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World of Warcraft is about to remove one of its long-standing restrictions. Soon anyone will be able to create a new Death Knight character whenever they want.
Previously, players had to level at least one character to level 55 before they would get access to the Death Knight class. The reason for the policy is that Death Knights actually start at that level. Blizzard didn't want players to bypass all of the beginner zones by creating a DK as their first character.
That restriction became somewhat pointless, though, with the release of instant level 90 character boosts. Blizzard sells these boosts individually for $60 and also include a free boost with latest expansion pack Warlords of Draenor. Asking players to level a character to 55 before they could make a Death Knight is silly now that players can advance well beyond that point with the push of a button.
"The plan right now is to remove the limitation sometime next week, at which point players will be able to start a new Death Knight (which still begins at level 55) without first having to reach level 55 on another character," said Blizzard community manager Nethaera on the Battle.net forums.
The Death Knight class was first introduced back in 2008 with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack. They're a damage-dealing and tank class that wields unholy magic and rune-forged weapons. They entered the game through a special quest chain in Eastern Plaguelands during which they broke free of the Lich King's control and joined the Alliance or Horde. Their full set of abilities were slowly unlocked through these quests.
The high starting level of Death Knights and their tutorial quests were one of the earliest signs of WoW becoming more accessible. It allowed players to create a second character without forcing them to plow through all of the lower level zones all over again. Blizzard realized that, with each new expansion pack and raising of the level cap, the time commitment needed by players to catch up to everyone else was increasing. Over the past few years, they've been trying to make it easier for new or returning players to jump right into the newest content.
Now in WoW, players can level up to 20 without paying a cent. If they were brought to the game by a friend, both players will receive experience points at three times the normal rate. Or they can skip most quest altogether by paying for the level 90 character boost.
“I think it’s really up to us to continue looking at ways to keep the gameplay feeling fresh and new," Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said last year of their philosophy toward WoW. "Adding new things to the game. Making the game more accessible for not only new players, but also players that played WoW at one point in time, and want to come back. I think maybe an unintended consequence of adding all of this content is that when you layer in complexity and add new things, the people who aren’t keeping up with all of that feel like they’re getting further and further behind.”
Warlords of Draenor launched a month ago worldwide. The expansion introduces a new world for Death Knights and other characters to explore. As they pursue the new level cap of 100, they'll gain command of their own customizable fortress.