Exciting Death Knight Tanking Changes

Quotes from Ghostcrawler, blizzard poster:

We have been doing some more tests on DK tanking, this time especially on raid bosses. We think the DK design has some limitations, which weren’t showing up as much on tanking 5-player dungeons.

Specifically, as many people suspected, the death knight really suffers when attacks fail to land, especially opening attacks. Having a Plague Strike dodged or parried can throw off an entire rotation, eventually leading to bad Obliterates because both diseases weren’t up at the same time. Missing attacks is a fact of life for all tanks since it’s hard to stack hit and expertise along with mitigation stats. However, existing tank classes have mechanics to let them “burn off rage” (or mana) to make up for those bad strings. The DK plays more like a rogue who can’t get enough combo points in play. This had a deadly effect on DK threat generation, which just didn’t compete with that of other tanks.

We didn’t want to just solve this with more free expertise because A) that has major PvP ramifications, and B) the death knights would start to hate expertise on their gear.

Instead we are making some fairly big changes:

1) Blade Barrier now procs when your Blood Runes are inactive. While the initial implementation of this ability was fun, as we added Death Rune mechanics it became harder to use, and the fast recharge on missed attacks made it even harder. Now it should be up almost all the time.

2) We also found a bug where a naked, untalented death knight only had 2.5% dodge instead of 5% like warriors and paladins. With these two avoidance changes, death knight survivability should be very close to the other tanks, recognizing that avoidance is more dangerous than mitigation for a tank. As an aside, death knights, warriors and paladins currently mitigate a similar amount of damage, and druids may very well be mitigating too much.

3) Frost Strike can no longer be blocked, dodged or parried. Frost death knights were losing too much potential damage and threat when Frost Strike failed to connect, putting Frost tanks in the awkward position of wanting to skip Frost Strike and just use Death Coil.

4) We changed Rune Strike completely. It is now mostly a tanking ability meant to dish out high damage (and therefore threat). Rune Strike can only be used after you dodge or parry an attack. It affects the next swing, so it doesn’t compete with global cooldowns and can be spammed to some extent. It hits for 200% weapon damage (remember 100% of that is the white swing you lost) plus a percentage of AP. It cannot be dodged, blocked or parried, and costs 10 runic power (for now). Think Heroic Overrevenge. :)

5) I think we already announced these changes, but just to get them all in one place: Bladed Armor went back to attack power. It was changed only to match the warrior talent, which we changed back. Death and Decay got a decent threat boost to get it closer to the realm of Consecration and the new Thunder Clap.


  • Rune Strike is going to be great now while leveling, this will be nice boost for all specs. It was high time they took this ability off the global cooldown, because seriously, extra global cooldowns is something Death Knights just don't have :P

  • The change to blade barrier makes it even better now, to the point where I think this talent should be taken no matter what spec you go for. It's basically a guaranteed +10% Parry for only 5 points now, it's hard to pass up on that.

  • I also like the Frost Strike change, it's a step in the right direction to make the frost tree useful, at least for tanking.

Class Specific Leveling Guides: Which Next?

Quick summary for those who've missed the latest news. I'll be releasing the following guides, in this order:

1. Death Knight Leveling Guide 55-60.5 (Alliance)
2. Death Knight Leveling Guide 55-60.5 (Horde)
3. Northrend Leveling Guide 70-75 (Alliance)
4. Northrend Leveling Guide 70-75 (Horde)
5. Northrend Leveling Guide 75-80 (Alliance)
6. Northrend Leveling Guide 75-80 (Horde)
7. Death Knight Leveling Guide 60.5-70 (Alliance)
8. Death Knight Leveling Guide 60.5-70 (Horde)
9. Death Knight Leveling Guide 70-80 (Alliance)
10. Death Knight Leveling Guide 70-80 (Horde)

This will take a while, as you can imagine. I'd say 3 months, hopefully 2. But after that, I'm not sure which class should be next. I will write a class specific guide for every class, I promised that to myself, but I really have no idea in which order to write them, so I'd like to hear everyone's opinion on this.

Which class specific guide should I write next and why?

Frost DPS

For those who were interested, here are the numbers I got for this Frost Spec at level 61.

Rotation used was: Icy Touch --> Plague Strike --> Blood Strike --> Blood Strike --> Obliterate --> Frost Strike --> Obliterate --> Icy Touch --> Plague Strike --> Obliterate --> Frost Strike --> Obliterate --> Frost Strike --> Obliterate --> Restart cycle

Note: Replace Obliterate with Death Strike whenever healing is needed.

If you add the ghoul's damage to that, it would be a total 525 DPS.

This is way below the other two specs, as I expected. Also, this spec provides less healing than the other two, so it's definitely not an option for leveling at this point.

More Blood DPS

I tried a different Blood spec today, to see if I could do more damage with blood.

Here is the spec: Level 61 Blood Spec with Death Rune Mastery

The point of this build is to convert to Frost/Unholy runes to Death Runes, allowing for more Heart Strikes.

DPS Cycle used

1. Icy Touch --> Plague Strike --> Death Strike (creates 2 death runes) --> Heart Strike --> Heart Strike --> Death Coil --> Obliterate
2. Icy Touch --> Plague Strike --> Heart Strike --> Heart Strike --> Heart Strike --> Heart Strike --> Death Coil --> Obliterate --> Death Coil

Death Strike was used instead of Obliterate whenever I needed healing to keep myself about 75% HP because of Blood Gorged.

Dancing Rune Weapon
was used 5 times
Hysteria was used 5 times
Raise Dead was used 2 times

The results

Total DPS: 654


First of all, the numbers should be higher, because when I did those parses it was very laggy, and because of that rotations got messed up several times, obliterate hit the mob too late when there was no disease left, etc.

With that said, we can see that the difference in numbers from taking Death Rune Mastery is very small, which just shows one thing: Heart Strike needs to be buffed again, or Death Rune Mastery is pretty much gonna be a very mediocre talent. The point of taking Death Rune Mastery was to have more blood runes for more heart strike spamming, but if that doesn't increase our dps, what's the point?

The numbers are pretty close to what I get with the Unholy Spec, so in terms of single target DPS, we could say that Unholy or Blood are about the same. In terms of survivability, Blood wins, thanks to blade barrier, mark of blood, vampiric blood and a possible rune tap, which will for sure make a difference when soloing difficult elites.

So in the end, it's a pretty close call. I'm leaning towards Blood for leveling when it comes to being able to solo elite quests. On the other hand, there are things going in favor of the Unholy build:

  • The ghoul stays, you cast it once and then you don't have to cast it again. I don't see a Blood DK using the ghoul every cooldown, that would be too pricy
  • On a pale horse is a huge time saver while leveling, all the way to the Northrend quest which unlocks flying mounts in Northrend


As it stands, I'm gonna stick to recommending Unholy for leveling in my guide and this won't change unless blizzard improves the blood tree further.

Northrend Leveling Guides - Status

It's been a long time I haven't updated you guys on the status of my leveling guides for Wrath of the Lich King. Right now, I must say I'm a little worried, because this is taking longer than what I had expected, and I really hope I'll finish them in time.

Why is it taking so long you might ask? For 2 reasons:

1. I'm playing on the European Beta server, and it's very laggy, sometimes it's downright unplayable. This is slowing me down tremendously.
2. Each level is actually taking a big amount of experience, involving a lot more quests per level than what we're used to. The zones are huge and all contain an incredible amount of quests. That's a good thing, because that's a lot of fun, but when it comes to writing a leveling guide, it takes a lot of time for each level.

Just to give you an idea, from level 70 to 71, my horde leveling guide contains 27 pages and over 60 images. And this is just to get to level 71. Just try to imagine how many pages it's gonna take me to go all the way to level 80, and then double that number, because I need to do one for the Horde and one for the Alliance.

I'm giving it my all though, every little bit of free time I have currently is spent on writing those guides. If they take down the beta servers too soon, I won't be able to finish the guides before the release.

Don't worry though, if this happens, I will publish what I have finished during the beta and I will do my best to finish the rest quickly after the release.

In any case, wish me luck, and pray for blizzard to postpone their release date by 2 or 3 weeks. (j/k)


Unholy DPS vs Blood DPS

Here we go again. I went to do some parsing in the Blasted Lands, because it's impossible to do it in the Ebon Hold with dozens of people bashing the Training Dummies 24/7 and messing up my results with their extra diseases :P

Note: Both tests are done with a level 61 Death Knight, equipped with the starting area set.

Anyway, here is the first test. 5 Minutes of single target damage with this Unholy Spec. The Gargoyle was summoned twice and lasted full duration each time.

Total combined DPS: 702 DPS

Conclusion: We're doing a bit less damage than before, overall. However, our personal damage went way up. Scourge Strike is even better now, had some 2100+ crits with the Cinderglacier buff on. Death Coil is finally useful and does decent damage.

On the other hand, the ghoul got seriously nerfed to oblivion. Barely half the DPS it used to do. I think it will work out at high level though, with good gear and a lot of STR, the ghoul's dps will be more acceptable.

All in all, I like this new Unholy DK more than the old one, because even though it was fun to have an imba pet, our personal damage was pathetic, and this needed fixing. But this raises the question now, with this big nerf on the ghoul's DPS and all the boosts made to the Blood tree, is Unholy still the best leveling spec?


Blood DPS Parsing results

Here we go. Same time same place. 5 minutes of single target DPS on a Servant in the Blasted Lands with this Blood Spec.

Ghoul was summoned once and fought for 2 minutes. Dancing Rune Weapon was summoned 3 times and fought for its max duration everytime. Hysteria was used 3 times as well.

Total DPS: 654 DPS

Conclusion: Quite close, as you can see. The blood tree definitely got some nice improvements, and I think I can do better with a different build involving Death Rune Mastery (for more Heart Strikes, because Heart Strike is a lot better now, as you can see). What also impressed me was the damage coming from Death Coil. It has become quite significant, enough to take talents such as Butchery and Scent of Blood.

The Unholy Build still comes ahead. However, it's not that simple. When you're leveling, you generally fight one mob at a time, sometimes two, rarely more. Even if you're trying to AoE grind as a Death Knight, it means you have to spend extra time gathering mobs, which will sometime just slow you down.
The reason why the Unholy Build comes ahead on a single target fight, is that it's a 5 minute non-stop fight, on the same target, which means you always have your 4 diseases up and running, increasing your DPS a lot.
This wouldn't be possible in a normal leveling siutation, because Unholy Blight costs 60 runic power and lasts only 20 seconds, which means it's a waste to use it unless you're fighting an elite or a big pack of mobs. So effectively, while leveling up and killing solo mobs, the Unholy Build would have a lower DPS, because you'd have to substract the damage lost from not using Unholy Blight on most fights..
Moreover, if you compare the two builds, you'll see that the Blood spec has much more survivability with +10% Parry, Vampiric Blood, Mark of Blood and Bloodworms.

I've got one complaint though, and I hope blizzard will change this. Dancing Rune Weapon. I mean, it's the ultimate talent for the Blood Tree, and it's not even as good as Summon Gargoyle, which is in the middle of the Unholy Tree. They definitely need to increase the duration of Dancing Rune Weapon by a lot, or do something to make it more powerful, because right now, it's really lackluster for an ultimate.

So at this point, I'm back to wondering what I'll recommend as talent spec for my leveling guide. The above samples were too short to draw a final conclusion, so tomorrow, I'll be back in the Blasted Lands and will run thorough tests.

After that, I think I'll be able to determine what will be my final leveling build for my Death Knight Guide. Till tomorrow then!

Death Knights Upgraded!

I'm currently downloading the latest BETA build and reading the changes to Death Knights. So far it looks good, almost all of our offensive abilities got a boost and some of our defensive abilities got a nerf, especially anti-magic shell, which isn't surprising because we were just stomping over casters with way too much ease until this patch. What does this mean?

Well it means we're gonna kill things even faster and have an even easier time leveling! That's great, however what's not great is that I'm gonna have to do tests again to compare all 3 talent trees, and I might have to re-work my guides again :P

Oh, and not only did we get upgraded, but our class specific flying mount also got a facelift! It used to look like a goofy plucked chicken, now it finally looks badass and fits with the Death Knight class ;)

Anyway, I'll go in-game and see how these changes affect us. Stay tuned!

How to get a Red Proto-Drake?

As you already know, there will be a lot of new mounts in Wrath of the Lich King. Some of them will be very hard to get, but will also be extremely cool. For example, there's the Red Proto-Drake:

Now you're probably thinking "Yea, yea, it's gonna be another of those boring reputation grind to get this mount". Well actually, no, it's gonna be something much more challenging and much more fun, thanks to the achievement system. If you don't know what achievements are, let me explain them to you in a nutshell (I'll make a longer post about achievements tomorrow).

Achievements are things you accomplish in the game, like for example reaching level 80, clearing a dungeon or exploring an entire zone. It can also be something silly like taking a 65 yard fall without dying, or killing 15 Turkeys in 3 minutes.

Whenever you complete an achievement, you get achievement points. Those points can be spent to buy some funky items, like special pets or tabards.

But then comes the most interesting part, some of those achievements are quite challenging and if you manage to complete them, you get rewarded with something awesome, like the Red Proto-Drake.

To get this one, you must complete this big achievement: Glory of the Hero
This big achievement contains a list of 40 achievements you have to do. They all take place in the Northrend Dungeons, on heroic difficulty, and all require you to accomplish a certain task, with a handicap.
Quick Example: Kill 100 Zombies in less than 1 minute in The Culling of Stratholme, a new instance located in the Caverns of Time.

That's just one of the 40 achievements you'll have to complete to get your Red Proto-Drake. Sounds difficult? Yes, but also very exciting. It gives you a reason to do the instances several times and to do them better, until you master them.

Now don't worry. In the future, I'll also be writing instance guides and achievement guides to help you on your way to get one of those cool mounts. It's been a really long time I haven't written instance guides anyway, and I can't wait to do it again :)

Jame's Death Knight Leveling Guide (Alliance) - PREVIEW

As promised yesterday, you can now see the preview of my first class specific guide here.

It's just snippets though, so if it doesn't make much sense, it's normal :P

Also, if you wonder why some of the text is purple, it's also normal, that's my new color of choice for class specific things I write. That way, if someone follows my Death Knight guide but already knows how to play his class well (or just wants to use a different talent build), I've made it easy for them to skip it!

Enjoy, and if you have any questions or suggestions, ask here :)

Jame's WotLK Beta News

Short news, don't worry I'm still there, just working hard on the guides. I'm pretty much done with the Death Knight leveling guide for Alliance, and tomorrow I'll give you guys a preview of it. Make sure to visit my blog tomorrow ;)

Death Knight Starting Gear and FAQ

Short article today, I'm really busy with the Northrend guides so I'll make this quick.

I wrote a Death Knight FAQ, it's mostly for beginners who don't know much about the Death Knight class, but it should answer all the essential questions, here is the link:

Death Knight FAQ

I also put together a list of the gear Death Knights start with, including screenshots of how the equipment looks. You can view it here:

Death Knight Starting Gear

Small Update: Soloing Elites as Unholy

Well, I just went as Unholy and soloed Blacktalon the Savage. It was about twice as easy as it was with the Blood spec. He died much faster (my gargoyle still had about 30 seconds left to go), and I didn't have to use a potion, it wasn't even close.

So unless Blizzard changes everything again, I'll be recommending the Unholy Tree in my Shadowknight Leveling Guide.

Death Knight Leveling Talent Build: Unholy is Best

Change of plans for my suggested leveling template! In yesterday's patch, they gave some love to all talent trees, and blood got (in appearance) the most attention in terms of dps upgrades.

However, in a previous post I mentioned that the Unholy Tree got one very significant upgrade with Master of the Ghouls now making your Raise Dead spell have no duration, which simply means that once you summon a ghoul, you can keep it forever, as long as it doesn't die. That seemed pretty powerful to me, so I had to check how the Unholy Tree now compared to the Blood Tree in terms of single target DPS.

After a few hours of collecting data, the least I can say is that I was surprised with the result:

Please note that this is at level 61, attacking a Servant of Grol (green to me) in the Blasted Lands. For each template, I took 3 samples of about 10 minutes each, and then I took the best out of the three to compare.


DPS Cycle used: Icy Touch --> Plague Strike --> Death Strike --> Heart Strike --> Heart Strike --> Death Coil --> Wait till Frost Fever is about to fade and Obliterate.

504.04 DPS, sustained over an approximate 10 minute period.

Hysteria used 5 Times
Dancing Rune Weapon used 5 Times.

Please also note that 9991 damage next to Hysteria should be substracted, because this damage was actually done to myself.
Also, I didn't use the ghoul. If I had, I would been able to use it twice, for a total of 4 minutes with the ghoul attacking. Knowing that the ghoul does about 200dps, this would have added:

4*60*200=48000 damage

Which means the total DPS we could potentially get is ~572 dps. Not too shabby for a level 61 in blues, right? What's also worth mentioning is the incredible amoung of healing done (33000!). That's without using vampiric blood, mark of blood or rune tap by the way. So you can imagine the amount of healing a Blood DK could do.

Anyway, keep your pants on...


Rotation used: Icy Touch --> Plague Strike --> Scourge Strike --> Blood Boil --> Blood Boil --> Unholy Blight.

Then it gets more complicated, so I'll just leave it at that. Basically, I kept all 4 diseases refreshed, converted all my blood runes to death runes and use Scourge Strike as often as possible, with the occasional Death Strike for healing. Gargoyle was summoned 5 times and kept alive for the full duration (that meant I had to stop refreshing Unholy Blight sometimes). A few Death Coils were also squished in whenever possible.

Gargoyle was used 5 times, its damage is included in the screenshot above.
Ghoul was of course up the whole time and did 210 dps (it does more dps than the other ghoul because of the Ravenous Dead talent). Those 210 dps are also included in the screenshot above.


At level 61, single target DPS

Unholy: 765 dps
Blood: 589 dps

We have a pretty clear winner here, but I know what you're thinking, single target dps isn't everything. So let's compare the rest.


In the lifedrain department, the Blood Knight is the clear winner. We all expected that. However, as it stands, it's just too much lifedrain, more than we need. The Unholy DK can lifedrain just fine when he needs it, and all he needs for that is Death Strike.

Death Strike heals a lot more when used by a Unholy DK, for several reasons:

  • They stack up 4 diseases. Frost Fever, Blood Plague, Ebon Plague and Unholy Blight. Consequently, Death Strike heals twice as much as it would for a Blood DK, who can only apply two diseases.
  • 2/2 Vicious Strikes and Ebon Plaguebringer (Unholy talent). Death Strike crits quite often and it crits big.
  • Thanks to 3/3 Reaping, you can get an extra Death Strike in every two cycles, should you need more healing.
  • 2/2 Epidemic also allows you to use an extra Death Strike every two or three cycles, instead of re-applying your two basic diseases.
So there you have it, they're actually fine in the healing department too.



+10% Parry with Blade Barrier (you can keep this up 95% of the time while soloing)


+5% Dodge
Bone Shield -- Which you can pre-cast before every fight and then recast in the fight. A great ability for just one point

Close call I guess, but I'd have to give a slight edge to Unholy here. Bone Shield is incredible.

AoE Killing

No contest here, Unholy totally dominates this field. Unholy Blight, 4 diseases that can be spread with pestilence, corpse explosion and a bunch of talents which increase your diseases' damage.

Soloing Tough Elites

That's the only point where Blood might still have an edge, thanks to the sheer amount of lifedrain it provides. I'm gonna try to solo Blacktalon the Savage with the Unholy Spec now, and I'll tell you guys how it went, in comparison to how it went with the Blood spec.

Stay tuned!

Death Knight Changes

Some really interesting changes will be implemented in the next beta build. All 3 talent trees got some nice improvements, but in terms of DPS improvement, the blood tree got the most.

Unholy also got a major upgrade with the change to Master of the Ghouls. Now this talent makes your ghoul have no duration, which means they stay and fight for you as long as they don't get killed. Pretty amazing, and I'll have to do some tests to see how this compares to the new Blood Talents.

However, at first glance, I'd say the Blood/Frost build still remains the quickest way to level.

Look at all the cool things we got:

  • Bloody Strikes revamped: Now increases the damage by 6/12/18% (used to be 0%) and the bonus damage from diseases by 20/40/60% of your Blood Strike and Heart Strike. +18% damage, this is a significant upgrade.
  • Bladed Armor revamped: Now increases your Strength by 1/2/3/4/5 for every 400 armor value you have. Much better than before. It used to give attack power, now it gives str. Because for Death Knight, STR doesn't only give you more attack power, but also more parry, thanks to one of our core abilities: Forceful Deflection.
  • Mark of Blood: Now heals target for 4% (up from 2%) of its maximum health. Now lasts for 20 sec (down from 30 sec). This ability already was strong, not it's even stronger. This will help tremendously when soloing difficult elites.
  • Blood Gorged: Now also increases your expertise by 1/2/3/4/5. Can't complain, 5 talent points for +10% damage and +5 expertise, pretty damn good deal if you ask me :P
  • Abomination’s Might: Now also increases your total Strengh by 1/2%. That's one sick talent right there, just 2 points and you get +10% Attack power and +2% str. Can hardly get a better deal.
And of course, obliterate will also get a boost in a future update, which consolidates my opinion on Blood/Frost being the quickest build for solo leveling.

Anyway, the new talent build I'm going to try is this: Blood/Frost

The changes they made to Will of the Necropolis / Blood Gorged allowed me to have a free point to put in Rune Tap. It's probably overkill in the lifedrain department now, but well, can't complain about having too much lifedrain can we?

I will tell you how it goes as soon as I get time to test out some new builds. In the meantime, I'm gonna go back to writing my guides ;)

Stay tuned!

Death Knight Leveling Talent Build (Part 2)

Please read Death Knight Leveling Talent Build (Part 1) before reading this.

I willl use this article to reply to the suggestions/questions made in Death Knight Leveling Talent Build (Part 1)



Thanks a lot for posting your build, now I have material to discuss :)

That's a very good build, totally viable, I actually hesitated going blood/unholy too, with a build pretty similar to yours.

I would have changed one little thing though:


Remove one point from Epidemic and put it in Ravenous Dead instead. I'd even be inclined to remove both points, because it's possible to squish in 2x Death Strike/Obliterate in one rotation before the diseases fade, even without Epidemic, it's just very close. For that, you have to go:

Icy Touch --> Plague Strike --> Obliterate/Death Strike --> Heart Strike --> Heart Strike --> Obliterate (just before Frost Fever fades).

I still put one point in Epidemic though, because it's true that 3 extra seconds makes it easier to not screw your cycle.

I also removed a point from Will of the Necropolis and put it in Shadow of Death instead.

Your build gives +3 sec duration on diseases and +4 expertise.

My build gives +3% Str +2% Sta and +30 sec ghoul duration. When you die you also fight as a ghoul for 45 sec, which is nice to finish off tough elites if they kill you. It's also fun ^^

Now about my Blood/Frost build compared to the above Blood/Unholy build.

Dps comparison


  • +10% dmg (Necrosis)
  • +15% chance on hit to do an extra attack for 40% of weapon dmg when both diseases are up (Blood-caked Strikes)
  • +1% Str


  • +20% Haste, this alone already outdps the above without taking into account the side effects. +20% haste means more chance to proc all that good stuff: Blood Worms, Bloody Vengeance.
  • Annihilation 3/3 also gives you 3% more crit on all melee abilities and more importantly allows you to use 2x Obliterate per cycle, which for sure boosts your dps by quite a bit too.
  • 5/5 Toughness has excellent synergy with Bladed Armor, the Attack power gained with it compensates easily for the 1% STR the Unholy build provides
  • 6% dmg to Frost and Shadow spells (not a big deal, but still a little extra dps)

Survivability comparison


  • +2% sta
  • +5% dodge

  • +15% Armor
  • Lichborne (+25% chance that your enemies miss you for 15 sec and the ability to heal yourself with death coil, definitely nice to get you out of tight spots)

If we compared just this, I'd say the Blood/Unholy build is slightly more survivable (although more prone to spike damage)

However, the Unholy/Frost build also includes 3/3 Improved Icy Touch, which means an extra 6% Melee Attack Speed reduction on your opponents. So in the end, the Blood/Frost build is probably also more durable.

Overall, I'm still convinced Blood/Frost is better. It has clearly more dps and has about the same survivability. The only edge the Blood/Unholy build has is in terms of AoE damage, with corpse explosion. However, while leveling and questing, you rarely fight more than 1 or 2 mobs at a time, so that shouldn't be a factor for us.

Anyway, thanks again Tarcyrian for posting your build, it gave me a lot of talk about.



Thank you for your comment :)

"In what order are you stacking the trees? Are you going all blood - then ice, or the otherway, or a combination?"

That's a very good question. And the answer is: at the moment I'm not sure. The reason why I'm not sure is that in the current beta build, the Icy Talons talent doesn't work, so I can't do tests to see what's the best route to take at level 61.

Why level 61? Because at level 61 you get Obliterate, and to get the most out of this skill, it's good to have 3/3 Annihlation (Frost) so that you can use Obliterate twice in one dps cycle, before your diseases have to be re-applied.

However, up to level 61, it's much better to spend all your points in the Blood talent tree, you get so much lifedrain from it that you can fight non-stop with zero downtime.

So what I was thinking is:

  • Up to level 60, go Full Blood.
  • At level 61, go respec to this Frost/Blood intermediary build.
  • And then simply finish the blood tree to reach the final Blood/Frost build.
Now I have to find out if this respec is worth it.

Compare (at level 61)

Frost/Blood intermediary
  • 20% haste from Icy Talons
  • + 3% crit and Obliterate can be used twice every rotation
  • +6% melee speed reduction
  • +15% Armor
  • +6% Frost and Shadow damage (rather unsignificant)

Full Blood
  • +10% damage from Blood Gorged
  • Heart Strike (small upgrade over Blood Strike though)
  • Vampiric Blood (the other build gets it at level 63)
  • Dancing Rune Weapon
  • +45% critical strike damage bonus on Plague Strike, Death Strike, Heart Strike, Obliterate
See the dilemna? I'm having a hard time choosing, so I want to run some parses and then make a decision. The problem is that currently Icy Talons are broken, so I can't test it :P

Time will tell, I'll keep you guys updated.

Hope that answers your question Simcle, and thanks again for your comment.



"Why no Rune tap? You're unlikely to use it in combat, but immediately out of combat it might be an option.

Also, other than "because you can", why Lichborne?"
Thanks for your comment Andrew, and those are very good questions.

Rune tap: I decided to skip rune tap for a simple reason, there's already so many lifedrain talents in my build, I always finish every fight 100% HP, even when fighting elites 3 levels above me, rune tap would be overkill :P

Lichborne: Well, I had the choice to either put one extra point in Will of the Necropolis or to take Lichborne. I think Lichborne is just more powerful than 1 more point in WotN, +25% miss chance for 15 seconds and the ability to heal self with Death Coil can really help against tough elites I guess, more than a bit more expertise. The immunity to fear/charm/sleep can also be nice in certain situations. That's just my opinion though, and I'd gladly swap Lichborne for something more useful for leveling if someone points me to such an option. :)

Death Knight Leveling Talent Build (Part 1)

That's what I wanted to discuss with you guys. Right now I'm writing my Shadowknight Leveling Guide and of course, I'm suggesting a talent spec for leveling.

I've been trying several builds, and so far the best has been this one for me:

Deep Blood / Minor Frost

This talent build is 100% focused on PvE leveling. It's also excellent for farming at level 80. It's not too great for tanking, but it still does the job for tanking instances in normal mode.

It's not good for PvP, it's not good for raiding and it's not good for heroic tanking. Which we don't really care about, because this build is purely focused on making you level fast.

This build involves:

  • Very high dps, thanks to the combination of all the blood talent which increase your damage, plus the 20% haste from Icy Talons in the Frost tree, as well as 3/3 Annihlation (also frost tree), which allows you to use Obliterate without consuming your diseases.
  • Very high survivabity thanks to all the lifedrain talents, as well as 5/5 Blade Barrier and 5/5 Toughness.
  • Zero downtime
  • Can solo tough elites
I have a good reason behind every point invested, but I might of course be missing something, so I'm open to constructive criticism and to suggestions. If you disagree with one of the talents I picked, don't just say "xxx talent sucks". If it sucks, I'd like to know why, so explain your reasoning or back it up with some maths.

So, please post your questions/opinions/suggestions, I'll do my best to answer each of them.

Guide writing Frenzy!

I've been writing guides like a madman today, and I'm still at it. However, there's something I need to discuss with everyone, so I'll make another post later tonight. Please check it, because I need input, it's about my Death Knight Leveling Guide.

Wrath of the Lich King release date announced!

13th November 2008 - That means just a little less than two months! I'm sure you're all as excited as I am about this news, but I'll bet you aren't half as worried as I am.

Why worried? Well, because that means I have only two months to finish my Leveling Guides for Northrend and my Death Knight Leveling Guides. That means 6 guides :P Yes six, because I'll split the Northrend Leveling Guide in two chapters for each faction, just like I did for my Outland Leveling Guides.

So yea, I'm excited, worried and in need of time! That means I won't be able to write lenghty articles on the blog anymore, but I'll still post something everyday to keep you updated on my progress, it will just be more straightforward news. I hope you'll forgive me!

I'll also post little previews of my guides here to let you have a glimpse of how my work is taking shape.

I've set the release dates for all 6 guides, you can find them here on the wow-pro front page.

Now you must be wondering why I decided to set the release dates of my guides so close to the 13th November. The reason is simple: some other shady websites I won't name have been stealing my guides to try to make a quick buck on their page, they shamelessly copy/pasted my entire guides without my permission, without even giving credit to the author. That's still not too bad, because I generally get those sites taken down pretty quick by contacting their hosts.

The bigger problem is those other websites who take my guides and do little modifications here and there and then claim to have written it themselves, and it's extremely hard to get those sites to remove my guides from their pages, sometimes it's even impossible.

So that's why this time I'll be releasing my guides at the very last moment, that way, those sites won't have much time to steal my guides and will have to find another way, like writing the guide themselves (omg!) or rip off someone else...

More solo crazyness with the Death Knight

Today I tried to kill Blacktalon the Savage, a level 63 Elite in Hellfire Penninsula who hits like a truck. Normally, it's even too difficult for two melee classes to duo it. But I had to try to solo it with my Death Knight anyway.

This time, it was a very tough fight, I died a couple of times. The 3rd time I used everything I could possibly use, plus a Noth's Special Brew. I had the ghoul tank for me at the start, used everything I had, including the Blood Talent Tree ultimate: Dancing Rune Weapon

I also had to use Chains of Ice to kite it towards the exit of the tunnel while Vampiric Blood was cooling down.

In the end, the Death Knight won :P

It was very close though, and I think I got a bit lucky on the parries at the end. But still very impressed by the class so far, we'll see if it's still so powerful past level 70.

Stay tuned if you wanna find out :)

If Chuck Norris was a WoW class, they'd call it the Death Knight

While writing my Death Knight guide yesterday, I made a new Death Knight and leveled it quickly to 58. Then I tried to follow one of my quest circuits in the western plaguelands, just to see how the XP rate would compare to my usual results with other classes.

Let's just say I was impressed, but that would be an understatement. Not only was I able to complete a whole bunch of quest circuits in record time, but I did so while adding a couple of elite quests I never would have suggested to do with other classes.

Wanna know what the best part is? Please read on.

My circuits involving Western Plaguelands always take you to the city of Andorhal at one point. There's nothing too dangerous about that place besides three things:

  • Level 56-57 Elite Abominations patrolling
  • The Scarlet Patrol (5 very annoying NPCs)
  • Araj the Summoner, a level 61 Elite Lich guarded by an army of skeletons and ghouls

At level 58, no matter which class I played in the past, I always stayed away from those threats, simply because they were very difficult to solo, if not impossible for certain classes, and for sure not worth the trouble. I always tried to kill Araj the Summoner though, because there's a quest to kill him, and this quest gives 12000XP. But I always chose to leave it out of my guide, because I knew he would be a very frustrating experience for most players.

Well, I'll definitely put this quest in my Death Knight Leveling Guide, because Araj (and everything in Andorhal) is a total joke for a level 58 Death Knight.

Let me give you examples:

  • Fought two abominations at the same time (level 57 elite). Finished the fight with full HP and full runic power (Death Knight's rage/energy equivalent)
  • Took the whole scarlet brigade head on, finished the fight full HP
  • Fought Araj the Summoner + 1 Searing ghoul at the same time. Finished the fight with full HP, without even using Mark of Blood or Raise Dead. The funniest part is to use Death Grip on Araj, and summon him to your feet like a rag doll.

Let's just say that food is utterly useless for Death Knights. They never need a break. The only times I ever went below 50% HP was when I was reckless and took 5-7 mobs at a time. And after that, all I had to do was fight a single mob to get back to full HP. That's just how powerful Death Knights are. Quick killing, zero downtime, a lot of fun.

Death Knights are all about style

I guess the title says it all, and a picture is worth thousand words, so enjoy.

This is how a Death Knight looks after finishing his starting area quests (which are a ton of fun by the way).

With my buddy the Lich King

With Mount

The weapon you get as a last reward (can choose between a sword and an axe, both look amazing, I personally like the sword more)

Did I mention that each piece of equipment I'm wearing on those pictures doesn't only look stunning, but is also blue (rare) with only useful stats?

So far, the Death Knight is extremly fun and disgustingly powerful (will probably get nerfed in the future). I haven't managed to go below 75% HP even while being reckless. More about that tomorrow in my next blog entry.

If you want to make sure that you don't miss any of my articles/news, simply click on "Follow this Blog" on the right side of this page.


Jame's Death Knight Leveling Guide

That's right, I've recently started to work on my Death Knight Guide, it looks very promising so far and I must say I'm having tons of fun writing it.

As I've stated in one of my recent news post on wow-pro.com, I will be making Class specific leveling guides for each classes, those guides will help you level from 1 to 80, and they will include everything you need to know about said class:
  • Which talents to take and in what order
  • Tips on which equipment to use and how to get it
  • Class specific quests will be included in quest circuits
  • Detailed explanations for skills will be given, this will especially be useful for the less experienced players, but will probably be interesting even for veterans
Basically, my class specific guides will not only help you to level up to 80, but also help you to become better at playing your class.

My Death Knight Leveling Guide will be the first of those class specific leveling guides, and the other guides will follow up shortly after. Also, please do not worry, I will first release my Horde and Alliance leveling guides for Northrend (70-80), so that no class will be left out.

Anyway, please follow my blog, because tomorow I'll start to talk about my daily experiences on the beta server with my Death Knight, and I can tell you one thing, Death Knights own!

Account Wide Level Scaled Items - Alt Lovers Rejoice!

For most people, the best memories they have of World of Warcraft was when they leveled their first character. Gaining levels, new abilities and new items while exploring zones and doing fun quests or instances, that's probably the best part of WoW. Which is why so many players, after having leveled their main character to level 70 (and soon 80), tend to create an "Alt". An alt is basically an other character you create, to try a different class, but mostly to have fun. What we love to do with those second characters is to "twink" them. Twinking means giving them equipment they normally wouldn't be able to get without the help of a higher level character.

Twinking makes things fun, as your alt will have a much easier time leveling and will feel powerful. Sadly, as the amount of low level characters dwindles, there is less and less "twink" equipment available at the auction house. Level 10-60 green, rare or epic items are hard to come by, and the few that appear on the auction house are disgustingly pricy nowadays.

Well, blizzard just came up with a great way to make twinking fun again - Account Wide Level Scaled Items.

Here is an example:

Right now you must be thinking, "so what?". Well here's the catch, when you get this item, it becomes bound to your account, meaning that you can transfer it between every character on your account. For example, your level 70 can farm tokens, then go buy this sword from a specific merchant, and then transfer it to your newly created rogue alt.

Sounds great doesn't it? Well that's not all. The best part is that this item actually scales according to the level of the character using it, gaining better stats as you gain levels, all the way to level 80. Here is the same item, equiped to a level 80 character:

The item quality for each respective level is actually very high, I'd say they are as good as epic quality, if not better. This is great for several reasons:

  • It gives your main character more things to do, you can farm tokens to then buy those account wide loots, for ALL your future twinks (minus armor and weapon limitations of certain classes of course)
  • Your alts will whoop ass like never before, and that's fun
  • You won't have to blow all your money equiping your alts with overpriced low level greens/blues/epics anymore

Anyway, here's my current favorite account wide scaled item:

This is amazing for several reasons:

  1. The stats are incredibly good for a level 1 item, nothing compares to it even remotely
  2. It's a shoulder item, and you're normally not supposed to get anything for your shoulder slot up until level 15. Not to mention the stats of these shoulders at level 15 will be a lot better than anything else you could get.
  3. 10% XP bonus right from level 1. One word: sick!
  4. They look stylish

I don't know about you, but I'm really looking forward to twinking in Wrath of the Lich King!

Images courtesy of: Thottbot, MMO-Champion

Wrath of the Lich King and the evolution of 2-Handed Weapons

You guessed it, I'll be talking alot about Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK) on this blog. I've a feeling that this expansion will be even better than the previous one, I'll even go as far as saying that this will be the best expansion ever in World of Warcraft, kind of like Scars of Velious was the best expansion in Everquest (in my opinion at least :P).

Anyway, today I'll be talking about a topic which interests us all, no matter what class we play, I'm of course talking about EPIX, but more particularly about big fat 2-Hand weapons, simply because they're shiny and everyone wants one (even hunters, yup!).

All jokes aside, what got me to write this article was a screenshot I stumbled upon today while doing my daily wow-news browsing:

Now for those who haven't played the raid game since the start of World of Warcraft, you might be wondering what's so special about this screenshot. Well, to me it is special, the first thought I had when I saw this was "woah".

To explain what's so special about this weapon, let me start by saying that this weapon will supposedly drop from Kel'Thuzad, the final boss of Naxxramas. And as you know, Naxxramas will be the first raid dungeon in Northrend, and that also means the easiest. Moreover, this weapon will apparently drop from the 10-man version of the zone. So basically, warriors rejoice, you will have a shot at a 200+ dps weapon from a Karazhan equivalent zone, right at the start of raiding in WotLK.

What's even more astonishing is the jump in DPS this time. Let me give you a short summary of the most sought after 2-Handed weapons in wow history.

If you were around when Black Temple came out in 2005, you probably will remember what the best 2-hander was called at the time, that's right, Ashkandi.

81 dps was considered HUGE back then, not to mention the sword looked amazing (at least at the time). You have no idea how many guild dramas were caused by this weapon or how many DKPs were spent.

About half a year later, Ashkandi lost its status as n.1 weapon of choice to an axe, dropped by C'Thun in the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj:

That's right, it was a small dps upgrade as you could see, but this axe was all about status. Not only did it come from C'Thun, an Old God considered one of the best and hardest encounters ever designed by Blizzard, but it also looked incredible:

(The eye actually moved around
and looked at people)

This was at the time THE best 2-Hander in the game, and it was replaced much later on by the Might of Menthil, a weapon dropped by Kel'Thuzad in the 40-man version of the zone, right before The Burning Crusade came out:

It was of course quickly replaced during the burning crusade. In Karazhan, you could already get an upgrade to Might of Menethil by just killing Prince Malcheezar, quite a simple encounter compared to Kel'Thuzad.

A 24.6 dps difference compared to might of menethil, which is huge of course, considering that Might of Menethil was a hundred times more difficult to get. However, please note that at the release of TBC, this wasn't the case. Karazhan loot was of much lower quality, and Gorehowl was actually a very small upgrade over Might of Menethil (I can't remember exactly, but it had only about 105 dps. It was later on upgraded during a patch where all Karazhan loot got a rehaul.

In any case, now the end of the Burning Crusade era is near, and the current best 2-Handed weapon drops from no other than Kil'Jaeden. Enter Apolyon, the Soul-Render:

If you've followed the raiding scene, you probably have an idea about how extremely difficult it is to get to Kil'Jaeden, let alone killing him. Then you also need the blade to drop (about 25% chance to happen). And then, since it's a 25-man zone, you also have to compete with several of your guildmates to get this weapon.

It's safe to say that you won't be seeing many people running around with this blade, hell, on some server you most likely won't ever see one, that's how rare it is. And it's 148.7 dps.

Now you must be starting to understand why I'm making such a big deal out of that screenshot posted at the start of the article. I mean, this axe is 203.7 dps, but moreover, its stats are insanely good.

148.7 dps --> 203.7 dps

That's a 55! dps upgrade, coming from the final boss of the very first 10-man raid zone in Wrath of the Lich King. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's a bad thing. It's actually great to know that characters will experience a huge jump in power, because that's one of the main reasons we all play MMOs, we want our characters to become badass.

In any case, I can't wait to see what kind of crits we will be seeing when someone gets his hands on this weapon. And I can't even fathom what kind of blades we'll be seeing from the next raid zones in WotLK. At least I have good hope that we'll be seeing a legendary version of this one:

Hopefully accompanied with an amazing quest line. Blizzard said they definitely had plans for the Ashbringer, but they didn't say exactly for when. What they did say though, is that the very last boss of Wrath of the Lich King will be Arthas, and you all know what that means...


I'll bet, Frostmourne will break the 250 dps mark, or maybe more, only time will tell. I must say I can't wait to play a shadowknight in Wrath of the Lich King, or any class benefiting from those 2-Handed goodies :P

Images courtesy of: Blizzard, Wow-head, MMO-champion

But who is Jame really?

In a nutshell:

I'm 28 years old, I'm married, I've got a job which allows me to have a lot of free time, and I play MMORPGs, probably too much for my own good, but it can't be helped I guess ;)
I enjoy writing guides, I do this as a hobby. I do it for free, I don't plan to and I don't think I ever will commercialize my guides. That's all I'm willing to reveal for now.

With that being said, I'll do my best to keep this blog interesting and informative. So stay tuned!

Jame, Level 1 Blogger

I've finally decided to start my very own first blog. As some of you may already know, I've been writing guides for the world of warcraft community in the past few years. They got amazing feedback, especially my leveling guides.

You can find them here:

Alliance Leveling Guides
Horde Leveling Guides

Every week I get dozens of comments and e-mails, asking me about my guides, how do I write them, what servers do I play on, where I am from, why am I doing this for free. So I figured, I'll just make a blog and hopefully answer some questions, share my knowledge and my experiences in MMORPGs.

This blog definitely won't be only about World of Warcraft. It will cover every other MMORPG I get my hands on. I will write reviews, I'll share my daily experiences with the games I play, I'll give information about my upcoming guides.