ICC 10m - First Impressions

So we've had 3 nights in ICC so far - which comes out to about 6 hours give or take.

Night 1 we killed Lord Marrowgar after about 5 or 6 attempts. Mostly to get the group composition right and getting the tanks to wake up after the comatose zone that was ToC.

Tanks actually have to pay attention during this fight, which is a welcome change. I'd recommend starting with 3 healers on this fight - if one gets impaled it can get quite messy if you only have 2.

Other than that it's a classic "Don't stand in the fire" fight.

Lady Deathwhisper is easily the hardest of the first four:

We barely squeaked by on the 10 minute enrage timer. This is a careful balance between killing adds and DPSing the boss. If you lose anyone in this fight (especially early) things can get out of control really fast. I'd recommend having a Feral Druid or DK for your offtank so they can provide additional DPS (Kitty / Blood) during P1 as you only need 1 tank. If you have 2 DPS with your tanks on the adds you should be okay.

Target switching is essential. Ranged has to switch to certain types of adds to kill them quickly to prevent a wipe.

I'd reccommend having 3 healers for this fight as well.

Gunship is absurdly easy.

You only need 2 healers for this fight - but it's still a lot of fun.

Kill guys that come on your ship, jump over and kill the mage, jump back, repeat.

Sounds simple but it's still REALLY COOL.

We had a couple of attempts at Saurfang before our night ended and got him down to ~25%. Once we learn how to manage his power generation and focus fire beasts down quick we should be fine.

But for now we are adjourned until January 5th.


How do you start a guild?

So I've seen this sort of question bouncing around on the R&D forums a lot: "How do you start a raiding guild? How do you lead raids?"

So I figured I'd give my take on that whole concept.

"How do you start a raiding guild?"

There's one thing you need to know. It will be a lot, and I mean A FUCKING TON of work. I'm not going to lie or sugar coat it. And I only run a 10 person crew. I have run 25s in the past, and they suck. Balls.

My group started over 2 years ago, in the fall os 2007. I had just been /gkicked from my 25m guild without so much as a reason, or even a face to face discussion. I went back to one of my old guilds which was run by the same people that I intially levelled to 60 with (we're talking back in 2005 here) while I figured out what I was going to do.

I got very bored very quickly. I realized that I hated the 25m format with a passion, yet loved running 10s. There were also a few friends that I had made in the pevious guild that were utterly confused and astounded that I had been kicked, let alone treated the way I was, but for the time being they remained there.

So I found that the raiding times for the guild I was in didn't mesh with my schedule. So I asked if it would be ok if I started my own 10m group outside the guild framework. Some people from the guild may join, but it wouldn't be guild exclusive. I was told that was fine.

So I hook up with my brother, and met a rogue by the name of Antic. We messed around and did some heroics trying to find more people to fill out our group. Turns out Antic knew a Druid / Priest combo that he usually ran heroics with (Veritykindle / Scheenstra). I checked them out and played with them a little. Very good players, just hadn't had the opportunity to raid.

Then we found a random pug with a Warlock / Mage combo that turned out to be really good. We /friended them and they signed on.

The Druid / Priest combo knew another Mage that was really good, and he came along.

Got a druid from our own guild to come as he couldn't really make their raids either.

Our 10th actually ended up being a DPS warrior from the 25m guild that kicked me initially.

And off we went. Unfortunately I was /gkicked from the guild I was in for starting the group (even though I had already asked for permission, go figure). Everyone that was in my group and also in the guild quit shortly afterwards. My brother was absolutely furious. Wow. So Veritykindle / Scheenstra had this little guild all to themselves and their family/friends.

I asked if we could use it, seeing as how we'd be running together anyway. She retains GM and I just lead the raids.

We even managed to pull off Bear runs in ZA without having any 25m gear past T4. That still is the thing that I am most proud of with that group - to this day.

So my long winded answer to that question is: Pug. Seriously. If you want to make your own raiding group, go pugging. Find people that are sort of in the same boat as you are. They do exist, and they are out there.

I never would have found my group if I didn't pug. Now one of the highlights of my week is sitting down for a ocuple hours to hang out with my friends and kill shit.

I'll give some advice on how to lead raids in my next post.


Turn the lights on

So there we are, making attempts on Yogg-Saron. We've gotten through P1 pretty good with only 1 extra add up.

We then start trying to get P2 down. We're having probems with people going insane, so I look around trying to point out the green beams to go stand in.

Only to realize they aren't there.

I figure "That's kinda wierd" and we do a few more attempts.

Then on our last run back, I realize that you actually have to talk to the Keepers up above before they will actually help you. Man did I feel like an idiot.

So I tell the raid that I've been a dumbass, and that we've been attempting Alone in the Darkness the entire time. They start laughing. "Really? That's funny because this seems doable."

So I activate all the keepers, and P1 turns into a complete joke. I'm getting 7k Maul crits on the adds, and I have like 60k health in Bear form.

We even went through a few portal phases in P2 without anyone dying above. I found that even more hilarious. This fight is going to be easy with enough Melee in the mix.

And here people were saying that it's actually hard. Wow. It's not, really, it's not at all. Mimiron is harder than Yogg + 4.

Just means Yogg + 2 will be our "bare minimum" once we know how to kill him.


Climbing up the ladder...

So last night we got Upper Back Pain and Twilight Duo. Thus continuing our slow climb up the ladder of "Progression" and "Achievements".

What is odd is that we seem to be the only 10m strict guild actually doing anything on Suramar. There are only 2 other guilds that have made any new "progression" kills in the last month, and neither of those are anywhere near close to threatening us in any form.

There are a few more guilds getting new "Achievements", but again they are so far behind us it's kind of silly. And at the rate we're getting points we'll be reeling in #2 pretty quick. So this brings me to my next question: Why?

Is it because everyone is just farming ToC? Well lets take a look.

Out of the other top 10 10m strict guilds on my server, NONE of them have killed a single hardmode in ToC. Granted we haven't either, but then again we haven't actually tried very hard as we have been more focussed on Ulduar hard modes (since they are massively more fun). Even so these guilds have mostly killed quite a few of those hardmodes, already - so I doubt that is it.

It does seem that everyone has become quite complacent with Tier 9. They can log in for an hour a week, collect badges / loot, and log off again.

I guess we'll see if the fun starts up again when ICC drops.


Will ICC actually be a Challenge?

With the release of ICC coming up, one has to wonder whether or not Blizzard will realize the gigantic mistake they made with ToC. Fromm all indications it does seem like they are returning to the Ulduar style of raid: Epic, Huge, and Hard.

You know there is something wrong when you can clear an entire tier of a raid instance in one night, without ever having been there before. That's what happened with ToC. We waltzed right in and destroyed it without hardly even trying. It actually made me depressed.

At this point I don't even log in that much except to raid. That's how bored I am. I like WoW. I definitely don't plan on leaving it anytime soon. But for all that is holy, MAKE IT FUN AGAIN.

That also probably explains why I haven't bothered to upload any kill pictures from ToC. It's just not worth the time. It doesn't feel epic, at all. It feels like a grind - and grinding isn't fun.

That being said, I will definitely post a Yogg kill picture when we finally manage to do it.

Oh and I thought I'd also let you all know that we're now #2 on the server for 10m strict achievements. Go Wyrd Sisters!



So I managed to get in to a PUG of Onyxia last night.

Man was I dissapointed.

Sure she hits pretty hard, and it's in your best interest to bring 3 healers, but the fight hasn't changed at all.

Ok, so they added one additional add that spawns. Woo.

Other than that, it's the usual:

Phase 1: Spank and tank.

Phase 2: Kill things and stay out of DB.

Phase 3: Spank and tank.

And for all of that effort you get 232 loot. Like really? I was expecting more. Oh well, guess I'll just collect my Thunderstrike and move on.


So I went to ToC....

Well ToC 10 anyway. In a PuG.

Holy crap it was easy.

So easy that it made me feel dumber for being there.

All of the fights only had 1 or 2 mechanics that you had to worry about. All for 15 triumph badges. I'll post more details and screens when my guild does it next week.



This: http://www.wowhead.com/?item=49302

Stupid Server

We were all set to finish our 8m Naxx run last night - except our server was down.

For most of the night.

Well yay for extended lockouts. At least we can finish it some other time.

On Tuesday we will take our first foray into Onyxia's lair. I've been hearing that it's actually stupid easy. That makes me feel sad. I liked the original Ony encounter. I guess we'll see just how easy it is on Tuesday.

Also, we'll be heading into ToC finally as well. After we've got those down every week, we can start working on Ulduar hard-er modes.


General Died.

And all it took was for our Rogue to log on. Seriously. First try with him in the raid (he was a little late) and we downed him.

And our healers were out of mana for almost the entire last minute of the fight.

I pulled ~3500 dps, including a 20% haste debuff. With crappy trinkets. I was happy :)

We're taking a week off as a couple of our group are taking trips. We're gonna work on 8man Naxx (yay extended lockouts!).

Dead General screen below:


Mimiron is Dead.

So we downed Mimiron last night.

Here's a picture!

We cruised right through Phases 1 and 2 for the most part. Dealing with the Bombs in Phase 3 turned out to be the most annoying part. I just taunted and ate as many as I could.

P4 can also get very hectic - just recognizing the Rockets, Shock Blast, and Laser Barrage can be a bit much to keep track of sometimes.

The best part? He dropped loot we didn't need! Go Holy Paladin Belt! /sigh

We're on to General on Thursday. Very doable, just need to manage the Saronite Vapors better, and make sure he doesn't get healed. General's trash was actually a LOT of fun strangely - we were required to use CC for the first time in 1.5 years (and no I'm not kidding). We hadn't used it since ZA Bear runs.

I'm really looking forward to killing that guy. Then we can let the instance reset and do it all again. We will probably kill Yogg next reset - then it's on to ToC before starting hard modes.


Raiding again...

So, 2 weeks (for a total of just over 8 hours) of raiding, and my team has cleared the following:

Naxx, Sarth 1d, Maly, and up to Mimi.

In 8 hours.

I also forgot to mention that about 30% of our team had not seen Ulduar before. Oh, and we got the Razorscale achievement too.

The raid lockout extension feature is positively amazing. We took our sweet time making it through Ulduar, knowing that we would have as much time as we want/need to actually finish it. It makes raiding a lot less stressful, and you hardly ever get burnt out. Going twice a week for 2 hours a night is really a lot of fun.

Our group consists of:

Prot Paladin MT
Feral Druid OT/DPS (Me)
Resto Shaman Healer
Holy Priest Healer
Moonkin/Shadowpriest Offheal/DPS (they share a spot)
Fury Warrior DPS
Rogue DPS
Warlock DPS
Hunter DPS
Mage DPS

It's a lot more spread out than our last group. A lot less congestion on some of the tokens as well. It's working great.

I'm looking forward to Mimiron tomorrow. Should be a lot of fun.


I'm back now.

I took quite a break from WoW during the summer - and famously told all of my friends that Blizzard had until Blizzcon (yes I did attend) to get me back.

Well they got me. Although you can mostly blame Darwog and Bingo (Suramar-US) for it.

I've also shelved my Death Knight indefinitely. Playing my Feral Druid is just infinitely more fun. Not to mention her gear is equal to or better than my DK's.

I haven't had any experience with the new ToC raid yet. However I have done the new 5 man, and I'm a bit dissapointed.

For 1, there's no way to skip the heinously long dialogue. Sure it's cool the first few times, but after that you just want to go afk for 5 minutes while the opening scene finishes.

Second it's absurdly easy. Seriously. Like so easy it's insulting. Granted my druid is decked in 213 gear or above, but it's still easy. I was hoping for something that provided something that looked like a challenge.

Third - for something so easy the rewards are wayyyyyyy too good. The tanking trinket is amazing, and the gear you can get from Heroic surpasses a lot of the Ulduar 10 gear.

Finally, you don't get badges in heroic mode. That's just dissapointing. Wth kind of use do I have for Champion's seals? Really?

Arg. I want Cataclysm!


Ulduar 3/14 - Razorscale

Razorscale is also now absurdly easy. You could probably do this fight with just one person tanking all of the adds and the other one switching to DPS. After the first phase you will need 2 tanks again. We normally run 2 tanks though as our gear hasn't evolved to the point where I trust doing stuff like that. I would definitely not want to go with less than 3 healers until your raid knows how to "STAY OUT OF THE FIRE!"

Composition: 2 Tanks, 2-3 Healers, 5-6 DPS.

The Razorscale encounter consists of 2 phases.

Phase 1 - Dwarves and Chains

Your goal in phase 1 is to hold the little adds off until the Harpoon Guns are repaired. This is astonishingly simple. Adds will generally appear in only 1 area at a time, and should be reasonbly easy to be picked up by a tank. The tank will then drag the adds back to the raid to be killed.

The reason you do this is most of the blue "Flame Puddles" will appear inside the big inscribed circle on the ground. This way you simply avoid most or all of them and greatly reduce the stress on your healers. If you have fail tanks that can't move you CAN tank the adds where they spawn, but that's more trouble than it is worth.

Eventually a message will appear stating "Harpoon Gun Ready!". At this point you need to use said gun. Once 2 have been used in 10man, Razorscale will be held down for a short period of time. During this time ALL DPS needs to switch to Razorscale. You will have a total of 3 of these phases to deal ~1.8mil damage. We usually get it done in 2 if we have the Tanks DPSing her as well. Once she is reduced to 50% she will go into phase 2.

Add #1: Guardians: Guardians are just your standard melee add. They have a moderate amount of health and can be AoEd down.

Add #2: Caster: The caster adds will cast a lot of Chain Lightning. You shouldn't have problems with this as long as people stay out of the blue fire. Can be AoEd with Guardians.

Add #3: Sentinel: Sentinels are bigger adds with a lot more health and a whirlwind attack. Melee will typically want to stay away from these and let the ranged DPS kill them.

Phase 2 - On the Ground

Once on the ground Razorscale essentially becomes a tank and spank. Make sure you burn down any remaining adds quickly before switching to Razorscale. Razorscale will put a stacking debuff on current tank that reduces armor and move speed by 20% per application. For this reason you need 2 tanks to prevent them from getting 5 stacks and being 1 shotted by a breath. All you need to do is just swap tanks and move out of the "Flame Puddles" and then collect your loots!

Note that Razorscale has no Tail Swipe, Fear, or Cleave.


Fireball - Hits a person for ~8000 unmitigated fire damage. Hits one person every 2-3 seconds during Phase 1.

Blue Fire - Spits a blue fireball at a person. Does no damage on impact but does ~6000 fire damage / second to whoever is in it once it hits the ground. These are very easy to see and there is no reason they can't be avoided. Happens during Phase 1.

Flame Breath - Breathes fire that destroys Harpoon Guns. Only happens during Phase 1 after she breaks free.

Wing Buffet - Knocks back anyone around her when she breaks free of chains. Phase 1 only.

Flame Buffet - Increases fire damage taken, stacks multiple times. Raid wide during Phase 2.

Flame Breath - Breathes for ~15000 in a cone and leaves the aforementioned Blue Puddle on the ground. Phase 2 only.

Melt Armor (or something) - Reduces Armor and Movement Speed of her main aggro target by 20%. Stacks 5 times. Lasts for ~20 seconds. Phase 2 only.


Ulduar 2/14 - Ignis

#2 - Ignis

This is actually an amusing encounter, as the trash before Ignis is actually arguably harder than he is. If you don't know how to handle the trash you will wipe. If you do know how you will fair just fine. Thankfully I'm here to help with that.

Pull 1: 2 Giants - These need to be tanked so that the tank is in LoS of the healer, but the Giant isn't (eg. Chromaggus / Firemaw / Flamegor style). This will prevent your healer from getting silenced - the tanks dying - and the raid wiping. The giants will also put a stacking fire damage debuff on the raid, as well as an "Unquenchable Flames" debuff that hops from person to person, dealing about 9000 unmitigated fire damage per target. This will last until removed by a wipe, or the target is in the pool.

Pull 2: Flame Revenants - Pull and tank these separately. Try and get as much distance as you can between each one. They don't hit that hard but they do have one ability you need to very careful of: A Flaming Tornado. They will generate an animation around them and have a casting bar before it starts. During the cast all Melee except the tank should start running away from their current target. The tornadoes (they usually come one at a time but can overlap) will follow someone around the room (ala Zul'Jin). If they hit anyone they will take ~6000 damage and fly up in the air, causing extra fall damage. Stay away from the tornadoes and you'll be fine.

Pull 3: Golems - Tank and spank. Face them away from the raid so their Flame Jets only hit the tank. They can charge and knock things down, but this isn't really a concern.

You will have a few more of pull types 2 and 3 to clear before you get to Ignis.

Ignis -

Composition: 2 Tanks, 2-3 Healers, 5-6 DPS.

This encounter has been nerfed so hard that I doubt 2 healers would have an issue doing it anymore.

You will have the tank that is responsible for Ignis pull him and essentially drag him around in a rectangle-like path between the two pools, dropping Scorches at each of the 4 corners. Ignis hits fairly hard, and it's easy for the tank to lose a fair chunck of their health fairly quickly.

Your "add tank" (which can be anything that has the ability to taunt - event a DPS specced OT) will be responsible for taunting the adds and keeping them in the Scorches (giant pillars of flame) until they get 10 stacked debuffs on them (they get 1/second) which causes them to go molten. After which this tank will have to smack the add a couple times and drag it off to one of the pools to be shattered. The Scorches do basically no damage and can be easily healed if this tank has to stand in it.

You will need to have 1 DPS capable of high crits (Typically a caster) available to break the golem adds once they are frozen. They need to be hit with a 5000 damage crit to explode. If you can't pull this off things will get messy very quickly.

There are several abilities you need to be aware of for Ignis:

Flame Jets - Flame Jets appear under most of the raid (it might be a radius thing, as I hardly ever got hit with them being the add tank) which will interrupt casting and lock casters out of that school for 8 seconds. There will be a warning on the screen so just don't cast when it's up there. Victims will also take around 7-8k fire damage plus a little bit from falling.

Slag Pot - Grabs a random person that is not being attacked by an add or MT and throws them in the pot chained to his belly. They will take a high amount of fire damage while they are in there for 10 seconds. However abilities to mitigate this damage can be used and healers can heal themselves if they are in the pot.

Scorch - Shoots flames from his fists to make a giant pillar of flame. Goes away after a while (you will never have more than 3 up at once). Stay out of the fire.

After the latest round of nerfs this fight is stupid easy. We got so bored our MT was trying to correct the angles on his kite path to 90 degrees. There is no enrage timer but with 5.5 mil health it shouldn't be longer than 6-7 minutes.


Ulduar 1/14 - Flame Leviathan

Ulduar Part 1 - The Siege

The Siege of Ulduar consists of 4 different bosses that guard the outside of Ulduar against the advancing forces of the Dwarves, Earthen, and you.

Overall the 10 man (or "Normal") version of these encounters are actually stupifyingly easy. They have gone through several rounds of nerfs - the latest of which was totally un-called for. Regardless each of the encounters is very simple considering the loot you can get.

#1 - Flame Leviathan

Makeup: 2 Siege Engines, 2 Demolishers, 2 Choppers

You will split your raid into the 6 vehicles. The Siege Engines and the Demolishers both have a pilot and a gunner, while the Choppers just have a pilot.

You will now proceed down a giant hall of trash and towers. You need to knock out the little towers so the trash stops spawning. Also, there will be 4 large towers you need to destroy - as these will weaken FL. If you leave any of them up - you will unlock a "hard mode" and FL will be tougher to kill. As of yet we haven't attempted an FL hard mode yet - so I can't give any tips on that.

Once the trash is all dead FL will automatically enter the zone and the encounter will begin. Make sure your vehicles are all as healthy as they can be because once the encounter starts you will not be able to repair them.

FL will pick a random Siege Engine or Demolisher and start chasing after them. If you are being followed you have to run away from FL for 30 seconds - after which he picks a new target.

Choppers should be dumping oil in FL's path to slow him down, and Siege Engine gunners should be lighting this on fire as it does an incredible amount of damage.

FL begins the encounter with 2 turrets. When these turrets are killed he becomes stunned and takes an additional 50% damage for a short period of time. To kill these turrets the Demolisher gunners will have to be launched ontop of him - so make sure you either pick 2 melee or 2 casters. Hunters don't work very well unless you use 2 of them as they can only attack the turret across from them. Once the turrets are dead the people ontop of FL will drop off and have to be picked up by a Chopper or face certain death.

You will want your vehicles to stay out of melee range of FL at all times - as he has a very devastating "Ram" ability that hits for north of 100k on a vehicle and has a short CD. The only other ability you need to worry about on the normal mode is "Flame Jets". This needs to be interrupted ASAP by the Siege Engines or the turret-killers will die almost instantly when they fall off the side.

Despite appearances this encounter is very very easy and you should have no trouble beating it at all.


Minor Vacation

Been a while but hey, what are you gonna do about it?

A lot of new information to cover, and I'll start with what is probably most dear to my heart - Feral PvP.

This is the build I use.

Note that for starters it's a Mangle build. You don't get *that* much additional benefit by using Shred over Mangle, yet you manage to lose 8 talent points. I don't like that.

I'm currently in 2 Hateful, 2 Deadly, and still holding on to a few Eviscerator pieces (which I will be replacing soon enough).

I stayed out of Season 5 completely after finding out how broken it was. It was nigh impossible to improve to get any better gear to make yourself improve more. On top of that, Pally + DK was pretty much an autowin.

Now I'm doing 2s with a DK, and 3s with a Rogue and DPriest. We didn't actually manage to make any time for 3s this week, but we did get in ~17 games in with our 2s team. Most of it was spent with my partner figuring out how / when to use all his buttons (the same reason I stopped PvPing on my DK). However once we got it down we did fairly well - even against DK/Pally.

In BGs I can pretty much 1v1 anything. The only things I can't reliably kill are DPriests, RShamans, and RDruids. That is mostly because I haven't gotten my rotation down quite well enough against those particuarly opponents. Against any DPS class I can pretty much tear them to shreds, unless a Mage pops every single cooldown in existence to kill me.

Melee DPS are especially yummy to kill. And getting sweet revenge on Warlocks is sweet.

I'll have more on Ulduar in the coming days.


Prmal Joke

I was really excited about the new talent "Primal Gore" that is going to allow Lacerate and Rip the chance to crit. Then I learned it has a pre-requisite of "Rend and Tear". That ended the thrill for me.

From what I can tell Primal Gore is being designed as a PvE only DPS boost. Now the question you will have in response to this is "Why the heck do you think that?" The answer is fairly simple: Shred.

As it currently stands, in order to take Rend and Tear, you have to sacrifice either utility or survivability. On top of that, if you do that 5 points into Rend and Tear you might as well sink an extra 2 into Shred (-18 Energy cost) so you can actually use that ability. So we're essentially talking a whopping 8 talent points for Lacerate and Rip crits in PvP. 8! Here's a summary of what you have to lose in order to get that one talent:

1) Master Shapeshifter (2 Points): -4% Crit in Cat form and -4% Damage in Bear. I like it for the crit and extra combo point generation - allows for easier Savage Roar upkeep (which is infinitely more important than any other finisher).

2) Natural Shapeshifting (3 Points): +30% Shift Cost. This might not be a such a big deal - except with this and Primal Tenacity you will be down to a 224 mana cost Cat or Bear form. 224. That's it. I don't know about you, but I like having mana available to Cyclone, Roots, Heal, etc.

3) Thick Hide (3 Points): -10% Armor. This is probably the first one I would lose if I had a choice - although I would really rather not at all. I like the survivability.

4) Natural Instincts (2 Points): -20% Healing in Cat, -70% Agi as Healing Power. No. This is such a huge survivability talent I would never give it up under any circumstances.

So I'm forced to pick 8 of those 10 points and throw them away for a talent I would never use anyway if I had Rend and Tear (if you have R&T you better be using FB and not Rip)? You have got to be kidding me.

Make the pre-requisite Imp. Mangle like it should be.


I love eating things.

Really. I love eating things.

Or to be more accurate, my Druid loves eating things. I never could get a handle on PvP on my Death Knight (my brother managed to, heh) but I've always loved playing as a Feral Druid. Initially I was skeptical because of the massive changes to Feral Druids. However after Blizzard finally realized that tiny mana pools were actually a HUGE problem for Ferals, and gave us epic reduced shifting costs, we got our utility back.

Now we actually can shift in and out as necesarry, heal ourselves, etc.

I've also come to realize that Feral Druids do incredibly powerful DPS in a PvP setting. Once I had Savage Roar up I was getting 3k crit Mangles on a Shaman. A Shaman. 6.5k Ferocious Bites were also very common on clothies. Not to mention the fact that we have a 3min cd "I Win" button against Warlocks. Not like I ever needed one before but ever since it was released in Pre-BC it was just amusing.

Oh and this is all in 187 Blues or worse except my weapon (Titansteel Destroyer) and Hateful Bracers.

It scares me to think what will happen once I actually have some gear.


Tanking as a Death Knight - Part 2a: Speccing - Blood

So how do you spec for tanking as a Death Knight? Other tanking classes just have one tree for tanking, Death Knights have 3. Each has their own niche, and each can perform equally well given ideal circumstances. Obviously some will be better in one area than another, but the idea is you pick whichever one suits your playstyle.

Personally I have used all 3 of the trees. I started out as Blood for 5 mans, and then switched to Unholy pre-Bone Shield nerf. After the nerf I stayed as Unholy for a little bit, and then went back to Blood for a long time. Now that we are working on Sarth + 2, I've gone back to Frost for Whelp tanking.

Any Death Knight tanking spec will start out with the 3 base tanking talents at the bottom of each tree - Blade Barrier, Toughness, and Anticipation. After you have those 3 you build up your points to your "36 point" tanking talent in your chosen tree. You will want a minimum of 50 points in 1 tree to pick up your "Expertise Talent".


Your base spec will look something like this. There are a bunch of filler talents you have to take to get down to the 50 point level, and are completely optional. These include Bloodworms, Hysteria, and Bloody Vengeance. Some people like to pick up Rune Tap instead - I have never been a big fan of it personally, but it all comes down to taste and personal choice. From there you should have ~9 or so points leftover that you have to decide what to do with. Most people currently stick them in Frost to pick up Lichborne.

My old spec used to look like this. Some people liked to use the last 3 points to pick up Morbidity to strengthen what is arguably Blood's biggest weakness in AoE threat.

In 3.1 Blood will change somewhat. The base spec will change to something like this. Note the filler talents again of Bloody Vengeance, Sudden Doom, Hysteria and Mark of Blood. Those points can be placed in other talents as you so choose. The end spec might look something like this as Blood is being encouraged to put more points into Unholy than Frost. Again, a lot of these talents are optional and highly dependent upon your playstyle.


Tanking as a Death Knight - Part 1: What's a Death Knight?

What is a Death Knight?

A Death Knight is a plate wearing class that can tank and DPS with any of its 3 trees with varying degrees of success depending on the situation. Each tree has its own specialization and style of tanking. There is no "best" tree (although some would argue otherwise) - you just need to pick the one you like the most.


The current focus of Blood is physical damage combined with the ability to self heal through talents. This is mostly staying the same in 3.1. In its current incarnation Blood has great single target threat, but rather lackluster AoE threat. This will change with 3.1 and the removal of Lichborne as a tanking cooldown - together with the changes to Unholy will greatly improve the AoE threat of Blood. On top of that, Blood receives a huge single target increase from the changes to Sudden Doom, and the bonus disease damage changes to Heart Strike and Obliterate.


Frost is focussed on mitigation and Frost damage (duh!). It has the best overall physical mitigation of the 3 trees, together with great single and AoE threat. In 3.1 this largely stays the same. Some talents are getting changed, but the overall focus and threat abilities are staying the same.


Unholy has the best magic mitigation of the three, but the poorest ability to deal with physical damage. On Live right now, Unholy also suffers from horrible single target threat compared to the other trees, but extreme AoE threat from Unholy Blight, reduced CD on Death and Decay, and long disease duration. All of this is largely staying the same in 3.1 - however Scourge Strike is being buffed to take care of the single target threat problem.

All in all, you have to try each of the 3 trees and decide which one you like the most.

It's Alliiivvvveee!

Or something.

Obligatory "Welcome to Death Kitty" post.

This will actually be an on-going World of Warcraft blog focussing on Death Knight PvE (mostly tanking) and Feral Druid PvP.

I got the idea from Lissanna to do a blog. Because lets face it, Lissanna is cool people. That, and there are hardly any *real* Death Knight or Feral PvP blogs in existence.

Overview of Death Knight tanking to follow.