WoW - Wrath of the Lich King - Hands On @ 1UP
Another hands on with the Death Knight class, this one by .
As you may be aware, DKs don't use mana. Many of their spells consume Runes, and they've got two blood, two unholy, and two frost Runes, which refresh on what seems to be a 10-second cooldown. Orginally, the plan was to let players decide how many of each rune type they wanted inscribed on their Runeblades, but that's been ditched due to balance concerns. Then there's the Runic Power bar, which increases as you do damage, much like rage. So far, the only spell I have that uses Runic Power is Death Coil, but with a full bar, I can crank out two of those back-to-back and unload a lot of damage. Finally, DKs also have a system akin to Warrior stances, called Presences. I've only got the Blood Presence right now, which boosts damage and provides some passive healing. I think at level 57, I can learn Frost Presence, which is like an instant tank button: +45% armor (!) and +45% threat.
That's a lot of stuff to keep track of, but in practice it's not too difficult. I usually open up with a Death Grip (especially if I'm worried about adds), then Icy Touch and Plague Strike for the debuffs, then Blood Strike when my Blood Runes refresh or Death Coil. Stuff dies fast. DKs look like they're going to be a monster soloing class, with all kinds of passive healing based on damage inflicted (depending on how you spec, of course) with little downtime, considering you don't have to worry about mana. I haven't done any tanking yet, but Blizzard has said they want all Death Knight talent trees to be viable for tanking, which I was surprised to hear. Looking over the talent trees, it seems like DK tanking is going to be less technical than Warrior tanking, at least pre-Wrath Warrior tanking. And by less technical, I mean easier and (arguably) more fun.
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