World of Warcraft lead designer Jeff Kaplan has revealed that two other hero classes were under serious consideration for second expansion Wrath of the Lich King - before ultimately being beaten to it by the Death Knight.
In the seventh of Blizzard's occasional podcasts, Kaplan described the Necromancer and Rune Master designs that were being kicked around.
"The class choice was super hard and eventually we had it down to three front runners," he said.
"We were talking for a while about a Necromancer. He would kind of be a range caster, do a lot of corpse explode, that sort of thing. Things we ended up incorporating into the Death Knight.
"We also had a cool idea for a Rune Master. That was going to be more of a melee type - think rogue or monk type character. But Death Knight ultimately fit."
The WOW team evidently isn't short of ideas for new class design, as producer J Allen Brack joked that "it was difficult to narrow it down from the 29 hero classes that we’ve got completed, which one we were going to go with".
The rest of the podcast is a post-mortem discussion of Wrath of the Lich King, in which Brack and Kaplan mention that new continent Northrend was one of the first zones ever prototyped for WOW. They also express their satisfaction with the new two-tier raiding system ("It seems like just the first month has really validated that decision" - Brack) and more rewarding itemisation ("greatly improved over what it was in Burning Crusade" - Kaplan), among other things.
Lore fiends will also want to check out a section in which Blizzard's story guru Chris Metzen talks about the ramifications of Wrath of the Lich King's plot developments. You can download or read the the conversations at the Blizzcast site.