[DK Unholy PvE] Improving DPS

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[DK Unholy PvE] Improving DPS

Postby Gracerath » Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:34 am

Since my raid had an abundance of tanks and paladins, I swapped to my DK. Over the past 2 months, I've acquired a good chunk of my BiS items (at least according to the EJ Unholy Discussion or maxdps.com, I can't really tell which is "right" so I've been deferring to EJ).

Sadly I can't link my armory yet while at work but if anyone cares to look, its Sordtwo from Elune.

I know I can improve a few enchants. Or possibly anyway. And I got my Nobles deck ready to replace my JC trinket as soon as the faire is around again.

My main question I guess is about expertise. Should I be aiming for the soft cap to remove dodges, by gemming/enchanting for it (which is what I'm currently doing, if it turns out that the expertise cap is important, I can throw in another dragon eye expertise gem)? Or is it going to be better dps to use Str/AP enchants, similar to a ret paladin and just take expertise as it comes? Something I notice that really kills my rotation is missing a blood strike (I believe I'm hit capped and beyond so its probably a dodge or its a mobile fight like Grobbulus and he's moved out of range so he's out of range when I thought it connected). It gets converted into a death rune assuming it lands and if I miss one and don't notice, I continue on with my normal rotation and when it comes time to spam scourge strikes, woops thats a death rune and a blood rune >< No SS there, loss of dps. When I first started raiding and had very little expertise, it seemed like I missed (got dodged) a lot. It *feels* like expertise is doing a good thing but it could be I'm over valuing it for this class/spec.

I guess one way of improving my dps would be by simply paying more attention to my blood strikes :P Another would to actually use my cooldowns more often. I don't think I've ever used the ability that gives me some runic power and refreshes all my runes, on a 5 min CD. ><

I do the typical PS > IT > BSx2 > SS > UB > SSx3 > DCx2. During the next repeat of the rotation, if my SS glyph has refreshed my DoTs, I try to sneak in an extra SS instead of the PS > IT portion. Sometimes the RNG is on my side and I can just SS all the live long day. Sometimes after the BSx2, I have to PS > IT to get the dots up there again instead of the SS. Is that the right way to go about it?

For the typical benchmark, Patchwerk 25, I think I do around 3.8-4k DPS and to me that seems low, like I should be doing more considering the gear I have. I can kill on trash. :roll: Gogo Death and Decay, Unholy blight and wandering plague.

Thanks for your time :)
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Re: [DK Unholy PvE] Improving DPS

Postby Splug » Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:17 pm

It sounds like you're on the right track. For exactly the reason you've pointed out, expertise and hit are important stats for death knights in any spec. Last I saw, strength came close but the problems presented by missing attacks outweigh it for throughput damage. The only things you didn't highlight were pet usage, which is a major element of the unholy tree, and whether there are other unholy death knights in your raid. Currently, there is a bug that prevents multiple unholy death knights from benefitting from the third disease element of ebon plaguebringer, and it results in a noticable damage loss. So if you're running several death knights, it's worth ensuring that only one of you is unholy - or at least taking that into account when you review your performance.

As for pets: I assume you're keeping track of ol' Grubgobbler. The ghoul is a large source of damage, and while it's not too difficult to keep him alive with even one point in night of the dead, make sure to resummon and get him buffed if he gets offed (again). The other things to watch for are getting your gargoyle up (especially for single-target bosses) and remembering to use Army of the Dead where applicable. I've heard that gargoyles lock their strength/ap values in based on your values at the time of summoning. To get the most out of him, make sure to spawn it when fallen crusader, greatness, or some other major temporary buff is active. Then be careful not to choke out your RP and let him die early!

Army of the Dead is a major damage boost; usually, it's worth about 600 dps averaged over a 2.5-3 minute Patchwerk attempt. I usually use it in conjunction with empower rune weapon, to resume a normal rotation (rather than having to fight to piece together the odd rune leftovers after casting). Army ghouls will randomly taunt non-boss (skull) mobs in an encounter, so use it with caution. However, in encounters that only include a single boss and no adds (such as Patchwerk), it's completely safe to cast even during the pull; their individual threat generation is very slow.

I hope that helps a bit; I didn't look over your armory unfortunately, but from your questions it sounds like you have a fairly good handle on the class. Those are just a couple minor points that often go overlooked, and can eek out a few extra points of damage.

-Splug
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Re: [DK Unholy PvE] Improving DPS

Postby fafhrd » Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:23 pm

Hopefully Splug can expand on this, but for what it's worth, if you're using army of the dead and possibly other pets, make sure that the DPS meter you're looking at is correctly attributing their damage to you - Recount often won't for anyone other than the DK in question (i.e. his own recount will show the pet damage, other people's synched recounts won't), and WWS at least up to a few weeks ago wasn't attributing the damage either (wasn't attributing warlock doomguard damage either), but WowMeterOnline was.

I hear this is because the combat log events generated for army are screwy, so it's not really recount/wws's fault - WMO is suspected to do some estimation to assign the damage to players. This is going to be fixed in 3.1
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Re: [DK Unholy PvE] Improving DPS

Postby Gracerath » Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:25 pm

Thank you for the replies, I appreciate the reassurance :)

Luckily I am the only Unholy DK in our raid. One time I did a pug VoA with 3 other unholy DK's and I did less dps with my Betrayer of Humanity than I did in the past with my Titansteel Destroyer simply because I could never get ebon plague up.

I'm pretty good at keeping Dirtslobber alive. The only time he really bites it is during Sapphiron. I'm really surprised at how often he survives the entire fight though. Night of the Dead is an amazing talent. When I first specced into Unholy, I didn't take it. *cough* Noob *cough* What a difference it makes!

I do need to use Army of the Dead more often. I am pretty good at the single target / no adds fights for using it. Otherwise I get kinda paranoid that they'll taunt an add or die to AE so fast that they aren't worth summoning. Would be nice if NotD worked on them as well :)

For the gargoyle, is it safe to use any runic dumps while its up or is it better to just spam your rotation for the duration he's up? Sometimes I'm tempted to use a DC or refresh UB if I have a good chunk of RP that wont kill off the gargoyle during the next tick if I use some. I guess its just a timing issue with me for the most part. I need to find a mod that tracks how long his duration is so I can watch when its ok to start up my runic dumps again. Usually I try to watch my combat text and see when his shadow bolts stop hitting.

Speaking of mods, are there any you recommend for keeping track of runes/diseases? I use Rune Watch(er?) and it helps a little but for some reason, I end up watching the rune cooldown on my health bar instead of the mod (using ag_UnitFrames).

I think I'll just bite the bullet and put in my last dragon eye as an expertise gem and that should cap me, or damn close.

And good point about the parses. A lot of the time my recount shows me a spot or two higher than what it shows on the wws but usually its been pretty close. I'll take that into consideration when checking my numbers over in the future.

Thanks again for your replies here. Its often hard to slog through the giant discussion threads on EJ and while they do good to cover the main points in the first post, there are other tips and tricks that are brought up that can be difficult to find otherwise. =) Plus, work blocks it. /sigh
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Re: [DK Unholy PvE] Improving DPS

Postby Levantine » Sat Mar 28, 2009 2:28 am

Personally I use MagicRunes, I've been unable to find another addon that configures the runes even close to how I want them. In regards to the Gargoyal, it's definately possible to weave in a DC or UB if you're smart about when you do so, just make sure you have enough RP to last afterward until you can generate more.
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Re: [DK Unholy PvE] Improving DPS

Postby Splug » Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:15 am

Xperl unit frames have an option to use "big debuffs," and it makes the icon for effects you 'own' on the target twice as large. So I just use that to track disease duration. For watching the gargoyle, you should have a buff called "summon gargoyle" that fades when it has 30 seconds remaining. It's odd, but it gets the thing down to the intended duration.

The pet damage issue is still around, and in fact the poor tracking of pet damage was the reason my guild has shifted from WWS to WMO. Though it was amusing to occasionally be the guy that got credit for everyone's gargoyle, army, and ghoul pet combined.

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Re: [DK Unholy PvE] Improving DPS

Postby Gracerath » Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:32 am

Posting about DK's on a Hello Kitty theme just feels ... wrong. :shock:

After lots of searching of EJ, I couldn't find the answer so I was hoping one of you would know. They say the 4 set bonus is good, but I can't figure out how to make use of it. It gives you more runic power on your obliterates/scourge strikes. My question is how does your rotation change by having the 4 set bonus? Do you squeak in another DC somewhere? During the portion where you refresh your UB? (For Unholy obviously). In the part of the typical rotation where you use 3 scourge strikes in a row, I usually have 90-100 RP by the time I hit my 3rd SS. Or should I weave a DC in between those? Otherwise it seems like the extra RP would be wasted.

4 scourge strikes in a full rotation is 40 extra RP, is an extra DC. That is a good thing for sure. Just need to figure out when to use it :P
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Re: [DK Unholy PvE] Improving DPS

Postby Rehlachs » Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:19 am

Gracerath wrote:4 scourge strikes in a full rotation is 40 extra RP, is an extra DC. That is a good thing for sure. Just need to figure out when to use it :P


What's your rotation? You should have enough time to weave your DCs in between your OBs because of your rune cooldowns.

The 4set-bonus allows you to generate enough rune power to cast 1-2 adiitional DC on each full cycle.

On another note: your choice of gems and enchants is giving me nightmares.
Last edited by Rehlachs on Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [DK Unholy PvE] Improving DPS

Postby Levantine » Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:22 am

The T7 DPS 4-Piece is amazing for Frost builds (which work through spamming Frost Strike as much as humanly possible), not really sure about Unholy personally, but you seem to have the idea behind it.

Also, NEVEREVEREVEREVER let your RP cap while DPSing. If you have to delay a SS to stay under 100, then that's what you do. (Unless you're at the point where you're GCD capped, I'm not sure if that happens with any 2H builds except Blood who are almost permanently RP capped because of it)

If you use your RP before it's capped, and adjust your rotations accordingly, I assure you you're DPS will go up noticeably.
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Re: [DK Unholy PvE] Improving DPS

Postby Gracerath » Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:32 am

@ Rehlachs: Well, I did ask for advice on gems/enchants in the OP. What do you suggest other than saying they give nightmares? Now that I think about it, I have an old str/stam gem for my meta and I don't need that because I have prismatics. Totally forgot til you mentioned something so I'll fix that. I also asked about the enchants for expertise and nothing bad was said. I thought expertise was a good thing up to the dodge cap? Is going straight AP/STR better for gemming/enchanting then? As far as gems, I believe I have one expertise prismatic, 2x STR prismatics, all other bold living rubies and one temp green quality gem I used for meta that I forgot about changing when I got my JC high enough for prismatics. I'll get the better stats to chest enchant sooner or later, every little bit counts, just flew under my radar.

My rotation is the one I posted. I usually don't let my RP get wasted. (well, not perfect at it quite yet but I do ok). By the end of the 3x SS phase is when my RP hits 90-100ish and then I do the two death coils. The 3rd SS usually wouldn't put me over 100 so there isn't much runic power being wasted if at all. But that is something to consider and I'll be more mindful towards as I'm doing my thing, so thanks for that reminder.

Gotta remember, I've been a tankadin for the past 2 years. The finer arts of DPSing/gearing to DPS are still a bit new to me :P

Thanks for your help :)
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Re: [DK Unholy PvE] Improving DPS

Postby Rehlachs » Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:08 am

Gracerath wrote:Thanks for your help :)


np

Your placement of your dragonseyes is terrible, honestly.
- A prismatic gem in generic socket of your belt is NOT the way to go, in fact it doesn't make any sense. I hope this doesn't need any further explanations ;)
- the dragonseyes in your JC trinket give you a way inferior bonus than the boni you would receive by putting these prismatic sockets in your helmet and your shoulders.

According to the EJ discussion about unholy 2h dps, Strength is the way to go, even if you not exp/hit capped. The same should apply for AP enchants on gloves/wrists being superior to the exp enchants. You are overcapped for melee hit, so you could consider replacing your Icewalker enchant.

You are using this rotation: PS > IT > BSx2 > SS > UB > SSx3 > DCx2
Between the second and third SS should be a free gcd, because you need both Death Runes (from BSx2) to be active again. You could squeeze one of your DCs in there, so you shouldn't face any problems with wasting RP.
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Re: [DK Unholy PvE] Improving DPS

Postby Gracerath » Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:24 am

Thank you again. Figures the obvious eludes me :P The JC trinket was early and they seemed the best spot to put them at the time (and it will be replaced by the Darkmoon Card next week anyway) and the prismatic in the belt is stupidity on my part, so no, no explaination needed. I'll be moving stuff around then! I can easily ditch the expertise enchants. I was helping my friend level their enchanting anyway and they were easy to come by for their skill level.

I actually picked up the T7 legs which is going to make me lose on 80 hit rating, but I'll be buying the badge boots and Icewalker and I believe that should get me back close to the hit cap again and we have lots of draenei so I should be good.

Shit, I guess a lot of my issues were just laziness =(
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Re: [DK Unholy PvE] Improving DPS

Postby Splug » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:48 am

As already mentioned, there will be an additional GCD available any time you're combining a two-single-rune skill into a scourge strike. For example, if your glyph triggers you'll get to throw a scourge strike in place of the IT->PS chain, meaning the first gcd is now open. The same is true for the death runes from blood strike.

While I'm sure EJ has sat down and mapped out exactly what will happen in a completely stationary encounter where nothing unexpected happens, no rotational changes are needed, absolutely full raid utility is available, and no encounter-specific buffs or debuffs are applied to alter the status quo, a perfect player with 0 ms latency and perfect expected-RNG values (on dates divisible by three), I'm sticking with my "try to cap expertise and hit because having your rotation get warped sucks" mentality. There's a propagated disruption caused by subsequent missed attacks for death knights, and while I don't doubt that it's included in some model somewhere, I question how realistic it is to apply on the fly with perfect accuracy. There's already a randomness element presented in the scourge strike glyph, why compound the problem by risking desynchronizing rune pairs because a blood strike or plague strike missed? You can follow the average perfect case and know what the numbers point to there, and that's a great resource to draw some relative values from, but it's only a resource, not the be-all-end-all edict.

That said, the +ap bracer/glove enchants are usually higher item value than the respective +expertise enchants if I remember correctly, as are the boots if you're over the hit cap. You'd be better off pulling it from prismatic gems rather than those enchants, simply by right of wasted stat points.

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Re: [DK Unholy PvE] Improving DPS

Postby Panzerdin » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:07 am

In the case of DK rotations, I agree entirely with Splug. It's too random without those stats capped, and that can adversely affect DPS.
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