Updated Wed, Nov 19, 2008 by Xerin
It’s no joke that everyone that plays World of Warcraft wants to make a Death Knight. Even you, the reader, are looking forward to making one. Half of you reading are honest about this and will exclaim with joy that you can’t wait and the other half are split between saying you love your main character and the disdain of the impending Death Knight blitzkrieg. Though, be honest with yourself, you’re going to make one if for no other reason than to play through the new starting area.
Let’s look at what you’ve got going for the Death Knight. They’re awesome against any magic users, will almost certainly be a requirement for some boss fights (considering they can cast a bubble that reduces magic damage by a VERY large amount), and they look cool. They use a unique fighting system that’s really fun and more involving than just spamming a few skills (requiring some finesse and tactics to manage your resources properly) and provide “good things” for almost any type of player.
Let’s look at what they’re going to have against them. That is one thing. That’s the invasive nature of their class. They are a true tank/dps hybrid that can fit at least one much needed role (tanking) and are extremely cool. Everyone and their brother will be making one and a good majority will get them to 80. Some even before they get their main characters. Skipping 55 levels of the game is incredible and when you add in the fact that they’re new and people want them then you’ll have a lot of them floating around.
Some people are increasingly fearful that the game will be rushed by so many Death Knights that there will either be shortages of other classes to do high end content (25 man DK raid anyone?), other tank and DPS classes will not be able to find a group since Death Knights will saturate the class market, and many people who have Death Knights as gimmick style characters making it harder for those “seriously” playing with their “serious” characters to obtain DPS and tank loot.
These are serious concerns and Blizzard has addressed it a few times with a simple “we’re sure it won’t be bad”. I’m in the camp that believes in Blizzard but is still a little bit nervous about everything since we won’t know until a good month or two after launch. Knowing how many players react to things is quintessential to understanding where this could go.
Many players will be making Death Knights but those are the same players who have already gone through the first seventy levels at least once if not multiple times. There is only so many times that you can quest through Outland without getting bored of it and the average attention span for such a thing is rather low. There is going to be a ton of Death Knights at launch but after they finish the last quest in the starting area you’ll see that number dwindle quickly. I mean very quickly. Let’s face it. It’s easier to get to 80 from 70 than it is from 55. Sure many will revisit their characters in the name of a “farming character” or “for fun”, but there shouldn’t be an obscene number hitting level 80.
Next up is that if we do reach a point where there is so many Death Knights that the games balance is really messed up then we’ll see it straighten itself out naturally. If the ratio of Death Knights to non-Death Knights reaches a point that there is nothing but Death Knights in looking for group and everyone else is snatched up instantly then you’ll see many people quitting their Death Knights to play their other characters so that they can find groups.
I think that we’re going to see a lot of them, as many Death Knights as there are Rogues and Hunters. They’ll fit in just fine. The only servers that need to worry are the new servers that Blizzard traditionally releases with major content patches and expansions. If we get new servers then I hope they’re Death Knight free… at least for a little while. Otherwise we might see a serious imbalance that doesn’t have an easy fix. Many players love rerolling onto newer servers when they’re released. I’m sure Blizzard will have thought that through.
There is another point I’d like to make. Earlier when I said that there is something for everyone I was telling the truth. You’ve got a lot of things going for the Death Knight. The resource management with runes and runic energy is pretty advanced and can get quite complicated. Ignoring that and just focusing on abilities you’ve got a lot of really cool and exciting things. Lots of depth and a lot of different playstyles are available. However, it’s not going to be for everyone. Many people prefer healing or casting spells from afar and when you break it down the Death Knight is a melee class. So for some the appeal may quickly be lost whenever it’s just not something they’re into.
So in summary those of you concerned with it should not worry so much. MMOGs like WoW have a good history of balancing themselves out and when they can’t then Blizzard can. Personally I’d rather see more than one hero class this expansion (going against the “new classes are evil due to disrupting game balance” policy I have) just so we see variety in the new zerg of characters being made. That and I’d really like to play a Mountain King.
I’d really like to hear your thoughts though. Do you think that the Death Knight is going to overtake all the classes or do you think it’ll remain balanced out? Come to our forums and comment.
Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Ten Ton Hammer network or staff.