Friday, May 25, 2012

How do Death Knights "Taste"?

I recently read through a series of posts regarding the current state of Warlocks in Cataclysm (written by Cynwise, read the huge, well thought out series of articles here). Cynwise talks a good bit about the "flavor" of his favored class, and what it means to be a Warlock. It got me thinking about the corresponding "flavor" of Death Knights.

Now, I'm going to explain a little bit further here before we get to the core of this post. A classes (or spec's) "flavor" is the detail of the gameplay that sets one spec/class apart from others. Just like in real life, usually a particular "flavor" consists of many layered sub-flavors that add up to a recognizable result.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Runes and Runic Power- The Feedback Loop

Death Knights have the most complicated resource system in World of Warcraft.

This is not a debate. This is a statement of easily verifiable fact. Death Knights have Blood Runes, Frost Runes, Unholy Runes, Death Runes, and Runic Power. All of these  resources are linked together in a complex relationship that is very counter-intuitive. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

State of the Unliving Union

How far we've come,  

In WotLK Death Knights were brand new. As such, at the beginning they had severe balance issues. As WotLK progressed, however, it was easy to see that Death Knights were suffering a bit of an identity crisis. Every single spec could successfully fill a DPS or Tanking role. 

The scary part was how incredibly good they were at both.

As Cataclysm loomed with the newly revamped talent trees, the Blizzard developers saw an opportunity to separate Unholy, Frost, and Blood once and for all, giving each spec it's own distinct flavor.

Unholy became hallmarked by its usage of diseases, pets, two handed weapons and shadow damage.

Frost became a spec known for its massively damaging hits, AoE, frost damage, and careful management of both procs and resources. 

Blood became a tanking spec exclusively, and was given the unique mechanic among tanks to rely on active self healing and shielding. 

When Cataclysm dropped, however, it became quickly (and painfully) obvious that Frost's gameplay was boring and subject to a ton of random chance. Blood's gameplay was difficult and often ineffective. While Unholy's gameplay was in many ways more enjoyable than the other two specs, it was uncompetitive for DPS when compared to other classes and specs.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Unholy DPS (4.3 Cataclysm)

If Frost DPS is the golden boy of Cataclysm, Unholy is the unwanted stepson locked in the basement.

OUT OF DATE (look for updated guides soon!)

(Hint: Frost DPS truly is the golden boy of Cataclysm.)

But don't let that discourage you from playing Unholy! By no means is Blizzard's recent neglect of the spec indicative of its inferiority. In fact, I'd go so far as to claim the opposite. It's no secret that Unholy dominated Frost in every way (except tanking) during Wrath of the Lich King. Because of this, it seems to me (and many others) that Frost got a lot more development attention during Cataclysm, and Unholy wasn't given nearly as much attention because it honestly didn't need it as much.

Despite the apparent neglect, Unholy is a very complex, competitive, fun spec with unique and rewarding gameplay.

Frosty DPS (4.3 Cataclysm)

Frost Death Knights are incredibly powerful in Cataclysm.

OUT OF DATE (Look for updated guides soon!)

Despite the fact that as of 4.3 I no longer play Frost with my Death Knight, I still have an incredible amount of respect for it. It is without a doubt the highest AoE DPS of any Death Knight spec, and in many cases (depending upon fight mechanics) it is the highest single-target DPS Death Knight spec as well. The primary reasons for this are twofold.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bloody Tanking (4.3 Cataclysm)

Blood tanking is a sticky subject

OUT OF DATE (Look for updated guides soon!)

Everyone has their own opinion on the theory and mechanics, but SOMETHING out there is working, because some of the best tanks in the best guilds in the world are blood DKs.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

For new Death Knights

So you want to be a Death Knight, eh?

Well, before we get to the fun stuff I'm going to issue a little PSA here. Despite how easy it is to level a Death Knight, playing one well at max level can be very challenging. We have the most complex resource system, more cooldowns than most, and missing a beat or two is incredibly unforgiving.

If you find a challenge fun, you've come to the right place.

A quick breakdown of your class-
Death knights in general (no matter the spec) are massive damage dealers and takers that bring important utility to any raid. Your three specs are Blood, Frost, and Unholy.

For new WoW Players

So, you've just started to play WoW? Or maybe you're considering it?

Chances are you were recruited by someone. Contrary to popular belief WoW is a game centered around community and social interaction. Very few people play WoW by themselves. If indeed you were recruited by someone- stick with them like glue! Everything in WoW can be done with as big or as small a group as you prefer! Playing with a friend will simply be more fun, less confusing, and much easier!

If you're interested in WoW and you don't have a friend to get started with- that's okay too! But I encourage you to get involved with a guild and find a few people to hang out with! The game is multiplayer. Running around by yourself and saying nary a word to another player is a great way to ruin your WoW experience.

Who is this Kalc guy?

Kalc is my wow-pseudonym, short for "Kalcaryen", the name of my main.

And no, I don't have an impressive pedigree. I've been playing since the summer of 2010 (a wrath baby and a newb!). As I'm sure you are going to quickly find- I'm not in one of the top-tier raiding guilds, or even on a raid-centric server. Nor do I accomplish a ton of heroic progression or competitive PvP. I play WoW for fun, and to hang out with my friends. I do take my own PvE performance very seriously, however that isn't forced upon me by my guild or anyone else.

What is Unliving a Death Knight?

So why do I bother blogging about Death Knights?
The simple explanation is that Death Knights are a very complex class, with complex mechanics, and a great community.