Of all the character-creation decisions, your class choice has the greatest impact on the type of experience you have in World of Warcraft. There are eleven available classes in the game, but not all classes are available to every race. For your first character, you have ten class choices: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Monk, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior, and Warlock.
The eleventh class is a “hero” class: the Death Knight. This class is available only to players who already have a high-level character. You must wait to create a Death Knight until your first character reaches level 55. Any race, except Pandaren, can play as a Death Knight.
A Quick Look at Classes
Mage, Priest, Rogue, and Warrior are considered the four archetypal classes because they are classic role-playing and fantasy heroes from the myths and literature that inspired the creators of World of Warcraft. Warriors and Rogues are primarily melee combat classes, while Mages and Priests prefer to stay at a safe distance in combat.
Druid, Monk, Paladin, and Shaman are the “hybrid” classes because they are versatile characters, equally comfortable fighting up close or using magic spells to harm enemies or heal allies.
Hunter and Warlock are the “pet” classes because both rely on a companion pet for a great deal of assistance. Hunters tame wild beasts, while Warlocks summon demonic creatures.
Tips for Choosing Your Class
Experienced players can debate all day (and they do) about which classes are the easiest to play, hardest to play, strongest, weakest, over-powered, under-powered—you get the idea. As a new player, you should make a choice based on personal preference.
When contemplating classes, consider the role that appeals to you and keep the following things in mind:
• Hunters, Mages, Priests, and Warlocks fight best from a safe distance. You must learn how to control the range of the fight, because you’re not built for melee combat. Keep enemies away from you, and you’ll be successful.
• Monks, Paladins, Rogues, and Warriors fight up close and personal with their enemies. Melee combat is louder (with the combat noises like clanging weapons) and is generally more chaotic than what ranged classes experience.
• Druids and Shaman can fight at long range or in melee combat, and it’s up to you to decide which way you prefer.
The next thing to consider is how you plan to play the game. The “how” in this case is “How many people will you be playing with?”
If you plan to play solo (which means you’ll be playing the game alone for a majority of the time), any class is a viable choice. Because there are already a number of people who play the game alone, large portions of World of Warcraft are designed around people playing solo.
Playing in a Group
If you plan on playing with other people (even if it’s just one other person), someone in the group should play a class with access to healing spells, but healing is just one of the roles your character can assume. To keep it simple, imagine that every character falls into one of three categories: tank, healer, and damage dealer.
Do you enjoy shielding people from harm? Tanks are a good choice for you. They are often the leader of groups, and people respect them when they get the job done. It’s not the easiest choice, but it is rewarding. Protection Warriors, Protection Paladins, Brewmaster Monks, Guardian Druids, and Blood Death Knights may assume the role of tanks.
Is it okay if someone else does the killing while you support them? Healing may be the way for you. Healers are essential to great groups. They rarely get the glory of a tank, but they are needed, and wise players are quick to thank them for being there. Discipline and Holy Priests, Restoration Shamans, Mistweaver Monks, Holy Paladins, and Restoration Druids can fill this role.
Is self-reliance a big thing for you? Maybe you just want to slaughter when you get the chance, but groups are more of a “take it or leave it” thing. You’re a damage dealer. About 60% of a given group is composed of damage dealers. Some may have backup healing (or backup tanking) potential, but their primary role is to disable or kill enemies. Any class can fill this role but Rogue, Mage, Warlock, and Hunter are notable choices because they are dedicated to this task.
Damage Dealers come in two varieties: melee and ranged.
Arms and Fury Warriors, all three Rogue specializations, Feral Druids, Windwalker Monks, Frost and Unholy Death Knights, Retribution Paladins, and Enhancement Shaman are all melee Damage Dealers.
The ranged Damage Dealer character options are all three specializations including Mages, Warlocks, Elemental Shaman, Balance Druids, and Shadow Priests. All three Hunter specializations are also ranged damage dealers, but they deal physical damage instead of the magic-based damage done by the previously listed classes.
Racial Abilities Summary
The following is an overview of the bonuses for selecting a certain race. The designers of World of Warcraft worked hard to create balanced abilities. Consider the following bonuses as a minor factor in selecting your character’s race.
Use the official World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor guide to explore the savage world of Draenor with maps and information for each zone, as well as Extensive coverage of all 11 classes with updated information for the new class talents, permanent ability bonuses, and more!