utility and survivability was nerfed, but not in completely unexpected ways. Chains of Ice is dispellable again, as the devs felt that between it and Death Grip, it was far too hard to get away from a Death Knight. Again, this nerf is somewhat expected, if not needed, although some argue the nerf is unfair in the face of other classes that have similar abilities to ensnare and entrap opponents. I have to admit that I'm hoping we see, at the least, Chains of Ice getting put on Virulence. If nothing else, that Glyph of Blood Boil is looking a lot nicer.

Still, none of the news really jumps out and grabs me, and with the beta patches coming fast and furious, it's hard to write with any authority on something that may be changed next week. With that in mind, I've decided this week to post on a potpourri of odds and ends from around the World of Warcraft as they relate to Death Knights, both stuff that refers back to previous columns and new observations. Read on:

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

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