Tag Archives: dks

Soloing Things – Cataclysm Edition!

3 Sep

Pre-expansion boredom has continued to creep my general direction, so i’ve spent some time doing things I haven’t usually cared about. I did some archaeology and fishing on my druid (WEIRD right?). I found myself grasping for more THINGS to do to occupy my in-game time. I had dropped skinning on my DK in favor of mining, because a crit bonus for a tank is pretty useless, by and large, but a stam bonus isn’t terrible. Then it occurs to me that I will have *two* stam bonuses come MoP (actually, I do NOW too, but that’s neither here nor there honestly) from mining and scribe-only shoulder enchants. So, I was pondering dropping inscription for… something else. This is when it occurred to me that I never got my Therazane rep high enough to buy the enchants, because well… I was a scribe damnit, what do I need THOSE things for?  A quick check of the reputation pane showed me at honored. “Ugh, not even revered? I’ll have to fix that before tuesday.” So, I went and dug (and dusted off) my Therazane tabard, and had a thought… “Why not try soloing some of the level 85 normal mode dungeons?”

First stop was Grim Batol. The *real* boss here is the trash. Holy crapski does that stuff hit hard. On the plus side, you can wipe out a good portion of it with dragons AND… since you’re solo, you can ride more than one! (I only did one drake because I wanted to weaken it, but not kill it, because I don’t get rep for what the drake kills). A couple moderately painful trash pulls later, and i’m staring at General Umbriss. Umbriss was a piece of cake really. Good gear, and rolling blood to bring the troggs down fast, (plus LOTS of Crimson Scourge procs) avoid the Blitz charges and Ground Slams, and he’s dead before you know it.

Shambled my way towards the next boss, and the trash leading up to him *kicked my ass*. “Huh… I remember those guys hitting hard… this might take a bit of work.” After a brisk corpse-run, and jog back to where Throngus was pathing, I pulled the trash much more carefully. They still kicked my ass, but I lived through it. (Nicely timed interrupts, AMS, AMZ, the whole 9 guys. These packs are no joke) After healing back up, I waited for him to path back towards me, and pulled him. His first weapon-draw was Mace… For the hell of it I wanted to see if I could survive those hits. I *probably* could’ve, but it was just easier to kite him and death strike a couple times on the run-by, making sure I avoid cave-ins. After the mace was his shield. Simple enough to run around, and the arrows don’t hurt very badly either (i ended the shield phase at ~50% health, and could heal up quickly afterwords). Main thing to remember is to make sure he’s not near a cave-in area when he weapon-switches… Nothing worse than having to try and edge around perma-ground-AOE in order to attack him. Dual swords was the easiest by far. The debuff was laughable, and I’m not entirely sure he ever penetrated my blood shield with them. Another mace & shield phase, and he dropped like a rock. Then one more pack of those god-forsaken casters with the Ettin chained up. I learned from my earlier mistake, though, and killed them without TOO much pain.

I honestly didn’t think I would be able to solo Dragha at all. I fully expected that the fire elementals would blister me beyond healing, but honestly it wasn’t terrible. Well timed Anti-Magic Shells (about every other elemental), and simply saving a couple death strikes for AFTER the explosions you can’t AMS through made it not terrible. When Dragha gets on Valiona, the damage goes up a bit, but not terribly so. Make sure you don’t stand in the shit on the ground, and you should generally be fine. This is all about timing and self-heals. Also, Valiona didn’t do her giant breath attack… not sure if that’s a bug or intentional, but I was grateful either way.

After Dragha, the trash is painful. The empowered elementals can really mess you up if you’re not paying attention. There was actually one point where I dropped down to 42 HEALTH. Not 4200, not 42000, but 42. Period. Anyway, Careful pulls lead me to Erudax, which turned out to be a much easier fight than I expected. Chains of Ice the solo add that comes out after Shadow Gale, and make sure you’re standing in the safe spot when it happens.  Congrats, you just soloed Grim Batol. Don’t you feel special? Pat yourself on the back (I sure as hell did).

After Grim Batol, I went to Lost City of the Tol’Vir. (I should note that I didn’t *mean* for talking about GB to end up so long, but there it is anyway. LC will be much shorter, because I said it will). The trash in Lost City is nothing to write home about. Pretty tank and spank, kill casters first, watch out for the pygmy firebreathers, yadda yadda yadda. The first boss, General Husam is also surprisingly straightforward. Don’t stand in the bad shit, and… well, don’t stand in the bad shit. Shocker.

Lockmaw is also a lot easier than I expected. The poison dot that he puts on you is easily healed through via death strike, and the baby alligators are blown up pretty simply with a couple well timed blood boils to keep diseases rolling on them. Enjoy your croc-skin boots, and move on, there’s nothing to see here.

High Prophet Barim is easy, but a rather long fight. The first phase is basic “don’t stand in bad shit”, and the damage taken is pretty low overall. The second phase (shadow phase?) is what makes this fight long. Killing the spirit is relatively easy, but you have to constantly move him around the floor the entire time. Since you’re SOLOING this place, you’re the only person that’ll get soul fragmented, so letting them catch up to you and go kaboom can probably wear you out pretty well, just keep moving. Backwards walking is enough, since the fragments move slowly and don’t move for several seconds after they first spawn.

Once you’ve killed Barim, hop up to face Siamat… I should warn you now, this fight is *hard*. Luckily, DKs are uniquely suited to handling this fight. Even still, expect to take lots of damage, and almost die a couple times. Pull the boss, kill the adds. Use your AMS liberally(since you can’t interrupt the damn adds), and burn the adds down as quickly as possible. Rune tap as much as you can, cause your health will fluctuate lots. When Siamat himself becomes damageable, go all out. Ignore the others. Siamat, himself, doesn’t hit for very much physically, but he continues spawning adds that will lightning bolt you throughout. At this point it’s pretty much a race to the finish. Heal yourself as much as possible, use your cooldowns (don’t forget about Empower Runic Weapon! That’s as much a survivability CD as it is a DPS one. 4 death strikes under vampiric blood can account for LOTS of health). If you’re good, use your CDs properly, and maybe a bit lucky, Siamat will fall before you. This fight is honestly about cooldown usage above anything else.

5.0.4 makes my blood boil!

29 Aug

Okay… I hope you’ll pardon the pun in the title. I’m actually quite thrilled at the DK changes i’ve run across. Crazy amounts excited about the blood DK changes. I spent some time playing with it last night, and some little things REALLY caught my attention that just made me happy. A lot of them are tiny little quality of life issues, but still, some of them are just AWESOME.

I went in and blew through Naxx 10 solo, just to get a feel for things. Initially, I was going to play around and test out the different rune regeneration talents (level 75 tier). The first one I went to check out was Blood Tap, and the first boss I went after was Patchwerk. I gotta be honest guys, after doing Patch with Blood Tap on, I was sold. I didn’t even WANT to try Runic Empowerment (because I already know how it feels, it’s what blood’s been using ever since release). Macroing Blood Tap into all of your main abilities really is the ONLY way to regenerate runes guys. It is so smooth and seemless…. it’s just awesome.

Another thing that I hadn’t really paid attention to before, but made itself ABUNDANTLY clear when fighting Patchwerk… Crimson Scourge is now baseline for blood DKs. Previously it was a talent that we didn’t really pick up because… well blood boil was kinda worthless, even with that extra damage. Well, now I can freely admit that blood boil STILL doesn’t hit very hard, but now, they’ve made a pretty big changed to Scarlet Fever… For those of you playing along at home who AREN’T clicking on links… Blood Boil now refreshes diseases.

Let me say that again, in case you just skimmed over it without paying much attention.

Blood boil. Now. Refreshes. Diseases.

Holy batshit you guys, that’s amazing. Not only does it solve the problem generated by moving Outbreak back to a 1 minute cooldown across the board, but when combined with the Scarlet Fever passive, it means that our diseases pretty much will NEVER fall off the target. Why’s that? Because you ALWAYS have blood runes to get rid of. The *easy* answer is that you can simply replace heart strike with blood boil, but that’s a relatively inelegant solution (although perfectly viable). Ideally, you’ll want to use heart strike as much as possible, only spending a rune on blood boil if your diseases are JUST about to fall off and you don’t have a proc. It is possible, but probably won’t happen that often. Generally, save runes for heart strike, and CS (Crimson Scourge) procs for blood boil.

Now, a caveat to the above statement. Crimson Scourge *also* gives you a free death & decay. It doesn’t reset the cooldown on it, but it’s extra damage. This is one of those things that Blizz gives you a way to seperate yourself from the pack. It’s perfectly acceptable to do nothing but blood boil. Your diseases will guarantee to never fall off, and you’re only sacrificing a modest amount of DPS. But the DK tanks who can properly weave in heart strikes, and even Death and Decay (I confirmed that it DOES do more damage, even on a single target at zero vengeance, than blood boil) properly will squeeze out that extra bit of dps. With the way vengeance no longer has a cap, I suspsect that it’ll become more and more significant as the content you run becomes harder.

Now… The other thing I noticed while playing, that I hadn’t noticed before, was the Scent of Blood change. Interestingly enough, this accrues with *every* auto-attack swing. This will be a little more curious to see how it plays out in the grand scheme of things, but I suspect that some of the absolute “Best of the Best” tanks will somehow find a way to time their death strikes properly after getting a couple stacks of this. Big damage incoming? Stave off the Death Strike for a bit and get a couple charges. Take the big hit, heal yourself back up massively, watch the healers go “wait what just happened?”, laugh yourself silly. Fun times for everybody!

This ties in to my (ever ongoing) indecision on which class i’m going to play for Mists. I figure I will spend a week on each toon (druid and DK), exclusively. Raid tank with it, run 5-mans with it, the whole shebang. At the end of each week, I will post my overarching thoughts, and then I will compare the two. My comparison may go into another blogpost, it may not… I haven’t exactly decided yet.

By the way… Pretty much ALL THE TIME, my DK will be on the Headless Horseman’s mount. LOOK AT MY HORSE, MY HORSE IS AMAZING!

MoP Rep Gear – Bears & DKs

25 Aug

So when writing my gear lists last week, I stumbled across something unexpected. It turns out that there are 4 factions who have rep gear, purchasable with VP, that is 489 ilvl epics. Of course, these are probably going to be gear pieces you would be interested in, but which factions have the best pieces for you? Which factions should you focus on, or ignore?

It’s worth noting that each of these factions ALSO have ilvl 450 blue gear, that is purchasable with JP at honored. It’s possible that you may run across honored without even trying, so these may be an early, good way to boost your ilvl getting ready for heroics as well. I will mention each faction, and what they offer to both DKs and bears, much in a similar way that my other lists were formatted, except they will be by faction instead of by gear slot.

Golden Lotus – In addition to some nice gear, the Golden Lotus also have mounts purchasable at exalted. Win!

Guardian Druids – Bears *really* clean up with the Golden Lotus. The 489 shoulders and chestpiece are about as nice as you can find outside of raiding (and would probably only be replaced by tier pieces. I haven’t honestly looked at tier itemization yet). Also, feel free to pick up the ring. Haste may be garbage, but jewelry has always been one of those hard to find, harder to replace pieces.

Surehand Grips – 450 gloves. Crit/Mastery, no socket.

Amulet of Swirling Mists – 450 neck. Haste/Mastery, no socket.

Mogu Rune of Paralysis – 450 trinket. 751 mastery, stun use.

Imperion Spaulders – 489 shoulders. Hit/Crit, yellow socket (60 agi)

Softfoot Silentwrap – 489 chest. Hit/Expertise, blue/yellow socket (120 agi)

Anji’s Keepsake – 489 ring. Hit/Haste, no socket.

Blood DKs – The weird itemization we saw in heroic blues continues on here for DKs. Why they have strength as a socket bonus on a clearly-tank item is beyond me. Perhaps they changed the Str-to-Parry conversion rate to make it far more attractive… I dunno. Anyway, Either 489 chest will work out for you, just depending on which you prefer to have more of. It probably would be worthwhile to pick up both and swap them out according to what feels better to you.

Serrated Forearm Guards – 450 wrist. Expertise/Mastery, no socket.

Gorget of Usurped Kings – 450 neck. Dodge/Hit, no socket.

Mogu Rune of Paralysis – 450 trinket. 751 mastery, stun use.

Cuirass of the Twin Monoliths – 489 chest. Dodge/Expetise, blue/yellow socket (120 str)

Dawnblade’s Chestguard – 489 chest. Hit/Expertise, blue/yellow socket (120 str)

Shoulders of Autumnlight – 489 shoulders. Dodge/Expertise, yellow socket (90 stam)

Alani’s Inflexible Ring – 489 ring. Dodge/Parry, no socket.

Shado-Pan – The Shado-Pan also have some mounts purchasable at exalted. The cloaks alone make these guys worth working on until revered, at the very least… besides, their mounts look effing SWEET.

Guardians – I know the “Hawkmaster’s Talon” has a kind of bunk on-use ability, but that much agi is hard for anybody to pass up, and it would be well worth a pick up on fights where you spend a lot of time DPS-bear’ing instead of actively tanking.

Tough Mushanhide Leggings – 450 legs. Hit/Mastery, no socket.

Mark of the Dancing Crane – 450 ring. Crit/Haste, no socket.

Red Smoke Bandana – 489 head. Hit/Mastery, meta/blue socket (180 agi)

Lao-Chin’s Liquid Courage – 489 trinket. 1619 stam, 15s mastery use.

Hawkmaster’s Talon – 489 trinket. 1079 agi, 15s haste use.

Blackguard Cape – 489 cloak. Hit/Mastery, no socket.

Blood DKs – Nothing special here really. I’m surprised to see such a big stam socket bonus on the helmet, but I expect that’ll be corrected sooner or later. Again, this is still beta.

Thunderstone Ring – 450 ring. Parry/Hit, no socket.

Yi’s Least Favorite Helmet – 489 head. Dodge/Mastery, mega/blue socket (270 stam)

Lao-Chin’s Liquid Courage – 489 trinket. 1619 stam, 15s mastery use.

Yi’s Cloak of Courage – 489 cloak. Parry/Mastery, no trinket.

The August Celestials – More awesome (flying!) mounts that kinda remind me of Mushu. These guys have your “stepping stone” blue cloaks before picking up the 489’s from the Shado-Pan.

Guardians – Nothing particularly noteworthy here. It would figure that somewhere along the line we would have a VP purchase with haste on it… Arginfriggin boots.

Bladesong Cloak – 450 cloak. Crit/Haste, no socket.

Refurbished Zandalari Vestment – 450 chest. Haste/Expertise, no socket.

Fingers of the Lonliest Monk – 489 gloves. Expertise/Mastery, no socket.

Quilpaw Family Bracers – 489 gloves. Hit/Crit, no socket.

Tukka-Tuk’s Hairy Boots – 489 boots. Hit/Haste, no socket.

Blood DKs – Standard valor point gear here. Nothing spectacular to see.

Cloak of the Silent Mountain – 450 cloak. Parry/Expertise, no socket.

Leggings of Ponderous Advance – 450 legs. Crit/Mastery, no socket.

Battle Shadow Bracers – 489 wrist. Parry/Hit, no socket.

Gloves of Overwhelming Swarm – 489 gloves. Parry/Mastery, no socket.

Yu’lon Guardian Boots – 489 boots. Dodge/Parry, no socket.

The Klaxxi – This appears to be one of the few factions that has level 90 weapons for sale with rep, and the only place that the Alliance can get a scorpion mount. They do have the 489 necklaces for sale as well, so they’re definitely worth sinking time into.

Guardians – The belt is weird, with a crit rating socket bonus, but whatever. Drop whatever kinda gem you like in there.

Cruel Mercy Bracers – 450 wrist. Crit/Mastery

Choker of the Klaxxi’va – 489 neck. Hit/Crit, no socket.

Dreadsworn Slayer Legs – 489 legs. Crit/Mastery, red socket (60 agi)

Klaxxi Lash of the Borrower – 489 belt. Crit/Mastery, blue socket (60 crit)

Blood DKs – The Klaxxi are weird, in the direction of tanks. They have mastery on two pieces of plate that are clearly meant for DPS. Take your pick, I suppose.

Chestplate of the Stone Lion – 450 chest. Hit/Mastery, no socket.

Klaxxi Lash of the Consumer – 489 waist. Parry/Hit, blue socket (60 parry).

Kovok’s Riven Legguards – 489 legs. Dodge/Expertise, red socket (60 str).

Paragon’s Pale Pendant – 489 neck. Parry/Hit, no socket.

In general, this is your basic, JP/VP gear list, with the added oddity of needing rep to buy these items as well. In addition  to that, the JP pieces are lower ilvl than what you get from heroic dungeons… VERY weird if you ask me, but whatever I suppose. I’m not sure how it’ll work out, by and large, but I assume either people will buy these items or they won’t. I suppose it doesn’t much matter anyway, because when the second full content patch of MoP comes out, we’ll be largely ignoring these items anyway.

Mists of Pandaria – Pre-raid gear for Blood DKs

21 Aug

I debated with myself for a while whether or not I was going to write one of these, but I figured, “why the hell not?” I’ve seen several gear lists floating around, but they’re mostly for healers and such. I honestly hadn’t seen a single pre-raid gear list for bears OR blood DKs, so… why not me, right? Anyway, gearing up a blood DK will, by and large, not be any different come MoP than it is today. There may be a little more call for hit/expertise, but generally it’s going to be Mastery > All else. Avoidance (dodge/parry) are still going to come out on top of hit/expertise, but by a lesser margin than before… although, admittedly, it will still probably be a larger margin than it is for bears.

Anyway, same deal goes here as it did for the bear list. This is all PRE-raid gear. Heroics, craftables, and BoEs. You *shouldn’t* have to step into any raid to get any of the gear on this list. That said, this is still beta info, and is subject to change at any time really. Here’s hoping that with just over a month till Mists, that this won’t change much. Any crafted epics (with the exception of trinkets) are pretty much ALWAYS going to be better than heroic blues simply because of stat scale. More stam and more str (which means more parry), and generally, better sockets as well.

Chestpieces –

Durable Plate of the Golden Lotus – Parry/Mastery, no sockets. Drops from a dungeon quest maybe?

Hateshatter Chestplate – Expertise/Mastery, red socket (60 str). Drops from Taren Zhu in H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Canine Commander’s Breastplate – Dodge/Parry, blue socket (60 str.) Drops from Houndmaster Braun, in H-Scarlet Halls.

Breastplate of Wracking Souls – Parry/Expertise, blue socket (60 parry). Drops from Instructor Chillheart in H-Scholomance.

Breastplate of Ancient Steel – 476 epic. Dodge/Mastery, 2 yellow sockets (180 stam). Blacksmithing.

Unyiedlding Bloodplate – 496 epic. Dodge/Mastery. 2 blue sockets (180 stam). Blacksmithing.

As far as the blue items go, the winner of this slot is the Breastplate of Wracking Souls. 60 parry is a… weird socket bonus, but with a blue socket, you could drop a Mastery/Stam (green) gem in, or simply ignore it and go for pure mastery. The Canine Commander’s Breastplate is an oddity, at best, because it gives you a strength socket bonus, but has dodge and parry. It’s not terrible, really, but it would probably be one to avoid. Of course, if you can afford it, the Unyielding Bloodplate is unquestionably the way to go, just for pure stat numbers alone.

Boots –

Stonestep Boots – Dodge/Hit, yellow socket (60 str). Drops from Lorewalker Stonestep in H-Temple of the Jade Serpent.

Wraithplate Treads – Parry/Mastery, yellow socket (60 str). Drops from Jandice Barov in H-Scholomance.

More odd socket bonuses found, in two pieces that have CLEAR tank stats, but give strength for their socket bonus. I guess it doesn’t matter much, as they’re both yellow gem slots, so go to town. Technically, the Wraithplate Treads are better (because mastery), but you could pretty safely pick up either one and be okay.

Gloves –

Hive Protector’s Gauntlets – Hit/Mastery, no socket. Drops from Raigonn in H-Gate of the Setting Sun

Gauntlets of Resolute Fury – Dodge/Mastery, no socket. Drops from Mastery Snowdrift in H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Axebreaker Gauntlets – Parry/Hit, no socket. Drops from Xin the Weaponmaster in H-Mogu’shan Palace.

Gauntlets of Ancient Steel – 476 epic. Parry/Mastery, red socket (60 dodge). Blacksmithing.

Gauntlets of Battle Command – 496 epic. Parry/Mastery, red socket (60 parry). Blacksmithing.

To be perfectly honest, either of the first two would be the ones I pick up. Dodge/Mastery wins out, but i’m sure you’ll want SOME amount of hit rating at the start of things. Make your own choice to fit your own gear. At first, I almost scanned right by the crafted gloves, but either one of those will do you better than any of the blues. Again, use your own judgement and based on what you can afford.

Helmets –

Sightfinder Helm – Crit/Mastery, meta, red socket (180 str). Drops from Commander Vo’jak in H-Siege of Niuzao Temple.

Helm of Rising Flame – Parry/Hit, meta, blue socket (180 str). Drops from Brother Korloff in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Reinforced Retinal Armor – 476 epic. Variable stats through cogwheels, meta & 2 cogwheel sockets (180 str). Engineering ONLY.

The crafted helm is probably better left to DPS, but you could put an obscene amount of mastery on this helm through cogwheels if you like. The Str/Stam is, of course, a solid amount higher than the heroic blues. Speaking of, at first sight, Sightfinder Helm appears to be better suited to plate DPS (and it probably is), but I included it for 2 reasons… First – it still has mastery on it, and second, there’s really only one other plate tanky helm if you’re NOT an engineer. Feel free to grab whichever one you prefer.

Leggings –

Sap-Encrusted Legplates – Dodge/Parry, blue socket (60 parry). Drops from Vizier Jin’bak in H-Siege of Niuzao Temple.

Legplates of Durable Dreams – 476 epic. Hit/Haste, no sockets. BoE.

Those legplates may be labelled epic, but they kind of fall short of really convincing me of it. No socket, whereas the blue pants DO have them? Also, hit and haste… You’d probably be better off going with the heroic blues instead… I know what I said at the beginning of this blogpost, but this time, honestly, you’re not getting anything BUT more str/stam. It hardly seems worth it. Don’t waste your money on the BoE’s unless you’re looking to fill out an offset (and even then, you could probably do better).

Shoulders –

Spaulders of Immovable Stone – Dodge/Parry, red socket (60 parry). Drops from Wing Leader Ner’onok in H-Siege of Niuzao Temple.

Vigorsteel Spaulders – Parry/Hit, red socket (60 hit). Drops from Darkmaster Gandling in H-Scholomance.

Spaulders of the Scorned – 476 epic. Parry/Mastery, no socket. BoE.

I’m a little thrown off by some of the weird itemization shown here. 2 out of 3 pieces with no mastery, red sockets on tank plate, one piece with a “Hit” socket bonus, and the highest ilvl piece with NO socket. /headshake. In spite of the lack of socket, the 476 shoulders are most likely your best bet, if you can find them. I don’t know where they drop, so prices will most likely be high for some time. Of course, the Vigorsteel Spaulders are still a fair alternative, because of hit rating as it’s side stat, and socket bonus. If you’re looking for blues, feel free to go whichever direction you prefer.

Belts –

Sparkbreath Girdle – Dodge/Parry, no socket. BoP zone drop from H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Waistplate of Imminent Resurrection – Dodge/Expertise, no socket. Drops from High Inquisitor Whitemane in H-Scarlet Monastery.

This would be another flip of the coin, depending on if you prefer pure avoidance, or having some threat stats to help your self healing along. Sparkbreath will probably be easier to find, as it technically can drop off *any* mob in Shado-Pan.

Bracers –

Bubble-Breaker Bracers – Dodge/Parry, no socket. Drops from Hoptallus in H-Stormstout Brewery.

Ri’Mok’s Shattered Scale – Dodge/Expertise, no socket. Drops from Commander Ri’mok in H-Gate of the Setting Sun.

A lot of the same itemization. No mastery in this slot, again, has me a bit confused, but sure… why not. Pick up whichever fits your preference better.

Cloaks –

Soulrender Greatcloak – Dodge/Parry, no sockets. Drops from Thalnos the Soulrender in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Phantasmal Drape – Dodge/Hit, no sockets. Drops from Jandice Barov in H-Scholomance.

Zom’s Rain-Staned Cloak – 476 epic. Dodge/Expertise, no sockets. BoE.

Finally some pieces that favor dodge over parry… From what i’ve seen, you’ll probably be sitting on more parry than dodge, so any of these would be good to pick up (but of course, I could be completely wrong. Base it off of your own gear requirements, of course). The winner is, of course, the 476 purple.

Necks –

Necklace of the Dark Blaze – Dodge/Expertise, no sockets. BoP zone drop from H-Scholomance.

Armsmaster’s Sealed Locket – Parry/Mastery, no sockets. Drops from Armsmaster Harlan in H-Scarlet Halls.

Durable Necklace of the Golden Lotus – 489 epic. Parry/Mastery, no sockets. Quest Reward in Vale of Eternal Blossoms.

The 489 necklace as a quest reward is a curiosity (but it’s by far the best)… it makes me wonder if I bypassed one for bears when doing my other gear list (i’ll have to make another list because it turns out there ARE several things I did miss… I’ll make a secondary post to hopefully encompass both bears and DKs before this weekend, I think.) I’m assuming that quest reward is going to be your big thing for finishing the entire zone up, but it seems worthwhile, even bypassing the Raid Finder necklaces.

Rings –

Crystallized Droplet – Dodge/Hit, no sockets. Drops from Wise Mari in H-Temple of the Jade Serpent.

Lime-Rimmed Signet – Parry/Mastery, no sockets. Drops from Yan-Zhu the Uncasked in H-Stormstout Brewery.

Always go for the mastery, folks.

Trinkets – As per usual, folks, these are going to vary a lot depending on your personal preference, and your guild/raid group’s setup, as to which trinkets you prefer. I’ll do my best to list the viable ones, of course.

Iron Protector Talisman – 1270 Stamina, 15s dodge proc. Drops from Gekkan in H-Mogu’Shan Palace.

Heart of Fire – 847 Mastery, 20s dodge use. Drops from Master Snowdrift in H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Bitterest Balebrew / Bubbliest Brightbrew Charms – 470 epics. 1356 stam, pointless use. Drops from Coren Direbrew (during Brewfest ONLY).

Brawler’s Statue – 470 epic. 904 Dodge, 20s dodge use. Drops from Coren Direbrew (during Brewfest ONLY)

Relic of Niuzao – 476 epic. 12s dodge use. Darkmoon Ox Deck.

As I mentioned in the Bear gear lists, the darkmoon trinket is exceedingly disappointing for it’s item level. Yes, the on-use ability is a LOT of dodge (about 10% if these numbers I have are correct), but with no base stats to back it up, and nothing to reforge into/out of, then that’s ALL it is… and that leaves it just being pretty mediocre, especially given what it’s liable to cost for at least the first few months of MoP. If it were me personally, i’d shoot for the Talisman and the Heart of Fire, and try to pick up the Brawler’s Statue as well to hold on to as back up (extra mastery, since you can reforge that base 904 dodge). Feel free to pick up whichever you like though.

Weapons – Weapons are funny things for DKs… they always have been. I’m not going to list every single 2h strength weapon, but if they have a stat we can make GOOD use of (mastery/hit/expertise/dodge/parry), then it’ll go in the list.

Warmace of Taran Zhu – Crit/Mastery, no sockets. Drops from Taran Zhu in H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Lightbreaker Greatsword – Expertise/Mastery, no sockets. Drops from High Inquisitor Whitemane in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Mograine’s Immaculate Might – Haste/Mastery, no sockets. Drops from Flameweaver Koegler in H-Scarlet Halls.

Gravetouch Greatsword – Hit/Crit, no sockets. Drops from Instructor Chillheart in H-Scholomance.

Goresoaked Headreaper – Crit/Expertise, no sockets. Drops from Rattlegore in H-Scholomance.

Masterwork Spiritblade Decimator – Crit/Mastery, no sockets. Blacksmithing.

Mogu’Dar, Blade of the Thousand Slaves – 476 Epic. Hit/Crit, no sockets. BoE.

Aside from the 476 pulling away based on Str/Stam alone, your best choice here would be the Lightbreaker Greastword. Haste and Crit are useless stats for Blood DKs as a whole, and all of these items has at least *one* of them, except that sword. Expertise/Mastery is hardly the ideal combination, but given the cirucmstances, it would be the one to shoot for until the price on Mogu’Dar goes down, or you happen to have BOATLOADS to drop on a BoE… or you get painfully lucky.

Now then, I mentioned earlier that I would have to make a follow-up post to this, and I will… I discovered only a few hours ago that there will be items from rep vendors that will be purchasable at Revered with valor points. When I started making these gear lists last week, I *completely* omitted VP gear, because I wasn’t entirely sure where it was… it wasn’t showing up as it normally does in Wowhead’s gear listings, so I just completely overlooked it. Now that I know exactly what i’m looking for (rep gear, not vendor gear) I will make a follow-up before this weekend, probably encompassing both bears and blood DKs, covering the rep items I passed up.

DK talents, Just in time for 5.0

1 Aug

It has been a while since i’ve broken down the DK talents, and some things have made me rethink some of my earlier positions on them, so i’m going to give it a go once more. (Also, I will freely admit that I am *still* staggered by the amount of blog hits I get on my older DK talent breakdowns, so I figured something more up-to-date is in order.) As always, I will be approaching the talents from a purely PvE/raiding perspective.

If you want to see the entire talent tree, and tooltips, go here.

Tier 1 (Level 15) – Rolling Blood – Plague Leech – Unholy Blight

None of these choices really wow me, as a whole. Unholy Blight, while it’s cool to see it come back in name, isn’t the same awesomeness it was almost 4 years ago when DKs were introduced. In fact, it’s pretty sub-par, all things considered. If you want to spread diseases quickly, Rolling Blood is the way to do it, since it causes damage to all targets at the same time. It’ll probably be the talent of choice for most multi-target fights, with Plague Leech seeing some use for DK tanks to hit an “oh shit!” rune tap or something… but even then, there’s better options. Take your pick, but this whole tier leaves me underwhelmed.

Tier 2 (Level 30) – Lichborne – Anti-Magic Zone – Purgatory

Utility talents, and it’s a pretty nice one. Lichborne and AMZ will probably see the most use by DPS and tanks alike. Purgatory is kind of an odd choice, because 3 seconds is really only enough time to get of one big heal, plus an instant cast. As a tank, I would personally stay the hell away from Purgatory, because the boss doesn’t stop swinging in that time you’re covered in the shroud. It could be good for DPS in the same way that Cauterize is currently used by fire mages to some success in certain situations. Lichborne will probably be taken more by tanks due to the death coil healing that’s been so popular for quite some time now.

Tier 3 (Level 45) – Death’s Advance – Chillblains – Asphyxiate

This is kind of a no-brainer as far as pve goes. I’m betting a solid 75% of raiding DKs, regardless of spec, will take Death’s Advance just for the free base movement increase. Chillblains could be nice for add kiting in some situations (a la Magmaw’s parasites in early t11), but in general, DA is going to be the way to go for everyone.

Tier 4 (Level 60) – Death Pact – Death Siphon – Conversion

I highly doubt that *anybody* will pick up Conversion. I don’t even understand what the point of it is, to be perfectly honest. It’s not like ANY of the specs are pooling large amounts of RP at the moment, so you can throw that one out. Death Siphon sounds good on paper, but it’s really quite underwhelming, especially considering (as of the last beta build) it costs a death rune, which will muck up your entire rotation, regardless of spec (maybe a bit less so for unholy). Death Pact is far and away the strongest choice in this tier. 50% of your health is *enormous*, especially if you’re a tank. It actually turns your ghoul into a survivability cooldown as well as a DPS cooldown, so have fun with it. 3 minutes may seem a bit long, but it’s no more so than the length of your minion’s cooldown, and it doesn’t insta-kill your pet like it does currently on live. Also, it’s free.

Tier 5 (Level 75) – Blood Tap – Runic Empowerment – Runic Corruption

Far and away the most talked about set of talents that DKs have. As it stands now, Blood Tap is pretty much a wild card. I will freely admit that I will miss blood tap’s current iteration on live, but this reworking of it is… mind boggling at best. I believe that math shows Runic Empowerment to be the best rune game for blood and frost, if you can play rune tetris properly (thanks to Rades for the phrase “rune tetris”). Runic Corruption is more of a “safe” bet, and it’s currently what works for unholy on live with a good bit of success. If you’re bad at the rune gaming, RC is the safer bet, as it simply accelerates the regenerating runes for a few seconds. For a while, Blood Tap was off the global cooldown, so it could simply be macroed into Rune Strike (or Death Coil or Frost Strike, depending on what spec you are), giving it a “fire and forget” feeling to it. However, I believe that this has been changed (and PLEASE don’t quote me on this as i’ve not played the beta in a while) so it has been made considerably weaker. Chances are, you’re better off sticking with what your spec has on live currently (RE for blood/frost, RC for unholy). I’m hoping they do something different with Blood Tap in the near future to make it more viable, but if it’s truly back ON the GCD, then it’s just very meh overall.

Tier 6 (Level 90) – Gorefiend’s Grasp – Remorseless Winter – Desecrated Ground

This tier remains a disappointment to me since all the damage was removed from it. Gorefiend’s Grasp will probably still remain the tank talent of choice, with a 1m cooldown being very short, all things considered. Remorseless Winter, also with a 1m cooldown will see limited utility on add kiting fights, giving the option to pick something aside from Chillblains, if needed. Desecrated Ground (with it’s 2m cooldown) may see some *very* limited use in fights, maybe with fear/MC mechanics, but overall it won’t see a lot of people picking it for PvE, I don’t think.

All told, the talents still kind of underwhelm me at times, but as a whole, DKs will continue to work in MoP, because they’ve worked thus far. There are very few actual rotational changes being made, so we should end up playing pretty similarly to how we always have. This is both good and bad, because the learning curve should be minimal for returning DKs. Bad because it’s easy to get bored playing the exact same way. Of course, the addition of Soul Reaper should definitely change up things a bit for post 87 play. Also, I like Blizz’s idea of changing the rune cost for Soul Reaper to depend on what spec you play (1 unholy for UH, 1 frost for frost, 1 blood for blood). It gives the ability a way to fit into the rotation without screwing things up. Hell, having it cost a blood rune for blood DKs means they won’t have to put off death striking because of it. Thumbs up.

As for me, this will probably be the spec I go with, as a Blood DK, and as an Unholy DK. Honestly, Tier 6 is so damned inconsequential as DPS, i don’t even care. I can’t get over my disappointment there, Blizz.

The Battle Rages On

30 Jul

Fair warning ahead of time… this post will probably be pretty disjointed, and I think i’m going to end up talking about 3 or 4 different things in here. Consider this making up for not posting for 2 weeks.

I still don’t know what the hell i’m going to play come MoP. Right now, it’s a tossup between my druid and my dk. I decided to dust off my DK a few days ago and work on tanking with her again. It has been… a while since I gave DK tanking an honest shot, and man I had forgotten just how much fun it really was. So I poked Kia and asked if she wanted to run some dungeons with me. (For the record, her response was “/blinkblink…are you feeling alright?”).

So, I ran several dungeons, and absolutely NOTHING dropped for me. Go figure. So, LFR, I thought. “I’ve had no luck in dungeons, that must mean my luck in LFR will be better, right?” Well… I was half right. I picked up two upgrades in the first 4 bosses, and nothing in the last 4, but it still went pretty well overall… and I had a ton of fun. Also, I had a good reminder of just how damn powerful their defensive cooldowns are (HELLO ANTI-MAGIC SHELL!) when used at the right times. I also realized that I was pretty damn rusty at proper rune-gaming for Blood DKs, but thanks to a brief conversation with Rades I have that figured out pretty well also. (It takes work to do it “perfectly”, but it’s definitely much more effective than what I was doing.)

Well, after going and getting my DK some tanking gear, I decided that I wanted to transmog  her tank gear to look like an actual “blood” set (and this is the gear you see in her armory picture). This is a big part of what got me into the “OH MY GOD WHICH CLASS DO I WANT TO PLAY” conundrum I find myself faced with. Both the druid and the DK have some great bonuses, and some drawbacks. (One of the drawbacks of the druid is that I can’t see his mogged gear very much…  Go figure)

Also, over the last few days, i’ve spent a significant amount of time soloing old raid content. Partly, because it’s pretty damn good money (seriously, i made 5k in a day and a half on the DK), and partly to see if I could, and partly because raid bosses are having their gold amounts nerfed into oblivion adjusted to depend on the size of the party. I figured I might as well “get while the gettin’s good”… or something.

Man, it just felt wrong to type that, but I digress.

Soloing old raid content is a lot harder than I had expected. Well… some of it was anyway. I took my DK (who is considerably lesser geared than my Druid) into SSC, TK, and Naxx to see how I would fair. All told, I did alright, but I had to work a *lot* harder at it because of the gear disparity. Also, my druid puts out some *beastly* DPS for a tank, and my DK, who isn’t terrible by ANY means, just doesn’t compare right now. Taking the DK into older raids, however, DID give me the chance to see things that my druid might not have survived, and see things that my druid probably would have excelled at comparatively. It gave me more of a chance to see the variations between bear and blood rotations, and how they handle different problems. Also, it helped me realize that my DK needs a fuck ton more hit/expertise overall… sigh.

Sidebar on that topic: My druid is currently *bleeding* expertise to the point where it’s reforged off from every piece that has it, and i’m STILL over the soft cap. On top of that, he also has a modest amount of hit rating. My DK on the other hand is a draenei, so she has the built in 1% hit, and as a blood DK comes with 6 expertise or something like that, baked into the spec. My druid has 31 expertise, and about 3% hit, whereas the DK has 10 expertise and 1.48% hit. What the shit. Anyway.

Soloing old content is a lot of fun, but the money from bosses (like 130-180 from naxx 10, and 250 from BC 25 man raids) is about to go away, and that is sad. It’ll still be a good moneymaker if you can pull it off, between trash drops and gear being sold, plus you get a lot of practice at learning how to stay alive. All told, that in and of itself is very good exercise for a tank who wants to improve his game. Go solo Naxx or SSC or something. I would be willing to bet that you’ll find SOME way to get better. Hell, even if you don’t? You made a good chunk of change for your efforts. Win-Win situation.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take my druid into the Battle for Mt Hyjal and see how that goes.

Did Blizz really screw up DKs for MoP?

12 May

It never fails to surprise me that every time I look at my dashboard, generally my highest searhced pages are my DK posts. I figure it’s time to update my talent analysis for some of the newer beta builds that have come out… BECAUSE YOU ASKED FOR IT! 😀 As always, I preface this with my notification that again, this is still BETA information, and is subject to change on a regular basis. Blowing a gasket will not help anything, as Blizzard tends to be 3 or 4 patches ahead of what is currently on the beta. THAT SAID, however, constructive criticism and helpful feedback will go a long way, keeping well in mind that Blizzard is well within their rights to disagree with you and go a completely different direction.

Now then… if you’ve stopped by the beta forums, you may have noticed a lot of animosity between die-hard DK lovers and Blizz at the moment, because they feel like there’s a distinct lack of direction for MoP. Generally I stay away from extreme hyperbole (the class is unplayable! they fucking suck now! neutered my class! etc etc etc), because it’s usually ridiculous. However, I *do* feel like Blizz is uncertain what they want to do with DKs for 5.0. I’ve played my DK a little bit in the beta, and found that both unholy and 2h frost play *exactly* the same as they do on live. While I am appreciative of “don’t fix what’s not broken”, there’s a LOT to be said for giving people something newer than what they’ve been playing for the last couple years. DKs are liable to see a significant exodus if nothing changes between 4.0 and 5.0, just because you can only play the same thing for so long before it gets stale.

Here’s the rub though. Blizz HAS given DKs a few new buttons to push. First is “Control Undead” (woo-fucking-hoo /sarcasm), and the second is Soul Reaper (goddamn bloody fantastic, AND fitting into the DK lore). On top of this, we were given a couple new utili-damaging abilities in the level 90 talent tier in the forum of Gorefiend’s Grasp, Desecrated Ground and Remorseless Winter… And then, they went and pulled the blanket off of what could’ve been the most anticipated talent selection… to make them all impotent. Or, to phrase it better, none of them deal damage anymore.

Now… before I get into a rampaging obnoxious rant about things, I would like to point out something. EVERY other class has a damaging talent or output (damage or healing) increaser, SOMEWHERE within the tree.

Warriors: Bladestorm, Shockwave, Dragon Roar, Avatar, Bloodbath, Storm Bolt

Warlocks: Archimonde’s Vengeance, Grimoire of Supremacy, Grimoire of Service, Harvest Life*

Shaman: Echo of the Elements, Elemental Mastery, Elemental Blast, Primal Elementalist, Unleashed Fury

Rogues: Deadly Throw, Shuriken Toss, Versatility**

Priests: Archangel, Twist of Fate, Power Infusion, Halo, Divine Star, Cascade

Paladins: Sanctified Wrath, Divine Purpose, Execution Sentence, Light’s Hammer, Holy Prism

Monks: Chi Wave, Zen Sphere, Chi Burst, Rushing Jade Wind, Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger, Chi Torpedo

Mages: Presence of Mind, Scorch, Ice Floes, Nether Tempest, Living Bomb, Frost Bomb, Rune of Power, Incanter’s Ward

Hunters: Wyvern Sting, Thrill of the Hunt, Readness, Fervor, A Murder of Crows, Dire Beast, Lynx Rush, Barrage, Powershot, Glaive Toss

Druids: Force of Nature, Incarnation, Soul of the Forest, Nature’s Vigil

Death Knights: Death Siphon

*Harvest Life replaces Drain Life, which is already a part of the warlock’s toolkit, so this may or may not “count” as far as we’re concerned. Even if we eliminate it from this list, they still have plenty of others.

**Versatility doesn’t offer a direct damage or stat increase, but giving Redirect no cooldown is definitely an overall damage increase for any fight with more than one target ever, so I think it counts.

It’s worth noting that some of the abilities I mentioned used to be in the talent trees as they exist on live currently, but a lot of THOSE cases make a difference because now they’re accessible to ANYONE who plays that class, regardless of what spec they are (Presence of Mind is no longer restricted to arcane mages, for example). Now then, after looking at all of that mess, do we see something a little bit out of balance here? Yeah. DKs have *one* ability that does damage, and it’s not a button most DKs are going to be hitting for the sake of DPS right now, it’s more a survivability/PvP ability (although, admittedly, not a bad one). I will freely admit that Rogues are the only ones who are probably as boned as Death Knights are in the form of damaging talents. I mean honestly, two ranged attacks, one of them a finisher? Urgh. BUT i’m not here to write about rogues, because I am mostly unfamiliar with them on the whole.

When the other 10 classes have extra buttons they can hit to deal damage or increase healing (or both, in some cases), and Death Knights are shown these really damn cool new talents at level 90, only to have their damage component cut off, it’s easy to see where a lot of the vitriol is coming from. I don’t think the DK community wants an entire overhaul of the class like Warlocks are getting, I just think they want a bit of variety and fairness. Add the damage components back to the level 90 talents, and that will bring things about equal with the other classes. A little bit of freshness can REALLY make a difference to a DK. Soul Reaper, while a *damn* cool ability, just isn’t enough when nothing else is different from how it’s been the last year or so.