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Lichborne: Gear upgrades for Death Knights in the starting zones


Welcome to Lichborne, where Daniel Whitcomb really needs a bigger boat. And maybe a more imposing minion to steer it.

So by now, I assume a good chunk of us are managing to get through Outland again and are hitting the 68-70 level range, ready to jump onto a boat or zeppelin and head to Northrend. Now, up til now, I'm sure a lot of you have been sticking with your Death Knight quest gear, hoping to avoid the clown look of Northrend, or have been leveling so fast through Outland that you haven't had time to replace most of it anyway.

But we're in Northrend now, guys. The difficulty is ramped up a bit, and you're really going to have to start replacing stuff pretty quickly. No worries though, Blizzard's art team has done a pretty decent job of making most of the Northrend quest rewards look like something you'd be willing to be caught dead wearing, so to speak, especially if you're into Norse mythology and imagery like I am.

Today, we'll be discussing some of the best quest upgrades for a Death Knight in the first few zones of Northrend, but before we do that, I'd like to mention one more gear-related thing from our tanking column last week: The Cobalt "set."

It's not technically a set in that it doesn't have a name or set bonuses, but it's 8 pieces of crafted armor, made by Blacksmiths at 375 skill and equippable at level 70, that provides tons of strength, stamina, and defense. It won't get you to the level 70 Defense cap of 490, but it will come pretty close, close enough that if you can pick up a piece of defense jewelry or a trinket or two, you'll be set for tanking up until the mid 70s or so.

The pieces, specifically, are helm, shoulder, chestpiece, bracer, gauntlets, legplates, boots, and belt. Grabbing these will mean that you're probably almost ready to tank Utgarde keep the moment you hit level 70, and should catch you up in effectiveness to your average level 70 pre-heroic BC-era tank, at least. It only takes a total of 37 Cobalt Bars to make -- that's less than 2 stacks. If you've been keeping on on your mining on any of your characters, or if you have a bit of leftover daily money, it's well worth getting this stuff crafted.

Oh, and one more thing on Death Knight itemization before we start: Haste and Expertise just aren't as good for us as they are for many melee, especially for 2-hand wielders. For one, we do a very large portion of our damage as spell and disease damage, and these are pretty much completely unaffected by either stat. Expertise is going to be most effective for Death Knight tanks, who are still going to want to keep from being parry-gibbed. For the other part, as 2-hand wielders, most of our remaining damage is done with instant-cast strikes which don't need haste to be effective. Our white damage is a very small part of our ability. Keeping that in mind will probably affect how we decide what gear to pick up.

Now, on to the quest gear.

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