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Thread: Comprehensive Guide to Death Knight Tanking

  1. #161
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    First Let me say thank you Satorri. You do a great job of explaining without belittleing anyone. EJ's could take a page from your book.

    I'm lvling a DK and just chose to switch to Frost hoping to get Aoe aggro a bit more undercontroll. Not to worried about rotation ATM but I wonder if you have a thread based on mobs. I have a healer and a hunter and have mostly just followed along but now i would like to try a new tanking. I beleive there is a kill order but I cant find a place that lists the priority.
    Is there a priority for aggro?
    Is there such a list as to which mobs you grab first?

  2. #162
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    There are too many mobs in the game to have an all-inclusive list, and people rarely write guides for trash in raids.

    It's a good question though, and one not terribly appropriate to this thread.

    Maybe I'll write something up in a thread of its own once I've given it some thought, but generally you'll want to learn each instance and get used to identifying who are the biggest risks/priorities for yourself, and once you've been a tank you can start to take notes from people who tank for you on what their priorities.

    Usually it'll be something like this:
    1.) Does it heal? Probably one of the first you'll want to kill unless you're totally confident you can keep it locked down indefinitely *and* you actually want to.

    2.) Can it be tanked, can it be tanked indefinitely? In AN for example, Skirmishers will at a certain time length, pick a random target and lock on, becoming untauntable. You'll want to nuke them before they do so. This isn't common, but it can be an issue.

    3.) Does it represent a particular damage risk to the tank or the group. Many casters can meet this. While not heals, the spike damage from their spells can be threatening on the tank, or maybe they AoE the group. Taking them down early on will save healer trouble. (Some casters are composites of 2 and 3, where they'll just cast at random targets in the group, usually for less damage, but you don't want them hanging around).

    4.) What will die fastest? Sometimes the big bruiser may be more threatening, but the little guys with him can die really easily, and so it may be worth flashing them down first.


    There's no substitute for experience, and a little smart thinking. =)
    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?!?

  3. #163
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    Kuzadrepa, that would be more appropriate to a HALP thread of its own, but at a glance, I'd recommend dropping Morbidity for finishing Bladed Armor and a couple points in SoB, CotG, or even Deathchill.

    Unless you're chain casting DnD, Morbidity should be wasted on a Frost DK.

    Those point shifts shouldn't make a world of difference on threat though, only a small step up. Generally, the answer will not be in rotation but on working harder to keep all the targets up.

    Once you get diseases around on a group pull, HB and BB are your hot threat items. If HB is on cooldown, OB will be your go-to to hope for Rime procs and combined with target switching, your OB, melee, and RS threat can shore up any targets who've gotten hit less.

    RS is on-next-swing, so I would assume you're just using it constantly, it shouldn't appear as in-rotation.

    None of this will necessarily make you a god that can out-threat certain classes in much higher level gear. If you're doing LFD runs and you get a very well-geared Lock, Hunter, Mage, Arms Warrior, or most other classes when not careful, they'll pull threat and there's not a whole lot you can do other than taunt and death grip people back in.
    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?!?

  4. #164
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    Thank you.

  5. #165
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    Thank you Satorri, for this excellent guide. My Frost DK is my first actual tanking character and I absolutely hated playing it until I read your guide. I do have one question though. I prefer DW Frost tanking with glyphed HB, but my off-spec is a 2hand Frost tank. In your opinion, is it worth it to spec into Imp Icy Talons at the cost of other talents (such as Deathchill)? I noticed in the guide you forgo it in favor of DC but that melee haste buff just seems too tempting (I run with a lot of melee and no shammy). Thanks again!

  6. #166
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    Thanks for this awesome guid Satorri.

    I notice one mistake today, mistake that I did too until today. In the 11th post, you show the benefits of several buffs on stamina.

    [...]along with Blessing of Kings/Sanctuary and Improved Gift of the Wild.

    For example, if a Blood Tank with 3/3 in Vot3W (+3%), is in Frost Presence (+6%), using Rune of Stoneskin Gargoyle (+2%), and is buffed with Blessing of Kings (+10%) and Improved Gift of the Wild (+2%):
    Total +% Stamina = (103%)(106%)(102%)(110%)(102%) = +24.95% Stamina

    That means that 1 point of Stamina on gear will effectively be 1.25 points of Stamina for the Death Knight, or 12.5 health per point.
    I took a closer look at the Improved Mark of the Wild and the +2% attributes. In fact, the +2% is only a passive part of the talent that is applied to the druid only. The +2% are not applied to the people buffed with Mark/Gift of the Wild.

    So finally, +%stamina is "only" +22.5%

  7. #167
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    Kagenote, the trick is that from the standpoint of self-buffing, Imp Icy talons is not worth the cost, *if* you have the melee haste buff provided (Frost DK or Shaman in raid dropping Windfury). If you have another source of this melee haste it does not stack, and so it is 6 talent points for 5% haste.

    Usually, the other concerns is that there are so many talents worth putting points into that you generally are happy to cut this one out. That said, 2-hand Frost is the one spec where it's not terribly hard to take (dual wield has 6 more points elsewhere that are very valuable only if you're dual wielding).

    If you happen to be running with a group that doesn't have the buff provided, it may well be worth your points, and it will certainly help your raid dps if you have melee dps.

    Milowen, this is a misconception I picked up on some time back, though apparently I forgot to fix it in my text. Thank you. =)
    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?!?

  8. #168
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    I have to concurr that, if you are taking a 2h frost spec anyhow, picking up Imp Icy Talons is far from stretching things. OFC that is assuming your raid doesn't already have the buff.

    Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft

    Above is the spec I used a few weeks in 10man (mostly melee stack) when our enhance shaman was out sick. Swap the frost strike glyph out for the unbreakable armor glyph unless you're armor capping with it.

  9. #169
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    Im starting to use Unholy to tank heroics. Mainly because so many people hate unholy and say it is horrible. I do fairly well and I have only been using it for 2 days.
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  10. #170
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    Sweet, Swam. I always enjoyed it and did quite well with it, provided I didn't mind the heavy maintenance of abilities. =)

    In fact, something funny just occured to me. There is a disparity. Currently, Unholy is *the* go-to dps spec for the min/max raiders. In theory that should translate into Unholy tanks potentially having superior threat. So I find it curious that people keep *trying* to report that Unholy dps is the weakest right now.

    I mean, Unholy Tanking and DPS are not the same thing and will use slightly different sets of talents, and will have different gear values, *but* there doesn't seem to be any good reason I can imagine why it would be low threat compared to other tanks. Perhaps only because it has the least RS buffing (Blood gets increased physical damage and armor ignore, Frost gets dual wield two weapon RS and more opportunity to use it for fast swings)?
    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?!?

  11. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swam View Post
    Im starting to use Unholy to tank heroics. Mainly because so many people hate unholy and say it is horrible. I do fairly well and I have only been using it for 2 days.
    I've also been using UH as my heroic tanking spec, glyphing and talenting for heavy disease and D&D damage it it is pretty darn awesome for getting mobs to hug me. Add that Ebon Plague makes AoEing down packs faster I think it is a great 5man tanking build. I've yet to try it in a raid situation, mainly because I've geared for stamina too accompany my main spec: blood. If I was to go UH for raid tanking I'd try to throw in more avoidance to help with Bone Armor up time, it's something I look forward to doing.

    Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for the guide, very well done.

  12. #172
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satorri View Post
    Sweet, Swam. I always enjoyed it and did quite well with it, provided I didn't mind the heavy maintenance of abilities. =)

    In fact, something funny just occured to me. There is a disparity. Currently, Unholy is *the* go-to dps spec for the min/max raiders. In theory that should translate into Unholy tanks potentially having superior threat. So I find it curious that people keep *trying* to report that Unholy dps is the weakest right now.

    I mean, Unholy Tanking and DPS are not the same thing and will use slightly different sets of talents, and will have different gear values, *but* there doesn't seem to be any good reason I can imagine why it would be low threat compared to other tanks. Perhaps only because it has the least RS buffing (Blood gets increased physical damage and armor ignore, Frost gets dual wield two weapon RS and more opportunity to use it for fast swings)?

    You make it sound as though there is some kind of conspiracy against unholy tanking among our populace. Nobody is trying to make unholy out to be worse than it is. It just is a few percent short (perhaps more since the hotfix that ruined necrosis applying to rune-strike) of blood and frost for TPS. Honestly, per my own testing threat was a much much smaller issue than bone-shield up-time and lack of meaningful uses for amz in ICC.

  13. #173
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    Are you sure than Rune Tap generating aggro ? If it's the case whith the glyph you could have a large amount of aggro with one clic(put the 2 tank in the same group...)? the healing aggro is on the effective heal or just on the amount even it goes to overheal?

  14. #174
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    Bambou, the threat generated from Rune Tap is standard healing threat. What that means is where 1 dmg = 1 threat normally, 2 heal = 1 threat. It is also split across all the targets you are in combat with. It will also get the multiplier to its threat from Frost Presence. As you ask, it is *only* effective healing that generates threat, *not* overhealing.

    That means, however, if you are tanking a single target, and your Rune Tap heals for 9k without overhealing, it would be roughly equivalent to hitting the boss with a 4.5k dmg strike. So, in that regard it is definitely a valuable threat item in certain situations, and provided it isn't wasted on all over-healing it will not be bad for your threat to use it well.


    Prolet, I don't mean to suggest that there is some conspiracy (suggesting intelligence being behind it =D). I simply mean to point out that there is an odd divergence. 99% of the reports of the efficacy of Unholy come from people who have not played it. It is from simulators. Simulators are great fun, but I'm highly reluctant to trust their output for the many assumptions that are required when applying it to DK game play.

    The rune system is simply a little too interactive with personal attention/reflexes, and patience to be simply modeled by a space filling, ideal execution simulator. The same was said of Unholy before 3.3 but when I tested Unholy then I was able to generate more threat with Unholy than I usually averaged with Blood or Frost at the time. There have been changes and they haven't been terribly favorable, but I do feel like too many people cite non-real references to support the claims of what spec A or B is capable of. Something of a mis-use of theorycrafting.
    Last edited by Satorri; 01-25-2010 at 07:02 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?!?

  15. #175
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    Ty
    Just to be sure to understand, if I use glyph of rune tap, it could bring me(without activated vampiric blood): tank (me) 45K : 10K/2 , tank 2 45K : 4.5/2, dps (X3) 18K : 1800/2 *3
    So without overhealing (its almost time impossible but let's dream) : 5000 + 2250 + 2700 so approxim. 10k aggro with one clic ! And it's the case when I'm not under frost Presence (with it it seems to be 20k aggro)
    Last edited by bambou1000; 01-25-2010 at 11:08 PM.

  16. #176
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    It's pretty simple really. 2 large contributors to Unholy DPS are pets, which don't effect TPS. It has multiple abilities that scale with critical strike, which is impossible to reach large values of as a tank. It has no buffers for RS beyond RoR, which is inferior to what Blood and Frost provide. Beyond the TPS concerns (which are really small in this day and age of button mash tanking and ToT/MD) the bigger issue is simply that Unholy provides the worst mitigation. Bones are inferior to VB for 99% of fights, UA/GoG for 85% of fights, and you likely will be doubling up on one of the raid buffers with the prevalence of Unholy DK DPS. It's rehashed over and over at this point, but it's unavoidable that the sum of parts for Unholy tanks is quite low.

  17. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satorri View Post
    Prolet, I don't mean to suggest that there is some conspiracy (suggesting intelligence being behind it =D). I simply mean to point out that there is an odd divergence. 99% of the reports of the efficacy of Unholy come from people who have not played it. It is from simulators. Simulators are great fun, but I'm highly reluctant to trust their output for the many assumptions that are required when applying it to DK game play.

    The rune system is simply a little too interactive with personal attention/reflexes, and patience to be simply modeled by a space filling, ideal execution simulator. The same was said of Unholy before 3.3 but when I tested Unholy then I was able to generate more threat with Unholy than I usually averaged with Blood or Frost at the time. There have been changes and they haven't been terribly favorable, but I do feel like too many people cite non-real references to support the claims of what spec A or B is capable of. Something of a mis-use of theorycrafting.
    I can assure you the theorycrafting has been tested in-game and proven that anywhere from 5-10% (again, no testing since the necrosis change) threat will be lost if you swap to unholy from standard blood (I can only assume this means much lower than dw frost). I've seen the results myself in raid. While I certainly concurr with you that unholy isn't broken due to threat issues (I point that finger at nerfed avoidance and the oddities of bone-shield charges we now see) and it can do all the threat you need for most situations, you're going to rely more heavily on mis-direct mechanics and you may find yourself with issues on threat-sensetive encounters that the other two specs would laugh at.

  18. #178
    The issue is more in that Unholy DPS DKs are still ahead of the meanline damage curve, so I wouldn't expect buffs to our damage output (and hence threat output). Unless they allow Wandering Plague to work from Crit + Defense above default or something which makes it scale very nicely for Tanks ,I don't think the two extremes of DPS Unholy and Tank Unholy will be balanced out.

    In other words: Let's better not expect help from Blizzard - TPS buffs to us would usually come down to a damage buff for the DPS specs, and they won't do that.
    SQUEAK.
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  19. #179
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edgewalker View Post
    It's pretty simple really. 2 large contributors to Unholy DPS are pets, which don't effect TPS.
    Mmm that's a good point, I hadn't thought about their contribution, that would be generous even without considering the scaling of crit on Wandering Plague.

    I would love to see some adjustments to make Unholy a bit more appealing in ICC, but I'm not holding my breath, I know it's hardly worth the developer time.


    (also, going through to fix my internal links in the guide now for the new forums. If anyone has external links to this guide you may need to fix/update it).
    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?!?

  20. #180
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    Also, it's worth noting that at this point, Necrosis doesn't work with Rune Strike anymore (which was the one possible RS buffer it easily had max points in).

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