How well does healing gear transform into spell power gear? I want to know if my priest would be better served by holding onto epic items with high healing stats or by blue items that are +damage for grinding in Northrend. For example. Would a pair of pants that are +90 to have higher or lower spellpower than a pair of pants with +40 damage?
It is not a direct one to one conversion and some of the changes may be surprising -- or at least they surprised me. Let's look at a couple of examples from the gear my Priest is wearing right now. My usual healing pants, Whitemend Pants, on the live realms, have +62 healing. On the Beta realms, the same Whitemend Pants have +33 spell power. Alternately, my DPS pants, Trial-Fire Trousers, have +49 damage and healing on the live realms. On the beta realms, the Trial-Fire Trousers have +49 spell power. I've seen a similar pattern across the board -- healing numbers significantly reduced, with spell damage numbers staying about the same. I'm sure it will work out fine in the long-run, but when you first enter Wrath, you may find that your DPS gear gives you more overall healing power than your healing gear!
As several commenters have noted, though your healing numbers drop, your actual healing ability does not. I personally feel my heals are hitting somewhat harder on the beta realms than on the live realms, despite a huge drop (really, massive -- my beta +heal number is sort of depressing) in the healing number on my character sheet.
What weapon skills do Death Knights start out with?
DK's start with axes, polearms, swords, 2hd axes, 2hd swords, and unarmed trained to 270 skill. After visiting all the weapon trainers, it seems they cannot learn guns, crossbows, thrown, fist weapons, daggers, or staves, but can learn 1hd and 2hd maces, which they start at 0 skill with, like anyone else.
How hard is it to get the mechanics of the Death Knight (runes and runic power) down at first?
I've got to admit, Death Knights have a different feel of gameplay than any other class. Instead of having a single bar -- mana, rage, or energy -- to pay attention in order to use their abilities, a Death Knight has six runes each with their own cooldown. (Though Runic Power, which some of your abilities use instead of or addition to runes, is something of a "mana bar," it is in addition to the six runes, not instead of.) Each skill costs one or two runes and the timing is something you'll get used to with practice.
I wouldn't call it difficult -- you can certainly mash buttons until your cooldowns are up and do okay for yourself -- being aware of your rune cooldowns, which runes are available to you at each time, and casting your spells accordingly is going to help you a great deal in combat. It's my personal opinion that Blizzard's UI isn't great for showing rune cooldowns -- the runes are shown in the upper left of the game window, and they'll grey out when on cooldown, but the runes are tiny, and it's more difficult to visually absorb rune information than it is to glance up and see how full a rage, mana, or energy bar is. To keep track of cooldowns, I often find myself watching my hotkeys more than my runes themselves -- when the appropriate runes are off cooldown, abilities will show up available for use (instead of grayed out), and I find it much easier to see, especially during a chaotic combat.
When the game is launched, I'll be looking for some sort of HUD for my Death Knight that prominently shows rune information center screen.
What bags does a Death Knight start with?
In addition the normal backpack, Death Knights have four twelve-slot bags.
The current implementation of the barber shop is, I presume, incomplete, allowing users only to select old hairstyles. They haven't added new ones in yet.