How and When to Use Necrotic Strike: A Speculative Guide

10 12 2010

I’m only 84. I know, how tragic! Can’t do heroics yet, can’t run around a city at max level being idle, oh the woe of it all. However, I did learn Necrotic Strike at 83. And I’ll admit that when I read about the ability all those months ago, I cried “another PvP ability! Wah!” Only two days after learning the skill, I am in love with it.

There are a lot of casters in every instance. Bosses cast spells. Healers cast spell. Necrotic Strike, in my non-heroic dungeon experience, works on these mobs. I haven’t had any immunes that I can remember. For a typical example of what the spell does, it turns a 2.0s cast into a 2.6s cast. That’s a big difference.

Necrotic Strike

Courtesy of Wowhead

Aside: This post is speculative, however. If NS doesn’t work on raid bosses or boss encounter adds, well, sorry. Then it’s mostly a wash in non-trash PvE. Sucks, but I won’t be entirely surprised (Dark Simulacrum will likely be fairly unhelpful in raiding).

If you’re ever assigned to interrupt something in a raid setting, you should almost always be waiting until the last possible second to cast your interrupt. Why? Well, mobs don’t melee or do anything else evil while they’re casting. So your healers get a reprieve, and people don’t take damage, etc. And NS makes that both easier and more effective. An extra half second can be the difference between not interrupting and interrupting or simply force the boss into another few milliseconds of cast time.

Fitting Necrotic Strike into your rotation

Since it costs only one Unholy Rune, it’s pretty easy for most specs. Unholy replaces an SS with an NS. Blood can easily use a Death Rune (they get a lot of them from Death Striking) to NS. Frost is a little more complicated because we typically want to use Unholy Runes strictly for PS, Obliterate, and (in AoE situations) DnD. So that doesn’t leave a lot left over.

Typically what I have been doing is either using Blood Tap, replacing Obliterates with HB/NS, or using Death Runes from Blood Strikes. If you end up with one Death Rune, the other one can be used for Pillar of Frost or something else that usually disrupts the rotation.

All of these options involves stretching our limited GCD space. So be warned: excessive NSing will often lead to an overabundance of resources: RP, runes building up, etc. Make sure you’re not NSing more than absolutely necessary. Remember that as long as a mob starts a cast while NS is active, the whole cast will be affected.

Where to use Necrotic Strike?

  • Regular instances. Mob names typically give you a hint as to whether they are spellcasters or not. Or just check if they have mana bars. If they do, it’s a safe bet NSing them will be helpful.
  • Soloing. It’s not useless when soloing. When you have to kill caster mobs, you usually have to kill more than one of them, so at least you know when you have to NS. However, often when you engage a caster mob it immediately starts casting, making NSing less than efficient. Interrupting or just straight out killing mobs while soloing is likely more effective.
  • Raiding. I’ll likely have more updates on this once I start raiding/just link to what EJ posters put up regarding using this in raids. If you’ve started raiding and have some advice, please let me know!




Why the Scourge Strike Redesign is Amazing

26 10 2009

Around when the DK Q&A came out, I was pretty unhappy with Armor Penetration as a whole. Back then, I was Frost specced (in those days Obliterate was not the primary source of damage) and thought that I would never want to see ArPen on my gear. Ever. When 3.2 hit and I started Dual Wielding, things changed. Obliterate was a lot better than it was and as a result so was ArPen. Since then I’ve switched to Blood and ArPen is the best stat besides Strength, but that’s beside the point.

The worst thing that happened to DKs since Wrath was when Unholy Death Knights started using Obliterate. Deep Unholy, that is (not counting the 32/39 builds of old that used Howling Blast). Why, you ask? Well, on the surface Obliterate and SS aren’t very different. They’re both use an Unholy and a Frost Rune and hit for some % of weapon damage plus some other damage.

It’s the texture that matters

To me, though, SS and Obliterate feel different. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like casting Death Strike, Obliterate, and Scourge Strike each have unique associations. In this comparison, Obliterate is on the generic side since its only unique aspect is that it removes diseases (which can be talented away). Its respective glyph is also a flat damage increase rather than one that’s dependent on other factors.

Moving on, though, I think it’s important that each talent tree uses different strikes or else they’ll all start feeling the same. So when I read that Scourge Strike was being redesigned in 3.3 into an attack that initially does physical damage and then shadow damage based on the physical part, well, I was happy. I used to be despondent about how ArPen sucked for 2/3 specs, but Blizzard has managed to quietly make it useful while maintaining each tree’s uniqueness. Well played, Blizzard, well played.





Rolling Diseases: How to Effectively Spread the Plague

18 10 2009

Note: this post is primarily about Blood DPS (though it is also applicable to Frost, which often uses Glyph of Disease).

Rolling diseases is the term used for casting diseases while you have temporary buffs (such as Greatness, Fallen Crusader, Unholy Might, Unholy Force, etc.) that increase your Str/AP and then refreshing those buffed diseases with Glyph of Disease/Pestilence. The way Pestilence works with GoD is in the wording: “Your Pestilence ability now refreshes disease durations on your primary target back to their maximum duration.” Compare this to Glyph of Howling Blast: “Your Howling Blast ability now infects your targets with Frost Fever.” The HB glyph causes HB to apply Frost Fever while GoD allows Pestilence to refresh the diseases already applied to your current target.

Keep in mind that the decision to use Glyph of Disease (over Glyph of Dark Death) depends on how many on use/chance on hit AP/Str procs you have. The major ones you can get are: Darkmoon Card: Greatness, 2p t9, Sigil of Virulence, that sort of thing. The more you have, the better Glyph of Disease will work for you.

GoD

But Shop, how can I get all my procs to align?

The short answer is that you can’t. The long answer is that there are a few tricks that can help you set up your procs to align.

1) At the start of your fight, use HS-HS-DS (with the option of BT to get a 3rd HS if Unholy Might doesn’t proc) to get as many procs going as possible, then apply diseases.

2) Download and configure Procodile, an addon that can monitor internal cooldowns (ICD) of buffs (as well as the buffs themselves, but I use other addons to cover that). When you have it set up to track all the ICDs of your buffs, if you don’t get all your buffs up at the start of a fight, you can see in advance if and when multiple proc cooldowns will line up again. Considering how important this can be for your DPS, Procodile is a worthwhile investment.

How does Pestilence fit into your rotation?

If you are spell hit capped, you can wait until the last possible second to refresh your diseases. If you’re not, it’s best to leave yourself at least one GCD before your diseases fall off when you refresh. This way if your Pestilence misses you don’t lose your buffed diseases. Aside from this, fit Pestilence in wherever necessary, and where possible refresh disease right before you use DRW so you don’t waste a GCD on a Pestilence while DRW is up.

The ideal rotation for Blood with GoD is to use the traditional 20 second rotation (IT-PS-DS-HS-HS-DC // DS-HS-HS-HS-HS-DC-DC) and simply cast Pestilence before the 21-second diseases run out. This is, however, in an ideal situation and you should be thinking ahead about what might happen to cause you to be away from the boss. One example is Icehowl: you want buffed diseases to stay up as long as possible but are frequently knocked away from the boss.

Some final tips:

  • First priority in your rotation is keeping buffed diseases going; if they fall off it’s not always easy to get them going again
  • Know when you will be away from the boss so you can refresh in advance
  • Cast Pestilence as little as you can while still keeping diseases up (i.e. don’t refresh halfway through disease timers without a good reason to)




A Bloody (Well-Deserved?) Nerf

12 09 2009

If you haven’t heard, Blood is getting a bit of a nerf in 3.2.2. This is the proposed change: “Heart Strike: Secondary targets of Heart Strike now take half as much damage.” (source) The reasoning, apparently, is that we shouldn’t be able to do extremely good AoE damage without somehow losing out on single-target DPS.

While I, like anyone else, dislike getting nerfed, I agree with this philosophy. One discrepancy that bothers me is the case of Ret Paladins. In their regular rotation they use two powerful AoE moves, Divine Storm and Consecration. If there are 3-4 targets around, Ret Pally AoE begins to really outshine DK DPS without even having to break from regular rotation. DKs currently still have to use Pestilence to spread diseases in order to make AoE truly effective, so the reasoning is a bit fuzzy to me.

I wonder, though, if we deserve some other way to boost DPS in place of this nerf? Blood has pretty bad AoE damage (especially with the nerf). The best suggestion I saw was something on the EJ forums: that Blood Strike should get an AoE component through a talent deep in the Blood tree. That way in order to do AoE DPS, we’d have to sacrifice some single-target damage to get more cleave.

Making a change like this allows for more choices to be made during Blood DPS, akin to the way Frost works. That’s the one thing I think Blood is really missing. Aside from cooldowns, the Blood rotation is very set in stone which makes it a bit less fun to play with.





That’s Bloody Hard!

12 07 2009

Recently I’ve been doing two major things in WoW: 10-man hard modes and trying out Blood DPS in raids. While the DPS itself is not significantly higher or lower than Frost for most fights, some of Blood’s unique mechanics help out a lot for hard modes, especially ones like Mimiron, Thorim, and Freya, where you will likely take significant amounts of incidental damage throughout the fight. (Frost is better for Hodir due to the many crits produced by Rime, Killing Machine, and Subversion.)

So first I want to outline what Blood has that the other specs don’t have (or have less of):

1. Self-healing. All classes have Death Strike but since it’s in Blood’s main rotation, you not only gain more health from it but also lose less DPS from choosing to cast it over something else (like Obliterate or Scourge Strike).

2. Diseaseless damage. Before you get all up in arms about me and say that diseaseless Blood is dead, the only disease-dependant attack in Blood’s rotation is Heart Strike. What this means for hard modes is that, when you need to quickly mow down a low HP target, like Freya’s roots, Thorim’s Evokers, frozen people in Hodir and various adds in Mimiron, you don’t always need to set up diseases to do decent damage. Frost without Frost Fever up does very little damage (losing 15% from Tundra Stalker and another 20% from Glacier Rot) and Unholy loses 10% from Rage of Rivendare as well as the additional scaling from diseases on Scourge Strike.

If you set Blood up correctly or get lucky, i.e. if you have lots of RP or simply enough RP to maximize Death Strike damage with the glyph, you can hit things like Freya’s roots without wasting a valuable GCD on PS/IT to set up your damage. This might seem minor, but it really helps out a lot when time is limited (Mages die very quickly to roots!).

3. Burst damage. Combining DRW + Hysteria gives you a very potent burst rotation, and you also get DRW every 1.5 minutes. Unholy only really has Gargoyle (on a 3min CD) and Frost only has UA, which unfortunately combines a defensive and offensive cooldown, meaning you may use it for one purpose and later need it for the other. (Blood gets a choice between Vampiric Blood, Mark of Blood and Rune Tap as well, which helps out with its survival.) Burst is very helpful for hard modes are either DPS races (Hodir) or have short phases that require burst damage (XT) (Freya’s various adds).

4. Heart strike hearts you. The mechanics of Heart Strike are very nice (well, not for Hodir or Thorim much), mainly for Freya and Mimiron. On Freya, the 3-elemental phase (in 10-man anyways) often leaves you well away from the Snaplasher but close to the other two elementals. What this means is that you will be HSing both at once, and no other spec can really hit two targets for 5-6k consistently (Howling Blast has a cooldown, UB does damage over a longer period of time, Death and Decay takes time and lots of runes). On Mimiron, you get to smack two sections for lots of damage.

Hard mode is hard

MyKnw

I’ve done this fight as Frost. It wasn’t incredibly easier with Blood than Frost, but I definitely noticed the perks I’ve outlined here. One other minor benefit that Blood gets is 6% more stamina from Veteran of the Third War, which isn’t a big deal but it’s definitely a perk to have 30k+ HP in DPS gear. The best thing Blood has going for it in hard modes is that you can keep yourself alive very well.

For additional survival, you could spec into Night of the Dead for the ability to Death Pact more often, since you only lose 2 points in BCB to take it. This is useful for Freya, where damage is spiky but not continous, so you’re likely to have time to get the two GCDs necessary to summon and pact the ghoul. Unfortunately it’s less useful for more bursty fights like Mimiron, where damage happens at every turn.

So if you’re working on hard modes, and aren’t already Blood, give it a try.





Bloody Blood Blooding

7 07 2009

For the first time in a while, I tried out a Blood spec. My gear isn’t optimal for it – I only have about 188 ArPen and with Grim Toll I’m over the hit cap by a bit – but my DPS was pretty solid, definitely competitive with my usual Frost spec. For one, it was a lot more dynamic than I thought Blood was.

Another thing I noticed was how much I really wanted the changes they’re making to both Death Rune mechanics and DRW. Unlike the ITx6, I can’t spam rune abilities to make sure my rune pairs don’t get messed up. So when I end up with 4 Death Runes refreshing quickly, I’m going to get my Unholy runes refreshing in a pair and my Frost runes doing the same. Solving this problem will make the Blood rotation much, much simpler. The strange mechanics of DRW and Gargoyle in Unholy are also a stumbling block for both specs, and I’m glad Blizzard is simplifying them.

I actually wanted ArPen

One of the best things about being Blood, even just for a night, was actually appreciating the ArPen on my gear. So I really hope Blizzard can fix ArPen for Unholy and Blood.

BUT WHY, BLIZZARD, WHY

The worst part about doing well as Blood was the lack of nerfs incoming for the spec. If I can do on-par DPS compared to my Frost spec, why is Frost Strike getting a 10% nerf in damage, which will mean at least a 5% decrease in my overall damage as Frost (because FS is usually ~50% of damage on a given fight). Why is Scourge Strike getting a big nerf, when Blood does equal damage as it in PvE?

With these changes, and the buffs to disease damage, as well as the simplification of some mechanics, it seems like Blood might be head and shoulders above the other specs once 3.2 hits. I hope my guild gets an Enhancement Shaman soon so that I can test it out more in 25-mans.

N.B. If you want to know anything about Blood DPS, read this thread.





Tanking Your Glyph Knight… Wait…

5 06 2009

This is a continuation of my post at Big Hit Box about DPS glyphs, but this time focusing on tanking glyphs*. Choosing what glyphs to use as a tank is a little bit different than for a DPSer. Instead of going for straight min/maxing of DPS, where every % counts, tanks have to balance tank stats like avoidance and mitigation with DPS stats in order to stay on top of threat. Without further ado, I shall begin with Frost, as is starting to become/already is tradition here.

*This time posting the entire thing here and at Big Hit Box

Frost meatshielding (like what a fridge does for leftovers?)

There’s really only one mitigation-related glyph that’s specific to Frost, and that is the Glyph of Unbreakable Armor. Since UA is an excellent tanking cooldown for many situations (especially those where you’re taking a lot of relatively smaller hits, since UA absorbs a set amount of damage on all incoming damage), this is an excellent choice for Frost tanks. Also, Frost has such excellent single-target threat through the use of Obliterate, Frost Strike and Rune Strike that it’s not a problem to sacrifice a DPS-glyph slot for this one.

Glyph of Howling Blast is also a solid contender for Frost tanks. Where Frost DPSers can argue for the minor damage boost provided by the Obliterate glyph over taking the HB glyph, the convenience that this provides tanks is extremely helpful for any AoE tanking situation. This glyph basically does the same thing as the Disease glyph, but better; it does damage, gives more RP, and doesn’t require diseases to already be up on the target. Semi-questionable in Ulduar, where many AoE packs are untankable (like XT’s Scrap Bots and Freya’s Detonating Lashers), but a godsend for Naxx and Heroics. My guild also uses a lot of CC on Ulduar trash packs, so it’s not as helpful here. Depending on where you are in raiding and how your guild does things, mileage can vary.

The best threat glyph is probably Glyph of Frost Strike, since it’s Frost’s most damaging strike. Cutting the RP cost also allows you to use more Rune Strikes, another excellent source of threat. I prefer this over the Obliterate glyph because I think cutting an ability’s RP cost will have a more significant impact on your tanking than slightly upping the damage of another skill that usually does less damage.

If you decide not to use the HB glyph, then Glyph of Icy Touch is probably next in line. Rune Strike is probably the most-used tank ability, and a large chunk of crit for the ability will help your single-target threat.

Unholy tanking

Unholy is known for having somewhat weaker single-target threat than the other two specs, so depending on how comfortable you are with tanking bosses, your glyph choices may vary. Glyph of Rune Strike is one of the better options for increasing your single-target threat. Glyph of Scourge Strike is another, allowing you to forego weaker abilities like Icy Touch and Plague Strike for the heavier-hitting Scourge Strike.

Since Unholy tanks will almost always be taking Morbidity, as well as Impurity to further boost Death and Decay’s usefulness, the DnD glyph is a valid choice for Unholy tanks. Since you will start almost every pull with this, except in AoE situations (you can often drop DnD and pull the boss/mobs into it as your runes get close to refreshing), the glyph is a solid option.

The next glyph is pretty much mandatory due to how awesome Bone Shield is. That, my friends, is (surprise!) Glyph of Bone Shield. Buffing Unholy’s core defensive cooldown is awesome and 2 extra charges adds a not insignificant amount of uptime (which will scale with your avoidance as well).

Bloody tanks

Blood tanking glyphs follow pretty much the same logic as the other two trees: buff your defensive cooldown, your main nuke and Rune Strike. That means you want to use Glyph of Vampiric Blood, Glyph of Death Strike and Glyph of Rune Strike. There aren’t really any other solid choices for Blood because it typically uses the DRW glyph, which is completely useless for tanks, and the Dark Death glyph, which isn’t great because most Blood tank builds don’t take Sudden Doom (the talent that procs free Death Coils).

Glyphs you don’t want and why you don’t want them

Some glyphs seem like they’re pointed towards tanks, but haven’t been included in my list of what glyphs to take for each spec. These include the glyphs of AMS, Rune Tap, IBF and Dark Command. First, the AMS glyph: since AMS was nerfed to only absorb 50% of a DK’s health, extending its length is at cross purposes with the goal of using AMS, which is to absorb large spikes of damage (like Sarth’s Flame Breaths). If it lasts 2 seconds longer, it may simply end early due to having already absorbed the maximum amount of damage possible.

Rune Tap is usually fairly insignificant to a well-geared tank, and also takes up a lot of talent points to buff and make usable in the first place. Most tank builds don’t even take the talent, so the glyph is even less helpful.

The IBF glyph, which was previously bugged and added on to the amount of damage absorbed after its scaling with defense was calculated, now no longer boosts the skill’s absorption past 30%. It’s useless for tanks.

Glyph of Dark Command is simply not worth it due to the rarity of taunt misses (if your taunt doesn’t work, it was likely caused by one of 2 things: the boss was immune to taunt or suffered from taunt diminishing returns, which can make a boss immune if taunted too frequently).





The Glyph of Disease Problem

3 06 2009

In an earlier post entitled Talents Can Be Deceiving, I discussed a few talents that seem excellent on the surface but in fact can be troublesome/not worth the space in practice. Today I want to discuss the Glyph of Disease, partially in response to a comment on my glyph post over at Big Hit Box. The commenter stated that the Disease glyph is currently not worth using due to its buggy nature.* Despite this, I believe the glyph will still be a DPS loss for all current DPS specs. As per usual, I’ll begin with Frost.

*Current bugs include not proccing Icy Talons and sometimes diseases falling off too early.

But I want my Icy Touch…

Current (and past) Frost rotations have often excelled using only one disease, applied through Icy Touch. These rotations often involve the IT glyph, which means you will want to cast IT, rather than avoiding it. Since the Disease glyph is all about not having to waste two GCDs on re-applying diseases, it’s really not very effective here. Even double-disease Frost rotations, which often focus on Obliterate more than Icy Touch, will still not want to give up the extra RP from the IT glyph. Similarly, the Obliterate and Frost Strike glyphs contribute more to your DPS than Disease would.

What about the Scourge Strike glyph?

Unholy is probably the best candidate for the Disease glyph, though in my opinion it still isn’t worth it. The obvious glyph to switch out for it is the Scourge Strike glyph, which itself is only a way to re-apply diseases. The problem with getting rid of it is that you will no longer have the chance to chain long strings of SS – SS – BS – BS / SS – SS – SS. Since Unholy’s best damage comes from SS, you want to maximize its use. The other problem with Glyph of Disease, which applies to all specs, is that you’re essentially using a rune and doing 0 damage with it. It also generates less RP than its counterparts in Icy Touch/Plague Strike. Unholy gets extra RP from PS because of Dirge, while Pestilence will only be generating 10 RP. You also have to sacrifice the (minor) DPS of one Blood Strike per rotation in favour of Pestilence.

Death Strike doesn’t care about your diseases

Blood is different from the other two specs in that you don’t need diseases up to be doing full damage with two of your main nukes, Death Strike and Death Coil. This means that allowing your diseases drop off before you’re finished with your second set of runes isn’t really a big problem. The Disease glyph would require you to always refresh diseases before they run out, which would only complicate Blood rotations. You also lose out on a Heart Strike, your main nuke (unlike Frost and Unholy, who lose only a single Blood Strike, which makes up a much smaller % of total damage). Like Frost, you also lose DPS on any glyph you might replace with the Disease glyph.

Tanking might possibly sort of want the glyph

Unless you’re a Frost tank using Glyph of Howling Blast, the Disease glyph does have some applications. Mostly for tanking large packs of adds. In the end, however, it is largely a convenience, since you can simply tab target and cast pestilence on a secondary target to refresh diseases on all other targets. If you’re tanking a large amount of mobs, likely with a combination of DnD, Unholy Blight, Howling Blast and Blood Boil, having diseases fall off on one target is probably not worth fixing with a glyph slot. There are better glyphs.

So even though it’s current incarnation is quite buggy, I don’t think this glyph is worth using barring an overhaul of the way it works.





Expertise and You

22 05 2009

Expertise is one of the more confusing stats a DPSer has to look at, in my opinion. Less so than Armor Penetration, which seems to be going through changes daily. So what does it do, exactly? Expertise reduces the chance that a mob can parry/dodge your attack by a % depending on how much you have of the stat. To be fully “soft-capped” (read: pushing dodge off the table) you need 26 expertise (not rating). Since bosses can’t parry from behind, you don’t have to worry about that as a DPSer. It’s called a soft cap rather than a hard cap because a boss’s parry chance is something ridiculous like 18-19% and it’s simply not worth getting that much expertise. Different specs value this stat differently, and for different reasons. Let’s start off with Frost, because I love it so. Also, I’m only going to deal with 2-handed specs in this post because I have little to no knowledge about DWing and expertise.

Frost in Blood Presence

None of the theoretically highest DPS rotations being bandied about on EJ currently use Blood Presence, but I imagine at some point in the future it will rise again. In any case, when examining expertise, which only affects melee strikes (Frost Strike and Rune Strike excluded), the first step is to look at how many of a given spec’s abilities are actually affected by expertise. For Frost, these are (%s next to ability names are how much of total DPS they comprise in a fight)*

  1. Obliterate (~15%)
  2. Auto-attack (~20%)
  3. Blood Strike (~4%)
  4. Plague Strike (if using it in a rotation) (~3%)

*See here for the source of my numbers

So for Frost, a total of around 42% of your damage comes from abilities (or auto-attacks) affected by expertise. If you’re running in BP, it can be extremely detrimental to have an attack or two dodged, since you will often be low on GCDs (global cooldowns) and have little room to redo failed attacks. As a result, expertise is fairly valuable for this spec and worth considering as a factor in gearing up.

Frost in Unholy Presence

Expertise loses a great deal of its value when running in Unholy Presence due to the fact that you have so many more GCDs, and are often left with 1-2 seconds now and then with nothing to do. If you get dodged or parried, you lose much less time than in Blood Presence, and so expertise loses some of its value for UP rotations. Keep in mind, however, that your white damage, a fairly major component of damage, can’t recover damage lost to parries, so with more expertise your auto-attack damage will go up, if only slightly.

Unholy in Blood Presence

Unholy, similar to UP Frost, has more GCDs open than some other DPS rotations. This is largely due to spamming Scourge Strike, a two-rune ability rather than using lots of single rune attacks. Nevertheless, let’s look at how much of an Unholy DK’s damage comes from weapon strikes. Same format as above.

  1. Scourge Strike (~20%)
  2. Melee (~20%) (~22% with Necrosis)
  3. Blood Strike (~5)
  4. Plague Strike (~3.5%)*
  5. Blood-Caked Strike (~2%)

*See here for source.

So that’s around 52% of total damage, with the rest coming from Death Coils, Unholy Blight, DnD, diseases and Wandering Plague. Necrosis adds value to expertise because it’s always going to be 20% of your white damage, which as I said earlier scales with your pre-soft cap expertise. However, due to having a relatively loose rotation, capping expertise isn’t essential.

Blood in Blood Presence

Blood is in a similar situation to Frost when run in Blood Presence. Since Heart Strike is a single-rune ability, and the most-used in a Blood spec, GCDs are limited. It’s more valuable to Blood, however, due to the larger amount of physical damage that it puts out.

  1. Heart Strike (~24%)
  2. Melee (~21%) (+~3% for Necrosis)
  3. Death Strike (~11%)
  4. Plague Strike (~3%)
  5. Blood-Caked Strike (~3%)*

*See here for source.

So that’s around ~56% of damage. Since you’re using a lot of Heart Strikes, and running in Blood Presence, it’s of paramount importance to get as close as possible to the expertise cap so your rotation doesn’t get screwed up.

Expertise vs. Strength

Some people say that expertise is a preference call. Do you prefer knowing for sure that all your attacks will land, and so as a result have an easier rotation? Or would you rather hit harder when you aren’t getting dodged? When considering gear upgrades with or without expertise, it’s somewhat personal, but with regards to gemming you should always go for strength. Basically, don’t go too far out of your way for expertise unless you’re extremely low on it (below 15-ish you’ll get dodged a lot). Also, as a DK strength affects the damage of everything you do, where expertise only the physical stuff, which makes up somewhere around half (less for Frost) of your total damage. It also loses all value after the soft cap since you should always, always be standing behind a mob to DPS it. (Mobs can’t parry from behind.)

In closing, a sample of my artwork, somewhat related to this posting.

It certainly is.

It certainly is.








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