Death Knight DPS spec change

dk-symbolA few posts ago I told folks that I’d be going Blood for dps in PvE in 3.1. And after a few runs it is just not fun, not my cup of tea. I find Blood dps messy, too opportunistic, and the rotations are intolerant of lag, and intolerant of interruptions. And that aint good.

I initially chose Blood as it was close to the diseaseless spec that I was using before that, but with or without DRW, UB, or any other combo – it just feels scattered. So my Blood vs Unholy choice comes out a strong Unholy.

My lag sits anywhere from ms 500 to 800, and in 10 and especially 25 man raids that means the UI is chugging to keep up, and my abilities do not fire with a sharp snap. Instead they tend to get queued, and sometimes fire and sometimes just disappear. The paranoid part of my brain says that Blizzard may have changed the way abilities get loaded to be even more optimised for great connections, but I have absolutely no proof of that. It just feels that way.

So now I’ve spec’ed back to Unholy for dps. Its odd, but Unholy dps feels good. I leveled as Unholy and the spec feels somewhat like what I have always expected. Like comming home. Unholy also seems more forgiving of lag, and the kind folks at EJ say that Unholy is also more forgiving of bad gear. Well my gear is good (thank you very much), and Unholy feels solid. Very very solid.

Key to my appreciation of the Unholy tree is:

  • the Improved Presence, where I can get the speed buff from Unholy while in Blood Presence. Almost all fights I see now have an advantage to having increased speed. 15% might not be much compared to Cats, but it counts.
  • Permanent ghoul, which costs nothing to summon and dismiss with the Glyph. That is a must have, and wonderful for Instance runs. I need to find a mod that tells me when my Ghoul is almost dead, so I can heal it, or wipe it for extar HP. (any ideas folks?)
  • Bone Armour gives a dps buff and slight help with inbound damage.
  • Disease spreading for AoE is stronger and Pestilance + UB is very strong AoE. Grated it blows a heap of runes really quickly, but thats the point. Unload a lot of AoE attacks early and then ping a target while the runes refresh.

The Death Knight is akin to a plate wearing Warlock, and unholy with perma Ghoul is as close as you get. It means that once again I switch my stats around a bit for more hit and AP rather than Crit (being as spell damage is from AP and spell hit). But hey, what raider does not regularly drop 100g a week in gems, patches, and enchants?

Performance wise I can’t tell you, yet. I think I’ve dropped a small amount of single target dps to gain a shit load of AoE capacity. If I get my rotations rolling and get lucky I don’t have to refresh diseases which means much more dps. If the Gargoyle was out at the same time, I think I’d be smashing mobs left and right.

And I can’t wait to see. Watch this space.

Patch 3.1 spec for Shadow Priest

priest_iconThere is not a huge list of talent changes for the Shadow Priests in 3.1, which means that the standard choices remain almost unaffected. I will not be initially buying dual spec, as I have to save up the cash. So when I have a 2nd spec to worry about I’ll post that. I’m thinking a heavy Disc build, but will have to see what the community thinks of the Holy changes.

My Shadow Priest is wearing crappy gear, and in no way represents the typical gear level, stats, or itemisation needs. Thus if you are well geared you will want to consider some serious changes. This spec is more for a Shadow Priest who is still getting to, or just questing at 80.

DPS: 14/0/57 Shadow with Inner Focus and no Shadow Affinity

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Comments on hold for Patch 3.1

I’m waiting before commenting on the Patch 3.1 notes. Why? Because the changes are very broad at the moment for Death Knights, and I’d rather see what they are a week from now. Commenting now just seems like jumping the gun to me.

The class notes so far for most classes are worth of a read though. Go find your favpourite source and drool away.

Knowing that Frost and Blood will get re-worked and Unholy gets some switching around – all ok imho. Lets see what Blizzard can do for Death Knights. It appears that dual wield killing machine procs are reduced, so maybe dual wield will become a flavour choice not a must do. Not that I did, I like Frost dps at the moment, but will look hard at each tree again shortly.

The huge one is that dual spec will be for level 40s and above, and not have a materials requirement. Booja! That is excellent. The 1000 gold cost is nothing compared to what that offers multi-role toons. Not just hybrids get a boost here, you could have a pvp and pve spec for a dps’er.

Upcoming patches – 3.0.9 and 3.1

I’m not fussed by anything I’ve read about so far in Some quick thoughts.

  • Paladin seals last 30 minutes, as to does Priest Inner Fire. Nice. Recasting Inner Fire every 10 minutes is a total pain in the arse.
  • Re-colouring of the void zones in OS well thats a nice to have, but not huge.
  • and many more, particularly if you play a Mage, Hunter, Paladin or Rogue. I don’t, so not overly fussed.
  • They already hotfixed the boat bug where a DK could pull a foe around the world using Death Grip. I read about it, but never tried it.
  • I read that Hunters are getting rid of ammo at some stage (3.0.9 or later). Thats a shot in the arm for Hunters, a shot in the head for Engineers, and a good reason for Warlocks to put up their Shard laden hands and say “us too please”.

Its patch 3.1 that has me all a quiver. There are changes to all classes, and most of them are important enough to read through in detail.

  • The Ulduar raid. I hope we’re ready.
  • Its suggested that we’ll see dual spec. If so, woot! If not I’m happy to keep waitig till they get it right. Latest story seems to say you change spec in a town, then go hunting, pvp, raiding. Very cool.
  • Class changes up the wazoo. So much that its hard to absorb them all.
  • A change to mana regen across the board, then a buff to some classes in spirit and mana regen talents. My suss is that healing classes who can stack HoTs are the real target here, as they can cast many affects quickly, then start a regen period. Not sure if it will also have a negative affect on DoTs either, but then I was never not casting when I was a Warlock. Casters are meant to run out of mana, so this change might return a degree of challenge to mana for those who were never running out. Personally I was already running out so hope that it has no negative affect.
  • Death Knights have a change in the Unholy tree for Gargoyle and Unholy Blight. Pestilence to not do damage, but only spread the diseases, and a reduction to the affect of Unbreakable Armor. They are also looking at Glacial Rot, Sudden Doom, and Endless Winter. I don’t like the removal of damage from Pestilence, and it means that getting to Aoe will be that much slower, giving me less aoe generally. I’ll just stick to Howling Blast then.
  • The updates for the rest of Death Knight are supposedly aimed at “blood and frost dps” and “frost tanks” to quote the WoW Insider. Time will tell.

Its so unreal at the moment and I’m not banking on any of it. Also timing wise I can’t see 3.1 hitting for at least a few weeks. The adjustment in 3.0.9 seems small, and hopefully that means they’ll take time to watch it being stable for a few weeks. I know raiders are frothing at the mouth for new content; but releasing Ulduar early with all the class changes will create whine churn.

Unless perhaps its just better to put a stack of sweeping changes all in one patch. Like removing a bandaid, get it done in one hit. I’d prefer we wait.

Rumour of the week: Bigger Backpack

A larger base backpack. Joy. What in hell are they going to make us do to get this, considering that the 22 slot bag is an OS drop. Will Haris Pilton be involved? And how big will the upgrade be?

If its from 16-18 there will be a riot, but then if they make it 28 slots or some such, then is this too large? Or do they make it 20 slot to keep the feel of the 22 slot ones are really valuable, and then add more “currency” tracking. Quests, food, and potions is where a lot of my bag space goes.

Give us tracking of quest drops for Rep, special coolers to store our food (Eski of Frozen Storage, 30 slot box), and all the coins, marks, and tokens not taking up bag space – just like the currency tab now. A suggestion in the WoW Insider post has the backpack scale with level – I like that (don’t ask what an eski is…). Please don’t make it linked to an achievement.

So what is missing here?

On the surface nothing. However with new content should bring new items and new opportunities. So I say with patch 3.1 we should be seeing daily quests for other professions, and some more patterns available for those professions. Akin to Jewelcrafting, Cooking, etc. Let the other professions slave daily to get some interesting and useful patterns. Not being able to get Kirin Tor rep from an extra daily sucks too.