Blood DKs are an exceptionally strong DPS spec. Some people consider them to be universally inferior now to Unholy now, but we still bring good raid buffs and DRW is significantly cooler than Gargoyle. At high gear levels these specs are performing pretty closely on single target fights. You will see a lot more Unholy DKs on the charts, but it's only because they are the Flavor of the Month!
This thread is always a work in progress as it covers a large number of topics. I welcome feedback, and try to be good about responding to your PMs.
Read through the last few pages of this thread, and other resources on the net and you will see that without a doubt the hottest topic for Blood DKs in 3.3 is the ArP vs Strength debate, so I've added an exhaustively detailed section on how to make this determination for yourself. I put it down near the bottom as it is almost excessively long.
I've also updated the Stat weights with my personal stat weights, remembering that YOURS WILL BE DIFFERENT (unless you happen to have the exact same gear as me)
= Common Abbreviations=
AoE = Area of Effect
AMS = Anti-Magic Shell
APE = Attack Power Equivalence
BB = Blood Boil
BCB = Blood Caked Blade
BP = Blood Presence
IT = Icy Touch
DK = Death Knight
DC = Death Coil
DnD = Death and Decay
DPS = Damage per Second
DRW = Dancing Rune Weapon
FC = Rune of the Fallen Crusader
GCD = Global Cooldown
GoD = Glyph of Disease
GoDD = Glyph of Dark Death
HoW = Horn of Winter
PS = Plague Strike
RP = Runic Power
UP = Unholy Presence
In 3.3 there are two general valid build for the blood spec, and they differ simply by 1 talent point, and a glyph.
These are your two main builds, and we'll discuss later the differences between them, and how to decide what is right for you.
In the Blood tree you will have 4 points to play with. If you are looking for absolute max DPS you will want to go with 3/3 Bloodworms and 1 point in Imp Blood presence. Why? Bloodworms will add a little (reports say ~ 80) DPS, and your other options being Mark of Blood and Vampiric Blood, both of which require the use of a Blood Rune, and thatâ€™s 1 less Heart Strike!
In the Unholy tree the most common line of thinking goes: Ravenous Dead > BCB > Necrosis. From my own experience, Iâ€™ve found BCB to be slightly higher than 1% DPS per talent point, whereas Necrosis was slightly < 1% DPS per talent point. Keep in mind though that Necrosis can effectively crit, whereas BCB cannot, so people with very high crit rates may see a swing in the relative value of these two talents. Typically you max all three, but if you want to play around, have at it.
Morbidity works itself out to be approximately .6% DPS per point, which is why we remove the point from there for our Glyph of Disease Build which requires 2/2 epidemic.
There is currently only one viable Runeforge for PvE DPS: Fallen Crusader.
*You will either use GoD or GoDD as your 3rd glyph, depending on which build you choose to go for.
The GoD and GoDD builds have differing rotations, and in order to make the most out of each build, it is important that you use the correct rotation
For both rotations, you will be able to dump 2 Death Coils at one break, and then one at the other. This depends on whether you start a fight with RP or not. It is not important where a particular phase falls, and so we'll just represent it with -Dump-.
IT-PS-HS-HS-DS -Dump- DS-HS-HS-HS-HS -Dump-
Beginning with Dark Death as it is the easier of the two. On a pull to minimize your wasted GCDs during your dump phase you can cast HoW, and raise your Ghoul.
The GoD rotation is made up of two distinct parts. There is your Open Phase (1), and then the repeated phase (2). You begin with the (1) rotation to set up your diseases, and then repeat two until your diseases fall of some how, or the enemy dies
(1) IT-PS-HS-HS-DS -Dump- DS-HS-HS-HS-Pest -Dump-
(2) HS-HS-HS-HS-DS -Dump- DS-HS-HS-HS-Pest
Blood's strength is it's ability to do exceptional single - or double - target damage, once you exceed 3 or 4 enemies, you would be much better suited using a UH off spec for AOE fights. Most of the AOE in ICC currently are trash fights, which isn't a main concern of this guide. In general for AOE you want to spead your diseases, and use Blood Boil. As Blood generates a large amount of death runes, especially the Glyph of Disease spec, you will be able to cast a tremendous amount of Blood Boils.
In general Blood Boil begins to outperform HS at around 5-6 targets, your mileage may vary, use a Scrolling Combat mod that shows the sum of your AoE attacks, or else it will be very hard to tell for yourself.
= Rolling Diseases=
Pre 3.2 you could load up your procs, cast diseases, and using GoD would maintain the higher power diseases throughout the fight. This is no longer the case, diseases do not roll anymore. It was fun while it lasted.
= Dancing Rune Weapon=
DRW will gain buffs you have before casting it, but will not get things used after, i.e. Hysteria, potions, etc. Heart Strikes from DRW also are affected by its diseases, and the diseases will stay even after DRW has expired. For this reason it is proper to cast DRW before refreshing your diseases. Note: your heart strikes do not benefit from your DRW's diseases, and vise-versa.
In 3.3 DRW now currently acts as a debuff on your target. This puts us a little bit more at the mercy of Blizzard's pet AI, unfortunately. In its current form the DRW is making its way behind your target, so parry's should still be minimized.
Your DRW checklist looks something like this, in order of importance (and yes, I finally added "Heroism" for all the Alliance out there, ugh).
- On use trinkets / Trinket Procs
- Empowered Rune Weapon
- Potion of Speed
Hitting all of those criteria will maximize your DRWs DPS, very important to maximizing your own DPS.
Obviously you can't always meet every criteria, as some are out of your control. You always want to wait for Hysteria if you think the fight will last long enough to do so, and you especially have to make sure your diseases are up and death runes are ready. If you have on use trinkets, you want to be sure to use them before popping DRW as well. Rarely will you be able to use Empowered Rune Weapon twice in one fight.
I'm not a huge fan of waiting on trinket procs, like Greatness or Grim Toll/Mjolnir. I tend to take the approach that if they are up, awesome but if they are not I don't wait for them. If you "feel" like you are due for a proc, it might be worth waiting 1 or 2 CGDs, but I don't know that I would go much beyond that. This is especially true due to the fact that often times your DRW is part of a coordinated burst, like XT heart phase, and you dont want to be lagging behind waiting for a proc.
That being said, if it is a long fairly straighforward fight like Ignis with no real burst phase requirement, I would probably wait to try to maximize my DPS.
It should also be noted that we most often have a lot of procs lining up at the beginning of a fight. If you want to use DRW at the start of a fight, it should always be used after your first full rotation, otherwise you will clip your original diseases losing out on DPS.
The priority structure to Frost DPS is significantly more complicated than Blood. Apart from adjusting your rotation for missed strikes things flow quite smoothly. The biggest thing you will be watching for will be not Heart Striking right after your diseases have fallen off.
= Unholy Presence v Blood Presence=
Fortunately for Blood DKs this is an easy question. We hit hard, we use Blood Presence. Blood has a nice tight rotation, and if you are in UH Presence you will spend a considerable amount of time waiting for something to do.
As with so many things, there are occasions when you may find running in UH presence to be useful, but overall our best DPS presence is blood.
= Taking Advantage of AMS=
The best use of AMS is to either generate a lot of RP in order to DRW, or to allow for a 2nd Death Coil in the middle of your rotation. HS will always hit harder than death coil, so do not stand around casting DC because you feel bad about wasting RP.
This section is incomplete, I'll be working on adding these parts in.
= Rune Striking?=
I wasn't really a convert to Rune Striking until after a little spell of tanking with my DK, and begin using the Rune Strike macros with my Death Strikes and Heart Strikes. The majority of fights the issue will never come up, as you dont find yourself dodging or parrying very often, but on the occasions where you can, Rune Strike is a DPS increase. Once you have your first big Rune Strike crit for 20k+ at the cost of 20 RP, you'll be glad you did.
Following is a log from Marrogar, showing just how good Rune Strike can be in situations where you can use it.
World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis
The following are the macros used for Death Strike and Heart Strike. If Rune Strike becomes available it will cast that, otherwise it will be business as usual:
#showtooltip Death Strike
/cast Death Strike;
/cast !Rune Strike;
#showtooltip Heart Strike
/cast Heart Strike;
/cast !Rune Strike;
= Gearing and Stat Weights=
One thing I've found while keeping this thread is posting Stat Weights really isn't a good idea. Before reading on know this, the stat weights listed below are not perfect stat weights for your character. To really get a good idea of what stat weights are for you, you need to run your own sims and do your own research based on your particular gearset. With that disclaimer, we'll move on.
The two most important stats for Blood DKs are Strength and Armor Penetration. The general rule of thumb while gearing up is ALWAYS gem for STR, except to meet Meta gem requirements.
The following are stat weights as of 3.3 which I currently use, based upon my current gear set.
Non hit caped ( Pawn: v1: "DK Sim": ArmorPenetration=3.1, HitRating=6.4, CritRating=1.78, Dps=8.28, Strength=2.67, Armor=0.028, Agility=1.31, HasteRating=1.25, Speed=419.35, ExpertiseRating=5.27, Ap=1, GemQualityLevel=82 )
hit caped ( Pawn: v1: "DK Sim": ArmorPenetration=3.1, HitRating=0.35, CritRating=1.78, Dps=8.28, Strength=2.67, Armor=0.028, Agility=1.31, HasteRating=1.25, Speed=419.35, ExpertiseRating=5.27, Ap=1, GemQualityLevel=82 )
Why are Hit and Expertise simming so high? The blood rotation has no free GCDs, so every miss sets you back and hurts your DPS. You really want these stats to be capped.
The melee hit cap is 8% or ~262 Hit rating, a figure that seems easy to hit as you're gearing up, in fact you will typically be well over it. Once you get deep into ICC gear you w ill find a lack of hit gear, especially as you make your move towards ArP stacking. This will require things like gemming for hit, as well as using the hit enchant on your gloves.
The soft expertise cap is a little more tricky as there are so many variable that go into it. It is a little more straightforward now that the 5 expertise on Blood Gorged was converted to 10% ArP. You want to be aiming for 26 Expertise (note "26 Expertise" not "26 Expertise Rating"). Orcs rejoice for our Racial, reminding us once again why Orcs are the best race for DKs!
Gear Lists will also be uploaded once the approximate weightings have been sorted out. For now, it is probably best to refer to the http://elitistjerks....ing_bis_thread/.
These are the relative weights of the set bonuses for Blood DKs
Blood set bonus weights:
EP 2T9 | 46.59
EP 4T9 | 184.09
EP 2T10 | 263.64
EP 4T10 | 317.05
Now that Death Strike has been added to it becomes the best sigil for Blood DKs, and fortunately it is also incredibly easy to get.
is another alternative that depending on the fight can be slightly better, but due to it's ramp time and dependence on a single target encounter is generally though to be not worth making the upgrade.
= Consumables & Cooldowns=
Secondary Potion: (The gain from Bladed Armor is ~97 AP).
All cooldowns should be timed with Bloodlust (which your raidleader should be calling at the start of every fight). If for some reason you are saving Lust (Mimiron P2, for example), use cooldowns (sans potion) immedietly at the beginning of the fight and then again during Bloodlust.
Notes on : This should be used about 5s before you enter into combat on any given fight. This will result in you not being potion locked for that particular encounter and enable you to use another potion as soon as the cooldown expires. It should also be noted that the AP gains from the armor will not be calculated till your strength changes in value. This can be done via a simple weaponswap macro, cancelling and reapplying HoW or simply waiting for a FC proc.
Dancing Rune Weapon:
#showtooltip Dancing Rune Weapon /cast Dancing Rune WeaponNote this macro has changed due to the new functionality of DRW
Huge Burst Macro
#show Blood Fury /use 10 /use Potion of Speed /cast [target=player] Hysteria /cast Blood Fury /cast Dancing Rune WeaponChug a haste pot, use any trinkets (The 10 above is the glove slot for engineers), cast Hysteria on yourself, Blood Fury for us Orcs (for the Horde!), and finally summon your DRW
Mind Freeze Focus
#showtooltip Mind Freeze /cast [target=focus,exists] Mind Freeze;Mind FreezeFor pesky interrupt fights
= How come I'm not doing XXX DPS?=
There are a great many sites out there now where you can see logs from thousands of different players. This is good, and in a way also bad. Going out to WorldOfLogs, and looking up the top Blood DK for a fight, is probably not a good way to yardstick your DPS. The reason being, it is really easy to artificially inflate your DPS outside what is reasonable to be expected from a Blood DK for the sole reason of "Seeing your name in lights". If you wonder why someone did 6k more DPS then you did on a fight, be sure to read the logs carefully, and check out their gear. If someone is significantly better geared than you, and has 3 or 4 nice rogues willing to chain Tricks for them, it will lead to a large disparity.
= Useful Addons=
There are a lot of great addons for DKs. Here of some of those I have found to be most useful:
PowerAuras Classic / TellMeWhen: Knowing when your trinkets are procced is extremely useful for maximizing your DPS, both these Addons provide a way to alert yourself to import skill/item procs
Bartender: You will have lots of hotkeys, Bartender is a great bar addon with really easy keybinding functions
Magic Runes: There are a number of addons that provide much better rune management and display options then the default rune system Blizzard provides.
NeedToKnow: You should have a convenient way to track your diseases, and this is a great, and very customizable addon for doing so.
Pawn: This addon allows you to compare gear and enter your own ratings, such as the Stat Weights provided above, and gives you a total value for each item. Very useful is determining which items are upgrades for you very quickly.
If you are looking to make gold, I don't care, this isn't the section for you. If you have lots of gold to spend, and want to maximize the effectiveness of your DK, it's going to be expensive.
Jewelcrafting went through a fairly significant change in 3.2. The goal was to bring it back in line with the other professions. The most significant change was to the s. Our best gems are now and depending on your current gearing. These are no longer prismatic, so we lose the ability to easily cover our Meta Gem requirements.
Compared to the non-JC versions of and , you will be gaining a total of 42 strength through JC.
Blacksmithing is expensive to level, but the benefits are worth it in the end. The two free sockets you get, gloves and bracers, allow the use of two more +20 STR/ArP gems, for a total benefit of 40 Strength/ArP. This is close to the benefit you see from J/C'ing and while expensive, the Combo of Blacksmithing and Jewelcrafting is the best 2 professions you can select.
I'll set aside engineering b/c some people just like it, and I can't hold that against them. The only real advantage engineers get are the Hand Mounted Pyro Rockets and Hyperspeed Accellerators. Both of these are solid glove bonuses, and if engineering got anything else, could make it a competitive choice, popping speed pots, bloodlust, and the Hyperspeed Accellerators is a blast.
I've recently heard rumblings of more changes to come for engineers to make the profession more competitive for a PvE selection, but nothing finalized yet to my knowledge.
Everything else is just a huge drop from those already mentioned:
Enchanting: 2 ring enchants at 40 AP a pop, a total of 80 AP
Leatherworking: 130 AP to bracers, note that you CANNOT stack this with the 50 AP bracer enchant, so the net gain here is 80 AP.
Inscription: 120 AP 15 crit shoulder enchant, a gain of 80 AP.
Tailoring: Cloak enchant, Swordguard Embroidery, grants 400 AP for 15 seconds. The difference here is ~100 AP vs 23 Haste which comes out to an APE gain of roughly 65 based on a 3.1 Haste value of 1.5. In order for this to surpass other professions, the APE of Haste would have to dip to ~.87. I am unaware of any intensive testing that has been done with this, but if you really love timing procs you would have great results laying this on top of greatness, fallen crusader, and your favorite ArP trinket procs.
Alchemy: Increased potion effectiveness and duration, havent crunched the numbers to see how much this adds, but I've never heard it come up as a serious contender. Haven't personally been able to verify yet, but I assume in 3.2 this will give you an extra 80 AP.
Skinning: 40 crit rating, ugh
Mining: 60 stamina, bleh
Herbalism: Self heal, whee
= THE Hot Topic: Strength vs. Armor Penetration =
Should I be gemming for Str or ArP? This is the most asked question in our world today, and the answer is unique for everyone, and will take a little work on your part! I'm going to walk through how I answered this question for myself, and also for a fellow DK. This was essentially the character I was presented with: character planner . arptest - chardev.org - This gear set is fairly typical of people wanting to switch to ArP, 2 plus pieces of T10, Shadow's Edge, a few upgrades but still with a few holes in the gear set.
The first step is to download Kahorie's Sim. If you aren't going to put enough time in to do your own sims, its basically a guessing game, you can look at these two scenarios and gauge which char you are closer to.
I ran the current gear through the sim to calculate current EP with the following results:
EP Strength | 2.87 EP ArmorPenetrationRating | 2.94Seems like we are good to go right? Mmm not quite. Now you have to also consider the fact that regemming from Str to Arp will cost you a lot of Str. Essentially how I look at this situation is that you wont notice any large increase in dps from making this switch, and do you want to move forward regemming gear that you should be replacing soon? My advice was to wait until he could fill his serious holes and try to pick up his and maybe the crated legs. Resimming with these upgrades gave results closer to this:
EP Strength | 2.89 EP ArmorPenetrationRating | 3.16I'd consider this character to be pretty close to the break even point, he could probably switch and not really notice a significant DPS loss or gain. If you're gear is better you're getting close to an optimal point to make the switch, if your gear is worse, you definitely aren't ready to switch.
To give you an idea, when I performed the sim for myself after getting my my results looked something like this
EP Strength | 2.84 EP ArmorPenetrationRating | 3.57So I made the switch over to gemming as much ArP as possible while maintaining the Hit and Expertise caps, and needless to say, I was pleased with the results: (taken from 10m Festergut)
: 05.29.09 Thread Launched
: 05.30.09 Clarified DS first rotation usage, added some stat weight info, added DRW Section
: 06.01.09 Minor edits, added Proffesions section
: 06.01.09 Added set bonuses
: 08.06.09 Began 3.2 Updates - profession bonuses
: 01.10.10 3.2 Update
: 02.23.10 ArP and Stat Weight updates