Monday, November 10, 2008

Death Knights

With only a little more than 2 days remaining before the expansion goes live, many peoples thoughts will rightfully be turning to what they'll be doing in the fabled land of Northrend. And of course, much of that thought might center around Death Knights. I, myself plan on leveling a Death Knight starting Thursday. And if you have been paying any attention to the beta, then you've probably formulated an opinion or two on the class. I like what I see. Death Knight, while perhaps the most complicated of classes to play, seemingly will be a blast.

Yet I think Blizzard made a couple mistakes with the class. A few weeks ago Blizzard rolled out patch 3.0.2, which introduced new spells and new talent trees to the game and also introduced the new Inscription profession. Yet they left introduction of the Death Kinight class out of it. I argued that Blizzard should have included Death Knight in the patch because as of Thursday when level 70 toons will be shooting up to Northrend on their venture to level 80, everyone else playing a Death Knight will instead be far behind either in Winterspring, Eastern Plaguelands, Silithis, or just entered Hellfire Peninsula. Death Knights start at level 55, and will just hit level 58 upon completion of their solo introductory quest chains. That means it will probably take anywhere from 1-3 weeks for those players to level from 58-70 depending on how much they play. And of course that means those players will also be ignoring leveling of any other level 70 character they might also be raiding with. I have a level 70 Shaman and my Death Knight to level, and I really need to level both to 80 before Christmas. Not just level to 80 by that time frame, but also have somewhat geared so that we can start entering Naax for our 10-man raiding. If you work or have other commitments that will not be so easy. Though if you live in your mothers basement and have no life then it might not be. I think it would have been much better served for Blizzard to have released Death Knights weeks ago and given that time to players to level from 58-70 so that they could then enter the expansion along with friends.

Another mistake I think Blizzard has made with the class is professions. When you create the Death Knight the only skill you find yourself with is first aid, which is appropriately leveled for level 55. From that point on you will need to level first aid up to 375. However, if you wish to attain a trade or gathering skill, you will have to start from 0. Which of course means traveling back to the starter zones if you want to level herbology, or gathering enough ore to power level mining from 1-250 through smelting. Mining just requires you put enough effort in ahead of time to collect the raw ore for your Death Knight. Herbology is an entirely different picture however. There simply is no way around the requirement for your Death Knight to have to spend days or more tramping around the old zones to gather herbs. I think Blizzard should have instead given Death Knights two "freebies", other than first aid, allowing the Death Knight to choose two skills of any kind one time and starting them off appropriately leveled for level 55. Having not done that means anyone planning on playing a Death Knight will necessarily have to add additional time to leveling those skills to the overall leveling process.

While I am anxiously awaiting the expansion, I am not anxiously awaiting have to spend precious time running around old zones leveling gathering skills. Overall I really like what I see in the class, but I am absolutely certain there will be nerfs aplenty in the coming weeks as people who were not part of the beta are introduced to the class. Death Knight will be come the new Paladin, and we all know how that's going to work out.