What’s Changed for Frost in 4.0.1

17 10 2010

As I continue to hit stuff in Frost spec, and read more EJ things, I keep noticing things that changed from pre-4.0.1 that might not be so obvious. So here’s a list of the changes and a brief explanation for each one. I’ll update for any changes I notice in future/commenters make me aware of.

DnD only costs 1 Unholy

Big changes to Death and Decay

The List:

  • Use KM procs on Obliterate rather than Frost Strike. With the new patch and talents, OB hits harder than FS, so all Killing Machine procs should be used for OB. Do not, however, wait for OB runes to come back up if you can FS. Delaying attacks is almost never a good idea given how close to GCD-capped the rotation is.
  • Frost Fever no longer HAS to be up for us to do any semblance of damage. Yes, diseases are still great, but the talents that buffed our damage by a lot when FF was up are no longer, so it’s safe to DPS down low-health adds without applying diseases. If you’re using Glyph of HB, however, you’re still going to be applying FF as you run towards the adds anyways.
  • Don’t pestilence for low numbers of adds, just HB+tab cast Plague Strike. Pestilence lowers disease damage by 50%, and so now it actually is more profitable to cast PS, tab, and cast again. HB glyph takes care of FF, and when casting lots of HB vs. OB you get excess unholy runes, so use them on PS.
  • Howling Blast is no longer affected by Killing Machine. This is a bonus for single target damage but a big loss for AoE damage; no longer can you crit on 10 targets at once with one HB. Frown.
  • Death and Decay costs one Unholy Rune! Holy crap. This is what happens when you don’t pay attention to changes for a while, then log in and have a number of WTF moments at the things that changed. Obviously, this makes it a lot easier to fit into AoE rotations, and so should almost always be used. Especially true because HB-AoE rotations leave excess Unholy Runes, as mentioned earlier.
  • AMS no longer energizes us with RP when absorbing damage. It only does so if you have the talent in deep Unholy. This sucks, but really, we have few excess GCDs so it’s not a big thing.
  • Runic Empowerment means you have to stay on your toes. This is a change for all specs, but it means that your rotation is even more priority-based than it was in previous patches. Having random runes popping up unexpectedly (and with no internal cooldown) is both a frustrating and incredibly rewarding experience. It really makes DPSing more interesting than it was previously, and also makes the ability to see runes clearly (requiring a good addon, Magic Runes being my favourite) and react quickly a lot more important than pre-4.0.1.

What else have you noticed that’s changed for Frost, or DKs in general?

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How to Write a Successful Leveling Guide

14 10 2010

This is not a post about how to level your DK. This is a post about how to write a leveling guide that will do more than just tell people what zones to go to. In my opinion, leveling guides are more about how you should be shaping your character, especially in terms of gear, talents, specs, and important things to learn on the way to max level. No, it won’t tell you how to level a DK (it’s not very hard) but instead some tips for writing a leveling guide.

 

Hooray

Ding!

 

  1. Include a spec. If it isn’t obvious what order points should be placed, then you should make a note of that. For example with this Unholy spec, you’re better off putting 2 points in Butchery before getting Gargoyle/Subversion, since 20 RP on a kill is really quite useful (more so than some extra crit or a 3min cooldown). If you’re going to outline each tier individually, as shown here, make sure to include what the end result will look like. I would suggest only including one spec that is generally agreed to be the best leveling spec. People reading leveling guides are often focused on speed rather than exploration, so including only the most useful spec will be helpful to readers. Note: spec includes things like glyphs, pet talents, etc.
  2. Discuss basic rotations. For an Unholy DK, this means something very basic. For example: put up diseases, cast Scourge Strike, cast Death Coil, cast Blood Strike. Highest priority to lowest.
  3. Explain instance roles and strategy. Writing for Mages? Note some beginner tips on how to sheep things while still doing effective DPS, such as using focus macros. Writing for Death Knights? Depends whether you’re advising tanks or fledgling DPS DKs. For a tank, discuss when oh-shit buttons should be used. For a DPSer, mention what types of mobs usually die first (spellcasters, healers, for example) or how important hitting mobs from behind is. Learning these types of things as you level helps immensely when thrown into the craziness that is max level raiding.
  4. Note any class-specific leveling habits. One example: Hunters. What pets are good for leveling? Tank pets (e.g. turtles) or DPS pets (e.g. raptors)? To use another example, what totems should a Shaman use? Should a Shaman bother with totems while leveling? If so, when is it good to use them (multiple mobs in one place, etc.)?
  5. Mention important quests and questlines. Some examples: the Hodir questline, any quest that gives a new weapon to Hunters/melee classes, that sort of thing. A quest that has a large effect on max-level play or speeds up leveling is what I would consider important.

Character first

I think leveling guides are at their most helpful when focusing on combat-related information because this is the most complex aspect of leveling a new character. Wandering from zone to zone is pretty straightforward, especially since starting areas get you well-acquainted with the basics of questing and moving to new areas.

Professions also have very little effect on leveling, aside from derailing them to make time for crafting. Crafting gear for yourself is rarely effective since stuff gets outclassed so fast/heirlooms exist. When I read a leveling guide, I want to learn anything and everything that will make leveling that class faster.

What about you, what do you look for in a leveling guide?





Patch 4.0 Frost DW Talents

12 10 2010

Wondering how to spec in 4.0? Confused? Me too. This post is my attempt at creating a Frost DW spec that will do two things: get me to Cataclysm and help me get used to the new mechanisms and procs of DW Frost. Here’s the spec:

4.0 Frost DW talent specBrrrr

Some explanations:

Icy Reach vs. RPM: RPM lost a lot of its usefulness due to changes to other abilities, such as AMS not energizing runic power and Druids’ revitalize not giving runic power either. Icy Reach therefore provides more benefit in combat situations, since you should avoid capping your RP and a higher cap, if you are good at using up RP as it is generated, does not help you.

Endless Winter vs. On a Pale Horse: I lean towards EW because in the limited situations that both talents do anything, EW will help more. It frees you up to use your usual rotation and not lead to accidental wipes because you used up RP when you shouldn’t have. On a Pale Horse, on the other hand, is a more passive talent that, when it works, will help marginally, but will really not affect your gameplay very much. When you’re slowed, you’re still going to be slowed. Although both are narrow, I think EW has a more important effect when it is useful, since when interrupts are part of an encounter, they are often a significant part (see: Vezax, Jaraxxus, etc).

That’s all, folks?

The rest of the Frost talents for DW are pretty much must-haves, especially since many of them are new and the most important thing in the last months of WotLK is not to get uber DPS but to become used to how the new talents will work in tandem with the new rune regeneration system, which I’ll hopefully be able to talk about once the servers come back up.

Glyphs!

Prime glyphs: Two are fairly obvious, here being: Obliterate and Frost Strike, stalwarts of Frost glyphing. The only competition is between HB and Icy Touch. After some experimenting with both, I think I’ve come out in favour of HB, mostly due to being given the nod by EJ and some testing here and there. HB just hits harder. And means that you can do quicker, better AoE damage due to not having to rely on Icy Touch/Pestilence, which suffers from the Pestilence nerf.

Major glyphs involve a bit more choice, but mine are as follows: Pestilence, AMS, Hungering Cold (or Blood Boil). Frost gets pretty mediocre returns from these glyphs, but there isn’t a lot of choice because Pillar of Frost is likely more of a hindrance than a help for PvE. Blood Boil and Hungering Cold are exchangeable depending on how useful HC turns out to be in raids (I’ve been out of the game for a while, also never had it in PvE specs before). AMS will most certainly be helpful for obvious reasons, fire bad, etc. Pestilence range increase is still good, and the rest just don’t do anything.

Minor glyphs: These also don’t do much, but if you’re curious I’ll be taking Path of Frost, Blood Tap and Horn of Winter.

What about you? Have any other choices in mind? Have you gotten on the servers yet?





A Caper Story: Reforging Old Alliances

5 10 2010

It seems like Cataclysm has been on its way for a long time. And I guess it has been. And for what seems like the 30th time, I’ve renewed my subscription. It’s not because suddenly WoW is more exciting than it was when I left in November last year. But something else is happening, and that’s people returning to the game. Not just me, but a bunch of the people from my old guild who were the main reason that WoW was any fun.

Looking out past Dalaran

Feels like the beginning of a heist movie

At the beginning of Ocean’s Eleven, Brad Pitt and George Clooney start looking through their rolodex and picking the best people to make a team. That’s the kind of thing I was doing today–working out who we knew was coming back, who we could convince to come back, to make the best 10man Cataclysm guild we could. And it’s so great that 10man guilds are an option now, because it just gives you so much more freedom without limiting you, gear-wise.

But that’s not really the point of this post. Cataclysm is almost here, and the promise of a whole new way of doing things (changing far more than Wrath did, and in a much more interesting way, but again, that’s a post for another time) is leading people back to WoW. So here’s to bringing old friends together to beat up angry monsters.

More posts to come, hopefully.





Cataclysm Death Knight Changes Part One: Rune System

4 05 2010

Hi guys, I’m back

A friend of mine gave me a scroll of resurrection, so I decided that while I was temporarily (possibly for more than the 10 day free playtime) back in the World of Warcraft, I’d toss a blog post up here in case anyone’s reading. Seeing as I am not an expert in optimal DPS theorycrafting these days, I’m going to talk about the rune changes proposed for Cataclysm. Here they are, in case you are not familiar with them:

Dragon's going to eat part of DK rotations, leaving big holes.

The new rune system will change how runes regenerate, from filling simultaneously to filling sequentially. For example, if you use two Blood runes, then the first rune will fill up before the second one starts to fill up. Essentially, you have three sets of runes filling every 10 seconds instead of six individual runes filling every 10 seconds. (Haste will cause runes to fill faster.) Another way to think of this is having three runes that go up to 200% each (allowing extra “storage”), rather than six runes that go up to 100% each.

This sounds like gobbledeyguk, so read this explanation by Ghostcrawler instead (scroll down to see his full post):

In Cataclysm, when you’re killing things, you use rune 1. Then any extra “red” in rune 2 will fill rune 1 back up again. If both of them are full, you can use 2 Blood Runes immediately. But after that, rune 1 will fill up first and then rune 2. If it helps, imagine rune 2 is the extra tank.

GC then goes on to talk about how this might slow down DK rotations, and how it might leave space between rotations, open GCDs, breathing room, etc.

Does anyone really want breathing room in a rotation?

I don’t know about you, but I like my rotations packed. It’s part of why I liked ITx6 rotations back in the day: they were fun and engaging. When you have a lot of open GCDs, it feels like you’re not doing anything. So when GC says that we can hit less and harder instead of often and weaker, I’m not encouraged. I’m confident that DKs won’t stop doing reasonable amounts of DPS, but I’m not convinced that we’ll stop being really fun.

I don’t like ranged DPS or caster DPS because it simply doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything. So if DKs stop being a class that DPSes at a rapidfire pace, well, I’ll be sad. I know we probably won’t get a rotation that plays in Unholy Presence anytime soon, but all the ones that did were really fun.

It might not be a bad idea to make open GCD rotations and tight rotations appropriate for different trees. Unholy has always had more open GCDs (its main strike is a two-rune ability and it doesn’t have a cheap RP dump like glyphed Frost Strike) and Frost has typically (especially in the UP rotations) had tighter rotations. Blood has usually had pretty tight rotations as well, but in cataclysm it will be a tanking tree (sad panda here) so it’s not part of this discussion.





Appropriately Titled Farewell Post

15 11 2009

Seems like not too long ago I was excited to log into WoW to raid or to blog about raiding. I’ve taken a break from WoW, at least until Icecrown comes out, and as a result I have lost the desire to blog about WoW. I’d like to thank everyone who visited the site, especially those who took the time to write comments or link here from your blog/website. I really do appreciate it.

One of the reasons I no longer felt excited about blogging was that I realised that I didn’t have anything to add. Elitist Jerks covers everything you’ll ever need to know about being a successful, raiding Death Knight, so I hope you’ll go there if you ever need information. This site won’t be taken down or anything (mmm free webspace) but I’ll no longer be posting.

Once again, thanks for visiting/commenting/linking here and I hope everyone enjoys the rest of 3.3/life/WoW.

Signing off,

Shopshopshop





Does Anybody Really Enjoy Faction Champions?

31 10 2009

I don’t try to hide it. Whenever I down Jaraxxus, I sigh at the upcoming fight. I hate Faction Champions. I’d rather lose Eye of the Storm than do this encounter, which says a lot since I’m not a huge fan of PvP. I know there are a lot of other people who don’t like it (and some crazy weirdos who do) so I thought I’d compile a list of reasons why I don’t like it.

  1. Randomness. In very few other fights can you get gibbed so easily, especially while CC’d. I can break fear once every two minutes with my PvP trinket, but when I can’t break out? More often than not the melee champions start chasing me and kill me while I’m CC’d. Is there any other encoutner in Wrath where something so random can happen (and happens frequently)?
  2. I don’t get to DPS. I spend most of my time in heroic FCs casting Chains of Ice on the Death Knight and the Rogue to keep them off our casters. So basically I end up running around, away from the kill target, to cast Chains. That’s boring. It’s not the same as having a few interesting gimmick-things to do in an encounter, like switching essences in Twin Valks.
  3. It’s not PvP. One of the irritating things about this fight is that I would likely perform better if I used a PvP spec. Since it is a raid, and not a battleground, I find this to be something of a design flaw. I’m all for some off-the-wall talents being useful sometimes (like reduced Death Grip cooldown to help with Sparks on Malygos) but when it’s better to completely nuke your DPS in favour of a bit more survival? I’ll pass, thanks.
  4. Morale. I play on a PvE server, so there are a lot of people in my raid who just don’t like PvP. Whatever people say about FCs, it will always be a PvP encounter forced into a PvE situation to me. Again, this is bad design in my opinion. If anything, this is the kind of encounter that should be put behind a PvP barrier like Wintergrasp, since at least the flavour of PvP is retained. So when we do this fight, and half the raid is irritated even before we wipe, well, it just doesn’t help the raid’s morale.

So why don’t you like Faction Champions?