[WoW] Death Knights: In our defense, Arthas was being kind of a dick.

ZerokkuZerokku Registered User regular
edited November 2009 in MMO Extravaganza
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Death Knight
Last updated 3/23/09


So What is a Death Knight?


The Death Knight is WoW's very first hero class. Players can create one death knight per realm, the player must have a Wrath of the Lich King account and a character of at least level 55 on their account in order to create a death knight. They start off with an epic quest chain from levels 55-58 and even get a free epic mount in the process. The term "Hero Class" refers to their unique lore and elevated starting level.

The death knight uses a very unique resource system to govern his spells and abilities known as Runes. Three rune types exist: blood, frost, and unholy; each with their own specific color and symbol. A death knight has 2 of each rune available to him/her. As they use their abilities, the runes will be exhausted and after a period of time (8-10 seconds depending) the runes will refresh. There are also abilities that will turn specific runes into what are called "Death Runes" that are essentially a wild card and can act as any of the three rune types.

The death knight has yet another resource to manage, known as Runic Power, a sort of cross between energy and rage. While only a few abilties use this resource, It is important to manage it none-the-less. Abilities like Death Coil or Frost Strike are often referred to as "Runic Dumps" abilities that do plenty of damage and use up some of the accumulated runic power.

Many of their abilties revolve around diseases and damage over time abilties as well as "strikes", instant melee attacks that use up a rune and are strengthed by the death knight's own diseases on the target. Think of them as the love child of a warlock and warrior, encased in plate-mail.


Class Roles and Specs


The death knight is a dps/tanking hybrid. They can perform both tasks extremely well and provide many useful buffs to the party/raid they are in. They are able to dual-wield and use most two-handed weapons . Like druids, they tank without shields, but with their face. Their tanking mechanics involve high armor and a high chance to parry

Like other classes they have three unique talents trees. However, the three trees are not as clean cut into tanking trees and dps trees as other classes are. In fact, death knights are often able to perfom either of those tasks in any tree they want, provided they pick up a few necessary talents here and there.

The Blood tree enhances the death knight's melee abilities and damage and vastly improves the ability to heal itself. Surprise surprise, many of these abilities are focused on using the blood rune. Blood also provides healing utility and has some useful buffs that the Death knight can cast on others in their party or raid, such as Mark of Blood or Hysteria.

Frost enhances melee abilities and focuses on increasing both AoE and single target damage. Again it's special abilities focus on the use of Frost Runes (Whoda thunk it?). Frost provides many abilities for damage mitigation, and is often a favored tree for death knights who wish to tank. Frost also provides some very powerful damage abilities like Frost Strike and Howling Blast. One of the most notable buffs this tree provides is a 20% melee haste for the party or raid.

Unholy enhances the death knight's diseases and damage over time spells. It's special abilities focus on the use of wait for it... Unholy runes. It also provides the death knight with a permanent pet ghoul, a gargoyle pet he or she can summon for a brief period of time, and an extra disease. The most notable buff the unholy death knight's bring is a solid +13% damage for spellcasters.

Common Specs

Taken from EJ

These specs are all current as of 3.0.9, but may be outdated in future patches.

Tanking specs -


Deep Frost AoE 10/51/10:
A great mix of aoe and single target threat.

Frost/Blood Build 23/45/3
A very interesting hybrid that shines in single target threat.

Blood Tanking Build 50/13/7
A successful blood tanking build. Yes it's missing a point, Throw that point into Lichborne for an extra avoidance ability or Blood Gorged for extra threat.

Unholy Build 10/8/53
Bread and butter unholy tanking spec. Single target threat suffers, However its AoE tanking is some of the most efficient and stable in the game.




DPS Specs -

50/0/21 Blood dps
Spec based around Gargoyle as primary Runic power dump

51/13/7 Blood dps
Spec uses dancing rune weapon over gargoyle, due to DRW's excellent scaling.

0/32/39 DW Frost
A common and popular frost dual-wield dps spec.

17/0/54 Unholy dps
Another common and popular spec. Many slight variations, but most follow a similar formula.

Common Abbreviations
IT Icy Touch
SD Sudden Doom
BS Blood Strike
PS Plague Strike
HS Heart Strike
HB Howling Blast
FS Frost Strike
SS Scourge Strike
DS Death Strike
OB Obliterate
HC Hungering Cold
DRW Dancing Rune Weapon
CE Corpse Explosion
IBF Icebound Fortitude
CF Crypt Fever
BT Blood Tap
AMS Anti-Magic Shell
AMZ Anti-Magic Zone
UB Unholy Blight
ERW Empower Rune Weapon
DC Death Coil
BB Blood Boil
FF Frost Fever
BCB Blood-Caked Blade
BP Blood Plague
AoD Army of the Dead
DG Death Grip
DnD/D&D Death and Decay

Excellent Death Knight resources
Elitist Jerks DK subforum - http://elitistjerks.com/f72/
DK Info - http://deathknight.info/
Skeleton Jack - http://www.skeletonjack.com/

Zerokku on
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Posts

  • ZerokkuZerokku Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Patch 3.2 Death Knight "Official" Patch notes. (So far..)


    General

    * Due to significant talent changes, all death knight talents will be reset for players.
    * Blood Strike: The bonus damage this ability receives from diseases on the target has been increased to 50% per disease.
    * Chains of Ice: Now reduces movement by 95% instead of 100%. The main effect of this change will be that targets of Chains of Ice will not have to re-issue a movement command to continue moving.
    * Frost Presence: 10% bonus health reduced to 6% bonus stamina.
    * Frost Strike: This ability can now be dodged, parried, or blocked. Weapon damage bonus reduced to 55%, down from 60%.
    * Icebound Fortitude: Cooldown increased to 2 minutes.


    Blood

    + Dancing Rune Weapon: This ability now has a fixed duration of 12 seconds (which can still be modified by its glyph) and a fixed cost of 60 runic power.
    + Veteran of the Third War: Stamina bonus reduced to 1/2/3%.


    Frost
    + Blood of the North: Reduced to a 3-point talent. Increases Blood Strike and Frost Strike damage by 5/10/15%. There is now a 33/66/100% chance whenever you hit with Blood Strike or Pestilence that the Blood Rune will become a Death Rune when it activates.
    + Lichborne: Duration reduced to 10 seconds, and cooldown reduced to 2 minutes.
    + Threat of Thassarian: New 3-point talent. When dual-wielding, your Death Strikes, Obliterates, Plague Strikes, Blood Strikes and Frost Strikes have a 30/60/100% chance to also deal damage with your off-hand weapon. Off-hand strikes are roughly one half the effect of the original strike.
    + Toughness: This talent now grants 2/4/6/8/10% armor instead of 3/6/9/12/15%, placing it in line with similar abilities of other classes.

    Unholy
    + Desecration: This talent has been reduced to 2 points for 25/50% snare and no longer increases damage done by the death knight. It has also been moved one tier earlier in the tree and its spell effect has been made more transparent.
    + Desolation: New talent. This talent is in the position formerly occupied by Desecration. It causes Blood Strikes to increase all damage the death knight deals by 1/2/3/4/5% for 12 seconds.
    + Scourge Strike: Weapon damage bonus reduced to 40%, down from 45%. Damage increased by 10% per disease on the target, down from 11%.
    + Summon Gargoyle: The gargoyle now flies lower to the ground, making it susceptible to melee attacks. This ability now has a fixed duration of 30 seconds and a fixed cost of 60 runic power.
    + Unholy Blight: This talent has been redesigned. It no longer deals damage to nearby targets. Instead, when you deal damage with Death Coil, the target will take periodic damage for 10 seconds equal to 30% of the damage done by Death Coil. This damage accumulates in the same way as Ignite and Deep Wounds.

    Zerokku on
  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    From the last thread...

    The way Raise Dead works in 3.1 is that the cooldown doesn't start until the ghoul dies. I guess they didn't like the idea that as long as you had summoned your ghoul a few minutes in advance, you could always have a replacement ghoul ready when the first one went down. Night of the Dead is just being changed to a straight cooldown reduction on RD and AotD instead of having the strikes reduce the cooldown.

    The only plus side is that the new post-death cooldown for Raise Dead is going to be 3 minutes (down from 5), so in some cases it will be shorter. And it's also technically a buff to people without Master of Ghouls, since at worst the cooldown is 5 minutes (the same as it is now), but at best it's a little over 3 minutes. Overall it's a sucky change for DKs, but I guess I can understand their rationale.

    forty on
    The best card in Hearthstone is your credit card.
  • HalfmexHalfmex I mock your value system You also appear foolish in the eyes of othersRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I still wish they could have come up with something better than Ghoul Frenzy to replace Shadow of Death. I just can't imagine anyone tripping over themselves to take it.

    Halfmex on
  • Mr SnafflesMr Snaffles Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'd have preferred it if the mechanic mirrored the other pet classes a bit more. I wouldn't mind if Raise Dead was on a (slightly) longer cast time, so we could make a short-term DPS sacrifice to get it back. And yeah, Ghoul Frenzy is terrible. Last I heard on the PTR, it was still a DPS loss over maintaining a normal rotation.

    Mr Snaffles on
  • reVersereVerse Attack and Dethrone God Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Halfmex wrote: »
    I still wish they could have come up with something better than Ghoul Frenzy to replace Shadow of Death. I just can't imagine anyone tripping over themselves to take it.

    25% haste... for your pet. And it costs an unholy rune to activate.

    Yeah, that's pretty damn lousy. Hunter Lacerate lousy.

    reVerse on
  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'm sure they'll tweak it. They won't make a talent that just won't get used.

    Dhalphir on
  • reVersereVerse Attack and Dethrone God Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Dhalphir wrote: »
    I'm sure they'll tweak it. They won't make a talent that just won't get used.
    reVerse wrote: »
    Hunter Lacerate

    reVerse on
  • HalfmexHalfmex I mock your value system You also appear foolish in the eyes of othersRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'd rather see them do something like leaving Shadow of Death in but instead of it bringing the DK back to life, it returns the ghoul to life with full health on something like a ten or fifteen minute cooldown. That way you've effectively got a taste of what we have today with 'back-to-back ghoul summons', just separated out by a good bit of time so it's not "abuseable" or whatever. Would also make that change to Summon Ghoul's cooldown timer a bit easier to swallow.

    Halfmex on
  • Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    ...or they could make it trigger on runic power

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  • ZerokkuZerokku Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Mind locking the old thread munkus? That way we don't have retards necroing it a month from now for some bizarre reason.

    Zerokku on
  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    But...but...my baby!



    ...can be mercilessly killed/closed.

    Septus on
    PSN: Kurahoshi1
  • ZerokkuZerokku Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Septus wrote: »
    But...but...my baby!



    ...can be mercilessly killed/closed.

    Hope mine's a sufficient replacement =/

    Spent a fair bit of time on it too.

    Zerokku on
  • MaddocMaddoc I'm Bobbin Threadbare, are you my mother? Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    ...or they could make it trigger on runic power

    I'm still holding out hope they'll switch it to a Blood rune.

    Glyph of Disease means Unholy will commonly have one Blood rune left over, if I'm figuring things right.

    Maddoc on
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  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Zerokku wrote: »
    Septus wrote: »
    But...but...my baby!



    ...can be mercilessly killed/closed.

    Hope mine's a sufficient replacement =/

    Spent a fair bit of time on it too.

    Don't sweat it. Most of the people won't read the OP anyways, after it gets past page 10 or so.

    Septus on
    PSN: Kurahoshi1
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    forty wrote: »
    From the last thread...

    The way Raise Dead works in 3.1 is that the cooldown doesn't start until the ghoul dies. I guess they didn't like the idea that as long as you had summoned your ghoul a few minutes in advance, you could always have a replacement ghoul ready when the first one went down. Night of the Dead is just being changed to a straight cooldown reduction on RD and AotD instead of having the strikes reduce the cooldown.

    The only plus side is that the new post-death cooldown for Raise Dead is going to be 3 minutes (down from 5), so in some cases it will be shorter. And it's also technically a buff to people without Master of Ghouls, since at worst the cooldown is 5 minutes (the same as it is now), but at best it's a little over 3 minutes. Overall it's a sucky change for DKs, but I guess I can understand their rationale.

    Eh, that's how I thought it was before. That's not so bad then.

    The cooldown reduction on hit thing was annoying as fuck anyway.

    shryke on
  • Mr SnafflesMr Snaffles Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    One of our resident Death Knights used to shout at the raid over TS to stop them from killing the rats in Naxxramas because he needed them for his Army of the Dead cooldowns. I'll miss those days.

    Mr Snaffles on
  • AngryAngry The glory I had witnessed was just a sleight of handRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    as to why you take ghoul as a sub of blood: it's the single best option for one talent point available for that spec.

    people are reporting a life span of an extremely short 20-30 seconds right now in ulduar, but even night of the dead ghouls are having problems living.

    Angry on
  • DunxcoDunxco Should get a suit Never skips breakfastRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I don't like the idea of AotD only having a cooldown reduction talent in the Unholy tree, or anything that buffs/lowers the cooldown of it to any tree. Sure it may be with the "theme" of the whole thing, but you're just going to be treading on Blood/Frosts' toes when they can't specc into it. What's next - talents to Demonic Circle gets buff talents only in the Demonology Tree? It's a perfectly reasonable DPS boost in most raid scenarios, why only make it more accessible to the Unholy Tree "because it fits the style of it"? That's B.S. to me.

    Oh, and to those of you on the PTR: Is Blood of the North STILL 5 ranks? The MMO.Champion and WoWhead talent calcs still have it listed as 5 ranks, and Blizzard said they wanted to lower it to 3 alongisde Magic Suppression. Should I be "concerned" by this?

    Dunxco on
  • xzzyxzzy Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Angry wrote: »
    as to why you take ghoul as a sub of blood: it's the single best option for one talent point available for that spec.

    Except it's a 4th tier talent. If you're going for Necrosis and Blood Caked, yeah I suppose, but otherwise it's pretty meh.

    xzzy on
  • Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    I think most all PvE blood specs in 3.1 go 51 blood and the rest in unholy (with maybe 2 in frost for runic mastery)

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  • aunsophaunsoph Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Awesome, we get a nerf to Anti-Magic Shell now too! Not that it wasn't reasonable, but the way the nerfs are piling up, Blizzard might as well just fucking redesign the class from the ground up. :|

    aunsoph on
  • KarrmerKarrmer Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    The nerf to the ghoul cooldowns is 100% due to arena, as are the majority of the changes it seems, because the MotD talent is the whole reason I (and any DK) was able to keep healers from drinking in the upper arena brackets by resummoning a ghoul pet any time they bothered to try to kill it.

    Which just made it a huge waste of their time to even try.

    This (along with everything else) will make DK's (ESPECIALLY DK/Holy Paladin) enormously less effective in arena, and will definitely not be anything special anymore. Middle of the road at best.

    Sad, but due I guess. Oh well, I'll have the frost wyrm already ;)

    Karrmer on
  • DharmaBumDharmaBum Registered User
    edited March 2009
    I think most all PvE blood specs in 3.1 go 51 blood and the rest in unholy (with maybe 2 in frost for runic mastery)

    That's pretty much what I'm looking at.

    DharmaBum on
  • Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    aunsoph wrote: »
    Awesome, we get a nerf to Anti-Magic Shell now too! Not that it wasn't reasonable, but the way the nerfs are piling up, Blizzard might as well just fucking redesign the class from the ground up. :|

    You are overreacting. The class is absurdly overpowered on Live in PvP and PvE. The AMS isn't so much a 'nerf' as it is a 'critical balancing of an absurd ability.' It doesn't nerf its functionality in PvP much at all, and it only nerfs the PvE aspect if you try to use it to become near immune (immune if unholy) to a huge damage nuke.

    Unholy DKs could eat a fully charged Sarth3d breath attack and be better off for it

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  • xzzyxzzy Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'd be content with an AMS that did less overall reduction, and lasted longer. Like an icebound fortitude for magic.

    xzzy on
  • KarrmerKarrmer Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    What's the big deal, AMS'ing PoM pyros is totally fair.

    And hilarious.

    Karrmer on
  • Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    AMSing PoM pyro's will still work.

    Pyroblast shouldn't be doing 75% of your health in one shot anyway.

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  • xzzyxzzy Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    But it has a long cast time! Totally balanced!

    Too bad the only time you see it is when the mage has PoM up.

    xzzy on
  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    AMSing PoM pyro's will still work.

    Pyroblast shouldn't be doing 75% of your health in one shot anyway.

    Wouldn't the new cap be 66% of your health? The total amount absorbed can't be more than 50% of your health, so 10,000 if you have 20,000 health. A spell would have to do 13,333 to have 10,000 absorbed, and 13,333 is 66% of 20,000.

    Septus on
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  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    DharmaBum wrote: »
    I think most all PvE blood specs in 3.1 go 51 blood and the rest in unholy (with maybe 2 in frost for runic mastery)

    That's pretty much what I'm looking at.
    Well, the only reason blood DKs don't already go 51/0/20 is Annihilation, so it's pretty clear that unholy is the intended sub-tree for blood.

    forty on
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  • AngryAngry The glory I had witnessed was just a sleight of handRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    dks do already go 51/0/20. it's diseaseless blood, and it deals a lot of damage.

    Angry on
  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Well, right, but the diseaseless part of that is unintended, but that's getting fixed by the strike scaling changes and Obliterate no longer being used by blood.

    forty on
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  • JamesJames Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I've got to say, Elitist Jerks is really helpful.

    Just macro'd Rune Strike into most of my attacks, and made an "OH SH-" button that activates Lichborne, Unbreakable Armor, Icebound Fortitude, and Seal of the Pantheon all at once.

    James on
  • DunxcoDunxco Should get a suit Never skips breakfastRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I tend to split my Macros up in that way. For my Defensive cooldowns, I have:

    1) Icebound Fortitude as the general "cover-all situation".
    2) Unbreakable Armor & Stoneform for heavy melee hits where I can't dodge.
    3) Lichborne and Valor Medal of the First War for avoidance boosting.
    4) AMS for magic damage.

    Just bind them between F1-F4 and tap one depending on the situation.

    Dunxco on
  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    James wrote: »
    I've got to say, Elitist Jerks is really helpful.

    Just macro'd Rune Strike into most of my attacks, and made an "OH SH-" button that activates Lichborne, Unbreakable Armor, Icebound Fortitude, and Seal of the Pantheon all at once.

    I wouldn't make one oh-shit button.

    You don't want things to be on cooldown when you need them,and by popping several cooldowns when you may only need one, you're wasting them.

    Dhalphir on
  • aunsophaunsoph Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    You are overreacting. The class is absurdly overpowered on Live in PvP and PvE.

    We needed a toning down, no doubt. Some of the nerfs are too heavy-handed though.

    Blade Barrier being a +10% Parry is overpowered? Sure. But now it gives +5% Damage Reduction, barely offsetting the reduction in Frost Presence.

    Lichborne? 25% Miss sure is too much. 0% Miss and a longer CD of Will of the Forsaken shifts the focus of the talent to a PvP-only ability.

    Howling Blast was mostly changed to castrate the DW builds. They have removed the Frost Fever requirement and doubled the base damage... but they also doubled the cooldown. Not exactly a fair trade-off, and it affects Deep Frost too instead of just neutering the DW Hybrid builds, which were the real problem here.

    And yet, they still leave Hungering Cold as an extremely situational ability that only gets decent use in PvP.

    Unbreakable Armor had a functionality change that offers a straight reduction in its efficiency and while it now gives 25% Strength for the duration, it lost the 5% Parry. It's a gimped CD emulating the ability to carry a Shield.

    Dancing Rune Weapon was bug-fixed, then straight nerfed. Yes, Dancing Rune Weapon, the ability most Deep Blood didn't even bother with because other than exploiting it to spawn Army of the Dead and what not, it was incredibly subpar when compared to Gargoyle.

    So yeah, we needed nerfs. I doubt it we needed this many. The Avoidance reduction across the board, coupled with no more Blessing of Sanctuary, has the side-effect of wrecking our already low threat generation even further, and yet no tweaks are being made to the Rune Strike mechanic holding us back.
    The AMS isn't so much a 'nerf' as it is a 'critical balancing of an absurd ability.'
    aunsoph wrote: »
    (...) Not that it wasn't reasonable, (...)

    aunsoph on
  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Wouldn't the amount of Strength being increased translate into a certain amount of parry? I don't knowwhat the exact STR->Parry conversion is for DKs.

    Dhalphir on
  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    It's 25% of strength->parry rating. I don't know how much parry rating is needed for 1% parry, though. But I suspect a well geared tank wouldn't get more than 2% parry out of UA.

    One thing I'm wondering: will 51/0/20 be superior to 50/0/21? DRW vs. UB. Basically a higher damage cooldown ability vs. a sustained damage ability with potentially 99% uptime.

    forty on
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  • Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    I'd imagine that 51 in blood would be superior because you would just use the extra runic power on deathcoil instead of wasting it on UB, which is a subpar AoE ability.

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  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I guess I should look up some WWS dumps of unholy DKs. My friend plays unholy well and swears by keeping up UB (I believe even in single target situations), so I'd like to see what it's doing for some other DKs. How much bonus damage to UB do unholy DKs get that blood wouldn't? I know there's Impurity and the 45 pointer, and I'd like to try to extrapolate/interpolate that damage to a blood spec.

    forty on
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This discussion has been closed.