Guide(s) – Other Forums?

The last two things I wanted to get done for Elitist Jerks before Tuesday – more stratified stat weights and the FAQ – are all but finished, and will be thrown up before the end of the evening, most likely. Once those are complete (on top of a couple other minor odds and ends, such as discussing DW verse 2H for each spec, which I’ll also knock out), the guides should be in a very strong place for Cataclysm and likely won’t need any factual work done for months. Obviously if there’s anything you believe to be inaccurate, lacking, or otherwise missing, I’m always open to feedback, but I can’t think of much else the two could use without going overly in-depth into a particularly complicated area or a particularly simple one… that’s probably the most difficult aspect of threads such as those: balancing between giving detailed enough information without being overly detailed and balancing between explaining without handholding. Fall too far either which way, and there’s bound to be issues.

At any rate, to the matter at hand: I’ve been wondering if anyone would see any value or benefit in me making one or two guides for the official forums and/or mmo-champion forums. These wouldn’t merely be truncated versions of my EJ ones, but done from scratch entirely, and although it would inevitably contain much of the same information, it would skew more towards that “explaining” end of the spectrum, whereas EJ already leans slight more to the “details” side, and likely could afford to go a bit farther down that route, especially if I did this.

There would be several benefits to be gained: reaching a wider audience (not just on the posted locations, but it would also likely draw more people to the threads on EJ, or even here), helping those who probably need it most (let’s be honest, the sort of person who visits the official forums but isn’t familiar with EJ likely is newer and less knowledgeble of the game), making the official DK forums a somewhat more intelligent place (not that I’m deluded enough to think it would stop even half the stupid threads there, even if it prevented one a week, that’s something), and so on.

To be clear, I’m not asking if any of you readers would use such a thing. Odds are, if you’re here, you’re familiar with EJ and not the sort who needs this sort of thing anyways, although you might still be interested in why certain things are as they are and what have you. I’m asking if you think it would be a good idea, in general, for the DK community and player-base.

I’m very interested in feedback on this subject, so if you wouldn’t mind spending a couple seconds voting and/or commenting, I would be quite grateful! I have mixed feelings, myself, and can’t quite make up my mind.

Leveling – 2H Frost’s Redemption

With Cataclysm exactly a week away there’s a single, vital question that should be on almost everyone’s mind: what spec should I be for leveling?

To an extent, it doesn’t particularly matter. Leveling isn’t intended to be so difficult that if you’re trying to do it with anything less than the optimal spec, you’re essentially screwing yourself over. Nor is it meant to be all that long, with 80 to 85 taking far less playtime than 70 to 80 ever did. Even if neither of those were true and leveling did require any sort of min-maxing in your build, the fact of the matter is: it just couldn’t be done! The number of variables one would have to take into account would be way too long to list, let alone actually attempt to calculate.

So why does a leveling spec matter so much if the content isn’t challenging or lengthy enough to demand anything even remotely resembling your absolute best?

Because unlike raiding and unlike arena, leveling is the one thing every single player in the game goes through. Because unlike any other aspect of the expansion, leveling is likely going to be one of the very first parts you experience on launch day. Because the fact that a section of the game doesn’t require you to do your absolute best doesn’t mean that a certain kind of person would be able to enjoy it to the fullest otherwise… which, for what it’s worth, is why most people also min-max in other areas.

It suffices to say that, yes, a leveling spec does indeed matter.

Fortunately for us, the answer is obvious: Frost 2H is the way to go.

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Nightmares – They Do Come True

Hello to a certain Sarah and Jordan

Update: I forgot to mention it, but such a spec would use DnD on cooldown on a single target, and would replace the SS glyph with the DnD glyph. Even without doing either of these – never DnDing on a sole mob sticking with GoSS – the spec still pulls away. This just widens the lead.

Once Kahorie has all the new enchants/gems/set bonuses into the sim, I’ll do an actual full-fledged entry with numbers and explanations and all that (on this subject and on several related ones), but for now, based on initial simming and math, I’ll just say this:

Unholy DW at 85…

Looking viable?
Yes.

Looking optimal?
Yes.

Looking at Blizzard in amusement while attempting to refrain from laughter?
Yes.

As I said, I’ll go more indepth into this shortly, but I don’t expect the trend I’m seeing to shift; although I’ll be the first to admit my mistake if these findings prove wrong. Even if they do, the spec would still be very competitive as the gap would have to be incredibly minor. Amusingly, even were things to reverse themselves and this playstyle were to go back to being behind, Unholy DW and Unholy 2H would still be closer to one another than Frost DW and Frost 2H, not to mention Unholy DW would be closer to Frost DW than Frost 2H will be to Unholy 2H.

Rather ironic, really.

Meta-Gems – Some Confirmation

Ever since they changed the requirements of Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond a couple beta builds ago, there’s been a lot of debate among the various dps specs/classes as to whether it’s worth bothering to use. In particular, I saw that Hamlet and Binkenstein (moonkin and elemental shaman geniuses, respectively) recently declared the meta – red gem sacrifices and all – to be worth using for their own classes.

To clear up the matter for Death Knights:

  • Unholy will never use it, unless your gear set up somehow has less than ~5 gem sockets total, assuming a random distribution of colors/bonuses. Even in an unrealistic set-up with nothing but a dozen blue sockets, unless at least half of those blue sockets give a strength bonus, you still wouldn’t bother with CSD! Questing or raiding gear, Chaotic is out.
  • Frost DW and Frost 2H won’t use it, unless their gear has less than ~9 gem sockets total, assuming a random distribution of colors/bonuses. Basically, you’ll use it when you first hit 85, but ditch it once the majority of your gear is from heroics (or better).

That’s all.

All three specs will likely end up using Destructive Shadowspirit Diamond; yeah, the 1% spell reflect is worthless, but you don’t have to sacrifice any strength via orange/purple gems to activate it, which is the real charm of the meta. The only real alternatives are Enigmatic Shadowspirit Diamond and Impassive Shadowspirit Diamond; if you happen to be socketing at least one orange and one purple anyways, you may as well proceed to use either of those two; or if any raid fights happen to utilize snares/fears, then of course the respective gem would pull ahead and be worth the sacrifice.

One may wonder why I don’t point out Fleet Shadowspirit Diamond as a possibility for Frost DW; although it depends on the specific socket bonuses available to your individual set of gear, generally speaking it’s a smaller sacrifice to pick up run speed from your boot enchant then it is from the meta, even considering the passive bonus a mastery meta has over a crit meta.

Anyways, just one of several little matters to clear up before 85!

Cata BiS – Frost 2H

Remember, Unholy BiS can be found here, Frost DW BiS can be found here, and the stats weights from which all of these sets were generated can be found here.

This is a bit delayed, I know; apparently a number of items got some of their socket bonuses/colors/stats changed around. Glancing through the previous lists, everything should still be perfectly accurate, save for the reforging aspect, which I’ll likely have to tweak once I actually put it into the EJ thread. The items themselves are what’s most important, and there shouldn’t be any differences there – at the most, one item a list, an that’s easily remedied.

One thing to note which was brought up in comments in one of the previous BiS posts: trinkets. All Catalcysm trinkets appear to have an approximate 16.67% (1/6) uptime, which is half the current normal of 33.33% (1/3). On top of that, the budget of the proc/use of a trinket appear to be the exact same as the budget of the passive stat – for instance, if a trinket has 200 passive whatever, the proc would equal out to be 200 of a stat (which, when combined with the uptime, means the value would be 1200). It’s a topic I can delve into more at a later date if so desired, but for now, simply something to keep in mind.

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Virulence – Dream Come True

Virulence has been buffed! It now increases spell hit by 3/6/9%, up from 2/4/6%.

And people say Blizzard doesn’t listen!

I believe this change speaks for itself, and out of respect for the special place in my heart that Virulence holds, I will honor it with what is likely my shortest blog post ever.

That is how overwhelmed with raw emotion I am.

Cata BiS – Frost DW

See title, insert standard disclaimer (could change before going live), and all that jazz. Remember you can view example stat weights here or see Unholy’s BiS lists here.

I’ll have Frost 2H up tomorrow evening, most likely, after which point I’ll get to discussing where each spec stands at level 85. Not that there’s much to discuss there, unfortunately; Unholy and Frost DW are near equal, ± about 3% relative to one another, pending specific encounter and personal gear. Frost 2H is about 10% behind either of those two, which is an insurmountable gap except in the most unusual of circumstances.

Getting on with it:

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