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Actually... even the 2nd generation DKs are undead... including Arthas before he became the Lich King.
Edited by Rysill on 2/14/2013 11:58 AM PST
Actually, yes they were. Undeath comes with having your soul's connection to your body severed; such was the case of Arthas and the so-called "second generation".
It's also been stated that (at least the corporeal) undead are weak to Light specifically because the magic that reanimated them creates a barrier between their body and soul. Light attempts to repair this, causing the intense, painful sensation common to all undead.
That said, the original death knights of the Scourge did not usually die to reach undeath (Falric, Marwyn, Thassarian, and Koltira are all exceptions to this as they were killed before being raised). Because of how undeath works in Warcraft, it was unnecessary to kill those who went willingly when simply sundering their bodies and souls with their vampiric runeblades would suffice.
Arthas, for example, was the first of Ner'zhul's death knights and, though he explicitly had his soul taken and kept within Frostmourne thus entering undeath, he did not physically perish until years later, when he - as the Lich King - placed the "good" parts of his soul into his physical heart before freezing and discarding it beneath Icecrown Citadel.
Edit: And I just noticed I was a bit late to that - not that it matters, hope I gave some sort of extra information on it.
Edited by Mebahiah on 2/14/2013 1:05 PM PST
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