Thursday, October 8, 2009

Death Knight Tier 10 Review

Odds are I was the only person in the world who was clinging to the hope that we would not have to joggle yet another set of tier gear. Small hope I agree, but I believe justified because as a progression raider most of your game actually revolves around those blasted pieces and not sooner than you actually have managed to gather a set, you are already shopping for a new one next week.

But enough ranting and lets have a look what nice things we are getting this week.

The new death knight art actually looks very nice this time around. Tier 9 was fine but seemed a bit too contained, too neat and polished for someone who is essentially a warrior with a permanent bad temper. The new look is a return to tier 8; death motifs and rustic. Definitely a nice job by the designer.

The tier bonuses look slightly more dubious. Since I a tank night and day, I always look at those set bonuses first and I am getting mixed feelings this time:

2P Bonus: Increases the damage done by your Death and Decay ability by 20%.
4P Bonus: When you activate Blood Tap, you gain 12% damage reduction from all attacks for 10 seconds.

As always, the first set bonus is a threat amplifier but I am worried that the target this time is Death And Decay. True, it is my default opener to any fight, so a good choice, but the problem is integrating it neatly into your rotation. You will of course try to recast it during an encounter but odds are you will not be able to, at least not as often as you would prefer because it actually takes three different runes to use and getting all three refreshed at the same time is not an easy feat.

Also for highly mobile bosses e.g. Hodir, Ignis, and Dreadscale it is particularly difficult because you are then stuck tanking the boss within the confines of the spell.

The second set bonus does make me raise my eyebrows equally. Is this meant as an extra tank cooldown? Seems improbable because blood tap already plays a pivotal role as part of my normal rotation to get extra hits out on the boss. To be forced to save it as a damage mitigator seems out of this world to me.

I am thinking it might provide a nice respite to heavy damage during a fight though. Remember damage of Ulduar hard modes or ToTGC bosses like Gormak and Anub'arak? Using blood tap like I do, whenever possible to make use of a death rune will provide some amount of mitigation just randomly during a fight, and if available, as an emergency cooldown but there is a downside also; random damage mitigation means spiky damage and we all know how healers hate spiky damage.

Sure, you can use Ora2 to announce cooldowns and that way healers can know when you're using it but to me spells hard times for healers though.

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