This post was originally called 'How to be a good DK' but it didn't work out that way when I wrote it and I don't want to claim to be amazing at being a DK, but I do know I don't suck.
There is at least one DK on every server who ruins the name of many good players by playing the class like a dick or claiming to be something they are not. Lesson number one, don't be a dick. Yeah yeah I know, there are dicks in all the classes, but DKs have a seriously bad rep and being a dick doesn't help the rest of us, so just stop it ok? If you can't do that then don't bother reading any further and please re-roll. Please.
Now that's out the way, let's look at some background into why us DKs have a bad rep. The expansion pack Wrath of The Lich King brought in a whole world of noobs to WoW. Deme is one of them, just getting that out the way now. I was also a total MMO noob. I'd say a game noob, but that's not quite true. A brief addiction to Godfather on x-box, Tekken on PS1 and God of War on PsP aside though, my game experience is limited to Frogger (on an Amstrad PC). Quite handy in Construct Qtr of Naxx as it goes. But I digress. Ah yes, DKs and noobs.
Imagine you are well established in WoW. You've got a level 70, you're well through the BC raids and are looking forward to the next expansion pack. Wait! What's this! A new 'hero' class? Only available when you've levelled 1 toon to lvl 55?? Sounds interesting. Then you see the Ozzy Osbourne ads, the Will Shatner ads. This thing is big. Suddenly, after the peace of your game, you get an influx of all these new people, levelling a character to 55 and then abandoning it and rolling a DK. Can you find a warrior for your (new) lvl 80 dungeon group? Can you find a pally? Nope. they've all re-rolled DKs. WTF?! So you ask a DK along. You might luck out. Or you might get one of the horror stories I've heard.
Horror Story Number 1
A good guild friend who has a cutting edge raid druid main and a DK alt, was leveling the DK in Outland and spotted a group looking for a tank to run a Hellfire dungeon. He whispered and was invited. To find 3 other DKs in the group.
'Doesn't one of you guys tank?'
He didn't stay in the group.
Horror Story Number 2
Now, this could have been from the same friend or it could be a myth, but either way it's an example of how bad our DK rep is. Guy joins a level 80 group to run a dungeon. He notices that the DK in the group is wearing healer gear. When questioned why he responded
'Because then I get healed more'.
With stories like this, is it any wonder we have a bad rep?
Now to how you can help stop our reputation declining ever further.
Learn to play the class. By now I would hope that most people who have DKs realise how to play. I'm not claiming to be perfect but I do try to improve all the time. Coming from the noob background, I've learnt more since joining my current guild and levelling a DK than I ever did on my warrior. Read everything about DKs you can get your hands on. Seriously. Start with Lichborne on wow.com for pointers. Swoop over to Skeleton Jack and hit up Elitist Jerks (but don't comment unless you have flame proof pants) for DPS/Tank builds, gear lists and the most comprehensive FAQs you'll ever find.
Find a game mentor. Find someone who can help you understand the very basics if you need to, what's the difference between DPS, Tank and Healer roles? What gear should I look for at lvl 80? What the hell is a def rating? Often this happens to be someone in guild who is just very helpful, or knows the game and can pass on knowledge in a non-shouty shouty way. You'll also be amazed by how much you can learn watching guild chat in a friendly positive guild. Sometimes someone doesn't even know they are helping you, but don't be afraid to thank someone for sharing a tip in GC that has helped you.
Play around! Work out what works for you. So everyone else is DPS-ing in blood spec and tanking in frost but you love the unholy tree? Stick with it then! If you aren't enjoying it, whats the point of playing? For the record, Deme is unholy dps with frost off-spec to tank if absolutely necessary.
Do, for the love of the Pixelated Gods, dual spec as soon as you can. DPS, especially in the form of a plate wearer is highly over-populated. You don't have to be raid specced overnight (or ever if you are lucky), but having a bit of flexibility will allow you to get more heroic action and probably raid sooner than if you are DPS only. DKs have great AoE tanking, pop DnD and BloodBoil, throw in a Dark Command and a Death grip on any wandering mobs and you are set, I know that's simplifying it but I won't over complicate things in this post.
I suspect most of these tips can be used for any class, and maybe it should be a 'How to Not Suck at WoW' post, but Deme is a DK and a proud one, so I felt it only right to post on what I know best.
In short then, don't be a dick, learn the class and read up, find a mentor, dual spec and above all HAVE FUN. Remember, don't be a dick. I will smash it into your heads. Don't be a dick. Be thankful you aren't in my guild because if any DKs get spotted being dicks in my guild, I'll smack 'em into next week. Don't be a dick.
Deme the DK