WORLD OF WARCRAFT: WRATH OF THE LICH KING CLASSIC Rise of the Death Knight – a deep dive into this iconic class.
On September 26, Blizzard Entertainment will launch World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic, giving WoW Classic players the chance to relive or re-explore a beloved expansion in the franchise’s history.
The original expansion introduced Death Knights, the game’s first hero class, and took players on a journey to Northrend, continuing the story established in the popular real-time strategy game, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Since Wrath of the Lich King allows fans to play the Death Knight, let’s take a closer look at why this character is so iconic to fans of the franchise.
Who are the Death Knights?
The Death Knight was first introduced to the franchise with Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness. In 2008, the Death Knight became World of Warcraft’s first hero class, introduced in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Death Knights are some of the Lich King’s most fearsome servants, due in large part to their status as fallen heroes of Azeroth who have risen to the undead to serve him for eternity.
In one of the Building Azeroth episodes (available here), game director Tom Chilton and lead game designer Kris Zierhut discussed how the Death Knight became such an iconic character. Tom and Kris discuss one of the ways they’ve really made the class unique by giving them their own custom starting area. Players who were a fallen member of the Alliance or the Horde captured in battle are turned into Death Knights against their will by the Lich King. The starting quest area depicts the journey of a fallen hero forced to turn against their former allies, as well as their struggle to regain their free will. In regaining control and playing off against the
Lich King himself in Light’s Hope Chapel, they rejoin their allies to begin the next chapter of their new lives as champions of the Horde of Alliance. Speaking of the Death Knight’s balance, Kris said, “Anytime I wanted to make something weaker on Death Knights, I’d have people who like Death Knights say I couldn’t nerve it”. He continued, “In hindsight it was a good place to be because people played Death Knights and started looking for all these crazy ways to play. A well-designed class is not clear how to play it – we want there to be emergent gameplay.”
As World of Warcraft’s first Hero Class, the Death Knight starts at a higher level than other classes and begins their journey in a class-exclusive introductory experience. They are extremely powerful in both solo and group content. While solo Death Knights have the strongest self-healing in the game, during parties and raids they provide unique, powerful buffs to their entire party while being either one of the most durable tanks in the game or one of the strongest damage dealers depending on their specialization .
Wrath of the Lich King Pre-Patch is now available and players can create a Death Knight, level it up and have it ready to use in Northrend.
What else is new in Wrath of the Lich King?
Players will begin their journey in one of two zones in Northrend, Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord, and experience some of the most epic vistas and beloved storylines in all of Warcraft before breaking through the Lich King’s seat of power in Icecrown.
The new expansion also introduces a new profession – Inscription, which allows players to write mystical glyphs that alter the appearance and modify the properties of spells and abilities, as well as powerful trinkets and off-hand items. Wrath of the Lich King Classic pre-patch is now available and the new expansion launches on September 26 and will be available to play on PC via Battle.net.