Since Wrath of the Lich King released on Thursday, swarms of Death Knights have invaded the Outlands in a mad rush to get to level 80. Due to this, LFG has been flooded with eager undead looking to conquer Burning Crusade instances.

 

So far, I’ve been able to run about seven Hellfire Citadel instances with them and, for the most part, I’m impressed. Now, as a non-DK my impressions may be a little skewed, so if you’ve tried one, feel free to chime in.

 

As a level 58 mage (at the time, 61 now), I was eager to dive into Ramparts and upgrade my gear. So, I joined LFM and, literally, received an invite within a minute I accepted. I was a little surprised to see that the group had three DKs and another mage.

 

“No healer?” I asked.

Don’t worry, we don’t need one”

 

Oh great, wipefest incoming, I thought. Imagine my surprise when we started taking down mobs with ease.

 

We cleared Ramparts quicker than I’d ever done it with a full clear in only 16 minutes. Later in the night, I ran that instance three more times with different groups, one time with a healer, and we didn’t run into trouble once. Blood Furnace was a little tougher. During those three runs, we only had a healer once (a druid with a healing spec and tanking gear – he respecced just for us *warm fuzzy*) and, by pure coincidence, that was the only run where a wipe occurred and it was solely due to a bad pull. Now, seven runs with only one wipe? That’s not bad for a bunch of random PuGs. Does that mean that DK’s are easier to play?

 

Death Knights are great AoE tanks. At no time did I feel concerned that a mob was going to get away. A large part of this was because so many Death Knights were in group and, no matter what spec, they always managed to keep the mob’s attention. In this regard, all Death Knights seem to have the ability to tank or off-tank, which is sure to help the tank situation. Their animations are pretty cool too. It was neat to see so many AoE abilities going off, especially when fights seemed to end with dozens of skeletal arms reaching up from the ground.

 

Out of the seven runs I did, Ramparts and Blood Furnace, they were all filled with DKs. I only managed to pull aggro once out of all of them.

 

On top of that, their ability to pull mobs into melee range allows them to overcome the limitations of other melee tanks. A mob is plinking at you? Death Grip them and burn em down. Their spells hurting a bit too much? Anti-Magic Zone them and problem solved.

 

They also have great survivability. We wouldn’t have been able to make it through five of seven runs without healers if they didn’t. Even if things go bad, DKs can also turn into a zombie to continue doing damage for a short amount of time. They die in short order when they do this but it still allows them to save the group. Very cool.

 

Based upon all this – wait, let me get out my Goggles of Mystic Foresight – I’m going to predict that Death Knight nerfs will be coming pretty quick. Compared to other tank classes, they just seem OP. Paladins, Druids, and Warriors will complain, you can be sure. However, we’ll have to see how things unfold at 80 to get a good impression of where the classes stack up.

 

Now, my impressions are formed based upon grouping with more than one DK. At this stage in Outlands, it’s almost impossible not to. It will be interesting to see how well single DKs hold up in group situations. I can say this much though, this hero class makes a strong addition to the game and, personally, I intend to roll one when I get my mage to 80.

 

*Author’s Note: I do have a level 70 warrior hordeside. I just don’t play him anymore, since that’s where my first bouts with burnout happened.

 

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