There is one player who is never likely to start a Death Knight – Noor the pacifist – the crazy (in a good way) gnome rogue who is leveling through WOW without deliberately killing anything. I think the Lich King would have weeded Noor out early on as being unsuitable to be a Death Knight.
The Death Knight starting experience is a big win. Everyone should try out a Death Knight and go through the starting experience, even if you have no intention of taking it further. There is so much to praise about it and little to fault.
The very best thing about this is how increasingly immersive it is. It draws you into this story and chain of events, requiring you to do things you are increasingly uncomfortable with doing. Often you have only one quest in your quest log, you have to complete this part of the chain to get to the next. I am not sure whether it was possible to find a way out of the starting area before you had completed all the quests, but for my part, I knew that at some point I was going to be given a quest that would allow me to escape my evil life and seek redemption, and so I carried on. But it engrossed me so much, that I began to hope that each quest would be the one that rescued me from my fate. This too is deliberate, quests that are part of the continuing chain have titles like A meeting with fate.
Easily the most uncomfortable and saddest quest is A Special Surprise. You are asked to execute a prisoner in the adjacent prison hut. It’s only one prisoner, you have just slaughtered a whole army single-handedly (twice). How hard can it be, right? You walk into the prison hut, there is a prison of every race in there. Is it random that you are asked to kill the prison of your own race? No, it is not. As you approach, the prisoner begins to speak, and then stops. They recognize you! They are horrified at what the dark side has done to you. The night-elf quest was truly sad. I was hoping through her speech that I would be able to rescue her instead of killing her. But no, at the end she instructs me to put her out of her misery. At this point I wanted to throw down my sword, and join Noor as a conscientious objector. I didn’t care if the Lich King ripped me into little bitty pieces and fed me to his pet goldfish (Mograine told me it’s called Bubbles) – I’d had enough of being the bad guy. But there was no way out. To fulfill whatever destiny I had, I had to swing my sword and kill my childhood carer.
Eventually you do get redemption. You travel out of the starting area to Light Hope Chapel where you participate in an epic scripted battle – The Light of Dawn – led by Mograine. This is similar to the Vetran of Wrathgrate questline culmination in Dragonblight and its aftermath. In terms of epic-ness and an instanced scripted story they are both superb. Don’t miss out on either.
At the end of this wonderful piece of story, you are sent as an emerssary to herald the newly formed Knights of the Ebon Blade to King Wynn in Stormwind. As you walk/run through SW, you are pelted with rotten fruit by the guards, who hurl insults at you for your traitorous and evil ways, while the citizens flee from you, wailing in terror. Finally the King accepts you and you are now redeemed, about level 58, all in blues with one follow on quest in your log. It has been some ride.