Sunday, October 31, 2010

4.0.1 Death Knight Round Up - The Dawn of Frost

This is not my first kick at the can.

What you're looking at right now, staring imperiously at your from across the internet and the little pixels on your computer screen, is the result of more failed blog attempts than I can count. It's been almost a full year that I've been kicking around the concept of making a blog about WoW, but everytime I start, I never seem to get far.


Because I get bored with it.  See, I've been writing under the weird impression that if I don't write about "accepted" topics- raiding, theorycrafting... whatever all those "real" bloggers do, I won't get any readers.  But A) it's ridiculous to write a blog because you want readers, you should do it because you enjoy it, and B) there are a lot more topics that I had originally considered.

See, I'm not a raider.   I never have been, and unless it changes significantly from the way it is now, I probably never will be.  Oh, sure, I've raided.  I even have a druid dedicated pretty much exclusively to PvE.  I'll probably raid once cataclysm comes out too, but that's not the reason I play the game.

I play the game for PvP.  For epic campaigns spread out across my server (The Venture Co. US happens to have one of the best WPvP communities around, since the act of fighting outside of combat zones is almost dead elsewhere).  For pitched battles in the battlegrounds, for skirmishes in the arenas, for facerolling alliance in Wintergrasp... I play the game for PvP.

So I'm going to write a blog about it.

Patch 4.0.1

That's where the latest patch comes in.  See, not only do I PvP, but I do so with a Death Knight.  And I've noticed that there is a sad amount of Death Knight bloggery going on in the WoW blogging community.  I'm not sure why exactly, since we're arguably a lot better than everyone else.  But, there it is.  There are not enough DK bloggers.  And, as far as I know, none of the few DK bloggers out there, write mostly about PvP.  So I'm filling a niche which, to my knowledge, has not yet been filled.

So.  With fun little intros out of the way, let me hop right into the meat of the blog.  Content.  Information.  All that jazz.

Please note, that this post is NOT about specific talents.  It's about my feeling for the class in general, since the patch.  It's been out long enough now, that I'm assuming anyone reading this blog has already had a chance to go through all their own talents, so I'm not going through everything new talent by new talent.

Unholy = Disease 'n Stuff

UH remains a powerhouse of a spec, with damage focused even more on disease than before.  Although I haven't had a chance to play around with this too much (frost has taken most of my time since the patch), with transforming ghouls, undead minions, and disease, what more could our necromancy-happy friends want?  I'll post a more in-depth look at the tree once I've experimented a little bit more.

This spec remains very viable for PvP, BUT (as I'm about to discuss), at least until cataclysm, frost may have actually become the "it" spec, something we haven't seen ever, throughout the whole expansion, in the world of PvP.

Frost = OMGBBQ (But in a cold way)

Some wizened, veteran DKs may remember when WotLK was just a beta,  and DKs hadn't been released on live realms yet.  The talk of the whole town, with the coming expansion- was DKs.  How will they play?  What will the mechanics be like?  Et cetera, et cetera.  In those early days of the class, frost was originally meant to be the tanking spec, with frost presence providing the tanking bonuses, and a lot of defensive abilities tied to the spec.  Blizzard eventually denounced the idea, decided that "any spec can tank", but the idea sort of stuck.  Frost has been largely outshone by it's ghouly counterpart throughout wrath.

No longer.  Frost has come into it's own in a big way since 4.0.1.  Yes, it is pretty much ridiculously overpowered with Wrath's low health pools, and since I'm not in the beta, I can't comment on how things are going to play out come cata.  But, for the time being, I'm enjoying being OP for a change.

Frost PvP has actually been simplified in some ways, it's still a LOT about proc watching, but it's also about a new mechanic for DKs.  The concept of always wanting runes on CD for the RP generation boost.  As a result, while priority based, it almost seems a little spammy to me.  The spec/rotation I'm currently using, uses a very dumbed-down version of our old rotation.  You no longer need Obliterate, and even our new and shiny Festering Strike, doesn't get any use either.  The basic idea, is to specialize in Howling Blast as much as possible, then make use of it.  It basically goes:  HB x2, PS x2, BS x2, and then HB x4.  Mix in frost strikes for Killing Machine procs, and Runic Empowerment if you get to the end and everything in sight isn't dead.

Sound simple?  It is.  Like  I said, frost is very OP right now.  I  can't wait to see if we remain competitive throughout cataclysm.  It would be nice to have an option to play something beyond ONE UH spec for serious PvP.

Blood = Tanks

Blood is now our dedicated tanking tree, if you didn't already know.  Frost presence now includes a damage boost, and blood is the new frost.  All our defensive cooldownsPvP in their tanking trees with a lot of success (because they're damn near impossible to kill), But I don't know if that's the case for blood, I really haven't touched it since 4.0 dropped.  Once I've figured out UH, I'll get back to you on blood in PvP.

The Conclusion?

We're at a good place right now.  Frost is OP, but Blizz has stated numerous times that we are now balanced for level 85, not level 80.  Who knows what the PvP game is gonna look like come Cataclysm.  I know one thing for sure, though.

I can't wait.


  1. What exactly is your reasoning behind using HB/PS over Obliterate? It's generally accepted that Obliterate gets more benefit from KM procs than FS, so why would you advocate completely avoiding OB? Obviously there are going to be times when you're in range of an opponent and have KM procced. In addition, Frost in Frost Presence can get GCD-capped at times--why would you want to use so many more abilities (HB-PS x2 instead of HB-PS-OB) for what will likely end up as less damage over more time?

  2. I'm sorry, I wasn't clear in the post. That rotation is generally used for 2h frost- where you're generally going to be out of frost presence, and in Unholy Presence. The reason you aren't using OB in this case, is because this is strictly an AoE, HB spamming spec. The point of everything is to be able to use HB as frequently as possible. OB ties up a frost rune, meaning you get to use HB less- thus the lack of OB in the general rotation. PS and BS are just filler to get the extra RP generation, the main purpose is to be spamming HB. Like I said, this is a PvP rotation- I'm sure in a PvE, single-target senario, using OB for the highest possible dps makes more sense.