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WoW Classic's Wrath of the Lich King will let you play as a Death Knight from the off

WoW: Wrath of the Lich King Classic
(Image credit: Blizzard)
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The Wrath of the Lich King will soon be launching for World of Warcraft Classic, which is a big deal because this expansion arguably marked WoW's greatest era (opens in new tab). Blizzard has previously said that, with this expansion, the studio would be moving away from the 'no changes' principle WoW Classic had initially begun with towards 'some changes' in the best interests of players and with hindsight.

Today it's announced one of them. At its original launch one of Wrath of the Lich King's big selling points was the Death Knight class, the unliving slaves of Arthas. Death Knights used to require that you had one level 55 character on the server before you could become one. WoW Classic's WotLK will not have this requirement. This means you can create a Death Knight that starts at level 55 (opens in new tab) and skip an enormous chunk of the Classic levelling process, which some players regard as unbearably slow.

You'll still have to have finished the Burning Crusade expansion, mind, but this change means you can launch into one of the most popular expansions in WoW's history as the best class from the off.

Blizzard is engaged in a fine balancing act of trying to keep WotLK as what people remember and want back, while also tweaking the things that might annoy folk in 2022. Here's how it explains the 'some changes' stuff (opens in new tab), and here's everything else we know about how the studio is bringing back one of WoW's greatest eras.

Death Knights, though. They're the best, and have my favourite piece of cheesy flavour text in the whole World of Warcraft:

"A hero, that's what you once were. You stood boldly against the shadow and purchased another dawn for the world... with your life. But the evil you fought is not so easily banished; the victory you claimed, not so easily held. For now, the specter of death looms over the world yet again and it has found new champions to bring about its final reign. Knights of darkness, wielding runes of death and destruction, bound by the will of the Lich King. This is the hour of their ascension. This is the hour of your dark rebirth…"

Wrath of the Lich King's release has not yet been dated, but it's being tested so shouldn't be too far away. The original release date was November 13, 2008, and Blizzard may well be planning to align with that.

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."