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WoW > WoW RemixMay 16, 2024 2:00 pm CT

Now live! Choosing a class for WoW Remix: Mists of Pandaria? Here are all your options.

WoW Remix: Mists of Pandaria is now live, and the first and most vexing question is: Which dumpster should I light on fire here? Do I want to play a class or spec I’m already familiar with, or do I want to try something new? Do I want to experiment, and be so awful that it becomes everyone else’s problem?

Now, the actual answer is “play whatever you want,” because Remists is about having fun, leveling alts, revisiting beloved dungeons and raids, and getting transmog and mounts. The sweaty answer is, “because you’ll keep this character once the event is over, play whatever alt/s would benefit you the most in The War Within.” That might mean a toon your guild asked you to level for raiding, something you’ve always wanted to try in M+, or an armor class you haven’t collected a lot of transmog on yet. (While transmog restrictions will ease via warbands, you can still get a head start.)

I can’t claim to have played every spec in the game to mastery (or even a minimal level of competence), so I’ve tried hard to include player consensus on how they’re doing. I’ve also tried to balance pragmatic concerns with fun. Some specs are extremely strong right now: Others are struggling, and may change significantly when the expansion hits. Some are easier to pick up than others, some have strong class identity, and one has a reputation you may wish to avoid (or embrace).

Death Knight

The Death Knight has historically been known for four things: Great transmog, great defensives, awful mobility, and a flexible approach to morality. Play DK if you want a solid tank or melee DPS, want to look really, really good doing it, and you think mechanics are for suckers.

  • Blood: Famously one of the game’s more independent specs. If you’ve tried the new follower dungeons, you know exactly what being a Blood DK is like: You are the main character and everyone around you is a well-meaning but slightly incompetent NPC. Blood is also the home of the Death Strike minigame, in which you lose as much health as you can, get a large smile, and then slam a massive heal while the actual healer sobs in a corner. Occasionally you miscalculate and die. So does the group, but they’re no great loss. You can always get more NPCs in the Group Finder.
  • Frost: For people who put down Death and Decay in the happy anticipation of doing lots of DPS, and then continue in quiet resignation as the tank moves out of it. Play Frost if you never expected much from life anyway.
  • Unholy: Unholy was once the subject of a mysterious phenomenon referred to as “quadratic scaling.” In plain English, it was possible for the player to do enough damage to be considered a minor deity in some religions. Unfortunately, this isn’t really a thing anymore, but Unholy still excels at burning down big, dangerous packs.

Demon Hunter

If you’re going to play Demon Hunter, I would encourage you to be one of the good ones. Good DHs are a joy: They are courteous, knowledgeable, can single-handedly save a run, and will do so while swirling a fine glass of craft beer. Because the high-mobility builds have sent them to embarrassing deaths at one point or another, they are also compassionate and understanding of others’ mistakes.

Bad DHs are … not this.

We’ve all been there. You, too, have had a disastrous run with a pugged Demon Hunter (red flag) named Illîdööbie (red flag) with an edgelord guild name (red flag) who demands a summon (red flag). When you finally emerge with a thousand-yard stare and a 2K repair bill, your biologist guildie makes fun of you for not realizing that, in the great ecosystem that is WoW, all of these are aposematic traits.

  • Vengeance: The VDH is the current meta tank in M+. This is owed less to its inherent design, and more to the fact that dungeons have become an endless hellscape of kicks and stops that no group manages without the DH’s double sigils. I don’t begrudge them for this; the last time the VDH was meta, it was owed to a bug in Shadowlands Season 1 that went hilariously undiscovered for months. They deserve this, is all I am saying. Play VDH is you like being a great tank, or if you enjoy the crushing sense of dread from the long shadow of the looming nerfbat.
  • Havoc: For better or worse, Havoc tends to be where players like Illîdööbie congregate. Play Havoc in Remists if: a) you are a good player who wishes to redeem the class from its awful reputation, or b) you want a melee DPS with good burst and survivability, or c) you are an anthropologist trying to figure out why this spec attracts so many toxic people.


The Druid is for people who want to do everything, but usually wind up healing or tanking because no one ever wants them to do anything else. (Ask me how I know this.) It’s a great hedge-your-bets class if you and your guildies are rolling toons for Remists, but haven’t figured out who’s going to be playing what.

  • Balance: Druids ate well in patch 10.2, and Balance in particular got a ton of new form options. It’s typically an upper-rung raid spec, but slightly more niche in M+. Like other specs with a lot of set-up, it tends to underperform in low keys, but does well when mobs aren’t dying as quickly. (This is a bit of a catch-22, because the keys in which Balance performs best are where the spec’s lackluster survivability becomes a concern.) Play Balance if you’ve got a book series you’ve been meaning to get through. You can knock off a few chapters when you find yourself having to ramp again.
  • Feral: Feral is one of the game’s more interesting and complex DPS specs, but historically hasn’t been rewarded for it. Being a melee DPS without an obvious perk or niche is a tall ask for a raid slot; likewise, in M+ you’re competing against melee who can provide better utility. It does great DPS and it’s a fantastic solo spec — it just lacks a hook to keep it in the big leagues. However, Feral’s a cool pick if you want to play something fairly uncommon. (Unless you’re in Goldshire on an RP server, for some reason that I’m sure none of us care to speculate on. Any commenter who attempts to do so will be shot.)
  • Guardian: The bear’s been all over the place during Dragonflight. Season 1 was miserable, and then all of a sudden we were meta in 10.1.5. I’m honestly not sure which was worse. In raids, it suffers from the same problem Feral does (i.e., it doesn’t bring anything you can’t get from a more useful Balance or Resto player), but for M+, it’s still a sleeper pick in Season 4. As a longtime Guardian player, any sustained period of viability gives me hives. Terrible things happen whenever Blizzard remembers, however briefly, that this spec exists.
  • Restoration: The modern Restoration Druid is supposed to be a healer, but it’s not. It’s a disinterested project manager that wants to focus on DPS, so it subcontracts its actual healing out to a bunch of bugs and trees. We’re losing the bugs in The War Within, and with how things are going, the trees are probably going to unionize. Is that what we’re going to be reduced to? Having to press buttons to heal? Like some kind of peasant? The future is grim.


The Evoker is WoW‘s newest class and a platform for experimentation. If you haven’t gotten around to rolling one during Dragonflight, Remists is a good opportunity to try the “lizard wizard.” They’re a lot of fun, there’s nothing else in the game quite like them, and their animations are beautiful.

The downside is that, being Dracthyr-only, it has limited opportunities to enjoy transmog (Druids: “First time?”), and visage forms are restricted to Humans, albeit with more customization. Also, nearly all of the good/funny dragon names have been used up on servers, so no, you’re not going to get any version of the name BadDragon, or Dragonussy, or Dragondeeznuts. Stop it. Get help.

  • Preservation: This is a great choice if you want to heal, but don’t like the more traditional healing specs. Their mechanics are slightly less intuitive than the other healers’, but with any amount of effort, Preservation is very powerful. They’re also the healer best-suited to giving other players an effective, if brutal, clinic on the merits of good positioning. If you don’t like the rest of the heal team, feel free to snipe their cooldowns with Rewind.
  • Augmentation: Currently the game’s only dedicated support spec. Makes bad players look good, good players look amazing, and game balance junkies mad. It’s not really a solo spec, but it shines if you want to focus on group content.
  • Devastation: Is anyone in WoW unhappier than a Devastation player trying to get a group? It’s an outstanding raid spec and a great pick in M+, but it feels like it’s perpetually trapped between a desirable healer and a desirable support. The Gummo Marx of WoW. (“Who’s Gummo Marx?” you ask. Exactly.)


Hunters are kind of the inverse of the Death Knight: They enjoy good mobility but their defensives are lacking, and they’re usually effective but look awful doing it. Mail hasn’t always provided the most interesting transmog options (though I’d argue that things have gotten a lot better), and there’s broad agreement among players that Hunters are rarely lucky with their tier.

Having said that, it doesn’t detract from the class’ many strong points. They have great soloability, usually have at least one competitive raid/M+ spec, can cheese stuff with Feign Death and Camouflage, and they’re fun to play. As a tank, you learn to appreciate good Hunters because they make runs butter-smooth with superlative mob control. As a healer, you feel similarly, but sense their fragility once Turtle and Exhilaration are down.

  • Beast Mastery: Have you ever seen that comic about the dog that wishes it could fly, the fish that wishes it could walk, and the parakeet that wishes it could swim? You are the duck. BM can do its entire rotation while moving, it gets shoved into any mechanic that requires an immunity, and it’s got some kind of answer for everything (maybe not the best answer, but an answer). The downside is that every raid leader is going to assign you to the scut jobs.
  • Marksmanship: To many players, MM is best known as the kind of Hunter who will irritably extract Fluffy from the ether to provide Primal Rage, and then quickly banish them again. Play MM if you enjoy mobility and burst, but want your utility to be pointlessly annoying, and also like seeing your DPS go into the toilet when your cooldowns are up and the tank’s pulling one mob at a time.
  • Survival: Blizzard has always had this weird, almost biblical Beast-Mastery-Have-I-Loved-But-Survival-Have-I-Hated thing going on. Along with Feral, it’s one of the game’s redheaded stepchildren that really struggles to find a niche among its fellow melee. Which is a shame, because I think it’s actually the most fun of the three Hunter specs.


Mages nearly always have at least one spec that’s top-tier in raids and M+. At present, all three are competitive in both. However, the class does require some practice, and the gulf between experienced and inexperienced Mages is vast. A bad Mage is dead halfway through a pull and only does serviceable DPS in small cooldown windows: A good Mage is off dueling Godzilla while enjoying the kind of survivability typically seen only in cockroaches. If you want to see what this is like in practice, I’ve always cherished this clip of Max explaining how Imfiredup saved an Artificer Xy’mox pull gone wrong.

  • Arcane: Arcane rewards planning and familiarity with encounters to maximize damage. This is a good spec if you are a meal-prepper or someone who plans vacations in 15-minute increments. It’s not a good one if you are, say, a jazz pianist.
  • Frost: Frost is generally considered the spec with the gentlest learning curve. It’s also a good PVP and soloing option with endless capacity to slow and snare mobs. Briefly becomes the most hated spec in the game every Sanguine week, before the title is inevitably reclaimed by Havoc.
  • Fire: Fire was famously known as a spec that did insane damage in its Combustion windows, and then sat around trying to look useful until it was up again. It’s now better known for periodic fits of homicidal rage over having to hard-cast Pyroblast for Sun King’s Blessing. Play Fire if your doctor said your blood pressure was too low at your annual visit and you need something that will raise it.


It feels like Monk is the most thematically appropriate class for Remists, because Mists of Pandaria was when the class originally debuted. There’s a part of me that hopes Remists does something for its representation, because it’s among the least-played classes. I’ve always wondered why that is, because the Monk is almost brokenly overpowered in the hands of a good player. My hazy guess is that it suffers from the melee glut (every new class, barring the recent Evoker, has been a tank/melee hybrid), its design is clever but not as intuitive as the older classes, and it’s not among the flashier options in terms of spell visuals.

  • Brewmaster: If you believe that hard work always pays off and that people will eventually recognize and appreciate your efforts, Brewmaster is not for you. This is a spec for people who want to spend months mastering 537 hotkeys, playing the game with a rare balletic grace, and then getting outperformed by a Vengeance player stuffing Cheetos down their gullet while watching Shogun on their third monitor. However, with its mob control, Mystic Touch, and virtual immunity to one-shots, it’s typically a strong raid tank, and it tends to be among the better picks in M+ as well. Dragonflight has been an odd departure.
  • Mistweaver: Mistweaver is the sort of spec you play when you fundamentally do not trust any of the people around you. Are you rolling toons for Remists with a few friends or guildies? Have they gotten this far in life largely due to the offices of the autonomic nervous system? Have you already realized that you’re going to wind up doing everything in your groups? Run a Mistweaver. The combination of DPS, crowd control, and healing will paper over any group’s weaknesses. And if someone does something really dumb, you can put them in the bubble of shame. “Trust, but Vivify,” say the Monks.
  • Windwalker: WW has always felt like a spec that’s on top of the world, or trying to claw its way out of the toilet, and never anything in-between. It’s a superlative DPS in M+ or raid encounters with lots of adds, but tends to suffer in pure single-target scenarios. As a tank, I will say there are few things more helpful than a good Windwalker, because they ease so many affixes while absolutely burning packs to the ground. Also enjoys a kind of greased-pig mobility that makes soloing a lot of fun.


The Paladin is meant to be the game’s most righteous class — a holy warrior that never relents in the face of evil or oppression. Now, as much as I’d like to attribute the Paladin’s popularity to this alone, we all know it’s a little more complicated than that. I’m sure lots of people favor moral purity, or maybe they nurture a belief in the vast brotherhood of man, or they have faith in our potential and capacity for good, but … that’s not why you’re here.

Just admit it. You’re playing Paladin so you can hit Divine Toll.

People will tell you that this is the most satisfying button in the game. They are correct. Play Paladin so you can cover whatever role your group needs, you like some of the game’s sickest transmog, and you want to hit Divine Toll.

  • Holy: Holy’s at a low ebb right now with respect to 5-mans, though it’s flying a lot higher in raids. This isn’t always the case — it’s one of those healers that tends to bounce around a bit depending on tuning — but I think most of its longtime players agree that the spec feels awful in M+ right now. It has powerful cooldowns, but can struggle with throughput outside of that, especially in an uneven or unpredictable group.
  • Protection: The Prot pally might be the best pickup-group tank of all time. This is a spec for eldest children who were saddled with responsibility at a young age, and never got out of the habit of needing to shepherd kids who weren’t allowed around scissors or knives. Play Prot if you have an overactive sense of responsibility and a martyr complex. You’ll eventually have a psychotic break, screw off to go play Rogue or whatever, and then you’ll be back after getting mad at how little the other tanks seem to do.
  • Retribution: The Mace to the Face spec. Got a badly-needed redesign earlier in Dragonflight and has been cruising pretty comfortably in M+ since then. Ret feels similar to Windwalker and Havoc in that a good one can make an otherwise difficult key feel easy. Honestly, advertising Ret feels like the most unnecessary thing in the world, because its class and spec identity are so strong, and its popularity so consistent, that you really don’t need to sell it to people. It’s like trying to develop a marketing strategy for cocaine.


The whole reason we’re in this mess in The War Within is because of Priests and their poor choices. Everyone else in Legion got a weapon that was part of some noble struggle against demonic enslavement or whatever. (Except for Warlocks, and in fairness, they never claimed to be role models.) Priests?

Xal’atath: Hi, I’m a disembodied voice in a dinner knife.

Priests: That’s not good.

Xal’atath: But I sound really sexy.


Xal’atath: Feelin cute, might betray you later.



Xal’atath: Tee hee.

Priests: Sounds legit, come hang next to my ass for a few years.

This continued until the beginning of Battle for Azeroth, at which point the Priests canonically lost her. Is putting an AirTag on Cthulhu’s second cousin too much effort or whatever? Really? However, Priests get blamed for everything that goes wrong in a group anyway, so it’s probably a refreshing change of pace to be legitimately responsible for once. You can have a little justified accountability, Priests. As a treat. And a tier set that sent Paladins into an existential crisis.

  • Discipline: Discipline vacillates between being the most in-demand raid and dungeon healer, and not being the most in-demand raid and dungeon healer. This sounds like an oversimplification, but I assure you it is not. It’s a precise and methodical healer, requires pre-planning and familiarity with damage patterns to get the most out of it, and when things go wrong, can require stupid amounts of mana and cooldowns to stabilize. In the hands of an experienced player, it’ll lay waste to everything around it and peoples’ health will barely move. If you want to know why Blizzard comes down on this spec like the fist of an angry god so frequently, well, there you go. Currently the highest throughput healer in raids, though Holy’s only a step behind and is a lot more popular.
  • Holy: Holy is often recommended over Disc while pugging, and with reason; it’s a more reactive and flexible healer than its Discipline brother, and has a wider variety of skills to mop up mistakes. Either would be a very solid healer for Pandaria, but keep in mind that neither benefits a lot from movement, and they’re among the more fragile healing specs. Apropos of nothing, I’ve been seeing tons of Holy Priests in my groups lately doing nutty AOE damage.
  • Shadow: For people who want to play a high-rated ranged DPS, and enjoy being part of a chain of events that will lead to the death of millions. Currently tearing up M+ but doesn’t deserve to be. They should go sit in a corner and think about what they did.


I have long suspected that the Death Knight, and subsequently the Demon Hunter, have functioned as a sort of gravity well for the game’s most insufferable players. This has been to the enormous benefit of the Rogue, once known as the repository of WoW’s biggest jerks but now surprisingly chill.  These days, the Rogue has acquired an almost professional air — they’re top-tier raid DPS and almost always a useful pick in M+ — which is slightly disconcerting. It’s like seeing a Predator out mowing the lawn. They look normal now, but the implied threat is always there.

As a tank/healer, my take is that experienced Rogues are among the game’s most observant and self-reliant DPS. Between Vanish, Cloak of Shadows, Evasion, their funnel on Bolstering, and a plentiful supply of stops, they tend to take care of themselves while quietly preventing a lot of problems.

  • Assassination: Currently dueling the Affliction Warlock for the title of the game’s least common DPS in high keys, though its bleed-based gameplay is really more suited to raids. It’s the slowest-paced Rogue spec (though in fairness, anything’s going to feel slow compared to Outlaw right now), and requires some patience and a good sense of timing. I do wish they were more common, because the combination of Shiv and Arterial Precision basically eliminates Raging as a mechanic (granted, Raging isn’t as dangerous as it used to be).
  • Outlaw: Competes with the Fury Warrior for the dubious honor of WoW’s highest APM DPS spec. For people whose lives won’t be complete without a gambling addiction and a scorching case of carpal tunnel.
  • Subtlety: I have to be honest — I’ve never played Subtlety. I don’t know what they’re doing; I just know they’re doing it really, really well.


Remember how we said that mail tends to get the worst transmog options? The Shaman makes the best of a bad situation. Their tier sets are usually beautiful, and Season 3 gave them one of the all-time greats in Vision of the Greatwolf Outcast. They also have some of the most eye-catching spell graphics in the game. Visually, it’s an impressive class, and it really gives you something to admire for the two seconds you get to be in caster form before going back to Ghost Wolf to keep up with the VDH.

If your sole concern is Remists, the Shaman is fun to play, has great class flavor, and also has a lot of unique tricks to keep themselves and their groups out of trouble. However, if you’re planning on making this character an integral part of your warband in The War Within, I would be remiss in not mentioning the lack of feedback from Blizzard. The most likely answer is that Blizzard is still working on how the class is going to develop and just isn’t ready to discuss it publicly, but there isn’t anything concrete right now.

  • Elemental: Being blunt, Elemental is the single biggest reason that players are so uneasy over Blizzard’s radio silence. The spec has several longstanding issues and would benefit from a revamp (though its problems aren’t likely to have a meaningful impact on a Remists player — they’re only relevant if you’re planning on taking one to the endgame). If you pick Ele, be prepared for the possibility that it might play very differently when the War Within content patch hits.
  • Enhancement: Enhancement is coming off a pretty good expansion in Dragonflight, but regrettably, this is another “keybind hell” spec. Both that and a wide array of talent choices and builds can make it a little unfriendly for beginners. It’s a blast to play — just don’t let yourself get paralyzed by all the options. One minor but unpleasant note: The spec’s signature buff, Windfury Totem, is not a bloodless pick-up in the talent tree like you’d assume.
  • Restoration: Playing Restoration is a straightforward process. Step One: Put down Healing Rain. Step two: Watch people avoid Healing Rain. Step Three: Have your healing and DPS severely kneecapped. Step Four: Return to step one. (Optional step five: Drink heavily.) Nonetheless, they’re well-armed with a low-cooldown kick, wipe protection, an AOE stop, Wind Rush Totem, and of course Bloodlust. Another good choice for people with trust issues, and possibly even the best one.


The Warlock is entering its 20th consecutive year of being virtually required in raids. It’s now available to all races barring the Dracthyr, allowing you to make dumb-but-funny combinations like Draenei, Pandaren, and Tauren Warlocks. This doesn’t make a lot of sense from a lore perspective (unless your Draenei is an Eredar, I guess), but it doesn’t have to if you pretend your character’s an idiot who thinks demons are misunderstood. Treat the Remists like a buddy comedy, just with a demon that clearly hates you and resents every second of its presence on the mortal plane.

Transmog-wise, the Warlock generally does well, but it tends to be a little — how shall we say — thematically restricted. If you’re fond of a look that says, “Any small child left with me will be sacrificed for a 0.2% DPS gain,” you’re gold.

  • Affliction: I’m always surprised whenever Affliction vanishes from my groups, because historically it’s been one of WoW’s strongest DPS specs. However, it’s in a tough spot at the moment, because Destruction and Demonology will do the same or greater damage for less effort. That’s not to detract from Affliction’s strong points — it does excellent damage, and it’s one of the most resilient and survivable DPS specs — but it’s hard to argue with the results that Destro and Demo are getting.
  • Demonology: Demonology emerged as the overall winner of the Mythic parses in Amirdrassil, though at present all three Warlock specs are pretty close to each other in Awakened raids. Best known as the Warlock who floods your screen with a seemingly endless series of demons, like the world’s most perverted animal hoarder. For better or worse, my mental image of the Demonology Warlock is the player who kept pulling unnecessary packs in a M+ run, and when asked about it, said, “The imps yearn for the mobs.”
  • Destruction: If you don’t like having your DPS ruined by the pet AI, and don’t like having your DPS ruined by constant ramps, but do like having your DPS ruined every time you have to move, Destruction is your natural home. The spec is currently annihilating packs in high keys in a way that is both fun and ominously suggestive of an incoming nerf. For people who tried a Mage and thought, “Nice concept, but it needs to be at least 30% more evil.”


Neither of the recent new affixes in M+ (Afflicted and Incorporeal) has favored the Warrior, which is a sore point. However, I often pick up a Warrior DPS those weeks anyway; I like having a high-damage spec that can be relied upon to murder everything while the group’s attention is divided. Having said that, I don’t think anyone feels great about having affixes that certain classes can’t do anything about, but that’s a discussion for a different day.

As a class, the Warrior tends to scale well, and both their gear and animations are eye-catching. Some of their mechanics, while necessary from a game balance perspective, are a bit unintentionally hilarious (e.g., it is possible to get so angry at your injuries that they shrink in mute apology over their existence). They have good mobility, a valuable buff, and an excellent raid cooldown. The Warrior is also notable in that its basic animations and special attacks differ between races, and Remists is a good opportunity to find one that appeals to you. (Check out the female Undead if you haven’t yet.)

  • Arms: Arms’ run in Amirdrassil wasn’t the greatest, but it seems to have bounced back in Season 4. However, it’s one of those specs where you’re going to make trade-offs to specialize in single-target or AOE, which is annoying. As with Fury, it’s not a happy camper with lots of downtime. Try to hook up with a tank who has no sense of self-preservation and a healer who’s stopped hoping for anything better.
  • Fury: Currently the highest APM DPS spec in the game. For the people who want to stand over a ruined keyboard, the corpses of their enemies stretching to the horizon, hacked limbs bobbing gently away on a river of blood, the sole remaining figure in a landscape of absolute carnage. (Shadow Priests, crying: “Everything reminds me of her.”)
  • Protection: I love Prot’s aesthetics and gameplay, but man, does Blizzard run hot and cold on this spec. Tuning for the Protection Warrior seems to consist of a switch that gets flicked on and off at Blizzard HQ depending on the height of the person shouldering past it. BfA S1: Off. BfA S1-S3: On. All of Shadowlands: Off. Dragonflight S1: On. Currently: Off. In the hands of a good player, they’re a joy to heal, with a smooth, predictable damage intake. In my hands, they’re more akin to a toddler with a pack of matches and a house full of dryer lint. But the most important thing is to have fun.
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