Category Archives: Death Knights

Damn It Feels Good To Be A Death Knight

What else can I say? Death Knights are kicking serious ass right now, and I am loving riding through Pandaria laying the smack down on whatever baddies are thrown my way.

I wanted to write something else clever here, but instead I’m just gonna go decimate an entire continent with Leodar while playing this on loop.

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Shadowmourne, Spectating, and the E-Sports Plunge

This week was a very interesting one, and it made me feel compelled to write about it. I’m eagerly anticipating both the expansion and scenario accompanying it. I’ve been a Jaina fan since Warcraft 3, and I am planning on buying the book as soon as possible as well. Pandaria is, well, amazing. I played on the beta for a few months, and stopped at level 87. I didn’t want to see the rest, and I was a terrible game tester, so it was a good time to stop. But the continent of Pandaria and the Wandering Isle are breath-taking, and I’m extremely exciting to get started.

So far the Death Knight class is kicking serious ass in the new patch, and dropping 42k DPS in my Blood spec on Ultraxion while forgetting to put on my special Ultraxion gear set was the first indication that it was time to make my paladin Holy/Ret in Mists. The second was how much fun I wasn’t having working on my action bars and selecting talents as Protection. When it comes to WoW, if it isn’t fun, I’m not going to bother.

Which brings me to my next thought. Shadowmourne. I love this weapon. I love the story, and once upon a Wrath when I had some free time on my hands I participated in some GDKP runs in ICC (which is a good way to really appreciate the people I was raiding with, rather than the players from a well-known guild whose vent chat was horrific. It was like stepping into an internet meme. I had to shower afterwards). Through these runs I managed to complete the Shadowmourne questline up to the infusions. Three weeks ago I completed the infusion quests (before the ICC bugs) with my guild during a run to get another member his achievement drake. Now I have 49 more shards to go, and I can’t decide whether I’m annoyed. On one hand, outdated content is easy, and on the other hand ICC is in no way soloable. Basically with the horrific drop rate, the requirement for a 25 man raid, and the lack of bosses you can solo, if you want Shadowmourne, you are stuck dragging 10-12 more people with you. This kinda sucks. I anticipate that Blizzard will someday lift the restriction on legendary transmogrification, and when they do I want to have axe filled with the souls of the vanquished, I just don’t want to subject my friends to the same grind.

/Yoda voice

/s Torn am I, conflicted, yes.

I made the plunge into the E-Sports scene last evening, although as a beginner I made the smallest splash imaginable. Playhem is a website that hosts daily Starcraft 2 tournaments with cash prizes. The Bronze and Silver Tournament has a measly $6 pot ($3 for first, $2 for second, $1 for third), but the open bracket is $75 on the weekdays and $100 on the weekends, meaning the first place winner gets enough to take their boyfriend, girlfriend, or cat out to dinner. That last one was a joke, but what is it with cats on the internet? Dogs are so much better. I digress.

I can’t tell you how exciting it was to login and find my first opponent. I play the Terran race (Leodar#370 for anyone interested in practice/fun matches), and my first opponent was a well mannered (yeah, it matters in Starcraft 2 as well) Zerg named Rezknello. I was sweating profusely (which admittedly is not difficult for me) and nervous as hell, but I was also thrilled that I remembered my practice sessions and was able to execute my opening and transition into a successful 10 min push. I won the first army encounter, macroed behind it, and scouted his third expansion. After taking down the expansion, I rallyed with another set of units produced from my main base and moved up to his natural expansion, engaging his army and crushing it a second and final time. Two minutes later my opponent surrendered with a ‘GG’ and I took what felt like my first breath in 12 minutes. It was an incredible rush and an awesome feeling to win my first ever competitive match.

The next match was against a Protoss named Plasma who was a league above me in the ladder system. I had been working on creating my own build versus Protoss and executed it. Unfortunately I lost both games to lose the match 2-0. I was still pretty thrilled with my play because both times I out-macroed my opponent, had the superior army supply, and the stronger economy. Plasma had to use some deception to succeed which can be successful at the lower levels (with players like me ) because less experienced players have trouble dividing their attention to multiple places. He may have won, but my fundamentals were much better, and I executed my plan pretty well, almost winning the second game in spite of the opponent’s misdirection.

After this experience I started to think a lot of spectating in competitive gaming. Podcasts I’ve recently listened to have lamented the lack of an ‘observer’ feature in Warcraft that made it very difficult and ultimately unsatisfying to watch professional arenas. I agree with that sentiment completely, but I’m not sure that its enough. Arenas have no flow, and the abilities strike so quickly that casting the game must be a nightmare. If Warcraft PvP has any chance to compete (or even co-exist) with Starcraft 2, League of Legends, and DoTA 2, it needs to be in battlegrounds with an observer camera and tools to make casting easier. It’s not impossible, but it is a big challenge. I still think it would be worth Blizzard’s time to make PvP more spectator friendly. I would absolutely watch professional World of Warcraft players in an Alterac Valley game (although not for 3 days like some of the vanilla crazies lament missing), and it would help random battlegrounds because it would develop metagame strategies that could be shared with the community at large. We have excellent PvP websites and bloggers that handle this (Cynwise, Olivia Grace at WoW Insider, etc.), but I have a feeling they are underused. Enhancing the visibility of battlegrounds would make people more interested in learning how to play them properly.

Let me paint a picture of how this could look using aspects from LoL and SC2.

Team [Random Web Sponsor] vs. Team [Random Telcom Sponsor], Best of 5

Battleground Pool: Arathi Basin , Twin Peaks, Battle for Gilneas, Eye of the Storm, Alterac Valley (15 player version)

First Battleground: Arathi Basin

Loser selects next battleground until one team wins 3 battlegrounds.

A mix of 10 and 15 player battlegrounds would give each team strategic decisions to make based on how many players they can bring, which map is being used, and who their opponent is. Awesome , no? The only problem is that it would create some serious problems deciding what to watch every night.

New (to me) podcasts that I am thoroughly enjoying: “Starcast: The Starcraft Podcast” and “This Week in Blizz” are done by the same two guys and they do a terrific job. They are sponsored by a company who is absolutely getting my business as soon I have enough money for my next computer, Doghouse Systems.

Good Luck, Have Fun, and let’s go pwn some Horde on Tuesday.

We’re So Talented! DK Edition, Tier 3

Welcome back to another talent analysis here at Dreadblade. So far we’ve covered a disease-based tier (Tier 1) and a set of talents design to provide utility (Tier 2). Today the theme of our talent tier is a bit more muddled. Tier 3 (available at level 58) contains elements of both movement and control, as well as the two abilities most likely to be spelled wrong (is it Chillbains? Chillblain? Chilbain? Fuck it.). Despite people’s spelling troubles this tier offers a lot of utility if you know where to look.

Tier 3 talent choices for level 58 Death Knights

Death’s Advance – You passively move 10% faster, and movement-impairing effects may not reduce you below 70% of normal movement speed. When activated, you gain 30% movement speed and may not be slowed below 100% of normal movement speed for 6 seconds. (30 second cooldown)

Chilblains – Victims of your Frost Fever disease are Chilled, reducing movement speed by 50% for 10 sec, and your Chains of Ice immobilizes targets for 3 sec. (Passive)

Asphyxiate – Lifts an enemy target off the ground and crushes their throat with dark energy, stunning them for 5 sec. Functions as a silence if the target is immune to stuns. Replaces Strangulate. (30 yard range, 1 min cooldown)

Continue reading We’re So Talented! DK Edition, Tier 3

We’re So Talented! DK Edition, Tier 2: Utility

Welcome to the second installment of Death Knight talent analysis here at Dreadblade. This week I will be fighting with people who argue that Anti-Magic Zone is useless looking at Tier 2 talents available to level 57 Death Knights. I consider this tier to be our utility tier. Each talent offers some benefits to your character and raid. Let’s dive in.

Utility Talents available at level 57

Lichborne – Draw upon unholy energy to become undead for 10 sec.  While undead, you are immune to Charm, Fear, and Sleep effects, and Death Coil will heal you. (No cost, 2 min cooldown)

Anti-Magic Zone – Places a large, stationary Anti-Magic Zone that reduces spell damage done to party or raid members inside it by 75%.  The Anti-Magic Zone lasts for 10 sec or until it absorbs at least 136800 + ((STR * 4)) spell damage. (No cost, 2 min cooldown, base absorb scales with level)

Purgatory – An unholy pacts grants you the ability to fight on through damage that would kill mere mortals. When you would sustain fatal damage, you instead are wrapped in a Shroud of Purgatory, absorbing incoming healing equal to the amount of damage prevented, lasting 3 sec. If any healing absorption remains when Shroud of Purgatory expires, you die. Otherwise, you survive.  This effect may only occur every 3 min. (No cost, passive activation)

Continue reading We’re So Talented! DK Edition, Tier 2: Utility

Death Knight Transmog: Bloody Executioner

How close a shave were you thinking?

I am death incarnate. When you see me know that your time has come. My armor surges with the life-force that my unholy weapon drains from you, strengthening me as you grow weaker. There is no escape, no relief, no mercy. I use your own blood to shield myself against your attempts at retribution. If I still found humor, I would laugh at your feeble efforts to defend yourself. But all I feel is rage.

There is nothing like the smell of death in the morning. Almost as good as coffee.

Rage is all the Lich King has left me with. My ‘free will’ is an illusion. I do not sleep, nor do I wake. Every moment is consumed with how to inflict pain and suffering amongst my enemies. I make their blood boil and infect them with pestilent disease. My minions rip their bodies apart as they erupt from the very ground we fight on, and army of undead impossible to withstand. Only with victory do I have a respite from my need to destroy. It does not last long.

Breaking bones is the only music I can enjoy now.

In my distant memory I remember enjoying reading. I read once that executioners wore hoods to make themselves anonymous. I fear not to show my face. It has been so long since I feared anything. I wear this executioners hood to tell you that your death has come. And death will not wait. I do not rest, or eat, or drink. I only destroy. And I have come to destroy you.

Why?

This transmog set was so much fun to put together. I’ve actually had it for a while, and it was posted on my blog when it was still hosted by Blogger. I chose to wait to write it up more properly though before I posted these images again. It took me a while to settle on the armor set. I wanted dark plate, but I also wanted something that reflected the vampiric theme of a Blood Death Knight. The weapons were easier, and the one I love the most is the axe in the first picture. Luckily, the BiS tanking weapon in Dragon Soul is an axe, so I’ve been able to wear it this entire time. The hood was important as well. I mentioned it in the last paragraph, but I love the ‘executioner’ look it gives my DK, especially creepy with the glowing blue eyes peeking out from underneath.

How?

A couple of ways.

Helm: Acherus Knight’s Hood (Vendor)

Chest: Dark Iron Plate (crafted), Inferno Tempered Chestguard (156 JP), Torn-Heart Family Tunic (quest), Blackened Chestplate (quest), Demon-Forged Chestguard (rare drop, rare spawn)

Shoulders: Dark Iron Shoulders (crafted), Boulderfist Epaulets (BoE drop), Darkcrest Pauldrons (BoE drop)

Gloves: Dark Iron Gauntlets (crafted), Inferno Tempered Gauntlets (104 JP), Fists of the Phalanx (optional boss drop)

Legs: Dark Iron Leggings (crafted), Inferno Tempered Leggings (156 JP), Runed Sketh’lon Legplates (quest)

Feet: Dark Iron Boots (crafted), Inferno Tempered Boots (104 JP), Death Knight Sabatons (boss drop, Scholomance)

Waist: Darkcrest Belt (BoE drop), Boulderfist Belt (BoE drop)

Cloak: Sky Darkener’s Shroud of Blood (Vendor or Quest)

Weapons: Hatebringer (boss drop), Fel Iron Greatsword (crafted BoE), The Blackrock Slicer (rare spawn drop)

We’re So Talented! DK Edition, Tier 1: Diseases

As a hero class new Death Knight characters start at level 55. In the old talent system that meant a multitude of talent points to assign rapidly while leveling. Now, it means one talent tier each level starting with 56. On Dreadblade, I will be doing a weekly analysis of Paladin and Death Knight talents. New DK talent tiers will be updated on Tuesdays, and Paladin choices on Thursday.

Disclaimer: Let’s remember that not all of Warcraft’s millions of subscribers are serious raiders or PvPers

Tier 1 talent choices are available to level 15 characters. Here are the Death Knight choices:

Disease Based Talents Available at Level 56

Continue reading We’re So Talented! DK Edition, Tier 1: Diseases

Addressing the DK: 666 Acherus Drive, The Ebon Hold, E. Plaguelands

I took a brief break from Warcraft this past week, but I’m back and have caught myself up with some Death Knight news. I strongly suggest reading Kalc’s post at Unliving a Death Knight because it will give some background to today’s post. I have decided to weigh in on a few specific topics because without focus this article could go off on 4 or 5 tangents.

Blood Tanking

I wish the original post had been a bit more organized, and while I don’t agree with all of it, it raises a few good points. First off, giving DK tanks their proactive (Blood Shield) and reactive (Death Strike Healing) abilities in the same attack (Death Strike) is part of the problem here. It would be a more interesting system to give the proactive portion of tanking to Heart Strike. If you are unfamiliar, Death Strike costs 1 Unholy and 1 Frost Rune, and generates 2 Death Runes in its place, heals the Death Knight AND places an absorption shield called Blood Shield. Heart Strike hits multiple targets and costs 1 Blood Rune.

Consider a small change where Heart Strike provided Blood Shield. Now when the tank has death runes available, they can choose between proactive or reactive abilities based on the situation. This would be an improvement on what is already a pretty good system. If  we made this change then it would make more sense for Death Strike to generate Death Runes than it does now, since we use the Death Runes on Death Strike anyway, which is silly and redundant.

Continue reading Addressing the DK: 666 Acherus Drive, The Ebon Hold, E. Plaguelands