Now that Wrath of the Lich King and its first hero class is in the works, I've been thinking on the shifts the paladin has made in Warcraft of late. I'm not so much talking about how the class plays, but more what the class is about, its roots and changing story. Originally paladins are the holy warriors of Azeroth, wielding the power of the light of some divine entity, able to heal and to harm with its touch.

When The Burning Crusade was released, the paladin class was added to the Horde faction, and we learned that this type of Paladin was a very different breed. The Blood Elf pally was a warrior who drew on the light as well, but funneled from a holy being. This parasitic nature of the paladin was definitely a dark twist on what was considered a decidedly good-goody class. Now the paladin was sucking the power they used from a captive Naaru.
Darker still is the Death Knight, who despite being a separate class still maintains several similarities to the paladin. The Death Knight is a caster warrior as well, although their energy is derived through necromancy. With the specific source of their power still unclear (Metzen is still working on that one), but they are definitely drawing upon the darker forces of Azeroth to perform their spells.

Many questions are raised when you think about the dramatic changes to the paladin and his/her belief system that have been set in motion. You personally might not see any connection between the paladin and the Death Knight. But from what I saw from the video we were shown at BlizzCon, it appears to me as if the Death Knight is a paladin corrupted by darkness and evil; in essence, the anti-paladin. Is it strange, therefore, that the hero class for a holy warrior be dealing in the powers that control death itself?

This article was originally published on WoW Insider.

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