Death Knight Talent Trees and Skills – Patch 3.1.0 – Unholy

April 19, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

With 3.1 upon us, I have dove in and looked around at all the changes with the current build. Here I will be giving you my take on each of the changes for Death Knights tree by tree.

Doesn’t matter who smelt it, YOU dealt it! It’s stinky, toxic, and will kick major ass. That’s right! It’s time to talk about…

Unholy

Is the hot chick at the party

Unholy has been given breast implants and a cooch that emits pheromones in such volume that all DKs go rabid when they get near it. This is not an overstatement at all. I will explain why at the end of this section.

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Death Knight Talent Trees and Skills – Patch 3.1.0 – Frost

April 18, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

With 3.1 upon us, I have dove in and looked around at all the changes with the current build. Here I will be giving you my take on each of the changes for Death Knights tree by tree.

Put on your mittens and earmuffs — mine are made from baby polar bears.  It’s time to go…

Frost

Wait… I thought I was a tank class

When I first posted the build 9347 notes I knew that Blizzard would screw up my class almost beyond recognition and the most recent (most likely LIVE) notes confirm this. Lichborne has been reduced entirely to a PvP talent and Unbreakable Armor blows royal cock for tanking. DKs have, at best, been relegated to dedicated OT duty in case shit hits the fan.

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Death Knight Talent Trees and Skills – Patch 3.1.0 – Blood

April 17, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

With 3.1 upon us, I have dove in and looked around at all the changes with the current build. Here I will be giving you my take on each of the changes for Death Knights tree by tree.

Hmmm, let’s start with…

Blood

Got some ROIDS

I was really hoping that Blood got the buff it needed to become viable against Unholy in terms of sustainable damage and my prayers were answered… to an extent. Let’s take a look into the world of the Blood DKs and how everything just got turned upside down for them.
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I’m No Sissy, You’re Just OP

March 19, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

If you’re a regular here at I’m Tanking What?!, a wowinsider.com patron, or just a drunk college student surfin’ the net, you may have noticed my recent opus, The Saga of Normalization Does Not Balance Make.

(And if you are an I’m Tanking What?! regular, please cover your face with a dark cloth… you wouldn’t want your incredible good looks to blind anyone, would you?)

Anyway, that saga of mine sparked a lot of lively discussion, rapid back-and-forths, and a bit of napalm on wildflowers. Today I would like to recreate if you will, a discussion of Tanks vs. Death Knights with the incorrigible — or is it incomparable? — Billy Wallace of the blog Casual Tank.

So join me in a big cheer for Billy Wallace – Warrior Tank

BillyWallace Says:
I admit that your description of warriors as “sissies” ruffled my feathers a bit. I promise you that I can “live on the edge”,in fact to the dismay of my healers, I often do just that! You all just feel cooler doing it because you’re so OP!

Surazc:
I rotate my cooldowns from the very beginning of a raid encounter as to not make my healers feel that I’m living on the edge. My use of “edgy” is only to reflect that Death Knights do not have access to shields and the block mechanic, a defining trait of both Paladin and Warrior tanks.

BillyWallace:
Seriously though, I agree a lot with what you’re saying here. I love the distinct flavor of each class of tank. I’m bothered a bit by the homogenization of them. And I tire of people whining about other classes being “OP”.

But even Ciderhelm, who I have always gotten the impression that he feels warriors have been able to tank just about everything in game as good as the other classes, has recently been vocal on the official forums about the large advantage DK’s have over all other tanking classes in fights like Sarth.

Surazc:
Rather than answer this with another clone of “it’s a poorly designed encounter,” or “players can’t escape the thought of unilateral thought,” I’ll simply point readers here to either my response to Ancro or Hatch.

BillyWallace:
I kind of feel like Blizzard painted themselves into the corner with the “Take the player not the class” idea. Ideally it’s nice, but how does that work in reality?

Surazc:
Ideally, it functions with the Dual Talent system. If you bring a professional grade player in the shoes of a hybrid then you get much more flexibility in what your raid is able to adapt and shape itself to; however, if you bring a average player who shines in a specific specialization then you’re going to have a problem when you no longer need his shining function.

Players who are exceptional at all facets of the game (or their class) will be the ones asked to swap talent specializations the most and incidentally, they will be the ones who morph the raid into a new composition which makes a group of players capable of clearing content that would otherwise be above their level because of optimization.

The “Take the Player not the Class” mentality would actually disapprove of the new shield glyph for warriors because it enforces the idea of taking the role and not the player. A good player should have the option of not taking the glyph and using another method to avoid the damage that this glyph exists for.

Currently no such option exists and this is why people are saying that the change is needed TO THE SKILLS AND THE GLYPHS but NOT THE ENCOUNTERS THEMSELVES.

In the words of our GM Prometheuss:
“Bosses down… good job everyone, let’s move on to the next room and we’ll see how we have to adapt to the new content.”

Once again a round of applause for Billy Wallace – Warrior Tank!


On MMOs in General

March 16, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

One of the biggest challenges that exist for MMO games is the fact that your Box sales (copies of the game) will never make you as much money as would your monthly subscriptions.

Blizzard has overcome this problem by producing a record number of 14+ MILLION subscriptions to the game worldwide. At the average rate of $14.99 per month Blizzard is making $209,860,000 A MONTH. That’s revenue of approximately $2,518,320,000 every year. Two and a half BILLION dollars a year.

Blizzard is not hurting for money, and the costs on keeping servers stable and running (which they don’t do a very good job of) is sub $10 million a year.

So why is the game taking a turn for the worse? Why are the classes losing their distinctions and more of the “devoted” fans leaving the game and yet blizzard is turning a blind eye? It’s the money!

You see, when you make a $2.5B yearly gross revenue for doing basically nothing, you are disinclined to change the game in a way that would cause people to be either frustrated or confused. As only 5-10% of the game’s population actually cares about the way their class works and not just the numbers they put out, Blizzard is free to do whatever they want with their game as long as it maintains mass appeal and is easy enough for anyone to feel like they are a champion.

Add to these facts the idea that Blizzard is primed to release Diablo 3… they want you to stop playing. They want you to go and buy D3 and forget about your monthly recurring subscription for a while. Re-read that last sentence real quick: Blizzard wants you to stop playing WoW and buy Diablo 3. It means more money for them if you forget to cancel and let your recurring subscription run for 2 months without playing.

After all that is said and done, Starcraft 2 comes out… a release for which they want the exact same effect.

Then you have the second generation WoW… You see where this is going I hope.

This is the problem with a game studio that has other active franchises developing an MMORPG. They, the studio, do not want you to stop playing their other games because this leads to people in that company who have domain over the IP (intellectual property) leaving and forming their own company. This, in turn, removes potential revenue from the big studio. To justify keeping those people from going out and stealing all that money they have to keep them onboard to develop their franchise, and for THAT to happen, people MUST play those games.

I think Blizzard is screwing up their game on purpose. I think this is a marketing strategy designed to keep us all from walking out the door and leaving blizzard with a mere shell of a $2.5B/Year gross income.


A Quick Rant on PvP in WoW

March 15, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

A long time ago a video was made and posted on youtube that was just over 30 seconds long. It made a simplistic depiction of WoW PvP combat using the analogy of Rock, Paper, Scissors. If you haven’t seen it, you should… right now. Go watch.

Or watch it here:

The reference I make here is to the traditional mechanic of balancing something in a game. The reason that PvP is currently (in this author’s opinion) unenjoyable is that Rogues are capable of beating every class in the game without much effort at all (except for possibly other rogues or mages). I’ve heard people attempt to argue this point with me by saying, “Trinket out of the kidney shot and you’ll be fine.”

The truth is that you WON’T be fine because a smart rogue will just blind you and resume his rotation. You die and you didn’t once get to play your character.

I would like to make it clear that Blizzard has fucked up pretty bad with the DK changes for this patch. Not because there are a lot of class nerfs, or changes to skills that cause us to lose damage, or little things changing like the duration on diseases… no. Blizzard fucked up this patch because they forgot that Death Knights are a hero class.

In an earlier post I made a reference to Star Wars Galaxies and how Jedi were what a hero class is supposed to be: difficult to obtain and beyond the scope of balance. Death Knights are NOT that class. We have been homogenized down to work exactly the same as every other melee DPS class. We have had defining talents removed from our trees. We have been changed to such an extent that now there is no such thing as an Unholy DK tank (unless he has > 59% avoidance unbuffed) any more, and Blood is almost to the same state (a 30 second Last Stand w/ bonus healing on a 1 minute CD is too good to invalidate blood as a tanking spec).

If Blizzard doesn’t get their act straight in the next 4 months, I quit. I’m making that publically known right now. I will most likely change all my account info and sell, or give away, my account. This is utterly ridiculous.

-Surazc Out


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.