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 Deathknightbuilds.net. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.