Archive

Gearing Up the Death Knight

Updated Wed, Feb 18, 2009 by Messiah



Demise
Binds when picked up
Two-Hand Mace
522 - 785 Damage, Speed 3.50
(186.6 DPS)
+90 Strength
+103 Stamina
+85 Attack Power
Requires Level 80
Improves haste rating by 89
Improves hit rating by 45
Gear for any class is a critical component of your character. For a Death Knight it is even more so.  After all a Death Knight is the class that is most likely to use the old Dirty Harry saying “Do ya feel lucky, punk?” Death Knights are not there to make friends, they are there to kill and intimidate, preferably in that order. The bigger and more impressive the gear is, the better.

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.

DPS Gear

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. 

Tanking Gear

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.

PvP Gear

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.

Trinket Choice

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).

Weapon Choice

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
55-64
  • Keep your starting gear.
  • Keep your starting gear.
65-74
  • Replace with green and blue quality items that you gain from questing and drops that have high Strength, Hit, and Critical Hit.
  • Acquire the Spiked Cobalt armor set from a Blacksmith or the Auction house.
  • Replace with green and blue quality items that you gain from questing and drops that have high Stamina and Defense.
  • Acquire the crafted Cobalt armor set from a Blacksmith or the Auction house.
75-79
  • Collect blue quality items from quest rewards and instances that have high Strength, Hit, and Critical Hit.
  • Acquire the spiked saronite armor set from a Blacksmith or the Auction house.
  • Collect blue quality items from quest rewards and instances that have high Stamina and Defense.
  • Acquire the tempered saronite armor set from a Blacksmith or the Auction house.
80
  • Collect DPS specific blue and purple quality gear from level 80 instances or raids.
  • Acquire the Spiked Titansteel armor pieces from a Blacksmith or the Auction house.
  • Collect reputation based DPS items from the various factions in Northrend. Your priorities should be Knights of the Ebon Blade, Argent Crusade, and the Sons of Hodir.
  • Collect Heroic or Valorous badges from Heroic Instances or Raids to purchase items.
  • Collect tanking specific blue and purple quality gear from level 80 instances or raids.
  • Acquire the Daunting, and Tempered Titansteel armor pieces from a Blacksmith or the Auction house.
  • Collect reputation based tanking items from the various factions in Northrend. Your priorities should be Wyrmrest Accord, Argent Crusade, and the Sons of Hodir,
  • Collect Heroic or Valorous badges from Heroic Instances or Raids to purchase items.

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.

WarlockWallpaper.jpg
Five classes that would be excellent additions to World of Warcraft.
Features
Fri, Jun 20, 2014
Mem
HotSAlphaLoad.jpg
Five things players should expect during the Alpha test of Warlords of Draenor.
Features
Fri, Jun 13, 2014
Mem
GG_25_02

I really don't understand racism in the real world. People are what people are, regardless of skin pigmentation or where their ancestors came from. There's really only one real-world race - the Human Race - and I loathe everyone equally.

Opinions
Mon, Jun 09, 2014
gunky
GarrisonTownHall.jpg
A basic guide to Garrisons in Warlords of Draenor.
Basics, Features, Guides
Fri, Jun 06, 2014
Mem

News from around the 'Net