Death Knight Glyphs and Runeforges – Patch 3.1.0

April 21, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

They’re small, sometimes overlooked, and aren’t included in the box.   But when used properly they are game changers. It’s time to get out the special doll and point to where the bad man put his…

Glyphs and Runeforges

Runeforge Changes

  • Rune of Cinderglacier now procs per minute instead of a 5% chance.
    • Good. This change needed to be made for the rune to be anywhere near effective
  • Rune of the Fallen Crusader: This weapon enchant now provides only 15% strength, but its chance to proc is doubled.
    • So now it’s at basically 100% uptime but the strength gain was reduced to minimize burst damage.
    • PvP change
  • Rune of Razorice now affects Frost damage done by the death knight only, but stacks up to 10%.
    • Frost DPS change. Intended to be placed on two weapons to get the % up as fast as possible.
    • Makes Frost the largest burst damage spec for DKs


  • Glyph of Blood Boil: This has been replaced with Glyph of Heart Strike, which adds a snare effect to Heart Strike.
    • I guess a ranged snare was too powerful to have when it was not from a frost rune. Good thing that this speed debuff will be undispell-able just like Chilblains. Entirely a PvP glyph
  • Glyph of Dancing Rune Weapon: Increases the duration of Dancing Rune Weapon by 10 seconds.
    • PvE blood glyph. Keep the blade out longer, do more damage with it for less RP. Important for DPS efficiency
  • Glyph of Dark Death: Increases the damage done by Death Coil by 15%.
    • Blood DPS Glyph. It’s their only RP dump, might as well make it more useful
  • Glyph of Death Strike: This glyph now increases Death Strike damage by 1% per 2 runic power, but has a limit of 25% increase.
    • Almost restored to its former glory. The DS glyph is back in style. Great for PvP when you’re not being told to burst and for farming alone.
  • Glyph of Disease: Your Pestilence ability now refreshes disease durations on your primary target back to their maximum duration.
    • Huge Glyph. Transforms 1 Blood rune (least valuable) into X Frost / Y Unholy Runes depending on what you get caught in the AoE. A must have for any DPS spec.
  • Glyph of Howling Blast: Your Howling Blast ability now infects your targets with Frost Fever.
    • If Blizzard didn’t incorrectly implement Icy Talons then this glyph could be mainstream for Frost DPS DKs
  • Glyph of Hungering Cold: Reduces the cost of Hungering Cold by 10 runic power.
    • Still horrible.
  • Glyph of Icebound Fortitude: Icebound Fortitude now grants at least 30% damage reduction, regardless of defense skill.
    • Still horrible, but less than before
  • Glyph of Plague Strike: Bonus lowered to 20%.
    • Why you would ever glyph this skill is beyond me. Perhaps it’s because it’s raw DPS, but I still say this Glyph is not worth it.
  • Glyph of Strangulate: This glyph has been changed to reduce the cooldown by 20 seconds.
    • AWESOME. PVP Change to the maximum.
  • Glyph of Unbreakable Armor: Increases the amount of damage absorbed by Unbreakable Armor by 20%.
    • Reduces the amount of suck and fail that UbA produces by 20%
  • Glyph of Unholy Blight: Increases the duration of Unholy Blight by 10 seconds.
    • More bang for the buck. Lets you throw out a Death Coil every other rotation, also allows UB to overlap better with Gargoyle.

Miscellaneous Changes

These are two very important changes I think I need to address here separate from everything else.

  • Ebon Plaguebringer: Multiple death knights can now use this debuff against a target without overwriting each other.
  • Necrosis: The damage from this ability will no longer benefit multiple times from damage increasing effects.

The Ebon Plaguebringer change we knew about but I don’t think you really understand how strong this change really is. The more unholy DKs you stack the more damage your casters will do. Raise eRDPS by stacking one class? Didn’t Blizzard want this to NOT happen? Expect this to change.

Necrosis’s change is interesting in that it will only be affected by one singular damage increasing effect… but what they mean by this is that only ONE buff to your damage will modify Necrosis’s damage. In other words, only ONE AP booster (probably going to be GBoM) will add the value of its contribution to Necrosis. This was done more or less for balance purposes only.


What’s a Tank to do with Dual Spec?

March 13, 2009

TGAPGeorge – Warrior Tank

Okay, so I’ve found a flaw in the upcoming Dual Spec extravaganza for Tanks… actually there are two.

The first flaw has been talked about already. And that is the fact that Tanks are very gear dependent. Being so, we spend a lot of time and trouble — a LOT of time and trouble — in getting that gear. So much so, the typical Tank only has a few pieces of DPS gear.

So the flaw, at least for us Tanks, is that when Dual Specs comes out, Raid Leaders across WoW will say, “Hey, Tank. You’re a superstar threat grabber and aggro holder, but we don’t need you for this fight. Flip over to DPS will ya?”

The results will be less than spectacular.

But we’ve all known about this DPS gear problem since 3.1.0 was announced. So what’s the second flaw? The DPS setup.

Dual Specs allow us to have two sets of talents, glyphs, spells, and action bars. I believe Blizzard kicked ass on designing a fun, easy, and not-a-pain-in-the-ass way to do this. So when you do switch from Prot to DPS, everything is set for ya.

And therein lies the problem. Not with the mechanics, but with what it allows you to do. You can be DPS almost instantly. But what have you been doing all this time? What have you striven to learn and perfect?

That’s right! You’ve been a Tank.

So — shazaam! — in three seconds you’re DPS. What do you do now? What’s the best spell progression? Where should you be? What should you be doing? What key are you going to be stabbing — in a limp futile panicked manner — when a mob breaks away to go munch on some healers? (Your Taunt key, of course)

Now for some Tanks — and all I’m Tanking What?! readers — this won’t be much of a problem. We will have researched our new spec, gone out into the boonies for some one-on-one practice, and generally done our best to be our best. For the rest of the Tanks out there… well, I’m sure “Tanktard” will be a phrase that’ll quickly gain popularity.

Here’s where it gets really tricky. We’ve worked so hard to become good Tanks, it’s gonna be very difficult to switch gears to a completely different role. I’m not talking about waiting for threat, getting behind the boss, and letting fly. I’m talking about all our carefully honed skills kicking in during the heat of battle. dualspecoopsIt’s going to be tough remembering that you’re not supposed to be at the top of the threat meter. It’ll be weird hitting buttons normally used for tanking and getting different results.

It’s gonna be hilarious the first few times you switch spec and rush to tank, but forgetting to first put on the heavy plate.

Well, I’m not one to pose a problem without at least taking a stab at the solution.

So here’s my suggestion. Get as much DPS gear as you can. Try to put spells that do similar things in the same slots as their tanking counterparts. And practice.

Lots and lots of practice.

Death Knight Patch 3.1.0 Changes – Glyphs

March 8, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

With the 3.1.0 PTR patch notes currently live at MMO Champion, it is my duty to share with you my thoughts on the Death Knight changes, not only from the perspective of tanking, but from the class as a whole (with of course, an emphasis on tanking).

Let’s start with:


  • Strangulate – “Reduces the CD on strangulate down to 1 minute.”
    • Finally! Range is NOT an issue because of Death Grip. Mostly a PVP change
  • Icebound Fortitude – “Your Icebound Fortitude now always grants at least 30% damage reduction regardless of your defense skill”
    • This hints at a couple changes to the IBF skill itself. The Runic Power cost has probably been removed and they’ve reduced (or removed) the amount of % damage reduction granted for free. Potentially bad alteration
  • Unbreakable Armor – “Increases the amount of damage absorbed by UbA by 1%”
    • With the mechanic of UbA changing, it is unknown as of yet whether or not this is a good change.
  • Plague Strike – “Your Plague Strike does 60% additional damage”
    • Is this supposed to make up for the Plague Strike changes? Pathetic. Barely a DPS upgrade… but a DPS upgrade.
  • Death Strike – Good to see this reverted to its original implementation. Blood DKs can now stack their runic power to hell and back without fear of being inefficient. Mostly a PVP change
  • NEW Hungering Cold – “Reduces the cost of Hungering Cold by 10 runic power”
    • I see this as mostly a PVP alteration. Given the new position of Hungering Cold in the Frost tree, we do not yet know if the skill itself has been altered.
  • NEW Unholy Blight – Increases the Duration by 10 seconds
    • Bomb Glyph. This essentially allows you to death coil something without fear of not having enough RP left over for your next UB
  • NEWDeath Coil – “Reduces the cost of Death Coil by 8 Runic Power”
    • A direct copy of the Frost Strike glyph. Lazy coding and not worth it for Blood spec. Maybe Unholy can make better use of this.
  • NEW Pestilence – “Your Pestilence ability now refreshes disease durations on your primary target back to their maximum duration”
    • Oh my god. This is an ESSENTIAL glyph for ANY Death Knight to have. Changing ONE blood rune into TWO guaranteed disease refreshes is TOO efficient. Expect to see this glyph changed or removed quickly
  • NEWHowling Blast – “Howling Blast now infects your targets with Frost Fever”
    • Not sure if this is good or not. It all depends on if the Fever debuff is added BEFORE or AFTER damage calculations. What with the new position of Howling Blast in the tree (Point 51) this glyph may be never used.

The Saga of DK Normalization Does not Balance Make

March 6, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

The complete 8-part saga of normalizations and balances is right here for you to enjoy.

So… enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »

Death Knight Normalization Does not Balance Make – Part 8

March 6, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

Recap: Normalization Doesn’t Create Balance
Because it was TL and you DR’d

I know that was a LOT of posts to read, and to anyone who actually plowed through that behemoth of a saga, I congratulate and thank you.

Allow me to list, in order, the summarizations of each section and what they mean when tied together:

  1. For a game to be successful, the players of that game must be happy or they will not pay for the game. Ergo, game companies must keep their players happy to keep making money.
  2. Listening to the community of players who play your game is essential to maintaining a working game. Players are the ones paying for your game.
  3. The more players you have, the more restrictive your rules must be. Players are greedy and you can’t keep everyone happy.

The main focus of these three points is simply that a game must make its players happy and make them want to keep playing if the game will generate revenue for the company that runs it. Games that do not accept community input are ignoring the will of the community and are more prone to failing than their counterparts. It also touches on the idea that players are greedy and you can’t keep everyone happy all the time.

  1. The D&D warrior is NOT the D&D fighter because of HOW they put points in their class to determine what they do.
  2. Warriors are NOT Death Knights and should NEVER work like them, as it is against the initial design concept of the Warrior.
  3. Balancing classes according to their role is BAD GAME DESIGN
  4. Blizzard has balanced the Warrior class tanking role by changing shield wall — a defining protection warrior skill/talent — into a Death Knight skill.
  5. The misuse of a skill given to Death Knights has led to warriors finding it desirable. Blizzard has chosen to, in essence, give warriors a death knight ability.
  6. SoE removed the individuality of the classes by balancing them to roles centered around ONE class. As a result, they lost 85% of their players. The remaining 15% would slowly leave over the next 10 weeks.

This saga has focused more on what Blizzard is doing with the warrior class as a result of uneducated trolling on the WoW forums, as compared to a game that did EXACTLY the same thing. Mind, SoE w/ SWG was a game-wide change and blizzard is — so far — only adjusting DKs and Warriors.

Expect more mind-numbing changes and individuality sapping alterations in the next couple of patches.

Click here for the Normalization Does not Balance Make saga in its entirety.

Death Knight Normalization Does not Balance Make – Part 7

March 5, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

A Last Glance Behind: Star Wars Galaxies in Retrospect
Yes, it is important. Read it.

Unlike a lot of WoW players, I played SWG before the “Jump to Lightspeed” patch was even conceived. I was playing SWG on the Tarquinnis server before the first combat “upgrade,” and it was one of the most fun MMOs I’ve ever played.

For me it was the crafting system that made the game fun. However, others found more joy in the PvP aspect of the game — silly as it was. There was virtually no threat mechanic, and endgame PvE content just plain didn’t exist as we think of it today (think back to EQ1).

Still, for a long time, SWG was fun. Immersing oneself in the lore of Star Wars and choosing a side (Rebel v. Imperial) were some of the best game ideas to hit the MMO market. Unfortunately it also came with one of the worst ideas to hit the MMO market: Jedi.

Jedi were, at the release of the class, over-powered. They were designed to exist in very small numbers and required a complicated, lore-filled series of quests — HIDDEN QUESTS MIND YOU! — to become one. Jedi had abilities that blew other classes out of the water. They were what a hero class is supposed to be.

The justification for Jedi was that a world full of Star Wars lore would not be complete without them, and they should exist in some fashion. Fair enough.

The problems arose when some idiot actually figured out how to unlock Jedi and made a forum post detailing how to do it. Wonderful. Now you have a balance issue. This, of course, leads to what is referred to publicly as The Worst Game Decision Ever Made in the History of MMORPGs to date.

Yeah. It was that bad.

SoE decided that they were going to balance the entire combat system around ONE class: The Jedi. This yielded the “Combat Upgrade” content patch along with a new looking UI and an overhaul of the Jedi class all rolled up into one miserable ball. Within weeks, SWG lost 85% of its player subscriptions. The remaining 15% would slowly leave over the next 10 weeks.

SoE removed the individuality of the classes by balancing them to roles centered around ONE class. Refer to Part 6

Up next in Part 8: Recap: Normalization Doesn’t Create Balance

Death Knight Normalization Does not Balance Make – Part 6

March 4, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

I’m a Warrior… No, Really, I am.
It just LOOKS like I’m a Death Knight. But see, I got a shield!

As of patch 3.1.0, I wonder why Death Knights will volunteer to tank at all.

Druids get more health; Warriors now have our #1 tanking cooldown as a direct copy of Icebound Fortitude; Paladins deal more damage…

So what do we do? Take less damage from magic? Have DoTs? What makes a DK tank unique from every other class?

One word: Cooldown.

Death Knights are, from their inception, edgy mofo’s. They’ve already been killed once, raised in service to Arthas, and then sent to die AGAIN.   Then, after coming close to death two more times, they traded their life for killing countless thousands of their own kin and countrymen in the name of the Lich King.  Death Knights are fearless.

Unlike those sissy warriors, we live on the edge. A Death Knight with the two best DK tanking trinkets in the game (Repelling Charge and Valor Medal of the Third War) has access to: Icebound Fortitude, a talent-based damage reduction mechanic, Bone Armor or Will of the Necropolis or Lichborne / Unbreakable Armor, ghetto Last Stand, and Super Dodge. That is anywhere from 3 to 5 cooldowns that can, and should be, cycled at all times.

Why then are warriors getting a 1 minute CD shield wall? They don’t live on the edge OR tank with a 2H sword — or, god forbid, Duel-Wield tank. Warriors tank with a shield, they have talents specifically designed around a shield.  Warriors are the masters of shields.

In fact, IBF exists primarily to mitigate the effects of getting parry-gibed on bosses when you are DW tanking, not as an “Oh SHIT” button. Suck on that Trebeck.

The misuse of a skill given to Death Knights has led to warriors finding it desirable.

Blizzard has chosen to, in essence, give warriors a death knight ability. See Part 5.

Up next in Part 7: A Last Glance Behind: Star Wars Galaxies in Retrospect