Death Knights, Mary Sues, and Hero Classes

92 Night Elf Death Knight
2250
I didn't think much of Death Knights until recently. Firstly, if I had my way, I'd let a vampire turn me in real-life, because I'd go from a perishable aging human to an ultra-powerful (at night) blood drinker who stays out of the sunlight. Because night life is king. And from a story writer's standpoint, I'm a sucker for vampires (no pun intended).

I imagined Kardax like a vampire. Not really the same as the creature from transylvanian myth or whatever. But in the sense that she was a perishable elven being in life and had her share of weaknesses. But when she was made into a Death Knight, those weaknesses were erased, and she became nothing more than a dark warrior who fed on battle as if it were food. Death Knights, to me, are darkly romantic things with more meaning to them than many people give credit for.

She's extremely powerful, but to counterbalance her great power, I try to make her as humble as I can. She religiously serves King Varian with her free will as she served Arthas when she was being controlled (ironic!).

TL;DR -- I used to dislike Death Knights, but I eventually began seeing them in a new dark light. Imagining that I'm in the Warcraft universe, I reached a certain point where I can safely say, I would never !@#$ with a Death Knight.
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I think it would be honestly ridiculous to start death knights at level 1 and I've yet to see anyone say they'd support level one death knights.

Edit:

Also, can I ask just what is it you have against death knights? Considering this is the second topic you've made talking about how they're apparently bad or whatever.

Second? o.o No, this is the first, and the purpose of this thread is to post -everyone's- opinions, good or bad. :P Mine happens to be negative. But I am also open to those that are positive.

And, yes, it -would- be ridiculous for a Death Knight to start at level 1, as newly made toons are, for the most part, new to priesthood, or the art of the sword, etc. Death Knights have been fighting for a while. From a lore standpoint, it would be ridiculous.

But, from a gameplay standpoint, it's a class that immediately jumps to level 55 upon creation purely for lore reasons. Yes, you have to reach 55 to make a Death Knight, but not on that Death Knight. It's still 54 levels you don't have to go through.

However, I'm not saying it's going to be changed, or it should be changed. Rather, it should -have- been changed. If it's changed right now, many people would get mad, and it would require a hell of a lot of work, much more than is really required for this sort of thing. If they didn't start at level 55 (lore aside), then it would have been much better. Now that they've already been in the game for over two expansion packs, there's really no going back.

And hey, even I sometimes like being able to skip straight to Outland. ;)

12/04/2012 12:51 AMPosted by Kardax
TL;DR -- I used to dislike Death Knights, but I eventually began seeing them in a new dark light. Imagining that I'm in the Warcraft universe, I reached a certain point where I can safely say, I would never !@#$ with a Death Knight.

From a roleplaying standpoint, this is kind of the problem I have. Just as (many, not all!) blood elves are Mary Sues because they're beautiful and good with evil magic -and- good magic (fel and light), new roleplayers that don't have much experience make a blood elf and try to RP themselves as a Mary Sue. Conversely, not a lot of new players RP dwarves because "Eew, they're fat and drunk and ugly!" Dwarves are actually a hardy race with a rich history that can actually be quite fun to RP. And they're drunk!

Death Knights are powerful, necrotic anti-heroes that fight to redeem themselves in the eyes of their kingdom. That's a pretty romanticized backstory. As what's been covered before, it's easy to make a Mary Sue Death Knight because they're more or less Mary Sues lore-wise. It's up to the player to avoid the Mary Sueisms in their DK, and new players that don't know what a Mary Sue is can't do anything to prevent it since they don't know what to avoid.

I'm kind of beating a dead horse and I should really get off the soapbox, but, yeah, there -are- plenty of -good- DK RPers out there. I'm gonna stop here, now. ._.
Edited by Máirin on 12/4/2012 1:51 PM PST
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I like Death Knights for their lore, and if RPed right they can be cool. I do see the OP's point in a small degree. I honestly think it would have been cooler if the death knight class became more of a Prestige Class then a hero class meaning if you wanted to go that route after leveling through 55 levels you could choose to start a quest from a quest giver...in that quest it could lead to your ultimate demise, and then you could be reborn as a DK.
In all honesty with the Lich King now dead, and the lore kind of having a weird time loop in it game mechanics wise. I think giving the Ebon Hands a new enemy to face, that is currently alive. Transitioning to this sort of unlocking the DK/questline could be really cool, but again I agree with the OP. Too many people especially non-RPers would probably complain.
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90 Undead Death Knight
9055
12/01/2012 10:08 AMPosted by Araiae
i suppose i could have rolled a forsaken, but this character's supposed to be my belf paladin's sister, so that didn't make much sense


Actually, it is/was possible for you to do this lore wise. Granted more and more people are realizing this now. It is possible to roleplay a Blood Elf Forsaken. Let us not forget that there very well could have been elves around lordaeron when the scourge attacked. At that time they served as mages and healers in The Alliance.

Imo, I don't see the Scourge going: "Oh hell, a elf corpse. We'll leave it to the buzzards, we don't want to look like a bunch of puds."

They would have taken it anyways. :D
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90 Blood Elf Death Knight
9150
Blizzard has given DKs a lot of lore hurdles to jump. For instance, they say that we're supposed to be void of major emotion, yet Thassarian shows clear love for his sister and his friend Koltira. It'd be nice if Blizzard would be more specific on how much emotion/power DKs really have. There's tons of holes in the death knight lore which makes it more difficult to RP than, say, a warrior or mage.
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90 Goblin Death Knight
17905
I absolutely _love_ how a death knight plays, especially Frost Dk. It feels like the rotation / priority system is always evolving as we discover different stuff. When master frost was first brought up as something viable, most DKs thought it was crap. It's now evolved to being the best Rotation for the frost spec. So much has changed in a year :D
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94 Human Death Knight
9550
I have no idea why people keep comparing vampires to death knights. The only thing they have in common is that they are more or less undead.
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90 Goblin Shaman
10205
12/04/2012 06:19 PMPosted by Aethun
Blizzard has given DKs a lot of lore hurdles to jump. For instance, they say that we're supposed to be void of major emotion, yet Thassarian shows clear love for his sister and his friend Koltira. It'd be nice if Blizzard would be more specific on how much emotion/power DKs really have. There's tons of holes in the death knight lore which makes it more difficult to RP than, say, a warrior or mage.


Honestly I see it as the same with forsaken, along the lines of "It's more difficult to focus on positive emotions or they were conditioned to dwell on the negative". Another possibility is remembering past connections/love/friendship/loyalty. With main Blizzard dks especially, I'd imagine it's hard for them to create a sympathetic/interesting character who's also a near blank emotional slate of angst/rage/etc.
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I absolutely love DKs. I love how they play and I love their starting zone. I love their lore -- holes and all.

I started WoW literally right before WotLK released. I didn't have anywhere near a level 55 character yet, since I had barely been playing and had no clue what I was doing. I remember being so excited to just REACH that goal of level 55 so I could try one. It felt like an accomplishment and that I had earned my right to play one. Two more expansions later I'm sure not as many people, except for some newbies, feel that way. Maybe they never did, but I did. That's why I like them starting out at 55, personally.

Looking at it now and reading the thread I think it would be really cool to start off as a "different class" at level 1 and evolve into a DK.

However, even if the powers aren't "death themed" I can see the game play mechanics of that becoming problematic itself, just like it's slightly problematic having to learn a class starting out at 55. From a lore aspect, however, starting off at 55 completely makes sense to me.

You're being "reborn" in a sense, but with more power than you had prior. You're fresh off the slab, game play wise. It would be confusing and it WOULD be new because it's like you're being born but with an adult body and mind and this crazy guy telling you to kill everything and your arm is probably not yours who the hells arm does this belong to. I think starting off at 55, with no practice in the class, adds to that aspect.. at least character wise for me.

Also I think people are sometimes way too worried about being a Mary-sue that different problems arise. Depending on what angle you take, just about any class/race in WoW could potentially be filled with classic Mary-suisms.

I also find it very interesting how many people point that majority of DK roleplayers are Mary-sues, godmodders, or the like. (This can obviously be applied to other races, you know which ones, but that isn't the topic.) However, I've seen MORE than my fair share of other classes/races displaying the exact same qualities. I think stigmas for certain classes/races, just like IRL, can cause biased opinions on them even if the rest are just as guilty.
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90 Human Warlock
11575
12/05/2012 07:02 AMPosted by Kalad
I have no idea why people keep comparing vampires to death knights. The only thing they have in common is that they are more or less undead.


Blood death knights have a lot of vampiric qualities as far as blood is concerned, even in the names of a few of their spells.

Death knights are also driven by their addictions much as vampires are, though while vampires drink blood, Death Knights need sadism and death, which blood is just a side-effect of the latter (and the former if the victim is unlucky).

12/05/2012 07:55 AMPosted by Twig
I also find it very interesting how many people point that majority of DK roleplayers are Mary-sues, godmodders, or the like. (This can obviously be applied to other races, you know which ones, but that isn't the topic.) However, I've seen MORE than my fair share of other classes/races displaying the exact same qualities. I think stigmas for certain classes/races, just like IRL, can cause biased opinions on them even if the rest are just as guilty.


It's the same issue I find a lot of people have with warlocks; "dark" classes tend to draw in people who think that because they're bad and evil is cool, they can go around doing what they want without any restraints, as well as younger players drawn in for pretty much the same reason, so (Mental) age factors as well. It's also hard to break away from being "dark" because that's your class' hat, finding an optomistic Death Knight makes people cringe because of how improbable it is. Same for a seasoned warlock who's buddy buddy with their demons and flowers and butterflies to everyone else.

I may be using the term wrong, but I believe it's Catch 22? Basically people think death knights are prone to Mary-Suedom because they're dark and edgy and that attracts the wrong people, and the death knights who try to not be dark and edgy are condemned as sues for entirely different reasons. And that's why I love playing this class, and praise people who roleplay them well more than I'd praise someone who RPs other classes well, it's a great challenge.

I think I forgot where I was going with that halfway into that rant, hopefully my point is coherent enough.
Edited by Reshuv on 12/5/2012 8:43 AM PST
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90 Undead Rogue
8300
12/05/2012 07:02 AMPosted by Kalad
I have no idea why people keep comparing vampires to death knights. The only thing they have in common is that they are more or less undead.


Free-willed, intelligent undead that are metaphysically addicted to a substance - a conceptual one, in this case - that can only be derived from the suffering of others?

A group of the above that are often played as unrepentant monsters, tortured, penitent romantics, or antiheroes fighting for a cause that does not quite trust them?

I'm not sure how they're not vampires. They have all of the same thematic qualities, and they're played in the same way. They're discussed in the same way - witness the person earlier in this thread talking about vulnerabilities - and they're often sexualized in the same manner as vampires. Nobody talks about whether zombies can get pregnant or not, yet we have threads about the possibility of DK sex and pregnancy every few weeks to a few months or so.

Now to be clear, there are lots of things that are vampiric, but are not vampires. For me, the fact that they are undead and that their need for suffering is metaphysical rather than psychological is the tipping point. Otherwise I would agree with you.
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Reshuv:

You were totally coherent! I get what you're saying, which actually explained on my

12/05/2012 07:55 AMPosted by Twig
I think stigmas for certain classes/races, just like IRL, can cause biased opinions on them even if the rest are just as guilty.


better than I had or at least expanded on it. I think the same reason you stated keeps many wonderful roleplayers from giving those classes/races a chance, even if they find them interesting or potentially fun to play.

As a side note, you reminded me that I should make a character and roll a Warlock.
Edited by Twig on 12/5/2012 8:47 AM PST
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94 Human Death Knight
9550
I have no idea why people keep comparing vampires to death knights. The only thing they have in common is that they are more or less undead.


Blood death knights have a lot of vampiric qualities as far as blood is concerned, even in the names of a few of their spells.

Death knights are also driven by their addictions much as vampires are, though while vampires drink blood, Death Knights need sadism and death, which blood is just a side-effect of the latter (and the former if the victim is unlucky).


And that's where it ends. Blood death knights probably have so many blood skills cause LK may have based their powers on the san'layn. But it seem people draw a direct link to vampires. Wow already have vampires, which are the san'layn.

I have no idea why people keep comparing vampires to death knights. The only thing they have in common is that they are more or less undead.


Free-willed, intelligent undead that are metaphysically addicted to a substance - a conceptual one, in this case - that can only be derived from the suffering of others?

A group of the above that are often played as unrepentant monsters, tortured, penitent romantics, or antiheroes fighting for a cause that does not quite trust them?

I'm not sure how they're not vampires. They have all of the same thematic qualities, and they're played in the same way. They're discussed in the same way - witness the person earlier in this thread talking about vulnerabilities - and they're often sexualized in the same manner as vampires. Nobody talks about whether zombies can get pregnant or not, yet we have threads about the possibility of DK sex and pregnancy every few weeks to a few months or so.

Now to be clear, there are lots of things that are vampiric, but are not vampires. For me, the fact that they are undead and that their need for suffering is metaphysical rather than psychological is the tipping point. Otherwise I would agree with you.


They have a similar concept, but a entirely different execution. WoW already has the san'layn for vampires. The DKS don't NEED suffering and pain as the vampires need blood to survive. The thing is, they go crazy otherwise. Death knights can't turn other people in death knights, they aren't weakened by classic vampire weakness (except holy magic pretty much.)

They are only sexualized due to mary sueism of the roleplayers. Vampires, with few exceptions, are known to maintain a near identical appearance to the living. Most death knights differ greatly from the living. Battle scars, glowing blue eyes. Vampires only need to be bitten to turn into vampires, DKs (in most cases) need to be killed. And being killed is hardly a clean job.
Edited by Kalad on 12/5/2012 9:00 AM PST
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90 Undead Rogue
8300

They have a similar concept, but a entirely different execution. WoW already has the san'layn for vampires. The DKS don't NEED suffering and pain as the vampires need blood to survive. The thing is, they go crazy otherwise. Death knights can't turn other people in death knights, they aren't weakened by classic vampire weakness (except holy magic pretty much.)

They are only sexualized due to mary sueism of the roleplayers. Vampires, with few exceptions, are known to maintain a near identical appearance to the living. Most death knights differ greatly from the living. Battle scars, glowing blue eyes. Vampires only need to be bitten to turn into vampires, DKs (in most cases) need to be killed. And being killed is hardly a clean job.


The extent to which vampires require blood to survive varies upon the depiction of the vampire. Sometimes it is a quite literal feed-or-die motif, and sometimes it drives them to the point of madness, as is the case with DKs. It's not quite set in stone. And while the San'layn do exist, this does not contradict the very heavily vampiric qualities of the DKs.

I'll grant that they're not sexualized in-text, but I think that the response of players to a given undead creature is important in determining its nature. Sexualization could occur for any number of the undead species in WoW. It specifically occurs to the san'layn, who are explicitly vampires, and the Death Knights, who are vampires in all but name. That's telling of quite a bit more than straightforward "mary sueism," given that sexuality is a very common conceit in vampire fiction.

You will also want to qualify that "few exceptions" material. There are quite a bit more than a few, and some of them are very high profile. This is especially true of texts that portray vampires as monsters.

How a vampire is turned into a vampire likewise varies with each particular iteration. I didn't address these points in my earlier post precisely because there is so much variation. Depending on the text, biting may not do it, nor may killing. In some cases, the creation of a vampire is a highly ritualized act with a lot of different elements. It can be as much a conscious act of creation as is the creation of a DK.

I'm not doubting that the san'layn are vampires, to be clear. I am saying that so are the death knights, but of a different, more brutal variety in-text.
Edited by Areng on 12/5/2012 9:46 AM PST
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90 Human Warlock
11575
12/05/2012 09:45 AMPosted by Areng
I'm not doubting that the san'layn are vampires, to be clear. I am saying that so are the death knights, but of a different, more brutal variety in-text.


You know, Legacy of Kain comes to mind in that regard

Kain was a sadistic sociopath and an obvious vampire (unless using his disguise power), and he was never concerned about how he would kill, at times even taking great delight in doing so with as much cruelty as possible, not to mention he was never sexualized at all.
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90 Pandaren Priest
13650
I think it would be honestly ridiculous to start death knights at level 1 and I've yet to see anyone say they'd support level one death knights.

Edit:

Also, can I ask just what is it you have against death knights? Considering this is the second topic you've made talking about how they're apparently bad or whatever.

Second? o.o No, this is the first, and the purpose of this thread is to post -everyone's- opinions, good or bad. :P Mine happens to be negative. But I am also open to those that are positive.


http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/5793970172

just putting that out there
Edited by Raisheal on 12/5/2012 12:08 PM PST
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90 Human Paladin
7705
Vampires in literature, still follow in Dracula's footsteps, in that they are creatures of seduction. They are beautiful, ensorcelling, and deadly predators. Their courtships and dalliances are either the death or conversion of those they vie upon. They are parodies of humanity and society, because these things are deprived of them by merit of being a Vampire. They are chaotic and rebellious to norms, and cursed to be alone -- this is why they are darkly romanticized. Along with their tenancies to seduce their prey, this why they are sexualized.

Death Knights are undead. They have been stripped of mortality -- all the joys and sorrows heir to that as well. Redemption and atonement are an inherent part of their story, as it is innate to their lore that they were monsters. Some will blow this out of proportion, identify them with the same presentation as a Vampire (perhaps without making this connection), make them "beautiful" (despite being rather quite dead), and try to incorporate that idea of seduction into the character. They romanticize, and in some cases sexualize it, drawing upon the forms mentioned above.

I rather disagree with this approach to their story.

Death Knights are sometimes looked upon as outcasts, but they are a collective outcast that in Rp, tries to integrate with society and millitary. They are not chaotic and rebellious -- such things are strongly associated with individuality -- Death Knights were anything but individual. Acherus was an army. Every Death Knight was just another Death Knight, despite a modicum of free will. This freedom was kept in check by a suppression of identity, and a need to inflict pain and suffering.

This was not a passionate thing. They went out and they slaughtered people. Sating their hunger requires the suffering of another, but unlike a Vampire there is hardly such intimacy with the victim.

Acherus' story is capable of standing on it's own -- Even from the Forsaken. Certainly, from Vampires.

I have seen romance stories done well with Death Knights, but it is not because this is a part of being a Death Knight, it is a part of being mortal -- Something they might long to experience, but it must be acknowledged that that they are not.
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90 Undead Rogue
8300
Vampires in literature, still follow in Dracula's footsteps, in that they are creatures of seduction. They are beautiful, ensorcelling, and deadly predators. Their courtships and dalliances are either the death or conversion of those they vie upon. They are parodies of humanity and society, because these things are deprived of them by merit of being a Vampire. They are chaotic and rebellious to norms, and cursed to be alone -- this is why they are darkly romanticized. Along with their tenancies to seduce their prey, this why they are sexualized.


To be clear, Dracula as seductive is a more contemporary rereading of the character. The initial reception of the text placed the character in a more fearful light; he did not seduce so much as %*!%#!#%. He was a threat not because he was compelling, but because he could force. There has also been a strong undercurrent of the predatory and brutal in vampire fiction, predating Dracula with characters like Varney and continuing on into the modern day, with a monstrous, savage vampire acting as a counterpoint to the seductive variety. See, for example, 30 Days of Night or the Necroscope series. It has never been so strong a trend that it has overtaken the view of the vampire as seductive, but it is a significant one nevertheless.

As for parody, what were Death Knights if not parodies of the heroic members of living Azeroth societies? Paladins in particular, to which Death Knights served as a sort of dark mirror, and the two were strongly emphasized as contrasting each other throughout Wrath.

Death Knights are undead. They have been stripped of mortality -- all the joys and sorrows heir to that as well. Redemption and atonement are an inherent part of their story, as it is innate to their lore that they were monsters. Some will blow this out of proportion, identify them with the same presentation as a Vampire (perhaps without making this connection), make them "beautiful" (despite being rather quite dead), and try to incorporate that idea of seduction into the character. They romanticize, and in some cases sexualize it, drawing upon the forms mentioned above.

I rather disagree with this approach to their story.


This is fuzzier. How much they have been stripped of all mortality depends on how much weight you give to the behavior of signature Death Knights like Thassarian and Koltiras. That argument has been restated into undeath itself, so I don't feel it bears repeating.

Death Knights are sometimes looked upon as outcasts, but they are a collective outcast that in Rp, tries to integrate with society and millitary. They are not chaotic and rebellious -- such things are strongly associated with individuality -- Death Knights were anything but individual. Acherus was an army. Every Death Knight was just another Death Knight, despite a modicum of free will. This freedom was kept in check by a suppression of identity, and a need to inflict pain and suffering.


Likewise there is sufficient evidence during the Death Knight questlines of a sense of humanity and individuality struggling against that loss of individuality. Such a struggle in the face of an all-imposing order is also a pretty strong indication of rebellion and chaos within a system. It need not be all-encompassing to be there.
Edited by Areng on 12/5/2012 1:09 PM PST
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100 Human Paladin
13130
Back in my day death knights were orc souls forced into human knight bodies.

/caneshake
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90 Undead Rogue
8300
Back in my day death knights were orc souls forced into human knight bodies.

/caneshake


You're out of touch with the new music, grandparent.
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