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


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.

3.1.3, or How Will I Tank With 20% Less Bonus Armour?

26 05 2009

So tonight the patch notes for 3.13 dropped onto the interwebs from wherever Blizzard keeps them. Here are the two important Death Knight-related changes:

Frost Presence: Armor bonus is now 60% down from 80%.

Death Knight PvP Gauntlets: The chance to refresh a Frost Rune when casting Chains of Ice has been removed. When equipped, these gloves now generate 5 additional runic power whenever Chains of Ice is used.

I may look angry but nerfs make me cry on the inside.

I may look angry but nerfs make me cry on the inside.

The armour nerf (owie)

I’m not sure where this came from, to be honest. I also don’t know if this is aimed at PvP or PvE. The main complaint about DK tanking seemed to always be about the ability to negate burst magic damage through IBF, Bone Shield and AMS. This nerf won’t do anything to change these strengths. If the nerf is PvP-related, I can see the reasoning behind it. Being able to gain a ridiculous amount of armor with no real loss of damage dealing is very strong against Rogues, Warriors, and other melee classes. I know that’s my strategy in arenas, anyways. So much of tank-damage is magical these days that I’m not sure this will have a game-breaking effect on PvE DK tanks, but I’ll have to see if I notice a difference when the patch hits.

Onoes my PvP gloves!

I saw this coming a mile away. Granted, I didn’t expect a glove bonus that I would be incredibly meh about, but such is life as a DK. Ghostcrawler has been responding to QQ posts on the forums saying things like “What if it [the problem] is the glove bonus” (Source)? Granted, the current incarnation of the glove bonus was probably too strong, and likely a result of Blizzard not really knowing what is OP and what isn’t for DKs. For another example of this, see the original t7.5 bonus (+10 RP on Obliterate, Death Strike and Scourge Strike) which turned out to be incredibly awesome. Then look at the t8.5 4-piece, which is pretty much trash and barely even worth considering, especially as Frost.

Although I am not enamored of the new glove bonus, I am wary of it becoming powerful. The nerf means we can’t cast CoI quite as much, but we’ll also be generating more runic power, an ability which can often get out of control. See again the t7.5 bonus. I don’t think this nerf will damage a DK’s ability to kite all that much, but it might force more strategic use of Death Runes. Rather than always using them on a Scourge Strike or whatever attack your spec uses, it might be better to save the runes for casting Chains.

A happy note

Since this post has otherwise been about nerfs, here is a change that may make you happy if you are a raider.

The flight time of Rocket Strikes has been increased, and Rocket Strikes will try to prefer players at range.

The Leviathan Mk II component of the V-07-TR-0N will become stunned during Phase 4 when the VX-001 component begins to cast the P3Wx2 Laser Barrage ability.

Proximity mines now deal less damage and have a lower duration. A small arming time has also been added so proximity mines will not immediately detonate on creation.

All extremely convenient (and not uber-nerfs) to the Mimiron encounter. I hated running back to the boss only to randomly get mines tossed into my path killing me before I could move. Stupid mechano-gnome and his Voltron powersuit thing.


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