Updated Wed, May 25, 2011 by DarkFact
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As the Wrath of the Lich King expansion gets closer and closer, you may be deciding whether you want to play the new Death Knight class or not, and if you do, how far you're going to take him/her. Are you going to watch the opening area, are you sticking with it until 60, perhaps taking it across Outland to 70, or making it your new main?
If you're just curious as to how the Death Knight will work or just want to see some new lore, it won't really need much preparation, just have a character in your account at level 55 and you're set. However, for those of us interested in progressing with our Death Knights past Outland and into Northrend, we'll have to take appropiate measures to do so.
In this guide, we will go over just exactly what we should cover in order to begin our adventure as a Death Knight as painlessly as possible, keeping in mind there will be many who won't be as prepared in any aspect.
A new Death Knight
Gold will be one key factor to determine how you get along in Outland and possibly even from the start. From flying mount costs to crafted gear costs and possibly some profession spending, your Death Knight will most likely require you to have a good amount of gold handy. While most would wait until they're of high enough level on their own Death Knights to begin farming and collecting, you may start doing so right now.
It would be ideal to have a good amount of gold for your new Death Knight - Messiah has written an awesome article on this subject that will relate both to your new Death Knight and anyone in particular looking to be ready for Wrath of the Lich King. It is worthy of note that you do not need to stock up on cloth for First Aid.
Depending on your Death Knight's chosen profession, you will need to stock up on either Potions, Armor or Weaponry from other players, spending your valuable money in the process. If you have a good buffer before you even begin, it'll help you that much more to ease into your new character.
One last thing you should keep in mind is that you should stock up on Runecloth if you want to be in good terms with all of your major cities' factions. This gets overlooked often by level 1 characters since you gain reputation with all of your cities and factions quickly as you level, but with a pre-made level 55, you will be friendly at best. If you want all of the perks which include some discounts and some achievements which include being Exalted with all your city factions, then you'll want to have enough Runecloth to turn-in your way to the top.
Another big one for your Death Knight will be equipment. While it's true that you will be given items rivalling level 62-63 gear, eventually you will want to equip better weapons and armor, and as we know the best things are ones obtained through either tradeskills or drops with the desired stats on them.
To this end, I recommend finding plate gear to equip in your mid-60's, especially items like some Fel Iron Set items and some Outland blues that probably don't go as much in your server. Also remembering that you may wield any 1 or 2-hander is a nice plus, since your weapon will likely not last you past level 63. Having some items in your bank or on your current main to support your Death Knight will keep you ahead of the curve, and save you some grief as there may not be many instances to run at Wrath's launch days.
Here's the big one. You start off with a Runecloth bandaging skill as a Death Knight, but you will still need to pick a profession and level it from level 1. This poses a major problem since you will also want your Death Knight to level up as fast as possible to not get left behind on all the Northrend fun. To this end, I recommend grabbing any and all items from your desired profession in advance, be it from the Auction House or gathering them yourself, before you even begin your Death Knight.
It may suck for awhile to gather these ingredients up, be it ore if you intend on going blacksmith or jewelcrafter, herbs if inscriptionist or alchemist, or any combination of them all, but consider that even if you go back to the old zones and level up your gathering profession, you will won't have enough items to level your craft, so gathering items is a good idea.
In addition, you may want to stock up on some low-level meats and cooking materials if you're intending on cooking, at least up to where you may cook fish so you can level your fishing in accordance to it. Northrend's cooking seems to grant major boosts to players so having cooking and fishing up to par will most likely be in your best interests sooner or later.
Death Knights have an easy time in Outland, with the right gear this should persist all across it.
The very last one, yet one of the most important ones, is your current mentality. Do you want this Death Knight as your alt, and hence are using him to level while everyone rushes through Northrend, or your new main character?
If you're thinking about waiting it out for your Death Knight, be it new main or alt, remember you will have an extra help from your level 80 character as soon as you're able to PvP in Wintergrasp - Heirloom Items.
As a small introduction to Heirloom items, they're basically items you may equip at any given time on any character that can wield them, and they will scale their bonuses appropiately to fit that character's level. So you may gift your Death Knight with some heirloom plate and 2-handers, and have an easier time, more focusing on leveling, less time finding upgrades.
As a total sidenote, some of these Heirloom items also provide a 10% experience bonus for monster kills, so if you're undecided or simply think the Death Knight starter zone will be flooded by new up&coming Death Knights, perhaps waiting may not be that an idea afterall.
If you're impatient, however, be prepared to compete for monsters, and if you're in a PvP server, be prepared to fight other Death Knights as soon as you exit your starter zone. While this may not pose much of a problem to some, it may detriment your leveling speed quite a bit if you don't have the patience for these things.
Some of you may be thinking you can just roll a Death Knight, get some starter abilities, then bolt out and finish off your grind to 60 in the Plaguelands or in Winterspring to avoid the inevitable player rush in the Death Knight starter area. This is simply a very bad idea, and it is so because of two reasons:
1. Death Knight quests award abilities and talents. Yes, you heard right, you are given anywhere from 1 to 3 talent points by some quests in the starter zone. You can't just expect to have all 44 talent points available from the get-go, can you? Not only that, your mount also comes from these questlines.
In addition to those, you gain blue-quality items (all of your armor and weapon), plus the Death Knight's PvP-equivalent trinket. In short, you'll want some of these items to ease into the rest of the world faster and not worry about gear, and more importantly, having your talent points.
Going into a major city without having completed the main storyline will have you hated until you do.
2. You won't be accepted into your own Major cities by ANY NPC if you choose to omit your questline and not see it through to the end. You must know how it comes to pass that Death Knights sever from the Lich King and find their own place in World of Warcraft. Only after you complete all the quests and see the events at the end of the Death Knight starter zone will you be sent as an emissary of the Knights of the Ebon Blade to your capital city.
If you don't complete this, you simply can't use your major cities for anything, and every NPC is on Neutral status either cowering or distrusting you and more importantly not talking to you at all, for being member of the Scourge.
In conclusion, if you're aiming to start a Death Knight and take it past the initial area, I recommend you stock up on materials for both your professions and your subsequent levels. It will save you a headache and some AH shopping at possibly overpriced levels if you act now. Conversely, waiting and leveling in Northrend for Heirloom items may not be a bad idea if you think you will have time to spare before you do your activities in Northrend, be it endgame PvE or PvP.
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.