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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

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WoW: Death Knight Q&A
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has posted a lengthy Q&A with Ghostcrawler and the World of Warcraft Development Team. The discussion focuses on the Death Knight Hero class in the popular MMORPG, with topics ranging from the Death Knight's unique abilities to future plans for the class.

What is it that makes them unique compared to all other classes?
Ghostcrawler: Their resource system is very unique. It is impossible for death knights to ever run out of resources. Any kind of benefit that makes rune-based abilities cheaper or finish their cooldowns faster are generally useless to a death knight. In fact, the whole rotation risked being very regular and even boring until we came up with a strong role for the Death Runes.
The death knight can do excellent melee damage, but also better ranged damage than most melee classes, and all three specs deal a large amount of non-physical damage.
Death knights also have a lot of abilities with medium-length cooldowns. This means they can be used multiple times per fight, but arenít always there exactly when needed. A lot of the skill involved in playing a death knight, whether for PvP, tanking, or doing raid dps, involves using these at the right time.
Death knights also hybridize into a lot of different directions. What I mean is that they have surprisingly high area damage for a predominantly melee class. They have a pet. They have interrupts, (reverse) gap-closers, and strong snares. They are very well-rounded, which has been the cause of many of the balance problems weíve had with them in PvP.
Death knights donít have a dedicated tanking tree. Blood, Frost or Unholy death knight tanks are all viable, and each one can be slightly more useful depending on the boss encounter.
And then there is the obvious: they start at high level, showered in blue gear and even a mount. They have some of the best quests in the entire game in their start zone, and their identity is stitched heavily into the story of Northrend and the Lich King specifically.

What are our current thoughts on the status of death knight tanks and do we have plans for further changes?
Ghostcrawler: Almost all of the top raiding guilds considered the death knight to be overpowered as a tank and the only real option for many of the Ulduar hard modes. While the community isnít always right about everything, they are right a lot, and in this case we think the evidence is overwhelming. We wanted to make the cooldowns the unique part of death knight tanking, and we havenít given up on that design, but it has also turned out that having lots of powerful cooldowns is just an extremely potent way to tank. Many of the Naxx and Ulduar bosses were dangerous from predictable blasts of damage on cooldowns longer than the death knight ones. Plus the cooldowns could be used to survive just a bit longer. When the other tanks could survive two hits, the death knight could survive three. Itís entirely possible youíll see Icebound Fortitude on a two-minute timer in the 3.2 patch. I want to reiterate though that our vision hasnít changed -- we still want death knights to be able to tank every encounter. Rather than posting in the forums that you are now doomed and will have to reroll, help us get the death knights in a place where they are an attractive option but not the clear best option on most fights.

Read the rest of the article at the page linked below.

WoW: Death Knight Q&A
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