Death Knightery, part one of an epic journey of epicness
So my guild is a hurting a bit for tanks. This inspired me to level my death knight, Ynahteba, up to tankhood. She’s Abethany’s evil twin sister, in case you hadn’t guessed. 😉
What’s it like going from a mage to a death knight?
My first step in finding out was to consult some guides to figure out what in the world a death knight was. I’d only gotten Ynahteba up to 58th level, didn’t pay all that much attention when I did (I’m a recovering altoholic and didn’t want to become too invested in another alt—but I had to see the new shiny!) and it had been a long time since I’d played her, so I might as well have been approaching the class for the first time.
There are many differences.
Spec choice isn’t as clear cut. For mages, it breaks down thusly: Arcane = DPS; Frost = PvP; Fire = ignore.
For death knights, Blood = survivability or DPS or tanking; Frost = AoE or tanking or survivability; Unholy = DPS or tanking or survivability.
The point is you can mix and match a lot.
I did much searching around and decided to go for the Frost spec because ElitistJerks said it was a nice balanced spec. I figure that since it can do well with both single target (though perhaps not the best) as well as AoE (though perhaps not the best) then I can make a tank that’s suitable for a variety of situations.
And by sticking with Frost up through 80 I’ll learn how to use it effectively. One thing is for sure, and quite foreign: There is no bad spec in the class. Everyone seems to agree that you can—just about—use any spec for anything and not suffer terribly. There are some situations where a particular ability of a particular spec would be the bees’ knees but if you’re unsure what you’re going to be facing then pick which one you like and make it work.
It could turn out that this isn’t the spec for me, but really the only way for me to know that and make a confident choice is to get in there and start killing things and see how it all works out real world.
Death knight choice contrasts sharply with mages. If you want DPS as a mage then all the math says the choice is clear: Arcane. Does this mean that death knights are a better balanced class? Yes, it does. In an ideal world I should be able to pick my spec because of theme or other personal taste. If I like making fires I shouldn’t be penalized for doing less damage than the same-geared mage on my left who went into Arcane.
One question I couldn’t get a clear answer on was whether to single or dual wield. Death knights can’t use shields so it seems to make sense to dual wield, why not, and take advantage of multiple runecasts. But there were other people saying no, that the increased damage for a two-handed weapon is better.
This is one of the things I’ll have to suss out.
There is a lot more to keep track of. Death knights revolve around planting diseases on monsters then engaging special effects that take advantage of diseased monsters. There are three types of diseases (blood, frost, unholy) and they all have a zillion special abilities and tricks.
The difficulty I’ve found is that it’s tough to track which disease is up and what to do when it is. It’s a much more frenetic experience than mages who have, what, one or two debuffs or procs to worry about, really?
I’m finding that I’m keeping a closer eye on my rotation and diseases than I am monster health. Or my health, for that matter.
There’s a lot to learn about this class. It’s by no means pick-it-up-and-go easy. I can see there’s a lot of room for expertise and playing a death knight well is something to be admired.
Further adventures and observations to come in part two, later! Stay tuned!