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Death Knight > WoWNov 10, 2015 1:52 pm CT

WoW Legion Death Knight class preview

With the arrival of Legion we’re seeing tons of class changes to bring each class back in line with what Blizzard sees as the fantasy of each class. This afternoon, we have our first glimpse at what’s coming for Death Knights, and most of the class changes here revolve around a revamped rune system.

While, presently, Death Knights have Blood, Frost, and Unholy runes that are used to power different abilities, in Legion there will only be a single type of rune. Players will have a unified six runes to spend on abilities, with a maximum of three recharging at any one time. Runic power, however, will remain the same.

As you can imagine, this will mix up the gameplay for Death Knights — now let’s dig in and see what the preview had to say about different specs.

Blood

These crimson-soaked knights bend the very rules of mortality to control the frontlines of the battlefield

Blizzard explains that “the core abilities for Blood should be familiar, though we’ve touched them up to bring added clarity to the specialization.” And, indeed, the abilities listed for the spec look very similar, primarily with resource costs change to fit the new rune system. Death Strike will now cost only runic power to prevent players of locking themselves out of healing if they mis-time their rune use. Blizzard is also pushing Bone Shield (rather than Rune Tap) to be the compliment to Death Strike for defense while Blood Strike will generate runic power.

Brand new is Marrowrend, an ability that, for two runes, will deal physical damage and generate 3 charges of Bone Shield. On top of that, talents are getting shaken up, and though Blizzard isn’t giving us a complete look at them just yet they did preview Bonestorm, a channeled ability (costing 15 runic power per second) that does AOE damage to nearby enemies and heals you.

Frost

These death knights are born of frost magic, rime gripping their decaying hearts

Again, most changes to Frost involve tweaks to spell costs due to rune changes. However, Blizzard has changed Killing Machine, which they felt was problematic because players often saw increased damage by ignoring its proc because of the time it took to wait for resources to use Obliterate and Frost Strike to become available — so the passive will now only effect Obliterate.

Unholy

Unholy death knights are vicious melee combatants, capable of unleashing pestilence that would bring their foes to ruin

Unholy is getting more changes than the other specs to refocus it on diseases — because, yes, Blizzard is aware that Festering Strike has “lost its luster.” A number of abilities are being tweaked to push this disease focus, including Outbreak (now applying a shadow damage DOT that spreads Virulent Plague to nearby enemies, which deals yet more shadow damage and erupts when the target dies), Festering Strike (now dealing physical damage and infecting the target with 1 to 3 Festering Wounds, which can be burst by Shadow Strike to deal shadow damage), Death Coil (which now only does damage, but also restores energy to your Ghoul), and Death and Decay (which now also makes Scourge Strike hit all nearby enemies).

You can read the full Death Knight class preview on the WoW official site. You can also read previous class preview blogs here on Blizzard Watch. Today’s class preview release schedule is:

  • 5pm PT: Shaman

After this, we have Warriors, Monks, and Druids tomorrow and Rogues on Thursday. We’ll see you back here with another preview at 5pm Pacific!

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