Blizzard has revealed details of the first Hero class in World of Warcraft, the Death Knight.
They've emerged in an official chit chat with designers working on WOW's second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, which will introduce the new class.
The Death Knight is a tank hybrid created to offer an alternative to the Warrior when building a group. Blizzard felt this role was essential in almost every scenario, so an extra class here was needed.
Specifically, Death Knights will focus more on attack than defence - but come equipped with taunting abilities so that they can maintain the attention of monsters trying to kill the rest of the group.
You won't use a shield to soak up damage, but will dance theatrically with your enormous two-handed rune-blade as you decimate opponents.
Death Knights will also rely on a new rune system resource to power their attacks and spells, one separate to the existing mana, energy, and rage bars. But details on how exactly this will work are yet to be announced.
It also isn't yet clear how the class will be introduced. Various reports point to completing a quest line at level 55 or 60 to unlock it. Apparently you will then be able to play as a Death Knight starting from a high level.
Death Knights stem from the famous Lich King Arthas, the focus of the new expansion. However, they have rebelled against his rule and joined Alliance and Horde forces to get their own back.
Typically they ride skeletal horses, use dark magic and wield massive swords, as demonstrated in Warcraft II and III - and also by the Baron in WOW dungeon Stratholme. Ah, happy days.
It coincides with a couple of updates to World of Warcraft, now sitting on version 2.2.2. This introduced the Brewfest festival offering a number of jovial quests revolving around beer and food, plus Halloween celebrations in Hallow's End - which lets you transform your character using costumes supplied by various NPCs.
On top of that are the usual array of fixes always going on behind the scenes, one of which being the recently integrated voice chat, so you don't have to use third-party programs like Ventrilo or TeamSpeak to talk to your fantasy friends.
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King was announced at the Leipzig Games Convention earlier in the year. It will up the level cap to 80, add a new Northrend continent, introduce the Inscription profession, use siege warfare to tear down buildings, give you more character customisation options, plus oodles of new dungeons, quests and items.
Head over to the official World of Warcraft site to find out more.