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Why You Wouldn't Want To Be A Death Knight In Azeroth

The ever-growing World of Warcraft is full of promising careers for stalwart adventurers. Want to take potshots at enemies while your pet raptor claws off their faces? Become a Hunter. Would you rather stick to the shadows and sever tendons with poisoned knives? Seek adventure as a Rogue. Want to follow the path of the Edgelord? Death Knight is the job for you.


Death Knight is the perfect class for anyone who likes to use darkness and disease against their enemies — or at least anyone who loves listening to Korn. In fact, you might even yearn be a Death Knight in real life, with the might of an unholy warrior and the magic of a master necromancer at your fingertips. Unfortunately, the "life" of a Death Knight is far from pleasant.

The existence of a Death Knight is like being depressed without suffering from depression, all while loving being depressed without, well, loving being depressed. Admittedly, that sounds very confusing, but it will all make sense soon.

Nobody wants to be your friend (and most people probably want to kill you)

Let's get the most obvious part out of the way: If you're a Death Knight, nobody will want to shake your hand. Ever. Even if you didn't do anything to deserve that treatment — which is highly unlikely — everyone will think you're a liar. You see, Death Knights have been a blight on Azeroth since before the Scourge reared their rotting heads. 


During the Second War (i.e., Warcraft 2), the Horde — remember they were villains then — slaughtered human knights, reanimated their corpses, and shoved warlock spirits into their bodies to create the first Death Knights. These undead necromancers waged a bloody war against the races of Azeroth, a war the Alliance won by the slimmest of margins. Many lives were lost in the conflict, but the universal Death Knight hate train wasn't done yet.

Even after the first band of Death Knights were killed off (or converted into Liches), a second order of knights rose to power led by the ex-paladin Arthas Menethil. Despite being only tangentially related to their namesakes, these new Death Knights had only one goal in mind: Kill as many people as possible and then turn their still-bleeding corpses into undead soldiers.


To make a long story short, Death Knights have a long history of being evil. Before the rise of the heroic Death Knights, it wasn't a no true Scotsman fallacy to claim that the only good Death Knight is a dead — well, deader — Death Knight. If you were a Death Knight and wanted to convince people you were good, odds are the only way they would believe you is if you let them lynch you, especially if you want to persuade the nature-loving Night Elves.

Your shadowy past will catch up with you in more ways than one

Unless you are lucky enough to be part of Bolvar Fordragon's new generation of Death Knights, you didn't become one of your own volition. There's a good chance the first Lich King mentally broke you and turned you into a meat puppet before making you a Death Knight. And, you can bet your oversized pauldrons he forced you to commit unspeakable acts of evil, from slaughtering innocent civilians to murdering your best friend


If you are one of those ex-brainwashed Death Knights, your freedom doesn't wash away the sins or memories. You have to live with them the rest of your life, and some shadows are more than happy to help you torture yourself.

The first Lich King wasn't known for being forgiving towards traitors. Heck, he wasn't even forgiving towards his loyal subjects, so you just know he wouldn't let Death Knights who broke free from his control off the hook. Without his protection, Death Knights are constantly assaulted by what are essentially Azerothian Dementors. And no, you can't fight back because they are your literal inner demons.

Sounds fun.

Quitting cold turkey isn't an option

Azeroth might be stuck in permanent medieval times, but that doesn't mean its people aren't subject to good old addiction and withdrawals. Sure, instead of worrying about chemical drugs, people have to worry about magical addiction (a problem Blood Elves know all too well), but nobody has it worse than Death Knights of the Ebon Blade.


Now, Death Knights do one thing and one thing well: inflict pain. Good, evil, it doesn't matter who they torture with their soul-rendingly agonizing spells and weapons as long as they torture someone. You might assume Death Knights love to torture people because they are sadists, but they actually don't have any choice in the matter. Death Knights suffer from something known as the Eternal Hunger — or Endless Hunger — and if they don't subject other creatures to regular torture, the hunger tortures them.

It is literally impossible to be a kind Death Knight since you have to inflict inhumane-levels of suffering on other beings to avoid suffering yourself. Become as sick and tired of the torturing all you want, because if you don't torment someone, the Eternal Hunger will eventually drive you mad. It's a lose-lose situation.


Abandon happiness, know only sorrow

Different properties portray a lack of emotions in different lights. Many fictional settings show emotions as a barrier of intelligence, so getting rid of them is a gateway for logic — even though the validity of this logic is up to debate. Death Knights, meanwhile, are an emotional black hole where everything positive gets sucked in and is trapped forever. That doesn't mean they're miserable every second of every day, but emotions like happiness and joy are fleeting glimpses in their otherwise dour lives. And negative emotions like remorse? Like getting hit by a sentient blizzard that refuses to let you leave.


Death Knights don't have time to celebrate their victories. They're too busy feeling gloomy and miserable, but then again, you would too if you were a Death Knight.