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WoW Guide

We’ve covered all the other new features in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Check them out, explore the game, and master your skills with our guide..

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The first new hero class addition to World of Warcraft is the Death Knight class. Death Knights start out as formidable warriors in service to the Lich King Arthas. They possess necromantic spells and wield powerful runeblades. Through the Death Knight starting quest, you will find out how they come to align themselves with the Alliance/Horde and choose to disobey the Lich King.

Death Knights can act as both a tank and a DPS, with their capability of wearing plate armor and runeblades. They are quite similar to the Warrior class to an extent, but have a few key elements that make them totally unique.

WoW Guide

How to unlock and create:

To unlock the Death Knight class, you must have a level 55 character on your World of Warcraft account. Once you do, you may create a new level 55 Death Knight of any race and faction. If you are on a PvP server, you are limited to the faction of your existing character on that server. Currently, you are allowed one Death Knight per realm, per account. All newly Death Knights start in the area Ebon Hold

Talent Trees:

The Death Knight has three unique talent trees; Blood, Frost, and Unholy.

Blood- This talent tree enhances weapon, armor, and skill damage.

Frost- Crowd control, counters, and combos make up the Frost Talent tree.

Unholy- The Death Knight's summons, spells, and diseases shine with the Unholy tree.

These talents are greatly complemented by the self-only auras of the Death Knights, Presences. Only one presence can be active at any time.

Blood Presence-increases damage and restores a percentage of damage dealt as HP

Frost Presence-increases threat and reduces damage taken.

Unholy Presence-increases attack speed and reduces global skill cooldown


In place of mana, energy, and rage, Death Knights use the Rune resource system. All Death Knight Abilities require runes. These runes are blood, frost, and unholy.

Some Death Knight abilities require runes of one or a combination of types. Runes have a cooldown period when used. The type of runes a Death Knight carries can greatly enhanced his abilities when playing a specific role. The runes can be seen below the Death Knights HP bar. There are six runes, 2 for Blood, Frost, and Unholy. Some skills require a certain number of runes and once they are used, they become inactive for 10 seconds until they recharge.

Furthermore, as a Death Knight continues to use runes, he/she generates runic power. This will enable the user to unleash special abilities that consume runic power. This is very similar to the warriors Rage meter.


One of the core abilities of the Death Knight is to summon the undead. These creatures can add extra damage to the Death Knight's already impressive arsenal.

Raise Dead - raise a ghoul from creature or player corpses. When used on a corpse of a friendly player, that player can control the actions of the ghoul.

Army of the Dead - call forth a group of undead followers for a limited time. These creatures can attack the target of the Death Knight but only lasts for a short time.

Summon Deathcharger - summon a level 40 deathcharger land mount. At higher levels, a quest can be taken to obtain the epic version.

Class Roles:

As a Tank - the Death Knight will benefit from using Frost Presence to generate increased threat and defense. One interesting note is that Death Knights do not use shields. This makes for an interesting tanking experience.

As a Melee DPS - All the Death Knight Talent trees can contribute to DPS with different play styles. Blood focuses on high damage and HP regeneration while Frost uses frost damage. The Unholy tree enables the use of disease, summons, and shadow damage.


The Death Knight can equip the following weapon types

  • Axes
  • Polearms
  • Swords
  • Maces

WoW Guide

Why go Death Knight?

The Death Knight is the first hero class introduced to World of Warcraft. Picking a Death Knight has many advantages over the normal classes. One apparent reason is that you immediately start at level 55 with a full set of gear and a free normal mount. You can also easily solo because of the Death Knight's innate anti-magic resistances and blood magic self-heals.

Whatever your play style is, you can go from melee DPS to tank with a few gear changes. The Death Knight is a fearsome warrior and can dish out and take damage hand in hand.

Of course, they had to nerf this heroic class in some areas (but as far as we can tell so far, not many):

  • Death Knights cannot use shields, thus cannot effectively block attacks while tanking.
  • Managing runes and abilities can be complicated to the beginner and might pose a challenge to veterans.
  • Leveling to 68 can only be done in the starting area, so if you had plans to group up with your 'Druid' leveling mate, you can forget it!

Fortunately for Death Knights, Blizzard has made the starting area so much fun you won't want to leave it. The rewards for Death Knight specific quests are pretty incredible as well - all blues - adding more incentive to stay put!

Whatever character you decide to level to 80, the main goal of course is to have fun. And from what we see, fun is definitely on the cards for everyone. Whether you want to quest, concentrate on professions, raid, or conquer dungeons, our guide is here to help you get through the tough parts.

WoW Guide