Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Alternate DK DW Tank Spec

One of the places where I continue to get a lot of hits and inquiries is in the realm of DW DK tanking. Apparently I'm not alone in my enthusiasm for the spec. I recently received an email proposing an alternate spec and asking my thoughts. It isn't a major change, but I thought it offered some post-worthy trade offs. Unfortunately, I haven't had as much opportunity to use the spec as I'd like, but I do love the idea.

The point here is that for those of you out there who ARE getting to run with the spec, I'd love to hear the actual in-game trials and tribulations. Are you running into rotational/cooldown problems? Are you getting kicked from groups from asshat elitists? Are you kicking ass and taking names? Are you forgetting those names because, like me, you're horrible with names, and why would you want their names anyways if you're kicking their ass?

Anyways, the spec was linked to me like this (Thanks Vili!). My initial, cookie-cutter answer to the question of "is this valid" was my standard: the only real way to assess the validity of any spec it so try it out. We can all theorycraft until we're blue in the face (like the devs), but what it comes down to is how well can you play said spec in-game. You can have a great spec, but it goes totally against your grain and thus, preforms terribly for you. On the flip side, you can make a shoddy spec work if you're good enough.

My second answer, because that first one is clearly a bit of a let-down, was to take a look at the pros and cons of each spec. Let's take a look at those now...

  • While you may be losing some extra damage (read: threat) from Tundra Stalker, the additional Str from Veteran of the Third War should offset this. I'm not sure on the actual numbers, but Str for a damage modifier would seem to be a good trade-off. Str helps in other places too.
  • You pick up a net total of +1 more expertise.
  • If I were speccing this, I would probably take Spell Deflection over Scent of Blood since runic power is not a problem from where I'm sitting. Both talents give you something different (spell mitigation vs. more RP for dumps and threat generation).
  • You lose the crit bonus from GoG but gain crit chance with Dark C. Basically, you're trading a straight bonus for a chance here, which might be a negative, but crit really isn't all that important to a tank... so, IMO, it's a good trade if it allows you to do other things with the points.
  • You lose the Howling Blast spell, our best AoE burst spell. You still have other AoE options, but HB is probably the best to get some insta-threat on a multitude of targets.
  • You lose a few seconds off your Icebound Fortitude spell. For a heavily dependant cooldown tank, this isn't huge, but definitely something to consider based on how often you use the spell. If you have great healers and gear, maybe it's not something that bothers you.
As far as I can see, it's that simple. What does it mean though? Well, obviously there seem to be more pros to this spec than cons, but how big are the cons? For me, the loss of HB is a deal breaker. I love the spell and a lot of my playstyle revolves around it. It's not always an integral part of my rotation, but it's great for picking up adds.

However, if you're not a big fan of the spell, this alternate spec definitely has merit. From just a pure theorycrafting point of view, I would think it might be better in a more MT application, where you're not so worried about AoE threat, and want to beef up single target mitigation and threat generation. So if you're having single target woes, you might try this. If you're bothered by AoE threat, you probably don't want to lose HB. Either way, it's worth a look and an article.

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