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Frost DPS 5.4 - Howling Blargh


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#1 Mendenbarr

Mendenbarr

    Oh, I never leave home without my party cannon.

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:27 AM

Last Updated 04/02/2014 By Mendenbarr
In memory of Ganaza, a pioneer of HB


04/02/14 | Mists of Pandaria 5.4

 

Contents

Introduction

 

Welcome to the frost death knight guide for both the fast attacking dual-wielder, and the mighty two-hander. This guide should cover all of the basics, and serve as a reference for both new players to the class and veterans. The sim work and item lists are accurate to 5.4, unless otherwise specified.
If you find any errors in this guide, broken links, or items you feel have been omitted that would help to understand the class please PM me. Please leave the thread for discussion.




 

Note-worthy Changes at a Glance

 

 

  • Death Gate now returns the Death Knight to a location near their original departure point when the spell is cast while in Ebon Hold.
  • Icebound Fortitude no longer costs Runic Power.
  • Necrotic Strike now deals 100% weapon damage (down from 150% weapon damage).
  • Rune of Razorice now causes 3% extra weapon damage as Frost damage (up from 2%), and each stack of Frost Vulnerability now causes the target to take an additional 3% damage from the Death Knight's Frost attacks (up from 2%).
  • Soul Reaper's initial damage component has been increased by 30%. If the target is below 35% health after 5 seconds the amount of Shadow Damage dealt has been increased by 20%.
  • Unholy Presence now grants a flat 10% Haste to all things, up from Haste for melee (attack speed and Rune regeneration) only. The movement speed buff remains unchanged.
  • Fixed a bug that caused Improved Blood Presence and Runic Corruption to incorrectly increase activation rates of some trinkets and effects.
  • Frost Strike now deals 115% weapons damage (up from 105% weapon damage).
  • Howling Blast now deals 15% more damage.
  • Might of the Frozen Wastes now increases all melee attack damage by 30% (up from 20%).
  • Obliterate now deals 250% weapon damage (up from 230% weapon damage).
  • Anti-Magic Zone has been redesigned. The talent now reduces magic damage taken in the area-of-effect by 40% for 3 seconds, there is no longer a cap on total damage absorbed, and the ability no longer scales with strength.
  • Death Siphon had its damage increased by 10%.
  • Plague Leech now tries to convert 2 fully-depleted runes (up from 1) into a Death Rune based on specialization. Frost: 1 Frost Rune, 1 Unholy Rune
  • New Glyph of Regenerative Magic: If Anti-Magic Shell expires after its full duration, cooldown for the ability is reduced based on the amount of damage absorbed.
  • New Glyph of Swift Death: Haste effect granted by Soul Reaper now also increases the Death Knight's movement speed for the duration.
  • New Glyph of Loud Horn: Horn of Winter now generates additional Runic Power, but the cooldown is increased.
  • Glyph of Enduring Infection now reduces damage dealt by diseases by 15% (down from a 30% reduction).
  • Glyph of Mind Freeze now reduces the cooldown of Mind Freeze by 1 second, and raises its cost by 10 Runic Power (down from 2 seconds and 20 Runic Power).
  • Glyph of Outbreak now causes Outbreak to cost 30 Runic Power (down from 40).
  • Glyph of Pillar of Frost now reduces movement speed by 70% instead of freezing the Death Knight in place.
  • New Glyph of the Long Winter: The Horn of Winter ability now lasts for 1 hour.
  • New Glyph of the Skeleton: The Death Knight's Raise Dead spell now summons a Skeleton instead of a Ghoul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abbreviations and Keywords

 

Term Meaning
AMS Anti-Magic Shell
AMZ Anti-Magic Zone
AotD Army of the Dead
AoE Area of Effect
BB Blood Boil
BiS Best in Slot
BP Blood Plague
BS Blood Strike
BT Blood Tap
CoI Chains of Ice
CU Control Undead
DC Death Coil
DG Death Grip
DK Death Knight
DW Dual Wield
DnD Death and Decay
DPS Damage per Second
DT Dark Transformation
DS Death Strike
DSim Dark Simulacrum
EP Ebon Plaguebringer
ERW Empower Rune Weapon
FeS Festering Strike
FB Festerblight
FF Frost Fever
FP Frost Presence
FS Frost Strike
Gary Gargoyle
GCD Global Cooldown
GoX Glyph of X
HB Howling Blast
HoW Horn of Winter
IBF Icebound Fortitude
ICD Internal Cooldown
IT Icy Touch
MF Mind Freeze
NS Necrotic Strike
OB Outbreak
Oblit Obliterate
PF Path of Frost
PoF Pillar of Frost
PS Plague Strike
RA Raise Ally
RC Runic Corruption
RE Runic Empowerment
RG Raise Ghoul
Rez Resurrect
RP Runic Power
SD Sudden Doom
SI Shadow Infusion
SS Scourge Strike
SR Soul Reaper
Timmy Ghoul Pet
TX Tier X
UB Unholy Blight
UF Unholy Frenzy
UP Unholy Presence
2H Two-hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talents and Glyphs

 

 

 

 

Talents

 

Talents will change often between bosses so for most talent tiers there is never one right choice for all fights

 

 

15 Roiling Blood Plague Leech Unholy Blight
30 Lichborne Anti-Magic Zone Purgatory
45 Death’s Advance Chilblains Asphyxiate
60 Death Pact Death Siphon Conversion
75 Blood Tap Runic Empowerment Runic Corruption
90 Gorefiend’s Grasp Remorseless Winter Desecrated Ground

 

Tier 1

Roiling Blood – Your Blood Boil ability now also triggers Pestilence if it strikes a diseased target

*Blood Boil is not part of our single target or multi-target rotation so this talent appears rather useless for Frost. This is purely an AoE talent and will not benefit you in single target situations.

Plague Leech 25 sec – Draw forth the infection from an enemy, consuming both your Blood Plague and Frost Fever diseases on a target to activate two random fully-depleted runes as a Death Runes.

*This refunds 2 death rune when you need them. This is the best talent to take for damage in both ST and AE, but requires more management than UB, which is the light option. 2Hand frost uses PL every 25-30 seconds, before diseases fall off, while DW uses it as a second BT, hitting the button whenever you need runes.

Unholy Blight 1.5 minutes – Surrounds the Death Knight with a vile swarm of unholy insects for 10 sec, stinging all enemies within 10 yards every 1 sec, infecting them with Blood Plague and Frost Fever.

*This is a significant DPS loss compared to Plague Leech but still a viable option for those who don't want to manage PL. With this we only need to use Plague Strike once every two minutes to keep up full diseases on a single target and can instantly spread full diseases in AoE situations.

Tier 1 ranking single target
The point of the ranking is to demonstrate how close the three talents are, don't blindly pick the highest one, as the one you're the most comfortable with will likely do the best.

DW frost:


2Hand frost:


Tier 2

Lichborne 2 minutes – Draw upon unholy energy to become undead for 10 sec. While undead, you are immune to Charm, Fear and Sleep effects.

*This will be good for any fight where you face CC and useful for any phases of heavy burst magic damage where sustaining yourself with Death Coil and Anti-Magic Shell may be the best course of action. This does cut into your damage if you need to heal yourself with Death Coils so this may not be the optimal choice if your healers can keep you up.

Anti-Magic Zone 2 minutes
Places a large, stationary Anti-Magic Zone that reduces spell damage done to party or raid members inside it by 40%. The Anti-Magic Zone lasts for 3 sec.

*One of the best cooldowns in the game for strong single hits of magic damage. This will absorb 40% of at least one magic hit, and is downright awesome on single big hits. It still absorbs 3 ticks for abilities that tick every second, and is still very powerful. It's got a very short cooldown as well, but it's weakness is long term sustained damage, physical damage, and times when everyone is spread out.

Purgatory – An unholy pacts grants you the ability to fight on through damage that would kill mere mortals. When you would sustain fatal damage, you instead are wrapped in a Shroud of Purgatory, absorbing incoming healing equal to the amount of damage prevented, lasting 3 sec. If any healing absorption remains when Shroud of Purgatory expires, you die. Otherwise, you survive. This effect may only occur every 3 min.

*Saves you from death for 3 sec once every 3 minutes. This counts as an absorb effect so moves that go through other absorbs can still kill you. As soon as the absorb shield is healed off, the effect is removed regardless of when during the 3 seconds that happens. Purgatory can save your life, but it can also be next to useless. If you are healed up to 1% from a HoT half a second after the proc, the next hit will still kill you. However, when combined with healers who are good at using lay on hands and void shift, this talent will save your life many times.

Tier 3

Death’s Advance 30 sec – You passively move 10% faster, and movement-impairing effects may not reduce you below 70% of normal movement speed. When activated, you gain 30% movement speed and may not be slowed below 100% of normal movement speed for 6 seconds.

*This is the go-to talent for this tier when none of the others are necessary. 10% runspeed passively and a 30% boost every 30 seconds will increase uptime on bosses with target switching or lots of movement mechanics. This does stack with the movespeed enchants for boots, and pretty much every other run speed buff.

Chilblains – Victims of your Frost Fever disease are Chilled, reducing movement speed by 50% for 10 sec, and your Chains of Ice immobilize targets for 3 sec.

*Good for kiting and slowing adds from getting to their target. The root effect for Chains of Ice is nice but few bosses or adds can be rooted.

Asphyxiate 30 sec – Lifts an enemy target off the ground and crushes their throat with dark energy, stunning them for 5 sec. Functions as a silence if the target is immune to stuns. Replaces Strangulate.

*Replaces our Strangulate with a stun with half the cooldown time. Again, pretty fight dependent as most bosses cannot be stunned or silenced.

Tier 4

Death Pact 2 minutes – Drain vitality from an undead minion, healing the Death Knight for 50% of his maximum health and causing the minion to suffer damage equal to 50% of its maximum health.

*Only useful if your ghoul is active for Frost DKs, but offers a large amount of healing on command. Ideally this is the choice in this tier, as it does not impede our damage at all in most cases. You can use this on your risen ghoul, army of the dead ghouls, and the tier 15 2-set trolls.

Death Siphon (1 Death) – Deal Deal 7609 to 8842 (+ 37.4% of Attack power) shadowfrost damage to an enemy, healing the Death Knight for 150% of damage dealt.

*A ranged death strike in essence. This can be useful during times of target switching and heavy incoming damage but uses runes that can be used for stronger hitting moves.

Conversion (5 Runic Power + 5 Runic Power per second) – Converts Runic Power to 3% max health every second.

*If there are periods of heavy AoE damage this could be useful. This is going to make it easier for healers to keep you up rather than ensuring you keep yourself up but this will cut into our ability to do damage effectively. Cool concept though.

Tier 5

Blood Tap – Each damaging Death Coil, Frost Strike, or Rune Strike generates 2 Blood Charges, up to a maximum of 12 charges. Blood Tap consumes 5 Blood Charges to activate a random fully-depleted rune as a Death Rune.

*A guaranteed Death Rune from fully depleted runes when you want it as long as you have at least 5 Blood Charges.

Runic Empowerment – When you land a damaging Death Coil, Frost Strike, or Rune Strike, you have a 45% chance to activate a random fully depleted rune.

*Able to game runes with this to get back certain runes. Keep in mind you must have a fully depleted rune for this to do anything.

Runic Corruption – When you land a damaging Death Coil, Frost Strike, or Rune Strike, you have a 45% chance to activate Runic Corruption, increasing your rune regeneration rate by 100% for 3 sec.

*Returns 30% of 3 runes. This will not actually last for 3 seconds unless you have 0 haste but will last for shorter amounts of time as your haste goes up so that you are always getting 30% of each rune regardless of your haste.

Tier 5 ranking
Again, use whichever talent you prefer the most, as you are most likely to do best with that talent. The sim manages BT properly, but if enough people ask for it, I may add in macroed BT to the rankings.

2Hand frost:


DW frost:


Tier 6

Gorefiend’s Grasp 1 minute – Shadowy tendrils coil around all enemies within 20 yards of a target (hostile or friendly), pulling them to the target’s location.

*A fantastic talent for add control and positioning, useful for stacking adds to make them die to AE faster, for getting a group of adds on top of a tank, and for getting a group of adds away from someone kiting them, or giving a tank some breathing room. However, unless a fight calls for this, it isn’t the best choice. This utility is unique to dks.

Remorseless Winter 1 minute – Surrounds the Death Knight with a swirling tempest of frigid air, every 1 sec for 8 sec. Each time Remorseless Winter hits, it reduces enemy movement speed by 15%, stacking up to 5 times. Upon receiving a fifth application, an enemy will be stunned for 6 sec.

*This has some great utility for add kiting, both a slow and a stun. Also useful as a cooldown for your tanks, being one of the longest stuns in the game.

Desecrated Ground 2 minute – Corrupts the ground in a 8 yard radius beneath the Death Knight for 10 sec. While standing in this corruption, the Death Knight is immune to crowd control effects.

*There are a few fights where CC breaks are helpful, and this talent takes the cake for them. However, on a patchwerk fight, none of the T6 talents are useful, and it is suggested you take whichever one suits the fight best, there really is no default option.



Innate Skills

 

Frost Death Knights gain some pretty nice passive skills which are important to know about and have an effect on the way we play.

Icy Talons
Increases your melee attack speed by 30%. Not much to say here. It is a completely passive bonus so just be aware of it. This does not increase our Rune Regeneration rate but does increase our ghoul’s attack speed and KM procs.

Killing Machine
Your auto-attacks have a chance to grant your next Obliterate or Frost Strike (or soul reaper if you have the t15 4-set) a 100% Critical Strike chance bonus. This will proc more often for DW than 2H, for obvious reasons hopefully and DW and 2H will want to use it differently due to the next two skills. This has 6 PPM meaning that before any haste is applied or dual wield affects take place auto attacks will proc this 6 times a minute on average. Thanks to haste and if you are dual wielding to will see more than 6 PPM. This also activates our T16 2-set for a nice stat bonus.

Improved Frost Presence
While in Frost Presence, your Frost Strike ability costs 15 less Runic Power.

Horn of Winter - Increases attack power of all party and raid members within 100 yards by 10%. Lasts 5 min.
Unholy Aura - Increases the melee and ranged attack speed of all party and raid members within 100 yards by 10%.

 

Debuffs

 

Brittle Bones.

 

Glyphs

 

Major
Major glyphs are all fairly situational and the ideal ones to use may change from fight to fight. This lists contains all the major glyphs although there are some that are not applicable for Frost.

 

 

[Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell] Causes you Anti-Magic Shell to absorb all incoming magical damage, up to the absorption limit.
[Glyph of Chains of Ice] Your Chains of Ice also causes 150 Frost damage, with additional damage depending on your attack power.
[Glyph of Dancing Rune Weapon] Increases your threat generation by 100% while your Dancing Rune Weapon is active, but reduces its damage dealt by 25%.
[Glyph of Dark Simulacrum] Reduces the cooldown of Dark Simulacrum by 30 sec and increases its duration by 4 sec.
[Glyph of Dark Succor] When you kill an enemy that yields experience or honor, while in Frost or Unholy presence, your next Death Strike within 15 sec is free and will restore at least 20% of your maximum health.
[Glyph of Unholy Frenzy] Causes your Unholy Frenzy to no longer deal damage to the affected target.
[Glyph of Outbreak] Your Outbreak spell no longer has a cooldown, but now costs 30 Runic Power.
[Glyph of Vampiric Blood] Increases the bonus healing received while your Vampiric Blood is active by an additional 15%, but your Vampiric Blood no longer grants you health.
[Glyph of Unholy Command] Immediately finishes the cooldown of your Death Grip upon dealing a killing blow to a target that grants experience or honor.
[Glyph of Death Coil] Your Death Coil spell is now usable on all allies. When cast on a non-undead ally, Death Coil shrouds them with a protective barrier that absorbs up to ((0 + 0.495 * AP) * 1) damage.
[Glyph of Pestilence] Increases the radius of your Pestilence effect by 5 yards.
[Glyph of Pillar of Frost] Empowers your Pillar of Frost, making you immune to all effects that cause loss of control of your character, but also reducing your speed by 70% while active.
[Glyph of Death Grip] Increases the range of your Death Grip ability by 5 yards.
[Glyph of Death and Decay] Your Death and Decay also reduces the movement speed of enemies within its radius by 50%.
[Glyph of Icebound Fortitude] Reduces the cooldown of your Icebound Fortitude by 50%, but also reduces its duration by 75%.
[Glyph of Icy Touch] Your Icy Touch dispels one helpful Magic effect from the target.
[Glyph of Shifting Presences] You retain 70% of your Runic Power when switching Presences.
[Glyph of Enduring Infection] Your diseases are undispellable, but their damage dealt is reduced by 15%.
[Glyph of Strangulate] Increases the Silence duration of your Strangulate ability by 2 sec when used on a target who is casting a spell.
[Glyph of Mind Freeze] Reduces the cooldown of your Mind Freeze ability by 1 sec, but also raises its cost by 10 Runic Power.
[Glyph of Festering Blood] Makes Blood Boil treat all targets as if they have been infected with Blood Plague or Frost Fever.
[Glyph of Regenerative Magic] If Anti-Magic Shell expires after its full duration, cooldown for the ability is reduced based on the amount of damage absorbed.
[Glyph of Swift Death] Haste effect granted by Soul Reaper now also increases the Death Knight's movement speed for the duration.
[Glyph of Loud Horn] Horn of Winter now generates additional Runic Power, but the cooldown is increased.

 

Suggested glyphs:
[Glyph of Regenerative Magic] is almost always useful.
[Glyph of Loud Horn] is a straight up damage gain.
[Glyph of Icebound Fortitude] is nice for survivability. If you want a fight specific one, swap this out first.

Most of the glyphs have a niche where they are useful, and only 2 of them increase damage by a noticeable amount. Try them out and see which ones fit best with play-style, and whatever fight you are trying to beat.


Minor
Minor glyphs are mostly cosmetic in MoP but a handful can be helpful in some situations. Army of the Dead, Death’s Embrace, Path of Frost, Resilient Grip, Tranquil Grip can all be useful when needed.

 

 

[Glyph of Army of the Dead] The ghouls summoned by your Army of the Dead no longer taunt their target.
[Glyph of Corpse Explosion] Teaches you the ability [Spell]Corpse Explosion[/Spell].
[Glyph of Death Gate] Reduces the cast time of your Death Gate spell by 60%.
[Glyph of Death's Embrace] Your Death Coil refunds 20 Runic Power when used to heal an allied minion.
[Glyph of Foul Menagerie] Causes your Army of the Dead spell to summon an assortment of undead minions.
[Glyph of Horn of Winter] When used outside of combat, your Horn of Winter ability causes a brief, localized snow flurry.
[Glyph of Path of Frost] Your Path of Frost ability allows you to fall from a greater distance without suffering damage.
[Glyph of Resilient Grip] When your Death Grip ability fails because its target is immune, its cooldown is reset.
[Glyph of Tranquil Grip] Your Death Grip spell no longer taunts the target.
[Glyph of the Geist] Your Raise Dead spell summons a geist instead of a ghoul.
[Glyph of the Long Winter] The Horn of Winter ability now lasts for 1 hour.
[Glyph of the Skeleton] The Death Knight's Raise Dead spell now summons a Skeleton instead of a Ghoul.

 

 

Presences

 

Our presences have changed around with the release of MoP and all DKs now have a 1 second GCD rather than 1.5 seconds base GCD.
Blood Presence - You assume the presence of Blood, increasing Stamina by 25% and base armor increased by 55%, and reducing damage taken by 10%. Threat generation is also significantly increased.
Frost Presence - Strengthens you with the presence of Frost, increasing Runic Power generation by 20%, and reducing the duration of effects that remove control of your character by 20%.
Unholy Presence - You are infused with unholy fury, increasing attack speed and rune regeneration by 10%, and movement speed by 15%.

Due to Frost’s skill Improved Frost Presence all Frost DKs will dps in Frost Presence.
It's worth swapping out to unholy presence when you are in dire need of a tiny bit of movement speed, and blood presence when you require either threat or a little more survival. Note that both are a significant damage loss.



 

Priority

 

 

 

 

Single Target

 

 

DW Priority
Blood Tap if you have 11 or more stacks of blood charge
Frost Strike if Killing Machine is procced, or if RP is 89 or higher
Howling Blastwith both frost or both death off cooldown
Soul Reaper when target below 35%
Plague Strike if one Unholy Rune is off cooldown and blood plague is down/nearly down
Howling Blast if Rime procced
Frost Strikeif RP is 77 or higher
Obliterate when 1 or more Unholy Runes are off cooldown and killing machine is down
Howling Blast
Blood Tap
Frost Strikeif RP is 40 or higher
Horn of Winter
Plague Leech
Empower Rune Weapon

​​​​​​​​​

Don't let blood charges cap!
DW in Mists plays similar to how “Masterfrost" did at the end of Cataclysm. This is due to the large emphasis on frost damage and mastery thanks to the Threat of Thassarian skill. This means spending Runic Power on Frost Strike, with killing machine up, is the top priority when possible. After that, you want to avoid wasting runic power, so you try not to let it cap at 100. You also don't want runes to cap (unholy not as important as frost and death), so you use howling blast to use those up.


Soul Reaper hits like a weak noodle. Still worth using over the alternatives, unless Howling Blast beats it in damage.  This happens when 
(((Weapon min damage + weapon max damage)/2) *1.3 + (2.4 *(X/ 14)))*1.15*1.04*0.68 + (60000 +1.2X)*1.15*1.05 < (499 + 0.8487X) * 1.10*1.05*1.15 *Mastery value.  Solve for X to find the AP breakpoint where HB wins in damage. If you don't want to bother with this, just use soul reaper, it's better more oft than not. 

 

Keep up your diseases, frost fever you won't even need to manage due to all of those howling blasts, but every 30 seconds you want to reapply blood plague with plague strike, though make sure you use an unholy rune for this and not a death rune, even if it means losing some disease uptime. Do NOT use outbreak, unless you are out of range (air phase!) of the target.

Use up rime procs, use frost strike to get below 77 runic, and then use obliterate to make unholy runes go away. Next just spam howling blast and blood tap, and then frost strike (but don't go below 20 runic, save that for a killing machine proc), and if you've got nothing else to do, use horn of winter and plague leech and empower rune weapon to generate runes and runic.

Mastersimple vs. Mastercomplicated:

Due to the fact that howling blast scales with mastery, and obliterate doesn't, there comes a point in time where obliterate is no longer worth casting. This point is very, very roughly around 14k mastery, but you can find your own personal breakpoint through simC, following the instructions on this page

Mastercomplicated is the priority described above, while mastersimple drops out obliterate, and replaces it with DnD/PS at the end of the priority. The frost and death runes are spent on more of your harder hitting Howling Blasts, while the unholy runes are left to sit and rot, unless you have nothing else to cast, in which case you spend them on DnD, and Plague Strike. 

 

 

 

 

2H Priority
Soul Reaper when target below 35%
Obliterate when Killing Machine is procced and both diseases are on the target
Diseases
Obliterate When any runes are capped
Frost Strike if RP capped
Howling Blast if Rime procced
Frost Strike
Obliterate
Horn of Winter

The new Soul Reaper hits like a weak noodle. Still, it's pretty nice for a one rune ability, so use it as often as possible whenever you are in execute range.

2H in Mists plays almost the same as it did in Cataclysm. After diseases and when not in execute range, spending runes on Obliterate, with killing machine, is the top of the order. Thanks to Might of the Frozen Wastes, Obliterate hits extremely hard for 2H Frost.

This means using Obliterate when both Frost and Unholy sets are up or two Death runes. This is followed by Frost Strike to keep you from reaching your max RP and wasting extra Runic Power and using any Rime procs you may have.

Next, Frost Strike; Make sure you're not Frost Striking when you don't actually have the correct number of runes of the same pair on cooldown. This will depend on which tier 5 talent you choose. You need to have runes fully depleted in order for Runic Empowerment to proc so at least one pair of runes must be on cooldown. Runic Corruption will get the maximum benefit when at least one rune from each pair is on cooldown. Blood Tap will always be used to its maximum potential as long as you don’t let it go over its 12 stack cap or let the buff fall off.

Lastly, obliterating without a KM proc to fill GCDs.

Unlike DW, 2H will not use single Frost or Death runes on Howling Blast. Save them until another rune is available to Obliterate with. Fill any remaining downtime with Horn of Winter.


 

 

 

 

 

Multiple Target

 

 

DW Priority
Howling Blast if both Frost runes and/or both Death runes are up
Death and Decay if both Unholy Runes are up
Frost Strike if RP capped
Howling Blast
Death and Decay
Frost Strike
Horn of Winter
Plague Strike tab target to hit multiple enemies

You'll want to use Howling Blast and Death and Decay as often as possible. You no longer use obliterate, instead spending unholy runes on DnD and plague strike. If you are using Runic Empowerment, you will try to keep one Unholy rune available at all times so your Runic Empowerment will refund a Frost or Death rune that can be used for more Howling Blasts. If you are using runic corruption or blood tap, you don't need to leave one unholy rune up.

Finally, use Frost Strike to regain runes when possible. Death Coil will be used in place of Frost Strike when you are kiting adds or cannot be in melee range.
This leads to a gain over single target with 3 or more targets.

Note: Pestilence is rarely worth using as DW. I suggest just not using it, but for advanced users who want to squeeze out a little more dps:
It's benefit will vary based on your mastery level, and here is a way to find out how many ticks you need to get, per target, to make it worthwhile.
(1+.5*Extra Targets) * HB ST DMG = (Y)*BP Tick
Replace extra targets with the number of targets you want to check, HB ST DMG with an average hit of HB on one target, and BP with how hard your BP ticks for. Y is the number of ticks you need to make it a gain.

 

 

 

 

 

2-hand Priority
Howling Blast if both Frost runes and/or both Death runes are up
Death and Decay if both Unholy Runes are up
Frost Strike if RP capped
Obliterate if killing machine is up
Howling Blast
Death and Decay
Frost Strike
Horn of Winter
Plague Strike

Nearly identical to DW, the only change is using obliterate if KM procs. This leads to a gain over single target with 3 or more targets.

Note: Pestilence is rarely worth using as 2H. I suggest just not using it, but for advanced users who want to squeeze out a little more dps:
It's benefit will vary based on your mastery level, and here is a way to find out how many ticks you need to get, per target, to make it worthwhile.
(1+.5*Extra Targets) * HB ST DMG = (Y)*BP Tick
Replace extra targets with the number of targets you want to check, HB ST DMG with an average hit of HB on one target, and BP with how hard your BP ticks for. Y is the number of ticks you need to make it a gain.



 

 

 

Runic Power Management

 

In general, Runic Power gains correspond directly to the number runes spent on abilities. Each depleted rune will give you 10 Runic Power but being in Frost Presence will give you 20% more Runic Power. Here’s a table showing how much each ability will generate depending on if you are in Frost Presence or not.
Note: You should pretty much always be in frost presence.

 

 

 

Ability Base RP gained RP gained in Frost Presence (+20%)
Obliterate 20 24
Howling Blast 10 12
Plague Strike 10 12
Icy touch 10 12
Death and Decay 10 12
Horn of Winter 10 12
Rime 0 0

 

 

 

Cooldowns

 

Pillar of Frost 1 Frost 1 minute
The only unique cooldown for Frost DKs, this is an absolutely amazing ability. Granting 20% strength for 20 seconds is 20% cooler than any other class's CD, and only on a 60 second cooldown, this should be used on cooldown as often as possible or lined up with phases where bosses take more damage. If you have an on-use trinket, make sure to macro it in with Pillar of Frost to get the most out of it. It also provides immunity to knockback effects. This is reduced by the cooldown trinket.

Raise Dead 2 minutes
As close as we get to being an Unholy DK - Raise Dead summons a ghoul to fight for you for 1 minute. Your Ghoul scales with your attack power, haste, crit and hit continuously throughout its duration. This will line up nicely with Pillar of Frost giving your ghoul a bigger punch for the price, as will using it during bloodlust or heroism.

Army of the Dead 1 Blood 1 Unholy 1 Frost 10 minutes
Army of the Dead will channel over 4 seconds to summon a gaggle of ghouls to giggle at the ghosties. Like Raise Dead, Army of the Dead will scale with your AP, haste, and hit throughout its duration. The best time to use Army of the Dead will vary from boss to boss, but it is typically best to use right before the beginning of an encounter or in any phase transition where you will not be and cannot be on the boss and no DPS will be lost. One note about Army of the Dead is that although the summoned ghouls will not taunt a raid boss, they will taunt most adds present on boss encounters. The corresponding glyph can stop your ghouls from taunting when needed.This is reduced by the cooldown trinket.

Empower Rune Weapon 5 minutes
Activates all your runes and provides 25 Runic Power (30 in Frost Presence) once every 5 minutes. Ideally you’ll want to use this any time when you need some heavy burst, and the burst from ERW is so awesome. Try to line it up with all your Runes being on cooldown and having low amounts of Runic Power. This will reset your whole priority, which can throw people off when they find themselves with 6 runes off cooldown and high Runic Power. You’ll likely cap your Runic Power when you use Empower Rune Weapon. Don’t worry about it; continue the priority as you would normally. Depending on the length of the fight you may be able to use this more than once by using it early in the fight. This is reduced by the cooldown trinket.

Outbreak 1 minute
Outbreak will apply both Frost Fever and Blood Plague to your target once a minute. As Frost DKs, we will mainly use this to reapply Blood Plague without expending an unholy rune when we can on a single target. In some situations, like fights with heavy target switching, it is best to save Outbreak for quickly applying your diseases to a target that needs to be burned down. DW frost doesn't use this. This is reduced by the cooldown trinket.

Dark Simulacrum 1 minute
Dark Simulacrum allows a Death Knight to place a debuff on a target that will grant the DK the ability to copy the next spell the target casts that costs mana. There are few to no encounters where this comes into play in PvE, unfortunately. You can glyph this cooldown down to 30 seconds with [Glyph of Dark Simulacrum].

Anti-Magic Shell 45 seconds
Anti-Magic Shell is our most reliable way of avoiding raid damage. This baby absorbs 75% of the magic damage taken, up to 50% of the DK’s health for 5 seconds. As of 5.0, this gives us Runic Power as it absorbs damage at 1 Runic Power for every 1000 damage absorbed. Anti-Magic Shell also makes you immune to magical debuffs which can be equally important or more important than the damage mitigation depending on the encounter. Knowing when to correctly use this on any given encounter can greatly increase your survivability and damage output. The new glyph of regenerative magic, plus the 580 trinket bring AMS's CD down to 20 seconds. 20 seconds guys. YAY! This is reduced by the cooldown trinket.

Icebound Fortitude 3 minutes
Our standard defensive ability. A 20% damage taken reduction for 12 seconds as well as making you immune to stun effects. Use this when you know heavy damage is incoming. Don't make the easy mistake of using it after you've already taken a good chunk of damage; anticipate damage to get the most out of this ability. The glyph for this ability reduces the duration down to 3 seconds, and the CD down to 1.5 minutes, and is normally worth it because it let's you absorb that big hit that is likely to kill you. This is reduced by the cooldown trinket.

Mind Freeze 15 seconds
This is our basic interrupt. It is off the global cooldown and you must be in melee range to use it.

Strangulate 1 Blood 1 minute
Mind Freeze’s BBBFF Strangulate interrupts and silences a player target for 5 seconds and can interrupt non-player spell casting for 3 seconds. Unlike Mind Freeze, Strangulate is a 30 yard ranged silence, and costs a Blood Rune to use. This is a last resort in a PvE context. It will slow down your damage by expending one of your runes. As such, this is going to sit in your back pocket for most fights, but can really save the day when it is needed.

Raise Ally 30 Runic Power 10 minutes
You can resurrect one of your fallen brethren once every 10 minutes to 60% health and 20% mana.

Control Undead 1 Unholy
Take control of an Undead enemy for up to 5 minutes to act as your minion. Sadly lacking in use so far in MoP.


 

Symbiosis

 

Druid’s new skill Symbiosis grants Frost and Unholy Death Knights the Wild Mushroom: Plague skill. This is the only skill that druids give via symbiosis that is a direct DPS increase for the receiver. Although it is only a TINY gain in single target fights, it will prove to be quite useful on fights with lengthy stationary AoE or when a ranged AoE snare needs to be repeatedly applied. Since this last for 30 seconds it can cover a minute worth of diseases every 3 minutes.

Feral Druids can benefit from using Symbiosis on us as they receive Death Coil in return, giving them something to do when they can’t be in melee range, while balance gets the sexy, although weakened, AMS.


 

Stats and Gearing

 

 

 

 

Stat Priorities

 

 

Even stat priorities can vary from player to player, so for the best results, sim your own character.

 

 

 

 

 

Two Handed Stat Priority
Strength > Yellow Hit to Cap = Expertise to Cap > Crit > Mastery >= Haste

 

 

 

 

Dual Wield Stat Priority
Strength > Yellow Hit to Cap = Expertise to Cap > Mastery > Crit > Haste >= Hit over Cap

 

 

Specific Stat Weights

 

Stat weights are as follows relative to damage gained for 5.4


Please keep in mind these stat weights use BiS gear, and the default simcraft profile, which includes the legendary meta, and legendary cloak and the amp/CD trinket. This means a changed race, talent, or gear, in particular trinkets and weapon, will change the stat values. I've seen far too many people trying to use these weights for characters that are 50 ilvls under BiS. I highly recommend running the sim with your own character to see stat weights for your character.

If you don't know how to run a sim with your own character, I've written a getting started guide. If you have any questions or cannot get something to work, feel free to PM me, or drop by #Acherus.


Realistic sim:

 

 

Stat 580 DW 580 2H
Strength 7.77 6.46
Yellow Hit 13.34 9.39
Expertise 13.26 9.37
Haste 3.43 3.39
Mastery 5.21 3.65
Crit 4.41 4.27
Hit Over Yellow 2.97 -

 

 

 

Note: Realistic sims contain AMS soaking once per minute for 100k.





 

Specific Stat Caps

 

 

Level 93 Boss Avoidance

 

Avoidance % Avoidance to Rating Effective Requirement
Yellow Swing Miss 7.5% (340 * 7.5) 2550 Hit Rating
1H White Swing Miss 26.5% (340 * 26.5) 9010 Hit Rating
Spell Miss 15% (340 * 15) Hit Rating + Expertise Rating = 5100
Parry (front) 15% (15 * 340) 5100 Expertise Rating
Dodge (behind) 7.5% (7.5 * 340) 2550 Expertise Rating
Glancing Blows 24% - N/A

Expertise will only reduce dodge chance up to 7.5%. Above that it will only lower parry chance and will not lower parry chance until you reach the 7.5% plateau.

DW Frost no longer has access to Nerves of Cold Steel so both DW and 2H will need 7.5% hit and 7.5% expertise to reach cap.

 

Combat Ratings

Ratings needed to gain 1% of the stat

 

Stat Level 85
Hit 340
Crit 600
Haste 425
Expertise 340
Mastery 300

 

 

Reforging

 

Reforging takes 40% of a secondary stat already on an item and converts it into another secondary stat not already on an item. This gives you a lot more flexibility in trying to hit both the hit and expertise cap while maximizing your desired secondary stats.

You will want to reforge following your specs stat weights above while making sure to keep your hit and expertise capped. Sometimes this will mean reforging out of hit on one item and reforging into hit on another item to get the most of your desired stats. This is a tricky and complicated task which I encourage you to do, if for no other reason than to work on some math problems.



 

5.4 loot

 

The Fantastic Kerriodos has compiled a list of all the plate loot for 5.4, which can be found at
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...GMnZoY0E#gid=0
Check the tabs at the bottom to organize by boss or slot, or swap to heroic mode.
You rock dude.



 

Best in Slot 5.4

 

 

[DW]

 

 

 

Slot Item Gemming Reforging Enchant
Head [Helmet of Cyclopean Dread] 1x [Capacitive Primal Diamond], 1x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx] Haste to Crit None
Neck [Malkorok's Tainted Dog Tags] None None None
Shoulders [Pauldrons of Cyclopean Dread] 2 x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx] None [Greater Tiger Fang Inscription]
Back [Gong-Lu, Strength of Xuen] 1 x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx] None Enchant Cloak - Superior Critical Strike
Chest [Breastplate of Cyclopean Dread] 3 x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx] Haste to Crit Glorious Stats
Wrists [Bracers of Blind Hatred] None None Enchant Bracers – Exceptional Strength
Hands [Gauntlets of Cyclopean Dread] 2 x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx] None Enchant Gloves – Super Strength
Waist [Demolisher's Reinforced Belt] 1 x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx], 2 x [Fractured Sun's Radiance] Haste to Crit [Living Steel Belt Buckle]
Legs [Legplates of Willful Doom] 2 x [Sensei's Wild Jade], 1 x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx] None [Angerhide Leg Armor]
Feet [Malkorok's Giant Stompers] 1 x [Fractured Sun's Radiance] Expertise to Crit Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
Ring [Devilfang Band] 1 x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx] Expertise to Crit None
Ring [Bloodclaw Band] 1 x [Fractured Sun's Radiance] Hit to Crit None
Trinket [Evil Eye of Galakras] None None None
Trinket [Thok's Tail Tip] None None None
Main Hand [Xifeng, Longblade of the Titanic Guardian] 1 x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx] Hit to Crit Rune of the Fallen Crusader
Off Hand [Xifeng, Longblade of the Titanic Guardian] 1 x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx] Hit to Crit Rune of Razorice

 

[2H]

 

 

Slot Item Gemming Reforging Enchant
Head [Helmet of Cyclopean Dread] 1x [Capacitive Primal Diamond], 1x [Inscribed Vermilion Onyx] Haste to Crit None
Neck [Malkorok's Tainted Dog Tags] None None None
Shoulders [Tusks of Mannoroth] 3 x [Inscribed Vermilion Onyx] None [Greater Tiger Fang Inscription]
Back [Gong-Lu, Strength of Xuen] 1 x [Inscribed Vermilion Onyx] Haste to Expertise Enchant Cloak - Superior Critical Strike
Chest [Breastplate of Cyclopean Dread] 3 x [Inscribed Vermilion Onyx] Mastery to Crit Glorious Stats
Wrists [Bracers of Blind Hatred] None None Enchant Bracers – Exceptional Strength
Hands [Gauntlets of Cyclopean Dread] 2 x [Inscribed Vermilion Onyx] Mastery to Crit Enchant Gloves – Super Strength
Waist [Ashen Wall Girdle] 1 x [Inscribed Vermilion Onyx], 1 x [Smooth Sun's Radiance], 1 x [Piercing Wild Jade] Hit to Expertise [Living Steel Belt Buckle]
Legs [Greaves of Cyclopean Dread] 2 x [Smooth Sun's Radiance] None [Angerhide Leg Armor]
Feet [Greaves of Sublime Superiority] 1 x [Inscribed Vermilion Onyx] Hit to Expertise Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
Ring [Devilfang Band] 1 x [Inscribed Vermilion Onyx] Mastery to Crit None
Ring [Seal of the Forgotten Kings] 1 x [Inscribed Vermilion Onyx] None None
Trinket [Evil Eye of Galakras] None None None
Trinket [Thok's Tail Tip] None None None
Main Hand [Xal'atoh, Desecrated Image of Gorehowl] 1 x [Inscribed Vermilion Onyx] None Rune of the Fallen Crusader

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best in Slot 5.3

 

 

[DW]

 

 

 

Slot Item Gemming Reforging Enchant
Head [Crown of the Golden Golem] 1x [Capacitive Primal Diamond], 1x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx] Crit to Mastery None
Neck [Amulet of the Primal Turtle] 1 x [Bold Primordial Ruby] Hit to Mastery None
Shoulders [Pauldrons of the All-Consuming Maw] 1 x [Bold Primordial Ruby], 1 x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx] Expertise to Haste [Greater Tiger Fang Inscription]
Back [Tigerclaw Cape] 1 x [Bold Primordial Ruby] None Enchant Cloak - Superior Critical Strike
Chest [Breastplate of the All-Consuming Maw] 1 x [Bold Primordial Ruby], 1 x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx], 1 x [Etched Imperial Amethyst] Expertise to Mastery Glorious Stats
Wrists [Caustic Spike Bracers] 1 x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx] None Enchant Bracers – Exceptional Strength
Hands [Gauntlets of the All-Consuming Maw] 1 x [Bold Primordial Ruby] Hit to Mastery Enchant Gloves – Super Strength
Waist [Cloudbreaker Greatbelt] 2 x [Bold Primordial Ruby], 1 x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx] None [Living Steel Belt Buckle]
Legs [Greaves of the All-Consuming Maw] 1 x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx], 1 x [Etched Imperial Amethyst] Crit to Haste [Angerhide Leg Armor]
Feet [Sabatons of the Superior Being] 1 x [Etched Imperial Amethyst], 1 x [Skillful Vermilion Onyx] Expertise to Mastery Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
Ring [Ra-den's Ruinous Ring] 1 x [Etched Imperial Amethyst] Expertise to Mastery None
Ring [Band of the Scaled Tyrant] 1 x [Bold Primordial Ruby] Hit to Mastery None
Trinket [Fabled Feather of Ji-Kun] None Hit to Mastery None
Trinket [Spark of Zandalar] None Haste to Mastery None
Main Hand [Qon's Flaming Scimitar] 2 x [Bold Primordial Ruby] Expertise to Haste Rune of the Fallen Crusader
Off Hand [Qon's Flaming Scimitar] 2 x [Bold Primordial Ruby] Expertise to Haste Rune of Razorice

 

[2H]

 

 

Slot Item Gemming Reforging Enchant
Head [Crown of the Golden Golem] 1x [Capacitive Primal Diamond], 1x [Fierce Vermilion Onyx] None None
Neck [Talisman of Angry Spirits] None Mastery to Haste None
Shoulders [Pauldrons of the All-Consuming Maw] 1 x [Bold Primordial Ruby], 1 x [Fierce Vermilion Onyx] Expertise to Haste [Greater Tiger Fang Inscription]
Back [Tigerclaw Cape] 1 x [Bold Primordial Ruby] None Enchant Cloak - Superior Critical Strike
Chest [Breastplate of the All-Consuming Maw] 1 x [Bold Primordial Ruby], 1 x [Etched Imperial Amethyst], 1x [Fierce Vermilion Onyx] None Glorious Stats
Wrists [Caustic Spike Bracers] 1 x [Fierce Vermilion Onyx] None Enchant Bracers – Exceptional Strength
Hands [Gauntlets of the All-Consuming Maw] 1 x [Bold Primordial Ruby] Hit to Haste Enchant Gloves – Super Strength
Waist [Cloudbreaker Greatbelt] 2 x [Bold Primordial Ruby], 1 x [Fierce Vermilion Onyx] Mastery to Crit [Living Steel Belt Buckle]
Legs [Greaves of the All-Consuming Maw] 1 x [Fierce Vermilion Onyx], 1 x [Etched Imperial Amethyst] Mastery to Haste [Angerhide Leg Armor]
Feet [Sabatons of the Superior Being] 1 x [Etched Imperial Amethyst], 1x [Fierce Vermilion Onyx] Expertise to Haste Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
Ring [Ra-den's Ruinous Ring] 1 x [Bold Primordial Ruby] None None
Ring [Band of the Scaled Tyrant] 1 x [Bold Primordial Ruby] Hit to Crit None
Trinket [Fabled Feather of Ji-Kun] None Hit to Haste None
Trinket [Primordius' Talisman of Rage] None Crit to Haste None
Main Hand [Greatsword of Frozen Hells] 1 x [Bold Primordial Ruby], 1 x [Fierce Vermilion Onyx] None Rune of the Fallen Crusader

 

 

 

Trinkets

 

 

 

DW trinket combo rankings:
All trinkets used 580 ilevel gear, with T16 4-set and leg meta/cloak; 10k iterations.
Please note in the case of feather and shadopan, for every hit or expertise point you are over the cap because of them, the ranking goes down by about 4 dps. (1.2 for hit)



Note that the amp trinket becomes better the more gear you get, since it multiples that gear. At lower gear levels it's less awesome, but still awesome. If you want to learn how to set up a personal trinket sim for your character, PM me.
Note 2: Timeless Isle Xuen trinket lies between shadopan and HTF Gaze




2-hand trinket combo rankings:
All trinkets used 580 ilevel gear, with T16 4-set and leg meta/cloak; 10k iterations.
Please note in the case of feather and shadopan, for every hit or expertise point you are over the cap because of them, the ranking goes down by about 4 dps.



Note that the amp trinket becomes better the more gear you get, since it multiples that gear. At lower gear levels it's less awesome, but still awesome. If you want to learn how to set up a personal trinket sim for your character, PM me.
Note 2: Trinket pairs coming maybe!
Note 3: Timeless Isle Xuen trinket lies between flex skeers and HTF feather



 

 

 

Set Bonuses

 

T16

 

  • 2P – Killing Machine and Sudden Doom grant 500 Haste or Mastery, whichever is highest, for X sec, stacking up to 10 times.
  • 4P – Death Coil increases the duration of Dark Transformation by 2 sec per cast. Special attacks while Pillar of Frost is active will impale your target with an icy spike.

T15

  • 2P – Your attacks have a chance to raise the spirit of a fallen Zandalari as your Death Knight minion for 15 sec.
  • 4P – Your Soul Reaper ability now deals additional Shadow Damage to targets below 45% instead of below 35%. Additionally, Killing Machine now also increases the critical strike chance of Soul Reaper.

T14

  • 2P –Your Obliterate, Frost Strike, and Scourge Strike deal 4% increased damage.
  • 4P – Your Pillar of Frost ability grants 5% additional Strength, and your Unholy Frenzy ability grants 10% additional haste.

Consumables

 

Flask: [Flask of Winter's Bite] gives 1000 Strength
Potion: [Potion of Mogu Power] gives 4000 Strength for 25 seconds

 

 

Food:  
[Black Pepper Ribs and Shrimp] 300 Strength
[Eternal Blossom Fish] / [Pandaren Banquet] / [Great Pandaren Banquet]/ [Chao Cookies] 275 Strength
[Charbroiled Tiger Steak] 250 Strength

All Strength food is learned by the Way of the Grill cooking specialization.


 

Gemming, Enchanting, Professions, and Race

 

 

 

 

Gemming

 

 

Color Melee Stats Available
Red Strength, Expertise Rating
Yellow Crit Rating, Haste Rating, Mastery Rating
Blue Hit Rating, Stamina

Currently the best gems for each socket color:

 

 

 

Color Gem
Red [Inscribed Vermilion Onyx]
Red [Skillful Vermilion Onyx]
Yellow [Smooth Sun's Radiance]
Yellow [Fractured Sun's Radiance]
Blue [Piercing Wild Jade]
Blue [Sensei's Wild Jade]

 

 

Meta-Gems

[Capacitive Primal Diamond]
[Reverberating Primal Diamond]


Enchants

 

 

 

Slot Enchant Notes
Back Enchant Cloak – Accuracy or Enchant Cloak – Superior Critical Strike 180 Hit or 180 Crit. Most of the time you'll be so high on hit, you'll want the crit rating.
Shoulder [Greater Tiger Fang Inscription] 200 Strength and 100 Crit
Chest Glorious Stats 80 to All Primary Stats
Bracers Enchant Bracers – Exceptional Strength 180 Strength
Gloves Enchant Gloves – Super Strength 170 Strength
Belt [Living Steel Belt Buckle] Prismatic Socket
Legs Angerhide Leg Armor 285 Strength and 165 Crit
Feet Enchant Boots - Greater Precision, Enchant Boots – Greater Haste, or Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step 175 Hit, 175 Haste, or 140 Mastery and move speed. Move speed/mastery is suggested.

 

 

 

Runeforges

Dual wielding will use Rune of the Fallen Crusader on their main hand with Rune of Razorice on their offhand. If able, keep a third weapon enchanted with Rune of Cinderglacier to swap for your off hand weapon to use in AoE scenarios.
These are the correct runeforging, and are further explained in the FAQ.


2H will use Rune of the Fallen Crusader.


Professions

 

Engineering is the top profession due to its 1920 Strength bonus to gloves for 10 seconds every minute (320 strength average passive) which lines up nicely with Pillar of Frost, and frag belt, which is a 500 dps increase per target. Leatherworking, Alchemy, Enchanting, Blacksmithing, and Inscription are all on par giving 320 Strength.

 

 

Name Benefit
Alchemy [Item not found!] and increases the duration of all alchemical consumables
Blacksmithing Smithing allows for an Socket Bracers and Socket Gloves netting 320 strength (2x [Bold Primordial Ruby])
Enchanting Enchant Ring - Greater Strength can be used on both rings for a total of 320 additional strength
Engineering Engineers can add Synapse Springs to gloves (1920 strength * 10s/ 60s cooldown = ~passive 320 strength) and it stacks with normal enchants. Also allows access to Goblin Glider, Nitro Boosts, and Frag Belt
Herbalism Herbalists have the castable Lifeblood ability (1920 haste * 20s / 2 min cooldown = ~passive 320 haste)
Inscription [Secret Tiger Fang Inscription] is an alternative to the standard [Greater Tiger Fang Inscription] shoulder enchant giving an additional 320 Strength
Jewelcrafting 2 x [Bold Serpent's Eye] to socket into your gear instead of 2 x [Bold Primordial Ruby] equates to 320 extra strength
Leatherworking Leatherworkers can add Fur Lining - Strength to wrists and is 320 Strength over Enchant Bracers - Exceptional Strength.
Mining Miners receive a 480 Stamina buff from Toughness
Skinning Skinners receive a 320 critical strike rating bonus from Master of Anatomy
Tailoring Tailors can sew Swordguard Embroidery onto their cloaks replacing other cloak enchants

 

 

Races

 

All the races are listed below with all their racial traits. Death Knights are available to all races except the Pandaren. This is in a vague order of best to worst choice for Frost Death Knights.

 

Alliance

 

Worgen Darkflight, Viciousness, Aberration, Flayer, and Running Wild
Draenei Heroic Presence, Gift of the Naaru, Gemcutting, and Shadow Resistance
Human Sword Specialization, Mace Specialization, Every Man for Himself, Diplomacy, and The Human Spirit
Dwarf Mace Specialization, Stoneform, Frost Resistance, Crack Shot, and Explorer
Gnome Shortblade Specialization, Escape Artist, Engineering Specialization, Expansive Mind, and Arcane Resistance
Night Elf Shadowmeld, Nature Resistance, Quickness, and Wisp Spirit
Pandaren Bouncy, Epicurean, Gormand, Inner Peace, and Quaking Palm

 

Horde

 

Orc Axe Specialization, Blood Fury, Command, and Hardiness
Goblin Time is Money, Rocket Jump, Rocket Barrage, Best Deals Anywhere, Better Living Through Chemistry, and Pack Hobgoblin
Troll Da Voodoo Shuffle, Berserking, Beast Slaying, Dead Eye, and Regeneration
Forsaken Will of the Forsaken, Cannibalize, Shadow Resistance, and Touch of the Grave
Blood Elf Arcane Torrent, Arcane Affinity, and Arcane Resistance
Tauren War Stomp, Cultivation, Endurance, and Nature Resistance
Pandaren Bouncy, Epicurean, Gormand, Inner Peace, and Quaking Palm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mechanics, Mods, Macros, and More

 

 

 

 

Current Raiding Mechanics

 

Raiding mechanics section can be found here.



 

Mods

 

Rune Addons
The default rune UI doesn’t tend to work as well as most Death Knights would like and most use an addon for displaying runes in a clearer, easier to view way. Here are a few mods that do a good job of showing you what you need to know about your runes and runic power. Of utmost importance is to find what mod works best for you. There are many more than the ones listed but these are some of the more common ones.

DKi Runes
DocsDebugRunes
Magic Runes
Acherus Runes
Compact Runes

Boss Addons
Many bosses have timers for moves you need to be aware of. These addons let you know what they are and when they are coming.
DBM
Big Wigs

Cooldowns and Buffs Trackers
Keeping track of the cooldowns of your abilities and trinkets and buffs will allow you to maximize their use.
Power Auras Classic
WeakAuras
TellMeWhen



 

Macros

 

Not many macros are essential for Frost DKs and only one is truly recommended

 

 

#showtooltip Pillar of Frost
/use # (only for on-use items, replace ‘#’ with item slot #)
/cast Pillar of Frost
/cast Raise Dead

Pillar of Frost has a 1 minute cooldown and Raise Dead has a 2 minute cooldown. You can also add any on-use items into this macro. For reference, gloves are item slot 10 and trinkets are slots 13 and 14. You can also add in racials like blood fury and berserking here.

 

FAQ

 

 

Q: Which is stronger: Dual Wield or 2-Hand Frost?
A: Both are pretty close in single target situations, with 2-hand about 5% behind, and you'll generally do better with whatever you have a better weapon for. Dual wield tends to excel at cleave scenarios and AoE, of which there are very many in T16. 2-Hand tends to excel at burst damage due to its extremely strong Obliterates, as well as raw single target damage. 2Hand is also considered by many to be easier, but DW is slightly stronger overall right now.

Q: What is the best race in 5.4?
A: The races differ by under a hundred dps, but I'd have to say orcs, if you have the weapon for it.

Q: Why did haste become so bad?
A: There were several factors that reduce haste's value for 5.4:

1. Haste no longer scales with rppm trinkets/zandy.
2. RC bug removed from the game, stopping it from multiplying with haste to further make the trinket uptime go down.
3. The new PL generates 2 runes every 25 seconds instead of 1, and is basically free if managed right. These extra free runes make haste less necessary to GCD cap.
5. The new AMS glyph reduces the average CD on AMS, allowing you to get more runic from it.
6. The new CD trinket does the same thing.
7. The amp trinket means you need less haste to achieve the same rune regen effect.
8. The T-16-2set, if haste is your highest stat, leads to pushing you above the GCD capped threshold.

Most of these factors do not yet affect people. Even the PL/trinket change alone is enough to drop haste down a bit, and perhaps below crit. Best way to find out if it affects you is to sim yourself.

Q: Why is Rune of the Fallen Crusader on the main hand and Rune of Razorice on the off-hand for DW?
A: SR only procs MH weapon enchants, and you get a basically free slightly higher uptime on FC by putting the enchant on your MH.

Q: I want to dual wield but I don’t like this “masterfrost" priority. What can I do?
A: It is entirely possible to dual wield and not use the “masterfrost" priority and instead use a more 2H-esque priority by using most of your runes for Obliterate rather than Howling Blast. This is a slight DPS loss (between 5-10%) and favors more crit over mastery (Strength > Hit/Exp >Crit > Mastery > Haste).

Q: Our tank died. My group needs me to offtank. What do I do?
A: Non-blood Death Knights have lost their taunt ability, Dark Command, which makes us rather inefficient at quickly grabbing threat on more than one target. You can, however, taunt with Death Grip, if need be. If you must offtank, switch over to Blood Presence and use Icebound Fortitude, Army of the Dead as best you can to stop as much incoming damage as you can while someone (Perhaps you) resurrects the tank.

Q: We need a kiter. Should it be me? What do I need to know?
A: Frost Death Knights make excellent kiters. Howling Blast is a spammable ranged AoE spell that can quickly pick up targets. Talenting into Chilblains will stop most adds in their tracks and prevent them from ever catching up to you. Consider switching to Blood Presence if adds are getting away from you or to Unholy Presence if you find that adds are catching up with you. Death and Decay and Death Coil will both be helpful at holding aggro while keeping at distance.


 

 

Other Resources

To further your individual research about the class, play, and so forth, I also have a list of online resources to recommend:

 

 

 

 

 

Corrections and Updates

 

If you find any errors in this guide or items you feel have been omitted that would help to understand the class please PM me. Let’s leave the thread for discussion.




 

Planned Changes

 

Currently working on:
Fine tune BiS list.
Try to optimize 2H action list a bit.
Double trinket rankings.
I take requests, PM me.



 

Special Thanks

 

  • Euliat for his work on simulating DK stats and priority.
  • Titus Pullo for handling the frost guides since 4.3, and providing the framework for this guide.
  • Magdalena for his work on #Acherus and being a great dude.
  • Kerriodos for his AMAZING T16 Str plate list.
  • Heartless for her unholy guide framework, and the abbreviation list. RIP
  • Theck and Reia for doing amazing things with simc.
  • Jessamy for being a great DK forum mod here at EJ
  • Dant for his awesome artistic contribution.
  • #Acherus
  • Everyone who contributes to this thread for their continued effort at understanding and maximizing the DK class.

 

​​

Change Log

02/25/13: Created, using http://elitistjerks.com/f72/t130617-...ld_hand_death/ as a framework, and updated to be current.
02/28/13: Updated quite a few typos and mistakes, added a planned changes section, and updated note next to stat weights.
03/05/13: 5.2 is here! proofread through guide, and made the following changes: updated dates and thread name with 5.2, updated sim note in introduction, removed all "as of 5.2", and updated abilities to latest changes, split up multiple target into both specs, added new stat weights and finished full loot list for 5.2. Added BiS list 5.2.
03/05/13: Added abbreviation list, thanks to Heartless
03/06/13: Added T5 numbers for 5.2
03/07/13: Added race analysis for 5.2
03/07/13: Added a bunch of stuff, stat weights, t1 ranking, t5 rankings, and changed great-sword of frozen hells source to shared boss, instead of trash.
03/08/13: Added realistic stat weights next to the patchwerk ones.
03/11/13: Added trinket note and legendary meta gem.
03/13/13: Added more trinket info and frost nerf.
03/16/13: Added trinket rankings for normal mode gear; and updated BiS for DW significantly, as well as updated FAQ. Added some frost abbreviations to the list.
03/30/13: Fixed a few broken links, thanks Jessamy.
05/21/13: Updated for 5.3 Nothing to see here.
05/28/13: Finally fixed the 5.3 BiS list for 2-hand frost. Note to self: put in ilevel 600 cape.
06/02/13: Fixed neck for DW to be "obtainable" and added 600 cloak.
07/28/13: RC is now mandatory. (kinda)09/08/13: Updated for 5.4, RC no longer mandatory
09/22/13: Runeforges swapped weapons for DW.
09/24/13: Changed rules for pestilence on AE.
09/25/13: Runeforges swapped weapons for DW.... in the section that I missed. Thanks xtrl9
04/02/14: Baby I'm back! Revamped formatting for new/old EJ text formatting, added new mastersimple/mastercomplicated section. Returning to actually reading comments on th

Edited by Mendenbarr, 03 April 2014 - 04:33 PM.

<Midwinter> - 14/14 HM -25m - LF exceptional raiders
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#2 Tyhma

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:03 PM

First of all, thanks for all the work you're doing here. Reading you is always interesting.

I have just one question about macroing raise dead as you're suggesting it :

#showtooltip Pillar of Frost
/use # (only for on-use items, replace ‘#’ with item slot #)
/cast Pillar of Frost
/cast Raise Dead

Assuming Raise Dead cost a GCD and that the ghoul doesn't snapshot stats anymore, shouldn't we follow the advice that suggest to cast it just before poping trinket and pof, so that the ghoul keep the benefit, but we save one GCD usable for any kind of attack that will benefit from these pof and trinkets ?

#3 Jessamy

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:17 PM

Summoning your ghoul and then popping damage buffs off the gcd right before your next melee strike does get you an extra buffed melee gcd. This is actually the behavior used by the default simulationcraft profiles, and is a small but measurable damage increase. A macro like the ghoul macro you're questioning is intended to make things easier and clean up action bars for those who aren't optimizing their play quite that much.

#4 fangless

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 04:28 PM

Are these things still up to date;


DMF trinket still one of the BiS for DW? There were sims in the last Frost thread that put the Vortex (2/2) ahead by 500 dps or so?

Races; is Goblin still BiS? Sims I've done in ilvl506, Troll/Orc should both be ahead especially with the new tier having a few beast related bosses/boss adds.

Stat weights, I have haste coming out ahead, for DW, up to about 7900 or so, where it becomes even and then Mastery is the stat to go to.


#5 Mendenbarr

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:25 PM

Assuming Raise Dead cost a GCD and that the ghoul doesn't snapshot stats anymore, shouldn't we follow the advice that suggest to cast it just before poping trinket and pof, so that the ghoul keep the benefit, but we save one GCD usable for any kind of attack that will benefit from these pof and trinkets ?

As Jessamy pointed out, it's a small gain, but a gain nonetheless. I'm going to leave this guide alone in that regard, as it's more aimed at a simpler playstyle, but I'll add a note into my advanced guide.




Are these things still up to date;

DMF trinket still one of the BiS for DW? There were sims in the last Frost thread that put the Vortex (2/2) ahead by 500 dps or so?

Races; is Goblin still BiS? Sims I've done in ilvl506, Troll/Orc should both be ahead especially with the new tier having a few beast related bosses/boss adds.

Stat weights, I have haste coming out ahead, for DW, up to about 7900 or so, where it becomes even and then Mastery is the stat to go to.


While, in sims, vortex creeps up to being slightly higher, in practice, a good portion of the benefit of the proc is lost due to overcapping. Haste procs on a spec that is all but GCD capped without the extra haste are rarely optimal. RoX and LSFO also line up with each other. Keep in mind sims play with perfect skill and 0 latency, which hides the damage of being GCD capped a bit. Also, as Jessamy reminds me, sims don't use AMS to get extra runic, which takes up extra GCDs you won't have with DMV.

As stated in the section, it's a very rough best to worst list, and whether or not you benefit from weapon expertise racials, as well as being DW/2-hand, change around the exact order of the races. IIRC, there are only 4 beast bosses out of 12 in throne of thunder. However, I will take another look at races and try to revamp the section a bit.


Stat weights were simmed with 510-10 of simcraft, using default 509 profiles, yesterday. Don't get much fresher results then that. Haste and mastery have a little dance where one jumps ahead of the other depending on the amount of the other, as well as crit and AP, but that's why it's suggested to run your own sims for your own values, the ones listed are right for 509 gear.

#6 Jessamy

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:38 PM

This post has been promoted to an article

#7 fangless

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 04:45 PM

This is the results I get when I sim out the stats for DW, using my own gear, 507ilvl; Bloodtap/Unholy Blight.
Parkwayy @ Arthas - Community - World of Warcraft

Spoiler


Using the Reforge plotting, I got to the point where Haste is just ahead of Mastery, about 8000 Haste and 3700 Mastery. The reforge plotting points to me that if I lower Haste for Mastery, it's a loss;

Spoiler



Am I missing something? I don't see Mastery ahead at all, definitely not by the large margin shown in the stat weight section. Maybe if there are multiple targets, but the fights in which that happens (in 5.1 at least) are few in number.

#8 huntcaudata

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 05:27 PM

This is the results I get when I sim out the stats for DW, using my own gear, 507ilvl; Bloodtap/Unholy Blight.

Am I missing something? I don't see Mastery ahead at all, definitely not by the large margin shown in the stat weight section. Maybe if there are multiple targets, but the fights in which that happens (in 5.1 at least) are few in number.


You are missing the fact that you're a goblin, you're using Unholy Blight, and you have double upgraded weapons but otherwise non-BiS gear. Everyone is going to get different results for stat rankings, that's why we constantly implore people to run their own sims rather than taking one number as gospel.

As for your specifics - if you just switch to Plague Leech you'd see rankings very similar to the op (I just checked with your character). And, even if you stick with Unholy Blight, your assertion that multi-target fights are "few in number" doesn't really make any sense to me.

Zorlok - no adds but substantial downtime or time spent at range during double attentuation in phase 2 de-values haste.
Garalon - Tons of cleave, obvious advantage to mastery
Wind Lord - Tons of AOE
Amber Shaper - Tons of cleave opportunities
Empress - Half the fight is Cleave/AOE.

Protectors - Cleave on Corrupted Waters
Tsulong - Tons of aoe on adds
Sha - Hello?

The above, coupled with the fact that sims don't account for AMS soaking or different timing of BL, means that even with your your current stat-weights, I would value mastery above haste.

#9 fangless

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 08:10 PM

I will give a shot at looking at the numbers for PL.

As far as the cleave thing, so many of those situations are situations where the AE damage is not the determining factor of the fight, except maybe Sha.

Zorlok, besides that we're just horrible at this fight with no AMS soaking available, the downtime is minimal and maybe a few seconds of the entire fight?
Garalon is valid, sure.
Wind Lord, the add damage should really be your last concern. Just padding numbers at that point.
Amber Shaper is 50/50. Phase 1, our guild basically holds dps because there's too much chance to push the boss over, or kill a tank construct way too fast. Phase 2 doing direct damage on the Monstrosity is getting us into p3 faster, the slimes only spawn so fast. How fast we kill them is largely irrelevant.
Empress does have some cleave, but I wouldn't say those phases, especially when most of the adds are running around or you are when fixated is weighted more than the first phase (done twice) and all of phase 3.

Protectors I could side with Mastery but not because you cleave onto a single orb for a few seconds every so often. The buff you get from killing it, along with a SR proc if you do it right, means you're getting a lot of regen/KM procs. Still, killing the final guy is the roughest part (along with killing shas when your group is up), which is single target.
Tsulong, I wouldn't considering the fright spawns to be the key factor of the fight, and dark of night spawns can be too spread out to worry about or you can get lucky and they can be grouped up, but I would wager your ranged dot team should be focusing these.
Sha, ok fine, I did say there were a few. And this is a fight I swap to Mastery for.


Honestly though, the fights where AE is available, those situations aren't usually the ones that will wipe you. Rather optimize for the parts where the DPS actually matters.


edit:
/ran sims to see how PL turns up -- that would explain the difference in the two situations with weights.
Suggestion: add info for both talent choices and their stat weights

#10 Mendenbarr

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 08:51 PM

The reason PL devalues haste from what you're seeing with UB is because it adds a GCD into our rotation, which is close to the GCD gap as is. Haste makes it even tighter, more abilities to spend in a given amount of time, which is why the closer you get to being GCD capped, the less haste is worth.
I agree that you should gear for parts of a fight where the dps actually matters, but in reality, due to not being able to hit the boss for even half a second, and AMS giving you a ton of runic every 45 seconds, haste is devalued below mastery in gameplay, despite what the sims say. Huntcaudata did mention AMS soaking, which is actually the biggest discrepancy between live results and sims.
I'm actually working with the simcraft team to get AMS soaking added in, to more clearly demonstrate this, but for the time being, this thread will continue to advise mastery > haste for DW.

#11 Revanchism

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 10:07 PM

Mastery is definitely ahead of Haste as DW. It's not just AMS either that helps do this. The sheer amount of add fights only furthers the value of mastery due to Howling Blast and Frost Fever. Using your own logs and seeing just how much damage you do with your frost related attacks on a given encounter should give you an idea just how strong it is. It also comes down to how you line up your CD's. Rarely does haste matter for me in these situations. I remove it from the equation.

Relying on simulations to determine your build over personal logs and experience on specific encounters is never advisable. It's like a professional athlete basing how they play on practice tape over game tape. Baring a faceroll fight with minimal mechanics, chaos often overtakes controlled situations.

#12 fangless

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 02:06 PM

Relying on simulations to determine your build over personal logs and experience on specific encounters is never advisable. It's like a professional athlete basing how they play on practice tape over game tape. Baring a faceroll fight with minimal mechanics, chaos often overtakes controlled situations.


Which is fair, but I justified it in the post above, in regards to the "there are add fights in 5.1" notion. Supercleave damage, while we're good at it, is largely never the determining factor in a fight. That remains to be seen while we progress in 5.2, at least. It seems mostly that PL is the determining factor though, that pushes it over. So, that helps me figure out what I was missing, and I'm gonna try to hop on the PL train and get used to using it.



Is there any chance the Soul Reaper change to have interaction with Killing Machine will add in a condition to hold onto it until you get a KM Proc (instead of SR use on cooldown)? That was the one thing in the latest SimC build that would change as far as priority model, and makes me nervous that the T15 bis charts with us in the gutter seem fairly plausible.

Though, I did see one of the code commits was an AMS introduction, but I hope that isn't expected for us to do well in a fight.

#13 Mendenbarr

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:27 AM

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#14 Revanchism

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:07 PM

Which is fair, but I justified it in the post above, in regards to the "there are add fights in 5.1" notion. Supercleave damage, while we're good at it, is largely never the determining factor in a fight. That remains to be seen while we progress in 5.2, at least. It seems mostly that PL is the determining factor though, that pushes it over. So, that helps me figure out what I was missing, and I'm gonna try to hop on the PL train and get used to using it.



Is there any chance the Soul Reaper change to have interaction with Killing Machine will add in a condition to hold onto it until you get a KM Proc (instead of SR use on cooldown)? That was the one thing in the latest SimC build that would change as far as priority model, and makes me nervous that the T15 bis charts with us in the gutter seem fairly plausible.

Though, I did see one of the code commits was an AMS introduction, but I hope that isn't expected for us to do well in a fight.


I'd definitely get used to using PL. Especially if you're getting symbiosis. That said, I find UB to be favorable over it on some encounters since it gives us an extra GCD for AOE. As for holding SR for KM over FS. Don't forget that a FS crit still hits pretty damn hard. Also, by holding a KM for SR you could be potentially overlapping KM procs which would cost you a crit FS and is thus a DPS loss. In an ideal world you would use KM on SR, but I'm thinking if anything, you'll be holding off a FS to use a fresh KM on SR as long as it's a second from coming off CD. I wouldn't wait to use SR for KM though, again because of the overlapping issue. Too much reliance on RNG for that. The 10% melee haste buff we gained should help smooth things out a bit.

#15 lilucky136

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 12:29 AM

What kind of gear do you need for the spark and rage trinket to actually sim higher then the 5.0 trinkets?

Because currently the 5.2 trinkets sim lower then the 5.0 trinkets

#16 forecore

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 12:46 AM

i noticed the same thing as i wanted to replace with . Despite "fun" procs the new trinkets all seem pretty bad from a pure dps point of view.

#17 Mendenbarr

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 12:58 AM

I'm also finding that spark normal mode is worse than relic, which is sad considering how massive the ilevel jump is. I'm working on a full trinket writeup, should be done in a few days.

Edit: Simcraft is using rppm based of truehaste, as explained by GC, while in-game it still seems to use attack speed, meaning basically that it has a 10% higher uptime than simmed.

#18 lilucky136

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 01:09 AM

Atleast for 2h in BiS gear the darkmist + lei shen +8, appears to be equiv dps to the spark + rage.

Wasted a token to get the thunderforged spark to find out its bad haha.

#19 lichdawg

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:34 AM

I have been testing the spark, albeit in unholy spec. It took over 4 minutes of bashing the boss dummy to get the 10 procs. This trinket is not worth in its current state and unless the proc rate is increased I don't see how it can possibly stay in the bis list. I will be testing further today and will post details on proc rates.

#20 Mendenbarr

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:00 PM

Spark of Zandalar is not as bad as it seems. Simcraft reports the following up-times at various haste levels:
These sims are done fully raid buffed, in normal presences, with lust, and in the case of unholy, unholy frenzy.

[TABLE] Spec | Haste | Uptime
Frost 2-hand | 15000 | 21.25%
Frost 2-hand | 10000 | 19.03%
Frost DW | 8500 | 18.55%
Frost DW | 5500 | 17.13%
Unholy | 15000 | 25.76%
Unholy | 10000 | 23.17%
[/TABLE]


However, reports from the small number of people with the trinket indicate it has a significantly higher uptime in reality then the one being simmed. I *believe* that this is because the game does not yet use the truehaste system described by GC here, but there is only so much testing I can do by myself.

Please, if you have the trinket, or any rppm str trinket, go out and test it, and describe the testing as best you can to me, including duration, procs, trinket, uptime, haste level, and whether or not you used berserking, unholy frenzy, lust, darkmist vortex, or any other haste short term buff.

Edit: I've submitted a bug report here, if you want to post your results there.


Edit 2: Thanks to some information from Zoyt, we know that the trinket's tooltip is wrong, while it says 1333 strength in-game, and on the wowhead page, and 770 while mousing over, it actually gives 1600 str. I have someone testing the rage trinket as we speak, if anyone has the gaze of the twins trinket, please contact me in #acherus, or via PM/battletag, so we can test out if the proc is accurate.

Edit 3: Spark trinket has accurate tooltip.
Edit 4: Rage also has accurate tooltip. Looks like it's just feather that was stealth buffed.

Edit 5: Still need testing on rppm trinkets. PM me your logs!




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