Thursday, May 21, 2009 WTB: ArP & STR | WTS: Haste & STA

A gear guide for attainable heroic non-hard mode Blood spec'd Deathknights.

Conqueror's Darkruned Helmet | Thorim, Emblem Vendor | Link
Frigid Strength of Hodir | Hodir - Hard | Link
Favor of the Dragon Queen | Malygos | Link
Conqueror's Darkruned Shoulderplates | Yogg-Saron | Link
Shoulderplates of the Eternal | Auriaya | Link
Drape of the Faceless General | General Vezax - Hard | Link
Drape of the Drakerider | Razorscale | Link
Conqueror's Darkruned Battleplate | Hodir, Emblem Vendor | Link
Steelbreaker's Embrace | Iron Council | Link
Bitter Cold Armguards | Hodir - Hard | Link
Decimator's Armguards | Kologarn | Link
Conqueror's Darkruned Gauntlets | Mimiron | Link
Belt of Colossal Rage | Iron Council | Link
Girdle of Embers | Ignis the Furnace Master | Link
Belt of the Titans | Crafted | Link
Clockwork Legplates | XT-002 Deconstructor | Link
Melancholy Sabatons | Malygos | Link
Strength of the Automaton | Flame Leviathan | Link
Sif's Promise | Thorim | Link
Cindershard Ring | Ignis the Furnace Master | Link
Darkstone Ring | General Vezax | Link
Mjolnir Runestone | Thorim | Link
Rune Edge | Iron Council | Link
Lotrafen, Spear of the Damned | General Vezax | Link
Sigil of the Vengeful Heart | XT-002 Deconstructor | Link

The items in red are the items that I am currently wearing.

This is my personal gear list, when I raid I don't bid on anything that's not on this list.  I included a few hard more drops so I can gauge where the next upgrade comes from.  This is not a Blood BIS gear list, as the majority of those items come from hard mode, and as my guild isn't clearing everything on hard mode having that BIS list doesn't do me a lot of good.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 Incidental Damage and You - Or, Why nerfing Unholy Blight won't do a damn thing

We think Unholy dps is probably too high on fights with adds, which ends up being a lot of Ulduar bosses. From looking at the numbers, the main culprit seems to be using Death and Decay, Unholy Blight, Pestilence and Blood Boil all together. None of those are a problem alone, but they work really well together. Unholy Blight is the spell we would most likely change. It has never really found a niche.
Lead Systems Designer

So there you have it, Unholy Blight is getting tuned down.  But will that really help with Unholy's high damage output?  I highly doubt it.  The problem is that topping the meters is what it's all about as a DPS class - well topping the meters without pulling aggro or dying.  So at the end of the night if you look at WWS or Wow Web Meter you'll see something like this for total outgoing damage...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------> Unholy DK
--------------------------------------------------------------> Frost DK
-----------------------------------------------> Blood DK

First glance some might think "Lawlz, those two other DKs are slacks!" but in reality it's from the incidental damage that Unholy does in it's single target rotation.  

Lets break down the abilities for a single target rotation for each spec (single target rotations here, no DnD, no Pest).

Ebon Plaguebringer: Your Crypt Fever morphs into Ebon Plague, which increases magic damage taken by 13% in addition to increasing disease damage taken.  Improves your critical strike chance with weapons and spells by 3% at all times.
Wandering Plague: When your diseases damage an enemy, there is a chance equal to your melee critical strike chance that they will cause 100% additional damage to the target and all enemies within 8 yards.  Ignores any target under the effect of a spell that is cancelled by taking damage.
Desecration: Your Plague Strikes and Scourge Strikes cause the Desecrated Ground effect.  Targets in the area are slowed by 50% by the grasping arms of the dead while you cause 5% additional damage while standing on the unholy ground.  Lasts 12 sec.
Unholy Blight: A vile swarm of unholy insects surrounds the Death Knight for a 10 yard radius.  Enemies caught in the area take 48 Shadow damage per sec.  Lasts 20 sec.
Rage of Rivendale: Your spells and abilities deal 10% more damage to targets infected with Blood Plague.  Also increases your expertise by 5.

So as an Unholy DK you start your rotation with PS - IT, now you have Frost Fever, Blood Plague and now Ebon Plague on your target and are doing 10% addtional damage right off the bat because of RoR.  Wandering Plague now spreads these 3 diseases to all enemies within 8 yards. The Unholy DK is now standing on Unholy Ground and doing an additional 5% damage and then uses Unholy Blight (which is shadow damage).

Howling Blast: Blast the target with a frigid wind dealing 518 to 562 Frost damage to all enemies within 10 yards. *Glyph of Howling Blast: Use: Your Howling Blast ability now infects your targets with Frost Fever.
Glacier Rot: Diseased enemies take 20% more damage from your Icy Touch, Howling Blast and Frost Strike.

GR will only take effect from the Frost DK's 2nd HB as the intial HB will apply FF (when glyphed - and it should be glyphed).

Heart Strike: Instantly strike the target and his nearest ally, causing 50% weapon damage plus 368, total damage increased by 10% for each of your diseases on the target.

So in order for the cleave to hit a 2nd target both need to be in front of the DK...woo?

Basically, the nerf to UB won't do a dent to Unholy's incidental damage because of how the encounters were made in Ulduar and Unholy has too many AoE tools.  UB was the icing on the cake and Blizz is just making the icing less sweet - nothing else.

The problem is that there will still be a vast amount of QQ'ing from the masses as they don't look behind the numbers to see why Unholy is inflated.  Maybe Blizz should come up with their own parsing meter to offset this so they can make a column like "Total Damage done to the Boss" and with that they should make it so that shields and other disc abilities show up.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 1 kg Bloodworms for $20!

Great deal eh? I picked these up this past weekend at my local spring fish auction along with a rather nice light for a planted tank I have going. The only bad part was that the cooler I brought wasn't big enough as these guys were frozen flat and my cooler was more cubed. Which meant that when I took a detour to the race track to bet on the Ponies racing in the Kentucky Derby they started to thaw. Not so bad, if you don't mind your kitchen smelling like a bait shop on a hot summer day.

So, Bloodworms, good, bad or indifferent?


Before 3.1 they were considered a leveling talent as they soaked in healing and would sometimes run off to go attack another encounter of baddies down the hall. The psycho temperament has been fixed, but they still will soak in healing. However, with how AOE heavy encounters are in Ulduar I really don't see that being an issue because they'll die before they're able to lap up some heals.

So what would you give up in order to get Bloodworms? - Mark of Blood and Vampiric Blood - Both of which consume a Blood Rune and a GCD.

How much DPS do your worms do? Not much, reports coming in as little as 30 DPS to as high as 90 DPS. So lets put this all together...

30-90 DPS Increase > No DPS Increase + Consumes Blood Rune + GCD

I use Vampiric Blood as my "Oh shit!" ability, but usually at that time it's a wipe or going to be, so I don't get much use out of it. My role in a raid is DPS, so if I have 2 floater points I'm going to put them into something that can actually increase my DPS.

TLDR: Bloodworms r gud mmkay?

Friday, May 1, 2009 Pet Management and why we're not Hunters

So last night I tried out the 44/0/27 spec as I have been reading some good things about it. Basically you give up Dancing Rune Weapon and Blood Gorged for Unholy Blight and the Perma-Pet. Since the drastic nerfings of DRW so that Arena Blood DK's can't smoke their opponents, it made the 51 point talent rather lack luster for us PVE guys and has been put on the same table as Unholy Blight - which is a 21 point talent. So the real question came down to this for me...

DRW + Blood Gorged < Unholy Blight + Perma Pet

It's great to read other's thoughts and experiences on different builds but I'm more of a practical guy, I like to see things in practice before deciding. So that's what I did last night, put my new 44/0/27 build into 25 man Ulduar Practice.

First rule when raiding with a pet = Put your pet on passive

First Boss: Iron Council

Rotation is the same, just need to keep UB going at all times - Crap, overload! Put the pet on defensive then back to passive to peel him. Awesome, I spent more time then I would have liked making sure my pet was doing the right thing that I took a bit too long getting back into melee range after Overload.

Second Boss: Freya

Lots of things going on in this fight, sucked to have to micro-manage my pet. The fight went something like this for me...

RL: "Everyone on the Stormlasher"
Me: Hit Pet Attack and start my rotation on Stormlasher
RL: "Switch to the Water Elemental"
Me: Stop Attacking; Target Water Elemental; Pet Attack
RL: Tree up!
Me: Stop Attacking; Target Tree; Pet Attack; I start to attack
RL: Get the Snaplasher to 30%
Me: Stop Attacking; Target Snaplasher; Pet Attack; I Start to attack
RL: Finish up the Stormlasher!
RL: Tree Up!
Me: Stop Attacking; Target Tree; Put Pet on Defensive, Put Pet on Passive; Go to attack Tree - Tree is down, go back to Lasher; Pet Attack
RL: Who's ghoul is still on the Snaplasher!?
Me: Mine wasn't

TLDR: Correctly micro-managing your pet as melee sucks. In Naxx it wasn't an issue because it was Face-rollable easy, Ulduar there seems to be a bit more components for the fight. As Melee if there is a rune on the ground on the melee I have to move out of the way and then I have to micromanage my pet to do the same, which takes up time. As my Hunter I just keep standing where I am and can easily control my pet as I am not having to move myself first. I'm going back to my 51/2/18 spec, not because I don't think that the 44/0/27 sucks, but rather it's really good on paper but has some drawbacks in practice. Unholy DK's do get the perma pet but I have not seen many correctly manage their pet, I mean it is a whole other kettle of fish. And as a Blood DK I need to spend my time setting up my HS spam, not making sure my pet stays out of fires/voidzones/water walls/etc.