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Posts Tagged ‘death knight’

I’d been working on some ideas for Blood tank trees for Cataclysm, but after last weeks other bit of news, no not the RealID fiasco, the bit about talent trees being severely pruned, it’s a bit pointless. The Beta talents right now are going to be nothing alike what they’ll be at launch.

First off, each tree is being pruned down to 31 points deep rather than 51. It’s basically 2 tiers less. Second, we’re getting about half as many talent points total, so where we get 71 right now, we’ll probably only have points in the 30’s to play with by the time we ding 85.

At first this sounds like a massive nerf and simplification, but the reasoning behind it is that we spend so many talent points on must-have junk-talents like +1 to hit here and +1 to crit there, that most of those 71 talent points are being spent on boring talents. This makes a hell of a lot of sense. I know I drop otherwise awesome, fun and flavourful talents like Lichborne to instead pick up something dreary like one percent to dodge. Ho hum.

It will be farm more fun to be able to focus on grabbing ‘unnecessary’ talents like Mark of Blood or Blood Worms than minmaxing cookiecutter builds focused purely on stats. Especially the DK class, which loses out on a lot of versatility in the way cookiecutter builds spec in order to maximize dps or eh/threat. And it’s versatility that was supposed to be this class’s strong point. Something we had to sacrifice in trying to keep up with all the other classes. We lose out on so many ‘toys’ that are baked into other classes, and it’ll be refreshing to be able to haul out something super cool like Hungering Cold in a dungeon or raid instead of sinking that 1 point into getting 5/5 Black Ice.

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Recently I’ve begun to wonder whether getting the 2 piece Tier10 for more AoE threat is worthwhile. Thing is, which actual¬†bosses in ICC require strong AoE tanking? Let’s see…

Marrowgar? Nope

Deathwhisper. Kinda, but I’ve had zero problems so far

Gunship. Nope. If you’re going over, you’re on Brann. If you’re staying, you only really need to tank the Sergeant.

Saurfang. Nope.

Festergut. Nope.

Rotface. Nope.

Putricide. Nope.

Blood Princes. Nope.

Blood Queen. Nope.

Valithria. Not really. Just as long as you DnD the worms after the abom goes down. The frost mage simply needs to be mindfreezed, and the blazing skeleton’s Blast Wave can’t be tanked, neither can the suppressors or that other thing that needs to be kited by ranged. So even though there are a lot of adds running around sometimes, you don’t really need to be AoE tanking them.

Sindragosa. Nope.

Lich King. I dunno, haven’t tanked this. I suspect for the offtank, tanking those ghouls in Phase 1, but if DPS is doing it right they won’t even need much aggro since offloading that disease onto them is the proper way to do it. Dunno bout the rest of the fight.

In a nutshell, ICC requires no real AoE tanking whatsoever. It’s pretty safe to say you don’t need 2XT10 and/or the DnD Glyph as a raiding tank, then. So why do so many people out there say that these two elements are vital? For trash? Just let the pally or warrior do it. Is trash really serious business? Are people really so worried about raid trash and running heroics that they’ll blow precious Frost Emblems on 2xT10? Naw, man. Naw. Buy the nonset plate instead. Get that trinket, it’s godly. Buy the cloak, the 264 chest/belt/etc and patch it up with some 245 gear. As a tank, focus on single target threat and survivability. A few dead dps who can’t control their aggro isn’t a train smash. A dead tank on the other hand, is a wipe.

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Frost DPS Review

After a week of evaluation, I’ve switched my main DPS spec from Unholy to Frost Dual Wield.

Is my DPS better as Frost? Overall, no, not really.
In fact, my overall DPS and AoE DPS might have suffered somewhat. Single target DPS over a long fight is about the same, and suffers on high mobility fights. So why switch? Burst. Burst damage isn’t something you can plainly evaluate in logs and recount meters. It’s something you notice while raiding. I noticed it during the Gunship fight, where being able to rocket-pack over and pop Unbreakable Armor as a burst cooldown every time helped burn down the channeler much faster than what I was used to. The same is true of trash, being able to burn a single dangerous mob down much faster, or on fights like Deathwhisper where you can burn through a Cultists shield that much faster and without having to have diseases up. At the expense of overall sustained damage, sure. Most often the case is that it all somehow balances out. There appear to be some fights that favour Frost, and some that favour Unholy (Sindragosa springs to mind). Picking between these two specs based on damage potential, then, is purely subjective. They appear to be more or less equivalent.

Does it offer better utility? Better buffing?
Not so much, no. If your raid has a lot of shamans, even untalented Windfury Totem can buff melee quite well. The 13% buff Unholy brings to raiding, on the other hand, can only be replaced by a Warlock, and they are quite few and far between. Specifically it has to be an Affliction warlock, and with most locks being destro, it largely falls to the DK’s to provide that (de)buff. However, what Frost DOES provide is a the most versatile hotpluggability in terms of damage role the class has to offer. See, Unholy does good sustained AoE and single-target damage, but that’s it. Not much room for switching things up. Frost, on the other hand, can change gear so to speak from single to AoE damage simply by switching up Obliterate for Howliing Blast whenever it’s available. Moreover, by switching your Razorice offhand for a Cinderglacier-runed weapon, and cleverly lining up Killing Machine and Cinderglacier procs (I use Power Auras to tell me when both are up at the same time) you can unload some incredible AoE burst damage – hitting EVERY mob in the blast radius for upwards of 15K+ in one hit is something to see. Feels like a nuke just went off. Sure you still won’t be doing the same amount of AoE over time as unholy, but for large amounts of mobs with relatively low HP you might, in fact, be able to do more AoE damage than even Unholy is capable of. And it’s that capability to switch up, as the scenario demands, that gives Frost a significant advantage.

The truth is, Unholy and Frost are almost identical in terms of raw damage and raid utility. Frost is a lot more frantic and severely constrained by GCD and careful proc management, and feels far more hectic to play. Unholy is slower, and steady, and terribly reliable. In my opinion it’s far easier to play, but also somewhat limited in comparison to frost.

So choosing which to spec for is entirely up to you. It’s rare that a class has two equally viable DPS PVE specs, so we are quite lucky we can choose which one we enjoy. As for Blood, it’s pretty much fallen by the wayside. With BiS and ARP capped, you can perhaps match Unholy or Frost, but it would be a ¬†bad time to pursue that avenue with Blood falling away as a DPS spec in Cataclysm. May as well use the time to get used to Frost or Unholy.

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