Why in hell is DK dps so low?

I went digging for relative DPS performance of each class and spec. Why? Well I heard grumblings that Boomkins were shitty dps in patch 5.3, and Mages were getting nurfed. Apparently Shadow Priests were doing poorly too. I did not want to accept that on face value, so had to dig.

dpsRanking5-3(Source: Noxxic’s rankings, based upon SimCraft. http://www.noxxic.com/wow/dps-rankings/realistic, for patch 5.3 using normal mode gear)

As a DK what I found made be bloody angry. It seems that the rough simulations performed by the SimulationCraft app for both “ideal” and “realistic” conditions have Death Knights as the lowest dps regardless of their spec choice.

Yup, that means all the banter normally seen between which playstyle is performing better is basically moot when you consider that any choice a DK makes can be out performed by every other class. Continue reading

The Cloak of Virtue claimed

After a lucky run this week which saw three of the Titan runes drop, I’ve acquired a Cloak of Virtue quest reward for patch 5.3 – The Tiger Claw Cape.

To say it is an upgrade from the ilevel 530 dps cloak I was using is a shattering understatement. 530 vs 608 is a wonderful difference when you are on this side of the quest reward.

I chose the Tank challenge as I’d been told is was a little easier and I was short on time. Overall it was very straight forward, with the only trick being where the tank must stand in front of the incoming blasts from four directions. Cute mechanic for a mini-boss style encounter, but I’d be annoyed to see that in a raid fight.

It also means that I’m actually caught up on “current” for the legendary questline for the first time since starting it. Luck has a great deal to do with that.

I cannot wait to use it. Happy Killing.

Lichborne’s p5.4 analysis on DKs

Aside

WoWInsider’s Lichbourne thoughts on the current patch 5.4 are good, so good in fact that I’m just going to link it. Have a read if you’re interested in what Death Knights have coming soon. It’s early days for these notes, but overall nothing I can see is major or especially bad. A DRW free is great for Blood spec.

Ref: Lichborne: Patch 5.4 patch note analysis for death knights.
DK-T14-Chest-is-a-Dress

More than one DK per realm

Aside

Death Knights rejoice! Or moan longingly, or at least smile. OK don’t smile. Players can now have more than one DK per realm.

Why do I like this?

Well for a start I’ve a DK sitting on an old realm who has a fair amount of gold that I might transfer, and I also have enjoyed playing a DK of a different race and faction to see both the different cities and the different animations. Undead DKs have a two-hander animation I like, so there are probably more out there. Yes, I could see that with another class I guess, but I don’t like some of my lowbie alts anymore. Ok, it’s nothing world changing, it’s nice. And more Death Knights is a good thing.

walking-frozen-township

Wrathion Story part 2 done!

Those pesky pvp battles were an absolute pain, and now my DK is thankfully back to grinding drops from raid bosses and farming mats to get further through the quest chain.

Generally I hated the pvp battlegrounds. Almost all the fights demonstrated that an organised group will crush a typical pvp set of random players. The battlegrounds where we died constantly were blisteringly frustrating.

The battlegrounds were a core of us followed some simple strategies were good, and generally we either won or came very close to winning.

I learnt:

  • Any group is stuffed without a healer, and protecting the healer is actually fun. A particular Paladin teamed up with myself and another Death Knight and we roflstomped almost everyone for 2-3 minutes at a time before the Orb debuff made us crushable. As a set of three we moved through that Battleground together and it worked really well. Later it was a Druid who help me steamroll through the squishies are part of the fighting team.
  • Stay as a group. i.e. when 3-4 players stayed in the middle of the Orb Arena (not its real name) we smashed the others. Especially when we had two players with Orbs.
  • Fight within the game’s ideal zone. i.e. on the flags, carts, or in the center of the arena where you get the most points.
  • Personal cooldowns are not for emergencies, they are for every second in the game. A moment spent in combat without them is pointless.
  • Not that I intended to, but a particular Shadow Priest and Warlock on Horde are probably writing blog posts about how much Death Knights are broken and overpowered in PvP. I think I killed these particular two characters

Patch 5.2 Class Review – Death Knight

cropped-shadow-smoke-thedead.jpg

GC has delivered a short blog as a review and update on their perspective for Death Knights, one part of a series for each class as a reflection of the changes made in patch 5.2. The intro to all the class updates was:

We don’t alter classes lightly, and every change comes only after a great deal of player feedback, developer thought, and careful analysis. We also know that while class changes can help keep things fresh, they can also mean that there’s a need to re-learn things about your character that you thought you already knew. We want to make this process clearer, more understandable, and easier to adapt to as we move into patch 5.2, so I’ll be working with World of Warcraft Lead Systems Designer Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street to write a short blog series that will provide an overview of the important changes coming to each class.

For the DKs is worth a read (source)…

We had three main goals:

  • Make some less attractive talents more compelling.
  • Improve quality of life for Unholy Death Knights.
  • Give a small PvP buff.

We didn’t feel like Death Knights needed many changes overall, and we try not to change classes for change’s sake, especially midway through an expansion, so you’ll see fewer changes here than for some other classes.

To address some issues with less attractive talents, you’ll see buffs to Death Siphon (more damage dealt) and Conversion (less Runic Power over time).

Unholy’s quality of life changes were mostly to solve the problem of “orphaned” runes. A Death Knight would, for example, Blood Boil twice and then Scourge Strike, leaving two Frost Runes, which weren’t sufficient to use Festering Strike. Now Icy Touch activates Reaping, which will allow those Frost Runes to convert to Death Runes. We also made Plague Strike apply Frost Fever to reduce the need to use Icy Touches. We also made Summon Gargoyle no longer cost Runic Power and changed the damage done to both Shadow and Nature to synergize better with Unholy’s Mastery, Dreadblade.

While we think Death Knights are in a good place in PvP overall, we did agree with the feedback that Strangulate has a very long cooldown for what it does, so we lowered its cooldown and also lowered Asphyxiate to match. Finally, it is worth pointing out that the tier 14 2-piece ended up being overbudget to the extent that we were concerned DKs would keep using it in the 5.2 raid. We nerfed the set bonus and buffed Death Knights to compensate. Blood is in a good place overall, but we did buff Blood Parasite dramatically, because it was just undertuned.

In pondering what this means…

Overall – yes, DKs are in a good place and do not need a large set of changes.

Further every time a class gets refined in a significant way the changes swing up and down to find a new point of balance. I’d rather not have a large set of changes applied mid-expansion even to fix Unholy’s dps output. Frankly it does not make enough of a difference to me. I love Unholy the most out of all the specs, but will use whichever Dps style is better overall for me. In a month we’ll be able to review the changes being introduced for priests and monks and evaluate if they needed tweaks. I bet they’ll need tweaks.

I think most DK players have a similar ethos. The choice given to players for which spec to play when each spec is basically the same is somewhat of an illusion; a final max will be found through theory-craft, and it will likely become the default. e.g. Mage, Hunter, Rogue, etc specs too.

Talents – Conversion is a great talent, as it is passive. A nurf hurts a little, but if overall damage is altered to compensate (as indicated) then ok cool. No worries. That meas it might be worth mucking around wit the others. Death Siphon is a wonderful ability that I use in raids regularly to help the healers, and if it does more damage then that helps my Dps role. No bad there.

Timmy’s been upgraded – Overall an update to Unholy was needed, and i totally agree with Timmy being altered so that he is more usable. This does not alter the need to understand the complexity of when to use Timmy, or how Timmy might affect the raids – and that is excellent as Timmy’s idiosyncratic behaviour is one of the complexities that I think Unholy should keep.

T14-2pc Dps set bonus – it was good enough that having the set bonus and using 483/476 gear was better than using 489 gear (I have the SimCraft numbers to prove it too). Yes, that might be “overpowered” a little, but it also means that the bonus provided a bridge for those who were struggling to get gear in other locations.

Blood – My gripe for Blood is still that the health shield disappears too quickly. I know it is manageable, but fight mechanics often are more important than the timing of Death Strike, and that means a shield dropping off without being fully used, or sometimes the runes are needed for other powers.

For the PvP changes – I honestly cannot say.

Issues to bitch about – as a class DKs have a very complex mix of resources to plan with – generate and use RP for some powers, but not others. It shits me. We have cooldowns on powers to ensure they cannot be spammed and be abused, but the DK class is as complex a beast that I’ve ever played (compared to Boomkin, Warlock, Tankadin, SPriest) in raids. i.e.

  • BattleRes requires Runic Power…why? This power is meant to be used to recover from a whoops moment, but often I cannot use it as I’ve just burnt RP doing DPS. Do druids have a mana/energy/rage cost to cast the bloody thing? No. What the hell.
  • Soul Reaper requires a Blood rune, with it’s own additional internal cooldown… why? Runes have cooldowns/regeneration already. Suggestion – take the blood rune requirement from it and let me spam it according to Blood Runes.
  • Outbreak alone is almost but not really enough to keep diseases up on targets when playing Frost (well the way  I play at least). This means using runes on “lesser” abilities. That is fine, but it is not as useful as it could be. Perhaps a tweak to cooldown? Not sure.
  • Bone Shield (blood) is not a fun and interesting mini-game. It is something to remember, which is just meh.
  • Blood Shield – as above.

Happy killing, TyphoonAndrew

Naxxramas Continue reading