When the character is first created, you must do a series of quests. By doing these quests, you will learn how to bend the power of the Death Knight to your own will, and after you have mastered that, you are then capable of going to any other area.
Unlocking the Death Knight
As of December 2014, creating a Death Knight no longer requires an existing 55+ character.
Previous information also says that death knights could not be created on newly formed realms until incoming character transfers were allowed to that realm, unless the account has a character which has leveled up to 55 on that particular realm (and it also must be on the same World of Warcraft account, not just on the same Battle.net account).
Creating the Death Knight
- Main article: Death knight quests
Almost every race is available for the death knight, the exception being the Pandaren. When created, the death knight begins at level 55 with uncommon item level 60 gear, 20, as well as a few spells and abilities already learned. Death Knights start without any talent points, and gain their missing 25 talent points through the quest chain. As any other class starting out, there is a beginning series of quests that bring the character into the game. Their first sword is the , awarded for completing the second quest in the In Service Of The Lich King quest chain.
Unlike other classes, Death knights start without a Hearthstone (you will have a Hearthstone set for the instanced introductory quest line, but it will disappear after you end it by traveling to Stormwind). However simply setting any inn to be your home will add a Hearthstone to your inventory.
For the actual quest chain, visit Death knight quests.
There are options for the cape:
And options for the weapon:
Choices to Make for Your Death Knight
Many players like to choose the race with the 'best' traits and abilities for their class. Here is a brief overview of how the racials look from a death knight's perspective.
- Human: Higher reputation gains. Able to remove snares and crowd control effects from self. Expertise with swords and maces. Better stealth detection.
- Dwarf: Can remove bleed, disease and poison effects while briefly increasing armor (and attack power, with Bladed Armor talent). Expertise with maces. Small chance to avoid frost spells.
- Night Elf: Able to vanish if things are going badly. Less delay from dying. Chance to avoid melee and ranged attacks as well as nature spells, useful for tanking.
- Gnome: Able to remove snare and root effects from self. Small chance to avoid arcane spells. Bonus to Engineering skill.
- Draenei: Increased chance to hit. Able to heal self and others. Small chance to avoid shadow spells. Bonus to Jewelcrafting skill.
- Worgen: Able to increase running speed for a short time. Reduction of time from curses and diseases. Increased Critical strike. Bonus to Skinning skill. Starts with a "mount". (Cataclysm)
Night Elves and Draenei bring the best abilities for PvE solo play and leveling, because they allow you to escape or heal, respectively. Nature and especially Shadow damage are both common, making those resistances quite useful. The increased dodge or hit rating are both useful in end game play.
In PvP, all races have useful abilities, especially those who can escape snares and the like.
- Orc: Able to increase attack power. Expertise with axes. Stronger minions. Shorter duration on stuns.
- Undead: Able to remove fear, sleep and charm effects. Better post-combat self healing when fighting humanoids or undead. Small chance to avoid shadow spells.
- Tauren: Able to stun nearby enemies. Larger health pool. Small chance to avoid nature spells. Bonus to Herbalism skill.
- Troll: Able to increase haste. Shorter duration on snares. More damage versus beasts. Faster health regeneration (a minor benefit due to all your life stealing and self heal effects).
- Blood Elf: Able to silence nearby enemies and gain runic power from it. Small chance to avoid all spells. Bonus to Enchanting skill
- Goblin: Always able to buy items at lowest price. Starts with a damaging ability and a movement ability. Has a Mobile bank. Bonus to Alchemy skill. (Cataclysm)
Horde race traits are very balanced throughout the bank. Trolls are arguably the weakest, because you can heal quite well on your own already, and beasts are not that common an enemy (and often not as annoying as humanoids, who are often casters or have silencing abilities).
In the end, race is a rather minor consideration. If you're min-maxing, Orcs are the strongest Horde race for DPS and Tauren the strongest for tanking. For the alliance, Night Elves are the best tanks and Humans the best DPS. But go with whatever race you feel like, whether for its racials, its looks, its personality and flavor, or any other reason you can think of.
Death knights start with their professions at one point and it can be tedious to build them up. However, if you are willing to do so you can reap the benefits of whatever professions you choose.
- Herbalism: Lifeblood furthers self healing (nice while leveling, useless in endgame). Fuels alchemy and inscription.
- Mining: Toughness +60 stamina. As good as any other profession for tanking; useless for DPS. Fuels blacksmithing, engineering, and jewelcrafting.
- Skinning: Master of Anatomy increases crit rating (okay for DPS, bad for tanking). Fuels leatherworking.
- Alchemy: You can make your own potions and elixirs, made even better for you through mixology. This profession has a good level of demand since most of its products are consumable and the buffs stack with magic and well fed effects. Mixology bonus is equivalent to the bonuses from the other professions.
- Blacksmithing: Being able to make plate armor and melee weapons should appeal to a heavy melee class. Unique gem sockets in gloves and bracers; allowing for a good deal of customization.
- Enchanting: Convenient enchantments should appeal to any class. Never enchant your weapon, runeforging is strictly superior. Enchanter-only ring attacks (+60 stamina or +80 attack power). Often overlooked, Enchanting also serves as a gathering skill through Disenchanting (disenchanting unwanted and obsolete gear, and most uncommon BoE loot is superior to vendoring or auctioning it; Enchanting materials do not incur an AH fee and usually sell for a lot more than respective uncommon items). It's also very useful on guild runs, because you can disenchant those BoP drops that nobody needs -- which happens very often.
- Engineering: A vast array of gimmicks. Choice between engineer-only armor boost to gloves (excellent for tanking) and an on-use haste boost (decent for DPS).
- Inscription: Gives you a convenient source of glyphs and scrolls, along with shoulder enhancements at high levels. Saves you having to do a shoulder enchant reputation grind. The itemization on the shoulder enhancements is less than ideal, but not terrible.
- Jewelcrafting: Convenient gems are good, and there are some rings, necklaces and trinkets that a death knight might like. Special JC-only gems, giving a customizable bonus to anything.
- Leatherworking: None of the BoEs will do you any good, but you get a nice stamina or AP boost to bracers, and cheap leg enhancers.
- Tailoring: This offers you bags and clothes for role-playing, and a marginally useful DPS cloak enchancer.
- Cooking: Well fed buffs are nice. Work on it if you like. Get some achievements while you're at it.
- First Aid: Death knights do have self healing, but it's limited, so keep your first aid skill up. Conveniently, you start with 270 first aid and the ability to make heavy runecloth bandages.
- Fishing: It's slow to level up, but it makes cooking and some primary professions easier, and there are achievements to be had. Remember that you don't have to go to starter areas to level it anymore.
Blizzard regarding the death knight creation
Bornakk, a CM on the US forums, wrote:
- The idea is that a character goes to become a Death Knight, is trained as a Death Knight, but then realizes they don't want to go through with the evil acts that they are instructed to perform. So the character finds a new Alliance or Horde home who accepts them as a necessary evil (like warlocks) to help them fight their enemies.
- BlizzCon happened at the beginning of August and the story continues to be worked on so things could change quite a bit from now until the Death Knights are implemented. Details on this and many other things will become available as we get closer to launching Wrath of the Lich King.
The idea seems to be a bit differed, as the Death Knight doesn't just realize on his/her own that he/she doesn't want to go through the evil acts, but is fighting for the Scourge unwillingly and the Lich King reveals that their life is meaningless, and during the time, most of the Death Knights (except for Orbaz Bloodbane, who flees) regain their will from their life.
- It is stated in-game by Master Siegesmith Corvus that he forged the Questline complete gear.