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WoW: Death Knight Starting Area Preview

Updated Thu, Aug 14, 2008 by Xerin

All Death Knights begin the game in the Eastern Plaguelands in an instanced area that isn’t connected to the rest of Azeroth. They train to become a Death Knight by gaining their sword, their abilities, and their rank through a series of quests before they’re sent out into the world… slightly reformed.

The main NEW area of the Death Knight starting area is called “Archerus: The Ebon Hold”. This is a floating necropolis where all of the new Death Knights begin their journey. Specifically, if we were to name a location, it would be at the top where the Lich King stands. The other “new” area in the instanced portion of Eastern Plaguelands is called the “Scarlet Enclave” which contains the outdoor area

The Lich King and his ever
watchful guards stand close. These
eyes are used in a later quest.

When you first start you’re basically standing toe to toe with the big man. The Lich King, formerly known as Prince Arthas (and if lore is to hold, you’ve also got a mix of Ner’zhul in there), stands ready to welcome you into the dark side. He kicks things out off by instructing you to go meet Instructor Razuvious (one of the bosses from the old Naxxramas). From there you’ll make yourself your own runeblade. Afterwards you return to the Lich King who allows you to use the “The Eye of Acherus” to look at the Scarlet Crusade’s city of New Avalon and analyze it for the upcoming attack.

The neat thing about this quest is that you basically take control of an Eye of Kilrogg to go and assault the city of New Avalon. You click on the eye which then flies to New Avalon and once you’ve gained control you can basically fly around summoning ghouls on the Scarlet Crusade while you use it’s “siphon” ability on the various (marked) targets. It’s a pretty awesome sight to fly about and summon ghouls on unsuspecting members of the Scarlet Crusade.

Afterwards you go and meet Highlord Darion Mograine who sends you outside of the Necropolis and into the actual world. It’s here that you’ll begin actual combat. Prince Valanar will meet with you and assign you a quest to kill ten Scarlet Crusaders and ten Citizens of Havenshire. This quest is full of depth and really helps the storyline for your Death Knight move forward. The Scarlet Crusaders are your standard enemy combatants that are fully armed and ready to fight. The Citizens of Havenshire are not. They’re non-combatants working peacefully within Havenshire. Some will not even fight back! They’ll fall to the ground begging you to stay your blade.

The neat thing about the entire quest is that the Lich King will whisper you telling you to continue while you’re slaying helpless non-combatants. This really adds to the atmosphere as you realize you’re slaying innocents (something that most quests in the game never ever touch) and that it’s the wrong thing to do.

Around the same time you’ll be given a few more quests. One that is really interactive is Grand Theft Palomino. There is a stable where you can mount horses directly (by right clicking on them) to steal them and ride them back to the encampment. There you’re sent into a shadow realm where you have to fight the Dark Rider of Acherus, slay him, then steal your horse back from him (which has been turned into a deathcharger).

Another quest is named “Tonight We Dine In Havenshire” which is one of the many references to the movie 300 in this instanced section of Eastern Plaguelands. The quest dialogue is rich with even more pop-culture references and the quest kind of opens up a little bit of Northrend knowledge. You need to collect “Saronite” arrows. Saronite is one of the new metals introduced in Northrend and is apparently in short supply at the encampment.

The Lich King whispering to "Finish it." as the Havenshire Citzen pleads for mercy. Notice how the Lich King refers to the citizen as an object. A nice touch.

“Death’s Challenge”, another in the set of starting quests, essentially has you dueling other Death Knights. You need to slay 5 other Death Knights to complete the quest. The neat thing about this quest is that you can duel other players along with various NPCs that are standing about (if dueling other players is too much for you). It’s a cool game mechanic that enables you to test your abilities against other players if you choose. Adding the duelable NPCs is a nice touch to make sure that you keep moving forward in a speedy fashion.

One neat thing about each of these quests is that you’re awarded experience, items (generally blue items at that), and talent points. That’s right! You start with no talent points and slowly gain all 45 points through quests. So you won’t be a super powerful wrecking ball coming out of the character selection screen. You’ll need to quest and earn all of your talent points (making sure none of the content is trivial). This gives you a major sense of progress and allows you to play with your abilities before you start spending any of your precious talent points.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Death Knight starting area then we have a full gallery you might be interested in. Not only that, but stay tuned as we continue our coverage of the starting area for Death Knights as part of our Wrath of the Lich King coverage.


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