Best classes for PVE in WoW Classic
With the launch of Blizzard’s WoW Classic servers almost imminent, we’d like to delve deeper into the matter of the class diversity and share our opinion about what to play in PVE depending on your style and preferences. Now, let’s see what the various classes in Vanilla WoW are going to offer, so you can choose the one that fits you best.
Mages are often seen on the top the damage meters in Vanilla WoW. Their raw throughput is amazing. Because of this, they are probably the most popular spell caster class in Classic Wow, which makes it hard to get a raid spot, since a raid needs roughly 5-6 mages. As a mage, you don’t have any access to self-healing either and you ‘ll have to fully rely for support on your healers. Mages provide great utility in both raids and 5 men content. They can buff with Intellect (mana and spell critical chance increase), create food and water to sustain their teammates or control mobs in dungeons with Polymorph. Lastly, you can troll your group by opening portals to Darnassus or Thunderbluff instead of Ironforge and Orgrimmar.
Endless mana! Having that said, the warlocks also have the most raw hit points of all the spell casting classes in WoW Classic. Furthermore, warlocks have a very good self-sustain via various drain and absorption spells.
However, in the early phases of Classic WoW before AQ40 and Naxx, mages will almost always deal more damage than you. Also, as a warlock, you have damage and critical talents but none related to spell hit chance. Which means that if your spells are not resisted, you will deal tons of threat and in order not to overaggro you’ll have to take s few seconds break from dealing damage. In Vanilla, warlocks still have Soulstones and Healthstones, with the difference, that the Soulstone cannot be used as a combat res cooldown as it can nowadays in retail.
As a hunter in Classic WoW you have the greatest kiting potential in the game combined with very decent solo farming abilities. In raids and dungeons, you will be wanted in certain pulls due to the range of your abilities. In 5 men content you can trap targets with your freezing trap. In raids you will almost always be out damaged by most of the other pure DPS classes.
Rogues are named by some the best melee DPS class in Classic WoW. The numbers of their throughput are astonishingly high. However, they depend heavily on cooldowns. Furthermore, if you forgot your poisons or the reagent for them in the bank, better don’t bother with doing anything DPS related.
The warriors in Classic WoW are the other exceptional melee DPS class. On par with rogues in terms of raw output, the warriors scale better than rogues with gear. Furthermore, the raiding tear gear in the initial phases is oriented towards tanking, so you’ll most likely get the off set very fast.
As we said, the warriors scale incredibly well with gear. But if you are undergeared, you are close to useless. As a DPS warrior, you provide some utility both in raids and in 5 men dungeons. First of all, you can always be asked to serve as an off tank in certain raid encounters.
However, you also provide Battle Shout, buffing your group with Attack Power and if by any chance you are the only warrior in your group, you can lower your target’s armor via the Sunder Armor ability.
If you choose the protection specialization, you will be playing the best tanking class in Classic WoW, period. However, despite the warrior being the best tank in Vanilla WoW, there are only so much tanking spots in a raid. Many groups will prefer to take a DPS warrior who can serve as an off tank if needed, instead of an extra protection one.
In Vanilla WoW shamans can be only Horde.
Bloodlust! In Classic WoW only shamans have similar raid wide cooldown. Also, the shamans are easily the best AOE raid healers in the game, thanks to their Chain Heal, outperforming the priests and druids in scenarios where healing multiple targets for extended periods of time is needed.
However, you will get mana starved if you don’t downrank your spells. And a healer without mana is as useful as a tank without health. The shaman’s mana regeneration abilities apart from Mana tide totem are almost nonexistent.
The shaman’s utility in Vanilla WoW is exceptional and is only rivaled by the one offered by the Alliance’s paladins. The shaman has a totem for every situation, scenario and group comp.
If you want to deal damage as a shaman in raids, don’t bother. Your damage will be very low compared to the other DPS classes in Classic. The utility that you bring will be the same as a restoration shaman, so if you insist on playing a shaman, you’d better take the restoration spec and almost always have a spot in a raid.
The choice of the race that you play is probably the most important thing if you consider playing a Priest in Vanilla. This is so, because every race that can be a priest have different Priest abilities on the top of the racial abilities. With this said, let’s examine what each race has to offer in that regard.
On the top of the 5% spirit increase racial, humans have Desperate Prayer and Feedback. Desperate prayer is powerful self-heal on a 10 minutes Cooldown. Feedback has a 3 minutes cooldown and when use,d will deal damage and will burn the mana of anyone who casts offensive spells onto you.
The dwarves have Desperate Prayer, which is the same as the human spell. However, they have the most impactful priest racial in Classic WoW: Fear Ward. It places a buff on the priest’s target, absorbing the first fear effect on that target.
The night elves in Classic WoW have Elune’s Grace and Starshards. The first one gives you 10% dodge chance and a small amount of damage reduction from ranged attacks. The second one is a channeled ability that deals moderate amount of damage.
The undead priest racials are Touch of Weakness and Devouring Plague. Touch of Weakness is pitiful. It places a buff on you, that will deal negligible amount of shadow damage and reduce the attacker’s damage with again negligible amount. Devouring Plague is a DoT that deals a moderate amount of damage and heals the caster for the same amount.
Trolls have Sadowguard and Hex of Weakness. The first one has 3 charges and a charge will be consumed when the priest is attacked. When this happens, the attacker will suffer a small amount of shadow damage. Hex of Weakness reduces the attacker’s damage dealt with a small amount.
As a healer, you will be one of the most sought-after classes in Classic WoW. Your throughput is considerable and priests are very good at both AOE healing and keeping a tank alive. Furthermore, the priests are viable in both raids and 5 men content. The utility that a priest offers is the only stamina buff in Vanilla WoW: Power Word Fortitude. This combined with the specific Priest racial abilities paints the full picture.
As a shadow priest you might find a spot in a raid. Might. Your damage will be extremely low and you will get out of mana very quickly if you spam your normal rotation. The only thing that a Shadow Priest offers to a raid if buffing warlocks’ damage by applying the Shadow Weaving debuff to the target. When fully stacked, it increases the shadow damage that the target takes by 15%. Apart from this, the shadow priest is completely useless in a raid.
Paladins are available only for the Alliance in Classic WoW. Let’s be honest. As a paladin in Vanilla you will almost certainly be holy. The retribution and protection specializations are pretty much useless in Classic and don’t provide any other utility that a holy paladin cannot offer.
As a retribution paladin you will compete with the shadow priest for the bottom of the damage meter. As a tank, you will run out of mana quickly and will lack the survivability of a protection warrior. However, you may see yourself as a third tank in some encounters.
On the other hand, the holy paladin is probably the best healer of tanks in the game. Additionally, the paladin offers exceptional utility with a number of auras and blessings, equivalent only to the Horde’s shaman. A shaman offers offensive, damage boosting spells, such as Bloodlust and Windfury Totem. The paladin excels in defensive abilities such as Blessing of Kings (10% to all stats) and Blessing of Salvation (threat reduction). This means that when raiding with a paladin, your damage dealers can fully faceroll on their keyboards without overaggroing.
However the raiding gear designed for holy paladins is straightforward bad. So you will often find yourself competing with cloth and leather users for loot.
The druid is the only class that can perform 4 roles: a tank, a healer, a melee and a ranged DPS. Of course, being able to do many things at once, ends up in not being great at any of them. A single balance and a single feral druid may find a spot in a raid due to their auras, which increase either melee or spell critical. With this said, their damage will most likely be at par with the shadow priest’s and retribution paladin’s. Tanking as a druid however, can find its usage in some encounters and almost never as a main tank, which will be reserved for a warrior.
This leaves us with the restoration druid. This specialization is the most useful one. You will never reach the numbers a shaman or a priest can put out and you will never be as an effective tank healer as a paladin. However, you will certainly be an important part of any raid, helping with healing where it is most needed and thus aiding all other healers in doing their job. The druid brings the only combat resurrection ability. Additionally, the class has access to Mark of the Wild (armor, stats and resistances boost), Innervate (a powerful mana regen spell) and Faerie Fire (armor decrease and boost to physical damage).
So what are the best classes in Vanilla WoW?
As we said it depends on your playstyle and personal preferences. But not that much.
If you want to deal exceptional amounts of damage and be viable throughout the whole content, while at the same time not being gear dependent, by all means play a mage or a rogue. Their numbers are impressive and they don’t need the ramp up in terms of gear that the warrior and the warlock need. If you like Barrens chat and dueling in front of Orgrimmar, then your mage will be a troll and your rogue an orc. If, on the other hand you like killing Hogger and the circular shape of Ironforge, your mage should be a gnome and your rogue a human.
The tanking part is pretty much obvious. You have to be a warrior. They have the best damage mitigation and all in all the best and the most balanced specialization for tanking. If your color of choice is red, then you should play a Tauren. If it is blue, then the Night Elf is for you.
Now, let’s talk healing. Strangely, all the healing specializations and classes are viable in a different way and in different scenarios. It only depends on your goals and playstyle. Good raid healing and an OK tank healing? Please, consider a dwarf priest and a troll shaman. Exceptional tank healing and bad raid healing? A paladin. The race doesn’t really matter. A jack of all trades? Then the druid should be your class of choice.