Death Knight F.A.Q: Questions? Answers right here!
I'm Krenian, formally known as Tonypablos, the creator of the DK DPS guide for Tankspot.com. Looking over my F.A.Q. it's been a little while since I really updated it and as such, with the downtime that we are having with World of Warcraft's weekly maintenance, I took it upon myself to update the F.A.Q. with some questions. Feel free to pose any questions in which you haven't found, but please look at the links section before posting; Chances are the threads I will link have answers.
Also insure that you do not put any Armory links and ask what you're doing wrong. We have a forum for that. This thread's really made to be a general guide as to what to do when you first get the Death Knight class and how to play the class. It doesn't delve too much in rotations, or priority systems or stat management. You'll want to look at the links section for that.
Without further adieu, I give you the new and IMPROVED F.A.Q. of Death Knights!
- I've played WoW since it's release and by no means am I a great tank or the best DPS in the world. In fact, I shun those titles really as the game is in a constant state of evolution and it requires you to adapt to it. However, with the fact that I've played most of the classes in the game at least till level 45+ should give you a decent view as to my playtime. The only class I really haven't played past level 45 is the Warlock class and as such, I do not ever presume to give out information about this. This is to show that I'm reasonable when I just simply don't know the information. If I don't know an answer to your question, I will definitely let you guys know and try to find it for you, or at least some sort of post that informs you of it!
- My specialties are Rogue, Warrior tanking and DPS and a little bit of Prot tanking and shaman DPS/Healing. So I've been a jack of all trades and played both hybrid and pure classes. I'd like to think that I am knowledgeable in most of the things I have played (Thanks to a variety of resources I have been studying, thanks to a bunch of you knowledgeable folks in the world.). I do my research when it comes to playing a class and I dislike not knowing how to properly play that said class. I will look up the information, dissect it and attempt to integrate the information inside of my play style of the class. With this, I'm a versatile, mobile and flexible individual!
- I'm currently playing my Death Knight in a full time raiding scenario with Eventide, Ciderhelm's guild. We have just recently knocked out Conqueror of Ulduar which requires you not to die at all to any of the bosses on the first try. Playing a Death Knight, unlike what some people belief, requires attention to your rotation as well as your surroundings, and only then will you see strong numbers. It's easy to play any class and faceroll, however I try not to guide people in that direction and would like to show that there's more than pressing buttons to the Death Knight class.
So you've chosen a Death Knight. Now what?
First thing is first, you'll be looking at your screen, staring dumbly (Trust me, you will) and wondering what race is best. To be honest, all the races have their good and their bad. I'll list them for ya!
Human: You get spiffy Expertise with Swords and Maces, both one handers and two handers. You also get extra Rep which is great to grind those reputation folk that have spiffy things such as recipes and enchants (Head and Shoulders...get it? haha, I crack myself up.)
Dwarf: Stoneform is nice to get some bleeds off of you. You also get a much higher Mace Expertise bonus.
Night Elf: Avoidance is awesome for an avoidance tank. That dodge rating will help.
Gnome: Escape Artist will get you out of roots of sorts so you can resume slaughtering people.
Draenei: The self heal is always a very nice thing to have while leveling, even if the Death Knight can self heal. Can't ever have enough healing (aka get swamped by some big baddie). The big powerhouse here is the 1% to hit/Spell hit that they get. That helps out a ton and lets you get other gear that doesn't focus on Hit so much.
Orc: The pet lover! Orcs get the nice ability to give their pets 5% extra damage. This DOES affect your ghoul, so take advantage of that. Furthermore, a trinket in the form of Blood Fury and the Expertise out of Axes makes this a solid choice.
Tauren: With a 5% increase in base health, Taurens make the sturdiest Death Knights. The stun is also nothing to scoff at, allowing you reprieve if you get overwhelmed.
Undead: Aaaah Will of the Forsaken, an ability that many people have found to be game breaking from time to time, but always a valuable asset to have. Cannibalism will also help with faster health regeneration.
Troll: Berserking adding up to an extra 30% haste is always a great asset to have, and the extra damage to beasts is nice. The passive Health Regeneration is also a very nice ability.
Blood Elves: Mind Freeze on cooldown? You used your Strangulate already? Well Arcane Torrent's here to save you! Always a nice ability to have when you get Runic Power out of it to boot!
This is excluding any of the passive resistances that some races get as well as crafting bonuses. To be honest, any of the races will do just fine. Pick the race which you like as well as which will benefit you the most. Unholy will tend to go with Orcs for the damage increase, and that's about the only way you would lean towards one race in particular. The rest, I find, are suitable enough for their needs. (Cept gnomes...damn ankle biters..)
So, we decided on a race. Let's look at the class stuff now and what you will expect to know at the start!
Q: Where will you be getting your information?
A: From personal experiences, testings, rantings, raiding, pvping (very very little) and other sources out there on the internetz. I tend to read anything and everything about the Death Knight class to keep myself up to date with the information. With that in mind, I try to get rid of the information that doesn't make much sense. With that, I take a personal call and it may/may not be the right one.
Q: I see your credentials and I agree/disagree with your knowledge of your classes. My question is: have you played the beta?
A: Sadly, no. And it's something I'm blaming Blizzard for (Damn you Blizzard for no key!) However the beta is far away so I don't think this really matters anymore. I've been playing since Wrath and just have been hacking at it since then. I've come across my own thoughts and ideas which sometimes differ from the Beta Testers. By all means, I thank them for the information but the class has changed since Beta.
Q: So I created a death knight! ...wait, what do these abilities do!?
A: Simple. There's an huge amount of quests that should level you up to level 58 that teaches you mostly about your skills and talents. Further details will go into this thread about specs and rotations and talent research but go make one and follow the quest lines. And read. You're on an MMO AND on this site, I'm sure that you can sit down and take a few minutes to read what Blizzard wrote on their game!
Q: Wait, I'm level 55 and I have no talents. WTF!?
A: Calm down! Blizzard made it so when you're doing your quests, you get talent points. So buckle down and start leveling already!
Q: Dual Wielding, doable?
A: While leveling? Sure! It's a great way to level and it gives you the option of more gear while you level instead of staying with a clunky two hander all the time. It's not a problem and most leveling specs will let you smack things with two one handers and not penalize you. You may want to review your decision come level 80 but with 3.2 on the Horizon and Frost getting some spiffy buffs, I wouldn't knock Dual Wielding out just yet!
Q: But I want to dual wield and look awesome/do great dps/etc etc etc
A: ...Then dual wield you silly git, just realize that right now, in 3.1, the dual wield aspect requires a very specific set of gear to pull of decent DPS. And most two handed builds will beat the dual wield build if played right.
Q: Where do I put my talent points to DPS/Tank better?
A: That's the glorious thing about our class: We have no 'preferred' spec to tank! All three trees have great tools to tank with, and allow us to tank perfectly fine depending on what scenario. Blood's a great single target killing machine. Frost is the best middle ground with very strong AoE and single target. Unholy's going to focus mostly on magical strikes to cut through enemy armor. Depending on what your guild will call you to do, spec accordingly and look at your talents. It really doesn't take much to really look and see what would benefit you most in each situation.
Q: So what's the deal with Hero class? Are we supposed to be OP? UP?
A: So you rolled a DK to be overpowered? Well..you might be shocked to realize that the title 'hero' never was meant for the class to be above the others. In fact, the title 'hero' is really just a fancy way of showing that you actually accomplished leveling a toon to level 55 and unlocked this class. About all it means really. The balance of the class is pretty much in tune with other classes. Furthermore, Blizzard has stated that the only reason this class is known as a 'hero' class is because they're part of a very major storyline plot and they are considered a 'heroic' class to play. It doesn't entitle you to OP, whining, complaining, screaming and other things that people think when they see 'hero' class. Sorry!
Q: No way, this class is OP, nerf it!
A: To each their own but we all have problems. It's an MMO, if people weren't complaining about something of their classes, there would be a problem.
Q: So what exactly is IT, or BS, or other abbreviations.
A: Good question! Here are the abbreviated terms in no random order.
Death Knight Terminology
AMS - Anti-magic Shell
AMZ - Anti-magic Zone
AotD - Army of the Dead
B - Blood rune (1B = one blood rune, etc.)
BB - Blood Boil
BCB - Blood Caked Blade
BP - Blood Plague
BS - Blood Strike
BT - Blood Tap
CE - Corpse Explosion
CF - Crypt Fever
CoI - Chains of Ice
DnD - Death and Decay
DC - Death Coil
DK - Death Knight
DRM - Death Rune Mastery
DRW - Dancing Rune Weapon
EP - Ebon Plague, Ebon Plaguebringer
ERW - Empower Rune Weapon
F - Frost rune (1F = one frost rune, etc.)
FF - Frost Fever
FS - Frost Strike
FU - Rune combination that generally results in a strong rune attack.
GoG - Guile of Gorefiend
HB - Howling Blast
HC - Hungering Cold
HoW - Horn of Winter
HS - Heart Strike
IBF - Icebound Fortitude
IIT - Improved Icy Talons
IT - Icy Touch / Icy Talons (IT is usually icy touch when used in rotation layouts)
LB - Lichborne
MoB - Mark of Blood
MoM - Might of Mograine
OB - Obliterate
PS - Plague Strike
RoR - Rage of Rivendare
RP - Runic Power
RPM - Runic Power Mastery
RS - Rune Strike
RT - Rune Tap
SS/ScS - Scourge Strike (not to be confused with Sinister Strike, or Steady Shot)
U - Unholy rune (1U = one unholy rune, etc.)
UA - Unbreakable Armor
UB - Unholy Blight
VB - Vampiric Blood
*Credited to Ghoulgrim off of the DK Beta Forums
Q: Haste, good, bad, undecided?
A: General concessus is that it's not bad, but it's really not our best stat. None of our attacks really benefit form haste as it doesn't affect our global cooldown and most of our attacks are yellow based instants. In essence, the only thing that it really raises is our White DPS, which in itself is fine but really not the greatest of stats to follow.
Q: So why was Blizzard silly enough to not let you train at a trainer while doing your Dk quests to allow you to have a level 300 profession to catch up? (Slightly biased question on my part)
A: Blizzard is silly. No, honestly, not any idea. At least you start off with first aid up at 270 and a 100% mount at the near start of the questlines. I guess that's our benefit. Really, be grateful. That's a 500 gold training mount you save. Which can go to getting your dead bird!
Q: So I'm stuck on my mount after getting it. HALP!
A: Uh...press 1. ;D
F.A.Q. about abilities, specs and other useful stuff
Q: So, I'm done learning about the class...but what's a rotation?
A: You're not done. If you were done, you would of stopped at the first section of the FAQ. A rotation is a set of fairly well placed rune usage to make a combination happen.
Here, I'll give you a very basic Frost Rotation now:
Icy Touch -> Plague Strike -> Blood Strike -> Blood Strike -> Obliterate
With this, all six of your runes will be used up in a cycle and you must wait until your runes return from their cooldown to reuse the cycle. This could give you a powerful cycle of threat output right away
Some of the more potent rotations require you to have to wait for cooldowns to return to execute properly. Here's a more complex rotation that requires you to wait a bit before being able to pull off a full execution as Unholy:
Icy Touch -> Plague Strike -> Scourge Strike -> Blood Boil/Pestilence -> Blood Boil
Scourge Strike -> Scourge Strike -> Scourge Strike
The first rotation: - Icy Touch -> Plague Strike -> Scourge Strike -> Blood Boil/Pestilence -> Blood Boil - allows you create two death runes, which will allow the Death Knight to hit three times with Scourge Strike at the end, being the full rotation.
Q: What's a death rune exactly.
A: That's a rune that can be used with either a frost, unholy or blood attack. It's got a higher priority value than your regular runes so if you use a frost attack and you have a frost and death rune active, it will use the Death rune instead.
Q: So which presence should I be in when doing DPS/Tanking/Pvp?
A: Honestly? Some people say they have 'specific' goals but only one really comes to me as needed for a specific goal: Frost for tanking. Blood and Unholy, in my opinion, can be useful for both PvE and PvP purposes: Blood allows you to be more survivable with it's healing and a 15% increase in damage and Unholy's presence for the speed increase allows you to grind faster/get to mobs/people faster. Use them when needed really.
Q: Wait a second..can't we use maces?
A: You can..you just gotta go train them. Horde train maces in Thunder Bluff. Alliance, you're heading to Stormwind.
Q: Cool, I have a pet! Can I make him do some insanely cool attacks?
A: You can make him explode! Send your pet in and cause some AoE corpse explosion gore! (Caution, can only be used as Unholy. Look up the tree and look up Master of Ghouls and Corpse Explosion, D'uh.)
Q: So why does my Gargoyle do nothing? Kinda sucky of a pet, no?
A: Because you're probably thinking of the wrong way of using your pet. Really, it's a DoT pet which shows it's use much more prominantly during raids where you're on bosses that have a wee bit more health than the ones you're grinding.
Q: I think I'm ready. Anything else you should let me know?
A: Not really. The best advice I could give you is to go out and learn either on the dummies that are in town to get the rotations down, or go out there and tank/dps instances or while leveling.
So, we've gone through some questions and now let's start looking at some trees, right?
Doesn't this tree look eerily like the Ret's tree for paladins? Well it's pretty much the same deal. The Blood tree focuses mainly on weapon damage and dealing a lot of physical damage out on mobs. It is also a great grinding spec as it keeps you high health due to it's health regen capabilities. This tree will allow you to grind with simple ease and keep you high in health while doing so, which of course turns into a great way to grind your levels. If you're someone who likes swinging a two hander for a huge amount of damage, this is the tree for you. Typical blood specs will be giving 10% attack power to their group through the AR talent.
Frost, which has been nicknamed the 'tanking' tree, is far from it. It's more considered the burst tree with high amounts of umph to your attacks. It's more of a middle line between Blood and Unholy, where Blood is simply a lot of physical damage and Unholy is more about DoTs and magic attacks. Frost is also considered the Dual Wield tree with prominent dual wield talents in it. The key here is to set up Frost Fever and then unleashing all hell on the mob, which requires a bit more finesse than the Blood tree. Frost will usually have Imp IT, which will increase the group's haste by 20%. Mmmm, passive haste.
So, you wanna cut through armor like a knife through hot butter? Here's the tree for you. Although you see a lot of pet talents, this really isn't a pet class honestly. The pet is there to assist you in dire consenquences and add extra DPS. This tree is predominately the DoT king as you use DoTs against a large group of people to do a lot of damage. With only one heavy hitting attack (Scourge Strike), it's a lot less bursty than the Frost tree, but it makes up in the manner that magic doesn't get armor penalties! This tree's also mostly caster benefit as it puts up 13% magical damage on any mob that gets hit with diseases.
Important numbers to remember:
*Special Attacks hit cap: 8%, or 263 hit rating, this doesn't change. This is mostly for your strikes.
*Two-Hander hit cap against a boss: 8%, or 263 hit rating, just like any other two hander.
*Dual Wielding hit cap against a boss: 27% or a whopping 886 hit rating
*Spell hit cap against a boss: 17% or 446 hit rating.
Melee hit: 32.79
Spell hit: 26.23
So, what does the above number mean? Let me go into a bit of detail here:
If you hit cap yourself with your melee, at 8%, you will still need around 6.75% more hit or exactly 178 more (spell) hit to be spell capped. This can be achieved with being capped for two handed weapons, have the talent Virulence, and a 3% hit debuff such as either Misery or Imp Fairie Fire to be spell hit capped. if you are Alliance, a Draenei in your party will essencially cap you with all those debuffs. If no Draenei present, you will still need to get 1% more from somewhere. Easy enough, right?
- All melee and spell attacks have a critical damage bonus of 100%
- 45.91 crit strike rating equals 1% crit melee or spell.
- The best suggestion is that you should be stacking hit until you are capped with your two handers, where hit then takes a very big dive in importance. Expertise is another stat you want to make sure to cap, nothing like dodging or parrying your attack to mess up your rotation. At this point, you can start stacking other things such as Strength, Crit or other fun things. More on this later.
- The only thing that affects global cooldown for DKs is Unholy Presence and Unholy Aura. Haste does not, which lowers it's use for us.
- All abilities are scaled by AP. Spell damage really does nothing for us so stack Strenght/AP.
Runic Power is acquired through usage of your rune abilities.
1 Rune used will grant you 10 Runic Power
2 Rune used will grant you 15 Runic Power
3 Rune used will grant you 15 Runic Power
This is a very small start to the world of the Death Knight. Please follow the links below to get more information about either tanking or DPS.
My own DK DPS guide, which extensively covers the Death Knight class and it's trees, as well as Dual Wielding. At this time, 3.2 hasn't been released therefore there is no DW information from me personally, but there is a link to Elitistjerks.com showing an Unholy dual wield build for 3.1.
Oddly enough, there isn't a concrete tanking guide yet. For that, I will refer you guys to either Deathknight.info or Elitistjerks.com in their DK section. It might come a time where I actually sit down and do a same extensive guide for tanking as I did for DPS. However at this time, my tanking experience is actually pretty small and I do not feel I have sufficient knowledge to give everyone. At this time, if you really want to, take a gander at our General Forums and our Theories and Mechanics section to find some information. I know there was a huge thread started by Merko somewhere in there that explains a bunch about rotations and that. Furthermore, I WILL be looking at accepting a couple of links about DK tanking, so if you think you know the tanking aspect, feel free to drop me a line!
EDIT: AHA, here it is: http://www.tankspot.com/forums/f14/4...rotations.html
There's a ton of information revolving around tanks honestly. But reaaaally have to sift through it as it starts off from the start of Wrath until now. There's no 'concrete' guide written up just yet so whoever still wants to offer a guide, I'm all ears. (Preferably something that was written on Tankspot so that all TS users can use!)