2 days later and he's 66.
Levelling is very smooth despite not being optimised for it. I think the optimal levelling build picks up +20% mount speed, +15% run speed and some self-heals from the Blood tree. Fast movement and zero downtime.
So why didn't I optimise?
Well first off I've done that before and part of re-rolling is to find a fresh experience. Next I wanted to be an effective tank all the way through and I've had some opportunity to explore that side of this character.
I started out my tanking career in Hellfire Ramparts. I think the key to effective DK tanking is twofold: 1) you need to pull, 2) you need a solid starting rotation.
Pulling is very important because we don't have any aoe taunt and we rely on a static zone of threat generating red stuff that is useless if the mobs are pulled away from it by over-eager dps. I found that tanking Ramparts was so easy that the only danger was the party becoming too complacent and deciding to dispense with my services and zerg the place.
Our shammy pulled the pack before the first boss and I sat down. Someone said Stabs? I said I'm watching P tank, he's doing a great job. They 4 manned the pull without me then I asked Want me to tank the boss? My point was made without things turning into a slanging match.
For rotation I visualise where I want to place my Death and Decay then yoink a mob over, Death and Decay, build up my 2 diseases then spread them with Pestilence. There are quite a few variations on this basic technique
- if I think the mobs will be slow to reach the Death and Decay I move it one step later in the sequence. So Death Grip (yoink), Icy Touch then Death and Decay. This minimises the time Death and Decay runs without mobs in it.
- for a corner pull I stand at the corner and yoink then step back out of line of sight and Death and Decay the corner. This is definitely the easiest tank class to corner pull with.
- if there are two or more casters I may pull with Strangulate, Death and Decay, then yoink
- on some packs it may be easiest to run into them dropping Death and Decay as I arrive. This is mainly true when we outgear the instance and I can't reasonably expect the dps to respect a corner pull
- on very trivial content without talents to reduce the cooldown of Death and Decay I would run in, Icy Touch, Pestilence. This is pretty weak since you don't really get any aoe threat until the disease ticks for the first time. I have Howling Blast to follow up with although it's not always easy to line them up for the cone. The real answer of course is to pick up the Unholy talent that reduces Death and Decay cooldown but I was reasonably successful in holding aggro on pulls where I didn't use it
Have to say DK tanking is a bucketful of fun when you start. You begin rather overgeared for the low 60s content so you are easy to heal, do great threat and high damage. I actually topped the damage meters in all 6 instances I have done so far (5 as tank, 1 as dps).
I took the Ramps group through to Blood Furnace and we managed both instances with no wipes (one bad pull left only me and the Hunter alive). I then did Underbog as dps which was pretty good fun too. I will need to keep looking at both roles as I play this character to decide where I want to specialise for end-game. (For once I'm determined to play what I want to play regardless of the "needs" of other people).
Next day I tanked Slave Pens and Underbog. Total cakewalk, no wipes, our aoeing mage died a couple of times don't recall anyone else dying. I was 65 and felt very over-powered. I then tanked BRD for some guildies. That posed a strange problem - lack of threat grabbing moves as we were so overpowered. I made up for it by being aggressive but it definitely felt gimped compared to a Warrior or a Paladin who would always have Thunderclap or Consecrate available.
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