Blood – Some Thoughts

Typically, I try to stay away from writing on tanking matters. It’s not that I’m any less knowledgeable and informed of that aspect of the class/game; I tanked up until tier 9 on Consider, as well as having spent the entirety of Burning Crusade doing so on my druid, and in general just keep myself up to date on what’s what in regards to the role. Nor is it because I find tanking any less interesting or complicated than dpsing; quite the opposite, if anything, as tanks has to consider all the same things dps do, and then some. For every entry on a dps subject, there’s three of the same sort I could do for tanking!

The reason why I try to confine myself to dps is twofold; partially because there are many sources – notably Pwnwear – for high quality tanking Death Knight discussions already, and partially because (presumably) most of my traffic is likely dps oriented for one reason or another.

Unfortunately, all of that is rendered irrelevant by the simple fact that I’m currently locked out of my account on live (and none too thrilled about it), and thus am limited solely to beta!  It’s past the point where there’s anything interesting to play and test on there in regards to Unholy (stats are imbalanced relative to one another, some bugs are annoying, and some mechanics – SI/RC proccing on hit, not cast – are obnoxious, but overall, the spec is pretty solid) or Frost (it has a lot of issues, sure, but the same issues have been around for months, and thus there’s little new to say on the subject!), and thus I’ve spent some time as Blood tanking in heroics and raids, and figure I may as well share my two cents. If such doesn’t interest you, I completely understand, and simply don’t continue reading! This is a one time deviation, I assure you.

Before I begin, in short: Blood DKs on beta are currently in a fantastic position, in near every aspect, and those individuals like the questioner at Blizzcon who was concerned about the viability of the spec (because people perceived him, as an individual, as bad, but that’s beside the point!) need not worry a bit. If anything, nerfs are needed, not buffs.


Not specific to Blood or to Death Knights, sure, but still worthy of mention. Simply put, I find Vengeance to be completely ridiculous! First off, it makes threat too easy. This is debatable, certainly, and perhaps it will matter in later tiers, but as it currently stands, you could manage just fine without the buff. Even if you couldn’t, getting near 10k+ AP is far from the most elegant way to solve threat issues! Secondly, the concept of tank threat scaling similar to dps damage scaling is great, except for the fact that Vengeance doesn’t fulfill that role. It scales with damage taken, which is utterly unrelated to damage done by dps, not to mention it gets worse as your gear improves. Something better would have been to make it increase your AP by, say, 2% of your max health whenever you dodge/parry, lasts X seconds, stacks Y times. That way it would actually scale positively with the tank’s gear… just as a dps’s damage scales with his or her gear. Third, it makes tank transitions annoying, as the previous tank has to pretty much flat out stand there and do nothing until his or her buff goes down. Not difficult, just rather boring. On top of all that, Vengeance leaves off-tank threat rather low (Vigilance solves this beautifully for Warriors, but the other three tanks are left in the cold) as you gain next to no AP, AoE damage and adds aside.

Don’t get me wrong, Vengeance is fun. It’s nice being able to do respectable dps as a tank, to such a point that you won’t ever outperform a competent dpser, but you will be able to roll past poor ones (particularly in five mans), and you’re dps will play a role in meeting enrage timers. It’s nice not to have sustained threat be the top concern of tanking, and instead focus more on self-healing, cooldowns, survivability, and the like. Vengeance is nice… but too much so!

It’s likely not going to (significantly) change at this point, and that’s fine. Its faults are more annoying or counterintuitive than actually game-breaking or functionality-impairing. It is what it is, and whatever else, that makes it enjoyable.

[Death Strike / Blood Shield]

The healing is quite potent – as it’s always been, but especially so now that you can hold off on runes (to an extent) without any undue cost of threat. The damage is great, and the fact that it’s in no way tied to diseases makes it  a solid means of picking up adds as replacement for losing “Icy Slam”. The mastery is, of course, wonderful, although it scales with itself in an odd manner (although that only comes into play when you’re DSing within 5 seconds of the last one).

All in all, flawless.

[Heart Strike]

Heart Strike is in a very odd place. It’s damage isn’t anything special on a single target; both Death Strike and Rune Strike handily beat it. On multiple targets, it competes with Blood Boil (which, yes, it may still beat for total threat up until something like 6 mobs, but in many cases less overall threat to all mobs present is superior to greater total threat to half the mobs). Two HS may outdamage one DS, but due to the heal/shield/diseasesless-nature, it’s still better to use death runes on the latter. Speaking of, HS is the only ability in our arsenal, aside from BB, which still requires diseases to do full damage.

For what has historically been the signature strike of the tree, HS is incredibly lackluster. It has absolutely nothing going for it, aside from an incredibly slight boost in threat when OTing…. which is almost always rendered meaningless because you’re still going to have to taunt to pull aggro off the main-tank with vengeance and, once you do, your previous threat won’t even matter!


Diseases are more of a nuisance than anything else. It’s not that they’re difficult to apply; simply replace a DS with a PS+IT every 60 seconds, and Outbreak on cooldown. It’s that they’re not very meaningful – the only abilities they affect are Heart Strike/Blood Boil… and that’s it! Two abilities (which you have to choose between, no less), and nothing else, and threat isn’t even close to competitive enough for the minor hit in those lone abilities to matter.

Yes, there is the attack speed debuff of Frost Fever which is, of course, mandatory. In a raid, however, you can all but guarantee someone else will be providing it – a dps DK, a Feral Druid of any sort, a Prot Warrior, or a Prot Paladin.

Make diseases more interesting somehow; perhaps just make HS much weaker without them (and much stronger with them, thus killing two bird with one stone). Or possibly attach Scarlet Fever to Blood Plague, as has long been suggested. Maybe allow a talent such as Crimson Scourge to lower Outbreak’s cooldown by 30 seconds – diseases wouldn’t become any more important, there just wouldn’t be anything to gain (and pure loss) to ignore them.

Who knows. Whatever they do, don’t add a disease modifier to Rune Strike or Death Strike – we need to be able to do some burst threat without them as called for.

[Rune Strike]

It’s fine. Enough said! It does good damage, it isn’t tied to diseases, it’s a unique runic dump, it procs Runic Empowerment (which makes it interesting, if nothing else), it has no silly avoidance requirement to use, and so on.

Good all around.


DnD, Pestilence, and Blood Boil all do the job perfectly fine, and best of all, all three abilities scale incredibly well with AP (… meaning Vengeance). Between these three and Rune Strike/Death Strike, picking up adds isn’t a matter of hoping the right resources just happen to be available, but rather the player paying attention and optimally using what abilities they can, which is as it should be.


Too many!

Whatever else, remove the parry from Dancing Rune Weapon, and make it a pure threat/damage cooldown (also knock down the cost). Or, at the least, make DRW a flat damage reduction, as avoidance cooldowns are very tricky to balance (as they get stronger as your gear improves).

Otherwise, we have that, Bone Shield, Vampiric Blood, Icebound Fortitude, Anti-Magic Shell, Army of the Dead, and Will of the Necropolis (passive, to be sure, but still very strong and on par/superior to others). That’s six, and that’s not even counting whatever you consider Rune Tap to be.

Too many. Period.

[Overall Feel]

I could go on and on. I could speak on Rune Tap, Runic Empowerment (still), Crimson Scourge, Glyphs, the GCD situation, and a million other facets, but I’ll stop myself now. As I said at the start, I could write more on tanking matters than I ever could on dps, but I know that’s not why most of you are here, and I’ve already rushed and crammed too much into this post.

Suffice is to say that the spec is in a beautiful place. Single target and AoE threat are not only sufficient, but strong, and more importantly enjoyable. Self-healing and mastery are both more than equal to block, and really give the spec a unique flavor. Cooldowns are too plentiful, but set us apart (albeit not really for the better, in terms of balance). Vengeance is interesting, if a bit over the top.

As matters currently stand, I would easily argue we’re the best tanks at the moment. Druids come close, and I could see them being considered equal depending on the situations, but Prot Paladins and Prot Warriors simply don’t compare whatsoever.

Now, I’m sure I’ll get some flack for this post; things aren’t all flowers and sunshine. There are issues; diseases being the big one, as mentioned, on top of Runic Empowerment (still believe it’s a good concept, but a flawed implementation), talent tree bloat, Scarlet Fever, and so on. None of these, however, are game-breaking in the least, and none of these even begin to outweigh all the positives the spec has going for it.

Talking raw gameplay and ignoring all other factors, I would much rather tank than dps in Cataclysm with how things are right now.

Tanking on the latest beta patch is more enjoyable than it’s ever been…

… except for when the old Unholy Blight was around! Never forget.


64 Responses to Blood – Some Thoughts

  1. Rickarus says:

    To be completely honest, you may have just convinced me to take up the reins and tank for my 10-man guild in Cataclysm, since both of our steady tanks are gone for various reasons. It’ll definitely be a new experience for me, as I’ve never done anything other than dps, except for a few heroics here or there tanking in my dps gear/spec when our tank left and we were waiting for the dungeon finder to get us a new one.

  2. Rickarus says:

    Also, just throwing this in there, I know your pain, my account has been locked since Sunday, and I still haven’t heard anything from Blizzard about it yet.

  3. Jonneh says:

    So I’ve been one of the biggest downers on Blood since the announced changes. I have taken the time to play it since go-live, even tanking such things as heroic sindra and LK… tbh it did change my mind a little bit. I find it hard to test the spec on live without worrying what the changes might be when bosses and mobs have a different feel in Cata. (or “the clysm” if you want to be that annoying guy from blizzcon)

    Firstly, mobs hit hard and in big bursts. For that reason alone, DS feels OP at the moment. With vampiric blood up I could swear I healed myself for upwards of 40k on sindra hc. But bosses wont do that so much in cata, so when the heal is normalised by the slower damage intake, will it feel as good? Or will you just be mindlessly using it on cooldown to save healer mana? In those situations is it potent enough to justify the extra damage we take?

    My other concern with DS is threat based. Are we meant to use our death runes on HS? If so is it better on single target? My problems again with testing this on live are; avoidance. I RS so much and take such big hits that it always feels better to press DS if I can. with 60%+ avoidance that is a whole lot of globals for RS, which is unarguably the better button to press for threat (it does change on beta to be an anytimer, more of an RP dump than now, does that help?) Not to mention that the current aoe tank mentality hasn’t really gone away, so when there are more than 1 mob you always feel compelled to HS. So only really on WotLK bosses do you ever do single target, and because of the above you always feel like DS/RS are better and just end up HSing your two blood runes away in gaps where you dont have RS simply because its wise to spend them when there is nothing else to do.

    The mechanic seems confused and unclear. Why bother with death runes if HS isn’t better? Just for aoe tanking? Seems hard to make that choice as a new player or new DK tank. Certainly as a DPS DK, since your experience tells you that when you have death runes its to use them for strikes that aren’t the natural rune type for those runes.

    Cooldowns I couldn’t agree more. There really are just too many buttons to press. VB you may as well just press on cooldown imo. It’ll boost your DSs and DS shield by proxy, and in a cata environment when healer mana is a premium (one thing they seem to have tuned correctly it seems) then why wouldn’t you save them 15% mana every 60 secs? IBF is in a good place, obviously its the staple cooldown for every tank. Probably more effective for us than other tanks because we can also boost our own HP after using it. I find one of the most common miss-uses for this type of cooldown on tanks is when they use it too late, and only really give themselves an extra hit or so. Again that’s just a WotLK thing where bosses hit so hard you TTL is much lower (that is Time to Live for you inexperienced tankers, how many swings/abilities can you survive with no heals). For that reason I think you can safely count ERW as a tanking cooldown, it goes nicely with a VB/IBF/Will/RuneTap combo because its then two DS heals within the next two globals. Insane really if you think about the tools other tanks have.

    BS, Rune Tap and Will of the Necropolis just add a whole extra layer of strength to an already bloated arsenal. RT may as well be used on cooldown, talented it’ll save the healer 5 heals not just 1.. insane. WotN will reset its cooldown and give you the rune for free when it procs anyway (be nice to get a default client notifier for that, floating combat picture style, wouldnt it? Or RE for that matter) BS is just one of those great tools that nobody else has. If you’re not getting hit, its passive. Ever OT’d on blood queen with it? Its pretty much always up. She rarely knocks it off you before the cooldown is ready again. Any situations even similar to that can make it quite OP.

    I’ve not even touched DRW. I forget to use it at the moment if I’m honest, lets face it.. there are so many its hard to know when to use what!

    I agree that its probably in a good place as things stand. I’d like to hear more about how it works on cata raid bosses and trash etc… clearly WotLK raids are a different beast. They did fix a whole lot of stuff since I was complaining about it, and that is good to see. The only thing I hope is that the design still remains effective, and a warning to any of you out there who are loving it because it feels a bit OP. It probably is guys. I wouldn’t be surprised to see nerfs to the cooldowns incoming.

    • Insolence says:

      If you’re getting two Death Runes together: Get your shield up. If you get one from RE and you need Threat: HS. That’s how I’m going, and it works for me.

      DRW is good to use at the pull, you get burst threat and a minute and a half later you can get more.

      Right now you want ERW mostly for DRW since it’s high cost you have to spend most runes to obtain necessary Rp for it and then whack it to get 6 Runes up at once for burst.

      I’ve ended up getting powerauras for WotN, just so I could see it and not waste the Blood Rune I gain from it. Ugh.

  4. Zeran says:

    Personally as an unholy/blood dk, I very much enjoy hearing your thoughts on our ability to tank. I was so disheartened by my first post4.0 raid (we lost our bear due to the flex raid screwyness so I got to tank next to my brother’s undergeared protection warrior. That was bad…10k dps from him and I couldn’t keep vengeance stacked to top 5-7k.) that I sat out this raid. To hear from a trusted source that it’s good is delightful.

    On that note, is vengeance acting stupid with absords or is it just me? It seems like with a disc priest and mastery/blood shield running rampant I am having trouble stacking vengeance unless I’m getting omgwtfbbq’d (you could say destroyed if you dislike lolspeak) by a boss.

  5. BloodyFox says:

    @ Consider – is it just me or is your 2nd paragraph ending prematurely?

  6. Zao says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with you.
    Tanking on a DK feels great at the moment.
    It’s easy enough to simply mash all the buttons and not entirely suck, but still challenging enough that the good tanks who know how to time their cooldowns and DS can be noticeably more competitive.

    The only real issues I have are:
    No diseases. I’m still convinced that Blizzard did not intend that and I’m afraid that they’ll nerf us at the wrong edges by, as you mentioned, putting a disease modifier on DS or RS.

    Death runes Basically being worthless. The only time I really use Death Runes on something different than DS would be during AoE tanking, where I basically DnD->IT-Pest-BB until my fingers bleed.

    I’m not so concerned about the application of Scarlet fever, since it’s only a very minor inconvenience and I’m actually happy to press another button every thirty seconds.

  7. Mysiana says:

    I really like the direction they went with DK tanking… it’s been my favorite spec since I rolled the class (I was a bear tank in my previous life as well). Even though we tend to take more damage than our counterparts, we have more than enough cooldowns to compensate for it. Fights like heroic LK aside, you should be using your cooldowns proactively whenever possible. The new deathstrike is a bit OP for current content – I was getting 52k+ DS heals (HM LK 10) and my mastery is at 100% right now – so add another 52k shield with it. We are, unquestionably, the best class to be tanking the hard hitting bosses right now.

    I definitely can’t wait to see how we are in Cata. Consider, did the Blood Presence change go in when you were testing tanking? The rune recharge sounds really nice since we can’t stack haste.

    • Insolence says:

      Rune Regen change reduces our Rune Regen to 8 seconds which is indeed awesome. More Death Strikes, Heart Strikes, everything. Not to mention the awesome Rune Strike change 😀

      No more clunky threat!

      • Mysiana says:

        That makes my little heart swell with happiness! With those 2 changes I could live with us as is – although I like some of the suggestions you posted after this, Insolence.

      • Insolence says:

        We’re getting Tanking Cooldowns looked at, lets pray we get DRW cost altered and Bone Shield buffed back to 6 charges (Yes its not op in Cata with less Avoidance. In 3.0 we had loads of it and it really was Op, now it would be fine):

      • Jonneh says:

        IBF nerfed by 10% so far. Kinda strange.

        A whole bunch of whine from warriors for more nerfs to DKs and Ferals, but tbh thats probably because warriors are still stuck in 2005 when they had to be the best tank for EVERYTHING! 😀

      • Insolence says:

        So IBF is back to what it is on Live, eh no biggie. Tbh was always curious about if they’d keep it at 60%, was more than we were getting from Defense which was only 50%.

        Warriors should hush up. They’re good enough as is with their Vigilance granting them 50% of our Vengeance when they’re Off-Tanking granting snap-burst-threat on Deathbringer.

      • Jonneh says:

        Cooldown now nerfed on IBF to 3 mins as well, to be in line with all the other shield wall type abilities

      • Insolence says:

        Now that’s just wrong. When will the homogenization stop blizz……

      • Jonneh says:

        GC: “DKs are just harder to model and we haven’t had as many of them tanking the beta raids. Our hunch is that they aren’t as overpowered as this forum thread seems to believe, but we’ll see after more testing.”

  8. Insolence says:

    IIRC at BlizzCon someone from a pally blog asked about Vengeance, they said they were happy with the current implementation of it. Unfortunately. I personally prefer not to have my Dps matter, I play Tank for one reason to get away from the “I pwn DMG Meter” stuff, I just don’t like it. Dps already have issues with “L2p with Omen” why make it worse.

    For DS: I find myself waiting a few seconds after the last Shield drops. Since BS doesn’t scale with absorbed damage I prefer to try and take the full effect rather than a 50% half-absorbed Shield and 50% “full” hits. This also makes pw:s rather unfriendly unfortunately 😦 Otherwise, this mechanic is great. Blood Rites on the other hand which this is linked to just horribly sucks.

    Since I know they’re going to break Disease-less since they don’t like it, here’s my take on how they should fix it, not how they’ve been “fixing” it for so long:

    If they want to fix Diseaseless once and for all the solution isn’t to make Abilities more reliant on Diseases. Its to make Diseases themselves better. Make Icy Touch and Plague Strike hit for decent numbers, even if they’re inferior to every other strike if their damage is decent, its a start. Make Diseases actually do something. Right now Frost Fever is our -20% Attack Speed applier but its damage is pathetic. So many other people can bring that same buff saving us the Runes. If they merged Scarlet Fever into Blood Plague that would make Plague Strike have some utility as well. Make them less expensive. Right now we have limited amounts of Runes available to us, having to spend 3 GCDs to expand Diseases to all Targets + spend 50% of our Resources doing it just isn’t nice. Not to mention how horrible damage they produce due to the pestilence nerf. Remove Pestilence’s rune cost. Yes we’ll get Outbreak, but at some point pulls will become shorter than a minute, and even when they aren’t – You need to re-apply Diseases, what are you going to do? Outbreak obviously if its around. When its not? Only IT and PS left as choices.

    Or another possibility: Let Tanks roll Disease-less. Let Frost roll with just Frost Fever applied through Howling Blast and let Unholy use Outbreak and Festering Strike on both Diseases. With Festering Strike Unholy will I believe never need to actually press IT and PS so just let them use both Diseases. I’m sure Frost would love being able to work off just Frost Fever, I believe actually right now its a Dps nerf for them to even use Plague Strike. Unholy already has talents that cause Diseases spread by Pestilence to deal full damage, they also have Festering Strike, they also get a 3rd Disease (Ebon Plaguebringer) it would really fit the tree I believe. Frost does have Glyph of Howling Blast for applying Frost Fever in AoE situations anyway. With that if we needed the -20% Attack Speed Debuff we’d apply Frost Fever and if we needed the -10% Physical Damage Debuff we’d apply Blood Plague or Scarlet Fever (through whatever, Blood Boil, whatever).

    Honestly I just don’t see the point in breaking Diseaseless each time when they could just make it permanently viable and save players (and of course themselves) a lot of stress. The changes required to do that right now would be minimal and wouldn’t even require extensive testing. They could push it all through with one Build. That’s just my 2 cents though.

    So our ideas are to an extent similar. A list of changes I’d like to see:
    Blood Strike has damage increased by 1 disease, baseline damage increased by 10%.
    Obliterate has damage increased by 1 disease, baseline damage increased by 10%.
    Heart Strike no longer has damage increased by diseases, baseline damage increased by 20%.
    Blood Boil no longer has damage increased by disease, baseline damage increased by 10%.
    Crimson Scourge increases Blood Boil damage by 20/40% and reduces the cooldown of Outbreak by 15/30 seconds.
    Scarlet Fever: Your Blood Plague also causes victims to deal 10% less physical damage.

    So, Blood has a choice: Disease or Diseaseless? All up to the player. Yes I left pestilence the way it is. Frost works with just Frost Fever from HB, Unholy applies all diseases. Simple, effective.

    Dancing Rune Weapon really, really needs it’s cost altered. Now that we won’t even be using Death Coil anymore it’ll be even harder to get the 60 Rp necessary for it >.<

    One CD change I consider mandatory: Buff Bone Shield. The charges were dropped due to the high amount of Avoidance DKs had. Ok, now please take it off the GCD, remove it's Rune cost and buff the charges back up to 6. We're entering a world of low-amounts of Avoidance! Right now most of the time most DKs only use BS pre-pull. It lasts a minimum of 4 seconds if you don't avoid.

    • Futhark says:

      “So, Blood has a choice: Disease or Diseaseless? All up to the player. Yes I left pestilence the way it is. Frost works with just Frost Fever from HB, Unholy applies all diseases. Simple, effective.”

      I know I said this on pwnwear already, but I’d love to play in this world. 🙂

    • Why not just have Blood use Blood Plague, Frost use Frost Fever, and Unholy be the only tree interested in both diseases? Other trees can use the other disease, but have it be so weak that there’s no point.

      That way each tree gets its specific disease mechanic. Then instead of having DS or RS use a “does more damage with one disease” mechanic, you have BP do something in interaction with those abilities. Ie., Use DS on a target with Blood Plague to have a chance to proc Blood Parasites (tie it into the talent). Or use RS on a target with Blood Plague to have a semi-small chance to refresh Bone Shield by up to 1/2 bone/bones (Can only occur every 6 seconds). Have HS and BB apply BP. Have BP apply Scarlet Fever (akin to Frost Fever and/or Blood Plague applying Ebon Plague for Unholy). That way, Blood uses HS to apply Blood Plague which applies Scarlet Fever. If the target doesn’t have Blood Plague, HS does damage to only that target. If the target has Blood Plague, HS does the Cleave, too. Have BB apply Blood Plague as well (for Blood), which is comparable to Icy Touch and Howling Blast applying Frost Fever for Frost. Damage is still hot, but Blood Plague makes the gears turn smoother.

      • Insolence says:

        Sure we could go with 1 Disease, but if you have Crimson Scourge reduce Outbreak’s CD by 30 seconds you can choose if you want to play Diseaseless or Disease, no forcing you to use 1 Disease. It leaves you with a choice of which play style you prefer to go by without gimping Survivability (Outbreak 1 min = if you go Diseases you lose 1 DS every 60 seconds). If you just make Blood go with Blood Plague you eliminate choice once again, the choice between Disease and Diseaseless.

  9. Haardrada says:

    The old Unholy Blight with the AOE, or the old old Unholy Blight that could pull a mob from the other side of the continent when you used it?

    • Blighted says:

      Haha…that was quite literally the exact thing that came to my mind when I read that statement. Then I thought of the time I spent power leveling dual-boxed toons through lower level dungeons, purely using horn / IT / UB and not stopping from start to end of the instance.

      3 minute stockades ftw haha….

    • RIP Unholy Blight.

      I wish they’d just put the name Unholy Blight on something later that’s a lot better than a small dot for Death Coil. They need to rename the current UB something like, “Improved Death Coil” or “Tainted Coil” and then give us something worthy of being called Unholy Blight. That name obviously deserves something better than what we get.

      Basically how they took Rage of Rivendare away and then brought it back with something powerful that matches its name. Then again, if it had been me, I would have had Unholy Blight be the name for Shadow Infusion and had the whole “shadow energy” mechanic instead be poxes from diseases erupting on the ghoul until it exploded into an Undead Monstrosity.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I don’t mind tank commentary as that is kind of what I have to do so.. More!

  11. Jonneh says:

    Time for one of my i told you so moments

    Nefarian currently extremly pet unfriendly. They bug out, cant path, get 1 shot, fall through the floor. Atm in beta its impossible to have a pet useful for any amount of time. Commence feedback beta-forum-posters. Making us dependant on a pet for optimal dps means you better make your encounters pet friendly!

    gg unholy 😦

  12. Raxx says:

    Not sure your fears about vengeance scaling will be a huge issue, as I am sure as we go up the raid tiers Blizz will have us taking plenty of damage, and oour health pool will be that much higher so the max AP will increase. One fear I have is whether Vengeance includes damage absorbed by the shield, as that could have us falling behind.

    I tanked Halfus last week, and it felt good, I didnt feel overly vulnerable and the healers said I was easier to heal, so there’s a first (The pala tank and I were both in 346 heroic premade gear).

    Overal I would agree, but bears are OP on live right now.

    • Insolence says:

      Vengeance stacks through Shield. Even if you absorb a whole hit Vengeance still applies it as though you didn’t, yes.

      • Insolence says:

        Although when you avoid an attack you only generate 50% of the Vengeance you’d get if it hit you IIRC.

  13. Korell says:

    The last two weeks likewise i have been called upon to tank instead of dps as i normally do and i have to say new blood is alot more fun than old blood.

    Think Blood shield is awesome and gives the spec the feeling of being able to take alot more damage. Older deathknight tanking sometimes felt like if you got into a bad string of avoidance without a cooldown up, your health dropped like a stone. Its feels much better having some on demand survival that isn’t tied into cooldowns and usable all the time, runes willing.

    On the vengeance subject am feeling it doesn’t help raid trash tanking atm. Seem to keep finding my bear or warrior partner grabs the majority of the pack and can’t out aggro at all.

    Do occasionally find myself rune starved, so can’t wait for the beta changes. On demand rune strikes and faster rune regen should help alot on the trash thing.

  14. fenorr says:

    Too many cooldowns? Blood uses generally 3 buttons except bb/diseases once/twice a minute and cooldowns which you use once every few minutes, is it too much? I really like how many CD’s does blood have atm. The rune strike change is imo horrible because it makes death coil useless in normal situation, but majority of people likes just for the reason of RS doing bigger numbers than DC. Also not regarding DK’s, but another thing I don’t understand about tanking is why they gave all classes exactly same 2min CD 50% damage reduction for 12 seconds – what happened to buffs, MS effects, interrupts already, now also applies to cooldowns; soon enough classes might be aswell replaced with 4 “healer, melee” etc. archetypes, because the difference in playstyle is close to nothing.

    • Insolence says:

      What is horrible is Blood having to use Death Coil for Runic Empowerment proc. That’s horrible, the design is fail. Free Rune Strike was just totally necessary from the moment they removed Icy Slam, we had no source of burst threat, and the only thing that came close to it was reliant on RNG. Bad.

      The IBF change is to further fuel their idea of “bring the player not the class” which is bullshit since in the process they ruin a lot of things that differentiate classes, such as their Cooldowns in the case of Tanks. Increasing IBF CD to 3 min was just bad and uncalled for apart from the fact that they want more homogenization between classes.

      • coldazice says:

        Since when doesn’t runestrike proc re anymore ? Didn’t actually tank on beta yet but it’s still in the tooltip and on live it works just fine.

      • Insolence says:

        It does. But we always have excess Rp now and free GCDs, so we need to use that up on Death Coil for a chance to gain more Runic Empowerment Runes. That design is fail.

      • Sag says:

        I don’t see what would be wrong with that design if blood was given an extra threat modifier to DC. The RP cost is high, but it will only be 10 RP more than RS when the change goes through. I am worried that eventually Blizz will nerf RS into the ground.

      • Insolence says:

        The CURRENT design sucks, where you need to Death Coil for shitty threat and damage. I can see why they’d apply a Threat Modifier to Death Coil but we’d continue to be the only spec whacking two Runic power abilities.

      • Sag says:

        I really don’t see a lot wrong with that. I wish there was more to do with runic power. Something like IBF shouldn’t have it, but mind freeze should. And as I recall on the off hand chance that unholy (ok maybe not unholy due to dark transformation) or frost have the opportunity to rune strike they should becaue the strike is that strong.

        I realize that different classes are different, but I have no problem with a high threat ability being linked to a dodge or block. The problem becomes when those dodges and blocks don’t happen, or can’t happen. Take a warrior’s revenge. High threat, only useable after a dodge, block or parry. At low levels it’s one of the better sources of threat. The issue is that a warrior’s threat is not horrible without revenge whereas a DK’s threat does revolve around having the runic power and getting a runestrike in. Really, I think it would be nice to have both. Of course DKs aren’t designed to generate runic power the way warriors generate rage.

      • Insolence says:

        Rune Strike’s design was fine while we had Icy Slam, we had a high-threat-move on-demand while not having to rely on Rune Strike’s RNG Threat. Even now, Threat is clunky. If you don’t get enough Rune Strikes you’ll force your DPS to spam Soulshatter each time its off CD. I understand making DPS actually use the moves, but having to have it constantly On-Cooldown + having to stop just makes people want to stay away from DK Tanks. If they gave us another move to generate high threat from then we could keep Rune Strike the way it was, but since they didn’t, they had to change Rune Strike. It was a mandatory change.

        Runic Power for us is merely a secondary resource, although they make it very important for every spec: Blood; Main Threat move + RE. Frost; Mastery, RE. Unholy; Ghoul, RE. Warriors only have 1 Resource, we have 4 different types of Runes, Runic Power and Runic-Whack-A-Mole-Empowerment.

        Mind Freeze having an RP cost now blocks Tanks from being able to Interrupt. Basically if you’re going to Interrupt a boss like Jaraxxus or Vezax you’ll lose 1 Rune Strike every 10 seconds, which in the long run will be a huge Threat loss to us. I always enjoyed Interrupting on Vezax, Jaraxxus, Iron Council and whatever else. Now I just can’t anymore.

      • Sag says:

        Well working as it is now, I am saving RP for that lucky streak of 5 dodges (hey it happens). I do notice that I can’t really do the interrupts, but when looking at other classes warriors, mages and rogues have plenty of time to interrupt and have talents that allow for more damage every time they do so. Frost can get free MFs (I think they should add something to this talent personally, like let successful MFs proc RE). So I think that the idea is to have someone else aside from tanks do this. Personally I would think interrupts would draw a ton of hate. I sure hate it on my caster when I am interrupted. Regardless, that is where I think design is going. Other classes may get something to compensate for it as well, who knows.

      • Insolence says:

        Sure, but I don’t understand why they can’t let Tanks interrupt too. Its nice to have a Good Tank + Interrupter all-in-one. Vezax and Jaraxxus just got even more boring for me.

      • Sag says:

        Trying to force other people to take responsibility during encounters. This way it’s not just the tank and the healer shouldering the burden. What do you think CC really does? I forsee more warriors, dks and rogues as dps because you can’t use sap in combat, if something bad happens the rogue is free because he’ll say he can only dps if his CC is broke. Warriors and DKs don’t have any reliable CC. A significant portion of people do not like personal responsibility in their games, esp when it is really easy to see who messed up.

      • Insolence says:

        If they made Mind Freeze free Baseline though then it would offer a choice to the players as to who’ll interrupt. No DK spec is GCD-capped anymore so anyone can do it.

        CoI should really be turned into a CC ability, Hungering Cold just doesn’t cut it, neither does Ghoul’s stun.

  15. Theldonn says:

    I completely agree that Blood Tanking is in a great place right now. My only issue is the initial threat burst is lacking. But the Rune Strike change that is coming in 4.0.3 should remedy that problem as I have no problem keeping threat once I get a few rune strikes in.

    I would like them outright remove Dancing Rune Weapon as it feels out of place. It was simply slapped with a +20% parry and left as is. I’m not sure what I would replace it with though, maybe Blizzard felt the same way so they didn’t do much with it.

    • Insolence says:

      They changed a Dps Cooldown into a Hybrid Cooldown. Its doomed to die. Since it won’t happen in 4.0 just hope blizz focuses a bit more on us in 4.1 and fixes Blood bloat among other things….

      • Sag says:

        I think lowering the RP requirement of this might help. Maybe the gylph is better than I think it is as well. 60 RP is a pretty steep cost for a CD, esp if it is supposed to be primarily defensive. Do you think this would be better as a 20 RP cost?

      • Insolence says:

        Even 30 would do really. Even now its hard to stock up 60 RP, we need to use almost all our Runes to do it so we end up using ERW right after to get them back to get burst, and since its on a 5 minute cooldown if we DRW right after it comes off CD ERW won’t be ready yet.

        The Glyph is great, its some good burst threat, just the cost needs tweaking. Even duration is fine. Scrapping the parry on it to reduce cost wouldn’t really be a big issue, I don’t know anyone that uses it as a defensive cooldown right now since the Glyph makes it into a much better Threat CD than Surv CD.

  16. Sag says:

    Consider, just a word of support for any tanking posts. I don’t mind if you post more tanking stuff, I think a lot of DKs are pressed into tanking because, well, someone has to do it. Just like warriors and pallies and druids, though pallies and druids are pressed into healing just as often. Even if you only link back to pwnwear forums or EJ it’s a quick link to finding additional tank information where DPSers are used to looking for information. So the post is appreciated.

    • jordanjlloyd says:

      I’ll second that, it’s great to see some serious discussion not only within the DK dps community (UH primarily and your emphasis on Frost dps in recent months), but also the tanking community on pwnwear coming in here. As someone who now is being nudged into the tanking realm, it’s great to hear the same well thought posts you throw up here and the great discussions that follow.

  17. Jonneh says:

    Most rep vendor items and normal/heroic drops are in now right? Even most of the raid drops? Perhaps its time for an entry level BiS for each of the progression paths?

    Supposed to be Rep vendors/normals -> Rep/heroic -> rep/T11 ?

    So far as I can see anyway the rep vendors sell ilvl 333, 346 and 359 being the equivalent of Normal/Heroic/T11 ?

    • Jonneh says:

      Also in another unrelated a post, a look at my UI using the LUI package.

      NB: wouldn’t use it too much as a guide for our rotation, think I made a couple of boo-boo’s in that regard, but its a close approximation ^_^

      Pet still critting at 4% :(((((

      • Jonneh says:

        watching it again myself, seriously thats some insane rune regen with RC and 700 haste proc both up. Couple of seconds and I’m sitting on 4 death runes, zomg!

  18. Karesh says:

    Come Cata I shall be stepping up also to move from Unholy DPS to Blood tanking as our guild has lost a couple tanks so was happy to change as I have enjoyed the tanking I have done recently for our push to get guild members the Kingslayer title. My interest is with the Cata dungeons and raids is it still aoe spam your way through the trash or has that become a thing of the past?

    • coldazice says:

      With the 346 ilvl premade we pretty much aoe’d our way through all heroics. We did play with a bit cc in the bastion of twilights although I am pretty sure it wasn’t really necessary. The sheeps were pretty often broken by some over zealous damage dealer but we didn’t really wipe from that.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Yeah was kinda surprised they have not done anything to improve mastery for Unholy yet as well Consider. As the issue is too much effectiveness in an aoe situation vs single target. Would think the “cleanest” solution would be to add another modifier with the mastery to effect unholy blight. Giving them separate “gears” and “nobs” to turn to get it feeling right, and get it closer to haste and crit in worth.

    • Sag says:

      I hate to speak for Consider, but I believe somehow backing SS damage into the mastery was a solution that was proposed.

  20. Magdalena of Turalyon says:

    You wanted topics? 😛 Here are some suggestions:

    *A tribute to Unholy in WoTLK at its various stages (No, I will never let that go!)

    *”Tricks of the trade” that you think are essential for people trying to squeeze out that last bit of DPS as Unholy or Frost. This already assumes we know the basics of the spec and is more encounter-by-encounter focused, like Potlol’s guide on StratFu was. Special glyphs? Blood Tap bugs? Gargoyle spinning? We want to hear about it!

    *A list of your (self described of course) favorite addons and why you think they’re so useful. Definitely doesn’t need to be restricted to solely raiding ones!

    *A blank post which encourages questions in the comments and then answers them as they come in. Think of it as a “Consider panel” without being scared of EJ mods!

    More to come!

    • Leviatharan says:

      I’d like to add, a revision of the Unholy/Frost/Blood Wishlists following the 4.0 changes. I keep hearing complaints that Frost is boring (and GCD capped of course), and how Unholy’s Mastery is terrible, and how many players have a misguided notion that Blood DKs are broken tanks. I never really hear anyone’s thoughts on how to fix it anymore.

      • Jonneh says:

        Jury still out for me on broken blood tanking, mechanics aside it seems like it’ll be overpowered or terrible!

        Time will tell.

        As for suggested topics.

        Pre raid gear has to be top of the list. Checking items briefly, our best pre-instance weapon is the one from the new ring of blood quest? No craft-able 2h with str yet it seems though, so massive oversight there.

        Aside from all that one must wonder about the state of the new haste model, and why it is doomed to fail. I personally believe that any stat with a softcap like that is not very new-player friendly and will always require the kind of min/maxing which has aparently drawn the wrath of GCs posts in the build up to cata through the beta etc. Probably a bit of a flamey topic though, but I’m sure you could pull it off.

        We never did find out why your live account got locked? Or well, I didn’t. Rage post at Blizzard CSR? 😀

        Perhaps its time for another of the threads I suggested that drew such success earlier in the beta. a quick FAQ thread in DD or w/e to sum up remaining issues and bugs where we might get more constructive posts, and hopefully.. a response. Mastery sucking for Unholy, Frosts GCD issues ongoing.. Gargoyle still bloody well meleeing… Pet’s lack of crit, the uselessness of DSim if no bloody pve spell can be stolen >.< … Haste being overpowered and ultimately self defeating in the design intent to give us free GCDs… 2 minute pet re summon after you dismount being a total nightmare for rated BGs, or anywhere you 'dismiss' it like a vehicle or w/e :/ … Unfriendly pet pve fights! (Nerfarian, specifically) :/ …….. I struggle to think of more even though I'm sure I've missed important ones!

        These are the ones that plague me anyway ^_^

      • Sag says:

        I’ve enjoyed blood tanking so far, but I feel that with the scaling that comes with an expansion that, like Jonneh, Blood could be OP, or weak. I’d like to know if mastery will be good really good or not. It seems ok now, but at some point I wonder if the shield could get too strong, or be horrible vs dodge and parry. Is there any way to model that?

        I also wonder about how blood pvp could ruin them as a tank. Don’t get me wrong DKs were OP at the start of Wrath, but there were some nerfs due to pvp as well.

      • Insolence says:

        One of Chimaeron’s attacks seem to heavily favor DK OTing, the double-swing thing favor Blood Shield quite a lot.

        Although that’s only 1 boss, Block was OP for Anub’Arak Heroic but they didn’t do anything about it. Would suck to have our ability nerfed because of 1 boss, they should just change the actual ability to suit all Tanks….. Almost seems like they designed it with Blood Shield in mind.

  21. Vuvuzela says:

    Yoh Consider i am sure you allready noticed mmo-champion new beta build so if we could get a comment or two about the changes would be cool.I also get dibs on “Dk changes all over the place again :p”.Come on guys throw some feedback

    • Insolence says:

      IBF nerf – Already announced.
      Blightcaller change – Hurry up and replace this Mastery already, you’re making Unholy AoE OP.

      Rune Strike change – Unnecessary. Although, I’m estimating that Blizzard reduced it’s DPS Expectations since they’re nerfing Base Damage, Weapon Damage etc. So it can’t be specific low-level balancing. Assuming I’m correct, the RS nerf was to keep Tank Threat 3x higher than DPS Threat instead of 4x or 5x.

      I might be wrong but I can’t find a better reason. I can already see the QQ over RS change though… /Sigh.

  22. the DK says:

    Hey Consider,

    When I started looking for some online help with my Unholy DK, and happened across your EJ thread, I found it to be a godsend. It held all the information I needed to progress with my DK, and with your adjustments I was topping the charts. However, I’ve avoided tanking with him simply because I didn’t feel as though I had the information on tanking that you provided with DPSing. Sure, there were plenty of guides, but you’ve said yourself you go much more in-depth with your help than anybody else on EJ, and I’d venture to say on the web.

    Having said that, have you considered doing a Blood tanking thread for people like me out there? Yes, your traffic is primarily DPS, however I’d bet I’m not the only person who would love your help in the tanking area. Yes, there’s pwngear, but it seems more of a collaborative forum, and less of an actual teacher-to-student guide that you provide (having said that, I’ve looked at it only briefly, and I’m planning to delve into it more to see if I’m mistaken about that assumption).

    Of course, if it just isn’t something you’re interested in, that’s a different matter entirely. But if its about whether or not people would appreciate a Blood guide from you…. I’d venture to say that I’m not the only one who would. Just food for thought.

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