Introduction - Who is this Guide For?
The intention of this guide is to help players new to World of Warcraft or the Classic environment decide on which class they want to play in Classic WoW. The goal of this guide is to shine a light on the reality of each class, and illustrate irreversible or costly decisions relating to each class, such as race, faction, and profession. This guide better describes PvE than PvP however PvP is mentioned.
If you’ve already decided on what you want to play and you’re looking for advice on how to play it, look to the specific class guides for the roles you want to learn about.
First Things First - What Do You Want to Do?
The first question you want to ask yourself is: what role do you want to play? Not every class can be every role, so it’s important to establish how you want to play the game before choosing your class. While Classic relies on the holy trinity of Tank, Healer, and DPS there are five distinct roles within a party:
High Level Decisions - Horde or Alliance, Race, and Professions
Your choice of faction is typically relatively unrestricted. In PvE every class is much needed on both factions, and has at least one very welcome role to play in any party. However in PvP some classes are at a disadvantage to strong racial abilities on the opposing faction, such as Alliance Warlocks struggling to fight Undead due to their ability to remove Fear effects or Horde Frost Mages being at risk to a Paladin’s Blessing of Freedom. If a class is weak to an effect exclusive to one faction, that is noted either under the ‘Racial’ or ‘PvP’ sections for each class.
Ultimately you should play the faction where you will be able to play with friends, or the faction you find more appealing as your faction choice isn’t too significant. The exception being the faction exclusive classes: Shaman and Paladin. Only the Horde have access to Shamans and only the Alliance have access to Paladins. If you want to play either of those classes you will have to play on their respective faction.
Your race is slightly more important. While many classes are similarly effective as any race, some lend themselves far better to certain races than others. This is due to every race having unique passive and active abilities that are available to all classes. Any abilities that provide significant interest or advantage to a class are listed in the ‘Racial Choices’ section for each class. You should not allow optimizing your racial traits to dictate the race of your character, but instead keep them in consideration when deciding. There is no such thing as a wrong choice.
While professions can be unlearned and replaced at any time, it is a costly endeavor to re-train a new profession, which is why the last section for each class discusses which professions synergize well with the needs and capabilities of a class. This should allow you to start working on training your professions from a low level. You can have a total of two primary professions.
Most players consider Engineering to be necessary for PvP regardless of your class, as it grants access to a lot of control, maneuverability, and defensive abilities. It is also a fantastic profession for PvE as it provides access to explosives which can be used to significantly increase your damage output.
Tauren receive a +15 bonus to Herbalism.
Gnomes receive +15 to Engineering, which can boost DPS and PvP potential.
Tracking of items or NPCs is limited to one type at a time. Dwarves and Hunters cannot track treasure (Dwarf racial trait) or other entities while tracking either Minerals or Herbs. Players with both Mining and Herbalism cannot track both Minerals and Herbs at the same time either. It is recommended to take only one of these professions.
Classes in Brief - Which Class Does What You Want to Do?
Now that you’ve had a chance to familiarize yourself with the high level decisions, group roles, and play styles available in Classic and have an idea of what might appeal to you, let’s slim down the nine available classes to a shortlist of those which appeal to the role you want to play. The following table illustrates which roles are associated with which class. Utilizing another role to its maximum effectiveness typically requires your character to use a different talent specialization (which costs gold to change) and almost always requires a different set of gear.
Each role is has a grade of A, B, C, D, or E which indicates how easy it is to get in a group for a raid or dungeon as that class in that role. It is not an indication of strength or viability, but of community perception, potentially flawed or otherwise. An A pick is a very popular pick and likely the foremost for its role, a B indicates a less popular but still very common pick, and a C indicates a non-meta but welcome pick. Any A, B, or C role should be able to find dungeon and raid groups without too much difficulty, depending on the population of your server. D is a less common choice that can still find groups if it perseveres, and E is a very uncommon choice outside of certain content.
Many uncommon picks can still be strong within a given role but new players should understand that many groups will not accept certain classes in certain roles.
Ranged Damage (A)
Armor Type: Cloth
Easy in PvE
Easy to level
Good for farming gold
Needs to respec frequently
Can make portals to cities
Can conjure food and drink
Ranged Damage (B)
Armor Type: Cloth
Pet Class (Summons demons)
Easy in PvE
Easy to level
Free mount (At level 40)
Strong PvP control
Can summon party members
Hybrid Ranged Damage (C)
Armor Type: Cloth
Preferred healer in dungeons
Easy to find dungeon groups
Strong debuff removal
Unique spells for each race
Hybrid Melee Damage (C)
Hybrid Ranged Damage (D)
Armor Type: Leather
Easy to level
Uses multiple casting resources
Can be any role
Can turn invisible with stealth
Melee Damage (A)
Armor Type: Leather
Can turn invisible with stealth
‘Energy’ casting resource
Can pick locked doors/chests
Can disarm traps
Can pickpocket NPCs
Can brew weapon poisons
Good for farming gold
Very strong in PvP control
Very strong in 1v1 PvP
Engaging PvE rotation
Ranged Damage (B/C)
Hybrid Melee Damage (D)
Armor Type: Mail
Pet class (Tames beasts)
Easy to level
Complicated PvE rotation
Low PvE damage
Very strong in 1v1 PvP
Good for farming gold
Can place traps
Hybrid Melee Damage (D)
Hybrid Ranged Damage (E)
Armor Type: Mail
Can remove enemy buffs
Powerful buffs through totems
Strong PvP burst
High natural defenses
Hybrid Melee Damage (D)
Armor Type: Plate
Easy but slow to level
Free mount (At level 40)
Powerful PvP healer
Strong defensive abilities
Inappropriate for tanking raids
Very capable dungeon tank
Melee Damage (A)
Armor Type: Plate
Hard to level
‘Rage’ casting resource
Foremost tanking choice
Group/Gear dependent in PvP
Engaging PvE rotation
Easy to find dungeon groups
Mages are masters of frost, fire, and arcane magic, they are pure damage dealers. While they only wear cloth armor, and can only take a few hits, they have powerful control abilities to stay alive through a fight, or depend on the help of a tank to protect them while they deal high single target and area of effect (AoE) damage. Mages and warlocks are a good choice for anyone interested in caster base damage dealers, mages filling a more traditional archetype. If you’re the player who likes to have powerful spells to answer your opponents with, Mage might be the class for you.
Their frost spells slow or ensnare opponents, allowing the mage to stay at a comfortable distance while they continue to attack with spells, and can also be used defensively to protect the caster from damage in a block of ice. Their frost talent tree augments these abilities, improving the controlling power and damage of frost. Their fire spells deal significant damage designed to burn the opponent down without regard for defense, while their arcane spells and talents act as an augment for their other spells, providing defenses in the form of ‘Blink’ (A short distance teleport) or ‘Mana Shield’ (Allowing you to use your mana as health). They provide utility in the form of portals (That can teleport you and your allies to any capital city) or conjured food and drink (Giving mages access to health replenishing food or mana-recharging water on demand), or other powerful spells like Arcane Intellect (Increasing the total mana of allies for 30 minutes), ‘Detect Magic’ (Making beneficial effects on their target viewable), or remove Curse (removing a Curse effect from a chosen ally). It is because of this combination of convenient utility, high single target and AoE damage, and control that mages are typically chosen.
Leveling a mage is easier than many other classes. While they are not as quick to reach level 60 as a Hunter or Druid, the convenience of their Arcane spells and the control and damage of their Frost spells make for a very straightforward leveling experience. Most first time players will follow a traditional questing leveling strategy, which mages excel at, only have to take breaks from fighting to drink and restore mana. They can also use Blink and their Teleport and Portal abilities to quickly move around the map, while most classes would have to resort to slower conventional means.
Mages can also ‘AoE grind’ their way to level 60. This method relies on killing NPCs to generate experience, as opposed to completing quests. The idea is to pull as many NPCs as is possible and then slowly kill them using a combination of your frost AoE spells to keep them slowed and controlled while you kill them.
This AoE potential is also the basis for most mage gold farming methods. Most mages prefer to farm ‘trash’ (non-boss) enemies in dungeons to generate gold, using their Frost AoE potential to keep entire groups of enemies controlled while slowly killing them. This then gives them access to loot to sell to a vendor, or in rare cases, other players. Some mages prefer to do this in the open world, where they run the risk of competition from other players or of PvP encounters on a PvP server, but the risk is paid with greater reward.
In later game PvE mages may find their role becomes dull or too easy, especially in raids where they are more limited in their spell use. During boss fights, mages will find that they spend most of their time using only a handful of spells: Frostbolt or Fireball and Scorch, depending on the resistances of the boss you are currently fighting. While you will dip into other roles during certain fights, using your debuff removal and interrupts, and AoE spells during others, this will be the bulk of your gameplay.
For dungeons and raids Mages are expected to always be ready to provide water and food to the rest of the group. It can be a strain on inventory space and a bit monotonous and time consuming if providing refreshments isn’t something you enjoy. However this ability as well as being able to make portals can be an easy source of money when you are sitting in capital cities during downtime.
Mages, as they deal damage with either Frost or Fire spells, often find themselves faced with an enemy who is resistant to their damage, causing the mage to either be forced to spend gold to change to a different specialization (spec) or use their fire spells in a frost spec, or vice versa. They will also find that farming gold as a mage at end game by AoE farming requires a different spec than the one they would raid, run dungeons, or PvP with. However, there are other gold farming methods which do not require you to change your spec.
In PvP mages tend to gravitate towards one of two options again: Frost or Fire. Fire builds hit hard and burn out fast, relying on combining cooldowns with strong high damage abilities to burst down targets quickly and have little to rely on in the way of survivability. A bad matchup as a Fire mage can be fatal, while a favorable matchup can be hilarious. Frost however acts more defensively, still dealing high burst (though not as obscenely high as Fire) while relying on innumerous spells and abilities to keep the caster protected, either by encasing themselves in ice to defend themselves or rooting, snaring, and slowing their opponent.
Horde mages should be aware of a Paladin’s ‘Blessing of Freedom’, which grants them temporary immunity to Frost’s controlling abilities. While this isn’t a reason to not play a Mage, or a reason to choose Alliance over Horde as a Mage, it may be a concern for some players.
Racial choices for a Mage are not complicated. Only Humans and Gnomes can be Mages on the Alliance, and only Trolls and Undead can be Mages on the Horde. In short there isn’t a wrong choice here, however there are definite advantages to each race and since this choice is permanent those advantages should be considered.
On the Alliance, Gnomes receive 5% bonus intellect to their base intellect (The total of their statistic with their gear removed) which increases their chance to critically hit with spells and their maximum total mana pool. They also receive Escape Artist which removes movement impairing effects such as slows and roots.
Humans receive Perception, an activated ability which increases the player’s chance to detect characters in stealth, such as Druids or Rogues, and Diplomacy which increases all reputation gains by 10% (Reducing how much you will need to grind to gain reputation with a faction). Both have advantages for PvE and PvP, however Gnome is by a very slim margin better in PvE. The PvP racial is less quantifiable, depending on what you are more concerned about - Rogues or roots.
On the Horde side, Trolls are the clear preferred race for PvE due to their ‘Berserking’ cooldown which increases your cast speed for a moderate duration by an amount depending on your health at the time activation. They also deal 5% bonus damage to Beast creatures.
Undead have ‘Will of the Forsaken’, an activated ability that removes and makes you immune to Charm, Fear, and Sleep effects, making them a preferred choice for PvPers.
Profession choices are typically more complicated than racial choices, but they are reversible. It is only expensive to change a profession, while changing a race requires a new character. You can have a total of two Primary Professions at any given time. For Mages, Tailoring is a preferred choice, as it offers access to several items (Bloodvine equipment and Robes of the Archmage) that are incredibly powerful. Robes of the Archmage can still be used after it is created if you change to other professions, however much of the benefit of Bloodvine is lost so Tailoring is generally kept until you find suitable upgrades. Tailoring is popularly paired with Enchanting which allows you to turn unwanted items from Tailoring or AoE grinding into Enchanting materials that can be used to sell or improve your own items.
For PvPers Engineering is a must have, regardless of your class, as it gives access to many powerful cooldown effect abilities and consumables that deal high damage, provide maneuverability, defenses, or control. Engineering can be an expensive profession to maintain, but Mages are capable of farming gold effectively regardless of their profession. Engineering is also a DPS increase in PvE.
Herbalism and Alchemy are also good choices, as they offer the potential to make a lot of money regardless of your current talent specialization or combat abilities, as well as allowing you to make your own consumables for PvE and PvP, however you can simply buy these consumables.
Warlocks are pure damage dealers, summoners of demons, and who channel fire and shadow spells to curse their enemies and deal powerful hard hitting direct damage or slow constant damage over time (DoT) effects. They wear cloth and rely on their class features and spells to stay alive through the fight, sustaining their health by draining life from the enemy, using their ‘Fear’ spell to send their opponent fleeing, or relying on their demon pet to tank their opponent for them.
Their characteristic features are their demon pet which follows them wherever they go and aids them in battle, their warlock exclusive self-harming spell effects that restore mana or deal heavy damage in exchange for their own life, and their unique mastery of DoT effects, each of which make them unique from any other class. If you want to play a caster class with a pet, or enjoy a more ‘evil’ flavor as a caster, Warlocks might be the class for you.
Their Affliction spells and talents focus on gradually weakening their enemy while providing high personal sustainability through the use of ‘Drain Life’ (which harms the target and heals the caster) and ‘Life Tap’ (which harms the caster to restore mana), and also provide control through ‘Fear’ (causing the enemy to flee uncontrollably) and their ‘Curses’ (Weakening an enemy’s damage or making them more vulnerable to damage).
Their Destruction spells and talents focus on heavy hitting damaging abilities and powerful DoT effects, while their Demonology spells focus on the Warlock’s mastery of their pet and provides utility and control effects, such as ‘Enslave Demon’ (Allowing you to control an enemy demon as your pet), ‘Create Firestone’ (Creating a temporary off-hand item that augments your fire damage), ‘Ritual of Summoning’ (Summons a party member to your location, requiring the help of two other party members), or ‘Create Soulstone’ (Allows you to apply a ‘Soulstone’ effect to an ally, allowing them to return to life should they die while under the Soulstone’s effect).
Leveling a Warlock is typically considered to be very easy and relatively quick, beaten only by a Hunter or Druid. This is because unlike most other classes, Warlocks do not need to take a break from combat to heal or restore mana, as they can ‘Drain Health’ from their opponent or use a ‘Health Stone’ created from a Soul Shard (An item generated by the Affliction ability ‘Drain Soul’, which when used to kill a target provides a Soul Stone - these are needed for many Warlock abilities). They can then damage themselves with ‘Life Tap’ to restore mana. By using these abilities in combination allows a Warlock to continue fighting without rest endlessly. They also have access to a ‘Voidwalker’ from Level 10, a permanent demon pet that can tank NPC opponents for the Warlock, allowing them to fight multiple NPCs at a time.
In addition to a Warlock’s combination of incredible sustainability and the help of a pet, they also receive a free Warlock exclusive mount at level 40, which grants them access to a 60% movement speed increase. While any class can buy a mount at Level 40 most new players cannot easily afford the cost. Additionally they receive a discounted Warlock exclusive 100% speed mount at level 60. This easy access to mounts makes later game leveling a much less frustrating experience as travel time is significantly reduced.
In PvE the Warlock playstyle can become too easy for some. Due to a strict debuff limit of debuffs per target, Warlocks are rarely able to explore the full extent of their abilities, and are instead limited to maintaining Curse of Elements (Increasing Fire and Frost damage by 10% for the Mages), Curse of Shadow (Increasing Shadow and Arcane damage by 10% for Warlocks or Moonkin Druids), or Curse of Recklessness (Increases target Attack Power, however lowers target Armor for melee damage dealers) on the boss. They then repeatedly cast Shadowbolt (A slow casting high direct damage ability). In 5 person dungeons Warlocks can use their abilities more freely but will still find themselves primarily using Shadowbolt to deal damage.
Warlocks are also welcome in dungeon and raid groups for their many powerful utility abilities. As most of these abilities require a Soul Shard to cast, Warlocks are expected to prepare in advance by killing NPCs to gather Soul Shards. These Soul Shards are stored often in a Warlock specific Soul Shard bag. The Soul Shards are then used to provide important group members with the Soulstone Resurrection effect so that they can come back to life should they do, summon party members to the dungeon location, and provide Health Stones (Which are used to restore Health similar to health potions) to group members who need them.
In PvP they are a force to be reckoned with. With the debuff limit no longer a concern, a Warlock can freely apply their DoT effects to an enemy, use whichever curse fits the scenario, and cast Fear to keep their enemy at arm’s length while their spells slowly burn away their opponents health. They enjoy a complex gameplay of juggling many powerful or conflicting abilities, and controlling their opponent while micro-managing their pet. Although this may sound initially complicated, Warlocks are rewarded by very strong 1v1 PvP potential.
Alliance Warlocks should be aware of the Undead racial ability ‘Will of the Forsaken’. This ability removes fear effects and provides temporary immunity, which can be enough to turn a fight around as Warlocks strongly rely on their ‘Fear’ ability for control in PvP.
Racial choices for a Warlock are not complicated. Only Humans and Gnomes can be Warlocks on the Alliance, and only Orcs and Undead can be Warlocks on the Horde. All four can be an effective Warlock as Warlocks are almost equally effective in PvE regardless of their race choice.
On the Alliance, Gnomes receive 5% bonus intellect to their base intellect (The total of their intellect statistic with their gear removed) which increases their chance to critically hit with spells and their maximum total mana pool. Gnomes also have ‘Escape Artist’ which removes movement impairing effects such as slows and roots.
Humans have ‘Perception’, an activated ability which increases the user’s chance to detect characters in stealth, such as Druids or Rogues, and they also have Diplomacy which increases all reputation gains by 10% (Reducing how much you will need to grind to gain reputation with a faction).
Gnomes are a good choice for PvP-focused players due to their ‘Escape Artist’ ability, and are strictly the stronger choice for PvE by a very slim margin thanks to their bonus intellect, however since Warlocks can replenish mana more easily than other classes a Warlock considering PvPing should certainly consider Human, as ‘Perception’ when combined with their ‘Detect Invisibility’ spell allows a Warlock to easily detect a Rogue or Druid in stealth, allowing them to gain a hefty advantage against Rogues, a class which can be a deadly match up against a Warlock.
On the Horde side, Undead enjoy their ‘Will of the Forsaken’ ability, providing immunity to Charm, Fear, and Sleep effects which grants them a strong advantage against other Warlocks or Priests.
Orcs receive the ‘Command’ passive spell which increases their Demon’s damage by 5% and the ‘Hardiness’ passive spell which increases their chance to resist stuns by 25%, providing them an edge against Rogues.
Both races are great choices and provide a different strength in PvP against different classes. However the Orc ‘Command’ passive is only useful in solo content and some dungeon encounters because in raid encounters Warlocks typically use an ability to sacrifice their demon to temporarily increase their Shadow Damage by a significant margin negating the advantage of ‘Command’.
Profession choices are typically more complicated than racial choices, but they are reversible. It is only expensive to change a profession, while changing a race requires a new character. You can have a total of two Primary Professions at any given time. For Warlocks, Tailoring is a preferred choice, as it offers access to several items (Bloodvine equipment and Robes of the Void) that are incredibly powerful for Warlocks. Robes of the Void can still be used after it is created if you change to other professions, however much of the benefit of Bloodvine is lost so Tailoring is generally kept until you find suitable upgrades. Tailoring is popularly paired with Enchanting which allows you to turn unwanted items into Enchanting materials that can be used to sell or improve your own items.
For PvPers Engineering is a must have, regardless of your class, as it gives access to many powerful cooldown effect abilities and consumables that deal high damage, provide maneuverability, defenses, or control. Engineering can be an expensive profession to maintain, and a Warlock might consider taking their second profession as Herbalism or Mining to sell herbs or ore to fund their Engineering profession.
Herbalism and Alchemy are also good choices, as they offer a lot of money-making potential, as well as allowing you to make your own consumables for PvE and PvP, however you can always simply buy these consumables.
Priests are devoted casters who tread a line between the versatile healing power of the Light and the vicious mind melting power of Shadow. They wear cloth, and rely on their spells to survive through a fight, providing themselves with protective shields and healing. Priests are an ideal choice for players who want to heal.
Their characteristic is their versatility as a healer. Priests have access to more varieties of healing abilities than any other class, and excel at healing dungeons and raids due to that versatility. They also bring numerous other helpful effects such as the ability to remove disease and magic effects from party members (or positive magical effects from enemies), a powerful Stamina buff (Power Word: Fortitude) to increase the total health of party members, and ‘Resurrection’ which allows them to bring an ally back to life when out of combat. They also have access to a lot of unique abilities such as ‘Mind Control’ (Allowing them to temporarily take control of an enemy player or NPC), ‘Levitate’ (Allows them to walk on water and slow fall), and ‘Mana Burn’ (Attacks a player or NPC’s mana and deals damage that scales with the amount of mana removed).
While their Discipline and Holy talents and abilities focus on the Priests capabilities as a healer, Priest’s shadow spells and talents focus on dealing damage with a slower burn, dealing damage over time (DoT) with weak but constant channeled abilities and DoT effects. They also have access to several control abilities such as ‘Psychic Scream’ (An area of effect fear), ‘Silence’ (Which prevents the target from casting), ‘Shackle Undead’ (A crowd control effect for undead NPCs), ‘Mind Control’, and ‘Mana Burn’.
Leveling a Priest is no easier or more difficult than the average class. A well optimized Priest will only occasionally have to take breaks to restore health or mana, but due to a lack of long-term control abilities or powerful area of effect (AoE) damage, priests typically have to exercise caution and restraint when approaching enemies in the open world and tend to fight only one creature at a time. They also possess no movement speed increasing effects to help them travel to quest objectives faster, which slows down their overall pace of leveling, despite their reduced need for downtime.
Most Priests tend to level as a Shadow Priest, and heal dungeons while leveling regardless of their specialization. Shadow Priests are an enjoyable specialization to level on PvP servers, where they can perform well in 1v1 fights, especially as a counter-caster against Mages and Warlocks.
In PvE priests are ordinarily going to heal, however most raids will find room for one Shadow Priest to provide the ‘Shadow Weaving’ effect (A debuff applied with shadow damage to targets that increases the shadow damage received by the target by up to 15%) for the Warlocks in the raid. This debuff becomes useful when there are up to 16 debuff slots available during raid content. While dealing less damage, a Shadow Priest providing the debuff adds significant enough total worthwhile damage.
Healing Priests however are healers through and through. Generally they use different ranks of the same spell to manage their healing output and mana usage appropriately, and are tasked with keeping the raid alive, remove debuffs, and at the end of the fight, resurrect the dead.
In PvP, Priests are often found to be less effective as healers than they are in PvE, outshined by a Paladin’s survivability and a Shaman’s versatility, but they can still be effective. Priests in PvP typically specialize as a Shadow Priest, where their trifecta of slow burn damage and versatile control combined with ‘Power Word: Shield’ (A defensive shield that prevents a moderate amount of damage and avoids casting interruption) allows them to perform well in small fights or 1v1 encounters.
Racial choices for a Priest are more complicated than most other classes. Priests receive two special spells depending on their race choice, and the impact of these spells on your gameplay varies depending on your intended specialization and whether you intend to focus on PvE or PvP. Priests can be Humans, Dwarves, Night Elves, Undead, or Trolls.
For the Alliance, Humans and Dwarves are the most popular races for Priests.
Human Priests receive a 5% bonus to their spirit which combines well with the Holy Talent ‘Spiritual Guidance’ (Increases your spell damage and healing by up to 25% of your Spirit), and provides increased mana regeneration. They also receive 10% extra reputation from all sources and their ‘Perception’ ability grants temporary increased stealth detection.
Human Priest Spells are ‘Feedback’ (a spell helpful in PvP which grants the priest an effect that burns an attacking spellcaster’s mana and deals equal damage with each spell cast against the priest) and ‘Desperate Prayer’ (an ability with no mana cost that instantly heals the Priest for a significant amount of health). Humans are a good choice for PvPing and are strictly a better healer in PvE than a Dwarf priest.
Dwarf Priests have access to ‘Stoneform’, an ability which increases armor and grants temporary immunity to Poisons, Diseases, and Bleed effects.
Dwarf Priest Spells are ‘Fear Ward’ (a buff applied to any allied target that grants immunity to the next fear effect cast against them) and ‘Desperate Prayer’. ‘Stoneform’ makes Dwarves an effective choice for PvP, and as ‘Fear Ward’ is considered to be vital for several raid encounters Dwarf Priests are in high demand for the Alliance for PvE raiding.
Night Elf Priests have the racial trait ‘Shadowmeld’, an activated ability that allows the user to stealth for so long as they remain still. This is useful for avoiding unwanted PvP encounters or ambushing people.
Night Elf Priest Spells are ‘Starshards’ (a very mana effective channeled ability that deals Arcane damage over 6 seconds) and ‘Elune’s Grace’ (reduces incoming ranged damage and increases the caster’s chance to dodge for 15 seconds). A night elf priest is still an effective healer and hybrid damage dealer, but its racial abilities do not synergize well with typical priest gameplay.
For the Horde, Undead and Troll are both strong options.
Trolls are the clear preferred race for PvE due to their ‘Berserking’ spell which temporarily increases your cast speed. They also deal 5% bonus damage to Beast creatures.
Troll Priest Spells are ‘Hex of Weakness’ (reduces damage caused and healing received by the target opponent) and ‘Shadowguard’ (provides a temporary effect to the caster that deals damage to attackers).
Undead have ‘Will of the Forsaken’, an ability that removes and makes you immune to Charm, Fear, and Sleep effects.
Undead Priest Spells are ‘Touch of Weakness’ (a reflection spell that damages an attacking target reduces the target’s damage amount) and ‘Devouring Plague’ (a DoT lifesteal). While the Troll’s ‘Hex of Weakness’ has potential in PvP, Undead are typically preferred due for PvP due to their Will of the Forsaken ability.
Profession choices are typically more complicated than racial choices, but they are reversible. It is only expensive to change a profession, while changing a race requires a new character. You can have a total of two Primary Professions at any given time. For Priests, Tailoring is a preferred choice, as it offers access to several items (Truefaith Vestments) that are incredibly powerful for Priests, however once you have made those items you can change to other professions and still use them. Tailoring is popularly paired with Enchanting which allows you to turn unwanted items into Enchanting materials that can be sold or used to improve your own items. As gold farming can be difficult for a Priest it could be recommendable to pair Tailoring with Herbalism.
For PvPers, Engineering is a must have regardless of your class, as it gives access to many powerful cooldown effect abilities and consumables that deal high damage, provide maneuverability, defenses, or control. Engineering can be an expensive profession to maintain, and a Priest might consider taking their second profession as Herbalism or Mining to sell herbs or ore to fund their Engineering profession.
Herbalism and Alchemy are also good choices, as they offer a lot of money making potential as well as allow you to make your own consumables for PvE and PvP, however you can also simply buy these consumables.
Druids are the guardians of nature, master shapeshifters, and capable of filling any role. They have three basic combat forms: their caster form in which they use mana and can cast healing, control, and damaging abilities, their bear form in which they use rage and have an aggressive playstyle with high defenses, and their cat form in which they use energy and have a stealth-based playstyle where they build combo points with each attack and spend them with powerful finishers. Druids are an ideal class for players who enjoy a dynamic ‘jack of all trades master of none’ approach, with a strong emphasis on support in PvE.
They can wear Leather and Cloth armor, either using a combination of Cloth and Leather for a caster playstyle or Leather for an aggressive melee damage dealing playstyle focusing around cat form abilities or an equally powerful and upfront but more defensive playstyle focusing around bear form abilities. They keep themselves alive during a fight by using their wide array of abilities, relying on the natural hardiness of their bear form, and shifting into caster form to ensnare their opponent in roots while they heal themselves.
A Druid’s balance specialization focuses on supportive control abilities and caster damage. Balance talents augment those abilities, and grant access to the ‘Moonkin Form’ which significantly increases armor and provides a passive increase to your groups spell critical hit chance, but restricts the Druid to only casting Balance spells while using the Moonkin Form. Balance damage can be devastating with long cast time high damage bursts, but suffers from mana issues over longer encounters.
The feral abilities and talents focuses on dealing damage in Cat Form and the defensive nature of Bear Form, allowing the Druid to specialize as master shapeshifter who can swap between a hardy tank and powerful melee damage dealer at will.
Their restoration abilities and talents focus on the Druid’s healing potential, which centers around powerful cooldowns such as ‘Nature’s Swiftness’ (an ability that makes any spell cast instantly), ‘Rebirth’ (a resurrection ability that can be cast in combat, exclusive to Druids), and ‘Innervate’ (grants temporary large mana regeneration to an ally), and their unique mastery of Heal Over Time (HoT) effects, which allow the druid to apply multiple ticking effects to their target that slowly heal for the duration of their effect.
Druids are very easy to level. This is due to their ability to avoid any downtime by their ability to shift into Bear or Cat Form to conserve mana, allowing them to use their mana only for emergencies and to heal themselves. Properly managed, a Druid should only very rarely need to pause to eat and drink. Additionally while in Bear or Cat Form, the Druid’s equipped weapon acts only as an item with stats on it. This means that there is no need to feel pressure to find weapon upgrades to maintain soloing strength.
Their control in the form of Entangling Roots (a spell which ensnares a target for a reasonable length of time) or Hibernate (crowd controls an enemy ‘Beast’ to sleep for a long duration) and Bear Form defenses allow them to manage multiple enemies at the same time. They can also use their Cat Form to sneak past enemies they do not wish to fight, allowing them to save time and focus on quest objectives or avoid unwanted PvP encounters.
They also have access to Travel Form from level 30 which increases their movement speed by 40%, allowing them to more quickly travel around. Additionally Feral druids may specialize to receive 30% movement speed in Cat Form at level 20. All Druids also receive an Aquatic Form at level 16, which allows them to breathe underwater endlessly and significantly increases their swim speed. With all of these effects combined Druids have excellent mobility for traversing the map.
In PvE Druids can play as four roles, however Druids typically find groups most easily as a Healer. This is because while their Balance damage can be effective, Balance Druids suffer from mana issues over the duration of a long fight. Feral Cat form damage is also often overlooked by the community, and while Feral Bear tanks can be very effective, Warriors are by far preferred in raids. Raiding as a Druid, despite their capabilities, can often mean healing.
Playing a Druid tank should be a definite consideration for players who are only interested in being a secondary tank in raids, or those who only intend to enjoy 5 man dungeon tanking, as Feral Bear Druids excel in both of these environments, and it is not too difficult to join groups in these roles. Many raids prefer a feral secondary tank, as they can swap to Cat Form and deal respectable damage compared to a properly specialized Warrior tank. However, unlike Warriors there are certain raid fights for which a Druid tank is simply not suitable as a main tank and because of this they are very rarely chosen as the primary tank.
Druid Healers may find it difficult at times to find groups for dungeons as unlike Priests, Paladins, and Shamans, Druids have no access to an out of combat resurrection, and their combat resurrection ability has a significant cooldown. Groups can sometimes find this off-putting. However, Druids are often underplayed and have several very powerful cooldown abilities (Innervate and Rebirth), resulting in them often being able to find raid groups more easily than Priest, Paladin, or Shaman healers. Druid Healers in PvE tend to rely more heavily on their ‘Healing Touch’ ability (A slower but efficient direct healing ability).
In PvP Feral Druids are very sought after as Flag Carriers. Their natural hardiness in Bear Form makes them ideal front liners when combined with their mobility of Travel Form and their ability to shake off movement impairing effects by changing form. Outside of the Warsong Gulch capture the flag battleground, Feral Druids also excel in small fights and 1v1 encounters, as they can use Cat Form to pick their target and rely on their versatility to counter their opponents strengths. Balance Druids are also strong in small fights, when left unaddressed by an opponent they can deal devastating burst damage capable of killing less defensive opponents in one shot.
Racial choices for a Druid are exceptionally easy. As only Tauren and Night Elves can be Druids most players tend to choose based on the faction they wish to play on.
Night Elves receive ‘Shadowmeld’, an ability that allows them to turn invisible while standing still, which also passively increases their stealth level, reducing their chance to be seen when using their Cat form stealth ability ‘Prowl’.
Tauren receive ‘Endurance’ (Increasing their total health by 5%) and ‘War Stomp’ (An Area of Effect short duration stun).
Profession choices are more complicated than racial choices, depending on the role or content the Druid wishes to engage in.
For tank-focused Druids, Enchanting is considered vital due to a trinket exclusive to the profession, however once the trinket has been crafted the profession can be abandoned for another.
Engineering is also considered vital for any serious PvPer, and while Druids cannot use many items or consumables in their Cat or Bear Forms, Engineering still offers many advantages. Engineering can be paired effectively with Mining to help provide much needed minerals, and in combination with a Druid’s stealth ability, many Druids can farm nodes in instanced dungeons to make money without any competition.
Druids also make ideal herbalists as they can gather herbs in their Travel Form without having to wait to re-mount. This can be paired with Alchemy, Engineering, or Enchanting. Tauren also receive a racial +15 bonus to their Herbalism skill.
While Druids do benefit from Tailoring and Leatherworking items there are no Tailoring or Leatherworking items they need that cannot be sold to them by another Tailor or Leatherworker, allowing the Druid to free up their professions for more necessary or profitable skills.
Rogues are masters of stealth, guile, and cunning, master poisoners, infiltrators, and assassins. They are pure Melee Damage Dealers who only ever start a fight on their own terms. They use a constantly refilling Energy bar as their casting resource to cast their myriad of attacks and abilities. As they use their abilities against an opponent they build combo points against that target that can be spent on more powerful ‘finisher’ abilities.
While they wear leather and lack strong innate defenses, Rogues only ever fight on their own terms, hiding in stealth until they are confident they can defeat their opponent. Once the fight begins they have an arsenal of short duration stuns and incapacitation effects to keep their opponent controlled while the Rogue dictates the fight, and should they lose control of the fight they have several powerful abilities to turn things around or reset the fight, including ‘Vanish’ (allows the Rogue to stealth during combat), ‘Evasion’ (temporarily increases the Rogue’s chance to dodge attacks significantly), and ‘Preparation’ (removes all ability cooldowns). Rogues are the ideal class for players who like to have the upper hand in a fight and prefer to start fights on their own terms.
Leveling a Rogue is harder than most other classes, but not as grueling as leveling a Warrior can be. This is because Rogues lack any form of self-sustain, and while they will never need to pause to restore mana they may often find themselves pausing to restore health, especially if they become under geared or ambitious in their targets. Using their various control abilities they can help mitigate this issue.
Their stealth abilities lend a lot to their leveling potential. What they lack in self sustain is made up for in the ability to evade unwanted PvP encounters or mobs, allowing them to more directly pursue quest objectives. They can also easily take on groups of two mobs using their ‘Sap’ ability (a crowd control ability against ‘Humanoids’ that can only be used from stealth), while certain other classes would be forced to take damage from multiple mobs, later requiring them to heal or eat, slowing down their pace.
Rogues also have good gold farming potential. In combination with a Druid friend a Rogue can effectively duo many encounters in five person instances by using stealth to evade the majority of the dungeon and reach objectives with high gold value, such as uncontested mineral veins or boss loot. Well-geared Rogues can solo many of these encounters. Rogues can also enter dungeons alone to make gold by Pickpocketing the mobs, as well as by using their Lockpicking skill to open lockboxes.
In PvE Rogues have a more engaging, but not too difficult, rotation of abilities. They build up their combo points using either Sinister Strike or Backstab and spend those to maintain what is ordinarily a three to four button rotation. Being in melee, Rogues typically need to engage with more boss mechanics than ranged Damage Dealers, adding another level of enjoyable complexity to the playstyle.
In five person dungeons Rogues get to shine with a wider variety of their abilities than in raids, being free to use debuff based abilities if they wish, and utilizing their various crowd control abilities. They are often relied on for their use of the ‘Kick’ ability (spell interrupt ability) on caster mobs. Their other instant stun mechanics can also help a group greatly in a tight spot, and provide brief but powerful control.
In PvP their stealth based approach to combat and their high control potential make them unstoppable in world PvP. You can safely avoid most any fight using stealth and start fights confident that you have the upper hand. They excel against disorganized opponents and in small scale encounters (1v1 and 2v2), but in larger fights (5v5 or more) the Rogue’s potential begins to drop off, as they are the mercy of teams bursting them down when they leave stealth, or by being controlled by their opponent’s ally. The larger a fight gets the more the Rogue’s sudden shock and awe playstyle becomes ineffective.
Alliance Rogues may find themselves at a disadvantage against some Horde players, as their usual ‘stun lock’ advantage of keeping an opponent controlled will be less effective against Orcs, who have an additional 25% chance to resist any stuns.
Racial choices for a Rogue are relatively easy. For players who want the most possible advantage in PvE, Orcs and Humans are the strongest races for a Rogue on their respective faction, and both offer strong PvP abilities in addition to their PvE damage potential.
Humans receive ‘Sword Specialization’ (increases the player’s Sword Skill by 5 - vital for PvE) and ‘Mace Specialization’ (likewise for Maces, instead of Swords), as well as ‘Diplomacy’ (increases reputation gains by 10%), and ‘Perception’ (increases stealth detection - highly desirable in Rogue vs Rogue encounters). Their ‘Sword Specialization’ gives Humans the highest damage potential for Rogues for the Alliance, as Swords are the preferred weapon in PvE (due to weapon and talent options).
Dwarves receive ‘Stoneform’ (ability that grants temporary immunity to Bleed, Poison, and Disease, while increasing Armor by 10%). This can be helpful in several PvP situations, as it allows the Rogue to clear debuffs before returning to stealth to prevent the damage dealt by those effects revealing the Rogue from stealth. It also has limited PvE usage.
Gnomes receive ‘Escape Artist’ (ability that removes any immobilization or movement impairing effects) and ‘Engineering Specialist’ (increases Engineering skill by 15). Their ‘Escape Artist’ ability can be invaluable in PvP, as a Rogue trapped in the open and snared or slowed can become an easy target. Escape Artist allows the Rogue to regain the advantage. It has only very little usage in PvE.
Night Elves receive ‘Shadowmeld’ (increases their stealth level). This is rarely effective.
Orcs receive ‘Blood Fury’ (increases Attack Power by 25%) and ‘Hardiness’ (resist stun effects by 25%). Their ‘Blood Fury’ ability gives Orcs the highest PvE damage potential on the Horde, followed by Trolls, While their ‘Hardiness’ passive can be invaluable in Rogue vs Rogue encounters, as well as to a lesser extent against other classes with access to stuns.
Trolls receive ‘Berserking’ (increases attack speed) and ‘Beast Slaying’ (increases damage to Beasts). Their ‘Berserking’ ability gives Trolls the second highest damage potential on the Horde, and their Beast slaying ability can be situationally effective in PvE. While Troll Rogues are still potent in PvP they have no special advantage due to their racial traits.
Undead receive ‘Will of the Forsaken’ (grants immunity to Sleep, Charm, and Fear effects). They also receive ‘Cannibalism’ (allows the player to eat ‘Humanoid’ corpses to regain Health) and ‘Underwater Breathing’ (allows the Undead to breathe underwater for 300% longer than normal) which are both helpful in questing content. Their ‘Will of the Forsaken’ ability makes Undead Rogues a very popular choice in PvP, and makes them particularly strong against Warlocks.
Profession choices are even more straightforward. To maximize either their PvE or PvP potential a Rogue should take Engineering, which is well accompanied by Mining to satisfy its high metal requirements. Utilizing the various engineering explosives and gadgets, they can improve their DPS to a considerable degree, and it also gives them access to mobility, control, and damage in PvP.
They may also consider Herbalism and Alchemy to create their own consumable potions for use in PvE and PvP. This has far higher money making potential than Engineering, but Rogues are already capable of making a good amount of money using pickpocketing.
Rogues should always keep their Lockpicking and Poison making professions up-to-date, as their use of poison is directly linked to their damage output, and their Lockpicking skill can be handy in numerous situations, including several dungeons.
Hunters are master marksmen, trackers, and survivalists. They are primarily Ranged Damage Dealers who seek mastery over the wilds. They wear mail armor and have reasonable defenses, but rely primarily on their abilities and their animal companion in a fight.
From level 10 onwards a Hunter is rarely found without their animal companion. They can tame most beasts found in the world, each beast having different stats and abilities as a pet. They rely heavily on their pet for survivability in a solo environment, using it to tank for them while they safely deal damage from afar. Their Beast Master talents and abilities augment their pet and focus on strengthening the Hunter’s pet.
Their Marksman abilities and talents focus on augmenting their ranged abilities, offering powerful damage potential independent of their pet. Builds focused around the Marksman talents are typically preferred in PvE.
Their Survival talents and abilities focus around their melee abilities, traps, and survivability through the form of control, typically in the form of abilities like ‘Wyvern Sting’ (crowd controls a target for a short duration) or ‘Freezing Trap’ (crowd controls target that steps on the trap for a long duration). While Hunter’s are not a pure Melee class their survival abilities give them access to a lot of strong melee potential such as ‘Raptor Strike’ (a powerful direct damage melee attack) or ‘Wing Clip’ (slows the target’s movement speed), that if used correctly, can augment their damage potential in PvE or provide much needed versatility in PvP.
Leveling a Hunter is considered to be very easy, and the world record speed for leveling from 1-60 during vanilla is held by a Hunter. Their excellent leveling speed is a result of several factors.
The foremost of those factors is their pet, which holds the attention of opponents during a fight, keeping the player protected from damage and reducing how often they will need to rest and restore Health. They are also not as dependent as other classes are on their mana to deal damage, further reducing their downtime. Their pet also deals damage independent from the Hunter’s gear, meaning that an undergeared Hunter will still deal a considerable amount of total damage because of their pet. For most classes, gear droughts can cause significant delays or difficulty while leveling, and this has less impact for Hunters to the same extent.
From level 20 they receive ‘Aspect of the Cheetah’, which increases their movement speed by 30% until it is deactivated, however when struck in combat a Hunter using ‘Aspect of the Cheetah’ is dazed, slowing them significantly. While this isn’t appropriate to be used all the time it allows the Hunter from a relatively early level to travel the world significantly quicker, further increasing their leveling speed.
Their access to Survival’s various tricks also give them an edge. A Hunter can safely pull a larger pack, relying on their pet to tank one opponent, while they freeze another with ‘Freezing Trap’, and tank one themselves, or kite it with ‘Wing Clip’, or if it’s a beast use ‘Scare Beast’ to send it fleeing. Should a fight ever become too much for the Hunter they can ‘Feign Death’, pretending to be dead and removing themselves from the fight.
Their strong survivability in solo content, combined with access to increased movement speed, low downtime, and low gear requirements make Hunters the fastest class to level in any scenario, as well as ensuring that they are a relatively easy experience throughout.
Making gold as a Hunter relies heavily on that same strong solo potential that makes them so very capable while leveling. While a Hunter can rely on their professions to make gold or simply farm mobs (which they are incredibly capable of doing), they can also solo specific routes of several dungeons, giving them unlimited access to uncontested gold in the form of sellable boss loot.
In PvE Hunters are brought to raids primarily for their ‘Tranquilizing Shot’ ability rather than their damage. This ability is learned from a boss drop in the Molten Core raid, and it removes ‘Enrage’ effects (which significantly increases damage dealt) from a target. This is considered essential for progression in many cases, and appears throughout many boss encounters.
Hunters also have a more complicated PvE rotation than most other classes, which involves timing their auto-attacks with their abilities, and dipping in and out of melee range during cooldown periods to maximize their damage. Despite their complicated rotation they deal lower damage than other pure damage dealers, such as a Mage, Warlock, or Rogue, and they are primarily brought to raids for their ‘Tranquilizing Shot’ utility, rather than their damage.
Unlike with most other low-damage classes this does not tend to preclude them from joining groups for 5 person dungeons.
In PvP Hunters are very capable in 1v1 encounters, and strong in small skirmishes, but less powerful in larger fights. They excel due to the control and versatility of their Survival abilities, and they are capable of keeping melee characters controlled by kiting them while keeping the opponent slowed.
Their biggest weakness in PvP is the ‘Hunter Deadzone’. A target standing at just the right distance away from a Hunter can be simultaneously too close to use their ranged abilities on and too far away to use their melee abilities. Frost Mages are exceptionally capable of controlling a Hunter like this.
Racial choices for a Hunter are not too complicated. For the Alliance you can choose between Dwarf or Night Elf, and for the Horde you can choose between Troll, Orc, and Tauren.
Dwarves receive ‘Stoneform’ (an ability that removes and grants immunity to Poison, Disease, and Bleed effects and increases Armor) and ‘Gun Specialization’ (increases your skill with Guns by 5).
Night Elves receive ‘Shadowmeld’ (allowing them to Stealth while they don’t move and pairs nicely with a stealth capable pet), and have higher base agility than Dwarves.
Because Guns are not the optimal ranged weapon to use for Hunters in raids, Night Elves are preferred in PvE for their higher base agility. Dwarves are preferred in PvP for their ‘Stoneform’ ability.
For the Horde, Trolls receive ‘Berserking’ (increases attack speed), ‘Bow Specialization’ (increases your skill with Bows by 5), and ‘Beast Slaying’ (increases your damage dealt to beasts by 5%).
Orcs receive ‘Command’ (increases the damage dealt by their pet by 5%) and ‘Hardiness’ (Granting an additional 25% chance to resist stuns).
Tauren receive ‘War Stomp’ (An Area of Effect Stun) and ‘Endurance’ (Increasing their total Health by 5%).
Trolls are preferred in PvE because of their ‘Berserking’ and ‘Bow Specialization’ traits, which provide a considerable boost to their damage potential. Orcs are still a good choice in PvE but are preferred in PvP due to their ‘Hardiness’ passive. The Orc’s ‘Command’ passive sees only limited use in raiding as pets tend to die easily to boss mechanics.
Profession choices as a Hunter are much simpler. Most Hunters tend to choose either Engineering or Leatherworking, and choose their other Primary Profession to supplement one of those professions. Alchemy and Herbalism is also a valid choice, however it offers nothing special to a Hunter beyond access to consumables and high gold making potential.
Hunters will always need access to special-made Engineering ammunition for their bow or gun, as it is significantly more powerful than ordinary vendor-purchased ammunition, however these can simply be brought from other players. Engineering is also helpful in PvE for the access to bombs which, when woven into a Hunter’s damage rotation, can significantly improve their damage output. Engineering’s ‘Goblin Jumper Cables’ also work well with the Hunter ability ‘Feign Death’, as they allow the Hunter one attempt to resurrect a player, allowing them to Feign Death before a wipe. If successful the Hunter can resurrect the Healer to quickly get the party back on its feet for another try. Engineers can also make guns, however Hunters will rarely be able to make use of this as it is hard to maintain the Engineering profession while leveling and the guns available from Engineering at end game are not optimal.
The Hunter’s playstyle also makes great use of various Engineering gadgets in PvP, offering the class strong counters to other classes, as well as powerful control, survival, and mobility options that only serve to further their already impressive versatility. It is considered essential in PvP for almost all classes, including Hunters.
Engineering works well when accompanied with Mining to provide the much needed metal for most Engineering recipes, but could also be accompanied by Herbalism to better make money and sell the Herbs to buy the typically cheaper Ore, and other components.
Leatherworking is also a popular alternative, as it gives Hunters the ability to make their own armor and equipment, some of which can be in high demand and potential money-makers. However, all of the items that Hunters need from Leatherworking can be purchased from other players.
Shamans are the masters of the elements: earth, water, air, and fire. They are a Horde exclusive Hybrid class that wears mail armor and channels the power of nature. In each of their three roles (Melee Hybrid Damage, Ranged Hybrid Damage, and Healer) they have a strong focus on support, bringing powerful buffs or other effects to their party in the form of their unique totem mechanic. Each totem, like most Shaman abilities, is themed around one of the four elements, and only one totem of each element may be active at any given time, restricting Shamans to four totems. Fire abilities deal damage, Air abilities provide buffs, Water abilities heal, and Earth abilities are defensive. While this isn’t a strict rule, it is relatively consistent. The shaman class is ideal for players who like a supportive theme to their gameplay.
A Shaman’s Elemental talents and abilities are focused around dealing damage as Hybrid Ranged Damage. They include ‘Chain Lightning’ (lightning that shoots at one target that then chains to nearby enemies), and all of their ‘Shock’ abilities (Flame Shock, Earth Shock, and Frost Shock - three instant cast abilities that share a cooldown), as well as their more offensive totems, like ‘Searing Totem’ (a fire totem that shoots fire bolts).
A Shaman’s Enhancement talents and abilities focus on dealing damage as Hybrid Melee Damage while providing their party with powerful buffs through the form of their totems. Their Enhancement abilities include their weapon enchantment abilities, like ‘Windfury Weapon’ (provides the Shaman a 20% chance to strike multiple times with each attack), and their ‘Lightning Shield’ ability (protects the caster with a Lightning Shield that deals damage to attackers). Most of their buff-providing totems are Enhancement abilities, such as ‘Flametongue Totem’ (A fire totem that grants Flametongue Weapon, providing additional fire damage on each attack) or ‘Strength of the Earth Totem’ (an earth totem that increases strength).
Their final specification is the Restoration specification, focused on the Shaman’s Healing abilities. In end-game PvE most Shamans are Restoration Shamans. Their unique ‘Chain Heal’ (heals the target, and then chains to nearby allies) ability makes them very sought after group healers in raids, while their Restoration totems offer helpful support effects like their ‘Mana Spring Totem’ (restores mana). Their unique and iconic ‘Reincarnation’ ability is also a Restoration ability, allowing them to self-resurrect.
While leveling a Shaman isn’t particularly hard, it is also not particularly easy. Shamans sit in a comfortable middle ground, ahead of Warriors, Rogues, and Priests, but without any features that make them particularly adept in solo content, like a Mage, Warlock, Druid or Hunter. While they can heal themselves, alleviating the need to rest to restore health, they will still have to pause to restore mana. They are also not particularly capable at juggling multiple opponents except by kiting with their ‘Earthbind Totem’ (slows the movement speed of nearby enemies), which limits their casting ability as they must stay on the move.
Their one main advantage while leveling is early access to increased movement speed, in the form of their Ghost Wolf travel form, obtained at level 20 and gives Shamans 40% increased move speed. They also have access to Water Walking and Water Breathing abilities, allowing them to complete aquatic quests with less frustration than other classes.
In PvE most Shamans tend to default to Healing, as it is far easier to find a group as a Healer. This is because of their ‘Chain Heal’ ability and its impressive group healing capabilities. However, the primary reason Shamans are needed in raids is because of their totems. Totems are in high demand since they provide valuable buffs and also can counter many boss mechanics, such as ‘Tremor Totem’ (removes fear, charm, and sleep effects) countering fear mechanics, and because each totem only buffs a Shaman’s immediate party, Shamans are needed in large numbers.
Should a Shaman prefer not to heal, they might find their options more limited. Many groups prefer not to bring Enhancement or Elemental Shamans, however Enhancement is by far the more popular of the two damage dealing Hybrid specs, as for all it lacks in damage it is capable of bringing an increase in strength to the powerful buff of ‘Windfury Totem’ for Warriors and Rogues in their party. Because of this some raids will entertain bringing an Enhancement Shaman.
Elemental Shamans, however, don’t tend to be as favorable in groups. While they have strong damage potential they are limited by mana issues, and they bring no unique buffs that adequately make up for their lesser damage dealing ability.
In PvP the Shaman is at its best. As the foremost healer on the Horde side of the battlefield there’s always plenty of room for a Restoration Shaman in a premade group. Their high natural defenses and strong direct healing puts them a step ahead of Priests and Druids respectively, and combined with their ‘Purge’ ability (removes positive buffs from the target) they can be very strong support in PvP.
Enhancement Shamans also have a strong role in PvP. They’re powerful in smaller skirmishes, although they rely heavily on the unpredictable nature of their ‘Windfury Weapon’ ability to deal the bulk of their damage.
Elemental Shamans, while more predictable, are better focused on 1v1 encounters where their high damage potential is able to flourish without the restriction of their limited mana pool. Using their various control abilities like ‘Earthbind Totem’ or ‘Frost Shock’ (deals damage and slows the target’s movement, with no cast time) they can easily keep a melee damage dealer at bay while they cast lightning bolts and chain lightning on them. Or they can disrupt a caster with their ‘Grounding Totem’ (absorbs the next spell directed at the caster) or ‘Earth Shock’ (interrupts enemy spell casting, and locks them out of that school of magic for a short duration), allowing them to opportunity to deal damage.
Racial choices for a Shaman are limited to Tauren, Troll, and Orc. Depending on the content you want to engage in and the role you want to play, different races will suit your needs better. As with any racial suggestion, please remember that they are not the be-all end-all of your character.
Trolls, due to their ‘Berserking ability’ (increases their cast and attack speed), make ideal Restoration Shamans or Elemental Shamans in PvE, as this allows them to cast their spells faster. It is also beneficial for Enhancement Shamans. Trolls also receive ‘Beast Slaying’ (increases damage dealt to beasts by 5%) which has limited use, but can help while leveling.
Orcs make ideal Enhancement Shamans in PvE, due to their ‘Bloodfury’ ability (increases Melee attack power), as well as their ‘Axe Specialization’ trait (increases skill with all axes by 5), which both work to increase their damage potential significantly. Their ‘Hardiness’ trait (increases their chance to resist stuns by 25%) also makes them a good choice for anyone who intends to focus on PvP.
Tauren have ‘Endurance’ (increases their total health by 5%) and ‘War Stomp’ (stuns opponents around the player). These racial traits are better suited to PvP, however Tauren Shamans are still perfectly capable in PvE.
Profession choices for a Shaman are not particularly complicated. Engineering is the foremost choice for any Shaman considering PvP, and can also help augment the damage capabilities of Enhancement and Elemental Shamans with their bombs and explosives in PvE. Engineers have access to a wide variety of mobility, control, and damage gadgets that allow any class to excel in PvP. It is commonly paired with Mining to satisfy its high ore requirements. It can also be paired with Herbalism, which has high money making potential, allowing the player to simply buy the much cheaper ore from other players instead.
Alchemy and Herbalism is also a solid option, as it allows players to make their own raid consumables, and also offers access to high money making potential compared to most other professions. Tauren also receive a bonus +15 to Herbalism. Leatherworking and Skinning is also an option, as it allows Shamans to craft their own gear, giving them access to a wide variety of powerful items. However, these items can be brought from other players instead.
Paladins are the warriors of the Holy Light, an Alliance exclusive Hybrid class with a strong supportive throughout each of their three roles (Hybrid Melee Damage, Tank, and Healer) that wears plate armor and channels the powers of the Light to smite the unholy, protect their allies, and heal the injured. Paladins are an ideal class for players who enjoy supportive roles with an upfront melee playstyle.
Paladin support comes in the form of their ‘Auras’ and their ‘Blessings’. A Paladin can have only one aura active at a time that benefits their immediate party. Their blessings are single target buffs, and can be applied to as many targets as the Paladin chooses, however only one blessing type (per Paladin) can be active on a target at a time.
Blessings are considered to be incredibly powerful buff effects, offering bonus mana regeneration (Blessing of Wisdom), attack power (Blessing of Might), or reduced threat generation (Blessing of Salvation). There are also short time blessings, such as ‘Blessing of Protection’ (grants the target short term invulnerability) or ‘Blessing of Freedom’ (removes movement impairing effects from the target and grants temporary immunity), which replace long-term blessings with the very powerful short term effects. Their auras, while less dramatic, can also offer powerful effects, such as ‘Retribution Aura’ (deals damage to anyone attacking a party member), or ‘Devotion Aura’ (grants armor to all nearby party members).
Paladin Holy spells and talents focus on their capabilities as a Healer. As a Healer, Paladins are incredibly capable, specialized in strong and efficient single target healing, using spells like ‘Holy Light’ and ‘Flash of Light’ (single target heals with varying cast times), as well as abilities such as ‘Lay on Hands’ (an instant cast that restores health equal to the Paladin’s total health to a target at the expense of all of the Paladin’s remaining mana). Their Holy spells also give them access to unique Paladin abilities that deal damage to Undead and Demons, like ‘Exorcism’ (an instant damage ability) or ‘Holy Wrath’ (an Area of Effect ability that deals damage).
Retribution spells and talents focus on the melee damage dealing capabilities of the Paladin. Paladin’s damage dealing abilities mostly revolve around their ‘Seal’ and ‘Judgement’ mechanic, a Seal is a series of buffs the Paladin can apply to themselves to augment their auto-attacks, while Judgement consumes that buff for an instant effect or target debuff, depending on the seal.
The Protection spells and abilities focus on the Paladin’s defensive capabilities as a tank, both on the defenses of the Paladin individually and for the Paladin’s party. This includes abilities such as ‘Blessing of Protection’, ‘Divine Protection’ (an ability that prevents any harm to the Paladin, but prevents them from attacking), or ‘Hammer of Justice’ (a stun ability). They can also use ‘Divine Intervention’ (sacrifice themselves to remove a party member from combat) allowing for the group to be able to quickly recover from a lost fight.
Leveling a Paladin is considered to be relatively easy, however it is not as quick to level as other classes. While there are far faster classes to level, a Paladin is perhaps the easiest of all pure melee classes. This is because there are rarely situations from which a Paladin cannot remove themselves, using their combination of their two invulnerability abilities (‘Blessing of Protection’ and ‘Divine Protection’) and their strong healing abilities (‘Flash of Light’ and ‘Lay on Hands’).
Their access to a free class exclusive 60% speed mount at level 40 helps speed up their slower leveling pace. While other classes are forced to save money in order to buy their first mount by avoiding training certain abilities, Paladins can afford to get all of their class spells. At level 60 they also have access to a class-exclusive 100% speed mount at a discount.
In PvE most Paladins are healers, and tend to find groups more easily as a healer than as any other role. The Paladin’s healing playstyle is very straightforward, relying heavily on only one ability without needing to use varying levels of that ability to conserve mana. Regardless of their role, Paladins are also expected to provide their powerful blessings, which some Paladins may find tedious, especially in raids where they are required to keep up to 40 people provided with short duration buffs. In 5 man dungeons Paladins are still expected to provide their buffs before most boss fights.
As a Retribution Paladin it may be difficult to find groups. Retribution Paladins, compared to most other damage dealers, do not perform as effectively and bring no unique buff or debuff that is widely considered to adequately make up for their lower damage. This is not to say that Retribution Paladins are non-viable, but that they are not preferred over higher damage dealing characters. They are still commonly brought to 5 person dungeons, and are definitely not unheard of in raids in limited numbers. If Retribution Paladins are looking to find a raid slot they usually try to provide strong utility with auras and seals and utilize Nightfall for its debuff to help boost raid damage.
A Protection Paladin will often struggle to find groups as well. While Retribution Paladins have moderate success, Protection Paladins are only rarely seen in raids due to crippling mana issues. When a Protection Paladin runs out of mana and can no longer cast spells they cannot continue to keep the attention of NPC enemies focused on them. Because of this they are incapable in many raid encounters, and considered unsuitable to tank in a raiding environment. However, they are great dungeon tanks, due to their ability to quickly generate a lot of threat against larger mob groups especially. Because of this, combined with shorter encounters (allowing them to pause and restore mana), Protection Paladins work in dungeons, though their reputation as tanks may exclude them from many groups.
In PvP Paladins excel. As a Holy Paladin they are capable of being one of the most powerful healing characters on the battlefield due to their combination of high natural defenses, powerful cooldown abilities (‘Lay on Hands’, ‘Blessing of Protection’, ‘Blessing of Freedom’), strong buffs, and great single target healing. Combined with a well-played Warrior the duo becomes untouchable in small matchups.
Retribution Paladins are also considered to be very effective in PvP, capable of dealing high burst damage while being a near impossible target to deter or escape from if combined with various Engineering items. Retribution Paladins embrace an aggressive playstyle in PvP, reliant on their ‘Hammer of Justice’ to control the enemy or their ‘Divine Protection’ to keep them safe from harm. Should a fight go awry they have innumerous abilities to dip into to help them escape danger.
Racial choices for a Paladin are restricted to Alliance only races. Specifically Dwarf and Human.
Dwarves receive ‘Stoneform’ (an ability that grants immunity to Posion, Disease, and Bleed effects and grants 10% additional armor). Since Paladins can remove Poison and Disease effects using ‘Purify’, Stoneform is only useful against abilities that incapacitate them, preventing them casting, and for its armor and immunity to Bleed effects. Despite this a Dwarf Paladin will have an advantage in some PvP matchups.
Humans receive Sword and Mace specialization (increases their skill with Sword or Mace weapons by 5), Perception (an ability temporarily increasing their stealth detection), and Diplomacy (Bonus 10% to all reputation gains). While Holy Paladins receive no significant advantage from playing a Human, Retribution and Protection Paladins will benefit greatly in PvE from 5 extra skill points for their two most used weapon types. Perception is also helpful in PvP, allowing a Paladin to more easily detect Rogues and Druids in stealth, gaining the upper hand.
Profession choices for a Paladin are relatively straight forward.
For Retribution Paladins, or any Paladin considering PvPing heavily, Engineering is a must have profession for the mobility, survivability, and control it offers through its various crafted items and consumables. In PvE it allows Retribution Paladins to augment their damage through a variety of explosives which helps to even the gap between their damage and the damage of other Damage Dealers. Engineering is best paired with Mining to satisfy its high metal requirements, but can be paired with Herbalism to sell the more expensive Herbs and buy the metal from other players.
Alchemy and Herbalism allow the Paladin to craft their own consumable potions, and offer a lot of money making potential.
Blacksmithing and Mining allow Paladins to make their own armor and weapons, however any items that are considered essential for Paladins can be made by other players.
Warriors are the masters of arms and armor, capable of using any weapon in the game, barring wands, and any armor type including plate, a terrifying flurry of steel on the battlefield as Melee Damage or a defensive juggernaut as a Tank. They use a unique Rage resource to cast their abilities, which is generated by dealing or receiving damage. They are an ideal class for anyone who is looking for an upfront and aggressive melee playstyle, or players who are keen on tanking.
One of the main mechanics of the Warrior class is their ‘stance’ mechanic, which allows them to adapt either a balanced, defensive, or aggressive playstyle. The stance that the player is in locks out certain abilities causing each stance to have slightly different playstyles and focuses. When changing stance a Warrior’s rage is reset to 0, but they are enabled to use a host of different abilities. Swapping quickly from stance to stance to use other abilities is called ‘Stance Dancing’ and is a foremost component of the Warrior playstyle in PvE and PvP.
Their Battle Stance and Arms abilities and talents are focused on Melee Damage playstyle, with a balance of strong damage without the reckless abandon of their Fury counterparts. Arms warriors tend to use two handed weapons. Arms abilities include ‘Heroic Strike’ (a staple of all three specializations, that applies additional damage to your next auto-attack), ‘Thunderclap’ (an Area of Effect ability that slows enemy attacks), ‘Charge’ (charges the target, stunning them for a short moment and generating rage), or their powerful ability ‘Retaliation’ (Instantly parries and counter attacks any melee ability from the front). Battle Stance has no penalty or bonus, and allows a wide array of abilities to be used, but primarily Arms abilities.
Warrior’s Defensive Stance and Protection abilities and talents are focused around their role as a tank, using a sword and shield and their high natural defenses and martial prowess to protect their allies. This includes abilities like ‘Shield Wall’ (an ability that blocks 75% of all incoming damage), ‘Shield Bash’ (strikes the target with your shield to do damage), and ‘Sunder Armor’ (reduces the target’s armor). As a Tank, the Warrior excels due to their high single target threat generation, and their access to a plethora of powerful defensive items and abilities. While using Defensive Stance a warrior deals less damage, but receives less damage, and produces additional threat. They have access to more tank-focused abilities, as well as abilities that require a shield.
The Berserker Stance, and their Fury abilities and talents, are focused on a more aggressive and reckless Melee Damage role. Preferred in PvE to Arms, and shied away from in PvP, the Fury Warrior is capable of unleashing devastation with dual-wielded one handed weapons or a single mighty two handed weapon. Fury abilities include ‘Whirlwind’ (an Area of Effect attack striking each nearby target), ‘Execute’ (an ability that can only be used on weakened targets, dealing high damage), or ‘Intercept’ (charges at the target, stunning them for a short duration), as well as their ‘Shout’ abilities, such as ‘Demoralizing Shout’ (reduces the attack power of nearby enemies) or ‘Battle Shout’ (increases the attack power of nearby allies). While in their Berserker Stance a Warrior receives 10% additional damage, but has a 3% higher critical strike chance.
Warriors are considered to be the hardest class to Level. This is because they have no way to mitigate damage, or simple and easy methods to control multiple opponents, nor do they have powerful self-sustain methods or access to increased movement speed. While a Warrior is not hard to level, they are definitely more demanding than any other class.
Warriors, in addition to all of those drawbacks above, are incredibly dependent on their gear, as it is the cornerstone of both their defensive and offensive capabilities. This means that during a gear drought while leveling, a Warrior will be far less efficient than they are during a period where they are in comparatively good gear for their level.
Leveling a Warrior typically means ‘taking it slow’, and approaching opponents one by one, instead of trying to juggle multiple opponents. In situations where a Warrior might be overwhelmed, they have a wide array of defensive abilities to help keep them alive or allow them to flee, however the abilities have long cooldowns and without any healing they will have to then pause and eat to restore health.
In PvE Warriors are highly sought after, both for their very high melee damage capabilities and for their prowess as the foremost Tank. As Tanks are always in short supply, a Warrior willing to tank in a damage specialization will be able to find groups for dungeons very easily, however to tank raids a Warrior should ideally use a Tanking specialization, which would mostly prohibit them from a Damage role.
As a Tank, the Warrior has a relatively easy playstyle, focused on only a handful of abilities with minimal ‘stance dancing’ (Swiftly changing between stances to use other abilities) required beyond the initial charge. The playstyle heavily focuses on ensuring a steady supply of rage, using ‘Sunder Armor’ as often as possible and being able to decide when to burn rage on ‘Heroic Strike’, and when to save it for future abilities. Their high single target threat and easy access to defensive items makes them the ideal choice for almost all raids as the primary Tank, and a very popular choice for secondary Tanks.
Most Warriors opt for the Fury specialization as a Damage Dealer, preferring to dual wield one-handed weapons, instead of rely on a slower bulkier two-handed weapon, however if your group has an abundance of Warriors and Rogues you may prefer to go for the less contested two-handed weapons. The Fury Warrior playstyle is engaging and dynamic, but not quite as complicated as a Hunter’s, and far more rewarding in terms of its damage output.
Arms Warriors are also capable Damage Dealers, but are definitely second best to Fury Warriors. Still capable of outputting considerable damage a two-hander wielding Arms Warrior is welcome in most 5-person groups, however it is typically unpopular in raids where the debuff limit becomes a more confining mechanic, since the primary damaging ability of an Arms Warrior, ‘Mortal Strike’, also applies a debuff reducing healing received by 50%.
In PvP Warriors scale excellently with gear. This means that an undergeared Warrior will perform very badly, however a well geared Warrior will perform excellently, more so than any other class when geared to another class of comparable level. When accompanied by a Paladin or Shaman healer, or even a Priest, they become an unstoppable juggernaut on the battlefield and a nearly unbeatable combination in small fights. Most Warriors prefer to use Arms in PvP, however Fury can also be used effectively.
In 1v1 encounters Warriors are incredibly vulnerable to being kited by opponents with access to slows or mobile ranged abilities, such as Mages and Hunters. However they are capable of withstanding the burst of other classes that tend to prey on squishier classes, such as Rogues. This can lead to a very strong rock, paper, scissors feel when playing a Warrior in PvP.
Racial choices for a Warrior can be intimidating. Any race can be a Warrior. Unlike many other classes there are strong and clear advantages to two particular races: Humans and Orcs. This is because Warriors rely heavily on their weapons to deal damage, and the bonus weapon skill from those races can provide a significant increase in damage potential, and allow players to generate more threat as a tank.
Dwarves receive ‘Stoneform’ (removes Disease, Poison, and Bleed effects and provides immunity to those effects and provides additional armor) and ‘Gun Specialization’ (provides a passive increase to skill with guns). As Warriors do not rely on their gun in combat, that skill is effectively useless. Stoneform provides several advantages in PvP, especially against Rogues. It is also helpful in certain PvE encounters as a defensive cooldown, or to remove certain debuff effects.
Gnomes receive ‘Escape Artist’ (removes any movement impairing effects) and ‘Engineering Specialist’ (increases Engineering skill by 15). Escape Artist makes Gnomes a great choice for PvP, as it allows a Gnome Warrior to remove slows or root effects which can be a difficult mechanic to deal with as a Warrior. As Engineering is considered to be the best profession for a Warrior, Engineering Specialist also provides a small, but helpful, advantage.
Humans receive ‘Diplomacy’ (increases all reputation gains by 10%), ‘Mace Specialization’ and ‘Sword Specialization’ (provides an increase to weapon skill with any swords or maces), and ‘Perception’ (temporarily increases stealth detection). Due to their Sword and Mace specialization, Humans are the ideal race for anyone who is leaning towards PvE, as their improved threat generation makes them the preferred tank race and their increased DPS is significant enough to make them the preferred DPS race. Perception provides a slight advantage against Druids and Rogues in PvP.
Night Elves receive ‘Quickness’ (provides a 1% increase to your dodge chance). While a seemingly ideal tanking passive ‘Quickness’ is not as strong as the extra threat generation of Humans. However as a secondary tank threat is not as important of an issue. ‘Shadowmeld’ (ability that makes the Night Elf invisible for so long as they stand still) allows the Night Elf to wait in ambush or avoid enemies in PvP, however it provides no PvE advantage.
Orcs receive ‘Blood Fury’ (increases melee attack power at the expense of healing received), ‘Hardiness’ (additional 25% chance to resist all stuns - stacking with other Warrior effects), and ‘Axe Specialization’ (provides an increase to skill with axe weapons). Due to ‘Blood Fury’ and ‘Axe Specialization’ Orcs are the preferred and ideal DPS Warriors in PvE on the Horde faction, and are also open to alternative builds (2-Handed Fury Warrior) which are not as viable with the same equipment as other races. Their ‘Hardiness’ effect, stacking with other Warrior effects, makes them a difficult character to stun.
Tauren receive ‘War Stomp’ (ability that stuns nearby enemies) and ‘Endurance’ (increases total health by 5%). War Stomp is a powerful PvP ability, and can be helpful tanking 5-person dungeons in PvE. Endurance is useful for tanking however not generally as important as having more threat capability. Tanking Warriors may prefer to play Orcs or Trolls.
Trolls receive ‘Berserking’ (increases attack speed), ‘Regeneration’ (allows 10% of Health regeneration to continue in combat), and ‘Beast Slaying’ (increases all damage dealt to beasts). Due to ‘Berserking’ increases attack speed it allows Trolls to use ‘Heroic Strike’ more frequently, helping to turn their rage into threat more effectively as a tank, or damage as a damage dealer. This makes them a strong Tank in the later game, however Orcs and Tauren are still perfectly good.
Undead receive ‘Will of the Forsaken’ (provides temporary immunity to Charm, Fear, and Sleep effects) as well as ‘Cannibalize’ (allows the player to eat corpses to regain health) and ‘Underwater Breathing’ (allows the player to breathe underwater for 300% longer than normal). ‘Cannibalize’ and ‘Underwater Breathing’ are nifty utilities to have at hand while leveling, especially ‘Cannibalize’ as Warriors frequently need to restore health. ‘Will of the Forsaken’ makes Undead a preferred race for PvPers, giving them the ability to remove many crowd controlling effects on demand. It also can be handy for fights with fear mechanics in raids as totems are less reliable for Horde compared to the Alliance counterpart of ‘Fear Ward’.
Profession choices for a Warrior are somewhat simpler. For any Warrior aiming to be at their most effective in PvE or PvP, Engineering is the ideal profession as it allows easy access to control, survivability, and versatility in PvP, and increases damage and Area of Effect threat generation in PvE. Engineering is commonly paired with Mining, to provide its high metal requirements, however it can also be combined with Herbalism to sell the more expensive herbs and buy the cheaper metal instead.
Blacksmithing is a popular alternative, allowing the Warrior to make their own weapons and armor, however as there are no powerful crafted items available from Blacksmithing that cannot be brought from other players or are superseded by other non-Profession specific items, Engineering is typically preferred. Blacksmithing is commonly paired with Mining, to satisfy its high metal requirements.
Alchemy and Herbalism are also popular, as they provide easy access to powerful consumables and can be a relatively profitable profession.
A huge thank you to everyone who has offered input while writing this guide, whether they were answering the open questions on Discord or reading the entire summary, each and every offering has been hugely appreciated.
Special thanks to
This document has been republished and edited for corrections and format with the permission of Undoer. Do not copy or reproduce.
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