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Getting Ready to Raid - Death Knight

Updated Sat, Apr 04, 2009 by Messiah


Raiding is something that almost all players want to do.  Blizzard has realized this and over time has made raiding much easier to get into than it was when the World of Warcraft originally launched.  In fact raiding has become so much easier that a huge percentage of players now raid successfully, to the point that on many servers PUGing for raids is actually very successful.

While raiding is much easier than before, there is still a pretty steep entry curve for those that have not done it before.  That's where this guide aims to help.  If you are new to raiding or just want to get into raiding this guide will walk you through all the basic requirements to enter into raiding in Northrend as a Death Knight.

Stats

While I would like to tell you that there are hard and fast rules for what you need stat wise to raid, there really are not.  A lot of what is required is based on the group you will be raiding with and the raid size.  If you are going into a raid with many well geared players then your required stats can be a little lower.  If it is a brand new raid group with little experience then you will probably need higher than average stats.  Raid size also plays into it a great deal.  While the best loot comes from 25 man raids, it is also much easier to get a spot in under geared.  In 25 man raids there are more players, so it is easier to take a few lesser geared players in.  In 10 man raids, there are far fewer players available to take up the slack, and your gear generally needs to be better. 

Lastly, but not least of all player skill can be a major factor.  A skilled player can take the same gear on a character and turn out 2,000 dps when another less skilled player would only turn out only 1,000 dps.  Don't let your ego get in your way. Be honest about your skill, and factor it in when looking at the stats you should be aiming for.

Based on the above comments, take these recommendations as a base guideline and not absolute gospel. For a tank you should be looking at 540 defence (this is the one non-negotiable stat here), 21,000 health and armour, and over 30% dodge and parry combined.  For damage dealing Death Knights you should be looking at hit as your primary stat before entering a raid.  For hit rating you need 290 hit to be hit capped if you have Virulence or 370 if you do not.  Other than hit you should be stacking strength for its attack power bonus and critical hit.  The exact numbers here are different depending on your exact spec, but anything over 2500 attack power and 22% crit will be a good starting point.

Consumables

One of the most overlooked items that a player new to raids forgets is not even an item, but rather consumables.  Most players that level and have not raided before do not realize how important consumables are to raiding.  The simple fact though is that proper raid consumables can easily make the same difference as replacing 2-3 rare items with epic items.  Would any player voluntarily down grade 2 or 3 epic pieces to heroic level blues?  No, I didn't think so.  However this is what many players are voluntarily doing by not taking consumables to a raid.

So what are the consumables that a Death Knight should take to a raid?  As with all other items and gear that depends on what you are doing, either DPS or tanking.

 

Tank

DPS

Flask

Flask of Stoneskin

Flask of Endless Rage

Elixir

Elixir of Protection
Elixir of Major Defense

Elixir of Mighty Strength (Best DPS increase)
Wrath Elixir
Elixir of Accuracy (If not Hit Capped)

Food

 

Dragonfin Filet
Fish Feast
Poached Northern Sculpin

Potions

Runic Health Potions

Runic Health Potions

Scrolls

Stamina (if no priest in group)

N/A

Bandages

N/A

Heavy Frostweave Bandages

Gems

Gems are something that confuse many players.  Many either do not realize the importance of a gem socket and the penalty they are accepting by not filling it.  Many more do not even realize that they do not have to put gems in a socket that match the colour of the socket.  That's right, there is no requirement to match the gem to the colour of the socket!  In fact, in most cases you do not want to.  There are only two reasons to match gem and socket colour.  The first is when the socket bonus warrants it, or is the colour you most want anyway.  The second is when you need to have a few certain colour gems to activate a meta gem in your helm, then it pays to earn some secondary bonus if you can.

So, knowing that you do not have to match colour, what gems should you be using?  That's a fairly easy answer. If you are DPS you should be using yellow +hit gems until you are hit capped, once you are you should start replacing them with red strength gems (Bold Scarlet Ruby) in every possible socket.  If you are a tank then you should be using yellow defence gems (Thick Autumn's Glow) until you are defence capped and after that blue stamina gems (Solid Sky Sapphire).

For a helmet meta socket as DPS you want to get a Chaotic Skyflare Diamond, and for tanking you want an Austere Earthsiege Diamond.

Enchants

Enchants are added to your gear to improve it's efficiency and much like gems what is best depends on a few factors.  First, as always your build, and second your current requirement. 

For DPS builds when first getting ready to raid, usually +hit rating is your most pressing concern, so any enchant that adds +hit is your number one priority.  After than strength and attack power take over, with a preference on strength.

For Tanking builds your first priority is +defence to get to the defence cap of 540.  Once there your priority shifts to stacking as much health through stamina enchants as possible.  Later on you will be looking for avoidance, but pre-raid you really want to be un-crittable and have as much health as possible.

Gear

Gear plays a huge role in getting ready to raid.  Many players have heard how easy raiding is in Wrath of the Lich King and jump right in as soon as they turn 80.  Unless you are a previous raider with a lot of experience, don't listen to the rumours and don't attempt this.  While raiding is much easier than before to any experienced raider, it is still no cake walk for a new raider.  Get geared up to the minimum levels listed above. 

To reach those goals it means getting rid of all your crappy green quality items and ideally getting all blue or purple level 80 items before going into a raid.  While this sounds difficult it really isn't.  Check out the Death Knight's Guide to Northrend Reputation Items for a big head start.  From there check the auction house or your friendly guild Blacksmith for several more items.  Past that, it’s time to run several level 80 instances and even some of the easier heroics to finish up.  You do not have to run all the heroics, as a few of them are as difficult as the first few wings in Naxxramas, so just skip them and wait to start raiding.  The lower cost heroic badge rewards are great too, but again you don't need them to start raiding.

Below is a list of some great entry level raid items and where to get them from.  Please be aware that there are many other choices out there, these are simply the ones that I view as being the easiest to get to gear up for raiding.  While there are some better items for some of the slots, I do not view the effort to get them as being worth the reward.

 

Tank

DPS

Head

1. Tempered Titansteel Helm (Blacksmithing) *** Great Item***
2. Ground Tremor Helm (Moorabi in Normal Gun Drak)
3. Crusader's Resolution (Quest reward from “The Crusader's Pinnacle” in Icecrown)

1. Spiked Titansteel Helm (Blacksmithing) *** Great Item ***
2. Helm of Command (Blacksmithing)
3. Faceguard of Punishment (Quest reward for finishing Utgarde Pinnacle on normal mode)

Neck

Titanium Earthguard Chain (Jewelcrafting)
Chained Military Gorget (25 Heroic Badges)

1. Pendant of the Outcast Heroes (25 Heroic Badges)
2. Titanium Impact Choker (Jewelcrafting)
3. Necklace of the Chrono-Lord (Chrono-Lord Epoch in The Culling of Stratholme)

Shoulder

1. Pauldrons of Reconnaissance (Quest reward for finishing Halls of Stone on regular)
2. Crusader's Square Pauldrons (BOE drop in Halls of Stone Normal)

1. Spaulders of the Giant Lords (Reputation with the Sons of Hodir – Revered)
2. Spaulders of the Lightning Revenant (Ionar in Halls of Lightning on Normal)

Back

1. Durable Nerubhide Cap (Leatherworking)
2. Cloak of Peaceful Resolutions (Wyrmrest Accord Reputation – honoured)

1. Cloak of the Bloodied Waters (BOE drop in Gun Drak)
2. Embrace of Sorrow (Maiden of Grief in Halls of Stone)

Chest

1. Breastplate of the Solemn Council (Wyrmrest Accord Reputation – Revered)
2. Silver-Plated Battlechest (Quest reward for completing “Junk in my trunk” in Utgarde Pinnacle on normal)

1. Breastplate of Undeath (Novos in Drak'Tharon Keep)
2. Breastplate of Jagged Stone (Quest reward for completing Halls of Stone on regular mode)

Wrists

1. Tempered Saronite Bracers (Blacksmithing)

1. Vengeance Bindings (Blacksmithing)
2. Cast Iron Shackles (BOE drop in Violet Hold)

Hands

1. Daunting Handguards (Blacksmithing)

1. Guantlets of the Culling (Quest reward in Culling of Stratholme)
2. Fist of Loken (Loken in normal Halls of Lightning)

Waist

1. Waistguard of the Risen Knight (BOE drop in Drak'Tharon Keep)
2. Tempered Saronite Belt (Blacksmithing)

1. Flame-Bathed Steel Girdle (Keristraza in Heroic Violet Hold)
2. Verdungo's Barbarian Cord (40 heroic badges)
3. Spiked Metal Cilice (Salramm in the Culling of Stratholme)

Legs

1. Bolstered Legplates (Cyanigosa in Heroic Violet Hold)
2. Daunting Legplates (Blacksmithing)
3. Special Issue Legplates (Argent Crusade reputation - Honoured)

1. Ancient Royal Legguards (King Ymiron in normal Utgarde Pinnacle)
2. Savage Saronite Legplates (Blacksmithing)

Feet

1. Tempered Titansteel Treads (Blacksmithing)
2. Sabatons of Draconic Vigor (Wyrmrest Accord reputation - Revered)

1. Spiked Titansteel Treads (Blacksmiting)
2. Berserker's Sabatons (BOE drop in Utgarde Pinnacle)

Rings

1. Titanium Earthguard Ring (Jewelcraftering)
2. Dragonflight Great-Ring (Eregos in The Occulus on normal mode)

1. Titanium Impact Band (Jewelcrafting)
2. Signet of Bridenbrad (Quest reward in Icecrown from “Light within the darkness”)

Trinkets

1. Seal of the Pantheon (Loken in Halls of Lightning on Normal)
2. Valor Medal of the First War (40 Heroic Badges)

1. Mirror of Truth (40 heroic badges)
2. Sphere of Red Dragon's Blood (Keristrasza in Heroic Nexus)
3. First Mate's Pocketwatch (Quest reward from the Jig is up in Howling Fjord)

Two-Handed Weapon

1. Titansteel Destroyer (Blacksmith)
2. Runeblade of Demonstrable Power (Reputation)
3. Dreadlord's Blade (Mal'Ganis in The Culling of Stratholme)

Add-ons and Mods

There are some things that you should get for raiding that are not even in game.  These are game UI Mods for the game that help out significantly in raids.  The main add ons that you need as a Death Knight at a minimum are Recount, Omen, and Deadly Boss Mods. 

Recount is used to store all your combat stats and damage output.  This is very useful so that you can watch and see what you do and when.  You can look back at your combat to help trace down where you did things correctly and incorrectly and use those numbers to improve.

Omen is used to watch your threat. Even if you do not want to see it, you need it in a raid so that your tanks can see your threat and make sure they stay above it or call out for you to slow down.  It can be configured in a number of ways in game so that you can see a lot of useful information.   It is something that should not be ignored, after all if you draw threat and die, you can no longer DPS.

The last add on that is essential to raiding is Deadly Boss Mods.  This mod does so much for new raiders that it is a must have.  It announces all the key things that are going on in a fight, and warns you in advance of many of the fight elements before they occur.  While it is very possible to raid without it, when you are learning a fight, is helps beyond measure.

The last major item you need to raid successfully is some version of voice chat.  While Warcraft has a chat client built in, most players don't use it.  If you raid, you will probable end up using Ventrilo.  Get it, know it, use it.  Almost any guild you join is going to expect you to have it ready to join in to their server with, so grab it ahead of time.


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