Archive for Gear

Season #10 Death Knight Gladiator Set

Posted in Arena, Battlegrounds, Miscellaneous with tags on March 7, 2011 by Vikt

Yesterday MMO Champion posted all the Season #10 Gladiator gear sets which will be live in Patch 4.2, and above is the male and female version of everyone’s favorite class. All in all I am pretty happy with the look, and while many are criticizing the horns as making DK’s look like the spawn of Satan I think it makes for a nice evolution from the Season #9 helm. Of course, I can’t ever remember displaying my helm graphic so take from that what you will.

Be sure to visit the MMO Champion link above to view your own class set as well.

Buying Vicious Gladiator Gear

Posted in Strategy with tags on January 7, 2011 by Vikt

After finishing my Bloodthirsty Gladiator gear set recently (thanks in part to Blizzard’s terrible decision on how to distribute honor via Tol Barad), the need to prioritize my purchases came to mind. With 2,000 Conquest Points to spend following a 2H weapon, I found myself as that same blank palette that was gearing up on Furious Gladiator pieces in my first real PvP as a Death Knight.

Now like Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm gear comes not only from PvP related activity (arenas & battlegrounds) but also from Baradin Hold – exactly like Vault of Archavon. Last season I knew to always purchase the current season Gladiator gear in a pattern that left the leg and hands slots last because they dropped from VoA. Well, same deal – and if you’re a Death Knight (I actually assume all classes are the same – check here to be sure!), these are the PvP items (& slots) you should probably purchase last as they have the chance of dropping off Argaloth in BH:

  • Neck (Accuracy & Proficiency)
  • Back (Prowess & Cruelty)
  • Gauntlets
  • Legguards
  • Waist (Cruelty & Prowess)
  • Boots (Alacrity & Cruelty)
  • Finger (Accuracy & Cruelty)
  • Trinket (Badges, Emblems, Insignias, Medallions)

You can take this list for what it’s worth as a guide or you can be like many high level players you see now and buy off-set pieces (finger/neck/ring), but if there is a chance that I can score any of these pieces once a week by downing the BH Pit Lord than I’ll fill the non-droppable pieces up first – your pick on how you want to play it.

If you’re one of the new readers that found me via the Tanking post I put out a few days ago, then know that the PvE Gauntlets and Legguards (DPS & Tanking) both drop off of Argaloth as well – so you may want to wait on spending your hard-earned points on those last as well. To provide one last bit of information, here is the Tankspot’s guide to Argaloth:

Death Knight Tanking in Cataclysm: The Basics

Posted in Strategy with tags , on January 4, 2011 by Vikt

This is going to be my first in a series of guides in an effort to explain – and rationalize – the PvE spec that I plan to build during Cataclysm. I was an Unholy DPS Death Knight throughout Wrath of the Lich King that accomplished essentially all that I wanted to, but being a PvP player and being DPS makes raiding very hard should you want to do it. Because of that I decided to take a different direction this go, and this post is an attempt to educate my fellow DK’s of how I am doing it. Also, that is completely not me in the above picture.

TALENTS: 33 / 6 / 2
Before Cataclysm there were a few different ways that you could tank as a DK, but following Deathwing’s return Blood talents now represent the dedicated tanking spec. The linked spec above is what I have been running, which is the accepted Elitist Jerks’ endgame tank spec. Note that it is not listed as the ideal Heroic grinding spec, however I will tell you that my tanking to and at 85 have been a breeze using it. To dive into a few talents:

  • Scent of Blood – putting 3 points into this creates stacking issues where you essentially don’t get full functionality of it, so just put 2.
  • Scarlet Fever – this talent essentially works as a warrior’s Demoralizing Shout or whatever the hell Druid tanks have that reduce physical damage. If you have those classes with you this is not as important, however more often than not you will want to be hitting Blood Boil as often as will be called for later under Rotation.
  • Bone Shield – always keep this up. If you get in the habit of recasting this as soon as it pops up, what happens most of the time is that you pull a pack of mobs with this on you, and when you finish the pack it’s either back up or close. By doing this right away, you can potentially time it to engage a boss with it and recast it during the same fight.
  • Abomination’s Might – this spec is listed as an option for the last 2 talents by Elitist Jerks, and being a former DPS who loves big numbers I took it as well. You could potentially take Blood-Caked Blade instead, but to be honest the attack buff provided by AM for the entire raid will be much more than BCB would ever be.
  • Rune Tap – use it when it’s up. It really helps the healers out.

GLYPHS
With tanking glyphs there is the essential list that a lot of trees have, but with the optional glyphs there is very little difference in choosing one over the other.

  • Prime: Glyph of Death Coil – works like a Paladin’s Lay on Hands during a fight. Runic power tends to stack up fairly quickly, and a healer low on mana or needing help will be very happy you were able to heal yourself via Lichborne. Glyph of Rune Strike / Glyph of Heart Strike – RS provides more threat than the Glyph of Death Strike (not bolded so you don’t pick it). There is an analysis at Elitist Jerks to prove this, I certainly can’t. Other than that HS glyphed is awesome.
  • Major: Glyph of Bone Shield – this is minor and really won’t affect a lot, but remember earlier when I said get in the habit of reapplying Bone Shield after fights? Well, this grants you unholy run speed to prevent you switching to unholy and forgetting to switch back. Glyph of Vampiric Blood – again with helping out your healers, it has a quick cooldown and is up way more than I tend to use it. Great for when you are staying fairly low and you need to help your healers catch up. Glyph of Dancing Rune Weapon – I went with this one despite a lot of people not liking it, and the reason they don’t is because DRW costs 60 runic power. The tradeoff is that it is a HUGE aggro producer, but the argument is that Death Grip and Taunt already take care of this. Feel free to choose something better, but if there was something better. You could make a case for Glyph of Rune Tap and Glyph of Blood Boil – your call.
  • Minor: Glyph of Death’s Embrace – this again goes with Death Coil to help out your Lichborne self-heal. This glyph cuts the cost of DC in half. The next two are meh, but I went with Glyph of Horn of Winter and Glyph of Resilient Grip. I usually stay away from HoW glyph in PvP because I am always casting it regardless, but when tanking I have a lot of things going on and HoW can be the last thing I am thinking about at times. Resilient Grip sounds like a great glyph but it’s use is much less than I expected. The only DG’s that are refunded come from ice blocks, bubbles, etc. on mobs – what I expected were resisted DG’s as well for absolute DG aggro-getting spam.

ROTATION
This is where a lot of you just panned down to find, and I’m sorry – I’m going to tell you the same thing. There is no more set rotation, Cataclysm has went with the dynamic system that requires you to make decisions on the fly, and I hope to help you out in doing so. All that said, it’s really not that hard:

  • Use Death Strike every 5-8 seconds for self-heals and keeping up your blood shield. The way DS works is it restores 30% of the damage you just received (minimum of 10%), so spamming it not only kills runes (1 unholy, 1 frost) but it would be like refreshing diseases before they expire.
  • Use Rune Strike for threat or as your runic power sees fit, remember you have other abilities dependent on it (DRW if you recall).
  • Use Heart Strike after applying diseases via Outbreak for threat and because it hits like a truck.

Of note, the catch phrase with Blood tanking so far is “Diseaseless Tanking”. For a quick explanation diseaseless tanking it is essentially what you would assume in not applying disease, but recall Outbreak does not consume runes to be cast. Every minute you can use this, and having IT/PS on a target makes Heart Strike hit even harder. The reason you do not use IT/PS is because it burns a frost and unholy rune, which if you recall from a paragraph ago is the same requirement for Death Strike. Which would you rather have?

For a quick comparison a DK tanking guide on the Official Forums quotes the difference between using Diseases and going Diseaseless as:

Net differences between Diseases and Diseaseless:
– 6.1% less damage dealt
– 5.1% less threat generated
– 1.6% less damage taken
– 21.9% more damage absorbed
– 21.8% more damage healed

…obviously being the result of not using diseases. What that essentially says is that your diseases in blood presence really don’t amount to shit, and you gain 20% more survivability by not burning runes on IT/PS.

I have been known to use Icy Touch on some pulls and then drop a Death and Decay for the pack to run into, Plague Strike, Pestilence and then Blood Boil. After that opener aggro is laughable to maintain, and having 2 snap aggro mechanisms if one does get away ensures your aggro as you switch into your normal DS/HS/RS tanking. Keeping 100% uptime on diseases are a distant third place to keeping aggro and staying alive. I should bold that, maybe just a quote to make it look like someone more qualified is saying it:

Keeping 100% uptime on diseases are a distant third place to keeping aggro and staying alive.
Some Godly DK

GEMS/ENCHANTS
The debate on Effective Health (if you’re not familiar) is still somewhat theoretical amongst the end game guilds (at least from what I see), so for definitive gemming/enchanting you may want to consult Elitist Jerks or other sites you may use. Do know that the WotLK belief that “Stamina > All” is archaic, despite players still judging the quality of tanks by their total health pool.

My absolute goal so far is to gem/reforge to Mastery, and if that is unobtainable then I will likely gem for Stamina. The hit cap is not as essential as it always has been (taunt effects no longer are based on hit), but getting Expertise to its cap of 6% heroics/6.5% raids comes after these first two. Reforging Dodge/Parry to hit the Expertise cap is not out of the ordinary. Note that no where have I stated to gem for Dodge/Parry.

Your Meta gem will be the Austere Shadowspirit Diamond, which I guess also brings up a spot where I should tell you that you need to be swinging a 2-hander. Perhaps you came here wondering about dual-wield tanking and are pissed it has taken this long, but 2H Blood is the way to go. There is proof of this out there that I have seen at Elitist Jerks, and if you really want to question my word the answers are there as their’s is good enough for me.

PROFESSIONS
I’m not going to throw out numbers or even bother to look up the best ones, I am a 525 Blacksmith and a 525 Jewelcrafter. I get 2 extra gem slots where I can put whatever type of Chimera gem I want (extra stats). Leatherworking and Enchanting offer stamina bonuses as well, but I also make a boatload of cash from my 2 professions which allows me to do whatever I want in game almost. Almost.

My next installment of tanking-related posts will be a pre-raid gear list, and this paragraph will be replaced with a link to it when I post it. Feedback is always appreciated.

My New Favorite DK

Posted in Miscellaneous, Strategy with tags on December 29, 2010 by Vikt

…is Corgi from Asgard for the ego boost in the “Rate the DK above you” thread on the official WoW forums. If you aren’t in on the discussion wtf go!

I’m Not Dead

Posted in Battlegrounds, Miscellaneous with tags , on December 28, 2010 by Vikt

The frequency of my blog updates since the release of the expansion sucks and I know this. On top of what is probably the normal holiday blog slow-down period, my honor grinding that prior was a tank gear grind which was preceded by level grind has left me with little incentive to do anything but play the game. Well, a light is at the end of the tunnel in terms of my honor grind – but I’ll get back to that again later.

For those that visit for one thing or the other, allow me to provide “PVE” and “PVP” titles at the top of the thoughts in order to best make your visit to this post efficient. God help you if you read both.

PVE

One thing I have found that works to generate traffic to the site is to do guide posts. The most viewed posts on my blog after 92k hits are “4.0.1 Death Knight PvP Spec(s)”, “3.3 Unholy PvP Spec (2H)”, “3.2.2 Unholy PvP Build (2h)”, “4.0.1 Frost 2H PvP Results” and then “Level 69 DK Beast”. No where do you find any of my battleground stories, character history or anything of that nature, they are all essentially guides of some point that catch Google and generate an assload of traffic here. Where this leaves me is in a slight identity crisis, as originally I set out for web space to host pictures and stories of my exploits online. Instead I find myself wanting to provide information as I experience it, and I think that is what my now audience of approximately 700 unique visits a day wants to see more of as well.

At any rate, this post is essentially serving as a grab bag of what is going on, what I have planned and – you know I’m sure you’ve figured all this out already.

Anyway back to the guides, I said in a comment a few days ago that I would post a tanking … uhh something and I failed miserably at finishing it. Believe me I have written on it, but what I think is going to happen is that I am going to do it in phases and then link it in the sidebar as well. The first post will be DK Tanking Essentials (or something along that variety), attempting to simplify multiple tanking sites/guides aimed at the beginning DK. As always I’ll provide links to sites I value for information, and always remember that they know better than I do because I really could care less about testing the finer aspects of PvE. I don’t parse or overly test information, I find it and generally let you know if it worked or not.

The remaining posts will likely be a pre-heroic gear list as well as an intelligent way to spend your justice points, followed by a heroic gear list that will serve as a pre-raiding gear list. While I don’t see myself gearing this way for quite some time, you know at some point that I will do it and I am pretty good at using gear lists to plan ahead. I have also considered putting together a strategy guide for heroic raid bosses, but that screams a lot of work and I’m not going to commit to that. I will do the gear and basics posts though.

PVP

In addition, I have a bajillion thoughts on PvP at the moment and I’ve managed to produce absolutely zero of those thoughts on here. Well, I finished my honor grind last night in a sense that now every piece I wear has resilience on it, though I only have the 2 piece Gladiator set (+400 resilience) and boots with the rest being Bloodied Pyrium gear. In addition, about 3 wins tonight in arena and I will have the 3400 Conquest points necessary to obtain my Vicious Gladiator’s Decapitator – so what grind I’ve had to this point is about to pay off tonight in my first epic item in the Cataclysm expansion.

The whole plight to get here has been a bit rough. Horde queue times throughout the first 3 weeks has sucked – I mean, 10 minutes on average for a queue, only to get in and face 10 people in a premade because the Alliance can do so despite the 5-man group limitations. While I can’t fault the Alliance for doing this, I can say that this shit wasn’t a problem before they combined all the servers. As a result, dedicated Alliance PvPer’s (a.k.a. Horde rerolls cause we all know the Alliance would rather skin their own dragon than PvP) geared much quicker than the Horde, making the long bg queues turn into 5-minute murder fests once inside the instance. I can say that I have had a bit more luck as of recent in running them, however I am not sure whether to contribute that to the dedicated Alliance PvPer’s already finishing their honor grinds, God, the RNG or assistance of 4 other Drunk PvP members when queuing.

On top of amazingly easy battleground queues, Bleeding Hollow’s most well-known guild at this moment is the Alliance side’s ‘Tasty Beverage’, which steals the headlines for all the server firsts and whatnot since ‘Tempest’ left shortly into WotLK. While Tasty Beverage accumulates PvE server-firsts and farms content long before most guilds even progress to middle-tiered bosses, they also contain a decent amount of Gladiators that simply prove a little too much for the Horde to overcome when Tol Barad is being fought for. Bring together the coordination of an excellent end-game guild alongside a few guilds claiming emphasis on PvP as well as the current Tol Barad mechanics and you have an island of daily quests that many Horde have yet to experience.

Ya, you were probably wondering when I’d get into Tol Barad. Even though I have wanted to scream about the difficulty of accomplishing this (I know how, just convincing 39 other lemmings is difficult) I have just taken my lumps with the intent that I would become exalted with Hellscream’s Reach at some point. Well, apparently Blizzard is now offering up 1800 honor points for a win, and 180 points for a loss. Well, we’re not stupid, Tol Barad just became an impossible to get into 80-man Honor Point farm-fest. Instead of adjusting mechanics of this historical island (seriously, read the link), they create equality by urging both factions to simply alternate possession in order for all to get max-Gladiator blues in a relatively short amount of time. Well, I now know what all those before me have complained about when they said that “Blizzard is dumbing down the game”.

I mean holy shit. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks suffering ugly defeats, getting 30 honor points from a bad loss after a 15 minute queue only for you to start hand-delivering honor to bots and people who relatively could give a shit less about PvP? Why? This is your answer to fixing the current imbalances of Tol Barad? I sure am glad I spent the last 2 weeks grinding honor I could theoretically get in the next 2 days by simply sitting in Tol Barad on cooldown.

On top of that the Conquest point system sucks too. I mean, you can theoretically fill your Conquest cap per week by winning 5 or 6 matches of anything per week. Where’s the grind in that? If you have been playing as long as I have you have seen continual references made by the developers that they didn’t want the masses to migrate to the path of least resistance, and I applaud that sentiment. However, you make Tol Barad a piece of gear every 5 hours and people are going to be giving less than a shit about heroic dungeons they may or may not finish because of the intelligence factor required over the WotLK versions.

Few more random thoughts:

  1. Nice to see Pheraldrood resurrected on the battlefield, amazing how you all hid behind a tree or lived to blow me off ledges during WotLK to now go out of your way to track me down to go 1 on 1. Sure, apply your bleeds and go bear form – I look forward to you again donning your feathers and watching you cluck like a chicken after the nerf bat is swung.
  2. Can anyone provide me a reason why Ring of Frost has no way of telling what side cast it? In a 5v5 Blade’s Edge Arena last night we had a mage on our side with 2 opponent mages, with rings placed not only on the main gauntlet but on both side ramps as well. I honestly couldn’t find my ass with both hands; I was just running around hitting frozen people until we dropped a healer. Can we color-code that shit or something?
  3. Am I the only one that thinks warlocks should maybe try tanking instances? Talk about hitting a sponge. I used to target warlocks early in group PvP and now I’d almost rather attack a protection pally.
  4. Blizzard addressing DK mobility? Thanks, but I’d think rogues have a bit more reason to bitch about this than we do.
  5. 31k, 18k, 44k! What? Oh sorry, I just died to a warrior.

I’ll get to Tol Barad later in more detail, but I’m going to try to allow the urge to curse pass me by. At any rate my expansion/holiday hibernation is coming to an end.

Thrall’s Balls, It’s Been a Week

Posted in Arena, Battlegrounds, Miscellaneous, Strategy with tags , on December 14, 2010 by Vikt

You have to admit that “Thrall’s Balls!” has to be amongst the greatest ways to express “Holy Shit!” in a video game that you’ve ever heard. Had it not been roughly 5:45 am last Tuesday morning I would have had the presence of mind to snap a screenshot of what was going on, but ya – pay no attention to the dirty blood elf screen I pulled off of Google.

Oh and *EDIT* – I did have my Thrall’s Balls pic:

So a week into the Cataclysm expansion has me weary and sleep-deprived. With one day of vacation left for the year I pulled a 22-hour marathon online that began at 3:40 am Tuesday morning and went to 1:30 am Wednesday. I made well into level 83 the first day and perhaps a bit more realistically grinded out the final 9.2 million experience finally on Thursday night, but I sadly still find reasons to maintain non-sustainable hours.

I decided to tank this expansion for the usual cast that gets mentioned here quite a bit, and the results of that have been pretty favorable. I was initially a tank when I started the game, however since returning I’ve been DPS ever since. Upset without an indispensable role should I want to do PvE content, I decided to tip the scales in my favor and the result has worked like a charm. I am currently sitting as 1 of 2 heroic-capable tanks in my guild, my dungeon queues are instant and the ability to get other guild DPS past the 40-minute waits for dungeons is a decent feeling. I’m sitting at a 335 item level and close to 145k health in five-man dungeons, but I’m sure I’ll post on this some other time cause tonight all that PvE stuff is about to go right to hell.

Tonight Rated Battlegrounds are going live, and despite my lack of desire to PvP much over the past week I am frothing at the mouth for a chance to try out the new battlegrounds. I know, I know – sellout – but switching specs to non-PvP friendly setup has had its effects on me. I don’t PvP as a protection spec (though am sort of thinking maybe…), and rolling on DPS items throughout this first week is basically dick-move. I’ve accumulated a few things in reserve, but essentially my gear is resilience-less and PvE defense – I didn’t have a weapon without a defensive enchant on it…

…until last night.

As I sat and considered the dungeon and reputation grinds I’ve endured throughout the past week, I decided I need to have a head-start entering the battlegrounds. I glanced at the Bloodied Pyrium PvP pieces and with current pricing I would end up spending around 20k to outfit myself. While oddly worth it in my view, I likely made a decision that will benefit me even more in the near future – which was to just spend the 20k leveling my blacksmithing from 450-525.

New Cataclysm Community Site

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags on November 18, 2010 by Vikt

If you haven’t made it over to the community site then click here and check it out. Some of the site is not functional and states that it will go live following the Cataclysm, but for the most part all the functionality of the last one are ready to go minus the realm forums.

I love the new profile page, it makes a nice hybrid of what was the old site and what I liked about Wowhead’s profiler, as well as adds the gemming/enchanting easily recognizable like Arena Junkies has always had. Though I haven’t said a lot about the upcoming expansion (still bitter I never got invited to beta), it is refreshing to see Blizzard go through so much effort to introduce the next chapter in the history of Azeroth.

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