Lichborne: Warlords of Draenor Q&A for death knights

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

Last week, we covered the basic class changes of Warlords of Draenor. This week, we're taking a few common questions about those changes and combining them with new information. We'll be discussing the new secondary stats and how they affect tanks, examine the possible return of dual wield tanking, and consider death knight lore in the new expansion. Without further ado, let's get started.

Q: Could dual wield tanking come back with Warlords of Draenor? After all, your weapons hit more now that hit and expertise are gone.

No. Ghostcrawler clarified recently that the miss chance for dual wield weapons isn't going away. You will still miss with "white" hits, it's just that your special hits will never miss (at least, not because of your gear). This will be exacerbated by the fact that blood death knight special attacks will not hit with the off-hand. The reason dual wielding works for frost is that Threat of Thassarian exists. It does not exist for blood death knights, therefore blood death knight dual wielding is still inferior and likely will stay inferior in Warlords of Draenor. The only real advantage dual wield tanking has is that you might get more Bloodworms, but that is not enough to offset the losses.

Q: What secondary stat will tanks use besides mastery?

We talked about this a bit last week, but it's certainly worth covering more in depth. With hit, expertise, dodge, and parry all coming off gear, that leaves only mastery of the current stats to be left behind. That said, Celestalon, a Blizzard game designer on twitter, has offered some clarity on a few new stats. Multistrike will allow you a chance to hit an additional time with an ability for 30% damage. Amplify will add a percentage of critical strike and multistrike damage, and amplify your other secondary stat ratings. Readiness will reduce the cooldown of specific abilities (dependent on class and spec). All three of these will be new secondary stats.

With this in mind, we can get a clearer idea of what's going down with tank specs. While one might assume that haste and critical strike would be made viable for death knight tanks, technically, Blizzard could skip over that now. Amplify and readiness are now both strong competitors for the preferred blood tank secondary secondary stat. We don't yet know what specific abilities will be affected by Readiness. It could be the same as the current trinket out of Siege, but it could end up being a different set. That said, if we get reduction on things like Vampiric Blood and Icebound Fortitude, this could be the big secondary for end-game death knights.We've long had a reputation as a class that depends more on cooldowns than innate defense for our tanking, and readiness could bring that back in a big way. Amplify has the advantage of being a more passive stat. It'll be more passive since it won't force you to use abilities on cooldown like readiness will. It will give a straight defense boost by amplifying mastery and armor, and and will provide some extra threat on the side with the other stats and damage it amplifies. The big question is whether the boost to mastery or the reduction to cooldown times will win out.

This is a case where we'll probably need to wait for patch 6.0 to get a complete idea of what's going down, but for now, I'd guess we'll be stocking up on amplify and readiness. That said, Multistrike may be the dark horse here, depending on how it works. Celestalon did clarify that it will work on heals. Would heals from Death Strike count? Could we see Multistrike have a chance to provide an extra boost to Blood Shield? If so, it could possibly catapult it to the front. Regardless, even with the removal of so many defensive stats, it's starting to look like gearing as tank may actually become more exciting and nuanced than ever.

Q: Is there any lore justification to play a death knight anymore?

Honestly, I'm not sure if we should expect any class-specific lore in Warlords of Draenor. There's a lot of classes that don't get much class-specific lore, after all. We were lucky enough to get an entire expansion (though the end-game of Wrath was admittedly more about paladins than death knights). It would be cool to get a deeper insight into what death knights are doing now that Arthas is dead and someone with a moral compass has the helm of the Lich King, but we don't need a specific lore purpose to function either. We got a nice template in Cataclysm for the modern death knight player character, seeing Thassarian and Koltira as high ranking members of their factions' militaries. That's a clear indication that as death knights, our lore right now is that we've blended back into being regular adventurers for our faction, lying in wait until the next time our order is needed. Don't get me wrong, I'd love it if there was a good solid bit of class-specific lore every expansion, for every class, but that has never been Blizzard's MO and you if you expect it, you will probably be disappointed.

In Warlords itself, there may be some minor chances for death knight lore all the same. With Ner'zhul a major leader in the iron horde, player death knight have a chance to meet their "daddy," the original Lich King and creator of the scourge death knights. There also might be a chance to meet some of the original orcish death knights, such as Gorefiend. That might be less related to us, since Gorefiend is from a different generation of death knights, and might not even become a death knight in this reality, but it could still be interesting to see how some of the first death knights react to a world where they don't become so twisted.

Learn the ropes of endgame play with WoW Insider's DK 101 guide. Make yourself invaluable to your raid group with Mind Freeze and other interrupts, gear up with pre-heroic DPS gear or pre-heroic tank gear, and plot your path to tier 11/valor point DPS gear.