At the start of every World of Warcraft expansion, current, new and returning players all start anew on similar footing. But before each expansion, those same players need to answer the most crucial question in World of Warcraft: Which class do I play?
It’s a decision that can define the entire two-year expansion cycle. It can be the difference between enjoying your time with World of Warcraft and letting your subscription crumble after only a few months.
Discovering the class for you isn’t easy, even for veteran players. But for new and returning players, it’s easy to get lost in all 36 specializations. To help you out before you dive into Battle for Azeroth, we’re going to go over what the classes are, how to pick one and why decision is so important.
Why pick a “main”?
World of Warcraft has 12 unique classes. Leveling and gearing each of these characters is enough to fill hundreds of hours. Raider or not, picking a class should be thought of less like trying a different character in a fighting game, and more like sticking with the same save in a Bethesda role-playing game.
Your main will be the character you spend the most time with, and while you can certainly start over as something else (called re-rolling), it’s a good way to waste a lot of time and potentially burn yourself out on the game.
However, depending on your level of end-game commitment — activities like raiding or other endeavors — you may have time to level a bunch of other characters, called Alts. Plenty of players have lots of Alts; some even have Alts of every class in the game. But even these players have one character that they do everything on first.
Don’t take the decision lightly.
How to pick
There are a few key decisions that players will need to make early on in the class selection process. We’re going to speed through a few of them here and focus on how to pick the best class for you.
The factions aren’t typically very important in a main-picking conversation, but Battle for Azeroth is all about faction identity. We’re going to take a second here to talk about the two reasons you should look into what faction you want to play.
First and foremost, you need to poll your World of Warcraft friends before you pick a faction. Each faction — Horde or Alliance — can only play with that same faction. If you’re on Horde and your friend is on Alliance, you can’t dungeon, level or raid together. If you ever see each other in the world, it’ll be as enemies.
So, the most important thing you need to figure out is what faction your friends play. If you’re coming in with a group, make sure you talk about it first and then all pick the same one. Of course, none of this matters if you’re playing solo.
The second reason is faction identity, which is only barely important. However, since the Horde and Alliance will have different campaigns and starting areas in Battle for Azeroth, it’s worth talking about here.
The Horde are all about honor and glory through combat, and they have a strong bond between the other races associated with them. The Alliance is your typical fantasy kingdom. It has elves, dwarves, humans, werewolves and more. Both sides are supposed to be the good guys, but that doesn’t work out as often as Blizzard would probably like.
Going into Battle for Azeroth, the Horde have a pretty controversial leader in Sylvanas Windrunner, while the Alliance have a relatively young and untested king, Anduin Wrynn. If you want to be forced into morally questionable situations and be a part of a relatively unstable faction, choose the Horde for Battle for Azeroth. If you want a stable but boring faction, pick Alliance.
The racial decision is one filled with caveats. Each faction has specific races, and only certain races can play certain classes. The faction and class decision should trump race selection every time. Basically, never choose a cooler race if it means you can’t play the class you want.
Once you’ve figured out your class and faction, you may be tempted to pick the race with the best abilities. Don’t do this. Most racials have very low impact on the minute-to-minute gameplay of World of Warcraft. At best, they give you a nice bonus to reputation or other systems.
Instead of focusing on anything interior like abilities, the race choice should be completely cosmetic. World of Warcraft is a behind the back kind of game, meaning you’ll be staring at the back of this character’s head for hundreds — if not thousands — of hours. Pick something you like the look of and goes with your class fantasy.
This is the most important part of picking a class. Chances are you have some idea of the class archetype you like to play in games. Big, melee brawler? Spell-slinging caster? Friend to all woodland creatures? There’s something like that in World of Warcraft for you. The key is to understand what you want in your class, and then go with the idea you like most.
If the idea of a holy cleric that beats things with hammers while healing their allies sounds good to you, pick a Paladin. Is it possible you could like the gameplay of another class more? Of course, but in our experience, class fantasy is more important than anything else in World of Warcraft, especially when you’re just starting out.
Once you reach a certain point in the game, you should feel so comfortable with your class that the rotation becomes muscle memory. Instead, you’re focused on the encounter. At all the points leading up to that moment, you’ll need to reconcile with why you’re here and why your character is fighting.
Pick an archetype that you like, and let the rest sort itself out. If you go in and try to read all of a character’s abilities or their rotation, you’ll get bored and probably pass out. Read a description and pick what sounds cool, interesting or fun. If it catches your eye, it’ll probably end up being all three.
Pick a Class, not a Specialization
It’s important not to pick a specialization you like, but instead pick the class that holds several specializations that sound interesting. You can only choose your class once, but you’ll have access to all of that classes’ specializations for as long as you play. Pick a theme that you identify with that’s broad, like “Paladin,” rather than going narrow with a specific specialization like “Paladin healer.”
So instead of reading one specialization of a class, getting excited and going for it, the best move is to look for the offerings of the entire class. Is it pure damage? Does it have a tank? A healer? Do you want those options? Demonology Warlocks are great, but are you going to have no fun if you’re asked to switch to Affliction? Would you be comfortable switching to Holy Paladin from Retribution for a group if they asked you to?
Be aware of everything your class offers, instead of just jumping in for one, specific flavor.
What are the classes?
Now that you know how to pick a class, it’s time to make the decision. But before you do that, take a moment to look over what each of the 12 classes can do, as well as each of their subclasses.
Death Knights are undead soldiers that fight at melee range. They’re lumbering death machines that are slow to move but they hit very hard.
Frost Death Knights use ice magic in combination with their dual swords to slow targets and deal damage in groups. Unholy Death Knights use plagues, boils and monsters to sicken their enemies and beat them down. Blood Death Knights absorb and tank damage for their teammates, healing through attacks while spreading a blood plague among their enemies.
Half-demon, half-elf, the Demon Hunters can double jump and use their wings to glide around the world. They’re an up-close melee class that moves fast and attacks faster.
Havoc Demon Hunters are all about dealing damage and quick movement. Vengeance Demon Hunters transform themselves into hulking demons to protect their allies from danger.
Druid are one with the nature of Azeroth. These sages commune with the earth and learn to transform into different forms to suit their various needs. They can heal, tank and melee or ranged DPS. Druids are the ultimate hybrid class.
Guardian Druids protect their allies in the form of a great bear. Restoration Druids heal their allies with the power of nature and life. Balance druids keep the dusk and dawn in balance to cast light and dark nature magic at their foes. Feral druids take the form of a cat to lacerate their targets, causing them to bleed over the course of a fight.
Hunters are the typical rangers, trackers and pet-trainers of the fantasy world. They are comfortable in the natural elements, although they use their own tools to bring down their enemies, unlike Druids.
Marksmanship Hunters all about the perfect shot, and they spend their time accurately firing arrows from a distance. Beastmaster Hunters command a small army of pets to do their damage for them. Survival Hunter is the only Hunter melee specialization, utilizing a spear, traps and explosives to take out enemies.
Mages are the masters of the arcane arts. Through their different elements, they cast spells and dispel evil everywhere they go.
Frost Mages uses the power of ice to slow and shatter their enemies. Fire Mages get on hot streaks and focus on rapid-fire spell-slinging. Arcane Mages use their mana bars to ebb and flow between full and empty, augmenting their damage.
Monks are martial artists. Their job is to take down their enemies with rudimentary weapons such as sticks, poles or their own two fists.
Windwalker Monks use their fists to strike enemies down with speed, doing back-flips and launching flurries of punches. The Brewmaster Monk is the typical drunken master, and uses their dodging skills to protect their allies from harm. Mistweaver Monks use the rejuvenating power of the mist to heal their allies.
Paladins are holy warriors, channeling their connection with the Light into their weapons. They’re powerful, heavy armor-wearing clerics that act more like religious knights than barbaric warriors.
Protection Paladins use the Light to defend their allies, and absorb the damage meant for their party members. Holy Paladins use the Light to heal targets close to them with big, powerful heals. Retribution Paladins use the Light to play judge, jury, and executioner with their targets, distributing holy righteousness with a two-handed sword or hammer.
Priests are cloth-wearing holy mages. Much like the Paladins, the Priests wield the Light to defend and destroy.
Holy Priests are the de facto healers, using the Light to mend allies wounds, whether it be a single target or the whole raid. Discipline Priests damage enemies to heal allies around them. Shadow Priests harness the dark powers of the void to deal sustained damage against their targets.
Rogues are thieves and criminals that hide in the shadows. Masters of stealth, traps, and poisons, Rogues are the assassins and spymasters of World of Warcraft. They are neither seen nor heard, unless they choose to be.
Subtlety Rogues are all about sneaking around, cloaking themselves in shadows before they strike their targets down. Assassination Rogues are all about making their target bleed to death as they slowly poison them. Outlaw Rogues are swashbuckling pirates that use luck to their advantage.
Shamans are the elemental sides of Druids. While Druids convene with nature, the Shamans control the very elements themselves. Shamans use their unique powers to summon storms, heal with rain and smash with rocks.
Enhancement Shamans use a weapon in each hand to ignite and pummel their foes with melee damage. ElementalShamans use the power of lightning and earthquakes to deal damage from afar. Restoration Shamans harness the power of rushing water to rejuvenate their allies, healing their wounds.
Warlocks use dark and mysterious magic to twist the world around them. They can corrupt and destroy foes, all while summoning a massive army of demons for them to command.
Destruction Warlocks are all about hitting enemies hard with fire from range. Affliction Warlocks place damage-over-time spells on targets, creating a high maintenance, high efficiency rotation. Demonology Warlocks spawn legions of demons into the world to attack their foes for them.
Warriors are the typical, brutish, barbaric fighters that every fantasy melee hero dreams of being. Big axes, big armor and whirling blades fill the ability bar for Warrior players.
ArmsWarriors are slow and methodical, dealing damage with big hits over the course of a fight. Fury Warriors are extremely fast, asking players to use abilities as quickly as they can push the buttons to force the Warrior into a rage-filled rampage. Protection Warriors use the traditional sword and board to protect their allies and immobilize their foes.
How to stay happy with your choice
If you took our advice and went with class fantasy, chances are you’ll have a great time no matter what you do. However, it’s easy to get class envy in random groups or when talking to your friends. There are a few practices for casual players that can help keep you satisfied with your choice and having fun.
Ignore the numbers
Once you’ve reached the end game in World of Warcraft, it’s easy to get obsessed with your own performance. It’s great to know how to push yourself to be better, but looking up damage rankings based on classes may just ruin your time. If you’re class isn’t performing very well at the moment, it’s OK. Stick with it and hold out for a balance patch.
Blizzard usually tries to move things into a balanced state pretty quickly. But even if you stay at the bottom of the meters for weeks, each class has unique tools to offer their groups. The most important thing is that you improve as a player, rather than jumping onto a new character that can theoretically do more damage.
Pick your own talents
Similar to the message above, looking up a talent calculator is pretty standard practice for late-game World of Warcraft players. Some players love to optimize their builds, and it’s very important for pinnacle players. Casual players, on the other hand, don’t need to worry about the damage difference between two talents.
If you think one of the extra abilities in the talent tree is fun and the other isn’t, don’t ruin your good time for the better numbers. Save that for when you decide to join a guild. When you’re just starting out, play what sounds and looks fun to you, don’t worry about what’s more powerful.
World of Warcraft class guide: Choose the best class for you
World of Warcraft's newest expansion, Shadowlands may have you thinking about jumping into Azeroth for the first time to see what all the fuss is about. But as you'd expect with a game that is over 15 years old, the sheer choice of classes might be a little overwhelming. Or perhaps you're returning to Blizzard's long-running MMO after a few years and are unsure how much things have changed. Read on for an overview of all the classes that are available, as well as their individual specialisations (specs).
If you're new to Azeroth
While most players will be fine playing any of the classes that World of Warcraft has to offer, if you're planning on levelling solo there are certain classes and specs that will make things much easier on you—especially if you're new to MMOs. For example, ranged caster classes generally do a lot of damage, but will require you to kite enemies or use crowd-control in order to survive, whereas a plate-wearing Paladin can take on half the zone without worrying too much about his or her health.
This is by no means a comprehensive guide on the classes in World Warcraft—there are plenty of sites out there that do that and each class has its own, invaluable, Discord server. Think of this more as an overview to give newcomers and returning players an idea of how each class and spec plays.
It's also worth noting that you can change specialisation at any time at no cost, so it's worth playing around to see which you like best.
Warrior (melee damage/tank)
If you like smacking things around with swords, the warrior may well be the class for you. All three specs are melee-oriented and wearing plate armour means that even the damage specs can take a hit or two. It's a highly mobile class with a leap and a charge at its disposal and you'll be a welcome addition in group content, thanks to the warrior's Battle Shout buff which provides a party or raid-wide attack power increase.
Arms is a damage spec that uses a two-handed weapon and is probably the easiest of the three specs to level with (unless you're planning on levelling through dungeons). It has high damage in both single-target and AoE situations and while it has no self-healing abilities until level 35, it has a number of defensive options available. Even then, it's unlikely that you'll struggle too much due to its high damage output.
Fury is a fast warrior spec and can dual-wield two-handed weapons and early on has access to a skill that will restore health as well as deal damage. They deal high damage, but lack any solid AoE skills at lower levels, making Arms the preferred damage levelling spec, though there's really not much in it.
Protection, as the name might suggest, is the warrior's tanking specialisation. It uses a one-handed weapon and a shield and can deal a huge amount of burst AoE damage for a tanking spec. It has great damage reduction abilities and is incredibly mobile but lacks any self-heals and its defensive abilities rely on good resource management.
You can find more detailed warrior information on the Skyhold Discord server.
Paladin (melee damage/tank/healer)
Paladins also wear plate armour and can cover any of three group roles, making them a flexible class to play. They also have a lot of utility while levelling and in group situations with a choice of one of three Auras, an eight-second immunity to all damage as well as a powerful heal that can restore the target's health to full.
Retribution is the damage dealing spec and uses two-handed swords, maces or axes. They rely on Holy Power as their main resource and fair equally well in both solo and group content with good single-target and AoE damage. Thanks to their high damage, heals, and defensive abilities, they're an easy spec to level.
Holy is the paladin's healing spec and wields a one-handed sword or mace and a shield. It has high single-target healing making it a good tank healer and their utility is generally sought after in most group content. They have high survivability thanks to their defensive abilities and plate armour but, as with other healing specs, you would generally avoid levelling as Holy due to their low damage—unless you're planning on levelling solely through dungeons.
Protection is the tanking spec and uses a sword and shield. It is potentially a very strong tank with access to immunities, self-heals, and damage reduction abilities though it can suffer if the latter is poorly timed. This is a good option to level with if you want to play it safe but you'd get much more damage from Retribution and keep much of the utility.
You can find more detailed paladin information on the Hammer of Wrath Discord server.
Hunter (ranged and melee damage)
Hunters are the main pet class in World of Warcraft. They wear mail armour and have great survivability due to their tanking pets and their Feign Death ability, making them appear dead to enemies and dropping all threat. At level five, hunters gain the Tame Beast ability, allowing them to capture any tameable animals they come across and keep them as pets. All three specs have a good deal of utility, with various traps and interrupts.
Beast Mastery is the first ranged damage dealing spec and uses a bow, crossbow, or gun. It relies heavily on the pet to deal damage and it's a highly mobile spec, able to deal full damage even while moving. It has high damage in most situations and fairs well in both dungeon and raid environments. Out of all the classes in the game, this is probably one of the easiest specs to level.
Marksmanship is also a ranged damage spec and like Beast Mastery, uses a bow, crossbow, or gun but otherwise differs quite dramatically. The Lone Wolf passive ability means you'll deal 10 percent less damage if you have a pet summoned and a lot of the skills have a lengthy cast time, losing a lot of the mobility that Beast Mastery offers. However, the Marksmanship hunter is capable of high burst damage. It's viable to level with but you'll need to rely more on traps and kiting enemies to avoid damage.
Survival is the melee damage dealing hunter spec and wields a polearm or a staff. It was originally ranged but was reworked to its current form at the beginning of the Legion expansion. It has high single-target damage and a good degree of mobility for a melee class with its Harpoon ability. Survival is a solid levelling choice and has a good deal of survivability, though Beast Mastery is safer.
You can find more detailed hunter information on the Trueshot Lodge Discord server.
Rogue (melee damage)
Rogues are sneaky and best known for their Stealth ability. They wear leather armour and use Energy as their main resource and spend Combo Points to deal big damage to their enemies. They have a good deal of utility including a number of interrupts and stuns and a self-heal on a 30-second cooldown. Their Shroud of Concealment ability allows a whole group to move undetected for a short time. While rogues are fun to play and elements of levelling can be made much easier with stealth, there are much easier classes to choose from if you're just starting out.
Outlaw dual-wields one-handed weapons and relies heavily on good resource management to deal direct damage to enemies. It has strong AoE damage but the overall output can vary because of the RNG element of the Roll the Bones ability which grants a random buff.
Assassination dual-wields daggers to deal damage. It favours the use of poisons and bleeds to take down enemies and you'll need to keep these up for maximum damage. This spec has high, sustained single-target damage and its defensive abilities give a good amount of survivability.
Subtlety also uses daggers and relies more on moving in and out of stealth and positioning behind the enemy to maximise its damage. It has the lowest damage of the three rogues specs and is the most complicated to master, making it suited to more experienced players.
You can find more detailed rogue information on the Ravenholdt Discord server.
Priest (healer/ranged damage)
The priest is World of Warcraft's quintessential healer class. It wears cloth armour and uses a staff or one-handed weapon with an off-hand. It has some pretty dazzling spell effects along with quite a bit of utility, including Leap of Faith which pulls a friendly target to the priest's location. It has two very different healing specs to choose from as well as a third, ranged damage spec. It also brings a significant stamina boost to party or raid members with the Power Word: Fortitude buff.
Holy is a pure healing class with a number of tools that can help out and buff other healers in group content. It shines as a raid healer and has good single-target healing for dungeons or tank healing. This is probably one of the easier healing specialisations to learn, though it's better to level as either of the other two specs as Holy has relatively low damage.
Discipline primarily uses the Atonement buff to heal players with the damage it deals. The priest must manually apply Atonement to party or raid members which allows a percentage of damage done (by the priest) to heal those players. The Discipline priest also has on-demand healing and absorb shields and can perform well in most situations though it takes considerable practice to play well.
Shadow is the priest's damage spec and relies on multi-dotting and generating and spending the Insanity resource. It has good sustained AoE damage and does well on single-target encounters. As a cloth wearer, you'll need to be careful when engaging groups of enemies but this is countered by some decent self-healing. One potential issue while levelling as Shadow is the splash-effect of Void Eruption, meaning you will hit all enemies within 10 yards—as well as any neutral mobs that happen to wander past—so you could easily become overwhelmed.
You can find more detailed priest information on the Warcraft Priests Discord server.
Shaman (melee and ranged damage/healer)
Shamans are element-focused mail armour wearers and have some of the best utility spells in the game. They can use totems to deal damage, immobilise enemies, or heal group members and all three specs have an interrupt on a 12-second cooldown. Additionally, if the shaman dies, they can resurrect themselves and they can transform into a Ghost Wolf which increases movement speed. The sheer number of spells and abilities that the Shaman has may overwhelm newer players.
Enhancement is the melee damage spec that dual-wields one-handed weapons and relies on generating and spending their primary resource, Maelstrom. They have high sustained single-target damage and perform well in both dungeon and raid situations. With a tanking pet that can be summoned on a five-minute cooldown and access to healing, they are the best choice for levelling if you want to play a Shaman.
Elemental shaman is the ranged damage dealer and uses a one-handed mace or dagger and a shield, though it can also use a staff. It does well with both single target and AoE situations but, depending on your talent set-up, this could come at the cost of some fairly lengthy spell cast times. It's capable of dealing a lot of damage and has access to a short duration tanking and damage pets and are more than viable for levelling with but the long cast times may be off-putting for some.
Restoration is the shaman's healing spec and uses the same weapon types as Elemental. It does well in both dungeon and raid content. It has a huge amount of utility to bring to a group and has a number of strong healing cooldowns, making them appealing for most raid groups. While they can do significant damage for a healer, you're better off levelling as Elemental, especially as it shares the same weapon types.
You can find more detailed shaman information on the Earthshrine Discord server.
Mage (ranged damage)
Mages are a cloth wearing, high damage ranged class and all three specs use a staff or wands, daggers, or one-handed swords. They are easily punished if they are caught in melee range but they have Ice Block as an immunity to help increase their survivability. They have good utility such as Teleport, Polymorph, and Invisibility but have no self-heals so are one of the harder classes to level. They can conjure food when out of combat though, so you can heal up between fights if needed. Mages also bring the Arcane Intellect buff, granting an increased intellect stat to all party and raid members.
Frost mages have the greatest ability to slow enemies, allowing for easier kiting, making this the easiest spec to level. They have high sustained single-target damage and are fairly mobile for a caster class, thanks to the Icy Floes ability that allows the mage to cast while moving. The Frost mage can also choose to use a pet to help deal damage.
Arcane has high mobility and strong all around damage. The playstyle revolves around two phases: the conserve phase sees the mage conserving mana while the burn phase expends it, lining up with offensive cooldowns. However, their damage suffers if they're forced to move unexpectedly during a cooldown window.
Fire has incredibly strong burst damage and performs well with most encounter types. It has high mobility and relies heavily on procs from critical strikes. One possible downside is that they cleave damage onto multiple targets automatically so you could end up being overwhelmed.
You can find more detailed mage information on the Altered Time Discord server.
Warlock (ranged damage)
Warlocks are a ranged, cloth wearing damage dealing class that use staffs as their preferred weapon choice. They rely heavily on generating Soul Shards—a secondary resource—as well as having access to a number of demonic pets that deal varying degrees of damage. Warlocks also bring a lot of utility to a group situation with a pre-castable battle resurrection, Demonic Gateways that can allow instant movement between two points and a portable summoning stone that allows players to summon group members to the warlock's location.
Demonology relies heavily on the use of various types of demons to deal damage. It has high mobility but requires some ramp up time to deal the most damage. In addition to your short-term summonable demons which are part of the rotation, you'll also have a permanent pet summoned—generally the Felguard—which will help to deal damage and tank enemies for you.
Affliction is a multi-DoT spec and you'll need to be comfortable monitoring and maintaining DoTs on multiple targets to get the most out of it. It has high single-target and AoE damage though due to it's multi-DoT nature, it can take some time for damage to ramp up. You'll also be able to summon a permanent pet to help you deal damage though this can be switched to a tanking pet if needed for levelling.
Destruction has the least ramp up time of all warlock specs but it has the lowest mobility with some lengthy cast times. You'll be generating Soul Shards through a variety of different abilities and spending them on the hard-hitting Chaos Bolt or Rain of Fire in AoE situations. Like other warlock specs, you'll be able to keep a permanent demon pet with you to deal damage or tank enemies, depending on your needs.
You can find more detailed warlock information on the Council of the Black Harvest Discord server.
Monk (melee damage/tank/healer)
The monk class was added with the Mists of Pandaria expansion and is one of the most mobile classes in the game, thanks to the Roll ability. They wear leather armour and are highly versatile, having access to all three roles. They automatically apply a debuff to targets, making enemies take higher physical damage from all sources so they are useful in group situations for that alone.
Windwalker is the monk's damage dealing spec and wields one handed weapons. It uses Energy as a primary resource and must generate Chi to be spent on harder hitting abilities. It has good AoE damage and a fun rotation with a lot of utility in the form of interrupts and other crowd control. It's high mobility and access to a healing spell, makes it a relatively safe spec to level.
Brewmaster is a tanking spec and uses a polearm or a staff as a weapon. It is one of the most mobile tanks in the game and deals with incoming damage by 'staggering' it over a short period. Because of this, monk tanks can take fairly large hits and are a safe option if you're looking for a levelling spec.
Mistweaver is the monk's healing spec and uses a staff, mace or sword. They have high mobility for a healer and fair well with both single-target and group healing. Their defensive cooldowns give them high survivability in group content and they can do a reasonable amount of damage which allows them to help out when healing requirements are low. They're certainly viable as a levelling spec but you would probably do better to choose one of the other two specs unless you plan on levelling through dungeons.
You can find more detailed monk information on the PeakOfSerenity Discord server.
Druid (melee and ranged damage/tank/healer)
The Druid is one of the most versatile classes in the World of Warcraft; with four specialisations, it gives you the option to play all three roles as well as both a melee and a ranged damage role. Druids are shapeshifters and can take on different forms and switch between them with ease. Shapeshifting can also be used to escape roots and snares and Travel Form will replace the need for mounts or any kind. Druids are highly mobile thanks to Cat Form which increases movement speed and can be used anywhere.
Feral is the Druid's melee damage spec. It uses a staff or a polearm and requires Cat Form to play. It relies on keeping up multiple DoTs on your target as well as the management of two separate resources and is good on both single-target and AoE damage. It also has a stealth ability and this, along with its damage and access to healing spells, makes Feral a solid choice for levelling—though it's one of the more complicated specialisations to master if you want to get the most out of it in end-game content.
Balance is Druid's ranged damage spec and uses a staff, dagger or a mace. It requires Moonkin Form and is a multi-DoT spec that performs well in both single-target and AOE situations. You'll need to manage your Astral Power resource as well as Solar and Lunar Empowerment charges, making this a fairly difficult class to master. And while Balance isn't as squishy as other ranged classes, Feral is generally easier to level with.
Guardian is the Druid's tanking spec, uses a staff or polearm and requires Bear Form to use. It relies on its large health pool, passive abilities that give damage reduction and additional healing, and has an active damage mitigation ability (with no cooldown) which can be stacked but uses its primary resource, Rage. Guardian is a viable option for levelling, especially if you're looking to do a lot of dungeons—tank = faster queue time.
Restoration is the Druid's healing spec uses a staff, dagger, or a mace. It is a very strong and versatile healer and works well as a raid healer or where damage is consistent. It relies on various HoTs (heal over time) spells but has a number of cooldowns for emergency situations and burst healing.
You can find more detailed druid information on the Dreamgrove Discord server.
Demon Hunter (melee damage/tank)
Demon hunters were added at the beginning of the Legion expansion and start at level eight in Shadowlands. They wear leather armour and use warglaives, swords, axes, or fist weapons. Demon hunters have what is probably the highest mobility in the game and their Glide ability means you'll never have to take fall damage. They also debuff targets to take five percent more magic damage from all sources, making them sought after for group content. Demon hunters only have two specs to choose from but they are both incredibly fun to play, not least because of the Metamorphosis ability which transforms your character into a demon for a short time.
Havoc is the damage class of demon hunters. It can deal a huge amount of damage and can take on large packs of enemies with ease. It has very powerful offensive cooldowns to deal high damage. Killing enemies also has a high chance of producing Soul Fragments which heal the demon hunter when picked up, making levelling incredibly easy.
Vengeance is the demon hunter tanking spec and works with a combination of damage reduction and healing abilities. They have high mobility and high damage output and while they are certainly viable in a raid environment, they really shine in dungeons.
You can find more detailed demon hunter information on The Fel Hammer Discord server.
Death Knight (melee damage/tank)
Death knights were introduced with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. They are a plate armour wearing melee class and start at level eight in Shadowlands. They use Runes and Runic Power as resources. They have a good amount of utility including Death Grip which pull the enemy target to the player as well as a number of interrupts and slows. They are also one of the few classes to have a combat resurrection.
Unholy is a damage spec and uses two handed axes, maces, or swords. It relies on spreading disease to enemies with their abilites as well as summoning undead minions to come to their add for additional damage. Unholy performs well with both single-target and AoE situations though it has some ramp up time. For this reason, it may not be the ideal spec for levelling.
Frost is the second damage spec and is the easiest death knight spec to learn. It dual-wields one handed weapons and deals good burst AoE damage but is probably one of the slower specs, in terms of mobility. It has good utility and some self-healing with the Death Strike ability.
Blood is a tanking spec and has great self-sustain with the use of Death Strike and Marrowrend, which applies stacks of Bone Shield. It has a number of defensive cooldowns but generally keeps itself alive by healing back up after taking damage, rather than preventing the incoming damage. It has great utility with Gorefiend's Grasp which pulls all hostile targets with 15 yards to one spot, making it easy for groups of enemies to damaged together. Blood is the safest spec to level as if you're thinking of playing a death knight.
You can find more detailed death knight information on the Acherus Discord server.
Choosing what class you want to be in World of Warcraft is probably the most important choice you will make about your character. Unlike races - which can be changed for a fee - classes are permanent, and cannot be changed once a character has been created. Well, what exactly is a class? A character's class determines what abilities and powers are available to them; what weapons and armor they will use; what combat roles they can fulfil; and to a significant extent their strengths, weaknesses and playstyle. Your choice of class will affect how you play your character, and how you play with others, and each class has something very different to offer.
Choice of class is limited by your choice of race; each race can only play certain classes, and vice versa. A mage is a class, a warrior is a class, a dwarf is not a class, it's a race! For a table of possible class/race combinations, see below. For more help on how to choose a race, see the Choosing a race page.
You should try to choose a class that's capable of fulfilling the role/s you find appealing. For instance, if you like helping others, supporting the team and keeping others alive, you might want to choose a class with healing capabilities. If leading the party into battle and protecting your allies by taking the brunt of enemies' attacks is your thing, then you might want to choose a class that is capable of tanking. If you'd prefer to be the one dishing out the damage, you might consider whether you want to be standing toe-to-toe with your enemies, or smiting them from afar.
It also helps to choose a class with a playstyle you think you will enjoy playing. For example, if you like the idea of striking from the shadows, assassinating targets with pin-point precision and slipping away into the night, you might enjoy playing a rogue or a feral druid. On the other hand, if you like being in the middle of the fray, charging into battle and tearing your enemies apart with massive weapons, you might prefer a warrior. Each class has its own, very different style.
Lore can also affect choice of class. Do you like the thought of being a stalwart paladin, champion of the Holy Light? A wise druid seeking to restore nature's balance? A meditative monk seeking inner peace and enlightenment? Or a dark warlock delving deep into demonic powers? Choosing a class whose background you enjoy can add a lot to playing your character.
In addition the choice of class, each class has three different specializations or 'specs' (druids have four). Each specialization represents a very different approach to playing the class, offering numerous new abilities and often changing the combat role the character is most suitable for. Each class can therefore be considered to have three (or four) major variants, each with its own skill-set, strengths and playing-style.
Note that there is no reason not to experiment with any and every class you want to. Many players will try a class for a while, then be drawn to try another, and then another after that. It's alright to keep changing around, especially if you're still looking for that class that really clicks. Keep trying new classes until you find something you really enjoy, or just keep switching between characters as the mood takes you. Players can create up to 50 characters on a single account, so you should feel free to jump in and try out any class you feel like.
New players should also remember that a class's strengths and character may not be obvious until later levels (particularly 40+). Sometimes all you need is a single spell that changes your gameplay from maddeningly difficult to extremely fun. Playing a certain class might seem particularly difficult during early levels, but the class may suddenly change after learning a new ability or talent, increasing the fun and excitement of playing it by several notches. Having a source of advice on playing your desired class, from the beginning until the level cap, can also be helpful if you're having trouble getting to grips with a class.
Finally, it should be noted that World of Warcraft is a constantly-evolving game. Any given class or specialization's potency may vary dramatically from patch to patch. The class descriptions below intentionally minimize references to class balance and specific abilities for this very reason.
Can't decide which class to choose?
When choosing a class, it's certainly worth reading about the different options that appeal to you, and doing a little research before jumping right in. If you already have a character, speak to friends and guild mates about their classes, and what it's like to play them. Bear in mind everyone has their own perspective on classes. Also, watch others play, and decide what looks like fun to you.
However, one of the best ways to explore a class is simply to roll a character of that class. The character and playstyle of a class will usually become quite clear over the first 10 or 15 levels; spending a short while playing a class will usually give you a fair idea of whether you want to continue with it. Remember you can always leave or delete a character if that class turns out to be not for you, or if you change your mind about your character's name or race. Do remember though that classes develop significantly on their way to max level; there's really no way to know what it's like to play a class at max level until you get there! Also, unless you need to delete a character for a specific reason, it's better to simply leave them be; some day you might decide to try that class again, and save yourself a lot of trouble!
Also, remember that you can roll a character of any and every class. There's really no need to choose a single class; many players have one or more characters of each class. Whatever class you choose, you can always choose to leave that character for a while and start a new one; you can come back to it later or just keep trying new classes until you find one you really enjoy! Many players roll multiple characters, and switch frequently between them as they level, while others will find a single class they love and play it to the exclusion of all others.
Class, race and class role
Choice of class is limited by choice of race, with certain classes only available to certain races. Class also determines which class roles the character can perform (see below).
Within World of Warcraft Classic, there are several different character types you can choose from. These are known as classes, and each class comes with unique abilities, attacks, and spells they can use on their adventures. Some classes can fulfill the same role within the game, but each class will offer a unique and different game play experience. Whether you want to cast fireballs from afar or silently dispatch your foes from the shadows, there’s a choice for you!
View our list of WoW Classic class guides!
Each class is designed with a specific purpose. Some classes are capable of fulfilling multiple roles, but generally tend to excel at only one of them.
The main roles a class can fulfill are:
- Damage (DPS) – Damage dealers are responsible for using abilities and attacks to eliminate an enemy’s health points. Depending on which class is played, they can either attack enemies up close in melee range, or from a distance with spells or ranged attacks.
- Tank – Tanks are beefy meat shields with large health pools and strong defense or avoidance. They protect their allies by forcing enemies to attack them and absorbing hits from enemies. Tanks are excellent at staying alive and are defensive experts.
- Healer – Healers are responsible for supporting a group and ensuring they stay alive. They use spells to restore the health of allies, but are often quite vulnerable themselves. Healers work best in a group setting, allowing others to deal damage while they keep them alive.
Training and Spell Ranks
Each time you level up is a time for celebration, but it’s also an indicator that you can learn new spells and gain more power. In World of Warcraft Classic, you’ll gain the ability to train with a class trainer every 2 levels that you gain, beginning at level 2.
Many spells and abilities in the game have multiple ranks associated with them. As you increase in level, you can train in higher ranks of spells you already have, which will allow them to do more damage. This often comes with an increased mana cost, which means it may be more efficient overall to use a lower rank in certain scenarios.
Each class has a specific set of trainers that they must visit in order to learn new abilities. Druids can only train with druid trainers, mages can only train with mage trainers, and so on. Trainers are often found within major cities for each faction, and also offer the ability to reset a character’s talents for a fee.
Once a character reaches level 10, they will unlock a set of abilities known as talents. Talents are special bonuses that offer either new spells, benefits to existing abilities, or straight stat increases.
Talents allow for a lot of flexibility and customization for your character. Depending upon which talents you choose, the role your character fulfills can change. Certain talent choices are definitely more beneficial for particular roles, so carefully read the options you have available! You can test these in advance using our WoW Classic talent calculator.
You’ll gain a new talent point for every level you earn, meaning you’ll finish with 51 at max level. Each talent tree requires 31 points to reach the final talent, which is often the most useful and powerful of them all. This allows for an additional 20 to dip into another tree or add even further talents in one specialization.
In the even you decide you want to try another setup, you can always reset your talents at your class trainer. It starts at just a 1g fee, but steeply increases as you continue to reset them.
Druids are shapeshifters that are closely in tune with nature. They use the power of nature magic to heal allies and purge poisons. They have the special ability of resurrecting allies while still in the middle of combat, making them desirable classes in groups. They use their shapeshifting powers to either become a bear, cat, or aquatic lion, offering them the ability to tank, deal damage, or heal.
- Available Races: Night Elf, Tauren
- Resources Used: Health, Mana, Rage (Bear Form), Energy (Cat Form)
- Armor Type: Leather or Cloth
- Weapons Used: Staff, 1H & 2H Mace, Dagger, Fist Weapon
- Type/Good For: Jack of all trades! Can tank with bear form, deal melee damage with cat form, or heal with restoration specialization. This makes them great for adventuring alone or excellent at supporting allies in a group.
Browse our list of WoW Classic Druid Guides!
Hunters are experts of the bow and speakers of the wild. They have a close bond with animals, allowing them to earn their loyalty and fight alongside you as a pet. They also have an array of traps at their disposal to stop their enemies right in their tracks. Hunters are ultimate trackers, with the ability to detect nearly any type of creature from far away.
- Available Races: Night Elf, Dwarf, Orc, Tauren, Troll
- Resources Used: Health, Mana
- Armor Type: Mail (Level 40+), Leather, Cloth
- Weapons Used: Bow, Crossbow, Gun, 1H & 2H Axe, 1H & 2H Sword, Staff, Polearm, Dagger, Thrown Weapons
- Type/Good For: Good at dealing damage with a ranged weapon from a distance. They can call and summon a pet to absorb damage for them, making them a great class for soloing.
Browse our list of WoW Classic Hunter Guides!
Mages are disciples of the elements, using their studies to cast powerful elemental magics. They can choose between arcane, fire, and frost magics to bombard their enemies with. On top of powerful spells, mages are also skilled at conjuring food and transporting allies to major cities.
- Available Races: Human, Gnome, Undead, Troll
- Resources Used: Health, Mana
- Armor Type: Cloth
- Weapons Used: Dagger, Staff, 1H Sword, Wand
- Type/Good For: Great for dealing direct damage with spells. They can’t take much damage though, and work best when other are available to soak up hits for them. They offer a ton of utility, with the ability to make food and portals to other locations.
Browse our list of WoW Classic Mage Guides!
Paladin (Alliance Only)
Paladins are holy templars of the Alliance, using their magic to smite foes and heal allies. They wear heavy plate armor, allowing them to soak damage with a shield, or use the powers of retribution to deal damage. They can also stay back and use their holy powers to keep allies alive, making them a great class for any role.
- Available Races: Human, Dwarf
- Resources Used: Health, Mana
- Armor Type: Plate (Level 40+), Mail, Leather, Cloth, Shield
- Weapons Used: 1H & 2H Mace, 1H & 2H Axe, 1H & 2H Sword
- Type/Good For: Paladins are also a flexible class, offering the ability to deal damage, serve as a tank, or heal allies. Their use of heavy armor also makes them a great choice to completing quests on their own.
Browse our list of WoW Classic Paladin Guides!
Priests are the ultimate healing class, using their spells to restore health and shield allies, or bring them back to life in case of disaster. While they make the best healer, they can also forsake their holy powers to harness strong shadow magic to slowly wither away at their foes.
- Available Races: Human, Dwarf, Night Elf, Undead, Troll
- Resources Used: Health, Mana
- Armor Type: Cloth
- Weapons Used: 1H Mace, Dagger, Staff, Wand
- Type/Good For: Priests are the classic healing class of World of Warcraft. They’re great at keeping allies alive and keeping evil spirits at bay. They wear cloth armor though, making them susceptible to attack. They’re the ultimate group member, and will have an easy time finding allies to play with.
Browse our list of WoW Classic Priest Guides!
Rogues are masters of stealth and poisons, using subtle tactics to eliminate their foes. They wear light armor, making them silent and undetectable to enemies. In addition to their assassination prowess, they can also unlock doors, chests, and traps a player might encounter.
- Available Races: Dwarf, Gnome, Human, Night Elf, Orc, Undead, Troll
- Resources Used: Health, Energy
- Armor Type: Leather or Cloth
- Weapons Used: 1H Sword, 1H Mace, Dagger, Fist Weapon
- Type/Good For: Great at dealing melee damage up close! They make great use of stealth, making it easy to avoid and pick out enemies. Rogues struggle to take damage though, making soloing quests a challenge.
Browse our list of WoW Classic Rogue Guides!
Shaman (Horde Only)
Shaman are masters of the voodoo, using the spirits to help them in battle. They use these spirits to summon the elements in the form of spells and totems. They’re great at supporting their allies from afar with powerful healing magic, or donning stronger armors to battle enemies up close.
- Available Races: Orc, Tauren, Troll
- Resources Used: Health, Mana
- Armor Type: Mail (Level 40+), Leather, Cloth, Shield
- Weapons Used: 1H & 2H Axe (With Talents), 1H & 2H Mace (With Talents), Dagger, Staff, Fist Weapon
- Type/Good For: Good for healing enemies or dealing damage. Shamans are quite flexible, but tend to work best as a support class.
Browse our list of WoW Classic Shaman Guides!
Warlocks are master manipulators of demons and shadow magic. They’re excellent at casting spells that slowly drain the health of their enemies. They also are adept at enslaving demons, forcing them to fight for them and protect them. They’re quite desirable in groups for their ability to summon other players from any location.
- Available Races: Gnome, Human, Orc, Undead
- Resources Used: Health, Mana
- Armor Type: Cloth
- Weapons Used: 1H Sword, Dagger, Wand, Staff
- Type/Good For: Warlocks are great at dealing ranged damage and defeating monsters by themselves. They can soak up plenty of damage with a demon, making them an excellent choice for first time players.
Browse our list of WoW Classic Warlock Guides!
Warriors are the definitive tank class, capable of wearing a shield and heavy armor to soak large hits from enemies. As they take more damage, warriors increase with rage, allowing them to cast more abilities and kill enemies faster. They can also take a purely offensive route, opting to dual wield weapons and slash foes apart.
- Available Races: Any
- Resources Used: Health, Rage
- Armor Type: Plate (Level 40+), Mail, Leather, Cloth, Shield
- Weapons Used: All (Except Wand)
- Type/Good For: Warriors are the excellent tank class and make for great meat shields. They can soak up more hits than other classes, but can also forsake that in the name of dealing damage. They can even wield two weapons at once, making them a great flexible melee class.
Browse our list of WoW Classic Warrior Guides!
Class descriptions wow
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