Friday, 27 November 2009

Reality Check

Have I just spent/am about to spend close to 3k gold and 30 Emblems of Triumph on getting Titanium Razorplate made? Am I insane?

Well yes, I am, but I feel justified. Yes, I have Thassarian's Battleplate of Conquest, but c'mon, look at the two side by side! For Blood the T9 Chest is easily the weakest-itemised part, and replacing that haste with more Strength, another socket (for even more Strength!) and a crapton more Armor Penetration is really too nice to pass up. It should put my current ArP to just under 50%!

I have the orbs, Ulu and Gray's Titansteel cooldowns are ready around the time I get home, and the guildie who's making it offerred to throw in the Saronite for the Dirks.

Let's do this.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Unholy Pacts

I've been experimenting with Unholy DPS recently on farm raids. Blood's still my first love, and I've collected an ungodly amount of Armor Penetration gear to support it, but people have convinced me I should have a back-up plan for Anub'Arak Heroic Mode, where Blood's self-healing becomes a detriment. Besides, Ebon Plague's a nice buff to have if you don't have a Warlock or Moonkin handy.

To this end, I've swapped my heroic-tanking offspec to a rather cookie-cutterish 16/0/55 Unholy 2H build.

Overall, I don't think I like it. The rotation's a rather mechanical 10-second "push something every global cooldown" deal, the only variation being when I have to refresh Bone Armor every minute. The whole rotation is basically geared towards generating Runic Power to cast Death Coils, which are one of your biggest damage sources.
The single-target DPS is comparable to Blood, and in AoE situations I kick arse, simply because my diseases do around twice the damage they normally do, and have a chance to crit thanks to T9.

That said, I don't get the 12k crits I get from Blood, and so whilst my damage is undoubtedly comparable, it just doesn't feel as fun. And I really hate Death Coil DPS builds. To me Death Coil is something you use when you're out of runes, or if the boss is out of melee range, it shouldn't be your rotation's raison d'ĂȘtre.

Still, if it helps us get Anub down, I'll persevere with it on some fights and hope the buffed Scourge Strike in 3.3 makes it a more fun spec.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

We Must Have Blood!

Blood is, and always has been my favorite Death Knight tree. Focussing on massive physical damage with a 2-hander and self-healing, it first attracted me as the "mirror universe" version of the Retribution Paladin.

When I first made Graysun my main raiding toon, Smart Casual had two Retribution Paladins, a Fury Warrior and another Death Knight all rolling on 2-handers, we also had no Rogues and one Restoration Shaman with an Enhancement off-spec rolling on 1-handers. With that in mind, I decided to make Graysun a dual-wielder rather than queue up with the other 2-hander users for those oh-so-rare weapon drops.

Since that time, all of the 2-hander users have quit the guild or been fired and we've recruited two Rogues. This meant I could return to my first love and start hitting things again with a large 2-hander. And by 2-hander, I mean Aesir's Muthalovin' Edge!

This is Graysun's current Blood Spec. It does great DPS by itself, but what's really nice is that it possesses two strong DPS-boosting cooldowns in Dancing Rune Weapon and Hysteria, both really help with pulling ahead in DPS races, or if there's a target that needs to be burst DPS down.

The other nice thing, which I mentioned in my last post, is that I can actually get excited by gear with Armor Penetration on it. Whilst the stat may well be going the way of the Dodo in the Cataclysm expansion, it's very prevailent on Melee Plate right now, and Blood's reliance on physical damage means it gets a lot of benefit from it.

Monday, 23 November 2009

So Why Bother?

So why am I blogging? I guess I'm blogging to talk about being a Blood-specced Death Knight and the Guildmaster of a 10-man guild. Within the limits of my knowledge of both.

I'm certainly not a "master" of the Death Knight class. Almost everything I've learned about the class has come from experienced players of my aquaintance and the theory monkeys over at Elitist Jerks. I've reached a level of gear and skill I'm comfortable with, but I can't pretend to know the ins and outs of it yet the way I do with Paladins and Tanking. I'm not even at a stage where I feel confident enough to comfortably guestimate useful stats beyond the normal Strength > AP > ArP > Crit > Haste priority.

Neither is my guild likely to be pulling a world (or even server) first out of it's arse any time soon. The core of my guild is some of the most skilled players I've been privileged to know in my time in WoW, but our dogged adhesion to 10-man content means we'll be continually pipped at the post by 25-man guilds who overgear the content and manage most 10-man hard modes and achievements by brute force.

What I know about Blood DPS is this:

*Big Numbers are cool. 11-12k crits make me happy and were something I never saw when Ulu went Ret.
*I can actually get excited about the presence of Armor Penetration on gear.
*Having a big two-hander is really really nice.
*Despite my fears, I don't feel like a budget Ret Paladin. The flavor is quite different.
*Death Knight Tier has been uniformly cool-looking since launch. The same cannot be said of Paladin Tier. (Alliance Tier 9 doesn't count for either class!)

What I know about managing a 10-man guild is this:

*It's easy for a core of exceptional players to shine.
*It's easy (and dangerous) to come to rely on that core. RL can and will sabotage every best-laid plan.
*There's a low effort-to-reward ratio. 10-man heroics will brutalise you in 10-man gear and offer loot comparable with 25-man normal modes.
*It can be demoralising to see people in 25-man gear steamrollering content that's kicking your arse.
*The victories are sweeter when you see 10 people lock in and perform an encounter flawlessly.

I dunno, does it sound worth it?

Thursday, 19 November 2009


Oh hai, some of you may know me as Ulushnar from the Maintankadin boards and from my old, semi-retired blog: Spacegoat: Note to Note.

I retired Ulu from raiding at the start of October this year. After two and a half years of playing a Protection Paladin, earning myself a maintank spot, I needed a break. As much as anything else, I really nothing left to prove with Ulu, going from the days of "lol, Pallies can't tank" to "LF Tank, must be Paladin". I needed a change, and given my guild had two Retribution Paladins and two Holy Paladins at the time, I looked elsewhere.

These days, I play Graysun, a DPS Death Knight, specced into Blood, and this blog will follow him, his trials, tribulations and the search for more DPS than the other guy. (I hate that guy!)