Before Cata – To Be Done

I have no clue how to begin going about apologizing for my recent lack of blogging! I don’t know what’s been up with me, but I’ve been completely lethargic when it comes to writing; and for that, all I can say is sorry.

Of course, it doesn’t help that there hasn’t been much of anything to talk about. I mean, I can sum up the last couple week’s worth of changes in just a few sentences: The Unholy Might nerf is a straight up dps hit, of course, but not all that significant of one, and Strength should still trump Haste at the start of 85. The Mastery buff is free dps for Unholy, not quite covering for the aforementioned nerf, and it still leaves the rating as the worst secondary stat available to the spec. The change to Chaotic Skyflare’s requirement is just utterly bizzare, and whether it’s worth bothering to meet (as opposed to the alternatives of  using Enigmatic for Unholy or Fleeting for Frost) remains to be seen.

And… that’s pretty much it. Nothing else has happened for DK dps in some time!

Which isn’t to say we still need many changes at this point. There are a couple of bugs, which I’m sure will be fixed shortly, but aside from that? Unholy is in an excellent place. Stat balance could be closer, Virulence/Epidemic could be better, the Gargoyle could not be so weak, and our Ghoul could scale with crit… but overall, the spec has shaped up very nicely, and obviously things will never be perfect, especially since perfection is all in the eye of the beholder! Frost isn’t quite as well off; Runic Empowerment is Runic Empowerment, the AoE rotation is all sorts of messed up, Tier 1/2 are rather lackluster, DW is GCD capped, and so on, but the spec is perfectly functional, and I’m sure there are some who will love and thrive on the chaotic style of the tree.

All in all, though, things are wrapping up, and I wouldn’t expect any earth shattering (get it?) changes for us between now and the actual expansion.

Thus with the likely lack of any real upheaval for the class, there’s a variety of pre-Cataclysm odds and ends I would like to attend to before December 7th, and I figured I would share. Some of these will be actual blog topics while others will be modifications to the EJ guides; hopefully all of it will be of an interest, and should be enough to keep myself busy (and, thus, keep all of you pleased!). If there’s any suggestions for anything else you would like to see before launch day, feel free to suggest it, and I will happily consider it. After then… well, I would expect things to be busy enough that the topics will all but write themselves!

[EJ Upkeep]

I’ve been plain failing at keeping up on discussion and the like in the EJ threads, and then incorporating any valid/interesting points into the OP. This hasn’t really been being I’ve been lazy or because I’ve been too busy, but rather just the odd nature of this patch – how so many things will just go out the window in less than five weeks! I can assure you that I’ll be on top of things as much as ever in Cataclysm. The pre-expansion patch is just such an awkward lull ><.

[Blog Design]

As I’ve discussed in the past, there’s a lot I want to do with this site in terms of appearance and functionality;  which would likely mean going the private domain route to have access to a higher level of customization. It’s still something I’m looking into and strongly considering. Unfortunately I’m a bit ignorant of such matters, and thus it’s taking somewhat longer then it should, but hopefully I’ll figure it all out.

Even if I don’t, if nothing else I plan to make the most of the free hosting and overhaul the current layout. I have a new Archive page in the works, a reworking of the BiS pages, a way to port my EJ guide here and then break it up appropriately for easier viewing (for those so inclined), redoing categories/tags, and so on.  I’ll likely spruce up the looks of the blog as well – I prefer to keep things low key and clean cut, as I’m sure you may guess by the current theme, but it’s a bit too plain, at the moment.

Ultimately content matters more than anything, certainly, but accessibility and appearance all increase the odds that one even bothers to read said content!

[FAQ Sticky]

There’s two main reasons why I haven’t yet thrown up the Frequently Asked Questions section of the EJ posts, and that’s not because I’ve just been slacking! A large issue has been length; even cutting out as many borderline questions as desirable and even keeping my answers as concise as possible, the FAQ section still ends up being the single largest portion of the guides. The other, lesser issue is that there’s a fair amount of overlap between the Unholy and the Frost versions of these guides, as some questions transcend spec.

The solution is simple: a new thread, the OP of which contains the FAQ. Many other classes on EJ have such posts – rogues and priests, for example, although I can assure you that my version for DKs would be way more extensive than either of thsoe – and thus I’m sure it will be alright with the moderators, although I’ll obviously have to check with them before throwing it up. It should solve the space issues as well as the overlaping of specs, as well as leave the more “beginner-ish” discussion in another thread, as desirable for those debating the finer points of the class.

I can’t recall off the top of my head whether Gravity is including a FAQ on Pwnwear or on his EJ post but, if he doesn’t, I will cover Blood in the FAQ as well.

[Macro and Mod Section]

It will be done before Cataclysm. This one is simply a case of me slacking!

[Reforging Section]

It will be completely modified. Reforging optimizers and such will be out for Cataclysm, no doubt; Kahorie already has one in the works for his renowned simulator, and I’m sure others will take a stab at the undertaking too.

Still, some people prefer to understand why you do what you do, and would like to be able to figure out what to do without resorting to a program.Unfortunately, the current Reforging section of my EJ posts are a bit too basic – they don’t cover each and every possibility, and thus following the suggestions there won’t lead to complete optimization. I’ve figured out a format which will solve that issue, however, while at the same time being easily understandable and not some gigantic block of text. I will debut when I update the stat weights for Cataclysm.

[Cataclysm Stat Weights]

Number tuning seems to be just about at its end, and Kahorie’s is reliable enough for 85 at this point – Cataclysm stat weights will be developed and analyzed soon!

[Stat Weights in DPS]

Speaking of stat weights, starting with Cataclysm I’ll be relating all weights in terms of dps, as opposed to AP as it currently stands. This post briefly covers why such a transition makes sense, although once I do start releasing weights in such a manner, I will make a blog entry expanding on the (many, many) reasons why I’m doing it. Hopefully the transition won’t confuse too many people, but there’s not a doubt in my mind that all the dozens of pro’s easily outweigh that sole con.

Weights in AP is just plain irrational, and an outdated means of discussing them. Putting it all in terms of dps lets you make so many more connections and conclusions!

[Spec Balance in Cataclysm]

I will, of course, be making a blog entry discussing how Frost DW, Frost 2H, and Unholy 2H all compare to one another at level 85 at various gear points. It’s quite different than 80, for obvious reasons.

[Best in Slot Lists]

BiS lists will be done shortly after the new stat weights. There will be pre-heroic, pre-raid, pre-hard-mode, and unrestricted versions of the lists, although if any other variation seems useful, just let me know, and I’ll consider it.

[How Best to Spend Time/Points/Gold]

Although I won’t be making a real guide as to how to gear up as soon as you hit 85 – largely because there’s a million different ways to go about it – I will be making a blog entry (or two or three, pending length) discussing the best manner in which to spend your time, valor/heroism points, and gold in order to optimize the upgrades you get from them.

By time, I mean which dungeons give either the greatest loot, most loot, or quickest loot per time – whatever gives you the best dps return for your time spent!

By valor/heroism points… well, self-explanatory.

By gold, I primarily mean craftables.

If there’s any other metric one things worth covering, just drop a comment.

[Affect of Outbreak, Necrotic Strike, Dark Simulacrum]

I’ll be discussing what effect, if any, the three new abilities have on our PvE playstyles, as Outbreak, NS, and DSim are the largest changes in our playstyle from 4.01 and Cata.

[Leveling Advice]

Wondering what spec is best for leveling? Wondering which zone you should tackle first? Wondering if there’s any tips or tricks one should be aware of?

I’ll cover all of that, and then some, in a blog entry before launch day, drawing upon my experience leveling a DK from 80 to 85 over half a dozen times so far on beta!

[Thoughts on the Beta Process]

Self-explanatory. It’s been an interesting experience, to say the least, and although everyone has their own opinion on it, I’ll be sharing mine. Suffice is to say, although it hasn’t been everything I expected, it’s still been a phenomenal opportunity, and something I’m tremendously glad to have been a part of.

[Pre-Expansion Reminders]

On the weekend before December 7th, expect a post of last minute reminders: where you should (and shouldn’t) log off on Monday night, items to have on you, abilities to add/remove from your bars, and so on!

Think there’s other things I should tackle? Just let me know in comments!

18 Responses to Before Cata – To Be Done

  1. coldazice says:

    Surely sounds promising.
    On a more or less personal matter I’d really be interested if you plan on progress raiding once again, because I’d really like to see something along the lines of that encounter specific thread the rogues had in their ej forum.

    And btw. since I just read in what excellent shape unholy is once again, are really so many people content on how the whole unholy playstyle evolved ? I still have really problems wrapping my head around having such a strong pet that I feel like a bm hunter especially with all other abilities also hitting like a wet noodle.

    • Consider says:

      I will definitely be actively raiding in Cataclysm, yes. 10s or 25s, and how “hardcore” or otherwise, I can’t yet say.

      I’m quite content with Unholy’s playstyle! The pet is likely too strong, sure, but that’s more of a numbers thing. They could easily cut our pet’s damage by, say, 25%, then buff SS/FeS to cover the loss. How we played wouldn’t change, for the most part, and that’s what playstyle is. Number distribution is important, certainly, but in this case, it’s not a huge deal as it wouldn’t change how we played.

  2. Zeran says:

    First, glad to have you back… it was getting lonesome with nothing to read/discuss. Second, stop slacking, I need something to think about. Third, all of that sounds great, can’t wait to read it.

  3. Jonneh says:

    Agreed, sounds great. As someone whos not been in the beta (again), I guess I need some of these advice guides as much as the next man. It will be most welcome.

    Along with the ‘main issues’ can I suggest another DD forum post asking about our various continued issues and inviting more constructive discussion again? Since the DK Discussion thread has once again failed us!

  4. Kin says:

    Yo, I’m curious what you would consider (get it?) best for leveling right now. Starting up another DK, Horde this time though, on a friends server and was curious how to go about leveling now.

    • Consider says:

      2h Frost. No question. I’ll delve into it soon enough, but there’s a lot of reasons behind it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wouldn’t the prime reason be simply that you can very easily replace an Oblit with a Death Strike for 10% health? Unholy obviously wouldn’t have the runes match up very well with a FU strike. And with 2h as opposed to dual wield, you’ll be in Unholy presence and get the movement speed and fast rune recharges (which you also get by having Haste as a high value stat) for more Death Strikes when needed, and you can take On a Pale Horse for mount speed…it all adds up. I miss anything?

      • Consider says:

        There are a lot of factors behind it. Getting both increased mount speed and increased run speed is huge. Glyph of HB + Butchery + MotFW means you essentially just cast HB, then spam FS till the mob is dead. Don’t have to bother with pet bugs. Death Pact is painless to use. Tons of reasons.

  5. Kav says:

    Just wanted to pop in and say thanks! I’ve only read for about a month now but I’ve learned so much. Given limited play time, I’m not very good with the numbers so you are my go to when I need help. I’ve seen great increases in performance since reading and always look forward to seeing a new post from you on my feed. Keep doin’ yo’ thang! =D

  6. Frozen says:

    Definitely looking forwards to many of the above topics! Keep it up. ❤

  7. Anonymous says:

    When you make the post about where to level and such, could you also talk about what rep we’ll need and where we should level / grind to gain that most efficiently?

    • Haardrada says:

      Wildhammer/Dragonmaw: Twilight Highlands local faction. Head enchant and gloves at Revered. Head enchant is BOA.
      Therazane: Deepholm local faction. The new Sons of Hodir– first tier of shoulder enchants at Honored, a ring at Revered, and second tier of shoulder enchants at Exalted. Shoulder enchants are BOP.
      Ramkahen: Uldum local faction. What I’m assuming is supposed to be a tank ring at Revered, though it’s Expertise/Mastery so it’s still decent for DPS. Neck (and camel mounts!) at Exalted.
      Guardians of Hyjal: Take a guess. DPS ring at Honored, boots at Revered, belt at Exalted.
      Earthen Ring: Barely any dailies, but you’ll get a lot of rep with them anyways since they’re present through Vashjir, Deepholm, and Twilight Highlands. Nothing of note for DPS, though tanks get their head enchant from these guys.
      Tol Barad faction: A really good 2-hander at Revered which will probably be pre-raid BIS excluding Zin’rokh. A really good trinket at Exalted (321 mastery, 1605 str on use).

      All of these factions except the Tol Barad faction can be ground through championing; the Tol Barad faction is dailies-only. (Therazane has a rep tabard but you’ll probably want to do the dailies anyway.)

      Basically, the only zone that doesn’t have a plate-DPS-relevant faction in it is Vashjir, and that zone is skippable anyway.

  8. Andeus says:

    I leveled to 85 as 2H Frost and I gotta say that I loved it. Its amazing how fast you can kill a mob when the procs are up, 27k KM Oblits are no laughing matter. Also my Heroic Bryn’Trol’s healing was of great help. Nobody should change that weapon until you get to the new “Ring Of Blood” questline @ 85 and get

    After all that it makes me kinda sad that 2H Frost’s issues might make it inferior to Unholy for raiding, was hoping to stick with it. Oh well, let’s wait and see and even if it is inferior on release; it might be ok in 4.1.

  9. Branith says:

    really interested in hearing what new Macros are out there. Not much info on the servers, if anyone knows some good macros let me know, especially ones that save keybindings for the new spells coming soon, im out of keybinds 😦

  10. Nahela says:

    I have to say, while Unholy is certainly playable and viable, that’s a fairly extensive list of significant issues to say it’s in an ‘excellent’ place.

    • Consider says:

      Obviously what’s a significant issue or a minor one and what’s an excellent place or an acceptable one are just very subjective evaluations. All a matter of perspective and opinion.

      Ultimately I would say the three most important factors are is the spec functional, is it fun, and is it viable. And, aside from a few remaining bugs, I would argue the answer is yes to all three.

      But to each their own.

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