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Thread: Comprehensive Guide to Death Knight Tanking

  1. #141
    Also in the case of Frost it frees up points, I find it ~impossible to supply my raid with Imp Icy Talons or pick up Acclimation in a spec if I go for DW-Frost.
    SQUEAK.
    -- (The Death of Rats, Terry Pratchett, Soul Music)

  2. #142
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    Hey All,

    Hopefully I don't get kicked off here for asking questions.....like on EJ. Anyway, thanx for the awesome guide. Really helped me out.

    Personally I like Frost and the whole DW tanking idea. I leveled my DK before any of my other toons (played druid tank in vanilla and TBC) but because I didn't understand it, I placed here in a box and leveled everything else.

    Now a bit bored with my druid, found this thread and thoroughly enjoyed the reading. Well Done!!

    So do I have a question? Yes I do. I have tried my best to go through this thread to see if there is anything that would help me so apologies if my question has been specifically asked/answered and I missed it. A gentle nudge in the direction would be appreciated.

    Right. So I am in lvl200 gear. I have 2 T9 pieces but that is all that is worth mentioning. My single target threat is around 5k upwards according to omen so I am happy with that.

    What I am not happy with is my AoE tanking. I think I am missing something. I use basically the same method as Haber described on page 5 I think...which is HB, BBx2, BT, BB etc etc.

    While this works great if there is a KM queuing, I feel that the normal non-crit hit of HB is just not doing it for me.

    1) Is the only way to get more KM procs to up hit and expertise?
    2) Is there some way to get OB to proc Rime more? or is that just a "use it more" answer?

    I was thinking that since BB is an integral part of Frost AoE tanking (as u said in your guide Satorri) that I should maybe swap my rotation for AoE pulls to something like IT > PS > Pest > BB > BT > BB and then carry on from there since BB gains more from 2 diseases?

    Appreciate any suggestions.

    Thanks.

  3. #143
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    @Draco:

    For tanking heroics, I've found a few things, at least in my experiences, that can make your life a little easier:

    I would personally use D&D more often while your weapons are bad (and your HB not as good). I was lucky enough to get some decent weapons pretty quickly, but you'll find D&D is better until you get some good i232s from the new heroics or something along those lines.

    Don't be afraid to put DW on the shelf temporarily if you nab a really good 2-hander. If you have a 2hander that's something like 13+ item levels higher than your 1H weapons, your threat will likely be better just going 2H with the better weapon.

    I've also found a very good rotation for AoE pulls, but isn't always available for obvious reasons: HB/PS/Pest/BB/BT/OB. Obviously this is with HB glyphed...you get both diseases spread quickly, and still get the nice snappiness of HB/BB in there as well. Gotta have Blood Tap up (or still have Death Runes from a prior pull...sometimes happens) to do it, but I've found it to be very solid.

  4. #144
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    Draco, to be sure, you're dual wield frost tanking, yeah? I'll break down some key details that might help in your figuring.

    1.) If you want to do the quick snap AoE threat with HB and BB, you need to have HB glyphed. If you don't then that's going to be on the weak side. If you want to make that more reliable you can put a point into Deathchill and use that on the pull. It will guarantee that first HB hits like a truck on everything it hits. That's the best use of the talent I have found.

    2.) BB only gets buffed if you have a disease on the target, it does not get buffed *per* diseases, so a second disease will add its own threat to your targets but it will not buff BB or any other damage. FF is the only requirement to get the full damage value out of everything except BS and OB for a Frost DK.

    3.) As Haber was suggesting, an alternate tool for more reliable threat when you're a newer tank or if you don't feel like HB is doing it for you, is to actually drop DnD, HB your targets, then BB, Blood Tap> BB. That will set up the spike damage, but will also get you the best DnD ticks you can to support that. DnD scales directly off AP and has a nice threat multiplier, which with Tundra Stalker and Black Ice buffing it makes for fairly reliable foundation threat. In the long run I almost invariably advocate getting used to not using DnD as Frost as I feel you can make better use of your Frost skills that way, but DnD is a great tool to rely on when you're not confident in your gear yet.

    4.) KM is proc-per-minute regulated, and while I know it has a limit to how often it can trigger, I'm fairly certain it is *not* enforced that it will proc the most it can all the time. This is speculation on my part as it is hard to test and I haven't found anyone who has, but I'm fairly certain that you can lose a proc if your swing is avoided. That being the case, in theory, you should be able to improve the proc rate marginally by improving your hit/expertise if they are particularly lacking. Generally, though, I still see it come up fairly regularly with my experimental mini-dk whose tank set is rather weak on hit/expertise, so maybe I'm mistaken.

    Generally, you don't really play into getting KM more, the key is just in using it on the tool you want most. That's often best accomplished by having a clear indicator of the proc, and the wherewithal to hold your FS/IT for that HB you want (or IT/HB for the FS you want).

    5.) Rime is a chance proc on OB. There is nothing you can do to improve the proc rate other than "OB more" as you said (though, I'm fairly certain it only procs on OB hits, not uses, so again not missing OBs will improve that). If you're dual wielding you're already getting the best possible situations for procs otherwise.

    6.) The value of a second disease is most noticeable in single target threat for buffing OB and BS into their strongest form. That said, it is not a non-factor and can still support a decent bump to your aoe threat if you take the time to put diseases on everyone. It is simply just not as fast, and more costly to maintain.
    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. #145
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    I think this is the original reason why I went back to my druid. Swipe, while not hitting for as much as HB, crits all the time and even if it doesn't....it feels to me like "better threat" if I can put it like that.

    For my DK I don't think my gear is too bad. If you wanna have a look HERE

    I don't have awesome gear but it should be ok to tank normal heroics. I am not looking to raid just yet. But the main problem is that AoE threat is not great. You have both referred to snap AoE threat using HB and BB....My HB is glyphed. I checked in a few runs I just did.....after popping HB > BBx2 > BT > BB ..... I only had about 12 - 13k threat and then the mages took the mobs using blizzard.

    So I assume one of 2 things then. Either my gear really is too crap for heroics or I am not doing something right....or...3rd thing....I need to gem or enchant a certain way.

    I am gonna go and look at Rawr quick.

    Thanx for the help so far. I really want to learn all I can.

    Guess I need more AP for HB to hit properly.
    Last edited by dracosveen; 01-16-2010 at 12:25 PM. Reason: Addition

  6. #146
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    I'd wager you went back to your bear for the same reason i regularly run heroics and other off-raid fun stuffs on my paladin or warrior instead of my dk: rune refresh time is a major buzzkill for both aoe and trying to speed-run anything.

    The key to aoe with a dk of any spec is figuring out: how long you need to keep aggro, how vital the initial snap threat is, and how many mobs you'll be handling.

    Generally for frost a glyphed HB will be all the snap you need for an aoe pack in a heroic. Toss in some blood boils and you are probably going to hold onto things until they die, moments later.

    Conversely, in a raid setting, where you want to hang onto say 8 mobs for a minute or two. First off, glyphed HB isn't great for a raid setting, so you probably don't have it. That being said, you'll generally dnd, apply your diseases to a target, pestilence (that puts all of your runes on cooldown) and then get to tabbing, attempting to rune-strike as many of the adds as possible (with priority on a burn target if one exists). That's the generic "i wanna keep these for a while" template, regardless of spec (excluding, as i mentioned above, non-standard glyphs setups).

    From there you would do whatever aoe is best fitting your spec (it helps if you have rune-strike macro'd to that skill so you can continue to do the whole tab-strike thing while you hb/bloodboil/heart strike/etc.) and then go back to step 1 once diseases are wearing off.

  7. #147
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    Yes. At this stage I am having that blackout that every1 is talking about

    The problem as I see it is not the amount of threat applied when u use a skill, but rather the consistency of the threat applied. I realised last night that in my concentration and focus to learn a rotation and try and keep agro on a pack....especially when there are ppl hitting everything but your target (any1 notice that no one knows or uses target of target and are very rude about it when u tell them too)...that in the mess I forget about my other cooldowns, such as Empower Rune Weapon.

    I think one of my main concerns is that I don't understand yet what stats effect what abilities. For instance, I had a trinket with a use function on it that added 600 AP for 20secs. Gave my HB about 130 more dmg on each hit on the dummies. This took my AP up to about 3000 (unbuffed). But when I get into an instance and I am buffed and AP is at 4.2k (approx), HB is still under hitting for a 2k non-crit value.

    So do I need to stack crit to some or other softcap? Reason I ask this is cos I have seen BB crit a few times. I am thinking that if I can get that and HB to crit more often (excluding KM) I might solve my problem.....or is that going to come with gear?

    The other thing that was mentioned to me last night when I was playing around with hit etc is that I need spell hit. At first I thought meh....but there is that talent in the Unholy tree that gives u spellhit. Is it worth stacking hit for spellhit for raiding or is that purely an Unholy thing. Since I am a spacegoat along with NoS, I have 4% hit before gear. So I only need 4% from gear for softcap right? Don't know if I answered this yet: Yes I am Frost dual wielding.

    I know there is a gem section in your guide Satorri but I can't remember seeing it there.....so I will go and read again but I will ask anyway. Rawr is telling me to stack stam. Logic tells me that I need to stack avoidance more than stam to get max RS. In red slots I have been putting dodge/stam, in blue I have been putting stam. what do I put in yellow? Forego the bonus and put a pure dodge or expertise or strength or crit or stam?

  8. #148
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    Throw your rune-strike logic out the window and stack stam in your gem sockets. You will not notice significant threat gains from RS by gimping your EH through avoidance gemming or enchanting.

    The 'blackout' point in your rotation is problematic for any dk. Functionally, the best thing you can do to alleviate the issue is make sure to position youself in melee range of all the targets (if you can) so that they can be hit with RS while you're generally tabbing quickly to keep them all on you. You can also maintain sufficient levels of hit stats so that you aren't ending up with a lot of wiffed RS procs.

    The fickle nature of RS is something that takes time to deal with and accomodate for. You're never really going to reach a point where you aren't at least somewhat at luck's mercy as to whether or not you'll maintain sufficient threat on all the mobs in a big aoe pack/aoe dps situation, but you can work on understanding the mechanics and practicing those basics to ensure you've got the best possible odds.

    And of course, when all else fails, grab a hunter and/or rogue for mis-direction and tricks.
    Last edited by Proletaria; 01-16-2010 at 11:59 PM.

  9. #149
    It depends. I gem some Avoidance/Sta or even Crit/Sta (with too low crit my AE threat is rock-bottom because I need 20%+ buffed crit to notice Wandering Plague securing it) if I would gain a Sta-socketbonus anyways. Likewise I socket Exp/Sta if there's a Sta socketbonus because my Expertise is so low any lower and I'd start parrying for the boss.
    SQUEAK.
    -- (The Death of Rats, Terry Pratchett, Soul Music)

  10. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnThrak View Post
    It depends. I gem some Avoidance/Sta or even Crit/Sta (with too low crit my AE threat is rock-bottom because I need 20%+ buffed crit to notice Wandering Plague securing it) if I would gain a Sta-socketbonus anyways. Likewise I socket Exp/Sta if there's a Sta socketbonus because my Expertise is so low any lower and I'd start parrying for the boss.
    No, please do not ever gem crit (avoidance gemming is ineffectual enough) in your tanking gear. I'm begging you.

  11. #151
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    Question for you all.

    Which build is best for death knight magical damage tanking?

    **Edit** Scratch that, peoples opinions of pro's and cons of each spec's magical tanking.

    All are assuming 4% spell reduction using runeforging. - So that can be ignored.

    Blood offers spell deflection (parry % change to reduce spell damage by 45%). So stacking parry gear of the usual kit could lead to a decent amount of reduced damage. Taking about 25% parry chance (higher than normal because choosing parry gear, against the normal balance) gives 11.125% spell damage reduction. But note this is avoidance based.

    Frosts main spell damage reduction is Acclimation. With the two onyxia rings and the correct aura applied, its quite easy to get up to 335 resist. Now I've got no maths on this, but once I've got to this level I dont recount ever recieving a full damage hit. - Mix of avoidance and flat damage reduction. Its a chance of damage reduction yes, but I don't think once built I've been hit for a 100% spell damage hit, except on the built up. And personally I think this is probably the best.

    Unholy has the AMZ, improved AMS and 6% base magic damage reduction. - I see this as still useful as unlike bloods deflection, its a flat damage reduction and unlike the other two works against magical damage taken from enviromental effects (the others require you to be attacked by a spell).

  12. #152
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    Another question about Acclimation.. does the buff apply BEFORE or AFTER the damage from the attack that manages to trigger it?

    [EDIT: Actually, looking over a log I have of me speccing into 3 ranks of it for the Anomalus achievement.. the buff is applied BEFORE the damage. This means that even at 1 rank and lasting for only one hit, it's still beneficial (although probably just a small amount). Still mulling over where to put that last 1 talent point. It's either Acclimation or toss it into something that gives more threat/dps (which I don't really have any issues with 'at the moment').]
    Last edited by Felycitas; 01-18-2010 at 03:56 AM.

  13. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by Felycitas View Post
    Another question about Acclimation.. does the buff apply BEFORE or AFTER the damage from the attack that manages to trigger it?
    after

  14. #154
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    Yeah, I just went back and got a cleaner log and you're right. It's after the damage is done.

  15. #155
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    From my testing, the combat log will say that it is applied after but the damage taken is more concurrent with the resistance being applied before. Be careful how you take the entries in the combat log they can be a little wonky thanks to server communication.

    Acclimation can be a very heavy survival value against magic damage. Against infrequent damage it can average to be a little weak because of the chance to proc, but when you are taking regular damage from the same source(s) it can add up to be a pretty remarkable mitigation value.

    Spell Deflection will average out to a larger average reduction than Magic Suppression for Unholy given typical parry levels, however the tricky thing about it is that it does not apply to every incident. If you're dealing with specific shots that *must* be survived, you are less likely to avoid them all. When it procs Spell Deflection is a big deal life saver, whereas Unholy relies on a constant level of magic mitigation.

    Prolet, Avoidance gemming is not ineffectual, at all, ever. It's just a less popular/common value.

    Draco, there's nothing wrong with gemming avoidance, but as a tank health is your bread and butter baseline. I usually fall somewhere between the "pure stam in every socket, period" and having sockets without stamina. I prefer stam on every gem to keep my health total respectable, but there is no such thing as a useless socket bonus for a tank, and with t9+ gear you'll find most of our socket bonuses are just more stamina. Pick your favorite gems for your slots and stick with them (like for me, I prefer pure stam in blues, Agi/Stam in reds, and Hit/Stam in yellows if I'm on a low hit swing on gear, or Def/Stam if I'm not). You can make more net value if you actually value non-stam stats. If you only want health, and many people do, pure stamina in every socket will always get you the most of that.


    On that note I've been doing some experimenting with my super secret mini-dk alt I have. I've built a t9.0 equivalent tank set, with a frost spec, and I've been abusing the scale towards avoidance, primarily through trinkets and dodge/stam gems. So far I've been tilting the scale slowly, mostly splitting more values. Right now, with modest buffs she sits around 65% avoidance and 38k health, full raid buffs should push her a decent stretch over 40k, and gain me 3-4% more avoidance.

    I've been running random 5's primarily so far to see how healers respond, and so far the feeling has been that I am terribly easy to heal. I'm eager to pit myself against a good raid boss or 10 to gauge how that feels to healers, particularly ToC and ICC, but that will be time willing. The ultimate test of health vs avoidance is when your target can hit you for a significant portion of your health.


    To rehash the age-old issue on EH vs Avoidance, the distinction is a little funny, if you're just making the balance using gems and trinkets. You are not choosing between damage reduction tools, your only means to get armor through gems is Agility. You may be dealing with an armor trinket, but usually the choice is between a stam trinket and a dodge trinket. What this means is Avoidance will result in you taking less damage, but because your health total is smaller, your health bar will appear to take bigger steps when you get hit. If you are facing down most things that will only hit you for a fraction of your health, you'll find that is not so significant. Against a target that really smashes you, it will only *actually* become an issue when the target can actually kill you in two swings. Provided your avoidance set is capable of surviving two hits in a row, the less frequent hits will actually appear to drop your bar farther when you are hit, but you will generally leave healers aware of the fact that you take less work to keep up.

    So far this is fairly anecdotal and is shy of the most critical tests, but I'll post to update as I make those tests. The other key issue here is that it largely does come down to psychological implications for the healers now. What I mean is, mana management is less of a driving force now than healing output, so to that end there's nothing inherently negative about being a manasponge (huge health, poor avoidance/mitigation, you'll take plenty of damage but because you have so much health you have time for the healers to spam you full).

    That said, if you can take less or infrequent enough damage, healers don't mind that your bar seems to dip in larger steps, since it also takes fewer heals to push you back to full.

    It's funky, but I've been doing research trying to wrap a more conclusive handle around it. =)

    That still won't stop everyone who have never played it out in reality from regurgitating the substandard value of avoidance, and extolling the might of pure stamina in every source you can get 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?!?

  16. #156
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    As someone who just hit 80 less than 2 weeks ago and probably have sub-par gear like you, here is what has worked well for me for AOE tanking. Granted, I am blood specced (and love it!), this might help you a bit.

    2+ mobs:
    DnD > IT > PS > Pest
    After this just tab and HS/DS like crazy (note that both my HS and DS have RS in them)

    5+ mobs:
    DnD > IT > PS > Pest
    Now just DS to convert your runes and use them to BB like there is no tomorrow

    5+ mobs that have no hp:
    DnD > BB like crazy

    This has worked really well for me, I never lose aggro on aoe unless there are melee who are single targeting then I it is just a matter of noticing what mob they are focus firing and switching to that

  17. #157
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    Disregard my previous post. I'm unwilling to debate avoidance gemming once again.

  18. #158
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    @dracosveen.

    As you will quickly discover, there are a number of ways to handle an aoe pull in frost, and it is good to practice all of them as the "best" way is often dependant on environmental restraints, mob types, cool downs, etcetera. That being said I wanted to toss in a factor that nobody else seems to have mentioned regarding your original post. In high end gear your aoe threat output in frost should easily hold against the aoe of mages and whatnot. From time to time a mob pops out and you just deal with it quickly, but generally there just aren't problems.

    The problem you may be facing is not that you aren't "geared enough" for heroics, but that you aren't "geared enough" for higher geared aoe dps'ers. Their threat generation does not go down just because they are doing an overgeared lol run. If you have people in the party putting out high aoe damage, unfortunately, you may be doing everything you can and still not holding against them. In those circumstances, until you are a geared beast, you will need the overgeared to back off a bit.

  19. #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nez View Post
    Comparing yourself to others that may be under geared, poorly geared or just plain fail is rarely a good way to measure yourself

    I run with ICC, ToCG geared DPS and do not have trouble holding packs with a single disease opener in Frost. I do not use D&D at all in when I'm tanking frost. So to each their own. That's the great thing about DK's, you can really play them in so many different ways and do well.
    Well... yeah, I agree on all points.

  20. #160
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    Rimefang's Claw

    Hi. I need more threat.

    Atually i'm using DW frost (9/52/10) with Que'el serrar main hand and Rimefang's Claw off hand

    Link---> Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft

    Rotation

    Multi target:

    DnD-IT-PS-Pest, RS, HB, OB, OB

    or

    DnD, IT, PS, HB, PEST, BB, RS, OB

    Single target:

    IT, PS, OB, BS, BS, RS, OB, OB, OB, RS

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