Gearing Up the Death Knight
Demise Binds when picked up Two-Hand Mace 522 - 785 Damage, Speed 3.50 (186.6 DPS) +90...
Therefore much of your time in the World of Warcraft is spent looking for, collecting, making, buying, questing, or raiding for gear. Just when you get a good piece of gear, you will either level past its usefulness or find a better piece of gear to aim for. Gear and gear progression is what ends up keeping most players in the game long past reaching the level cap.
For gearing up, Death Knights are different from the other classes due to the fact that they start at level 55 upon character creation. In addition, they start the game fully equipped with green quality gear. Better yet, by completing their starting zone quests, they earn an even better set of rare (blue) gear. This second set of gear lasts well into a Death Knight’s leveling. As a result there is very little that you will end up replacing for the first 5-10 levels as a Death Knight. What do you want to look for in gear once you do get past the first hand full of levels? Let’s take a look.
Gear and its stats that are important for a Death Knight really rely on what talent spec you are using. Are you specced to tank and absorb damage and generate threat or are you trying to become the next destroyer of worlds, demolishing everything around you? The Death Knight class does both well, but only if you are geared for it, so let’s look at each separately.
Tanking not your thing? No problem, Death Knights kick out enough DPS to make almost any other class quake in their boots. The stats that you require to do damage are vastly different than what you need to tank. This means a whole different set of gear. The most important stats on your damage gear are Hit, Strength, Attack Power, Critical Hit, and Expertise.
While you should be looking primarily at plate gear as a Death Knight, be open to mail armour if it has significant stat upgrades from your current plate gear. The goal as a DPS Death Knight is to cause enough damage to kill your opponent first. While it’s nice to be able to take a few hits, if you get a big enough damage output increase it's worth sacrificing some survivability for it.
As a Death Knight tank, your goal is to piss everything off around you enough that they focus on you, and not your allies. To do this, you need to cause enough damage, and be able to absorb or avoid enough of the incoming attacks while staying alive. The most important stats on gear while tanking are Stamina, Strength, Defense, Expertise, Dodge, Parry, and Armour value.
As a Death Knight tank you do not use a shield, so your health, avoidance (Dodge and Parry), and mitigation (damage reduction due to armour value) are all critically important. Therefore staying in plate armour is really your only choice, so never choose any other armour over plate no matter what the stats.
In PvP, combat is about two things: burst damage output and survivability. Most Death Knights will enter PvP combat focusing on burst damage. This means that your gear will need to focus on Strength and Critical Hit. However, since you need to survive as well you should focus on Stamina and Resilience.
Finding the right balance is a tricky affair in PvP as the two sets of stats are on opposite ends of the spectrum. As you gear up for survivability your burst damage capability goes down; as you gear for more damage output your survivability goes down. Finding the balance will take time and depend on your situation and play style.
As a Death Knight your choice of trinket again depends on your talent build. For DPS builds you should get trinkets that add Strength or Attack Power. These stats will up your damage output the most. For Tanking builds, the trinket slot is a great place to pick up some extra stamina, defense or avoidance (dodge or parry).
Death Knights can choose to use many different weapons. These range from one and two handed swords, maces, and axes, and polearms. A Death Knight, even when tanking, is looking for the biggest, meanest beat stick around. This means picking up the hardest hitting two handed weapon around.
While it is possible for a Death Knight to dual-wield single handed weapons, it is not their forte and should really be avoided. After all, if you wanted to dual-wield, you should have rolled a Warrior, Rogue, or Shaman.
With weapons, the most critical stats are the damage and speed. Obviously the other stat bonuses come into play on a weapon, but they are secondary considerations. The priority on weapons goes first to the base damage they cause. This means that slow weapons are better since they cause more damage per hit. Secondly, you want to look for a weapon with Strength or Attack Power, and only after that, Hit or Critical Hit rating.
Death Knights tank using two-handed weapons and all the same choices apply to choosing a weapon with which to tank. However, stamina becomes a high priority on the list of stats you are looking for when you are gearing to be a tank.
Where and What to Collect for Gear as you Level
There are some pretty easy ways to get and collect gear as you level. This is much simpler than other classes since you have far fewer levels to worry about. Also, you really do not need to worry about gear for about the first 10 levels.
|Level||DPS Builds||Tanking Builds|
What the Stats Provide
The stats below provide benefits to your character, but what are they? Depending on the exact spec you are using, they will affect you slightly differently, but here are the basics.
Strength – Strength adds to your attack power, increasing your damage output.
Attack Power – Increases your damage output.
Stamina – Increases your health.
Hit – Lowers your chance of missing an enemy.
Critical Hit – Increases your chance of scoring a critical hit on your opponent.
Expertise – Lowers the chance your opponent will dodge or parry your attacks.
Defense – Reduces the chance you will be hit or critically hit in combat.
Dodge – Increases the chance you will dodge an attack, completely ignoring the incoming damage.
Parry – Increases the chance you will parry an attack, completely ignoring the incoming damage and gain a speed increase on your next attack.