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Thread: Comprehensive Guide to Death Knight Tanking

  1. #41
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    Jehrin is right. You gain no advantage by timing DCs differently with UB. If it were, there'd be plenty of discussion about it in Unholy DPS threads. As it is, UB is generally considered a middle of the road talent (and really only worth about 1% of damage). It's not fantastic, but there's no better place to put that point, so it stays.

  2. #42
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    That's odd. Maybe you can explain how I reached 2k ticks of UB then. I really wish I'd saved the recount, I wasn't logging at the time for a retrievable parse.
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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sterbefall View Post
    It was post patch, and while the damage is only 57% physical, the shadow portion is based entirely off the amount of physical damage done. It won't double dip like it does with other modifiers, but it benefits from Hysteria (1.2 * the physical damage modifies the shadow damage by 1.2 in turn).

    I also forgot why to mention why using Hysteria on warriors is largely a wasted measure. It won't stack with Wrecking Crew on Arms Warriors or Deathwish for Fury (so if you give it to a Fury Warrior, you need to coordinate).

    While I looked that up, I found the list from patch 3.1 that describes somethings to consider when giving out Hysteria:
    "Hysteria, Tricks of the Trade, Enrage, Wrecking Crew, Death Wish, Arcane Power, Owlkin Frenzy, Beast Within, and Avenging Wrath damage bonuses no longer stack together."
    I'm not sure how a fury warrior deals with an incoming enrage while Deathwish is popped (I'm guessing the Deathwish stays?), same with wrecking crew and death wish on Arms. But for those who don't play ferals, kitties only have one really big CD, which is Beserk, cutting energy costs down significantly, and it does stack with Hysteria. So while warriors and kitties are about the only pure physical classes left, kitties receive the most benefit.

    Alongside ret paladins, I'd add enhancement shamans. They are a bit rarer, and they do have an appreciable magic damage component via Maelstom weapon + Lightning Bolt (or Chain Lightning), If I had to choose between the two, I'd give it to the shaman. One thing somebody would have to figure out is weapon imbues; typically with reasonably good raid gear, an enh shaman imbues MH with Windfury (physical boost) and Flametongue weapon on OH to increase Lava Lash. (which is further boosted by the glyph). If you plan on poping hysteria consistently on the shaman, it might be worthwhile to investigate dual WF imbues.

    Incidentally, some of the effects don't make sense. Arcane Power and Owlkin Frenzy work with spell damage, there's no reason to boost physical damage on an arcane mage or lazerbudgie.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zinfadel View Post
    Maybe I didn't catch it, but Death Strike for Unholy spec tanks is pretty powerful. It heals just as much as Blood tanks w/ 3 diseases, and you can use it more often in Unholy than you can in Blood. Blood will just give you slightly more stamina to increase the effect of Death Strike.

    The only thing you lose as Unholy by doing that is threat, but you can start out w/ SS and move to DS later on in the fight, as you've built up great amounts of Threat. Plus, Runestrike will continue to provide a huge amount of threat necessary to handle aggro, even swapping out SS for DS.

    A lot of information and well written. TY!
    I'm assuming you are referring to Reaping as far as judging more Deathstrike usage. Although the healing component is the same, there is a pretty big threat gap, not only inherently due to increased damage via blood talents, but also you wouldn't normally glyph for deathstrike as unholy. Therefore, unless your DPS is quite far behind on threat (which might be OK if your DPS is constantly switching targets), even with runestrike I am not sure if some aggressive DPS might not catch up. The idea of DS as unholy is to help ease the healing load at the expense of DPS and/or threat. It's about as desirable as say a prot/ret paladin switching out from seal of Vengeance/Blood to Seal of light/Seal of wisdom for extra health/extra mana, which is a nice boost in some situations (you lost a healer, you lost an OT on a cleaving boss, etc.), but hardly standard procedure as it were. I've never raided as an unholy tank, but I can tell you that as a tankadin switching to light in the later stages of the fight is viable, as long as increasing the fight length through lower threat/dps is outweighed by the extra healing provided (I've averaged 1k HPS on a single fight according to recount, probably a little more if you clip it only to the sections where SoL was up). I'm guessing an unholy knight would get approximately the same benefit, or we would see it used more often than intended.

  4. #44
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    DS works fine for Unholy in that it heals as much as Blood (assuming you have the same health), however, it is not as valuable to Unholy for a few reasons. The biggest one is that the damage will be very noticeably inferior to ScS considering you're both lacking Imp DS and *can/will* have several buffs to ScS. In the situations where the healing is not/less required (which will also be smaller and fewer than Blood since Bone Shield will reduce your damage a lot) the value will be much less.

    It's fine to use DS to pop some healing when you're Unholy, but I wouldn't rely on it or you may find your threat to be a little lackluster, comparatively. If you want to play the trying to pick the right one at the right time game, that's your call, but Unholy has a lot to keep track of already.
    The (Old) Book on Death Knight Tanking
    The New Testament on Death Knight Tanking
    -----------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by Horacio View Post
    Who f-ing divided by zero?!?

  5. #45
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    Christ almighty..and I thought I wrote a lot.

    You win, sir. You win.

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  6. #46
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    /bow

    Humbled by your reverence.
    The (Old) Book on Death Knight Tanking
    The New Testament on Death Knight Tanking
    -----------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by Horacio View Post
    Who f-ing divided by zero?!?

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satorri View Post
    That's odd. Maybe you can explain how I reached 2k ticks of UB then. I really wish I'd saved the recount, I wasn't logging at the time for a retrievable parse.
    I could be way off on this, but this is how I understood these rolling ticks to work (this is the model as explained for Deep Wounds):

    Death Coil 1: 2000 damage
    Unholy Blight 1 damage: 200 spread over 5 ticks @ 40 damage per tick.

    Death Coil 2: 2000 damage, applied after tick 3
    Unholy Blight 1 had 80 damage left on it, so that 80 damage gets added to Unholy Blight 2's damage:
    Unholy Blight 2: 280 damage over 5 ticks @ 56 damage per tick

    This time you let the stack drop. Unholy Blight 2 did 280 damage, Unholy blight 1 did 3 x 40 = 120 damage, for a total of 400 damage total. You gained nothing by extending the first dot.

    By rolling the stack, you'll get higher and higher instant DPS and TPS, but your overall Damage and Threat is actually slightly reduced if you never let the stack fall. Basically you're taking damage you did in the first part of the fight and continually shifting it toward the end of the fight, compressing more and more damage done in the latter half.

    So yes, it's possible to get very high ticks of Unholy Blight going. All that really means for you, though, is that you have built up a large excess of damage/threat done that you never let land.

  8. #48
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    Wow, Satorri. The thoroughness with which you covered this topic is truly commendable. /salute
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  9. #49
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    Dear Satorri...
    ...<3, many warm fuzzies, and much adoration.

    Tank DK worship aside, I do have a thought regarding unholy and it's strength considering the new ICC instances. How much would the "icecrown radiance" debuff (-20% dodge) influence unholy's strength, especially in conjunction with the faster swinging bosses, and would that bear mentioning in the bone shield segment?
    Last edited by Kensho; 12-18-2009 at 06:58 PM.
    Another line read. You're that much closer to having read everything ever. ^_^

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prunetracy View Post
    So yes, it's possible to get very high ticks of Unholy Blight going. All that really means for you, though, is that you have built up a large excess of damage/threat done that you never let land.
    Could be useful if you roll it up until an enrage timer near the end.

  11. #51
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    Yeah, lately I've been looking for a new cult to follow...so....ah....um...where do I sign up? And does this cult come with spiked soft drinks?

  12. #52
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    Spiked cookies. spiked kool-aid is way to passe.
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  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Insahnity View Post
    Could be useful if you roll it up until an enrage timer near the end.
    Oh, absolutely. I wasn't meaning to imply that there was no point in it, I just wanted to clarify that one isn't actually gaining additional damage or threat done by continuously rolling.

    But as a tank, I'm mostly concerned with my threat generation, and all that really matters there is total threat done. Were you ever to end up in a scenario where you have to choose between refreshing your Unholy Blight dot and some other task, it's important to realize that dropping the stack isn't that big of a deal after all.

  14. #54
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    I don't see very many tanks taking Glyph of Indomitability - Item - World of Warcraft . Is that because there's no Stamina on it? I never managed to get Heart of Iron - Item - World of Warcraft (and it's unlikely I ever will now...). I've got extra Emblems of Triumph, would the Glyph be a reasonable upgrade over The Black Heart - Item - World of Warcraft ? Or is there a better way to go?

  15. #55
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    There is a large bias against the Glyph due to tank-illiteracy. The glyph is an amazing EH trinket. It comes out ahead of the Black Heart basically any time the encounter has a majority of physical damage.

    What you should probably be rocking is Glyph/Heart unless you have Juggernaut(aka satrinas)/Heart. If you have the latter combination I would go Juggernaut/Glyph.

  16. #56
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    Thank you for the effort that compiling this guide required. I recently decided to revisit and gear my Death Knight for tanking as my guild has recently been experiencing a shortage of reliable tanks for ICC. It made relearning the craft considerably easier.

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abyddon View Post
    Thank you for the effort that compiling this guide required. I recently decided to revisit and gear my Death Knight for tanking as my guild has recently been experiencing a shortage of reliable tanks for ICC. It made relearning the craft considerably easier.
    Off-topic: Really? A shortage? Every tank we've had has come out of the woodwork for this crap and we have 10 tanks who are main characters at the moment. It's absurd.

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wars View Post
    Off-topic: Really? A shortage? Every tank we've had has come out of the woodwork for this crap and we have 10 tanks who are main characters at the moment. It's absurd.
    Off-topic , are guild has three tanks and are short as well depending on availability.

  19. #59
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    A comment and a question, then another question...

    Firstly, just wanted to say that I thank you very, very much for the ridiculously comprehensive guide for this. I'm a pretty fresh 80 DK, and I've never tanked before in WoW (previous main was a Mage). Your guide has helped me so very much in figuring out specs, techniques, etc. I'm already faring quite nicely in heroics, and have already tanked the new ones, even nailing the Halls of Reflection OMGITSARTHASRUN phase on the first try (kept the abominations turned away and everything!).

    Secondly: I'm currently running Frost 2H right now, mainly because I quickly got a Marrowstrike to use (after tanking some heroics with a Whale-Stick Harpoon...yikes). I plan to switch to DW, mainly because the idea of more Rime procs and Rune Strike oppurtunities makes me excited in ways I shouldn't mention.

    Anyways, concerning gemming: I understand that Expertise is more valuable than Hit; is it worth gemming Expertise for DW? I doubt I would ever throw a pure Expertise gem in a slot, but is it worth it using Stam/Ex gems? I've read elsewhere that the Expertise soft-cap target is 30 for DW (instead of 26), so my concern should be obvious.

    Thirdly: Say I choose to use one tanking weapon and one DPS weapon for DW-ing; is there a preference/difference in which should go main hand and which should go off-hand? I would imagine the slower one would go main-hand.

    It's probably obvious that not only am I new to tanking, but melee in general. Thanks in advance, and again, fantastic guide!

  20. #60
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    Whew, I'm a bit behind on the questions. Let me go one by one.

    To be clear on UB, you are *never* wasting the damage by stacking it, you just aren't multiplying it, assuming the method described is correct. Every time you keep the stack up you are simply intensifying the ticks. Remember that with threat it is not about the total done, but when the threat is applied. Using the Death Coil Hammer method I described above I was able to out-threat any of my other builds. Not all my builds are designed to hit the same threat vs survival balance, and you can say what you will about my personal skill, but assuming that my skill is roughly constant across the class/specs, it is worth noting.

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    Kensho, the effect of Chill of the Throne is most notable against Bone Shield. It will hurt our uptime, and since single hits are less painful than they used to be, often enough, you might see less sizable steps in reduction there. However, one thing worth noting is that we get some value back with the large amounts of multiple small damage sources and fast attack speeds. With attacks close enough together we can get a bit more mileage in not consuming charges within the hidden cooldown.

    Personally, I would feel slightly discouraged about using Bone Shield with that huge chunk of Dodge missing, but there are mitigating factors that do counter the loss a bit.

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    Krahla, the Glyph of Indomitability is tricky. It is not subject to the armor multipliers of Toughness or the Meta, but it is still a solid chunk of mitigation.

    Here's the problem: for effective health gains (composite of health, armor, and % damage reduction from stances and buffs) the Glyph is slightly less EH value than a Stam trinket of the same level.

    Here's the upside: stacking pure health is great (and outwardly visible) but it does nothing at all to reduce the amount of damage you take. In a world where healers don't care about mana (usually), and therefore efficiency is virtually meaningless, taking less damage has little or no value if we're speaking purely in terms of EH.

    That said, the armor trinket(s) will be fantastic in situations where you are first concerned with taking less damage, but they will be a little less valuable for pure EH gains, and will offer no protection against magic damage.

    For my money, I love that this trinket also gets you some AP (50 isn't too shabby), and it will play rather nicely with Unbreakable Armor, if you are Frost.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Haber!

    Expertise is not necessarily more valuable than hit. It depends on what you have and what you're using.

    Until you hit 26 expertise on your character sheet every point of expertise rating is giving you double the hit chance reduction as hit rating on melee attacks. Expertise has no effect on spells. Hit rating will be the only factor helping your spells not miss, though for some specs that is less important, yes.

    Frost happens to walk the middle ground. Howling Blast is a very nice ability not to miss, but dual wielding auto-swings will really appreciate less dodge/parry chance, as will Obliterate.

    In general, I recommend aiming for soft-cap expertise at 26 (no, it's no different for dual wielding, your chance to be dodged has nothing to do with your weapons, that likely was a product of someone saying where you will see not many more parries than a 2-handed DK), and 8% reduced miss chance (7% if you always have a spacegoat with you).

    If you're over that soft cap on either it's not the end of the world as you will still get value. If you're going to be over on one, I recommend it be Expertise if you have a say. It's not the end of the world if you aren't quite soft-capped, but it will feel more comfortable for rune usage.

    When dual wielding, always put the slowest/highest instant weapon damage in your main hand. A quick, short-hand explanation.

    If you have 2 weapons, one does 1000 damage every 2.5 seconds (fictional, but note: 400 dps) and one that does 400 damage once per second (again, 400 dps) look at what happens when you put them in each hand:

    Slow Main/Fast Off = 1000 + (400*0.575) = 1230
    Fast Main/Slow Off = 400 + (1000*0.575) = 975

    It won't matter for auto-swings as the swing timer will bear out, but for instant weapon strikes the off-hand damage penalty will hurt you more on the slow weapon (which will hit harder each time it connects).
    Last edited by Satorri; 12-21-2009 at 08:35 AM.
    The (Old) Book on Death Knight Tanking
    The New Testament on Death Knight Tanking
    -----------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by Horacio View Post
    Who f-ing divided by zero?!?

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