Friday, May 9, 2008

Real Information about Death Knights

Coming in the wake of the crazy amount of information regarding Wrath of the Lich King from Gamespy, we finally get to see some real details regarding the first hero class in the upcoming expansion, the Death Knight.

So let's talk about what we have now found out. If you have played Warcraft 3 you are familiar with the Death Knight hero that was available to the Undead. They were a type of magic-using, caster melee person. And it seems the Death Knight will hold true to that, to an extent. What we already knew was that that the Death Knight's weapon would be inscribed with Runes, which would be used to activate numerous Death Knight abilities.

According to the information on Gamespy, this is what they tell us:
A Death Knight's runes are slotted into their "blade," which lies underneath their health bar as a visual indicator of what resources are available to the player at any given moment. There are six slots in the blade, and the player is free to fill those slots with any given number of Blood, Unholy or Frost runes, these runes being the sources of a Death Knight's power. Spent runes automatically refresh after a set period of time, much like a Rogue's energy bar.

The other information that was been revealed about the abilities is that a Death Knight will use what is called "Runic Power" which is going to function similar to that of a Warrior's Rage but at the same time, the abilities work like Execute. As you build up Runic Power by using your Rune abilities, you will have other abilities that will drain your Runic Power and the ability's effectiveness will vary depending on the amount of Runic Power that was drained. Intriguing to say the least.

It is also now known that anyone can make a Death Knight provided they have a character above level 55. Blizzard decided that a person who has been level 55 or above should have a firm enough grasp on the game that they can learn a new class that starts at level 55. In addition, any race can be a Death Knight. So perhaps now I can convince myself to make one Undead.

Death Knights will also have abilities called "Presences." These are like a Paladin Aura, but for the Death Knight only. It's easy to imagine how these different Presences will play roles as far as tanking or DPS goes.

Death Knights will also have Death Coil according to the reports from Gamespy, but it won't have the Terror effect attached to it. Also it seems that Death Knights will fully take advantage of diseases as a form of damage and debuffing. So I imagine we will be seeing a Carrion Swarm-type ability and among things.

One of the most entertaining bits of news is regarding the summoning spells Death Knights will have. The post regarding the Army of the Dead states that the spell is "channeled" which can be viewed as a AoE spell that looks cooler. Or it might be a bad choice in wording. But regardless, the really fun part comes from the summoning of a Ghoul. It is being described as similar in power to a Hunter or Warlock pet (which means they will get 3-shot 6 months after release, right? :) ) and will have it;s own abilities. You use this ability on an enemy's corpse or an ally's corpse. If you use it on a friendly players corpse they will receive an option, similar to that of a Soulstone or Resurrection dialog box, offering them the opportunity to control the Ghoul. I am sure the text will be just like the little screenshot above. :)

Similar to how Druid tanks rely on Armor and Dodge for their mitigation, Death Knight tanks are going to focus on their ability to Parry attacks. This used in conjunction of Presences and Rune abilities is where you are going to find Death Knights holding aggro and mitigating damage. What these abilities are, we are not sure yet. It is also claimed that they will receive a sort of Anti-Magic Shield, reducing incoming magic damage, making them ideal for tanking magic-based bosses. But I can foresee that being . . . entertaining in PvP. I'm looking at you Mages, Warlocks, Elemental Shaman, and Boomkin!

From Curse Gaming, here is the known list of Death Knight Abilities:

  • Death Coil -- Depletes all Runic Power, dealing 600 damage to a non-Undead target, or healing 900 damage on a friendly target.
  • Death Grip -- This is the Death Knight's "taunt" ability. It also pulls the target to the Death Knight, forcing them to attack the Death Knight for a short amount of time. Yes, I said pulls the target; Blizzard is going to allow players to move mobs in the expansion both with Death Grip, and other knockback/pull abilities. This works on players too, so PvP balance ahoy!
  • Chains of Ice -- Roots the target in place. When the spell fades, it places a snare on the target that reduces in potency as the duration runs out.
  • Raise Dead -- Raises a nearby corpse to fight for the Death Knight for 2 minutes. If used on a player corpse, the player has the option to play as the ghoul for the duration -- gaining access to the ghoul's abilities.
    The ghoul has the ability to do the following:
    --Leap to the target
    --Rend for decent damage-over-time
    --Stun target, and of course more
  • Death Pact -- Sacrifices the raised ghouls to heal the Death Knight.
  • Death and Decay -- Targeted, AoE Damage-over-time which pulses similar to the Paladin spell Consecration. Anyone affected by Death and Decay has a chance to be feared.
  • Frost Presence -- Increases Armor by 45% and allows the Death Knight to generate 25% more threat. Only one presence can be active at any time.
  • Unholy Presence -- Increases Attack Speed and Movement speed by 15%. Only one presence can be active at any time. This was described by Tom Chilton as the "PvP" presence.
  • Anti-magic Shield -- Reduces the damage of the next magical spell cast on the Death Knight by 75%. It also converts the damage reduced into Runic Power.
  • Strangulate -- Depletes all Runic Power, dealing minor damage and silencing the target for up to 5 seconds.
  • Summon Deathcharger -- Allows the Death Knight to summon a Deathcharger mount. This mount is acquired through quests, similar to the Paladin and Warlock land mounts.

That's the new information for now. No videos of the Death Knight were released so now we wait again. Here's to hoping! If you stumbled across this blog, be sure to check out Less QQ, More PewPew, which is my Hunter blog until the Death Knight becomes my new main and I start posting here. Feel free to leave a comment, correction, etc. Or visit the Google Group on the link to the left and start up a conversation. Thanks for reading.


  1. That's cool that there will be interaction (other than just burning him down) with Arthas - I'm looking forward to the storyline too!

  2. Definitely. It looks as though Blizzard is really giving it a total Warcraft 3 feel with their implementation of things. I am definitely excited about things to come.