Monday, January 9, 2012

14 Simplifying with Macros, Part 2

To compliment tip 14 - Simplifying with Macros, I'm including the macros I use for my core abilities, Death Strike, Rune Strike and Heart Strike. I'm also including my Dark Command macro used for taunting.

Each of my macros starts with #showtooltip and the name of the ability. This forces the game to display the proper icon and the proper tooltip when the mouse hovers over the ability. Otherwise, the game defaults to the first ability within the macro which is often incorrect.

Feel free to leave a comment with additional macros that you've found useful in offloading the amount of things we Blood Death Knights need to keep track of.

Death Strike

#showtooltip Death Strike
/cast Vampiric Blood
/cast Blood Fury
/cast Death Strike

My Death Strike macro opens by casting Vampiric Blood, which increases the amount of health received from healing spells and effects by 40%, which has a direct impact on the upcoming Death Strike itself - somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-7k additional healing for a T13 geared Death Knight. I've found that keeping up Vampiric Blood as much as possible reduces the burden on healers considerably.

Next, my Death Strike macro casts Blood Fury, an Orc racial ability that increases attack power by 1170. With a full load of Runic Power, Death Strike is easily one of - if not the - highest damaging abilities, so increasing the attack power for that melee strike helps the DPS output.

Finally, my Death Strike macro casts the actual Death Strike ability.

Rune Strike

#showtooltip Rune Strike
/cast Blood Fury
/cast Rune Strike

My Rune Strike macro opens by casting Blood Fury. Just like with the Death Strike macro, I want to have my racial attack power bonus activated as much as possible. I then follow it up with the actual casting of Rune Strike.

Heart Strike

/cast Blood Fury
/cast Heart Strike

My Heart Strike macro looks just like the Rune Strike macro, casting Blood Fury and following up with the actual casting of Heart Strike.

Rune Tap

#showtooltip Rune Tap
/cast Vampiric Blood
/cast Rune Tap

My Rune Tap macro steals a page from my Death Strike macro in casting Vampiric Blood for the extra 40% healing effect followed by Rune Tap, which converts one of my Blood Runes into 10% of my health, a net of almost 8k additional healing.

Dark Command

#showtooltip Dark Command
/cast Dark Command
/cast Blood Fury
/cast Rune Strike

Unlike my other macros, my Dark Command macro actually starts by casting Dark Command in order to taunt my target onto me prior to following up with a Rune Strike. The rest of the macro is patterned right off of the Rune Strike macro … cast Blood Fury followed by Rune Strike for the largest possible hit.

It's worth noting this macro is a hold over from the days when Rune Strike was intentionally designed to generate lots of threat. It's not as important any more with the current threat generation model, and you could replace the Rune Strike with a Blood Boil, Death Strike, Heart Strike or almost any other ability. The point is to get a damaging ability off of the target right after it's been taunted.

14 Simplifying with Macros, Part 1

Managing your Rune cooldowns, watching your health, timing your Death Strikes, keeping up Bone Shield and making sure your diseases don’t fall off is more than enough on the plate of a Blood Death Knight. There’s little time left to worry about anything else.

Use macros to combine your mainstay abilities like Death Strike, Rune Strike and Heart Strike with racial abilities such as Blood Fury or self-healing bonuses like Vampiric Blood. My Death Strike macro first casts Blood Fury and Vampiric Blood followed by Death Strike. The result is an increase in attack power and a 40% increase to the heal provided by my Death Strike.

I’ll post all the macros I’m using, along with a brief description of each, to my blog. (Find the macros here)

Next time, we’ll talk about diminishing returns for dodge and parry and a common misperception about keeping them close to each other when using Rune of Swordshattering.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

13 Follow Up with Rune Tap

Last time we talked about using Festering Strike to extend your diseases in case you couldn’t spec enough into Epidemic for the 29 second disease duration. Unfortunately, the Blood and Frost Rune cost of Festering Strike means you loose a Death Strike until the Frost Rune cools down.

Blood Tap converts one of your Blood Runes to a Death Rune. The Death Rune is a wildcard that can be used as a Blood, Frost or Unholy Rune. Using Blood Tap after an Outbreak and Festering Strike combination leaves you with one Death Rune, one Frost Rune and two Unholy Runes, which is enough for two Death Strikes at the expense of a Heart Strike.

Next time, we’ll talk about chaining abilities together with macros to reduce some of the complexity and maximize the uptime of racial abilities, healing cooldowns and more.

12 Extend with Festering Strike

Last time we talked about spec’ing 2 points into Epidemic to increase your disease duration to 29 seconds. But what if you can’t spec 2 points into Epidemic? What if you need to bring Abominations Might to the fight or if you need to be a designated interrupter?

Festering Strike can fill the gap, especially at the start of a fight. With only 1 point in Epidemic, a Festering Strike extends the total duration of your diseases to 30 seconds, but be aware – nothing comes for free. Festering Strike will cost you a Blood and Frost Rune, which will starve you of a Death Strike for the duration of the Frost Rune cooldown.

Next time, we’ll talk about adding Blood Tap to the combination to convert a Blood Rune into a Death Rune and get back that missing Death Strike.

11 Outbreak in 4.3

Outbreak’s cooldown has been reduced from 60 seconds to 30 seconds, and enables you reapply your diseases sooner without having to use Frost or Unholy Runes. And let’s face it … having more Frost Runes means you have more Runes available to Death Strike.

The default duration of your Frost Fever and Blood Plague is 21 seconds, but 2 points in Epidemic in the Unholy tree increases that duration to 29 seconds. So just as your diseases are falling off, Outbreak is finishing it’s cooldown and you can reapply all of your diseases without having to resort to Icy Touch and Plague Strike.

Next time, we’ll talk about what to do if your raid composition doesn’t allow for two points into Epidemic and how to compromise with Festering Strike and Blood Tap to make up for it.

10 Recovering from Death Strike

When is the best time to Rune Strike? Right after two Death Strikes!

Because Death Strike consumes a Frost and an Unholy Rune, back-to-back Death Strikes will leave both sets of Runes fully depleted. To quickly recover those runes, two Rune Strikes proc’ing Runic Empowerment can free up a Frost and an Unholy Rune giving you the needed Runes for another Death Strike.

Next time we’ll talk about using Festering Strike to extend the duration of your diseases.

09 Runic Power Dump

Capped on Runic Power? You’re missing out on Runic Empowerment procs and the large Runic Power gains that come from Death Strike.

If you have to dump Runic Power, use Rune Strike instead of Death Coil. Rune Strike consumes less runic power, does more damage than Death Coil and procs Runic Empowerment so you can get in more Death Strikes.

Next time we’ll talk about Rune Striking right after your Death Strikes to free up your Frost and Unholy Runes.

08 Dark Simulacrum

When was the last time you dropped a meteor on your foes or unleashed Hand of Ragnaros on the big guy himself?

Next time you’re tanking Ragnaros, use Dark Simulacrum when he starts casting Hand of Ragnaros. You’ll mirror the spell and then can unleash it yourself in a blaze of glory while dealing 30K of damage to the Firelord.

Next time we’ll talk about using Rune Strike or Death Coil when dumping runic power.

07 Pulling Casters with Strangulate

We’ve all been there before. You’re tanking melee mobs and have a CC’d caster sitting in a frost trap at range who is going to nuke your party when the trap breaks.

Cast Strangulate on the caster and taunt with Dark Command right after you break the trap. The silenced caster will run right up to you and your DPS can rip through the caster in no time.

Next time we’ll talk about using Dark Simulacrum (Sim ya LAKE rum) against those casters for some added DK fun.

06 Glyph of Death Strike

Are you a tank on Ragnaros, trying to deal with the Sons of Flame and looking for some burst DPS to slow them down?

Use Glyph of Death Strike to increase your Death Strike’s damage by 2% for every 5 Runic Power and make Death Strike your single largest damaging ability. Build up your Runic Power prior to the adds and two Death Strikes will slow any Sons of Flame to a crawl.

Next time we’ll talk about pulling CC’d casters at range with Strangulate.

05 Blood Boil and Hit Cap

Trying to time the consumption of your Blood Runes to keep up Blade Barrier? A missed, dodged or parried Heart Strike won’t consume a Blood Rune and Blade Barrier could fall off.

If you find that you’re Heart Strikes are missing because you’re not hit capped, consider using Blood Boil. Even though Blood Boil does less damage than Heart Strike, it’s guaranteed to consume a Blood Rune every time.

Next time we’ll talk about maximizing your damage output with Glyph of Death Strike.

04 Blade Barrier and Runic Empowerment

Trying to keep up Blade Barrier to reduce your incoming damage?

Minimize the time your Blood Runes are fully depleted by using the second Blood Rune when the first is about 75% refreshed. Use Rune Strikes when only one Blood Rune is on cooldown so your Runic Empowerment procs refresh your fully depleted Frost and Unholy runes instead of the depleted Blood Runes.

Next time we’ll talk about using Blood Boil to consume Blood Runes and keep up Blade Barrier.

03 Forcing Runic Empowerment

Need to Death Strike but your Frost and Unholy Runes are fully depleted? You either wait for them to cool down or force them to refresh with Runic Empowerment.

Try to keep one Blood Runes available to force Runic Empowerment to refresh your fully depleted Frost and Unholy Runes, making them available for more Death Strikes.

Next time we’ll talk about timing the use of your Blood Runes so you can keep up Blade Barrier and still use Runic Empowerment to favor the Frost and Unholy Runes.

02 Blood Tap

Sitting on a set of fully depleted runes? Blood Tap gives you immediate access to a Death Rune for use with any ability needing a rune.

And Runic Empowerment can refresh a fully depleted rune when you Rune Strike. Because Rune Strike consumes runic power instead of runes, it’s the perfect ability to use when your runes are fully depleted.

Next time we’ll talk about forcing Runic Empowerment to activate your Frost and Unholy runes so you can get in that all important Death Strike.

01 Fully Depleted Runes

What does it mean to have a fully depleted rune? If both runes of the same type are on cool down then the rune is fully depleted and you’re locked out of any ability needing that rune.

You’ll have to wait for one of the runes to finish it’s cool down or convert it to a Death Rune before you can use any ability needing that rune again.

Next time we’ll talk about using Runic Empowerment and Blood Tap to convert fully depleted runes into Death Runes.