Archive for November, 2008

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My Ghoul’s middle name is Einstein!!

November 28, 2008

While questing in Terokkar Forest doing the questline that involves killing Orc Peons, I was doing my usual, rounding up the mobs while mounted in groups of 4-5, diseasing them all, then killing them AOE. 

 This is the first time I’ve grouped up ‘runners’ since dropping out desecration from my build, (the graphic lag was too annoying) and those pesky Orc Peons all are ‘runner’ types.  Now the anti runner abilities we have are fairly limited… long cooldown on Death Grip, and I need my frost runes for better abilities than slowing a runner (maybe not in an instance!!).    

 Enter my latest Ghoul ‘Dirtmuncher’ (erm……. cmon Blizz some of these names are questionable at least!!).  Now he seems to be intelligent enough to know he should be chasing the runners down for me.  I’ve seen other ‘clever’ behaviours, like he pounces on casters out of my AOE range that are blasting me.  In fact in defensive mode my Ghoul really covers my back!

I can see DK’s Ghoul’s getting blamed for pulls because of this, like poor hunters were, when groups needed a blame hound (a runner aggros anyway without a pet trying to kill it people!!!) 

 So well done Blizz, nice job done on Ghoul AI 🙂 

Well….. nearly they are a nightmare for pulls if you don’t remember to switch them off defensive, but I’ve hot keyed one of my mouse buttons to the pet attack button and toggle the defensive pet button if I need to.  I like keeping control of who my pet is attacking, it makes it easier for get phase 2 of diseases up without the pet killing your target!!  It’s handy if you have casters hitting you to switch to defensive 🙂

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Need more ra… runic power!!

November 26, 2008

Looks like I am having a rethink for my level 80 build.  I’ve realised the importance of having more runic power, so 130 is my target on the forth tier of Frost.  Furthermore making Obliterate not remove diseases means it should end up my strike of choice (third tier).  So Instead of going for 11 points in frost, I am going further up the tree and getting 19 points in there instead, keeping the ‘good stuff’ from Unholy. 

The reason for the re-think, I’ve seen bigger single hits from obliterate, but needed to recast my diseases on the target.  Also the benefits of 130 runic power are just too good to turn down, especially as my Glyph of Death Strike improves the damage/heals per 5 runic power. 

I’ve also decided that my pull will be Icy touch, and that Death Grip will be saved for a runner/lost aggro taunt owing to its long cooldown.  So talenting Icy Touch up to 30 yards is a must for me. 

Until I can talent obliterate, I’ll be trading Death Strike for Scourge Strike in my rotations, depending on my health.  But once Obliterate is talented to not remove diseases, I’ll be removing Scourge Strike from my build.

Oh… and once I learn how to post links on this page I’ll be linking my final build and Armory page!!

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Death Knight Unholy AOE Levelling (v2)

November 25, 2008
I have found group pulls really boost your XP and help you level much quicker. 5 deads mobs in one pull = 5 times the XP!! An Unholy Death Knight has one of the best tool sets I’ve seen for AOE levelling, but it is a bit more complicated!
I’ve also found Unholy Blight (the 51 point talent in Unholy) more useful than Death and Decay for big pulls, I’ll explain why later! A couple of hours practising group pulls in Western Plaguelands is time well spent before hitting Outland, because the mobs are 50-54 there and a lot of areas are made for AOE. If you quest there as well, you’ll hit Outland at 60 with your group pull technique well on its way!!
This is what I’m doing at 64.
I have a Ghoul pet, so my first consideration is setting the ghoul to passive, this is not so important if you gather your mobs mounted, as I do (and I switch to pet defensive) but if you are pulling on foot it is a must, a defensive pet has a mind of it’s own!!! Next I mount up for my group pull with as much runic power as I can, and I don’t worry too much about period where I’m not doing anything other than auto attack, due to rune cooldown time. Your Auto Attack hits pretty hard, so I suggest you rotate about the mobs AFTER you have your diseases up!! Only having Auto Attack available is unavoidable, but a good rotation can minimise this time.
Before i pull I like to have bone shield up (it is essential!!), remember this also uses an Unholy rune, and runic power decays over time out of combat. I’ve improved Bone shield with Glyph of Bone shield for one extra charge so it is 20% more effective, a nice Glyph bonus and one I believe I’ll be keeping for end game. Bone Shield is essential because of the 40% damage mitigation, so if you pull 5 mobs, it effectively takes 2 out of the picture straight away!!! 3 doesn’t sound so fearsome, 5 is the magic number for AOE, I did manage 12 at one of the cauldrons in WP at 59 before I had Death and Decay (DD) and Unholy Blight (UB), needless to say I died on that pull but managed to finish the job as a Ghoul! I have also glyphed Death Strike because it is almost as good as a primary heal with 100 runic power, and it doesnt use runic power but one frost, one unholy.
I like to kill a single mob and build up my runic power before pulling a group, I then re-cast Bone shield which means you need to think about the Unholy Rune cooldown. I also set my interface so I can see the mobs health bars over their heads. You need to watch who you cast your second phase diseases on, making sure they don’t die before you cast pestilence!!! This is a mistake I have made a few times, it can send things pear shaped!!!
For my spell rotation I open with Icy Touch, then Plague Strike, then Pestilence to disease all my targets. I have talented my disease to 18 seconds and even doing this will leave a period where not all my targets are diseased. I have found getting a decent cycle catering for the rune cooldown to be quite complicated.
For Levelling I do not use Death and Decay, because this leaves you for runeless for quite a long time. One ability costing one blood, one frost and one unholy is expensive, and I’ll be using it more as an Instance ability ‘pull’ ability, so I am not discounting it. Just for levelling I’m not as interested in threat as I am in an active cycle, and getting both Unholy Blight and Death and Decay up while putting down lots of AOE damage means I am unable to use Death Strike as much as I’d like. This is not an issue for Instances because hopefully someone else is healing you!! So no Death & Decay and Unholy Blight is a nice runeless replacement. Ignore the QQ’s about this ability on the EU forums!!! People obviously should not bother with Unholy Blight (or death and decay) for single targets, it only truely shines with groups of 4-6 mobs!! Unholy Blight at 60 runic power it is also quite expensive, but you’ll find getting there isn’t too difficult if you do not use Death Coil, an ability I save for single targets or runners.
This leads me to another point, I have two bars set up, one for single targets, one for AOE, but that’s another post!!
For more AOE damage Blood Boil also add up on diseased targets with three disease!! With Reaping this also creates a Death Rune from a blood rune, and these are invaluable for an additional Death Strike if you are taking a hammering!!
I use Rune of Sword Shatterer on my 2 hander, for the extra 4% parry as well. You need all the mitigation you can get, because the more you have, the more mobs you can kill in one group!!
I’ve not yet found a good way to do this without any time periods where all 6 runes (or the ones I want) are on cooldown but here is my rotation, tweaked from my first version after last nights play!!

BR= Blood Rune, FR= Frost Rune, UR = Unholy Rune DR= Death Rune, x=Cooldown o = Available rune.

 

 

BR

BR

FR

FR

UR

UR

1

Icy Touch

o

o

x

o

o

o

2

Plague Strike

o

o

x

o

x

o

3

Pestilence

x

o

x

o

x

o

4

Blood Boil

x

drx

x

o

x

o

5

Death Strike

x

drx

x

x

x

x

6

Unholy Blight

x

drx

o

x

x

x

7

Icy Touch

x

drx

x

x

x

x

8

Plague Strike

o

drx

x

x

o

x

9

Pestilence

x

dr

x

x

o

x

10

Death Strike

x

drx

x

o

x

o

11

Death Strike

x

drx

x

x

x

x

12

Blood tap

dr

drx

o

x

x

x

13

Death Strike

drx

drx

x

x

x

x

 Note: Occasionally you will need to silence casters but that is a runic power ability and only on a few occasions have I needed to use a blood rune to do that with Strangulation.  I do not use Death Grip, unless there is a runner.  I have tried to maximise the number of death strikes, and try to use them with as much runic power as I can to max the return from Glyph of Death Strike.

It’s a long ‘rotation’, more of the whole fight to be honest!  I have my disease at 18 seconds but this rotation takes into consideration 12 sec diseases. 

Hopefully you pick the right mob to start your disease phase, I cycle about the group because I’ve found Auto Attack hits really hard with the 25% shadow damage talent, so the mobs go down quite fast.   I’ll try to post a video of this rotation, but there are already a few good ones out there. 

I use Blood tap (which I have also glyphed to remove the 6% health penalty) to death strike a little earlier.  Use it is you are losing a lot of health.  If the group’s health is still high at the second disease phase, I use Blood Boil at point 10 instead and go back into an Icy Touch -> Plague Strike -> Pestilence -> Blood tap cycle, either way it is best to end the fight with a few death strikes. 

For most pulls this table does me fine, and I can use Scourge Strike for some of the Death Strikes above if my health is ok, because it uses the same runes.  

This rotation is pretty much my staple at 64. There is no such thing as a definitive rotation, you need to react to whatever the pull throws up, but this one seems to be working for me. I’ve not included any spell caster silences, Anti Magic shield etc, and you will be using these depending on the make up of the group you pull, the silence is a runic power abilities and so far I’ve found I have no problem generating runic power if I actively use my abilities.

Melee groups are easier without a doubt. I have also found Death Knight AOE a lot more fun and a bit more complicated than doing the same thing with my 70 Protection Paladin (much as I love playing my Pally, this is true!!!)

I’ll do something for instances when I have a few more under my belt!! Do you have any better rotations/suggestions for levelling? All are tips welcome!!!

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Ambassador Lichbane

November 22, 2008

Well I did it today 🙂  I didn’t plan where I would get the achievement but it happened at the most appropriate place it could have…. In Uldaman at the Corpse of a Paladin 🙂  A nice 550 Gnomeregan Exiles reputation to take me to exalted with them.

Some pointless facts about the journey:

I made 115K XP and 64g from quests, 208g made in total including vendors and loot, just under 2 gold was spent on flights.  It took 758 quests (although i know it can be done with less if better planned) and I had 1day 23hours /played at 58 when I got it.  It could have been done faster as well but I made lots of coffee, had a few phone calls and watched the Scotland vs Argentina match while half playing!!

Now the fun begins…. I quickly got to 60 doing cauldron quests in Western Plaguelands, and bought my 59/60 skills, finally getting Death and Decay and Unholy Blight.  Even without them I was AOE’ing lots of mobs in WP to level quickly.  Should be fun when I can use the extra two damage spells.  I respecced getting rid of Desecration because of the graphic lag it caused my machine.  I’ve a geforce 8800 Ultra and it couldn’t cope with it!!  God knows what it would be like on a lesser card!!

I can now start messing about with spell rotations and seeing what the Unholy DK can do, and I’m looking forward to it!!!

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The making of an Ambassador continued….

November 20, 2008

I’ve completed the dwarf/gnome start up area, and all the quests in Loch Modan.  I did the Dun Modr Dark Iron Dwarf quests in Wetlands as I was questing my way to saving Stonewrought Dam (Yes I am a hero, saviour of Loch  Modan and Wetlands!!!!).  I also decided to save Thandol Span while I was there, because those pesky Dark Iron Dwarves were going to blow it up too!! 

I then ventured into Gnomeregan and did 5 out of the 6 quests there (missing Data Rescue because I’m not an Engineer).  I think I’ve been in Gnomeregan the least of all the Instances pre- WotLK, and it was a little confusing because I didn’t know it as well. 

One tip I’d offer is, if you do this without Death and Decay, pull the elites with death grip, get one disease on them, then use pestilence, if you crit them and they die, you can use corpse explosion, remembering it doesnt work on mechanicals!!  I found this quite useful on the groups of gnomes around Mechanar.  Another cool thing was I was getting more than one hit on the elites, and while the mobs are not hardy enough to start taking 3 hits, or get to a stage where I could reliably use pestilence and blood boil, I could start to see what it will be like when I’ve got higher level mobs to tank.  I’m looking forward to when I can pull larger groups and start using my diseases… perversely I think it will be quicker clearing Instances when I can. 

Corpse Explosion and the Glyph of Corpse Explosion combined seem useful as a finisher, if timed right.  I could also set my Ghoul to defensive and make him work for his keep at last as well.  He was getting bored running about beside me anyway, at least I don’t have to feed him!!  Up till now he killed things too quickly, and so did I, in fact most went down one shotted, and his ‘focus dump’ adds a nice extra DPS.  Corpse explosion is also handy for making sure I tagged everything before he started slapping them about!!!

I’m revered with the 3 remaining factions, Ive hit 17k Ironforge, 13.5k Gnomeregan rp and 18k Draenei.  So still some way off the magic 21k with the three factions, but getting there.  It looks like the Gnomes are going to need the most work.  I may have to start looking for specific quests rather than grabbing all I find with the low level quest tracker.   

I’m going to quest through Wetlands, Arathi then Southshore.  Then I’ll clear out the Scarlett Monastry.   Hopefully I’ll not need to go to Badlands and clear out Uldaman, but it is looking increasingly likely that I will need to.  I suppose if I do that I may as well get the sceptre, go kill a princess, and then get me a mallet as well!!  I am champing at the bit to get to Outland, I could be well into the 60’s by now if I had

When I get the Ambassador title, I might make a wee guide for the WOW Death Knight forums… hmmm this could be another title of a post in itself, WHERE ARE THEY BLIZZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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The Making of an Ambassador

November 17, 2008
It’s now /played 25 hours and 21 hours at level 58!! So far I’ve got my Death Knight exalted with Stormwind and Darnassus, and completed all the quests in Deadmines/Stockades/Blackfathom Deep. I’m now half way through revered with the Exodar!! I’ll do the Dwarf/Gnome areas and all the Gnomeregan quests in the next few evenings. Hopefully finishing things off in the Scarlett Monastry.
Questing like this is a ‘novel’ experience, you can follow the lower level quest chains right through without hitting any level caps, and makes it a lot more like a story driven journey. Levelling usually means you need to wait a while for the next instalment, but when it is condensed like this, it really shows off Blizzard’s story telling!!
Would I do this again with another ‘hero’ class? Probably! hehe.
Back to the mission in hand!!

I remembered way more quests in Azuremyst Isle as I levelled with my Shaman, but quite a lot seem to be Draenei only, so it looks like it is going to be quite difficult hitting exalted in Bloodmyst Isle (where I am at the moment and the original plan!!) even as a human. At worst if I complete all the available quests I find, using my memory, wowhead and the low level quest tracker, then I’ll hit exalted in Bloodmyst Isle. If not I may do the remaining Draenei quests in Forest Song in Ashenvale, and head over to Swamp of Sorrow. I can also get some Exodar quests in Outland but I know I’ll get there questing and will not need to quest in Alterac Valley or go on a runecloth grind.

I prefer questing to item grinding because it is more interesting and I like the stories you come across!! I think I’ve done most (if not all) of them across a few different characters, so it is nice to consolidate them all into one Hero character. It seems appropriate!

One very useful thing I’ve found is I have not yet been to Ironforge, save to pick up quests for Stockades and Blackfathom deep and I have not yet done the Dwarf/Gnome start up zone, yet I hit Reverred with Ironforge whilst doing the Draenei start up area with the additional faction reputation alone and I am only less than 1k off Gnomeregan Revered, and before I started I was worried more about getting Gnome rep than any of the other factions!! So even if I don’t get exalted by finishing all the quests I find in Bloodmyst Isle, I expect the additional ‘alliance rep’ I get from the dwarf quests will get me there so I can do it before I level to 59. A 58 Ambassador would be quite a personal achievement!! At the current rate and with a bit of luck it will be 10-15 more hours /played till I get the Ambassador title, maybe once I hit the Scarlet Monastry and complete all the quests there. I’d be pretty pleased if I could get there at level 58!!

This title feels a bit more substantial than those I was getting while playing Warhammer Online!!

I’ve done nearly 450 quests already, so I am definitely in the questing groove! I am still miles away from the Loremaster title, for either island. Who knows maybe I’ll come back for that after I hit 80! I’d like to solo Onyxia as well!!!!!

I was intending to do as many of the classic dungeons, with all their associated quests as I could. But perhaps the lure of outland and Northrend’s new journey to level 80 will be too strong!! We’ll see!!!!

Oops…….. I’ve still to start my Blacksmith skill, and cooking and fishing!!!

I’ve already seen level 75 Death Knights on my server, so good luck to whoever gets the ‘World first’. I expect someone somewhere already has!!!

I’m not in such a rush myself!! To many ‘fluff’ items to do first!!

 

 

 

 

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A new beginning…….

November 14, 2008

Well my game didn’t turn up on Wednesday, thanks Amazon… you’ve just lost a customer, and earned a new nickname in this house….. Scamazon!  So I did what many other Amazon customers did… went to a midnight opening at my local Tesco much to the bemusement of my wife!!  There was quite a queue when I got there, and it was fun seeing the delight on peoples faces as they rushed out clutching their copy!!  One person was in such a hurry, he had to get called back for his change!!!!

I made my Unholy Death Knight as soon as I got home, and got to bed after 4am with a level 58 in all the Death Knight blues.  They look awesome, I’m not going to spoil what happened for readers but one of my first achievements was ‘Duelicious’!!  The cut scenes set the tone well, and all bodes well for the journey to 80 and End Game!  I’m looking forward to continuing the story line that the event in Eastern Plaguelands opened up.  Certain parts of it reminded me of the Onyxia chain quests.  One suggestion I would make is take a slow walk into Stormwind the first time you go there, don’t run, and read the shouts while you do!!

The siege warfare looks like it is going to be fun based on this taster!!  And my highest ‘hit’ is over 80k on my achievements!!!  I doubt I’m going to top that!!! 

I am now into the next phase, getting my faction rep for the ‘Ambassador’ title.  First Instance done was the Deadmines!!  An Appropriate start.  I’ve quested right through Elwynn, Westfall and Redridge… and have all the Stockades quests for tonight, and a trip to Duskwood to look forward to before heading across to Teldrassil!!   Doing lowbee quests with a 58 DK is a breeze, and its surprising how quick you fly through them, and the memories of doing them the first time are nice as well!!

The ‘Diplomacy’ racial makes a massive difference, I was half way through revered with Stormwind as I logged…. and yes, it was because I got asked to Heal Utgarde Keep with my Shaman, it was nice an easy, but that’s another story!