I wouldn't have believed it possible but the Death Knight has almost stolen the thunder from my Hunter main. I've been playing the Hunter for so long that I never thought possible another class would lure me away with its gameplay. Well, to be honest, I was even starting to enjoy the "new", post-WotLK Retribution Paladin, more than the Hunter.
But the Death Knight... man, does this class rock! I think Blizzard really nailed it when they came up with the concept. There's nothing not to like about the Death Knight, that is, unless you PvP against them. And then there's that: constant bitching from many PvP players that Death Knights are overpowered and they need to be nerfed. I admit I am biased: I don't like PvP much. That's why it always angers me when a nice class/spec gets nerfed thanks to PvP QQ-ing. At the risk of alienating myself from all the PvP-ers, I believe that World of Warcraft is primarily a PvE game. That's how it was conceived. PvP was not the focus initially. I also suspect that most players who hate fighting DKs simply do not have the experience in fighting this class, although by now everyone and their grandma should know its strengths and weaknesses.
Well, enough ranting. I have a crazy idea on how to change PvP in this game but I will detail it in a future post. Here are the things I love about the Death Knight class in general (from the Blood spec perspective), in no particular order.
The starting experience. What can I say... pure genius on Blizzard's part. The story is truly epic and it gets you started as a Death Knight with a bang.
The starting blues and epic mount. That's one of the major factors that make the DK a hero class. No, it's not the fact that they are OP because they are not :) However, the gear that you end up with at level 58 and the free epic mount go a long way in making you feel really good about this class. Thanks to the really good quality blues, questing and leveling in Outland is trivial.
The flying mounts. Speaking of mounts, the Death Knight also has access to its own unique flying mount, the Winged Steed of the Ebon Blade. Although this mount could have been done better since to many people it looks like a flying chicken, the concept of a re-animated gryphon skeleton is very cool. As a bonus, this mount scales with your riding skill.
Starting at level 55. What can be more heroic than that? Perhaps starting at 65 with the future hero class of the next expansion*grin*.
The spell and resource system. What puts me off from the "vanilla" classes is their mana-based casting. It used to be a lot worse in Classic WoW. Even now, as a mana user you need to manage your main resource properly or else you're left stranded. As a Hunter, I'm still wondering why we have to use mana. I think a focus-based system (same focus that Hunter pets are using) would make a lot more sense. In fact, they tried that waaaaaay back in WoW alpha if I'm not mistaken. For some reason they dropped that and turned to good ol' plain mana. But I digress. The Death Knight's rune and runepower based system is a lot cooler and is another thing that makes this class unique. In an ideal setting, if you get your rotation right, you shouldn't ever run out of runes or runepower. When it does happen to me, it's usually for 1-2 seconds and it usually happens because I mess up my rotation somehow. On the other hand, I can't speak for raiders and PvP-ers who might find themselves in a different situation.
Plate. I sometimes like to call my Death Knight a "Rogue in plate", as in "Rogue DPS but wearing plate". Well, I'm sure good Rogues do more DPS than a Death Knight and maybe I suck at playing a Rogue but unfortunately my 70 Rogue has been languishing for months and I can't get myself to play him. The only alluring things the Rogue still has are stealth, lockpicking and vanish.
Death Grip. How cool is that? While many skills and talents are very similar between classes, except they have different names, Death Grip is a really unique skill. Many classes fighting against a Death Knight hate it. What I like about it is simply the fact that I can grab mobs from a distance. Telekinesis baby! As an added bonus, it interrupts spell casting. Furthermore, its only cost is a relatively short cooldown.
Path of Frost. Another skill that makes this class a pleasure to play. I don't have enough words for how amazing this is. I really appreciate that you can cast it while mounted, which one-ups the Shaman's similar Water Walking. Speaking of which, I really wish Blizzard would rethink Water Walking so that it doesn't dismount you.
Their voice and eyes. Another nice touch which differentiates Death Knights even from other classes of the same race.
Any race can be a death knight. Even gnomes. Unfortunately. While this doesn't really affect me because I prefer humans for my Alliance characters, it does a great deal for other players. Good call on this one Blizzard!
All skills and spells are instant cast! (With the exception perhaps of Army of the Dead. Again, this is from the Blood perspective). I confess: I hate spells with casting times. That's why I still hesitate to continue my 28 mage. Not only spells and abilities are instant, but the Death Knight has access to a bunch of instant weapon strikes that make huge, slow 2-handed weapons very important. Caveat: I've never tried dual-wielding frost because I like slow 2-handed weapons. Although, with the new buffs to dual-wielding in patch 3.2, I might just give it a try!
Army of the Dead! C'mon, admit it. This spell is pure win. It's true that you gain access to it only at level 80 but how many classes can boast such an ability?
The rotation. Speaking for myself, I really love the blood rotation. That doesn't even mean I'm doing it perfectly, but it works for me and I enjoy the play style a lot.
So what's there not to like about the death knight class? Well, for one thing, a DK might be your PvP nemesis. That's fair. For another, you simply don't get this class. Or, you think your Mage/Hunter/whatever is more fun than a Death Knight. Or... any other personal reason. As for me, although my Hunter will always remain my main because he's the principal breadwinner (Herbalism + Mining FTW), my pulse will always race faster when I switch to my Death Knight.
Former WoW player, current Diablo 3 fanatic, I love the finer things in life such as PC games, beer and computers. While playing a good game is a spiritual experience, blogging about it is almost equally rewarding.