These are the classes you should play in WoW Classic
You should play a Warrior.
Thanks, we’ll see you next time!
That’s not enough for a whole column, Rossi
What? Why not?
Alright, fine, I’ll talk about all the classes and why you might want to play one. But just remember that I’m doing this with a big sign that says Warriors are better than everyone else, okay?
Class and race combinations were extremely limited
For starters, there are certain choices you can’t make. You can’t play a Paladin Horde side, and you can’t play a Shaman Alliance side, so if you decide to play one of those you’re locked to a specific faction. If you’re absolutely unwilling to play a Horde character, you can’t play a Shaman, and if you’re absolutely unwilling to play an Alliance character, you can’t play a Paladin.
You were locked to one of nine options, with each faction getting eight due to that Shaman/Paladin restriction listed above. Of those options, some races couldn’t play some classes. So if you’re absolutely married to the idea of playing a Hunter, you’re not going to be able to play as a Human. If that’s important to you. I don’t know why it would be. I mean, look at that guy. That up there is an exact recreation of my first character and I’m embarrassed to admit that I ran around with that pony tail for years.
On the Alliance side, Humans could play Warriors, Paladins, Rogues, Priests, Mages and Warlocks, giving them the most options. Horde side, Trolls could play Warriors, Hunters, Rogues, Priests, Shaman and Mages, matching the versatility of Humans. Tauren and Gnomes only had four options apiece, while everyone else — Dwarves, Night Elves, Orcs and Forsaken — had five options apiece. And if you wanted to play a Druid, you only had a single race choice: the class was restricted to Night Elf and Tauren.
But okay, let’s assume you have your faction and race picked out. What next? What should you start playing?
A Warrior. I covered that already. In all seriousness, Warriors had one standout reason to play as one: every single race could play as a Warrior. So if you weren’t sure what class you wanted, but knew you wanted to play a Gnome or a Forsaken or a Troll, you were always safe picking a Warrior.
Rossi, you still have to talk about the other classes
Druids were limited to Night Elves and Tauren, but since those are the two coolest races in WoW Classic anyway, you’ll be fine. If you like being versatile, Druid is by far the closest to a Swiss Army Knife in the game. They can be tanky or be like a Rogue by shifting into Bear or Cat forms, and they also have healing and ranged DPS options.
Play a Druid if you like the idea of turning into a kitty to sneak around, becoming a bear to hold aggro off our your friends in dresses, or shifting back to your normal form and standing in the back with the folks in dresses (and potentially getting into arguments with them over said dresses). The downside of Druids is that very few groups wanted you to be any of those roles back then — hopefully WoW Classic players will be more willing to experiment with Druid tanks and melee/ranged DPS.
Hunters were the choice if you wanted a pet of your very own. They could melee to some extent, but were mostly focused on ranged DPS. They were excellent as a leveling class because they had their pets to tank for them, so were usually able to move from encounter to encounter with less downtime. Also, you could tame a wide variety of animals out in the wild, giving you more options to be distinctive and unique even though everyone tamed the same really fast cat or Lupos.
Only two Alliance races could be Hunters, but every Horde race except Forsaken could be Hunters, so it was a reasonable choice for most races. Plus, except for plate armor, almost everything that dropped from ranged to melee weapons could be justified as Hunter loot. Hunters were extremely popular in the original game for a reason.
Mages were the original glass cannons. This is the OG conception of the class, so the focus is pretty much entirely on picking a school of magic — raw Arcane, seething Fire or withering Frost — and going to town with it.
Pros include doing a boatload of damage and being able to crowd control with the exceedingly cool Polymorph spell. Cons include being made of tissue paper — seriously, you do not want to get hit as a Mage — and the extremely annoying times you’ll run into something that is completely immune to Fire or Frost damage (or is just resistant to it), or has high Spell Resist so you’ll watch as your spells do nothing. And seriously, when I say you’ll be made of tissue paper? I am not exaggerating.
Paladins were a solid leveling choice. They could kill stuff reasonably well, had self healing to reduce the down time between fights in the world, and had a variety of tricks to keep from dying if things went bad. Also, you could start with a big -handed hammer, so you didn’t have to spend money picking one up later or learning how to use one, a big advantage in early leveling. If you were okay playing as a Dwarf or a Human, Paladins were a solid choice to level.
Unfortunately, while leveling up most groups would insist you take the healer role and at level 60 it was unheard of for Paladins to tank or DPS despite them having talent trees dedicated to those roles. So if you don’t want to heal on a character, Paladin might not be the choice for you. I’m a little hopeful that WoW Classic players will let Ret and Prot Paladins do more than they did back in 2004 to 2006.
Priests are, on paper, possibly the coolest class in WoW and there’s a lot to like. Solid healing abilities and the ability to spec into the Shadow tree to deal damage, plus the amazing Mind Control spell that lets you CC enemies or even other hostile players. I remember watching Priests chain MC Horde outside Blackwing Lair and running them into the lava. It was awesome.
But Mind Control means you lose control of your own character, who just stands there while you use it. In general Priests suffer from a similar problem as Mages: they can be glass cannons, although being able to shield and heal themselves helps. Also, the problem Paladins had with being expected to heal is ever more pronounced for Priests — some groups would bring along one Shadow Priest for Mana regen, but otherwise if you were a Priest in a dungeon you were expected to heal.
Rogues. The only melee class that’s just a DPS, Rogues have a lot of neat tools. Stealth is amazing for getting in and out of a questing area without having to fight every mob in the place, Sap can CC mobs, plus poisons and the ability to unleash a lot of damage. If you want to play a lightly armored skirmisher who sneaks in, kills everything, and sneaks out again, Rogues aer a solid choice.
But being melee means they often took more damage than ranged DPS because they were up close where there was AOE damage and Rogues really couldn’t take much of a beating. Compared to other melee options, if a Rogue got a boss’ attention and Evasion wasn’t up, the Rogue was dead. But make no mistake — Rogues were a solid choice for both PVE and PVP content. And in terms of racial choices, only Tauren couldn’t be Rogues in classic.
Shaman were the Horde only class that fulfilled a lot of the same roles as Paladins, but did it entirely differently. They have a lot of cool flavor options with their Totems, buffing their groups in various ways, and Horde groups would absolutely love Shaman for the ubiquitous Windfury totem, which buffed melee DPS and was prized by Rogues, DPS Warriors and Paladins. Shaman could drop totems that ensnared enemies, dispelled fear effects, and damaged enemy targets in range in addition to their own spells and attacks. Plus you could turn into a Ghost Wolf, that’s really cool. But like Paladins, Shaman were often relegated to the healing role in dungeons and at endgame, and they were legitimately not as good at tanking as their Alliance counterparts. Still, in terms of versatility, only Druids have more, with offtanking, ranged DPS, healing and melee DPS all being options for Shaman in those days.
Warlocks were the ranged DPS class if you wanted to have a lot more survivability than Mages. They used Life Tap, an ability that traded health for mana, so generally speaking most Warlocks prized stamina on gear and stacked it and they had pets in the form of various demons — more limited than Hunter pets, perhaps, but more than most people got and each pet had a specialty that made them better for specific roles. There was the Voidwalker for tanking, the Succubus for CC, and you could troll your own group with a big demon that would eventually break free of your control and likely wipe your whole group. Warlocks offered soulstones for wipe protection, healthstones for a free extra healing potion that wasn’t on the same cooldown back then, the ability to CC some mobs that were demons or elementals and solid DPS in the form of damage over time spells, but they were somewhat limited in terms of which races could play them. Still, if you don’t mind making deals with demons? Warlocks could do all sorts of stuff, like give you the ability to breathe water.
Warriors were, as I mentioned, the only class every race could play back in the day. They were generally accepted as the only tanking class, even though both Paladins and Druids had dedicated tanking options and Shaman were designed to at least tank in leveling content. They were extremely strong PVP choices with Mortal Strike as a healing debuff and a lot of damage from a big, slow 2h weapon because of how attacks were calculated back then. But they had some significant drawbacks — no form of self healing or CC meant that pulls could go badly for them fairly quickly, and you will spend a lot of time stopping to eat and/or using bandages on your Warrior. And if you want to DPS in dungeons or at max level? Warriors were still expected to tank, no matter what their spec was. Still, back in the day, playing as a Warrior meant you could tank on pretty much any spec and still could DPS or PVP, and many raids brought multiple Warriors to switch between those roles as needed.
See, you had stuff to say about other classes
So I did! Honestly, class choice really comes down to what you find the most fun. If you love the archetype of the grizzled veteran or bloodthirsty Barbarian, then in all seriousness Warrior is a great choice. But if you want to be sneaky and get in and out unseen? Rogues and Druids are by far your best option. A shining knight who defends and heals? Paladin all the way. It really comes down to that idea you have of what you imagine your character to be — there are limitations to every class that will help you decide which one comes closest to your ideal.
All kidding aside, there’s a lot of options and all the classes are fun in their own way.
But play a Warrior.
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