Even Death Knights love a squirrel

21st November 2008 – 10.16 am

My Death Knight, Gnomesblight, has escaped from the control of the Lich King. The introduction to the Lich King and the Ebon Hold is a fascinating, immersive experience that uses instanced world regions to show the passage of time to great effect, enabling a full story to be told about your character as a heroic personality. Once out of the grip of the Lich King and in to Stormwind my concerns about Death Knights not appearing quite as evil as their image suggests are realised.

Despite being granted an initial high-level of skill with first aid and riding the Death Knight starts with no other professions, having to learn them from scratch. I don't think I missed a step that granted automatic skill increases as there were other Death Knights standing around the forge and anvil banging out copper bars and low-quality pieces of armour with me. It's not terribly evil or impressive to be killing 5th level kobolds to be able to mine copper. However, considering the tale of the Death Knight being an agent of the Scourge and breaking free to be pardoned and welcomed by the king of Stormwind it could perhaps be seen as a redemptive measure, the opportunity for the Death Knight to show allegiance to the faction through a humble expression of labour.

It is also an odd decision to have 58th level Death Knights effectively forced to run through all the of the low-level regions looking for crafting materials, denying them from any low-level characters who have a more legitimate claim on them. It's not just that the Death Knights can wander through the mobs with impunity but they also have swift steeds to help them race to mineral nodes or herb patches, which must frustrate new players or alts that are trying to gather materials themselves. Perhaps Blizzard is assuming that just about no one is playing low-level characters any more, trying to get at least some use out of all the old regions.

To be fair, it also lends the Death Knights some image of being evil, selfishly grabbing anything they want without regard for the effects of their actions on others. And despite having written that the act of mining is not quite the image I expected the Death Knight to exude doing so in low-level regions actually gives me the feeling of an uncompromisingly vicious character. As I hack away at a mineral vein, if a kobold miner wanders a bit too close to me, even if he is no threat, it takes barely a second to raise my hand and strike him down with my Icy Touch before I casually return to mining.

It finally feels perfectly in character to destroy anyone or anything in my path, whether a threat or not, just because of my background. Mobs will feel my wrath because I feel like exerting it. I need no reason to wreak death and destruction, for I am a Death Knight.

Of course, it is then a shame that some of the achievements aren't removed from the Death Knight characters, as it undermines this evil a little bit. So far I have earned the 'Make Love, Not Warcraft' achievement for hugging an enemy character after death—which I suppose is actually a little morbid and not so bad—and have been running around showing my /love for all the cuddly animals found in the world because of the 'To all the Squirrels I've Loved Before' achievement. It maybe would be better if the achievement were tweaked for Death Knights such that the critters need to be /loved, then squished dead and /laughed at. I should start doing this anyway, I have an image to protect.

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