Welcome to the Loremaster’s Corner where we explore the rich and scenic lore that WoW has to offer. Yet, this week, I don’t want to continue to bore you by discussing the races and their role in Cataclysm because I’ve covered all of the races that I think are interesting. Instead we’ll cover a race that many of you don’t know much about. Death Knights.

Oh, wait, that’s a class! Silly me.

Death Knights are a very interesting class because I think that they’re going to have an interesting role to play in Cataclysm. However, we have to understand two big points. The Death Knight class as we know it now lacks any real direction because they’ve gotten their revenge. The other is that a worse type of Death Knight exists from the original WarCraft game that actually is a bit overpowered.

Bored Death Knights

With Arthas dead what are Death knights going to do? Well, if you haven’t killed him then we’re only a few more buffs away from you being pretty much able to solo the guy. Anyway, what are they going to be doing with the plaguelands going bye bye soon? Just what is our loveable, nerfable, buffable hero class going to do with that giant floating necropolis? I mean, they could just pull up, hop out (all in one motion), dancing while their necropolis is still rolling. Joking aside, I don’t have an answer really. We’re supposed to be getting some new manga soon but that’s only covered the past so far.

I can see the Knights of the Ebon Blade getting their own neutral outpost somewhere to guard the teleporter up to their ride but I don’t see much outside of that. Unless they have some involvement in the rebuilding of the plaguelands then I don’t see them being much of anything, much like any major expansion gimmick usually doesn’t carry over to the next.

Yet, of course, they could come into play with the story in Duskwood. See, there is a bit more to Death Knights then what is presented in the game.

Death Knights of Yore 

This is where things get a bit complicated, so I’m going to try to explain only what’s needed to drive the point home. Let’s begin with the fact that the Death Knights under Arthas are the second generation of Death Knights. The first generation is a bit more fearsome. See, in WarCraft II Gul’dan took the souls of the slain Warlocks of the Shadow Council and placed them into the bodies of the various members of ‘The Brotherhood of the Horse’ (Knights of Stormwind). This resulted in a Warlock’s soul in a Knight’s body (no Paladins back then). They were very powerful; their Death Coil was strong enough to kill in a single hit.

It's strange that Teron's original model (before Black Temple) was that of an Orc, but Death Knights were Human Knights (not Paladins).

They did not return in WarCraft III because Thrall wanted the Orcs to return to their shamanistic roots and avoid the black Warlock magic. That doesn’t mean the Death Knights from the Second War were killed though. They fled back to Outland where they were captured by the Burning Legion and turned into Liches for the Lich King. This doesn’t mean that all of them are dead. We meet the original Death Knight, Teron Gorefiend, in Outland during a quest.

We don’t just meet him though. You release him from this eternal prison and he rides off to the Black Temple where you kill him as a boss. This bit of information is interesting because in the “Horde Player’s Guide” Brann Bronzebeard states that Teron Gorefiend may be the leader of the Dark Riders of Deadwind Pass (also known as the Black Riders). These Black Riders were responsible for a lot of the corruption in Duskwood and are associated with Deadwind Pass.

Yet, their storyline was never resolved. We can read in Jitters’ Completed Journal all about them. Teron was not their leader because he was in the Black Temple. We’ve learned nothing about them. So I am only left to assume that we’ll be seeing them again in Cataclysm and it will be revealed that they are indeed the first generation of Death Knights.

This opens up an interesting storyline because the Black Riders want the Scythe of Elune. This artifact is quite elusive in the sense that we keep finding it and losing it. We last lose it with Ivan, the trapper in Grizzly Hills. This leaves us at the point where we have to ponder can all of this be connected? Can the Black Riders, who may very well be the original Death Knights, come into play in the new Duskwood zone in Cataclysm?

It would make a lot of sense actually and could open up a bit of room for our current Death Knights to do something. After all, they seem like the kind that’d love to kill some undead. That, or perhaps Simon Belmont will somehow appear and take them all out. I just realized that is my first Simon Belmont reference. I think we should celebrate!

By celebration I mean we should all come to the Ten Ton Hammer forums and chat about Death Knights and Cataclysm. What do you say? I want to hear it.

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Xerin 1
Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.