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Frost DPS | Cataclysm 4.0.6, This Is My Life


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#1 Consider

Consider

    King Hippo

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 09:45 AM

SOME INFORMATION MAY BE OUT OF DATE, DON'T ASK WHEN IT WILL BE UPDATED

2/20 | Cataclysm 4.0.6

Insert various excuses for tardiness here. Initial update for 4.0.6 done. Not much changed for the tree last patch; 2H Frost is suddenly viable and our AoE took a hit, but that's basically it. Best Spec, Spec, Meta-Gem, Enchanting, and Professions sections updated. Stat Weights and BiS lists do need to be touched, there's nothing radically different there. All other parts of the post are the same now as they were, as their respective subjects were untweaked.

=Best Spec=
This is probably the most asked question here or anywhere else, so I may as well address it before going on to any real information. Before I do, it's important to be clear that the below assumes, gear/raid comp wise, that they're equal/equivalent, and that latency isn't a factor (meaning you have less than 400 ms). It suffices to say that said assumption won't apply to everyone (although it should cover the majority of people), and if you experience different results, that's likely due to some individual issue; either your gear greatly favors a specific spec, your latency is through the roof, or you're simply playing a spec improperly. As well, the below is talking in terms of single target encounters: although AoE situations are relatively common, they introduce way too many additional variables to sort through.

[Leveling]
Normally, I wouldn't even bother to address this, but with it being the very beginning of an expansion, I may as well toss a quick line or two on the subject. Unfortunately, leveling speed can't be quantified in the same manner as PvE dps, but that doesn't mean all specs are equal in this regard - certain talents/playstyles undoubtedly favor faster leveling; increased mount speed, increased run speed, 1 second GCDs, Butchery, Unholy Command, burst dps, disease independence, and so on. Only one build has all of these perks and more: Frost 2H. That isn't to say you can't level as Unholy or Frost DW - of course you can - merely that, objectively speaking, they're subpar speed-wise. More on the subject can be found here.

[Normal Raids]
Assuming an average iLvl of 359 (normal t11), the order goes something like: 2H Unholy > DW Frost = 2H Frost > DW Unholy, with 2H Unholy being ~2% ahead, DW Frost and 2H Frost being within 0.5% of one another, and DW Unholy being hopelessly behind. For reference's sake, the approximate dps at this gear level is 20k, pending the fight. This is the simulated result, remember, which means it's assuming no AoE, no movement, no fight specific buffs/debuffs, all raid buffs/debuffs and so forth.

In reality, Frost will tend to underperform compared to what it theoretically should be at, partially because it's more heavily affected by RNG, partially because of the rune bug where they skip back half a second, partially because it's more heavily affected by movement, and a handful of other minor factors. Generally speaking, this leads to DW Frost and 2H Frost falling an additional 5% behind on most of the current single target centric fights of the tier, although the two specs are very competitive on AoE-centric fights.

[Hardmode Raids]
Assuming an average iLvl of 372 (hardmode t11), the order goes something like: 2H Unholy > DW Frost >= 2H Frost > DW Unholy, with 2H Unholy being ~2% ahead, DW Frost and 2H Frost being within 1% of one another, and DW Unholy being hopelessly behind. For reference's sake, the approximate dps at this gear level is 22k. This is the simulated result, remember, which means it's assuming no AoE, no movement, no fight specific buffs/debuffs, all raid buffs/debuffs and so forth.

In reality, Frost will tend to underperform compared to what it theoretically should be at, partially because it's more heavily affected by RNG, partially because of the rune bug where they skip back half a second, partially because it's more heavily affected by movement, and a handful of other minor factors. Generally speaking, this leads to DW Frost and 2H Frost falling an additional 5% behind on most of the current single target centric fights of the tier, although the two specs are very competitive on AoE-centric fights.
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=Abbreviations=
[TABLE="head"]Abbreviation | Meaning
AMS | Anti-Magic Shell
AotD | Army of the Dead
AoE | Area of Effect
BA | Bladed Armor
BB | Blood Boil
BiS | Best in Slot
BoT | Bastion of Twilight
BP | Blood Plague
BS | Blood Strike
BT | Blood Tap
BWD | Blackwing Descent
DG | Death Grip
DK | Death Knight
DnD | Death and Decay
DPS | Damage per Second
DS | Death Strike
DSim | Dark Simulacrum
DW | Dual Wield
ERW | Empower Rune Weapon
FF | Frost Fever
FP | Frost Presence
FS | Frost Strike
GCD | Global Cooldown
GoX | Glyph of X
HB | Howling Blast
HoW | Horn of Winter
IBF | Icebound Fortitude
ICD | Internal Cooldown
IT | Icy Touch
KM | Killing Machine
MF | Mind Freeze
MotFW | Might of the Frozen Wastes
NS | Necrotic Strike
Ob | Obliterate
PoF | Pillar of Frost
PS | Plague Strike
RD | Raise Dead
RE | Runic Empowerment
RP | Runic Power
RPM | Runic Power Mastery
SF | Scarlet Fever
TotFW | Throne of the Four Winds
TX | Tier X
UP | Unholy Presence[/TABLE]
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=Specs=
==Generalized Spec==
On the upside, both dual-wielding and 2-hander versions of Frost are alive and well, even if the dps isn't quite competitive with one another at the moment. On the downside, unlike many other trees in Cataclysm – such as Death Knight’s own Unholy – Frost unfortunately doesn’t actually offer you much in the way of individual choice. The below “cookie-cutter” specs are basically your only options, as there’s nothing beyond tier 2 which is debatable, and you’re left with absolutely zero remaining points at your discretion.

[DW; As Always] | 4/31/6
The best Frost dps spec, and the only real choice for Frost DW. In tier 1, you can freely choose between two points in Runic Power Mastery and two points in Icy Reach: it makes no noticeable impact on dps. As well, in tier 2, you can split three points between Lichborne, Endless Winter, and On A Pale Horse at one’s own best judgment, as it’s similarly unimportant what you choose. Aside from that, everything is essentially set in stone: you grab every DW-relevant dps talent in reach! DPS as this spec is done in Frost Presence. Obliterate will be the largest fraction of your total damage, followed closely by Frost Strike and then your auto-attack. Obliterate and Frost Strike may swap places depending on specific level of mastery.

[2H; Newly Viable] | 4/31/6
Pretty much equal in damage to DW. The two hander build isn’t radically different, aside from the obvious dropping of the dual-wielding specific talents. You lose any semblance of choice in tier 1; you have to max out both RPM and Icy Reach, on account of Nerves of Cold Steel being utterly worthless. You have the same three points in tier 2 to distribute between whatever talents there that you would like. You grab Might of the Frozen Wastes instead of Threat of Thassiran, which I would hope is common sense! Nothing else to note. DPS as this spec is done in Unholy Presence. Frost Strike will be the largest fraction of your total damage, followed closely by Obliterate and then your auto-attack. Frost Strike and Obliterate may swap places depending on specific level of mastery.

==Optional Talents==
Although you don’t have any leftover points when everything is said and done, you do have to two points in the first tier (for DW) and three points in the second tier (for both specs) which have to be spent on talents which don’t directly affect your dps; and thus enters this section. None of the following options will do much of anything for your damage, and which you opt to take is as much individual choice as you’re likely to get in this game for speccing purposes!
  • Runic Power Mastery
    RPM isn’t that attractive of an option, unfortunately. Between Revitalize/ Rapture no longer providing unpredictable small bursts of runic power and Anti-Magic Shell no longer generating runic without the Unholy-only talent, you should never go above 100 RP, or even close. It just won’t happen; all your RP gains are tied to using an active ability (remember, this is DW only we’re talking – 2H does have MotFW, yes, but they have to pick up RPM, and thus are irrelevant to this discussion). As unspectacular as other options may be, RPM is even worse!
  • Icy Reach
    Icy Reach isn’t that horrible of a talent; increased range comes of use whenever you’re running to/from a mob, or when you’re locked out of melee range entirely for one arbitrary reason or another. The weak part is it affects only one of our abilities when you consider the fact that IT has no place on Frost’s actionbar and Chains of Ice nerfed are all but meaningless in PvE. Honestly though, all that matters is whether or not it’s better than RPM - it is, and because of that, I can’t see any DW spec passing this up. Still, hardly matters either way, so if one disagrees, there’s nothing wrong with that.
  • Lichborne
    Minimal PvE benefit: it allows you to self-heal, but only at a rather high dps cost – simply Death Striking in place of Obliterate is nearly as good in terms of healing-per-damage-lost. The side benefit of being able to break/immune fears, charms, and sleeps is great when a fight actually involves one of those three mechanics, but that’s rather rare to say the least. Not a bad option, but not the best, in my opinion.
  • On A Pale Horse
    Increased mount speed is absolutely incredible in terms of convenience. Sure, it doesn’t have any important raid implications, but everyone can appreciate getting from point A to point B quicker… and, more importantly, the snare duration reduction aspect can be of great value in PvE. Yes, it’s certainly situational, but when you do benefit, it’s huge – as valuable as an increased run speed talent would be at those times. This is a perfect example of a desirable but non-dps-affecting talent.
  • Endless Winter
    Oh, Endless Winter. If it still had the 2/4% strength bonus tacked on from Wrath, there would be no question – this would be a must have. Without that perk, however, it’s much more open to debate. If you do have to constantly interrupt, then this talent saves you 20 RP each cast, which could add up to over a dozen additional Frost Strikes on a fight such as Vezax. The obvious issue is that most fights just don’t require interrupting and even if one does there’s nothing stopping you from passing off the burden to another member of the raid. The epitome of situational talents.
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=Glyphs=
Prime
  • | , for AoE.
Major
  • [Individual's Choice]
  • [Individual's Choice]
  • [Individual’s Choice]
Minor

This goes for both DW and 2H; nothing changes for glyphs when transitioning from one spec to the other.

When it comes to the prime glyphs, nothing here should be a huge surprise. Glyph of Obliterate and Glyph of Frost Strike have long been essentials to the spec, and that doesn’t change. Glyph of Howling Blast may raise some questions, but I assure you, it is superior to the single target alternative (Glyph of Icy Touch) – partially due to the fact that diseases scale impressively terribly on the way to 85, and partially due to the fact that HB just hits so much harder than IT. GoIT is still worth using when there are at least three mobs present; GoOB is the best option to sacrifice (GoHB has its own increased value on AoE, due to the Pestilence nerf, and GoFS is just plain superior regardless). GoDnD isn’t justified using unless it’s a Halfus' Emerald Whelp type situation.

As far as major glyphs go, there's little of interest. Glyph of Pestilence and Glyph of Blood Boil and both completely useless, as neither spell has a place in one's AoE rotation these days. Glyph of Pillar of Frost can be great in theory – picture a boss which doesn’t move but somehow CCs you. The Glyph would then buy you 20 seconds of free dps time. The two obvious drawbacks are that most bosses don’t actually do any sort of CC, and that even when they do, if a boss moves, then you’re no better off! As for other options GoAMS, GoCoI, GoHC… they're all relatively unnoticeable, so up to the player.

Minors don’t actually matter, but using process of elimination there are only three options of even the slightest value in PvE - Path of Frost, Blood Tap, and Horn of Winter. Death’s Embrace is irrelevant for Frost unless you actually take Lichborne, Raise Ally is all but meaningless, and Resilient Grip is more for PvP/tanking. Reduced fall damage, less damage taken, and ensuring your HoW not getting the “a more powerful buff is already active” message beats nothing.
 1[/hr]

=Rotation=
==Single Target==
Say good bye to the rigid, fixed rotations of the past, and hello to the priority-based playstyle of Cataclysm:

Diseases > Ob if both Frost/Unholy pairs and/or both Death runes are up, or if KM is procced >
BS if both Blood Runes are up > FS if RP capped > Rime > Ob > BS > FS > HoW.


First thing first: as stated toward the beginning of this post, dual-wielding will perform this in Frost Presence while those using a two-hander will be best off using Unholy Presence. The reason for this difference is due almost entirely to MotFW; not only does the talent substantially increase the value of quicker attack speed, but it also GCD caps the spec by a moderate margin, thereby making the 1 second globals of UP priceless.

Beyond that, everything is identical between the two, and relatively straightforward:

Diseases come first, as always, with Frost Fever being applied by Howling Blast and Blood Plague being applied by Outbreak/Plague Strike. With Rime, you should never have to worry about FF… the odds of going without a Rime proc in a 33 second window are absurdly low. BP maintenance is simple enough – if you have an Unholy rune come up from an RE proc when diseases have about 6 seconds or less left, then go ahead and use it on PS, otherwise just use the next rune that regularly respawns, be it Unholy or Death. When doing so, you may be left with a Frost rune sitting by itself; it's best to go ahead and just use it on Howling Blast, whether or not you need the disease from it, unless an Unholy/Death rune is soon to pop, in which case hold off to Obliterate.

After that, you prioritize Obliterate and Blood Strike if both runes of the relevant cost (UF/D or B) are up. The reason for this is the same as it’s always been – you don’t want to “waste” runes by sitting on them, when you could have them cooling down. On top of that, if KM is up, it's always better to use it on Obliterate than on the alternative of Frost Strike. Ob simply hits harder, and always will in any realistic gear set up.

Similarly, you want to FS if RP capped, as wasting runic is just as undesirable as wasting runes.

If Rime is up, then you obviously want to use it... but you don't prioritize it over the above. It's better to potentially waste a Rime proc then it is to definitely waste runes or runic power. You're unlikely to ever get into a situation where you have both Rime up and 130 RP or two runes of the same type, so it's not a huge worry, but in such cases, yes, Rime does come behind.

If all of the above is taken care of – you have no more than one of each rune type up, KM isn’t active, you have less than capped RP, and Rime isn’t up – then you simply Obliterate and Blood Strike as you can.

Following that, Frost Strike. Make sure you're not Frost Striking when you don't actually have at least two runes of the same pair on cooldown, as if you only have one of each at most, they'll be recharging, and thus RE takes a hit. You need to have runes fully depleted in order for RE to proc. That is the reason why FS is prioritized last; although, yes, under the new rune system you aren't inherently punished for sitting on a single rune of a pair, you will lose benefit from RE, and thus rune abilities must come first as usual.

And, of course, when left with no other option… Horn of Winter.
==Multiple Target==
The AoE rotation is actually quite different than the single target one or from what you might normally expect:

HB if both Frost runes and/or both Death runes are up >
DnD/PS if both Unholy Runes are up > BS if both Blood Runes are up >
FS if RP capped > HB > BS > DnD/PS > FS > HoW.


DW still dpses in FP while 2H still dpses in UP. Some might question the latter, but with HB no longer having a cooldown, it does indeed come out ahead. In fact, your rotation will end up being nothing but HB/FS spam 80% of the time in AoE scenarios, amusingly enough.

Anyways, there’s no need to specify applying diseases: you’ll constantly apply them with glyphed Howling Blast (which is your hardest hitting ability, of course) and PS (which you’re going to be tab “spamming” due to the fact that HB leaves you with leftover Unholy runes). Using Pestilence just isn’t worth it when you consider all of that, on top of the whole 50% penalty going on - you might use it when you have a dozen adds up, but such exceptions are quite rare. You’ll still prioritize DnD over PS whenever it’s off cooldown, of course, but that’s a given.

Following that, you still want to Blood Strike with your runes, not Blood Boil – the reason being BS converts to Death runes, while BB does not. Since a BS + HB > 2x BB, simple decision, although if you're in a scenario where you won't be AoEing for ~10 seconds (long enough for the Blood rune to come back up as a Death), then yes, BB does more immediate damage.

Then, of course, comes using runes on HB/BS/PS/DnD as appropriate, followed by the dumping of runic into Frost Strike for RE procs. Nothing fancy. Nothing which needs explaining, I hope.
 1[/hr]

=Stats and Gearing=
==Stat Weights==
The following chain of relative worth is accurate for level 85 in Cataclysm:

Dual Wield
Strength > Hit to cap >= Expertise to cap > Mastery > Crit > Haste > Agility


Two Hand
Strength > Hit to cap >= Expertise to cap > Haste > Mastery > Crit > Agility


There’s not a ton to say.

That strength is king should come as no surprise. All of the ratings severely depreciated in value from level 80 to level 85; the amount required per 1% of their respective stat quadrupled in nearly every case. Strength, on the other hand, still provides the same amount of AP, and that AP in turn still provides more-or-less the same amount of damage. You'll see in the example stat weights just how large the lead is.

Of the secondary stats, hit and expertise to their respective caps are as important as ever for the same reasons as ever. Missing and being dodged are bad. Simple as that.

The order of value after that point then diverges pending on spec with DW going mastery, crit, then haste, and 2H going haste, mastery, then crit.

When you think about it, the differences are quite logical:

2H, thanks to MotFW and Unholy Presence, absolutely loves haste. It increases auto-attacks which means more MotFW and KM procs. It increases rune regeneration, which means more yellow damage - and, unlike DW, 2H actually has the available globals to make use of those additional abilities. It's truly the "master stat"... with the catch being that it has a "soft cap" (a point where its value slightly diminishes to be behind that of mastery and, potentially, crit). Fortunately such a point isn't yet reachable in T11 content. After that you have mastery which, with the vast reliance on FS which 2H specs have, is absolutely quite potent, and crit at the end, being rather lackluster due to Killing Machine's influence.

DW, on the other hand, places a premium on mastery. This isn't because it benefits more from the stat than 2H, but simply that it doesn't gain extra value from the other options! Crit is in second, with haste bringing up the rear. The reason why haste is so mediocre for the spec all comes down to the fact that DW, even in entry level gear, is near GCD locked, and thus doesn't get the full benefit that it otherwise would.

And then, towards the end, it all comes together with both specs agreeing on the utter worthlessness of agility! The simple fact is that agility items will never be taken from now on, unless the ilvl gap between it and a strength piece is something ridiculous (i.e, at least two tiers – 26 ilvls – worth). Part of this is because agility items no longer have attack power, while another part of it is because we get 5% strength for free when wearing all plate.

===Specific Stat Weights===
Preliminary stat weights are as follows:

[iLvl 359 - Normal Raids]
[table="head"]Stat | DW | 2H
Strength | 2.62 | 2.28
Hit | 1.22 | 0.99
Expertise | 0.96 | 0.94
Mastery | 0.82 | 0.80
Haste | 0.48 | 0.84
Crit | 0.58 | 0.60
Attack Power | 0.88 | 0.74[/table]


[iLvl 372 - Hardmode Raids]
[table="head"]Stat | DW | 2H
Strength | 2.63 | 2.26
Hit | 1.18 | 1.28
Expertise | 1.06 | 1.04
Mastery | 0.90 | 0.88
Haste | 0.40 | 1.02
Crit | 0.66 | 0.68
Attack Power | 0.88 | 0.75[/table]

Do note that from this point in time and onward any and all stat weights presented by me will be in terms of dps, not attack power. There's numerous benefits to doing so: most notably the fact that when weights are in terms of dps, you can compare them cross-spec or even cross-class, allowing you to compare how different specs/classes scale relative to another, or permitting you to figure out who actually will benefit best from a specific upgrade. There's other factors in play, but that's one of the biggest motivators to switch. Besides, there's nothing you can do with weights-in-AP that you can't also do in weights-in-DPS.

If you really want the weights the old way, for some odd reason, simply multiply everything by the inverse of AP's dps weight; 1/X = Y, with X being the AP weight from the above table, and Y thus being the coefficient by which you multiple everything to put it in terms of AP.
===Reforging===
Reforging takes 40% of a secondary stat* already on an item and converts it into a secondary stat not already on an item. This lets you optimize your gear to a level like never before, and diminishes the gap between the best items and their lesser counterparts.

Unfortunately, it's very difficult to reforge properly, and takes way more math than gemming or actually gearing itself could ever require.

At first glance, it may seem nothing more than taking the least valuable stat on each item and reforging it to the most valuable stat not already present on that item and, to be truthful, that really is all there is to it. The complexity comes when working around the hit and expertise cap: unfortunately, there's no simple way to explain how to handle that. You don't just reforge your weakest stats into those two until their respective caps, and then focus on everything else. Sometimes it's desirable to reforge away hit/expertise on one item, but then reforge to it on another. Sometimes you just reforge it away. Sometimes you just reforge to it. In essence, you want to get your hit/expertise as close to the caps as possible (slightly over or slightly under not being too important), and do so while maximizing the rest of your secondary stats.

How to do this simply depends on your specific set up of gear, and I haven't quite figured out a simple way to explain the exact process. Fortunately, Kahorie is currently working on adding a reforging optimizer to his renown simulator, and that should make the process as thoughtless as can be. It should be done by the time the expansion hits; meanwhile, just suffer through doing your best at manually calculating it.

*Secondary stats mean Spirit and all ratings except Resilience (which is oddly exempt from reforging for whatever odd reasons).

==Set Bonuses==
Although specific EP values aren’t currently available, it doesn’t take any complex math to look at the T11 bonuses and know they're must haves:

  • [T11 2P] Increases the critical strike chance of your Death Coil and Frost Strike abilities by 5%.
  • [T11 4P] Each time you gain a Death Rune, you also gain 1% increased attack power for 30 sec. Stacks up to 3 times.


The two piece is an approximate 1% dps gain, while the four piece is more along the lines of a ~2% boost. Considering the set is well itemized even ignoring these bonuses, it would be silly not to get them, and undoubtedly suboptimal.

==Trinkets==
There's a common misconception that trinkets are somehow harder to evaluate than other items. They (generally) aren't. A trinket's value comes down to nothing more than:

[TABLE]Trinket Value = | (Amount of Passive Stat x Passive Stat's Weight) + ((Amount of Proc/Use Stat x Proc/Use Stat's Weight) x Proc/Use Uptime)[/TABLE]

Simple, no?

Unfortunately, however, there is the reason I put generally in parenthesis earlier: Blizzard does not make internal cooldowns (and, thus, uptimes) visible from an item's tooltip or datamined information, which can make trinkets difficult to eyeball in value.

Fortunately, in Cataclysm, Blizzard has greatly simplified matters. With some rare (and generally obvious) exceptions, trinkets with a proc ("Chance on X to boost stat by Y for Z seconds") have an internal cooldown equal to 5 times Z (the duration of the proc's buff). Trinkets with an on-use effect ("Use: Increases stat by Y for Z seconds") have a cooldown equal to 6 times Z (the duration of the on-use buff). When you consider that procs won't go off the second the ICD is up, on top of the fact that it's harder to line up procs than it is to line up on-use effects, the two end up with near-identical uptime, although proc-based trinkets do come out slightly ahead.

On top of that, the budget of the stat proc/use is now equal to the budget of the passive stat.

Thus, what this means is that trinket selection comes down to nothing more than picking the highest iLvl trinket you can get which has one of its stats as strength, and which then has the most desirable secondary stat for your spec. When presented with multiple options, choose a proc trinket over a use trinket, and a trinket with strength as its proc/use over a trinket with strength as its passive (with the former, you can reforge, with the latter, you can't).

Although I may still come back and add a table of trinkets, similar to what I had for this section in Wrath, it really is as easy to determine what's best and what's not as the above explanation shows.

==Best in Slot==
With Heroic Presence – the Draenei hit aura – being reworked to self-only, there’s no longer any real reason to differentiate between Alliance and Horde when it comes to Best in Slot sets, as one outfit will fit all… unless you’re a Draenei, in which case you can easily just reforge/enchant away some of the hit.

[DW Pre-Hardmode]
[table="head"]Slot | Item | Gemming | Reforging | Source
Head | | 1x Destructive, 1x 20str/mastery | Haste to Mastery | BWD; Nefarian
Neck | | None | Hit to Crit | BWD; Nefarian
Shoulders | | 1x 40str | None | BoT; Halfus
Back | | None | Expertise to Crit | Valor Points
Chest | | 1x 40str, 1x 20str/hit | Haste to Mastery | Valor Points
Wrists | | None | Haste to Mastery | BWD; Omnitron
Hands | | 1x 40str | Haste to Crit | Valor Points
Waist | Of The Landslide | 1x 40str | Expertise to Mastery | TotFW; Conclave
Legs | | 2x 40str | Hit to Crit | Valor Points
Feet | | 1x 40str | Expertise to Crit | BWD; Chimaeron
Ring | | None | Haste to Crit | Valor Points
Ring | | None | Haste to Crit | BoT; Valiona
Trinket | | None | Expertise to Mastery | BWD; Chimaeron
Trinket | | None | None | Craftable BoE
Main Hand | | None | Hit to Crit | BoT; Trash
Off Hand | | None | Hit to Crit | BoT; Trash
Relic | | 1x 40str | Expertise to Mastery | Valor Points[/table]


[2H Pre-Hardmode]
[table="head"]Slot | Item | Gemming | Reforging | Source
Head | | 1x Chaotic, 1x 20str/haste | Expertise to Hit | BWD; Nefarian
Neck | | None | None | World BoE
Shoulders | | 1x 40str | None | BoT: Cho'gall
Back | | None | Expertise to Haste | Valor Points
Chest | | 2x 40str | Expertise to Hit | BWD; Atramedes
Wrists | | 1x 40str | None | BWD; Omnitron
Hands | | 1x 40str | None | Valor Points
Waist | Of The Faultline | 1x 40str | Mastery to Hit | TotFW; Conclave
Legs | | 2x 40str | Mastery to Haste | Valor Points
Feet | | 1x 40str | Expertise to Haste | BWD; Chimaeron
Ring | | None | Mastery to Hit | World BoE
Ring | | None | Mastery to Hit | Valor Points
Trinket | | None | None | BoT: Monstrosity
Trinket | | None | Hit to Haste | Valor Points
Main Hand | | None | Expertise to Haste | BWD; Magmaw
Relic | | 1x 40str | Crit to Haste | Valor Points[/table]


[DW No Restrictions]
[table="head"]Slot | Item | Gemming | Reforging | Source
Head | | 1x Destructive, 1x 20str/mastery | Haste to Mastery | Unknown
Neck | | None | None | H BWD; Nefarian
Shoulders | | 1x 40str | None | H BoT; Halfus
Back | | None | Haste to Mastery | H BoT: Monstrosity
Chest | | 1x 40str, 1x 20str/hit | Haste to Mastery | Unknown
Wrists | | 1x 40str | Haste to Mastery | H BoT; Sinestra
Hands | | 1x 40str | Haste to Expertise | Unknown
Waist | Of The Landslide | 1x 40str | Expertise to Mastery | H TotFW; Conclave
Legs | | 2x 40str | None | Unknown
Feet | | 1x 40str | None | H BWD: Chimaeron
Ring | | 1x 40str | None | H BoT; Sinestra
Ring | | None | Haste to Crit | H BoT; Valiona
Trinket | | None | Expertise to Mastery | H BWD; Chimaeron
Trinket | | None | None | Craftable BoE
Main Hand | Of The Landslide | None | Expertise to Mastery | H TotFW; Al'Akir
Off Hand | | None | Haste to Mastery | H BWD; Magmaw
Relic | | 1x 40str | Crit to Mastery | Valor Points[/table]


[2H No Restrictions]
[table="head"] Slot | Item | Gemming | Reforging | Source
Head | | 1x Destructive, 1x 20str/haste | Expertise to Hit | Unknown
Neck | | None | Mastery to Haste | H BWD; Nefarian
Shoulders | | 1x 40str | None | Unknown
Back | | None | Crit to Mastery | H BoT: Monstrosity
Chest | | 2x 40str | Expertise to Hit | H BWD; Atramedes
Wrists | | 1x 40str | Crit to Hit | H BoT; Sinestra
Hands | | 1x 40str | Mastery to Hit | Unknown
Waist | Of The Faultline | 1x 40str | Mastery to Hit | H TotFW; Conclave
Legs | | 2x 40str | Mastery to Haste | Unknown
Feet | | 1x 40str | Expertise to Haste | H BWD; Chimaeron
Ring | | 1x 40str | Crit to Haste | H BoT; Sinestra
Ring | | None | Mastery to Hit | H BoT; Valiona
Trinket | | None | None | H BoT; Monstrosity
Trinket | | None | Expertise to Haste | H BWD; Chimaeron
Main Hand | | None | Expertise to Haste | H BWD; Magmaw
Relic | | 1x 40str | Crit to Haste | Valor Points [/table]
 1[/hr]

=Gemming and Enchanting=
==Gemming==
One of the most important changes to the gearing aspect of the game is the mix-up in gem colors: every single color has a stat of an interest to us, including blue:

[table="head"]Color | Melee Stats Available
Red | Strength, Expertise Rating
Yellow | Crit Rating, Haste Rating, Mastery Rating
Blue | Hit Rating[/table]

For Cataclysm, that leads to the following:
[table="head"]Color | DW | 2H
Red | |
Yellow | |
Blue | | [/table]

Even if you're not hit-capped, remember, it's never worth going out of your way to gem to that point. Reforge to it if you must, but never gem. It's simply not worth sacrificing strength for.

Aside from meeting your meta gem requirements, you only bother to use orange/purple gems if the socket bonus is 20 strength, 30 of any secondary stat, or anything higher than that for one yellow/blue slot, and 30 strength for two. Otherwise, simply go straight strength all the way.

===Meta-Gems===
. What needs to be said?

==Enchants==
Fairly self-explanatory, as it’s simply a matter of applying the stat weights, but as some people are curious and/or confused and/or lazy:

[TABLE="head"]Slot | DW Enchant | 2H Enchant | Notes
Head | 60 Str / 30 Mastery | 60 Str / 30 Mastery | Wildhammer/Dragonmaw revered. No competitive alternatives.
Cape | 65 Crit |65 Crit | No competitive alternatives.
Shoulder | 50 Str / 25 Crit | 50 Str / 25 Crit | Therazane exalted. 130 Str / 25 Crit for those with Inscription, of course, but no competitive alternatives otherwise.
Chest | 20 Stats | 20 Stats | No competitive alternatives.
Bracers | 50 Str | 130 Strength for those with Leatherworking, of course, but no competitive alternatives otherwise.
Gloves | 50 Str | 50 Str | No competitive alternatives.
Legs | 190 AP / 55 Crit | 190 AP / 55 Crit | No competitive alternatives.
Feet | 35 Mastery + Runspeed | 50 Mastery | Runspeed enchants are arguably best for DW, but unarguably pointless for 2H as they run in Unholy Presence. 50 Hit is a viable alternative; which you take ultimately matters on how you can best reforge your gear at the time[/TABLE]

===Runeforges===
Dual wielding will use Rune of Razorice on their main hand, with Rune of the Fallen Crusader on their offhand, as they always have. 2H will simply use Rune of the Fallen Crusader.

Dual wielding will, if able, keep a third weapon enchanted with Rune of Cinderglacier in their bags for use in AoE scenarios, as it's a large bump up from Razorice, assuming the ilvl difference between the weapons themselves isn't anything absurd.

The alternative enchants/runes do not even come close.
 1[/hr]

=Consumables and Cooldowns=
==Consumables==
Flask:
Potion:
Food: / /

Not much to say here. Although we still have Bladed Armor, prepotting with an armor potion isn't worth it - their duration has been decreased substantially, such that they last no longer than a "real" potion.

==Cooldowns==
As a Frost DK, you only have three cooldowns - Army of the Dead, Raise Dead, and Pillar of Frost. Maximizing their use is essential to maximizing one’s dps.

===Army of the Dead===
Army of the Dead will take a snapshot of your AP, haste, and hit at the time summoned. Changes in these stats after you have casted the spell will have no effect on the summoned minions, and other stats – crit, mastery, and the like – will have no effect period.

The most optimal time to use Army of the Dead will vary from boss to boss, but it is typically right before the beginning of an encounter. Using it mid-fight can lead to lost dps time, as the spell is channeled, and can also open the possibility of the spell getting interrupted by an npc mechanic, drastically lowering the value of the spell. That said, if you are unable to cast it before the fight begins it is still worth casting mid-fight – ideally during a phase transition or similar period of down-time – simply not as large a gain as using it immediately before the pull.

One note about Army of the Dead is that although the summoned ghouls will not taunt a boss, they will taunt most adds present on boss encounters. Keep this in mind as it can cause a wipe if used inappropriately… or prevent one if used intelligently.

===Raise Dead===
Raise Dead isn't terribly complex in its use. Similar to Army of the Dead, your Ghoul scales with your attack power, haste, and hit based on the moment it was cast, and will retain those exact stats for its entire duration. Try to wait on using it until all of your procs coincide, however, don't let this make you miss an opportunity to cast it. Summoning your Ghoul three times in a fight is better than only summoning it twice, regardless of procs. As such, figure out how many times you'll be able to use it based on the fight length. Try and use it at some point during Heroism's duration - it needs to be popped after Heroism is cast, while the buff is active on you, to benefit.

There’s no way for a Frost DK to give commands to its Ghoul, so try to summon it after any large amounts of raid damage – such as Shock Blast – go out, otherwise you may simply enough up wasting the cast entirely.

===Pillar of Frost===
Pillar of Frost is nothing short of amazing – 20% strength for 20 seconds, with a mere 60 second cooldown? Absolutely incredible, especially when one considers how simple it is to use: simply cast it whenever it’s up, ideally off either a Frost rune RE proc or a Blood Tap, and ideally lining it up with other cooldowns such as Raise Dead or Heroism.

Also take note of the knockback immunity – be sure to take full advantage of that aspect on any applicable fight.
 1[/hr]

=Basic Combat Mechanics=
Some elementary numbers to remember when raiding.
  • Boss level mobs no longer cause an unavoidable amount of partial resists.
  • Glancing blows happen 24% of the time on auto-attacks and cannot be critical hits. A glancing blow deals 70% damage. These only occur on boss level mobs, and there's no way to reduce the chance of them happening.
  • Yellow melee attacks and white two-hand attacks have an 8% chance to miss against boss level mobs. At 120 hit rating per 1% hit, it takes 960 hit rating to become hit soft-capped. For dual wielders, Nerves of Cold Steel reduces the chance to 5%, meaning you need 600 hit rating to then be soft-capped.
  • Spells have a 17% chance to miss against boss level mobs. At 102 hit rating per 1% spell hit, it takes 1734 hit rating to become spell hit capped. Our passive bonus from Runic Focus lowers this to 8% or 816 hit rating.
  • White DW attacks have a 27% chance to miss against boss level mobs. At 120 hit rating per 1% hit, it takes 3240 hit rating to become hit hard-capped. Nerves of Cold Steel reduces the chance to 24%, meaning you need 2880 hit rating to then be hard-capped. Do note, it's not actually worth being hard-capped.
  • Melee attacks - yellow or white, main-hand or off-hand - all have a 6.50% chance to be dodged when attacking a boss level mob from behind. At 30 expertise rating per 1 point (0.25%) expertise, it takes 780 expertise rating to become expertise soft-capped.
  • Melee attacks - yellow or white, main-hand or off-hand - all have a 14% chance to be parried when attacking a boss level mob from the front. At 30 expertise rating per 1 point (0.25%) expertise, it takes 1680 expertise rating to become expertise hard-capped. Do not, you should never be attacking a boss from the front, and thus it's not actually worth being hard-capped.
  • It takes 128 haste rating to equal 1% haste.
  • It takes 179 crit rating to equal 1% crit.
  • It takes 179 mastery rating to equal 1 mastery.
  • Melee attacks against boss level mobs automatically suffer a 4.8% crit supression, meaning you're that much less likely to crit said mobs with melee attacks.
  • Spells against boss level mobs automatically suffer a 3.0% crit suppression, meaning you're that much less likely to crit said mobs with spells.
 1[/hr]

= Dark Simulacrum =
[Placeholder]
==The Bastion of Twilight ==
[Halfus Wyrmbreaker]
Nothing.

[Theralion and Valiona]
Nothing.

[Ascendant Council]
Nothing.

[Cho'gall]
Nothing.

[Sinestra]
Nothing.

==Blackwing Descent ==
[Omnotron Defense System]
Nothing.

[Magmaw]
Nothing.

[Atramedes]
Nothing.

[Chimaeron]
Nothing.

[Maloriak]
Nothing.

[Nefarian]
Nothing.

==Throne of the Four Winds ==
[Conclave of Wind]
Nothing.

[Al'Akir]
Nothing.
 1[/hr]

=Races and Professions=
==Races==
===Alliance===
Worgen
The fact that they’re new is irrelevant; Worgen have, hands down, the best PvE racials of any Alliance (or, debatably, any) race. Visciousness provides a passive 1% crit, while Darkflight gives the utility of a 40% speed sprint every 2 minutes. The two just cannot be beat, and their value isn’t dependent on using a specific weapon type or gearing around a special stat cap.

Draenei
Heroic Presence – usually referred to as the “Draenei aura” – has been made self-only, as of patch 4.0.1, and thus the race can no longer claim supremacy. 1% hit still isn’t bad, however, and is stronger than any of the non-Worgen alternatives. Don't make the mistake of thinking 1% hit is better than 1% crit - with reforging, it's not. Gift of the Naaru is as laughably weak as ever, but a free heal-over-time at no cost of dps doesn’t hurt in an expansion where our self-healing capabilities in our dps spec is being severely reduced.

Human
Best case scenario, being human gives you 3 expertise and a free snare/CC break every 3 minutes. Although the second is quite useful, the first is worse than the equivalent passives of both Worgen and Draenei, and that’s not even considering the fact that you only get that expertise if you’re using a sword or a mace of some type. For PvE, humans are very middle of the line. Not bad, but far from the best.

Dwarf
Similar to Humans, Dwarves provide expertise; 5 when you’re using any sort of mace. Although this is slightly stronger than the human weapon bonus, it’s also more limited in use, and on top of that is the fact that Stoneform – a poison/disease/bleed clear and slight armor (and thus AP, via BA) on a 2 minute cooldown – is clearly inferior to Every Man for Himself. All in all, I would put Dwarves on par with Humans, although they're nearly equal.

Gnome
Gnomes are a relatively decent race for Frost DW DKs. Their weapon racial provides expertise, similar to Humans and Dwarves, but you need to be using a dagger or a one-hand sword to benefits. Escape Artist – a snare/immobilize break on a 1.75 minute cooldown – is actually quite decent, and certainly on par with EMFH or Darkflight in PvE. Not a bad option although, as always, the weapon racial is quite situational pending available itemization, and it's completely worthless if using a 2 hander.

Night Elf
Hands down the worst Alliance race for PvE dps , for Frost DKs or any other class/spec! All Night Elves have going for them is a temporary aggro dump on a two minute cooldown. Even if we had threat issues, which we don’t, this would still be quite horrendous, considering all the threat is returned to us the second you break Shadowmeld. There’s no passive which provides any sort of dps in any sort of scenario. If you’re truly looking to min-max, this is the last race you want as a dps.

===Horde===
Goblin
It shouldn’t come as any huge surprise that Goblins, being a brand new race, are much better than average. 1% increased attack/cast speed is quite decent, and a resource-free nuke (or, alternatively, blink) on a 2 minute cooldown is free dps, pure and simple. Easily the best horde race for Frost, although the competition isn’t exactly stellar, and they would easily lose out to Worgen and, potentially, Draenei.

Orc
Orcs are decent, but nothing stellar. 3 expertise when using an axe, 5% pet damage, and a 15s boost to AP every 2 minutes. Although that may all look good on paper, when you consider that the expertise boost is based on weapon itemization available, the pet boost is essentially meaningless for us, and the AP cooldown scales with level (1170 at 85) and not gear... well, it's nothing too special to say the least. Still, second best is better than last, and Orcs handily beat the rest of the horde races.

Troll
Reduced snare duration and a 10s haste buff on a 3 minute cooldown. Trolls, and the remaining horde races, are a huge step down from the Goblins and Orcs. The dps benefit of these racials, although not nonexistent, are just so incredibly small it’s hardly worth analyzing.

Blood Elf
15 runic power every 2 minutes, which is essentially one free Frost Strike a fight. That’s hardly anything – about half of half of one percent of a dps boost. Barely noticeable. The lack of any sort of dps passive is what really hurts Blood Elves; and the remaining two races.

Forsaken
A charm/sleep/fear break on a 2 minute cooldown. That’s it. It will give you a couple extra seconds of dps time on the rare fight which involves a fear, but nothing more.

Tauren
Even worse than Night Elves, all Tauren bring is a 2second AoE stun. Utterly worthless for PvE dps. There’s literally no benefit to it.

==Professions==
Engineering
Synapse Springs averages out to approximately 80 strength, as with most other decent professions. Good old s or (which is superior depends on various factors; number of mobs present, how close to the GCD cap you are, and so on) thus push the profession to the top.

Jewelcrafting
Bold Chimera’s Eye of which you can use three, coming out to a 81 strength gain. Ever so slightly superior to all of the below, but every bit helps. The second best available option.

Leatherworking
Draconic Embossment - Strength which replaces the otherwise standard 50 strength enchant. Tied with Blacksmithing, Alchemy, Enchanting, and Inscription.

Blacksmithing
Socket Bracer and Socket Gloves, allowing for two additional Bold Infernal Rubys. Thus BS is the same 80 strength gain as almost everything else. Tied with Leatherworking, Alchemy, Enchanting, and Inscription.

Alchemy
Mixology which, based off of Flask of Titanic Strength, gives a bonus of 80 strength, on top of the convenience gained by longer duration flasks and elixirs. Tied with Leatherworking, Blacksmithing, Enchanting, and Inscription.

Enchanting
Enchant Ring - Strength x 2. A straight up 80 strength gain, keeping in line with the majority of other self-perks. Tied with Leatherworking, Blacksmithing, Alchemy, and Inscription.

Inscription
Lionsmane Inscription, which is a 80 strength gain over its Therazane exalted counterpart. Tied with Leatherworking, Blacksmithing, Alchemy, and Enchanting.

Herbalism
Lifeblood , which is now a haste cooldown with a minor self-heal attached. 480 haste rating for 20 seconds with a 2 minute cooldown comes out to 80 haste over time, although the actual value of the ability is a bit higher since you can line it up with cooldowns for a greater-than-normal benefit.

Skinning
Master of Anatomy which is simply 80 crit rating.

Tailoring
Swordguard Embroidery, grants 800 AP for 15 seconds, which with a 45s ICD gives it a theoretical maximum of 267 AP over time. When you subtract from this the lost crit of a normal cloak enchant, it comes out well behind all of the above professions.

Mining
Toughness, the self-only perk of Mining, provides 120 stamina and thus absolutely zero damage. Extra survivability never hurts, sure, but if you’re trying to optimize dps, this is the one profession to avoid like the plague.
 1[/hr]

=Macros and Mods=
==Macros==
I'm not a huge macro fanatic, but as many find them useful, the following are ones of Frost DK interest:

[TABLE]#showtooltip Howling Blast
/Startattack
/cast Howling Blast [/TABLE]
By default, Howling Blast - unlike, say, Icy Touch or any strike - won't actually activate your auto-attack, despite being an offensive ability. This macro si far from necessary; you can always simply right click the target before combat, or open up with another ability, but it can be of use, and certainly won't cost you damage.


[TABLE]#showtooltip Pillar of Frost
/cast Pillar of Frost
/cast Raise Dead [/TABLE]
PoF has a 1 minute cooldown; Raise Dead has a 3 minute cooldown. Frost should never use the latter without first having used the former, and this macro just ensures that's the case.


[TABLE]#showtooltip Mind Freeze
/cast [modifier:shift] Strangulate; Mind Freeze [/TABLE]
A handy interrupt macro. Casts MF, but if MF misses, is on cooldown, or you're at range, just hold down shift and it will cast Strangulate.

==Mods==
UIs are a very individualized aspect of the game. It’s extremely rare for two people to be using the exact same mods in the exact same layout with the exact same options… and that’s honestly as it should be. What works for one person may or may not work for another, and personal familiarity and habit can often outweigh the transition of switching add-ons (or keybinds, for that matter) just because someone says something else is better. Besides, you don’t even have to use mods at all, and I’m sure there are some out there who make do with the default Blizzard UI for one reason or another.

That said there is something almost any moderately competent DK would agree on, and that’s that the default rune display is absolutely atrocious. You have to stare at the upper-left corner of your screen to see it. You can’t tell how many seconds are actually left on a rune refresh. It handles Runic Empowerment and Runic Corruption procs poorly.

Can you play with it? Yes. Can you perform to the best of your ability? Unlikely or, at best, quite difficult.

Thus if there is one sort of add-on I would advise every single DK to pick up, it’s a rune mod. The following are some of the most popular and useful, any and all of which are leagues above the built-in display.

DocsDebugRunes
Posted Image

Developed by this forum’s own dr_AllCOM3, DDR is my personal favorite and what I would highly recommend to any one new or old to the class. It does it all; clearly displays runes in a manner intuitive with the new rune system, highlights on RE/RC procs, shows time remaining on diseases, includes an icon for SD/KM, leeps track of SI stacks/DT time remaining, has a bar for runic power, and so on… all in a lightweight, unobtrusive little package. The only downside to the mod is the fact that it’s extremely limited in customization, but that’s only an issue if you don’t find the natural state absolutely perfect as I myself do!


MagicRunes
Posted Image

What I used for most of Wrath, and another popular choice, MagicRunes are extremely customizable. You can have your runes display as a single vertical bar, multiple vertical bars, a single horizontal bar, multiple horizontal bars, squares, circles, line graph, bar graph, and all sorts of different setups. You can make it as big or a small as you like, as bright or as dark as you please. Similar to DDR, this also can track diseases and runic power if you so choose; unfortunately, unlike DDR, it doesn’t cover any of our procs or things like Shadow Infusion stacks. Perfectly functional, and an attractive option for those looking for something thoroughly tweakable.


RuneWatch
Posted Image

Although I’ve never personally used it, seeing as how it’s the most popular rune mod download on Wowinterface, Runewatch must have something going for it. A quick look through shows it as having some options for different skins/layouts; more than DDR but less than MR. The display is a bit more garish and space intensive than most, but some may prefer that. As with the previous options, RW does include disease timers and runic power display, but as with MagicRunes, it lacks any sort of proc notification. Certainly better than the default, and a safe choice.
 1[/hr]

=Valuable Resources=
Consider’s Blog
The analysis behind the numbers. Wanting to know why the latest changes have the sort of effect they do, and not simply what that effect is? Wanting to know the thoughts on a new patch from the perspective of a fellow DK with as much raiding experience as anyone? Wanting to know the general musings of yours truly? Then look no further; this blog is for you. Surely I’m allowed to plug my own work after having written all of the above?

Kahorie’s DK Simulator
An amazing tool. Curious how much dps you should be doing relative to your gear level? Curious whether or not it’s time for you to transition specs? Curious what your personal stat weights are? The simulator can tell you all of that and more. It’s truly the best tool of its nature; its competitors don’t even come close in terms of accuracy or functionality.

Mr. Robot
Simple but useful. Wondering what gear is optimal, despite not being an actual raider? Wondering what's best in slot for your specific circumstances? Wondering how simply gearing actually is? This site is for all of those who were distraught that I removed the pre-raid BiS lists here! The algorithm it uses isn't completely perfect, but it's close enough such that the results will be perfectly accurate in 90% of situations.

Pwnwear
A DK-centric community. Looking for information about the other aspect of the class; tanking? Looking to read more anecdotal and subjective accounts of the class, in contrast to the more factual and objective fare you’ll partake in here? Looking for another interesting site to read? Then Pwnwear is your place.
 1[/hr]

=Thread Change Log=
[2]: 02.20.11
[1]: 12.06.10 Thread Launched

#2 Kosinissa16

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 03:51 PM

Your dw frost pre raid bis is a little bit off, it says cookies tenderizer drops frpm H vortex, you may want to remedy that :P but awesome as always

#3 Trumfire

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 09:35 AM

In fact, your rotation will end up being nothing but HB/FS spam 80% of the time in AoE scenarios, amusingly enough.

Anyways, there’s no need to specify applying diseases: you’ll constantly apply them with glyphed Howling Blast (which is your hardest hitting ability, of course)...

Because Frost doesn’t have the points to spare to take spell hit, it is worth mentioning the stat – although there’s nothing much to say except for that it hardly matters! The only ability used which is affected by spell hit is Howling Blast which is, at most, 10% of your damage.


If Howling Blast is our hardest hitting AOE ability, the importance of its hit would be very high for those scenarios, correct? If Howling Blast is only 10% of our damage, how is it our hardest hitting ability? An AOE intensive fight would benefit extremely from spell hit on Howling Blast, considering that out of 12 runes, 6 of them will be Howling Blast (potentially 8/13 using the Blood Tap trick). A "cookie cutter" spec obviously wouldn't take this into account, but situationally 3/3 Virulence would be a benefit to such scenarios.

#4 Consider

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 09:50 AM

It takes much less than 17% haste to be GCD capped; 7% would be closer to the truth, actually, especially when you factor in stuff like Heroism, haste procs (trinkets, tinkers, etc), and the like.

The gear list should have approximately 5% hit. I didn't forget NoCS. Perhaps you were looking at the 2H version instead of the DW, or maybe you forgot to take into account reforging. It's also possible an item or two got their stats switched around since the time in beta at which these were compiled. I'll double-check the lists this weekend once things die down, but they should be accurate.

As for AoE, yes, spell hit becomes more valuable; when discussing stat weights and practices, we're almost always focusing in on single target encounters, partially because they're more common, but mostly because it's easier to cover all of the potential factors. With AoE, it's never as simple as X mobs for Y seconds. You have X mobs for Y seconds, then Z mobs for Q seconds, then N mobs for L seconds, and everything in between. At any rate, yes, spell hit would go up in value for AoE, and it might even be worth capping if there's a Yogg-0 type scenario. I would argue it's not worth doing for the one or two fights where it might come out slightly ahead but cost you on every single other fight... unless, of course, you have the opportunity to reforge between them, but even then, it's less of a dps loss to take Virulence in place of Epidemic for AoE then it is to reforge (or regem/regear) to the spell hit cap.

#5 Saintz

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 10:00 PM

What of the Scimitar of the Sirocco? I know it's not BiS in raids, but wouldn't its 462 dps put it well above Cookies Tenderizer in pre-raid gear? Heck, it's got the same dps as the Soul Blade, just not as well itemized.

Or are we just completely discounting craftable gear for the sake of generalization?

#6 Consider

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 12:50 AM

I don't include profession BoP gear on the BiS lists, for an obvious reason - you can't have every profession. That said, of course Archaeology is secondary, but considering the complete RNG factor to it (more than just "this mob/boss has a super low change to drop it), and the fact that it's the only epic weapon available outside of raids should mean it's a given for pre-raid BiS lists if you can get it.

#7 Guest_aj_hix36_*

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 09:43 AM

Thank you Consider for all of the hard work you have done.
Question though, for DW Frost, why isn't 65 Crit > than 65 Haste for the bracer enchant? I wasn't sure if this was a mistake, or if I missed something.
Thank you!

#8 EmperorCharon

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 08:36 PM

Being that Hit Cap is the most important stat (behind strength, of course), should we be aiming for full hit-cap when DW, or just main-hand cap? ie. Is it a 8% cap, or is it 27%? In Wrath I didn't cap more then 8%, and accepted off-hand hits; is it different in Cata?

#9 Guest_aj_hix36_*

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 06:56 AM

Another thing I saw, for the BIS list for DW Pre-Heroic, you have Skin of Stone as BIS, but I found Shroud of the Dead, Ramkahen Honored, which is the exact same stats, but higher ilevel, and all around better. As easy as it is to get to honored with them, I would think this deserves the pre-heroic slot.

#10 Griefpb

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 07:30 PM

Being that Hit Cap is the most important stat (behind strength, of course), should we be aiming for full hit-cap when DW, or just main-hand cap? ie. Is it a 8% cap, or is it 27%? In Wrath I didn't cap more then 8%, and accepted off-hand hits; is it different in Cata?


Your terminologies are mixed up, 27% is the auto-attack hit cap, or white cap, for DW, 8% is the special attack hit cap for melee. For frost, the only stat you need to aim for is the 8% special attack cap, 5% after talenting Nerves of Cold Steel,

The value of hit drops off sharply after that since it will only affect spell hit, essentially HB from only a damage perspective, and white attack cap. Both a fairly significant portion of our damage, but just increasing hit only will affect those slightly. The other secondary stats are much more valuable and effect a greater percentage of our damage then stacking hit past 5%.

Another thing I saw, for the BIS list for DW Pre-Heroic, you have Skin of Stone as BIS, but I found Shroud of the Dead, Ramkahen Honored, which is the exact same stats, but higher ilevel, and all around better. As easy as it is to get to honored with them, I would think this deserves the pre-heroic slot.


Discussing pre-heroic bis gear is irrelevant and just a waste of space in this thread, it is really whatever you pick up from dungeon drops and quest rewards in order to get you into heroics. From there, reforging hit/exp to be capped at level 87 mobs and jumping into heroics.

#11 Consider

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 07:44 PM

Discussing pre-heroic bis gear is irrelevant and just a waste of space in this thread, it is really whatever you pick up from dungeon drops and quest rewards in order to get you into heroics. From there, reforging hit/exp to be capped at level 87 mobs and jumping into heroics.

This. In retrospect, it was silly to even bother trying to do them, and they have now been removed, Unlike with raid gear, there's just way too many factors into play - do you count Archaeology weapons, despite the incredibly low RNG? Do you count Chaos Orb gear, despite it being however long before it can be crafted? Do you count Valor Point items, even though you can only get 70/day outside of raiding? Include BoE epics? Profession gear? What about Conquest gear? Tanking gear? The list could go on near endlessly.

Now, I'm sure everyone has their own opinions on the answer to each of those questions... but it's just that: an opinion. There's no objective answer to them, and therein lies the problem. Raid BiS sets, on the other hand, are simple: Anything outside of hardmores is applicable to the pre-HM one, and anything and everything goes in the other. Nothing subjective, nothing to discuss. It is what it is.

#12 cgambleh

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 04:32 AM

=Basic Combat Mechanics=
Some elementary numbers to remember when raiding.

  • Partial resists no longer occur against bosses.
  • Glancing blows (only on bosses) happen 24% of the time on auto-attacks and cannot be critical hits. A glancing blow deals 70% damage.
  • At level 85, you need 960 hit rating to be melee capped; 840 hit rating as a Draenei. This affects all of your melee attacks, white and yellow, preventing them from missing.
  • At level 85, you need 1128 hit rating to be spell capped; 1025 hit rating as a Draenei. The only dps skills that are affected by this are Howling Blast, Outbreak, Death and Decay, Pestilence and Blood Boil.
  • At level 85, you need 885 expertise rating (26 expertise) to hit the soft cap. This affects all of your melee attacks, white and yellow, preventing them from being dodged. You can still get parried if attacking a mob from the front.
  • All melee classes suffer a 4.8% crit suppression vs bosses when using melee attacks.
  • All spell attacks have a 3% crit suppression vs bosses.



Hey Consider, after looking at another post by Whitetooth, and comparing my own Expertise rating vs Expertise. I looks like you would actually only need 780 Expertise Rating to hit 26 Expertise. Whitetooth's post showed that you need 30.0272 Expertise Rating per 1 Expertise.

Here is a link to the post for anyone interested:
http://elitistjerks....l_85_cataclysm/

#13 Kaejin

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 07:42 AM

An trick Frost (and Blood tanks) can use on the Omnitron Defense System is to wait to summon your ghoul until Toxitron is active. Summoning the ghoul while you attack Toxitron so that it continues to focus him means that you can leave him up for the full duration, instead of needing to Death Pact him so that he doesn't activate any of the other negative effects that the other constructs inflict if you attack them at the wrong time.

The ghoul seems to be immune to the DoT that Toxitron would otherwise apply when you hit him with his shield up. Unfortunate that it doesn't get to do the additional nature damage, but being able to keep him out for the full duration is pretty good none-the-less.

Toxitron would also be a good time (perhaps the only good time) to use Army of the Dead if he's the first construct active as well, for the same reasons. Using it once the fight is already under way seems risky and also probably not a DPS gain because of the usual cast time issue.
Uulwi ifis halahs gag erh'ongg w'ssh.

#14 TheOSC

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 08:15 AM

Consider the fact that IT has no place on Frost’s actionbar


I just wanted to mention (although this may go with out saying) IT has plenty of room still on our bars. The main reason being that CC is now crucial to the mechanics of the game once again, and HB will break most if not all major forms of CC. Sap, Sheep, hell even our own Hungering Cold as just a few examples.

Over all great job so far on the thread, I just think it is worth mention that IT still has its uses IMO, if only to prevent the accidental break of CC on trash pulls.

(I also want to note I don't feel this justifies the talent points in Icy Reach any more, and that I know that the thread is more about min/maxing. However I feel a revision to reflect IT as a situational alternative to HB to prevent CC break should be made)

#15 frozenkex

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 10:52 AM

Im sorry if it's been answered before, but how many targets there needs to be so its worth using the AoE rotation?

#16 Flin

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 11:33 AM

The presence of three or more mobs makes AoE optimal.

But the vast majority of the time on trash you won't be AoEing, because in heroics all but one or two mobs will be CC'd, and there are a VERY small number of bosses that require AoE in Cata.

#17 Nahela

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 03:27 PM

It's worth noting that Mind Freeze is still considered a spell. If you're in a group where you're the core of kicking be aware that without Virulence or some significant swappable hit gear (trinkets mainly) there's a bit of an unreliability factor.

Essentially no group should ever be putting Frost DKs up to kick in a 25man scenario these days, but in 10s there often won't be a choice and that extra 5-10% chance to miss can be deadly.

#18 zebrahed

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 07:08 PM

It's worth noting that Mind Freeze is still considered a spell. If you're in a group where you're the core of kicking be aware that without Virulence or some significant swappable hit gear (trinkets mainly) there's a bit of an unreliability factor.

Essentially no group should ever be putting Frost DKs up to kick in a 25man scenario these days, but in 10s there often won't be a choice and that extra 5-10% chance to miss can be deadly.


Our 10m has the raid leader, a rogue, and me doing Arcanotron interrupts. I missed here and there every so often, as I dont have Virulence, and it became slightly jarring to our rotation.


Would removing points from improved blood tap/butchery to fill up Virulence be that big of a dps loss?


Also, would attacking Toxitron once to get the buff/debuff then AMS to prevent further stacks while still dpsing work? Seemed like a good idea in my head when I went over a couple of videos this morning, and realized what exactly his shield actually did :P

#19 Griefpb

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 03:29 AM

Our 10m has the raid leader, a rogue, and me doing Arcanotron interrupts. I missed here and there every so often, as I dont have Virulence, and it became slightly jarring to our rotation.


Would removing points from improved blood tap/butchery to fill up Virulence be that big of a dps loss?


Also, would attacking Toxitron once to get the buff/debuff then AMS to prevent further stacks while still dpsing work? Seemed like a good idea in my head when I went over a couple of videos this morning, and realized what exactly his shield actually did :P


I ran into the same issue when I was interrupting on Halfus, eventually switching me out with a spell hit capped ele sham was the answer.

Switching out Butchery isn't a big deal, 2 RP per 5 is easy to calculate. Ends up being one free Frost Strike once every 80 seconds, ya its that bad.

On the other hand, missing out on Improved Blood Tap is pretty huge, having at least 2 Free Oblits every 30 sec, 3 or 4 if you are lucky, is pretty massive.

With that said, its not like you are trading those talents for nothing either, Getting to Spell Hit Cap will mean your Howling Blast will never be able to miss, a pretty significant portion of our damage.

#20 Charybdis

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 08:00 AM

I ran into the same issue when I was interrupting on Halfus, eventually switching me out with a spell hit capped ele sham was the answer.

Switching out Butchery isn't a big deal, 2 RP per 5 is easy to calculate. Ends up being one free Frost Strike once every 80 seconds, ya its that bad.

On the other hand, missing out on Improved Blood Tap is pretty huge, having at least 2 Free Oblits every 30 sec, 3 or 4 if you are lucky, is pretty massive.

With that said, its not like you are trading those talents for nothing either, Getting to Spell Hit Cap will mean your Howling Blast will never be able to miss, a pretty significant portion of our damage.


Switching the points from Epidemic to Virulence has the least impact since the added disease time really only means you need to apply FF/BP less often. Thanks to glyphing Howling Blast we don't have to worry about FF. Plague Strike will need to be used 12 seconds sooner, but due to RE procs it's really not too huge. It's a loss as noted in the OP, but having guaranteed interrupts is more important than the modest difference between an OB and HB+PS.

A slight note on RE and Frost Strike though: Instead of all six runes needing to be on CD, only one rune needs to be fully depleted to make use of FS's RE proc. If one can line the runes up right then fishing for the proc becomes pretty doable, especially if it means an OB right after.




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