Thursday, December 4, 2008 Deathknights, Tanking and You

So, I'm only level 73 but Khaeli and I have decided to take it slow and explore and quest in both Howling Fjord and the Borean Tundra. We aren't going to race to level cap like we did in EQ2 just to be stuck running other people through questlines and instances...we're actually enjoying ourselves! What a concept!

Now, throughout the early 70s I've ran into so many Deathknights not really knowing how to use their abilities, how to spec themselves - throwing points into every which direction and in general, not knowing how to tank. So here is my tanking guide for the low 70s Deathknight, I'll probably make another for when I turn 80 if I still see the complete lack of knowledge out there.

First off, lets talk about talent specs. At this level in the game it really doesn't matter but we're looking at the bigger picture here. I favor a heavy Frost build (if you couldn't tell by the name of this blog). Here is my armory page with my current spec. As I have my hockey helmet on snuggly, I have been viewing the live forums and have come to think of myself as a broken record when I see topics like "Frost tank spec help" as people are not putting points into the basic abilities. If you are serious about Frost tanking here is my list of MUST TAKE abilities in the Frost tree...

Frigid Deathplate- This is not a 3% Dodge or Parry, this is a solid 3%'s huge! However I have been seeing a lot of Frost tank builds not picking this up...their thought process "Well it's not that much, only 3%".
Unbreakable Armor- I have yet to see a tank build not take it, Unbreakable Armor is to Frost tanking as Corn is to midwest farmers.
Toughness- 5/5/5 is the standard Tank's not going to change, use it, love it, embrace it.
Tundra Stalker- If you go Deep Frost and don't get Tundra Stalker you're entire spec is fail...seriously 10% increase in spells & abilities that have FF (and you should have all your targets under FF 90%+ of the time) AND 5 brainer right?
Icy Touch/Talons Talents- If all you are doing is raiding end game and roll with an Enhance Shammy I would say don't bother as Wind Fury totem and Icy Talons don't stack. However, for a lot of us, the Echance Shammys are few and far between, so this is a solid pickup.
Frost Aura- No it doesn't stack with the Druid's MotW buff, however it also includes some resists that motw doesn't touch. DK's are suppose to mitigate spell damage more so then the other tank types, and this is one of the abilities in the Frost tree that make is possible.
Acclimation- You'll find people bashing this talent all over the live forums, but the reality is, it stacks's situational, but when those situations arise often you'll be happy to have it.
Guile of Gorefiend- Lets pretend that it doesn't have any DPS boost at increases the duration of Icebound Fortitude, which alone is worth the 3 points into it.

Where you spend your points from there on out is personal preference, just don't put them into Killing Machine as a tank or DPS really. We are not a white damage class, so it's a waste of 5 points that could be better spent else where. As to which Frost build is better...well I'm still trying out a few myself. Crunching some numbers to see if I do a 51 Frost build while picking up Shadow of Death (2% STA & STR increase) from Unholy to boost my HP.

2 Handers vs Duel Wielding

There are a shit-ton of posts on the live forums regarding this hot topic. Lots of mis-informed people stating that DW sucks without really knowing the reason why. It's viable, but your survivability will decrease while doing so. And since as a tank your main job is to survive, DW kind of starts to fade. There are some great on-going threads regarding duel wielding as a DK tank that can be found at here, but also there are some great charts made by Berthold on Elitist Jerks that can be found below or at Elitist Jerks here.

Conclusion: 2H > DW

Now, Bliz may change things as they are mixing up some of the DK tanking mechanics as GC himself mentioned that DK's are taking too much of a beating for their liking. The specifics of such are still unknown but I am eagerly awaiting to read what their plans are.