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Category Archives: Melee

Hand-Me-Downs: A Poor Man’s Heirlooms

With Cataclysm less than a month away and more changes sure to hit the classes and leveling processes, it’s kind of hard right now to dedicate the time to writing leveling guides because we know things are going to change again and that they’re going to change soon. While I have dedicated this blog to leveling, not all of the posts have to be specifically about leveling classes, right? (The correct answer here is “yes” just in case you were wondering.)

I’ve mentioned hand-me-downs before in some of my leveling guides and in my heirloom guides as well, but I haven’t really discussed them in particular just yet so that’s what I’m going to do today. Rather than how to level your characters we’re going to look at what kinds of gear you can give them to help enhance their performance without resorting to heirlooms. To some extent this is related to PvE twinking, but at the same time it’s really not. Granted, you’re making your character more powerful than they normally would be for their level, but we’re not looking for best in slot so much as coolest, or most interesting, in slot.

You can look at this post as a replacement for heirlooms, or an addition to them, or you can look at it as a way to have heirloom-like items on a server that you don’t have access to heirlooms on. In some ways it relates to Cynwise’s post against heirlooms, and in others it doesn’t. Think of them as sort of complimentary and yet contrasting at the same time…bah, just read it and decide for yourself.

I’ll start off by talking about what they are and then how to make them, and by “make” I mean “enchant”. I’m also going to give you a guideline for when to replace those items, which means sending them to your bank alt for storage until you roll another toon that can use them. And to wrap it up I’ll give you a list of several different items that you can get for all of your low level toons to use for their HMD’s.
Turn the page to find out more…

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2010 in Caster, Guide, Hand Me Downs, Leveling, Melee, Play Styles

 

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Paladin Leveling: Retribution 1-29

It’s been a good, long time since I last blogged about Paladins. When I first really got into blogging about leveling it was because of my previous two Paladins (both Protection). At that point in time everyone was saying that you should level as Ret, no exception, but I went with Prot and did some crazy soloing and AoE grinding on my quest to level 80, and it was honestly some of the most fun I’ve had in game.

I managed to get my last Paladin, Lexington, up to level 78 before I switched servers and left him there never to be played again. He hasn’t seen any serious play time at all in over a year and a half now. People are always asking me to update the Prot Paladin guides and though I’ve said several times that I would I just never could manage to make myself get over there and leveling give him some play time love. So I’ll make it public here and now that there will not be a Prot Paladin guide or update until I decide to level another one, and at this point in time I’m not planning to do so until sometime in Cataclysm.

Last week I leveled a Holy Paladin to level 10 to twink him for PvP, and on Friday I had a crazy idea to turn his experience back on and raise him to 19 instead for additional healing spells. I wanted to hurry to 19 so I also gave him a respec (which cost only 40-some silver, btw) to Retribution just to hurry it along. What started as a 9 level blitz turned into 23 level joy ride of splitting heads with my axe.

As with my level 80 Druid, Hotstuffbaby, my twink names tend to bite me in the butt when I decide to level them instead. At least Hearmywords can be fun if I macro different sayings to my attacks or something, I guess.

/cast Crusader Strike
/y Can you hear me yet, %t?

/cast Templar’s Verdict
/y Can you hear me now, %t?

/cast Exorcism
/y I said… CAN. YOU. HEAR. ME.

Playing a Retribution Paladin
Ret Paladins play much like any other melee class, where you basically close in with your targets and proceed to bash their face in until they fall over and give you loot. Paladins got a change in play style from the 4.0 patch though in the form of Holy Power.

Back in the early days of 3.x I was able to solo a great deal of content with my Protection Paladin and I really did have an absolute blast leveling him up and soloing five man group quests below level and soloing at level dungeons. I’m not feeling the tanking bug right now though, so this time around I’m going for Retribution instead.

Playing a Ret Paladin in 4.0.1 is very similar to how that Prot Pally felt in 3.x – over powered. It’s even better than it was before though, because now we actually have additional attacks that we can use in early levels instead of waiting for level 30 before we had anything besides auto-attack. Solo play got even better because we now have a healing spell from level 9 on that is not only mana-free, but also instant to cast. While not as good as Lay on Hands (which we still have, and do get in this level range), it also doesn’t have a cooldown beyond the generation of Holy Power, so it’s very easy to use.

Retribution-Specific Tips
To start this section off, we’re going to look first at the perks of choosing the Retribution tree. The keystone ability you get for choosing Ret is Templar’s Verdict, an instant attack that consumes Holy Power for increased weapon damage. You also get Sheath of Light which increases your spellpower by 30% of your attack power as well as giving a 6% bonus to your Spell Hit, and Two-Handed Weapon Specialization which gives you a 20% damage bonus with two-handed weapons. And finishing off the Ret perks is Judgements of the Bold which restores 25% of your base mana over 10 seconds every time you cast Judgement.

Holy Power
Our new mechanic, Holy Power, is similar(ish) to a Rogue’s combo points. You build Holy Power by using certain abilities, primarily Crusader Strike, but they build up on you rather than on your target and they expire with time or when consumed by another ability. You can store up to three Holy Power at a time, and the abilities that use it increase in power with each point.

Rather than having finishing moves, Paladins can burn their Holy Power with either healing spells or additional attacks, and since the HP stacks on you rather than the target you can kill one enemy by building up your HP and then kill another by spending the HP built on the first target. When soloing elites or fighting bosses in a dungeon, you can also contribute a great deal of instant-cast healing by using your HP with Word of Glory. I’ll get into the details of that further down.

As I mentioned, this paladin started out as a level 10 Holy twink, and at level 10 I was able to solo level 19 casters and rare spawns with nothing more than Crusader Strike and Word of Glory. It wasn’t a quick and easy soloing due to a very high miss chance, but there was literally no chance at all that I was going to die, even when I managed to draw agro on two of them at a time. In fact, if I had been Horde instead of Alliance, and had thought to try it, I’m quite certain I could have soloed RFC at level 10.

Seals and Judgement
A Seal is a Paladin-specific buff which typically adds some sort of extra bonus to your attacks. In this level range our only Seal is Seal of Righteousness which adds some Holy damage to each of our attacks. The Seal in use also determines the power of your Judgement spell.

There used to be multiple forms of Judgement, and they used to do different things based on your seal, but now it’s all an amount of damage. Seal of Righteousness provides the single highest Judgement damage of all the Seals at this time. Note that Judgement can only be cast if you have a Seal active, so always make sure that buff is up or else you lose access to one of your most useful attack spells.

Judgement is our primary form of ranged attack or ranged pull at this level, with Exorcism being the only other option that’s not a taunt. Exorcism will eat through your mana and has a cast time, where Judgement replenishes your mana and is an instant cast spell.

Auras
Auras are another paladin-specific buff, but these apply to your whole raid as long as they are within 40 yards of you. Our aura for most of this level range is Devotion Aura which provides a nice bonus to our Armor, which you’ll typically replace at level 26 with Retribution Aura which deals damage to enemies whenever they hit you.

There are several auras to choose from as you get higher in level, but Retribution and Devotion are the two auras you’ll use most often while leveling. I generally run around in Retribution aura because the extra DPS appeals to me more than the extra survivability of Devotion, especially with Word of Glory in our tool belt now.

Important Spells & Abilities
There are a lot of spells and abilities that come with being a Paladin, but I’m going to try to keep it simple and limited to only the most important ones for a Retribution spec. There are other spells that you’ll get in this level range as well, I leave them out only because I do not find them critical to playing a Ret paladin.

Level 1-10:

  • Crusader Strike (1): An instant strike that causes 120% weapon damage.
  • Judgement (3): Unleashes the energy of a Seal to judge an enemy for Holy damage.
  • Seal of Righteousness (3): Fills the Paladin with holy spirit for 30 min, granting each single-target melee attack additional Holy damage. Only one Seal can be active on the Paladin at any one time.
  • Devotion Aura (5): Gives additional armor to party and raid members within 40 yards. Players may only have one Aura on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Hammer of Justice (7): Stuns the target for 6 sec.
  • Word of Glory (9): Consumes all Holy Power to heal a friendly target for 115 to 127 per charge of Holy Power.

Crusader Strike is basically the key to everything you do as Ret, because it’s your primary source of Holy Power. It also does a decent amount of damage, but the big thing is that HP. I’m not 100% positive but fairly close, that using it gives you HP every time you use it, even when you miss. I can’t think of a time that I’ve ever used it and not received HP for doing so. Judgement is our primary ranged attack, and also our main source of mana regeneration.

Seal of Righteousness and Devotion Aura are the two buffs that you want to have up at all times. Auras have no duration and persist through death, so the one you have active when you die will still be active when your rez. Seals are only 30 minute buffs though, and must be active in order for you to use Judgement, so be sure to have your Seal active at all times, and if it gets dispelled during combat be sure to reapply it right away.

Hammer of Justice seems mostly PvP related, but it’s also great for questing and dungeons or either stop running mobs or to interrupt an enemy spellcaster. It’s also great for stunning a mob long enough to get off a Crusader Strike followed by a Word of Glory when you’re in desperate need of a heal.

Word of Glory is an amazing spell, one of my favorite additions to the Paladin. It’s an instant cast heal that requires no mana, instead healing you for an amount based on how much Holy Power you have available. Unlike most of your other HP abilities, WoG heals you for a flat amount, multiplied by the HP used. So if it heals you for 120 with a single point of HP, then it will heal you for 360 if you have three points of HP. So if you’re in a fight for your life then you can alternate Crusader Strike-Word of Glory, or you can build up a bigger stack if healing isn’t quite so time sensitive.

Level 11-19:

  • Flash of Light (16): A quick, expensive heal that heals a friendly target for 392 to 438.
  • Lay on Hands (16): Heals a friendly target for an amount equal to the Paladin’s maximum health and restores 160 of their mana. If used on self, the Paladin cannot be targeted by Divine Shield, Divine Protection, Hand of Protection, or self-targeted Lay on Hands again for 2 min.
  • Exorcism (18): Causes Holy damage to an enemy target. If the target is Undead or Demon, it will always critically hit.
  • Hand of Protection (18): A targeted party or raid member is protected from all physical attacks for 10 sec, but during that time they cannot attack or use physical abilities. Players may only have one Hand on them per Paladin at any one time. Once protected, the target cannot be targeted by Divine Shield or Hand of Protection again for 2 min.

I mention Flash of Light rather than Holy Light because enough though FoL cost 3x as much mana as HL, the cast time is significantly reduced, and if you need a heal badly enough that you’re going to spend a cast time on it, you want to make sure it’s big enough to be worth it. If you need to heal, and you need it now, then FoL is the way to go if Word of Glory won’t cover it and/or Lay on Hands is on cooldown. Our other big heal, the top dog of all heals, Lay on Hands appears at the same level. If you, or someone else is about to die, this is a literal life saver. The strongest healing spell in the game, even on a crit, can’t top the healing potential of this bad boy.

Exorcism is one of our trademark damaging spells, dealing a solid amount of Holy damage to the target. As an added bonus, it has a guaranteed crit against demons and undead targets, and our talent points will soon give us a chance to proc the ability to use it as an instant cast spell which makes it an even better DPS tool.

Hand of Protection is one of the Paladin’s “bubbles”, preventing all physical damage to the friendly target that you cast it on. The good thing is, this will keep you alive against all forms of physical damage, including falling damage. The bad thing is, it does nothing at all against Magic damage and it prevents you for using any attack spells either. The best use for this, other than jumping off of cliffs, is to use it when you have no Holy Power, Lay on Hands is unavailable, and you’re being attacked by physical mobs. Pop HoP for immunity and then use your spells to heal yourself back to full. This is about the only time I bother casting Holy Light as I have the time to safely use it with its long cast time rather than spending additional mana on FoL.

One thing to note about HoP, if you’ve gotten the use out of it that you need (such as an emergency heal), you can right-click on the buff to cancel it, which will remove the restriction of attacking. I have a /cancelaura macro attached to my Crusader Strike for this purpose which I’ll have down in the macros section below.

Level 21-29:

  • Blessing of Kings (22): Places a Blessing on the friendly target, increasing Strength, Agility, Stamina, and Intellect by 5%, and all magical resistances for 1 hour. If target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected. Players may only have one Blessing on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Consecration (24): Consecrates the land beneath the Paladin, doing Holy damage over 10 sec to enemies who enter the area.
  • Retribution Aura (26): Causes 9 Holy damage to any enemy that strikes a party or raid member within 40 yards. Players may only have one Aura on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Holy Wrath (28): Sends bolts of holy power in all directions, causing Holy damage divided among all targets within 10 yds and stunning all Demons, Dragonkin, Elementals and Undead for 3 sec.

Blessing of Kings is another buff that you want to have up at all times, increasing your main stats by 5% and giving you some magic resistance as well. The blessing changed in 4.0.1 so that they now hit your whole party and they last for 1 hour as regular and greater blessings were combined into one.

Consecration is a decent ability to use if you’re in a big group of mobs, but the damage isn’t as good as it used to be and the mana cost is ridiculous, not to mention the cooldown was increased. I don’t recommend you use this thing for much of anything unless you’re forced to fight several mobs at once and you feel that you need the extra damage. I used to love that spell so much…

Retribution Aura is our DPS aura, allowing us to deal extra damage by getting hit. You’re now a porcupine with an axe. Holy Wrath is our new AoE spell of choice. It used to only work on undead and demons, but now it works on everything and applies a stun to specific types of mobs. The damage works for everything though and the animation actually looks cool now compared to what it was in the previous version. If you want to spend mana on AoE, do it with Holy Wrath, not Consecration.

Leveling a Retribution Paladin
Starter Rotation: Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike
Questing Rotation 1: Judgement, Crusader Strike, Exorcism (on proc), Templar’s Verdict
LFG Trash Rotation: Judgement, Crusader Strike, Exorcism (on proc), DS/TV/Conc*
LFG Boss Rotation: Judgement, Crusader Strike**, Exorcism (on proc), Templar’s Verdict

The Starter Rotation is what you’ll use prior to level 10. Basically just switch back and forth between Crusader Strike and Judgement until everything is dead.

Once you start getting some of your other abilities you can use the other rotations instead. The “Exorcism (on proc)” refers to our level 29 talent point in The Art of War which give our auto-attack a chance to make Exorcism an instant-cast spell that costs not mana and does twice the normal damage.

*On the LFG Trash Rotation includes a “DS/TV/Conc*” at the end of it. This is where you use Divine Storm (DS) if you spent the talent point on it, Templar’s Verdict (TV) if you have a big target that needs a big hit, or Consecrate (Conc) if you have mana to spare and are fighting three or more mobs with a significant amount of health left. Right now I’m not a fan of Consecration. The damage is pretty low, the cooldown is long, and the mana cost sucks. Not that we use a whole lot of mana right now anyway, but still, I think I’d rather spend my cooldowns on Crusader Strikes and Divine Storms than Consecration.

**For the LFG Boss Rotation it’s a little more specific than what I have up there. As things stand right now in 4.0.1, bosses are just like they were in 3.5, so their health isn’t all that impressive and with all classes getting their changes most bosses are a flipping joke right now while leveling. But for a mini-spoiler, bosses that have 3,000 health right now in live have over 28,000-31,000 health in Cataclysm. So for right now you can build up one or two Holy Power and then dump it into Templar’s Verdict to deal some hate to the bosses and it’ll be over before you know it. But once Cataclysm arrives you’re going to want a full stack of Holy Power each time you unleash TV on a boss to maximize your damage. If you get an Art of War proc, fire off that Exorcism right away as you don’t want to risk losing it or missing out on another proc because the current one was still active.

Talent Spec: Retribution 29

  • Crusade 3/3: Increases the damage of your Crusader Strike, Hammer of the Righteous and Templar’s Verdict by 30% and the damage and healing of your Holy Shock by 30%.
  • Improved Judgments 2/2: Increases the range of your Judgement by 20 yards.
  • Pursuit of Justice 2/2: You have a 100% chance to gain a charge of Holy Power when struck by a Stun, Fear or Immobilize effect. In addition, increases your movement and mounted movement speed by 15%. This effect does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects.
  • Rule of Law 3/3: Increases the critical effect chance of your Crusader Strike, Hammer of the Righteous and Word of Glory by 15%.
  • The Art of War 1/3: Your autoattacks have a 7% chance to make your next Exorcism instant, free and cause 100% additional damage.
  • OR

  • Divine Storm 1/1: An instant attack that causes weapon damage to all enemies within 8 yards. The Divine Storm heals up to 3 party or raid members totaling 25% of the damage caused. Consumes all Holy Power to increase damage dealt by 22%, 74%, or 150%.

In the first tier I started off with Crusade because I saw it as the most likely contribution to my damage while leveling since Crusader Strike is my most common attack, and Templar’s Verdict my most likely use for Holy Power. Improved Judgements came next as I prefer to pull with Judgement and the more range it has the better, not to mention using it to finish off runners or pull threat for mobs chasing after my healer when the tank’s not watching.

For the second tier I decided to go for Pursuit of Justice first because of the increased speed. The holy power from stun/fear/immobilize isn’t likely to happen in this bracket outside of PvP and Wailing Caverns, but the increased run speed is a huge bonus for leveling. I then went for Rule of Law for another damage increase via crit chance for Crusader Strike, and survivability via crit for Word of Glory.

For the sole point in the third tier I chose to go with a single point in The Art of War over Divine Storm because I prefer the damage increase from instant Exorcisms to the potential AoE damage of Divine Storm. With a long cooldown and high mana cost on Consecration now, it’s just not worth it for me to try to AoE my way through all of my quests when it’s actually faster for me to just destroy things one at a time. I did take Divine Storm at level 31 for an extra AoE to use in random dungeons. I love the fact that Divine Storm now hits everything within 8 yards instead of only four targets like it did previously.

Everything here is about increasing our damage output in one way or another, with the slight exception of Pursuit of Justice which is more about decreasing our travel time which makes leveling faster.

Glyphs
I’m going to list at least two options for each glyph type that you can choose from, and below each section I’ll mention why I choose them and under which circumstances I might change from one to another.

Prime

Crusader Strike is my primary attack; It’s how I get my Holy Power and where the majority of my damage comes from outside of auto-attacks. Because of this, I went with the Crusader Strike first, increasing my crit chance by 5%. I gave a lot of thought to using Exorcism instead as it’s a flat damage increase to Exorcism, but I don’t use it quite as often as I do CS, and up to this level range it’s almost guaranteed that if I use Exo on something it’s going to be dead before that 6 second DoT effect would matter. If you’re doing a lot of LFG, then I might suggest Exo > CS for boss fights, but even then you’ll have way more uses of CS than Exo regardless.

Major

I personally went with Hammer of Justice first because I like to use PvP to help me level when I’m not in a questing/dungeon kind of mood and the extra range on a stun is pretty nice. In PvE the extra range doesn’t help a whole lot unless I pull multiple mobs and one of them happens to be a caster. Going with Divinity is more useful later in the game as mana is rarely an issue unless you’re using Exorcism or your heals more frequently. I found it to be useful in LFG, so I have been switching back and forth as needed.

Minor

As with most classes, our minor glyphs kind of suck. The only one I really say is necessary is Lay on Hands since it’s the only ability that you’re likely to use while in combat and its use can actually have a significant impact by allowing you to cast LoH more often. Every other Paladin minor glyph right now just reduces the mana cost of spells that you’ll likely only cast outside of combat anyway, where casting your buffs and then drinking to restore your mana would negate the glyph’s use, not to mention we don’t care about mana much to begin with.

Retribution Macros
I don’t use a whole lot of fancy macros on my Paladin just yet, but I do have a few that are particularly useful.

#showtooltip
/startattack
/cancelaura Blessing of Protection
/cast Crusader Strike [same for Templar's Verdict, Divine Storm, and Exorcism]

This is the one that I mentioned up above that cancels my BoP right before I attack. BoP gives you immunity to physical damage, but at the expense of not allowing you to attack. Generally you want to cast this when you need to heal yourself (if you’re targeting yourself), so after you’re finished healing it’s time to get back to combat rather than just waiting for it to end itself. Basically this one saves me the trouble of canceling the buff myself.

I use a version of this macro for all of my primary attack spells as I mention in the macro text itself.

#showtooltip
/startattack
/cast [modifier:alt] Divine Storm; Templar’s Verdict

This is a typical space saving macro. DS and TV both use your Holy Power for a melee attack. TV is a single-target attack that can do 225% weapon damage with a full stack of HP, where Divine Storm is an AoE attack that burns your HP for up to 150% weapon damage. They both work the same way and use the same kind of resource, so I use a simple macro to switch from one spell to the other when I hold the Alt key.

Gearing Up as Retribution
As a melee class we’re looking for stats that impact our melee performance such as Strength, Attack Power, Hit, Crit, and Haste. We know from our Two-Handed Weapon Specialization that we’re meant to use two-handed weapons, and the general rules apply there; the slower the weapon, the higher the damage.

Stat Priority: Strength, Attack Power, Crit, Haste, Hit, Expertise

In short, we’re going to stack Strength. Crit and Haste are both great stats when you can find them, though Crit is much easier to find than Haste at these levels. Hit and Expertise are both good, but again they’ll play a bigger role at later levels than they do now.

If you have access to heirloom gear and want to know which ones to use:
Bloodied Arcanite Reaper with the Crusader enchant
Polished Breastplate of Valor with the Greater Stats enchant (+4 all)
Polished Spaulders of Valor
Swift Hand of Justice probably two of these

If you don’t have access to BoA items then you want to look for gear via dungeons. Here is a short list of items that come to mind for me:

Ragefire Chasm
Subterranean Cape Cloak, +4 Str, +4 Agi

Deadmines
Rockslicer 2H Axe, 18.4 DPS, +11 Str
Smite’s Mighty Hammer 2H Mace, 19.8 DPS, +11 Str, +4 Agi

Wailing Caverns
Cobrahn’s Grasp Mail Belt, +8 Str, +3 Agi

Shadowfang Keep
Silverlaine’s Family Crest +7 Str, +3 Stam
Arced War Axe 2H Axe, 21.8 DPS, +10 Str, +9 Stam
Phantom Armor Mail Chest, +3 Str, +11 Stam, +5 Crit

Blackrock Depths
Reef Axe 2H Axe, 22.4 DPS, +10 Stam, +20 Attack Power
Algae Fists Mail Gloves, +10 Str, +4 Stam

Razorfen Kraul
Tusken Helm Mail Helm, +12 Str, +12 Agi
Corpsemaker 2H Axe, 29.0 DPS, +15 Str, +8 Stam

Gnomeregan
Thermaplugg’s Left Arm 2H Axe, 32.6 DPS, +18 Str, +7 Stam
Grubbis Paws Mail Gloves, +6 Str, +5 Agi, +9 Stam
Manual Crowd Pummeler 2H Mace, 29.0 DPS, +16 Str, +5 Agi, Use: +500 Haste for 30 seconds (1 hour cooldown).

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2010 in Class, Guide, Leveling, Macro, Melee, Paladin, Play Styles, Professions

 

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BoA Warrior Leveling: Prot DPS 1-29

If you’ve read my blog for a while, or especially if you follow me on Twitter, then you’ll know that I have a long standing hatred for this class. Why do I hate Warriors? Because I (used to) suck at playing Warriors. Of all the different resource mechanics in WoW, Rage is the one that I hate the most and I could never grasp how to use it.

I don’t like starting with nothing, building my way up, and then having it all bleed out of me again when I’m done. It’s like building a sandcastle on the beach even though you know that wave’s going to come in any second now and completely destroy everything you just built.

Those people are you, the Warrior. That shapeless mound of sand in front of you was your full Rage bar, but your Rage just got owned by the Wave of Inactivity. If you’re not either taking or receiving damage, then you don’t have Rage. You, the player, might have rage at your character’s lack of Rage, but that won’t get you anywhere.

How do you fight a wave? With a big, friggin’ axe and the light of the Crusaders flowing through your veins, that’s how.

By using BoA weapons and taking advantage of the Enchanting profession of my main character, I’ve turned a class that I hate playing into one of the most enjoyable leveling experiences I’ve had in a long time. Interestingly enough, I also did it by using the traditional tanking tree as a DPS tree because of the way that it plays.

What Is a BoA Warrior?
When I’m talking about a BoA Warrior, I’m talking about a PvE Twink; a character that has very powerful gear for their level so that they’re able to achieve more than a player with normal gear for their level and situation. BoA of course refers specifically to heirloom gear which is part of that powerful gear that we’re giving them. It’s not just the gear by itself though, we’re also going to enchant that gear with the best enchants we can find for it and we may even throw in some extra buffs via potions and scrolls if we’re feeling especially power hungry.

As I said, I don’t like leveling Warriors because I think Rage sucks and I hate having to deal with it. When you power your Warrior above and beyond his level though, Rage isn’t an issue. With a normal Warrior just getting the gear that drops for me or that I start with, I want to hoard my Rage and never let it go. With a PvE twinked Warrior though I can go from empty to full in about 5 seconds, so I don’t mind unloading on a single mob because I know the one standing just a few yards away will fill me back up.

I’m using the term “twink” here which typically makes people who aren’t PvP-friendly cringe a bit. I’m not talking about doing full PvP twinking here though where you’re farming the AH for rare blues and leveling engineering for goggles, because we’re not looking for very specific gear for every single slot. A PvE twink is going to level, not stick to a certain level cap like a PvP twink, so we’re only looking at getting the best gear for certain key areas.

Necessary Gear
If you’re going to roll a BoA Warrior, then you need to know which items you’ll need and which enchants you need to put on them. If you want to look at basic enchanting for BoA items in general, or ones that aren’t Warrior-specific, then I’ll point you to my Enchanting Heirlooms post for details. But for now, we’re talking about specifics for your BoA Warrior.

Weapons
Bloodied Arcanite Reaper: (two-hand) Strength, Stamina, Crit
Venerable Mass of McGowan: (one-hand) Agility, Stamina, Crit, Attack Power
Enchants: Crusader

Charmed Ancient Bone Bow: (ranged) Hit, Crit, Attack Power

The best way to generate a lot of rage is to deal a lot of damage. To do that, you’ll want a big weapon with which to bash mobs in the face. For this build and this play style, Crusader is the only enchant worth considering. Fiery Weapon may help you burn through mobs really fast in your first 10-15 levels, but Crusader not only procs for 200 Attack Power (100 Str), it also heals you. This build is going to be chain pulling mobs with a DPS spec from level 8 on, so that heal is extra helpful.

We don’t care about the enchant to our ranged weapon because we’re rarely (if ever) going to use the thing. We’re just interested in the stats that it gives us.

Armor
Polished Breastplate of Valor: Strength, Stamina, Crit, +10% Experience
Enchants: Greater Stats +4 All stats

Strengthened Stockade Pauldrons: Strength, Stamina, Resilience, +10% Experience
Enchants: Greater Inscription of the Gladiator 30 Stam, 15 Resil

Dread Pirate Ring: Stamina, Hit, Crit, +5% Experience
Enchants: Assault: +40 Attack Power

We do want health, but we’re not obsessed with it above all others. Because of that we want +4 Stats over +100 Health on our chest. In this case it’s better to get a decent amount of health and attack power from one enchant than just straight health.

The shoulder enchants aren’t super important because you’ll have to be at least level 70 before you can even benefit from them. I’m going to recommend the PvP enchant that costs 10,000 Honor because it’s easy to get, very helpful (once you can use it), and it’s the best option you’ve got until you hit level 80 or become an Inscriptionist.

If you have the ring, and you want to enchant it, then Assault is the one that you want. The ring is great if you have it, but don’t worry about it if you don’t. I don’t have one and I’m doing just fine.

Trinkets
Swift Hand of Justice: Haste, Heal per kill

There’s only one trinket worth considering here, and you want two of them if you can get them. The haste is great because we’re dealing with a big, slow weapon here. The faster we swing it, the more death and destruction we can leave behind. The real reason we’re using these though is the heal. Every time you kill something that rewards honor or experience you’ll heal yourself for 2% of your total health. If you’re using two of them, then you get 4% of your total health. Yes, the pair of these stack.

Extra Gear: Optional
There are some other gear options that you might want to consider and you might not. It’s gear that only someone like me would bother dealing with, and it’s what I call “Sparkley Whites”. Sparkley Whites are low level, white-quality items that you enchant to make your fresh toons more powerful. Since my main character is and always will be an enchanter, I have a full set of white gear to cover all non-BoA slots with the best enchants for each type of class.

You can either get ones with no level requirement at all, which can be purchased in the starting zone of each race for around 10 copper each, or you can get them with low level requirements for around 45-60 copper each. I personally go for the ones that require level 5 to use so those are the ones I’ll link you to below.

Mail Boots (70 Armor)
Light Chain Boots, Light Mail Boots
Enchant: Minor Run Speed Minor speed increase

These boots are found in your secondary towns, the ones you’ll go to right after your initial starting zones; places like Brill or Goldshire, or sometimes they’ll be found in racial capitals such as Silvermoon City or Stormwind.

I suggest the Minor Run Speed enchant over a +7 Stamina enchant because of that stupid sand castle I talked about at the beginning of this article. Losing Rage sucks, and the best way to not lose it is to not waste it between battles because you’re moving so slow. You can go with either of those two enchants, I just personally like the movement speed and use it as the enchant on every type of armor that I do this for.

Gloves (64 Armor)
Light Chain Gloves, Light Mail Gloves
Enchant: Greater Strength +7 Strength

If this were a PvP twink then I would be suggesting +15 Agility instead of +7 Strength for the enchant, but we’re not looking for constant crits so much as we are constant, solid damage increases. While the Agility enchant would also give us some survivability, we’ll get more benefit from the Strength.

Bracers (45 Armor)
Light Chain Bracers, Light Mail Bracers
Enchant: Superior Strength +9 Strength

Again we’re going to go with a solid increase to our damage output over survivability. The +9 Stamina enchant is a really big chunk of health that we’re passing up, but the 9 Strength = 18 Attack Power, and with this build we’re going to subscribe to the belief that “the best defense is a strong offense.”

Important Spells and Abilities
There are a lot of abilities that we’re going to use with this build. Some of them can only be used when we’re in certain stances and others can be used all the time. I’ll go over all of the abilities in this section, noting which circumstances are required for you to use them. Numbers and details for each spell are taken from their highest available rank as of level 29, and are not modified by talent points, attributes, gear, or any other variables.

For now just get yourself familiar with what these abilities do. I’ll tell you how to actually put them to use for mass slayage in the next section.

Stances
Battle Stance: A balanced combat stance that increases the armor penetration of all of your attacks by 10%.
Defensive Stance: A defensive combat stance. Decreases damage taken by 10% and damage caused by 5%. Increases threat generated.

General Abilities (No Stance, or Both Stances)
Thunder Clap: (20 Rage, Battle or Defensive, Instant cast, 6 sec cooldown) Blasts nearby enemies increasing the time between their attacks by 10% for 18 seconds and doing 55 damage to them. Damage increased by attack power. This ability causes additional threat.
Battle Shout: (10 Rage, Any stance, Instant) The warrior shouts, increasing attack power of all raid and party members within 30 yards by 55. Lasts 2 minutes.
Bloodrage: (No Rage, Any stance, Instant, 1 minute cooldown) Generates 20 rage at the cost of health, and then generates an additional 10 rage over 10 seconds.

Battle Stance Only
Charge: (No Rage, Battle Stance, Instant, 15 sec cooldown) Charge an enemy, generate 12 rage, and stun it for 1.5 seconds. Cannot be used in combat.
Victory Rush: (No Rage, Battle Stance, Instant) Instantly attack the target causing damage. Can only be used within 20 seconds after you kill an enemy that yields experience or honor. Damage based on your Attack Power.
Overpower: (5 Rage, Battle Stance, Instant, 5 second cooldown) Instantly overpower the enemy, causing weapon damage. Only usable after the target dodges. Overpower cannot be blocked, dodged or parried.
Retaliation: (No Rage, Battle Stance, Instant, 5 minute cooldown) Instantly counterattack any enemy that strikes you in melee for 12 seconds. Melee attacks made from behind cannot be counterattacked. A maximum of 20 attacks will cause retaliation.

Defensive Stance Only
Revenge: (5 Rage, Defensive Stance, Instant, 5 sec cooldown) Instantly counterattack an enemy for 145-177 damage. Revenge is only usable after the warrior blocks, dodges or parries an attack.

Leveling a BoA Warrior
Rotation: Charge, Heroic Strike, Thunder Clap, Victory Rush (spam), Thunder Clap, Victory Rush (spam)

You’ll also want to be sure your Battle Shout is on before rushing into combat if you can. If you don’t have any rage, and nothing to give you rage right away, then just charge in on the first mob and use the rage from the charge + auto-attack to cast it.

Your basic rotation is simple. Charge in to generate Rage, Heroic Strike to kill or seriously injure a mob to proc Victory Rush, Thunder Clap for AoE pull and damage, spam Victory Rush to kill all targets, Thunder Clap for additional AoE pulls or damage, spam Victory Rush and Thunder Clap until you’re done. If you use my macro suggestions down below you’ll also trigger your Overpower or Revenge abilities every time they become available as well.

When you’re doing solo questing, like clearing yeti caves and such, this simple rotation of TClap-Victory Rush kills almost everything straight away. When you get into instances things don’t die quite as easily, and since you’re not always going to get the killing blow your Victory Rush isn’t going to be available nearly as often. In cases like that, it’s best to build up as much rage as you can, and then unleash on single targets to try to get the killing blows. If you act like a PvP Rogue, killing off every target with low health, you can sometimes grab all of the killing blows from Victory Rushing the low targets one after another.

This is a Prot build, and you certainly can tank with this around level 20 even without a shield, but it’s also a DPS-focused build. If you’re not the tank, then you should cut back on your Thunderclaps so that you’re not the one with all the agro, but better you than one of the other DPS or the Healer.

Spec and Glyphs

Prot Spec Talents
Improved Thunder Clap 3/3: Reduces the cost of your Thunder Clap ability by 4 rage points and increases the damage by 30% and slowing effect by an additional 10%.
Improved Bloodrage 2/2: Increases the rage generated by your Bloodrage ability by 50%.
Incite 3/3: Increases the critical strike chance of your Heroic Strike, Thunder Clap, and Cleave abilities by 15%.
Anticipation 2/5: Increases your Dodge chance by 2%.
Improved Revenge 2/2: Increases damage of your Revenge ability by 60% and causes Revenge to strike an additional target.
Shield Mastery 2/2: Increases your block value by 30% and reduces the cooldown of your Shield Block ability by 20 seconds.
Shield Specialization 3/5: Increases your chance to block attacks with a shield by 3% and has a 60% chance to generate 5 rage when a block, dodge, or parry occurs.
Anticipation +3 (5/5): Increases your Dodge chance by 5%.

Major Glyph: Glyph of Resonating Power: Reduces the rage cost of your Thunder Clap ability by 5.
Minor Glyph: Glyph of Thunder Clap: Increases the radius of your Thunder Clap ability by 2 yards.

Thunder Clap is your bread and butter AoE ability from level 6 on. You’ll have other abilities that can hit multiple targets (such as Revenge via our talent points, or Cleave/Sunder if we use their glyphs), but those only hit a couple of mobs while this one is an AoE, so both of our glyphs are going to go towards improving Thunder Clap.

Our Major glyph reduces the rage cost which will allow us to use it more often, and our Minor glyph increases its radius which is actually used more as a means of pulling additional mobs from further distances than it is for the AoE aspect of it since most mobs will be within melee range of you anyway.

Cleaving, Revenge, and Victory Rush are all acceptable substitutes for your Major glyph slot and Charge, Battle, and Enduring Victory are all acceptable substitutes for the Minor glyph slot.

Suggested Macros
There are a lot of macros that we can use for this build to make it easier to play, and all of them are fairly easy to write, use, and understand.

Normally when I write a macro I like to name it something relating to what it actually does. For the warrior though, I instead set the macro name to the rage cost of the primary ability associated with that macro. When you put a macro on your action bars it shows the name of it, so in this case it shows me rage costs instead. After using a Warrior for a while you’ll know all of the rage costs without even paying attention anymore, but while you’re still learning I think it helps to see that visibly without having to mouse-over the ability. For abilities that have no rage cost, I just name them what they are.

Important Note: I have had people comment on my macros before, suggesting that you use the exclamation mark in front of some abilities that don’t fire off right away to prevent a second use of that macro from turning the ability off like this: “/cast !Heroic Strike”. I have personally never had this problem with my macros. It might be that I have an addon that fixes the issue that I’m just not aware of, or who knows. If you experience that problem then add the exclamation, if not then forget it and go with what I suggest here.

Charge:
#showtooltip
/startattack
/cast Charge
/cast Heroic Strike

The above macro will target an enemy (if you don’t already have an enemy targeted) and activate your auto-attack on that target. It will then use your Charge ability and activate Herioc Strike. What that’s going to do is cause you to charge and immediately follow with Heroic Strike instead of an auto-attack. If you are too close or too far away from your enemy for Charge to work, or if Charge is on cooldown, then it will simply activate Heroic Strike so that it’s used in place of your next auto-attack.

Since I don’t like wasting Rage on Heroic Strike when it’s not necessary, this is the only macro that I tie HS into and the only macro that I do not tie Revenge/Overpower into, so that I’m not accidentally throwing Rage away on HS when it could be put to better use on other abilities.

Victory Rush:
#showtooltip
/startattack
/cast Victory Rush
/cast Overpower
/cast Revenge

At low level, and high power thanks to our enchanted heirlooms, Victory Rush is insanely strong. Basically, if you use it then your target dies instantly. If you don’t have all of the gear and enchants that I suggested then you may have to actually hit them with a Thunder Clap or a normal attack as well, but generally speaking you can just consider them dead.

This is the button that I spam when I’m in a large group so that I’m not having to pay attention to when Overpower or Revenge procs, and my Victory rushes get used right away. When you’re in a large pack of mobs, it’s not always easy to see that you’ve got Victory Rush available, so I’ll often be spamming this macro during combat.

I personally like to use a variation of this macro for every attack that I put on my primary action bar, simply replacing Victory Rush with whatever attack ability I’m using. Thunderclap, Rend, Shield Bash, Sunder Armor, Mocking Blow – whatever it is, if it’s on your action bar then use it in this macro so that you don’t waste your procs.

Gearing Up Your Warrior
There are only a couple of stats that you care about with this build and this concept: Strength (Attack Power), and Stamina.

Warriors get 2 AP for every 1 Str, and since AP is fairly rare on low level items you’ll mostly be looking for Strength as your source. Stamina is your source of health, of course, and since you’ll be pulling more than normal with this type of character you will need that health now and then in order to survive.

Profession Suggestions
The purpose of this type of character is having fun, it’s not to rush to 80 and start raiding with it, so the professions I’m going to list here are the ones that will help you with this.

Herbalism provides you with the Lifebloom heal over time effect which can really be useful when you’re pulling very large groups of mobs and want to reduce your downtime while also increasing your survivability.

Skinning provides you with a bonus to your critical strike chance which is great since we’re basically playing a DPS version of a tanking spec. The more you crit, the harder you hit, and the harder you hit the more rage you get, and the more rage you get the faster things die.

Engineering provides a couple of benefits for us. First off being another form of AoE damage in the form of bombs and dynamite, and secondly by providing helms that will give you Stamina bonuses early on and eventually attack power bonuses as well once you get up around level 50. Starting off the big thing is the explosives as they can provide you both with the extra damage as well as a few seconds of AoE stun that you can use for a single healing tic from a bandage if you’re in serious trouble.

Mining is a decent benefit to you as well by providing a bonus to your Stamina. The extra health is good, though I wouldn’t consider it as good as any of the others listed above.

The other professions themselves aren’t particularly helpful for this, and the benefits they do provide come in the form of items that you can either purchase or make with an alt and then send them over. As far as those items go, potions or scrolls that provide Strength/Stamina/Agility are all good, as are any Armor bonuses you can find from consumables or armor kits made by leather workers.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2010 in Class, Guide, Leveling, Macro, Melee, Play Styles, Warrior

 

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Leveling Overview: Cataclysm 1-10

Beta Build: 4.0.1.12942
Spoiler Types:
– New features
– Low level class abilities or traits
– General impression of starting areas (no specific lore)

With my beta key firmly in hand, and the client downloaded and installed (after 38 hours), a lot of my leveling now is done in the beta rather than the live, and it’s most likely going to stay that way. I don’t want to leave the blog hanging or go off in another direction with it, so I’m going to keep right on blogging about leveling, just with a Cataclysm touch in mind instead.

I’m going to stay away from spoilers as far as the game itself goes, but I am going to talk about new abilities, where you get them, how you get them, and so on and so forth. There will be some small spoilers in relation to those topics, so if you don’t even want to know what abilities are changing and such, then you’ll probably want to ignore me for a couple more months until it comes out live. I’ve said it since Cataclysm was revealed to us in BlizzCon 2009, that it will launch in November and I still believe that that is true.

Each post that I make in relation to Cataclysm prior to its actual launch will have a disclaimer at the top noting which type of spoilers (if any) you’ll find in the post, along with the beta build number associated with the information in the post.

For this post I’m going to talk about leveling for all of the races and classes up to level 10, just to give you an idea of how they’re going to feel coming right out of the box.
Turn the page to find out more…

 

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Guide to Heirloom Purchases

Today we’re going to look at which heirlooms you should purchase for your leveling alts. A couple of weeks ago I covered Enchanting Your Heirlooms, so I’ll refer you back to that post if you have already purchased heirlooms and would like to look into the various ways that you can enhance their performance via enchants and item enhancements.

Equipment Lists
I’m going to make a list of heirlooms for each class individually, and I will mention certain items that would work better for certain specs as well. I will tell you right now though, that while I have leveled most classes to a significant leveling milestone, I have not played every class and every spec. So if you see me suggest an item for your class because I know you’re looking for Spell Power, but you feel it would be better for you to go with another because it has Spirit as well as Spell Power, then go with your gut as you may very well know that particular class better than I do.

What I am going to have is a list of weapons, chests, and shoulders for you to use in each of your different specs, and a (hopefully) short explanation of why. In some cases there may be multiple suggestions made for a particular slot, particularly when it comes to weapons. The reason for this will generally be because there are multiple builds that people use for that class, or because certain equipment options aren’t available until a higher level. A good example of this is the Enhancement Shaman who benefits more from a large two-hand weapon until level 40 when they can dual wield one-handers, or the Warrior who may dual wield one-handers until level 60 and then dual wield two-handers from there on.

Under each class header you’ll find the list of gear that I suggest and prefer. There will also be a Substitutions list which are items that I consider to be reasonable replacements for the items I suggest in case you already have some of those and would rather not purchase others, or in case you have more of one currency than another and can’t afford all of the recommended pieces.
Turn the page to find out more…

 

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Play Styles: Death Knights for Healers

[Update: For the sake of clarification and maintaining my reputation as both being sane and having some common sense, I want to point out that this post was my on-the-fly shot at an April Fools post. There are some elements of truth in it, at least as far as being able to DPS via TargetOfTarget Macros in conjunction with Grid/Clique, but I made no honest effort in really trying to tell you how to do it. I'm hoping that was all pretty obvious, but just in case this is looked at in the future and its date isn't noticed, there you have it.]

Last week we covered Play Styles: Death Knights for Spellcasters, so this week we’re going to cover DK’s for Healers. Granted, a healer is a spellcaster too, but they don’t cast spells the way the rest of us do, instead they use fancy little addons. We’re going to talk about two of those fancy little addons today: Grid and Clique.

Necessary Disclaimer
If you’re playing the class to maximize your DPS then you have to embrace the melee aspect of the class, that’s all there is to it. But if you’re not comfortable with melee and need to stay more caster-like in the method of playing the class, then this is the setup you want to go with. It’s not about maximizing your DPS potential, it’s about maximizing your own potential with your given skill set (and addon familiarity, of course).

Outlining Your Spec
Similar to the Spellcaster Playstyle, we need to rely heavily on spells. We’re also going to try to keep you at range so that you can remain safely tucked away in your comfort zone rather that up in the thick of melee combat. Now, I know you’re all wondering why in the world I’m throwing you into a Frost spec, right? I mean, come on now, we all know that Blood is meant to be the real healer, right? You’re just going to have to trust me when I tell you that playing the DK with any play style other than melee you’re going to want to be Frost. Used to caster dps? Screw Unholy’s magical damage, Frost has the playstyle. Used to being a healer? Screw Blood’s healing potention, Frost has the playstyle. Got it? Good.

HEALER-LIKE FROST KNIGHTS




We’re going to skip the detailed talent descriptions again this time because what I’m about to show you will save you the trouble of having to remember what all of this stuff does, because we’re going to tie it all into those addons so that you’ll just have to remember what happens when you use the various mouse click combinations.

Last time I broke the spec down into level 60, 70, and 80. But everyone knows a you don’t level as heals, you just respec at 80. So that’s what we’re doing here too. Just level as Unholy DPS, faceroll everything you see, and then jump to this spec at 80. Now, you may be asking yourself how in the world that’s supposed to work since the whole purpose of this article is to teach you how to level as a DK when you’re used to playing a healer. The answer to that question is simple. Step 1: Roll a DK. Step 2: Get out of the starting zone. Step 4: Respec at level 80. It seems like I might be forgetting something in there, but I can’t think of what it is. If I remember it I’ll let you know.

Moving right along then.

Level 80 Spec
We’re actually going to be emulating a Frost DPS spec this time more so than a Frost tank, because we need some of those other abilities to keep up with the style we’re used to. We don’t bother with any of the survivability crap because we know the tank always has our back when it comes to threat, right? Some of our spec will be the same as the Spellcaster Style with things such as Runic Power Mastery to increase our maximum Runic Power supply, and Merciless Combat which increases our damage to targets with low health. As a healer you’re used to focusing your heals on the people with low health, so to apply that to being DPS we’re going to help you focus on the ones that are close to dying so that you can kill them faster. See the similarities there? You’ll have this down in no time.

Every good healer has some means of raid healing, and we’re bringing that concept into our DPS spec by using “raid killing” instead via Howling Blast which is our big AoE spell, Deathchill which makes our hardest hitting spells instant-crits, and Killing Machine which can proc for the same effect as Deathchill. So we’ve got some serious heal kill power ready to be unleashed at a moment’s notice.

Every healer needs a nice little agro dump too, so we’re picking up Hungering Cold which will freeze everything in place and give you time to either bandage yourself if needed, allow your Runes to cool down in case you were otherwise defenseless, or to just go hide behind the tank and his AoE threat so that he can pull those mean little mobs off of you. It won’t dump our agro, but it’s the best we’ve got so deal with it. If you’re really used to using agro dumps though, you probably want to roll a Night Elf so that you can Shadowmeld whenever things get hairy.

Since you’re here from the healer’s perspective instead of the DPS caster, I’m going to keep you in your comfort zone and instead of dipping into Unholy for extra magic business, we’re going into Blood for extra healing tools. Most notably we’re taking Rune Tap so that we can heal ourselves for 10% of our max health instantly and Improved Rune Tap which not only doubles the heal from Rune Tap to 20% of our max health, but also cuts its cooldown in half so that we can pop that baby every 30 seconds. If that’s not juicy heals, I don’t know what is.

But that’s not all! We’re also going to pick up Vendetta so that we also heal 2% of our max HP anytime we kill something worth killing. We’re going to be slaying so many things that even with only 2% of our health getting healed it will be like we have three Resto Druids hanging out in our bag space throwing HoTs on us all day long. I mean, the amount of healing we’re packing here is just plain sick, I tell you.

Caster Knight Glyphs

Major Glyphs
Glyph of Rune Tap: Your Rune Tap heals yourself for an additional 10% of the effect, and also heals your party for 10% of their maximum health.
Glyph of Disease: Your Pestilence ability now refreshes disease durations on your primary target back to their maximum duration.
Glyph of Howling Blast: Your Howling Blast ability now infects your targets with Frost Fever.

First thing’s first, we have to stick to our roots and be able to throw at least some amount of healing around on the raid instead of just ourselves. For that you want to grab the Rune Tap glyph first so that you’re able to throw out 10% health to the whole party with a single click of a button. It also gives us another 10%, but that’s 10% of our current 20%, giving us a total of 22% of our max health, not 30%.

Glyph of Disease refreshes all of our disease DoTs on all targets, which is sort of like refreshing all of our HoTs. DPS isn’t all that different from healing when you look at it that way. You’re used to refreshing HoTs, so now you just have to practice refreshing your DoTs. And this glyph even allows you refresh them on all of your targets at the same time. Don’t you wish your Resto Druid could do that?

And Howling Blast applies our main DoT to all the enemies it hits, so it’s sort of the equivalent of Tranquility, but without having to channel it.

Minor Glyphs
Glyph of Pestilence: Increases the radius of your Pestilence effect by 5 yards.
Glyph of Raise Dead: Your Raise Dead spell no longer requires a reagent.
Glyph of Blood Tap: Your Blood Tap no longer causes damage to you.

The Glyph of Pestilence is going to give you the most initial benefit by allowing you to spread your diseases around in a larger area. Next up is the Glyph of Raise Dead which allows us to summon our Ghoul without a reagent and without the required type of corpse lying around. You can use your Ghoul to increase your DPS, draw some aggro off of you, or to sacrifice to your Death Pact ability you get at level 66 to instantly heal 40% of your maximum health. That’s almost like having a Lay On Hands for yourself (beautiful). Last on the list is the Glyph of Blood Tap to remove the damage that the spell does to us. Ever had to heal a Warlock that was click-happy with his Life Tap? If so then you know how much you’re going to piss off your healer if you keep damaging yourself. We’re just taking this glyph as a matter of principle so that we can keep our healers happy.

How To: Healer-Style Death Knight

So in case you haven’t caught on yet, your role model is the Resto Druid. Druids roll the HoTs, and we roll the DoTs.

Healer-like Damaging Spells
Here we’ll talk about all of the DPS spells you’re going to cast, and we’ll explain it in terms that a good tree will understand.

Single Target Tree Nukes

Icy Touch always gets the first slot for us because that’s what you’ll start most of your fights off with. Icy Touch is a ranged Frost attack, and to relate that to being a tree we’re going to pretend that it’s the dead of winter up in Ice Crown (when is it not winter, right?), and your limbs are all frosted over. When the weight gets to be too much one of your limbs snaps off and falls to the ground with a big crash. That’s what we’re doing here, we’re going to freeze one of our own limbs, and fling at a mob’s face. The resounding crash is what it’s all about here.



Death Coil is our next single target nuke. It doesn’t provide us with a disease on the target, but it stings real good. And speaking of stinging, that’s how we’ll describe it. When you cast this you’re going to shake that little bee hive that’s hanging on your lower branches to stir up your little friends and then send them after the mobs with stingers exposed.



AoE Tree Nukes

Howling Blast is our first AoE damaging spell. HB is sort of like shaking yourself after a good rain, sort of like a dog does when it’s wet. You find a target and then shake your wet little leaves and the freezing water flies out at the target and all the enemies around them, splashing them with your water.



Blood Boil is our next largest AoE spell, costing only a single Blood Rune. When you cast BB, it’s like you’re calling on your earthy little friends, the Fire Ants. You give them a shout and they crawl out of the ground and bite the holy ever loving crap out of everything around you. If the targets are diseased then it burns even more. Fire Ants are to mobs what termites are to you. Got it? Good.



Death and Decay is the signature AoE spell of the Death Knights, but it’s getting the last slot for actually AoE nuke spells because of how it works and how much it costs. Death and Decay has to be cast on a certain area on the scree, so you can’t use our fancy Grid and Clique setup to cast it. Instead you have to actually click somewhere else on the screen, which is annoying. As such, it’s sort of like sinking your root-feet into the ground and causing them to spring up all around you as tenticly-root appendages of freaky, ouchy doom. Those roots will jump out and rub all the mobs the wrong way while they stay within the area.



Macros
Here are the macros you’re going to need to make all of this work.

#showtooltip
/s Watch out everybody, I’m a’shaking mah leaves!
/cast [target=targettarget] Howling Blast
/startattack

#showtooltip
/s Hey, my Aunt’s ants are here! I bet they’ll help us out!
/cast Blood Boil
/startattack

#showtooltip
/s Tree limb, flying past your face!
/cast [target=targettarget] Icy Touch
/startattack

#showtooltip
/s These bees! They be a’buzzing!
/cast [target=targettarget] Death Coil
/startattack

Setting Up Grid and Clique
In order to make all of this work you’re going to have to setup your addons to activate those macros. If you’re not using G&C right now, then WHAT THE CRAP KIND OF HEALER ARE YOU!?!?!

Sorry. If you don’t already use Grid and Clique then here are some links to help you learn how it’s done:
Defenders of the Crown, PDF version
The Holy Priest Blog
Comparing Raid Frame Heavyweights
One Handed Healing

Not all of your spells are going to be able to be tied into the same kind of macros, so you’ll need to either make some others or just use the spells normally. Rune Tap, for instance, needs to be easily accessed so that you can actually heal yourself and your party, so be sure to put that on your action bars or add it to the addons as well so that you can activate it by clicking in your own unit frame.

It wouldn’t hurt to include your melee attacks, such as Plague Strike and Death Strike to your bars as well, just in case you do find yourself mixed up in melee, but you can always just run away like a little girl or bet your tank to pull them off of you.

Wrap Up
Now, just take all of those macros that I gave you up there and tie them into Clique. You can then use Grid, in conjunction with Clique, to activate all of the macros and attack whoever’s target you want to attack. You don’t need to bother picking your targets or worrying about hitting the wrong one, just spam clicks on your Tank’s unit frame and you’ll always be casting on whoever his target is. If he can’t hold agro on a single target against your spells, then he’s got his own problems to worry about.

Hopefully you find these jewels of wisdom to be useful to you and with any luck you can keep your same old healer interface and still have everything run perfectly smooth for you.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2010 in Caster, Class, Death Knight, Guide, Macro, Melee, Play Styles

 

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Play Styles: DK Caster Used in ICC-10

To expand on last week’s article, Play Styles: Death Knights for Spellcasters, I’d like to mention a specific example of where the concepts within that post were put to use. Some people disagree with what I had to say there, called it crap, said it was inaccurate and not worth reading.

Don’t make me Death Coil you…



Clarification
Since my intentions in the original post were apparently not made clear, let me say it again right here. The intention of last week’s article was to show someone who’s uncomfortable playing a melee class a method by wish to play the Death Knight (a melee class) in a caster-like playstyle so that it wasn’t so completely foreign that they could not stand playing the class. In no way was that post meant to suggest that it was a viable raiding spec, that it could be top DPS, or anything of the sort. The whole reason for it being there was to show you a different way to play the class.

Caster-Death Knights Used in ICC 10?
Yeah, you heard me right. Not just one, but two Death Knights asked to “go caster” in an ICC-10 raid this passed weekend. My guild isn’t large enough to run 25-man raid right now, but we do have enough high leveled and decently/acceptably geared alts to do Alt Runs for a second 10-man each week. I’ve been taking a break from raiding lately in favor of leveling other characters (I Play to Level, Not to Raid, remember?), so I wasn’t in the run I’ll be talking about or else I would have had screenshots to share with you as well. I also wasn’t in Vent while it happened because I was hanging out with one of my buddies in his own Vent server. My wife wasn’t in the raid that night because she’s currently chasing after the Loremaster title on her Shaman, but she was logged into vent and let me know about it during our lunch break today.

While we do have enough characters for a second raid, we don’t have exactly have the optimal setup for it. Of particular importance, we’re lacking caster DPS. We had one caster and one hunter in the group that ran on Saturday and there they were facing off against Lady Deathwhisper. For those that don’t know much about the Lady D fight, there are two types of adds that she spawns throughout the fight, casters and melee. She also randomly Empowers one of each group of adds where that mob becomes almost immune (99% damage reduction) to the type of damage that they deal – so casters are “immune” to spells, and melee are “immune” to melee. And the empowered melee mobs can just about one-shot anybody stupid enough to get in front of them, so the tanks taunt and kite them around the room while the ranged casters burn them down.

Well, when you’ve only got one caster and one hunter, that mob isn’t going to go down very fast. Knowing this, our raid leader asked the two Death Knights in the raid to “go caster” when the Empowered Melee showed up to help bring them down faster. And sure enough, they took her down just fine and did so on their first fight with her.

No Undue Credit for Me
Now, let me jump right out here for a second and mention that to my knowledge only one person from my guild reads my blog, and he’s a bit more of a PvP Fiend than a Raider. The decision to have the DKs go caster was not based on my post, and the two players I’m talking about do not have specs matching the one I listed in the previous post. These guys both pull over 8,000 DPS consistently with their melee skills, so they’re entirely comfortable with melee and don’t need to focus on playing like casters. At least, not in general.

So What’s Your Point
The point I’m making with this post is that sometimes you’re required to do things that you’re not familiar with or that you’re not used to doing; like acting like a spell caster when you’re playing a Death Knight. Even if you don’t have any trouble playing a melee DK, even if you already know the ins and outs of your class and every one of its specs, sometimes you have to step up and do something that’s “different”.

If you need to focus on casting your spells instead of using your melee attacks, then it doesn’t hurt to be familiar with which ones you should use and how to use them with the most benefit. In situations like the Lady D fight, AoE spells aren’t going to do as much for you as direct damage spells. Knowing that you’ll be able to prioritize your Rune and Runic Power usage.

Spells to Use Against Lady Deathwhisper’s Adds
If you find yourself fighting against Lady D and need to put your caster skills to use against her adds, here is some information to help you fulfill that role and help your raid:

Single Target Spells
Spells that hit only one thing will deal more damage to a single target than AoE spells will, but we don’t always have that option because of our Runic system. So here’s a list to guide you through your spell choices in a situation like this:

Blood Runes: Blood Boil, Pestilence (see below)
Frost Runes: Icy Touch
Unholy Runes: None
Runic Power: Death Coil, Gargoyle (Unholy only)
Frost + Unholy Combo: Howling Blast (Frost only)
Blood + Frost + Unholy: Death and Decay

Plague Strike isn’t going to help you much against the Empowered melee mobs, but you can still get your disease from it applied to them if you use Pestilence on another mob in the area that is diseased since Pestilence itself is a spell. Otherwise your source of damage from Blood Runes is going to be the Blood Boil AoE spell.

Whether or not you’re using a Frost spec, your best bet in a situation like this is probably going to be to use Icy Touch for one or both of your Frost Runes instead of something like Howling Blast which works better for AoE. If the mob just got empowered and is still near other mobs, then you can use HB instead to deal damage to them all, but otherwise stick to double-IT for your Frost Runes.

Since Plague Strike is the only Unholy-only attack we have, you won’t be putting these runes to use much unless you’re using them as combo points for something like Howling Blast or Death and Decay. If you decide to lay down a Death and Decay be sure to place it so that the mob will be kited through its area of effect for as long as possible. Your tank probably isn’t going to want to kite the mob back and forth through your D&D, so don’t count on too much damage coming from it.

With Gargoyle being a cooldown, you’re probably better off saving it for the boss herself, but if you need the extra dps on the add then go ahead and burn it now. Otherwise you want to stick to Death Coil for use on the empowered melee as often as you can.

Done and Done
So again, the purpose of last week’s article wasn’t to get you to pick up some freaky spec that I showed you and claim that it was great for DPS, it was merely to show you a new way of playing a class that’s not readily apparent. But as you can see from what I’ve told you here, just because it’s not the optimal spec or play style of DPS, it does have its uses and it can be the difference between a successful raid and failure. Never get so stuck in your ways or in the theoretical mathematics of others that you fail to look for the value in something different.

..because I may give you chills with my Icy Touch.



 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 31, 2010 in Blog, Caster, Class, Death Knight, Melee, Play Styles

 
 
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