DK DPS on WoW Patch 5.4 … again

I shouldn’t look at DPS Rankings, as they are skewed in ways that mean they are one source of input for performance and are nothing like a perfect. That said, the recent updates from SimCraft are giving me deja vu.

I wrote about the 5.3 Dps rankings in August this year, and this post could use many of the same words. Meaning the upward geared DKs will be fighting harder to get the same dps as some other classes. Ref: http://www.noxxic.com/wow/dps-rankings/realistic#553. 

This is the Ranking for ilevel 553-ish gear, and I’m uninspired by how the ilevels scale.

5-4-dps-rank-553-gearWhat do we have here for Patch 5.4? Continue reading

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.

More than one DK per realm

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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.

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Recent 5.3 PTR changes for DKs and Legendary reward for Blacksmiths

dk-symbolFor Death Knights the May 14 tweaks have some relevance, and the new “Reborn” style weapons can now apply the Legendary upgrade.

As I said, it was very disappointing that the Reborns were same as the LFR drops – and they still are disappointing. This brings a 30 day crafting slog up to the scale of a random LFR drop. I’m seriously contemplating dropping Blacksmithing for Enchanting or some other profession with regular solid buffs beyond Bracers and Gloves socketing.

More after the break. Continue reading

Patch 5.2 Class Review – Death Knight

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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

A wee bit of Tanking

We ran through MV last night and due to some silly guild happenings we were a few folks short. We were able to grab a darn excellent Shadow Priest via pugging, to fill the roster. As an aside it was well beyond my expectations to find somebody who has experience on 2-3 characters in MV and is also polite and intelligent. From a pug no less. Its like it 2009 all over again.

Missing a few players might be bad news sometimes, but last night I chucked on my Blood set and mashed the DeathStrike button through the Mogu’shun in a manner to make the designers cringe. I’m sure that I didn’t walk-taunt-move-stay-still enough in some parts, and the mechanics are still gibberish to me in the later bosses. Our regular Blood DK gave me all the help I needed by prompting for each taunt, and while I can normally see a debuff or action from which he is reacting to, last night it was tough to spot.

A few hours of killing, only a few wipes, at an even pace we had all but the last boss dead and unfortunately I hit the “in-home” enrage timer just after 11pm, and had to end the run. Frustrating to not down the Emperors after all that, but then we did start a little later than expected and they’ll be standing there till we come back.

I’m also pissed off that Elegon did not drop anything useful for me that I could bid on. There was plenty of Plate gear that dropped, but nothing for upgrades either way. Selfishly, I’d have liked a two-hander to replace the crappy Blue I’m still using. Or it would be nice to see an end to the fun mini-game of waiting for the Plate Wrist dps to drop too. Love randomness, its so fun.

Three fat Mogu staring at a dinner plate?

New t14 set bonuses

Tier 15 death knight DPS bonuses are now (ptr): better.

Death Knight T15 DPS 2P Bonus – Your attacks have a chance to raise the spirit of a fallen Zandalari as your Death Knight minion for 15 sec.

Death Knight T15 DPS 4P Bonus – Your Soul Reaper ability now deals additional Shadow Damage to targets below 45% instead of below 35%. Additionally, Killing Machine now also increases the critical strike chance of Soul Reaper.

Thoughts are:

  • dps-2 – A freebie ghoul is cool, however the degree by which this is actually useful and effective is subject to each encounter’s mechanics. The base dps increase might be good, but that will be subject to stuns, movement, tricks, special roles, etc. It is a bit meh, but I can see some use.
  • dps-4 – An increase to Soul Reaper is great, especially with the crit chance increased. Sounds darn good.
  • Both – it is good that both abilities are not granting a special extra button/ability – I hate that. The change in play to use Soul Reaper is something that we’ll see wash up as a boost, and I suspect it will be a great boost. Fights where there are many things to sequentially kill (Garalon’s legs) really shine for SR.

Image of DK T15 Armor Set

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Well an image, straight from MMO Champion. Thoughts?

I hope it get “refined” a little, because I don’t understand what the intend of the armor is.
Also its odd that the armor would leave the back of the neck exposed, but perhaps its just highlighted because of the contrast. And odd that the Human model can’t actually see out of the “creature” mouth.

And perhaps the two huge teeth/horns might be the wrong way up. And there are no creature features except teeth and horns. Stuff it, I’m just being grumpy. Not sure. I’ll say one thing, its better than the T14, which is not overtly difficult.

Frosty dps tip

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dk-symbolQuick note – Recently the 2-hander dps cycle for Frost started to make more sense, and the extra bit that “clicked” was sometimes needing to wait rather than mash buttons (I love mashing buttons). When KM procs and the next Obliterate or Frost Strike will be a crit, but due to resource cooldowns and various random things the Obliterate ability is often not usable, but Frost Strike is. Generally I would hit Frost Strike if OB was more than 3 seconds away.

What made this frustrating is that sometimes the FS would trigger OB to come up, or the OB might seem it was 4-6 seconds away, and then snap to ready a second later. Meaning maybe I should have waited. Recently I said “stuff it” and started waiting. It has made a small difference, I think a slight DPS increase.

What is really hard is altering the “muscle memory” of the frost style to not snap that FS button. My finger literally hesitates over the button now, and I’m trying to re-train my fingers so that I’m mashing OB first, or better yet – not mashing at all. Some folks will say dps is easy, but not all Dps is easy; sometimes the hardest thing is not doing what you’ve trained yourself to do. Unlearn.

So it was worth it – the advice from EJ and such as always been to do this, just that its easier to read than actually implement.

Happy Killing

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Mortigen, back in the old days in Dalaran. When Naxx v2.0 gear was awesome, no transmogs were around, and we walked to school in the snow, uphill, etc.

Death Knight Tier 14, dress wearer’s set

Why is the DK t14 set wearing a robe/dress? (source)

It’s creepy, has skulls, and will be immediately recognisable. It does not suit the rest of the Death Knight style gear. Heck the Hunter gear looks more like DK gear than this. Perhaps there was too many Warlock sets crafted and they thought the feminine side of DKs needed a spin. I hate that dress.

Still in other T14 news the Monks are wearing lamp shades, the Priests have funny hats, and the Warlock looks awesome.

Full Death Knight team raze Heroic DS 25 – Awesome

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Here is an odd endeavour – to clear Heroic Dragon Soul raid with a full Death Knight Team. Awesome work gentlemen. It demonstrates just how interesting a challenge can be created. I have no doubt that a full Druid, Paladin, and Monk clear could be performed too. Kudos for the DKs for getting this together. Check out the vids and the banter via the links.

As a keen DK and Wow’er this is entertaining. Players seeking to nudge the edge of what is reasonable and intended in a game should be encouraged, and while we’ll never see an achievement for “Full raid single class” due to the bias against classes that cannot do this – its notable. Just as cool is the soloing of Lich King on Hard mode in a 10 man raid.

The group’s main setup included:

  • 4 tank blood DKs
  • 17 DPS blood DKs
  • 3 DC heal blood DKs (to assist tanks with Deathcoil Glyph)
  • 1 DW frost DK (for buff)

The team also called in a druid and priest for the Spine encounter to beat the dispel mechanic.

Now this might garner some “DKs are OP” comments too, and I have two things to say to that: (a) shut it troll, and (b) yes, Death Knights are awesome…

Happy Killing