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DK Leveling Guide 70 to 80 for WotLK Classic

wotlk death knight

The Death Knight, which was introduced in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion of World of Warcraft, is one of if not the fastest class to level in this expansion for a few reasons. The two most notable reasons being that the class starts at level 55, and the massive damage output and sustainability that the class benefits from.

The Death Knight also has incredible multi-target damage and AoE, which allows it to pull and defeat large packs of mobs alone efficiently and effectively. In combination with the classes incredible self-sustain, this allows a very efficient leveling experience that can be done effortlessly – allowing progression through quests with a fast leveling experience. The Death Knight also performs greatly in dungeons, and can fill both tank and damage roles with its three specializations – making it a very versatile class to level.

Starting at level 55 however, can be a daunting experience, as the beginning introduction to the class is very different to other classes, and players get bombarded with many abilities early on unlike other classes that gradually obtain their abilities. For new players to the class that are not familiar with these abilities, this can be very confusing and overwhelming.

Although the time it takes to reach max level as a Death Knight is significantly reduced due to starting at level 55 instead of level 1, Death Knights even excel at leveling from level 55 to level 80. This is due to their incredible self-sustain abilities and great damage output capable of solo-killing multiple enemies at once.

The following guide will provide an overview of Death Knight-specific leveling advice, focusing on important decisions and choices that are aimed at improving your leveling experience as a Death Knight. This guide will not focus on providing a full quest-per-quest leveling route, but instead aims to provide a beginner friendly overview that explains recommendations to follow that shall improve your leveling experience.

10 Tips for Leveling a DK 70 to 80

When leveling your Death Knight from 70 to 80 in World of Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King expansion, it's important to optimize your gear and itemization to enhance your leveling experience. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your gear:

1. Prioritize Strength: As a Death Knight, your primary stat is Strength. Look for gear that provides a high amount of Strength to increase your damage output.

2. Consider Stamina: While Strength is important, don't neglect Stamina. Having a decent amount of health will help you survive tough encounters and prevent unnecessary deaths.

3. Focus on Armor: Look for gear with high Armor values to increase your overall survivability. This is especially important when facing tough enemies or engaging in PvP combat.

4. Seek out Critical Strike: Critical Strike rating increases your chance to critically hit, dealing bonus damage. This can significantly speed up your leveling process by dispatching enemies more quickly.

5. Don't Forget about Haste: Haste rating reduces the global cooldown of your abilities, allowing you to use them more frequently. This can greatly improve your overall DPS and leveling speed.

6. Consider Hit Rating: Hit rating reduces your chance to miss attacks, ensuring that your abilities land successfully. Aim for the hit cap to maximize your damage output.

7. Gem and Enchant Wisely: Socket your gear with gems that provide Strength or other desired stats. Additionally, enchant your gear with appropriate enchantments to further enhance your abilities.

8. Upgrade Your Weapon: Your weapon plays a crucial role in your damage output. Prioritize obtaining a high-quality weapon with high damage and desirable stats.

9. Utilize Glyphs: Glyphs can provide additional bonuses and enhancements to your abilities. Choose glyphs that complement your playstyle and leveling goals.

10. Experiment and Adapt: As you progress through the leveling process, don't be afraid to experiment with different gear combinations and strategies. Adapt your gear and itemization based on your playstyle and the challenges you encounter.

By following these gear and itemization tips, you'll be well-equipped to tackle the leveling journey from 70 to 80 as a Death Knight in World of Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Good luck, and may your adventures be filled with epic loot and thrilling battles!

General DK Leveling Tips

The following are some general leveling tips that can be followed as a Death Knight and are aimed at increasing your leveling experience and efficiency.

  • Runeforging, the Death Knight-only ability, provides free weapon enchants that can be acquired as you progress through the Death Knight quests. These enchants offer massive bonuses to your weapons which deal a significant portion of your damage, and so you want to make sure your weapon is always enchanted. Unlike traditional enchanting, this does not cost any materials to do.
  • Utilize Death Knight defensive abilities such as Mind Freeze, Strangulate and Death Grip, to avoid getting hit by spells from casters. This can be utilized against caster mobs, or against enemy players of casting classes in world PvP scenarios.
  • Diseases deal much more damage than people think, and so you should always maintain DoT diseases on targets. These can increase your killing speed tremendously.
  • Death Knights have tonnes of cooldowns, and so you shouldn’t feel pressured to maintain them for emergencies. Use these cooldowns regularly to maximize damage-output, as it will increase your leveling speed and it will reduce your downtime between fights. One of these abilities is Horn of Winter, which you want to use as much as you can as it offers a lot of bonus damage.
  • As a Death Knight, you are able to wear Cloth, Leather, Mail or Plate Armor. You should always try to wear Mail or Plate Armor whenever possible, whilst maintaining your stat priorities, as Plate Armor will offer much more survivability than Leather options that sometimes might offer slightly higher damage. This is especially important if you wish to play a tanking role in dungeons.
  • As a follow up to the previous tip, a Death Knights most important stat that should be prioritized above all else is Strength, as this increases your overall attack power and increases damage dealt by most of your abilities. This stat should be prioritized whenever you are considering gear and Armor upgrades. If you wish to play a predominantly damage-focused role whilst leveling, then Critical Strike can be another good stat to prioritize. Whereas Stamina offers more sustainability and the ability to soak up more damage if you wish to play as a tank.

Best Death Knight leveling Spec

Death Knights can allocate their talents into three different skill trees: Blood Death Knights, Unholy Death Knights, and Frost Death Knights. However, each of the three specs offers a massively different playstyle over the other three and are each able to fill their role within the game in a unique manner. However, for leveling, some specs perform better than others.

Blood Death Knights are by far the best class for solo leveling and is a tank-damage hybrid spec which is often found playing the tank role in endgame content. Iit is not unheard of to see it being played as a damage-dealer either as it deals massive amounts of damage and offers a role within raid and dungeon groups that can sustain itself, allowing less strain on the healers.

Blood Death Knights have access to incredible self-healing abilities such as Death Strike which can provide utility in both dungeons and whilst solo questing. Unlike other classes, tank-specs are never the recommended spec to level as, as generally speaking tank-specs deal less damage than damage-dealing roles and they offer a slower and less efficient progression through quests. However, Blood Death Knights are the exception as they perform great damage in combination with the benefit of being a tank. And so they can offer a very efficient solo leveling experience unlike other tank specs and other classes.

Blood Death Knights oftentimes leave fights with nearly the same health as when they entered – and sometimes can even leave the fight with more HP. It sacrifices in being the most versatile of the three Death Knight specs is that its damage is not as high as the other two talent trees – but this still doesn’t make it the best all-rounder spec for leveling.

Unholy Death Knights offer a very high damage rotation that relies on applying and maintain debuffs on enemy targets, however this tends to be mostly dealt in sustained damage and not on-demand, burst damage. Although Unholy Death Knights can deal lots of damage, the fact that the damage itself is the result of applying debuffs over a sustained period of time causes this spec to underperform when leveling and can also be a tiring rotation to play. Constant application of your debuffs can make the spec less favourable to level.

The third of the Death Knight specs, Frost, is another damage-focused spec that also deals high damage but unlike the Unholy Death Knight, has more on-demand damage, burst damage, and great AoE damage. Frost heavily relies on one handed weapon, and most of their abilities are the results of procs from auto attacks -- so the class can often be very gear dependant as opposed to other Death Knight specs.

Frost Death Knights can provide a fun leveling experience as the rotation is enjoyable, whilst also dealing adequate damage to progress through areas and quests. However, the sacrifice that the class makes is that it has less sustainability and durability than the Blood Death Knight, and so you can expect some downtime in between fights as you eat food to regain lost HP.

In general, Blood Death Knights shine above other Death Knight specs tremendously when it comes to leveling – both as a solo player who will level mostly through quests and by running dungeons, as the spec can be a good tank also and so can benefit from faster dungeon queues.

Questing vs Dungeons

Death Knights perform greatly in dungeon settings, both as a damage-dealer thanks to impressive AoE of the Frost Death Knight class, and as a tank as a Blood Death Knight. The benefit of relying on dungeons for the majority of your experience gain is that in Wrath of the Lich King, if you have a strong group to play with, you can gain experience faster than a solo leveler would via quests.

As a Death Knight, performing either the tank or damage role via the respective specs is very strong, and so you may have success grinding dungeons as one or the other. Blood Death Knights will also benefit from faster queues, due to the tank role being more in demand in the expansion, and so you will have less downtime between dungeons.

Questing as a Death Knight is also an efficient method of leveling, as both the high sustain Blood or high damage Frost specs can provide excellent leveling speeds from the get-go. Therefore, for solo players it may be better to rely on quests for the majority of your experience gain, whilst completing the occasional dungeon when appropriately leveled for it. This way you minimize reliance on other players and minimize downtime that is spent in dungeons as a result of a slow dungeon group.

Death Knight Professions

Unlike other classes that start at level 1, choosing professions to level with as a Death Knight can be hard to keep up with as you start at level 55. Most Death Knight players will skip professions altogether during the leveling process. However, as a casual player who isn’t interested in speed running to max level, they do offer some benefit towards the leveling experience. And depending on which profession you plan on choosing at max level, beginning to level it up as you level can be a good use of your time.

Gathering professions are always welcome additions whilst leveling, as they can be replaced easily at max level. Mining, Herbalism and Skinning can offer easy ways to gain extra gold as you level, and you should be able to level them up effectively as you progress through the game.

The materials gathered from these professions can be sold on the auction house for gold, and this extra income alongside quest rewards can supplement various aspects of leveling. Such as buying mounts, BoE items and gear, or other purchase you may need to make.

Mining for instance can be a very good gathering profession to take, as it can even be an important profession to keep for endgame content. Toughness, the progressively more effective passive ability that Mining offers increases your Stamina attribute. This can make the profession a must have for tanks, as you get a bonus of 60 Stamina at 450 Mining, which is a significant increase and can be useful as a Blood Death Knight.

Skinning is another gathering profession that provides utility when leveling as a Death Knight via the bonus gold income from selling the materials, but also can be used as a max level profession. Master of Anatomy is a passive boost to your Critical Strike Ratings, that increases progressively as you level up your Skinning skill more. Critical Strike Rating increases can be extremely useful for Frost Death Knights and Unholy Death Knights.

First Aid is also a good profession choice for both Frost Death Knights and Unholy Death Knights, as it provides healing that both specs have significantly less than Blood Death Knights that can generally heal themselves efficiently enough to warrant First Aid not necessary.

Important Class Quests

The Death Knights have a unique class quest approach due to the class beginning at level 55. Unlike other classes that begin at level 1 and so have class quests from levels 1 to 60, Death Knights experience all of their class-specific quests during the initial starting zone in the Scarlet Enclave.

Death Knights begin in an instanced version of Eastern Plaguelands only accessible by other Death Knight players and are required to complete the long quest chain until they are sent to their faction’s capital city.

These quests will introduce you to the Death Knight class, whilst giving you abilities, talent points, and gear, rapidly as you progress through the quests – which although seems to take a long time which it does, the number of rewards both in abilities and items that you receive makes it a very overwhelming experience to those new to the class.

Eventually, you will be given the choice between the Greataxe of the Ebon Blade or the Greatsword of the Ebon Blade, both two-handed weapons with slightly different stats. The Greataxe offers more stamina and so is often a better choice for Blood Death Knights who are considering a tank build. Whereas the Greatsword has less stamina but more strength, ultimately being a much better choice for the damage-dealer specs. However, it is not uncommon to see a Blood Death Knight using the Greatsword of the Ebon Blade either.

You will also be rewarded with a full inventory of blue/rare pieces of gear, which will likely see you through most of the Burning Crusade expansion. The final quest that you will receive that is considered a class-specific quest is Where Kings Walk or Warchief’s Blessing, depending on the faction that you are playing. Both quests will take you to your faction’s capital city; either Stormwind or Orgrimmar. From there you will then be introduced to the Outlands quest chain.

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