More PTR Whining

So, yesterday a new PTR build dropped, and I just got around to reading the patch notes/undocumented changes on mmo-champion today. You can read it here.

Death Knight tanks are being gutted. There is no other way to describe it. Let’s review the impending changes between the PTR and Live, shall we?

General

Frost Presence: 15% magic damage reduction to 10% magic damage reduction. Flat out 5% magic damage mitigation nerf. This is a nerf to all DK tanking specs.

Blood

Blade Barrier: Changing from 10% parry to 5% damage reduction. This is a flat out 5% nerf to DK damage mitigation on physical bosses, and a 5% gain on magic damage. Except Frost Presence is being nerfed by 5%, so it’s no gain overall. This is a nerf to all DK tanks, as it is one of the core talents in all tanking specs. This also reduces DK threat per second, as fewer parries means fewer rune strikes.

Will of the Necropolis: A 15 second cooldown is being added to the damage reduction effect. This is one of the changes that just completely floored me. It seems very much like the age old situation of a PvP nerf FUBARing PvE.Blood spec nerf.

Vampiric Blood: Cooldown doubled to two minutes. The, as Blizzard calls us, “cooldown tanks” now have fewer cooldowns available during a fight. Blood spec nerf.

Blood Gorged: Losing 5 expertise, gaining 5% armor penetration. More TPS(maybe?), less damage mitigation on most bosses due to parryhasting effects. Blood spec nerf.

Frost

Lichborne: 25% miss chance being removed from the cooldown, making it a will of the forsaken for Death Knights. The “cooldown tanks” now have one fewer cooldown available. This is, for the most part, a nerf to all DK tanks, as Lichborne is taken in almost all DK tanking specs. Upside, 1 more talent point available to blood and frost specs, 3-6 more TPs available to unholy spec.

Unbreakable Armor: The lackluster ability(25% armor increase) this cooldown provides on live is being changed to damage reduction that scales with how much armor you have, and the amount of parry it grants is being nerfed from 10% to 5%. Cooldown is doubling to 2 minutes. So, the cooldown is being made useful for magic damage, but again, fewer cooldowns available during a fight. Frost spec nerf.

Howling Blast: The gutting of Howling Blast has been somewhat reversed, it’s gone from 5 second cooldown double damage on targets with frost fever to first 5 second cooldown, +50% damage against targets with frost fever, to 10 second cooldown base damage doubled scaling doubled. Not sure how this will effect the ability. Also moved from 31 point talent to 51 point talent.

Unholy

Bone Shield: Cooldown doubled to 2 minutes. Yet again, the “cooldown tanks” have fewer cooldowns available during a fight. Unholy nerf.

So, Blood DKs are getting hit the worst(expected), with Frost and Unholy also getting significantly nerfed with the spec specific nerfs and the general DK tanking nerfs. Now, I understand there are some issues with tanking parity and shield-based tanks falling behind druids and Death Knights. The answer to this problem, however, is not to break Druid and DK tanks so that all of the tanks are subpar for bosses with big, slow hits. Specifically for Death Knights, the tanks with the most Damage Taken Per Second(DTPS) are going to be taking even more damage. I do not envy the struggle healers will be facing healing Death Knight tanks in 3.1.

Oh, and so I can avoid being told that all I’m doing is whining without any kind of suggestions for ways to fix the problem that don’t involve nerfing Druids and DKs to the ground, here we go: Change shields so instead of blocking a set amount, they block a set percentage of damage from a hit. Seems like it would buff a warrior or pally’s capability of dealing with big, slow hits without screwing those of us not using shields.

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Death Knight Tanking Spec

So, it’s been way too long since I posted…this seems to be becoming a bit of a trend for me, unfortunately. I’m hoping now that I’ve hit 80 and things have become a bit more relaxed, I’ll have more time(and inspiration!) to post.

Today, I bring you my Death Knight’s tanking spec. Here’s a talent calculator link.

Right now, I’m specced 23/48/0, and quite happy with it. The highlights of the spec are Guile of Gorefiend for the boost to Icebound Fortitude, Acclimation, Frost Aura, and Spell Deflection for caster mitigation, Improved Icy Talons for buffing the party/raid, Howling Blast for aoe tanking, and Unbreakable Armor and Lichborne for the talented oh crap button.

So far I’ve tanked most regular 5 mans with this spec. Frost is far and away the best tanking spec, in my opinion, as the aoe rotation is much cleaner, and the mitigation is much better, at least at lower gear levels. Once I’ve pushed my avoidance higher, I’ll try Unholy again to see how the uptime on Bone Armor is enhanced.

My basic rotations are Icy Touch, Plague Strike, Blood Strike, Blood Strike, Obliterate, Frost Strike, wash rinse repeat for single target. For aoe tanking, the rotation alternates. Icy Touch, Plague Strike, Pestilence, Death and Decay for the first rotation, then Icy Touch, Plague Strike, Pestilence, Howling Blast, Blood Boil for the second rotation, with some RP dumps thrown in the end of each, situationally.

So, that’s my extremely basic Death Knight tanking guide. Hope this helps some of you.

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Deathknights and You

This isn’t going to be a post with prospective specs, play information or even any useful gear recommendations. We all know that Malfean handles the technical side of things and I’m more “color commentary” anyway. No, this is about why everyone should have a Death Knight, even if you don’t want to have one.

I had no real intention of playing a Death Knight. After dabbling with them on the beta, I knew they were fun and all, but I had no interest in having one of my own. Truth be told, I really still don’t. However, since Malfean intends to main-switch, I made a Death Knight to run around Outland with him until he hits 68, at which point I am going to switch over to my main, a rogue, and continue on into Northrend. I’ll keep the character around, though, because I’ve had so much fun that I’m thinking I might actually want to finish leveling her at some point. So here are a few reasons why, even if you don’t think you want to play a Death Knight, you really do:

1. Appearance. Ok, I’m a girl, but holy freakin’ tauren, the new Death Knight skins are wicked. Baleful blue glares and hollowed out cheeks, grey-bluish skin and sickly blue hair…they look half dead and all evil, which is how I likes it. It also seems that blue is a big theme with Death Knights. Half of what they wear gear-wise has a blue cast to it, at least until you start trading it for Outland clown-gear.

2. The Starting Area. Now, all of the new content has some new quest types that are interesting and fun. Yes, there are a lot of the standard “Go get me fifteen snake gonads and I’ll give you a whistle that makes you dance” quests, but there are also new siege engine quests and phased quests and the like that will keep you interested. The Death Knight starting area has all of the best of the new quest innovations rolled into one fast-paced and highly entertaining spot. You want to fly on a Frost Wyrm and set fire to mobs below you and explode things? Check. You want to experience the sensation of your actions actually having a dynamic impact on the landscape around you? Check. You want to experience the exhiliration of being part of an epic battle with death, destruction and dying screams that looks like something out of “Lord of the Rings”? You can do this! Roll up your Death Knight now.

3. AOE the World. Have you, much like me, never had one of those classes that people constantly scream about being OP? Have you always missed the brief window of insane DPS before the soul-crushing nerfs? Then now is the time to make a Death Knight. I knew that the Death Knights seemed overpowered in their starting area, but I had no idea what it would be like beyond that, as I hadn’t taken one any further on beta. When Malfean and I ventured into Outland, I was stunned. Mobs go down faster than anything I’ve ever seen before. We routinely pull giant groups of mobs and throw around the Pestilence, Death and Decay and Blood Boil Death Knight AoEs and everything just falls before us. Whole islands of Naga, elites we used to have to get guildmates to help with, group quests for 3 or more…all no problem for a couple of piddly little Death Knights. I can’t help but think that this stuff is going to get nerfed, especially since even I, the one who never PvPs, can see the PvP potential in all of this. Casters wouldn’t have a chance.  Get yours before they nerf them into the ground.

4. Lore. Admittedly this is an area where Malfean has more interest and knowledge than I do. I tend to be the kind of person that flips past game intros and skips reading quest “color” text just to get to the heart of what I’m supposed to do. Lets get on with it! However, when you watch Arthas and Tirion Fordring’s scene at the end of the last quest in the Death Knight starting area, it’s hard not to be enthralled. Even me. It’s hard not to get swept up by the epic scope of it all.

In short, even if you never wanted a Death Knight, even if you aren’t interested in them at all, make one just for a little while. Enjoy this new, truly Heroic class that Blizz has given us. It’s one of the few things in the game that actually feels like you hoped the game would feel when you looked at your first World of Warcraft box and thought “Wow…I want to go there.”.

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History

With the release of Wrath of the Lich King looming on the horizon(ZOMG ELEVEN HOURS), I find myself looking back over the time I have spent playing World of Warcraft, and quite a lot of it, at that. However, looking back, I honestly can’t say that I am regretful of the majority of my time spent in game. A lot of people like to talk about how WoW players have no lives, are wasting their time on the game, etc.

In looking back, and considering how much time I have spent playing this game, and how much enjoyment I have gotten out of it, and then factor in the cost of the game, it becomes pretty obvious.

And there I go, sidetracking myself. The reason I am writing this post is more in regards to history than cost effective means of entertainment. So, here we go.

Four years ago, seems like forever. I played around in the beta, and bought WoW a month after it came out, since money was too tight right at launch. I rolled a human paladin, and got it up to level 20 before getting frustrated with the playstyle, and slow, slow, slow killing speed. So I went and rolled a dwarf hunter, who was the first character I ever raided on.

January, 2007. At this point, I had a 60 dwarf hunter, 60 night elf male, 60 gnome warlock, and 60 night elf druid. TBC launched, and I stormed through Outlands with my old guild, ransacking demons and fel orcs and naga for the glory of the Alliance. I remember, shortly before I took a long break from playing, attempting Karazhan and Gruul’s, and wiping horribly. This was before we really knew what the gear requirements were like, almost no one had the rep for heroics yet, and we were still trying to figure out how to raid in the days of 10 and 25 mans. Now, I look at my old guild, and they’ve merged with another guild to become one of the bigger progression guilds on the server.

November, 2007. I get back into playing the game, this time dragging Sharon into it with me. At this point, I can definitely say that I have not looked back since. Being able to share the game with someone I love, and being able to level and farm and grind and run raids with someone across the room to vent to, laugh with, and in general enjoy the game with is one of the most rewarding experiences to be found in World of Warcraft, in my opinion.

November 12th, 2008. Here I sit, anxiously awaiting the work day to be over, ready to dive into the latest xpack, at a midnight release no less. Last November, I rerolled Horde because Sharon preferred them. Now I’m rerolling DK because they’re awesome. I’m not going to make this a yearly thing, I swear.

 

As an aside, if any of you five people who read this are going to be at the Arsenal Mall in Watertown, MA for Gamestop’s midnight release, I’ll be the heavyset guy with beard and glasses, black wool coat and black hawaian shirt…screw it, I’ll put up a picture when I get home. Although the black with red highlights Patriot’s hat might be a good distinguisher.

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Preparations

So, in preparation for my upcoming main-switch, and in the hopes of being able to catch up to Northrend as fast as humanly possible, I’ve begun banking some things to assist with leveling, and I figured I would share that list here, for anyone else considering doing the Death Knight thing.

First things first, there are a variety of items that turn in for experience that are not BoP, and can be farmed by a higher level toon for a low level toon. On my list are 30 Crypt Fiend Parts, 30 Bone Fragments, 300 Runecloth(more than that when you factor in what I will need for First Aid), 10 Unidentified Plant Parts, 10 Mature Spore Sacs, 6 Bog Lord Tendrils, 3 Pair of Ivory Tusks, and 10 Oshu’gun Crystal Fragments. The reason for the runecloth, crypt fiend parts, and bone fragments? I expect the DK starter zone to be rather crowded on Wrath day. And, after a couple hours, I expect Hellfire Peninsula to be just as bad. So, my plan is to go from 58 to as close to 60 as possible in WPL doing cauldron quests. Doing the cauldron quests, and some other Argent Dawn quests(Defenders of Darrowshire, A Plague Upon Thee) should be enough to get me up to Friendly with AD, which will open up the turn-ins in Light’s Hope Chapel. I’ll also hop over to all the capital cities, and turn in cloth to all of the factions for the xp.

Next up on my list is items to stockpile for leveling quality of life improvements. This main consists of a few stacks of healing pots, 2 stacks of Onslaught Elixirs, a bunch of runecloth and netherweave cloth for bandages, and 5 stacks of Ravager Dogs. I may swap out the Onslaughts for Elixirs of Major Strength, and the Ravager Dogs for Roasted Clefthoof. Going with Major Strength will give me 10 more AP, and I’ll also get some parry from the str, which will at least help a little with how much damage I’m taking. And considering I plan on AoEing my way through a lot of Outland, less damage is a good thing.

And the final bit on my list, largely due to the help of Sharon. A bunch of runecloth and netherweave cloth for skilling up First Aid, and enough metal to get myself Outland capped on Blacksmithing. I fully intend for my Death Knight to be a tank, and with some of the new shinies I’ve seen with Blacksmithing, plus socketing, it seems like a pretty awesome choice for tradeskills. Also, I’m holding out high hopes for great tanking gear from Armorsmithing, although I’m not going to pick one way or the other until later on.

So, that’s more or less it. I would love to see some comments from people on anything I’m missing, and I hope this helps some people out there trying to do the same thing I am.

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DKing It Up

So, I have decided what I will be doing when Wrath launches. That’s right, I’m going to be main-switching to a Death Knight, and grinding towards 80. Over the next few days, I hope to get some posts up regarding my EJ research on Death Knights, and my general impressions of the class. Until then, an idea of what my prospective Unholy leveling builds look like.

58 http://wotlk.wowhead.com/?talent=jZZfMMfxfkxcq0c0bL

63 http://wotlk.wowhead.com/?talent=jZZfMMfxfkxcq0cchx

I’m not 100% on leveling as Unholy, I may actually level as Blood. I need to play around with it a bit more, and see how Unholy solos(there’s been a lot of builds since I played around with Unholy, and I’m much more familiar with Blood soloing).

Also, I’m a tad late for my first post of NaBloPoMo, but I’m gonna count it anyway, since I haven’t been to bed yet. It totally counts!

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