Tuesday, 21 December 2010


See below.


Saturday, 18 December 2010

Unholy DK Specs, Stats and Talents for Levelling

Playing an unholy death knight has always been fun. When I started messing around in unholy again after 4.0 dropped, I loved the Sudden Doom and Dark Transformation warnings that popped on my screen. I loved seeing my ghoul transform from a boney thing barely hung together to a brutal globbulus abomination. Since Anyah on Twitter needed some help getting to grips with her DK after a substantial break, I thought it might be about time to look at how unholy plays now in Cataclysm.

We'll take a brief look at spec and stats in this post, but I'll mainly be focusing on the talents we have, priorities on attacks and how we can use them both to help in the new Cataclysm dungeons and the flavour that Unholy now has in Cataclysm. There'll be a resource list at the end of the post too.

I've chosen to run with a basic cookie cutter spec which I got from the ever trusty I'm unlikely to raid in unholy spec so choosing something just to get me from 80-85 in dps gear is enough for now. I've also chucked a point in Runic Power Mastery, because, well, I like it. Stats and gear wise, as someone levelling in unholy, your quest rewards are pretty much dictated to you. You have to choose plate, you'll find some comes with Int and Spirit on it. Obviously these are useless for us, we're far to clever to need any more intellect thank you and spirit? Well, we have no soul any more so that's useless. Hence, grab all the gear loaded with Strength and Stam. Yes stamina is good for levelling, it keeps you alive.

At the moment, mastery isn't much of a boon for Unholy (unlike Blood) so reforge that off if you want to. Haste is a good stat to have now and as we approach 85 you'll want to consider the hit cap. According to those maths gurus at Elitist Jerks, it looks like the hit cap is still 8%. Top three stats at 85 work out like this - Strength - Hit Cap - Haste then it's Crit, Expertise to the cap, Mastery and lastly, Agility.

Talents and Attacks
Now, onto those talents and attacks. I was concerned that as a few people had suggested, Unholy was loosing it's flavour in 4.0. Bone shield was removed and put in the blood tree. On a Pale Horse was stuck over in Frost. Well, I'm happy to say that with such things as Dark Transformation I'm not worried that we've lost the flavour. We are still bad-ass disease-ridden killing machines and as such, our diseases are still the priority.

Icy Touch and Plague strike need to be on those mobs sharpish - don't forget about Festering Strike and Outbreak too, I'll cover those in a bit more depth later on. Scourge Strike is still the big hitter but working up the RP for those Death Coils is important. A Sudden Doom proc grants you a free Death Coil, use it. 5 Death Coils will give you your Dark Transformation and turn your ghoul into a DPS monster. Whilst levelling, if I've had a DT proc at the end of a trash pack, I've been holding off on popping it (there's 30 secs to use it) until we engage in the next pack. If it's on a boss fight, well pop it baby!

Keeping up Diseases
Icy Touch and Plague Strike have long been a part of the Unholy DKs rotation. And they are still the basis of our priorities. In 4.0 (and now in Cataclysm) we are ever more dependant on these diseases to pump out the damage. Add to this two new talents, Festering Strike and Outbreak and we can see where Blizzard is putting the emphasis for Unholy DKs.

A bit more on Festering Strike then. FeS works to extend the length of your blood plague, frost fever and chains of ice effects. Essentially then, rather than hitting IT and PS to refresh your diseases, you can just hit FeS whack the mob for some weapon damage and refresh the diseases at the same time. Sounds good to me!

Outbreak sticks both IT and PS on a mob and comes with a 1 minute cooldown. It won't replace IT and PS because of this longer cooldown, but it will be handy to have for additional mobs. EJ don't seem to mention it on their latest breakdown which I guess tells you quite a bit about it's importance. Or lack of it.

So, we don't have a set rotation any more. Keep your diseases up, use Pestilence to spread them around on groups of mobs, hit Scourge Strike and use those Death Coils!

Dungeons - Now with added CC!
I like Bubbles wrote up a little post this week on the talents that DKs have that can help in the new era of CC in dungeons. For all those Wrath Babies who haven't had to use CC, it means Crowd Control. This is anything that effectively removes a mob from a fight for a period of time. If you see a CC-ed mob, don't hit it. Death Knights do not have CC tools. However, as was pointed out by Ilikebubbles, we do have interrupts and some other tools to help tanks and healers and the whole group in general.

Mind freeze - an interrupt with a 10 second cooldown and 4 second duration on the target. I have this sitting on my toolbar in handy reach as I have found it invaluable in the past. The quick cooldown means you can use it on a couple of mobs if needed.

Strangulate - another interrupt, this time with a 2 minute cooldown - not as handy imho as Mind Freeze due to it's cooldown time, but a good utility for it's silence on non-player victims.

Death grip - when used properly, death grip can be invaluable. I always ask my tank 'Do you want me to DG that caster/range/whatever into the group?' DG causes the target to focus on you for 3 seconds, thus acting like a taunt. Your tank needs to know you're going to DG a mob so they can peel them back off you. Failure to tell them may result in cranky tank. DG also acts as an interrupt and is thus very handy to use on the pesky caster at the back. You interrupt them, and gather them into the group to feel more AoE.

Chains of Ice - have you missed that mob running off to get more friends? Stick him/her on ice until the tank can catch up and you can batter them. Side note - DG + Chains is fun in BGs XDYour ghoul - Your ghoul also has interrupt skills - namely Gnaw, it acts as a 3 second stun whilst your ghoul chews off your enemy's arm.

Using these abilities will help your group through the dungeons. Using this knowledge will help at 85 because you'll know your class a lot better. And one step at a time we can break the Death Knight reputation of being, shall we say, less than clever?!

I hope these little tips have helped in some way to help you find your way to 85 with your unholy death knight.


Elitist Jerks - you know it makes sense

Death Knight Builds - full listing of all builds, take your pick.

Pwn Wear - for DK tanks, but you might want to have a look :D

Erm .. here?!

If you've got any links and good resources, please leave me a comment and I'll update the list.

Suffer Well!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

You've come a long way, Wrath Baby.

Twitter threw up an interesting topic this afternoon. #iblamecynwise. Are you a Wrathbaby and what does the term Wrathbaby actually mean? Cynwise and I use the term to refer to the fact that we starting playing WoW during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. However, some have said that the term 'Wrath Baby' is a pejorative and implies that all you want to do is faceroll through dungeons in tier gear which you bought with tokens (and thus haven't actually seen any raids) or roflstomp through raids which have been easy for way too long. I would call people who do that morons, thus I feel compelled to defend the Wrathbaby in me.

I don't know if my experience is limited to just me, but I'd be surprised if it was. As I mentioned in my tweets (and have mentioned numerous times before) I am a gamer noob. I have never played any other game for the duration or with the passion that I have played Warcraft. I have no frame of reference for raiding, for gearing a character, for MMOs, or RPGs, or Thotbot, or Elitist Jerks. I KNEW NOTHING. I still carry this wide-eyed look with me because it enables me to look at things with an open mind and not scream (too loud) at people who clearly haven't been in a dungeon before, haven't tanked before or whatever it happens to be, they've not done it before. Patience is a virtue. I'm not saying I'm perfect or that I don't ever go 'effing hurry up you noob' but I don't say it to people I don't know. I do my damn best to be understanding and offer help.

Back to my Wrath experience. It took me a long time, I mean a L O N G time to get to level 80. I'd been playing 7 months before Deme hit the big 80. That's 7 months of playing almost every day. It then took me another 3 months to grind gear, rep for enchants, and whatever else to get her geared to raid NAXX. Not ToC, not Ulduar, Naxx. I ran heroic after heroic. Every Wednesday night was farming HCs night. I quested dailies and ground rep every minute I had. I spent 3 hours wiping on Loken in HoL. I paid attention to strats on bosses. It did not take 15 minutes to clear a dungeon. We were in there ALL night.

This is where I was naive. Whilst everyone else was running Ulduar and getting hyped about ToC coming, I was gearing for Naxx. Because that's what you did right? You geared for the entry level raid and then got the gear in there to go onto the next level. I did not think of badge vendors for gear and grinding HCs to get badges to buy gear to get me into Ulduar or ToC, I mean 80 badges for that seemed silly when I could get dungeon drops. The raid teams in our guild were a solid bunch but I did get taken along occasionally to help out and I held my own. My gear was better than I realised and despite people telling me this, I didn't progress the raid team I was leading into other content because I thought we needed to bond and work on basic raiding skills in Naxx. Naxx. FFS. I wasted so much time in there.

Anyway, the 1st raid team I was in eventually cleared Naxx and instead of heading to Ulduar or even ICC which was about to arrive (or had arrived?! Memory lapse) we decided to jump into ToC. Disaster. We were all a bunch of noobs. No one was geared properly, people were running round in PvP gear with the wrong enchants and gems. It appeared that as RL I needed to know every inch of every class just to lead a raid. HEAD ASPLODES. I quit. I already knew that I wanted to be in ICC and having run the whole of ToC with another more progressed raid team, I knew I was capable. I felt elitist, but at the end of the day I wasn't enjoying the game as I was playing it so I said my good byes and left to join another guild and another raid team. Thankfully by this time I'd figured out that I needed tier gear and had got 4xT9 for my DPS spec. I wasn't tanking yet.

As a raid team we didn't seem to be able to get a solid tank to go along side our warrior so I offered to swap and gear Deme to tank. Cue another round of grinding daily dungeons, weekly raids and so on for more badges. I did not know how to tank before I stepped into ICC. I have not tanked Ulduar. Or ToC or Naxx. Actually I might have tanked some of Naxx on a silly run now. Anyway, I was inexperienced to say the least. I am still one of the most inexperienced tanks in our guild. I think I'm the only DK tank who tanks as my main spec in a 10 man team within the guild, but I worked hard to know my class abilities, to spot where I could use this cooldown or that cooldown and to know when to do what with what mobs. I still want to learn and want to be as good as I can be. I do not take the skill in playing a tank for granted. It's a role I enjoy and respect.

Deadbeats, the raid team I am now a tank for, cleared ICC at the end of September. Due to RL complications and not being able to find a solid team it took us longer than we would have liked but we did it. And it was hard work all the way. I worked my arse off for that effing kill and I'm proud of it.

I don't see Cataclysm being any different. We are all having to work for gear, for rep, for levelling professions. May be my ineptitude before has stood me in good stead for this expansion. I know about gear lists now, I know what kind of stats I need, I know my raid team and I know where to look for boss strats when I get there. And you know what else? Unless you're in some Uber World Leading Raiding Guild, you're in exactly the same position as me. The only thing separating us is the time we have to play and how fast we can get to that first raid.

Morons will always be morons, but you've come a long way, Wrath Baby.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Wolf/Kitty/Bear/Human = Split personality

Erm yeah. I'm not really here, this blog is a figment of your imagination. Some eejit made Gilneas awesomebarbquesaucewithextrabacon and I finally rolled a druid that lasted longer than level 7. And I love her. I love teh kitteh. I love the bear. I love the AWooOoOOoo Worgen. And soon I get the flippery form too. It's not good if you have split personality.



For Gilneas!