Having had a few hours to sleep and then a few more to digest the new information on the Death Knights, I'm finally getting a clearer picture of what the Death Knight will be able to do and how they'll fit into the existing hierarchy of classes, and I have to say, I'm still just as excited. There's a lot of questions that have risen from a lot of corners, but new information has come to light that may answer at least a few of them.
First, let's look at some of the clarifications the CMs have been offering, and clear up some other questions from the comments of this morning's article about how creating a Death Knight will work:
You have to have a character of at least level 55, not exactly level 55, to unlock the Death Knight.
You do not sacrifice a character to make the Death Knight. They will be a completely new level 55 character.
It is one Death Knight per realm, but not per an account. You can have multiple Death Knights on different characters.
The unlock is currently account-wide. You can make your new Death Knight on any server, and on either faction (unless it's a PvP server where you already have characters).
Anti-Magic Tanking and other Death Knight tricks
This is also a good time to link yet another useful Death Knight article, this one by Ten Ton Hammer, which covers another aspect of the Death Knight's role. Just like the Paladin's niche is AE Tanking, the Death Knight's niche will be Anti-magic tanking (which will probably translate well to anti-magic PvPing). Ten Ton Hammer lists a few of their Anti-Magic abilities, as well as clarifying some of the other abilities we've already heard mentioned:
Anti-Magic Shell: This ability uses a rune to surround the Death Knight in a shell that absorbs 75% of the damage from the next incoming spell and converts it to runic power. We've seen similar abilities before from Banshees, so it certainly fits within Scourge lore.
Mind Freeze: All TTH says about this ability is that it interrupts casting, but with a badass name like that, you'd think it'd do more.
Strangulate: One of the Runic Power finishing moves, which drains the Death Knight's Runic Power to silence a target for up to 5 seconds and cause some damage.
Death and Decay: It causes AE Damage, of course, but apparently also has a chance to fear affected targets.
We also learn from the TTH article that raising a Ghoul will last for 2 minutes. No mention if you can raise the same corpse more than once. Despite the two-minute limit, TTH quotes Tom Chilton as saying that he expects Ghouls to be one of the class defining features of the Death Knight, so it sounds like they'll be rather powerful while they're up.
Death Knights: Taking Your Jobs?
But there's two questions that seem to be on everyone's lips right now: Will Death Knights usurp tanking spots, and will Death Knights be overpowered?
On the subject of Death Knights being overpowered, I think Drysc stated it most succinctly in this post. You need to understand two things: First, the presentation on Death Knights given by Tom Chilton and reported on by the gaming media this morning was made about a class that is still very much in the Alpha state. There is a lot of play testing to be done on Death Knights before WoTLK goes live (Hopefully sometime before 2009), and many things could be changed and tweaked before then.
Secondly, We have only thus far seen new talents and skills for the Death Knight class. However, every class will be getting 10 more levels, and new skills and talents to go with them. If Death Knights are getting all these amazing abilities, it stands to reason that other classes will be getting abilities to match.
lt's also understandable that other tank classes are a bit put out by the possibility of Death Knights horning in on their territory. I play a Druid currently, and I already envy Death Knights from what we do know -- and I plan to play one. That said, I wouldn't despair just yet. As I mentioned in the last article, Worldofwar.net has quoted Chilton as saying that they are looking at having all tank classes be able to do more DPS while tanking. You may be a little put out by the thought of a Death Knight tanking alongside a risen Ghoul while putting out mega-damage via stacking Blood Strikes and a few Strangulations on caster trash, but the developers, I think, have given a definite sign that they're not about to neglect the other tanks. I do very much think we'll see enough love for all classes that no-one should feel too left out.
And one final note: Deathchargers are cool and are not lame at all. Ever since I saw Baron Rivendare astride one, I have wanted one, and I cannot wait to get mine when I roll my Death Knight.