Ready to go home again? World of Warcraft: Classic brings back that delicious vanilla WoW you knew and loved almost exactly the way you remember. Of course, the people have changed — min-maxing is more prevalent than ever before, and no one wants to waste time on a subpar build this time around. When coming home to Azeroth-that-was, only the best classes will do.
If you’re just setting out into legacy Azeroth for the first time, or if you’re ready to roll something new, allow us to help. We’ve assembled a few of the best WoW Classic classes here for your convenience, all wrapped up at the end with a class tier list. A one-stop-shop for WoW Classic dominance, if you will. When it comes to the classic WoW classes ranked, we won’t stop short of a definitive list. We know firsthand that WoW players are all about lists.
Shall we begin, champion?
Best WoW Classic Classes Tier List
That’s just a few of the classes available to you in WoW Classic. Now let’s take a look at how they all relate to one another. Carry on reading to see all WoW Classic classes ranked from top to bottom.
Bear in mind that this is just one perspective on the broad and nuanced meta. Our ranking is more based on each specialization in isolation, as opposed to ranking the classes themselves or the hybrid specs you’ll likely adopt. We’re less concerned with min-maxing and more concerned with plain old having fun— a few class/spec combos might rate higher than you’d expect, but we invite you to disagree! Any feedback you can offer will help us hone this list to a razor’s edge.
Beast Mastery Hunter
A Closer Look: The Best WoW Classic Classes
We’ve sorted the best WoW Classic classes based on how they perform within different aspects of the game (e.g., PvP, PvE, solo-play, and so on). Just look for the “award” under each class to see where it excels.
Starting in no particular order, let’s jump into the list!
The best PvP class for classic WoW
Rogues have long stood as kings of the proverbial hill when it comes to PvP viability. They’re masters of the cloak-and-dagger, leaving opponents unaware of their presence until they spot the blade erupting from their stomach.
Rewinding the clock to the good old days, the Rogues reign supreme as the best PvP vanilla WoW class when it comes time to dominate the battlefield. It doesn’t matter what class you are; you won’t be safe from a determined and cunning Rogue. They will circle the skirmish stealthily and wait for any opening in your defense. Once you separate from the herd or your blood hits the ground, the Rogue will strike like a coiled serpent.
Subtlety talents like Camouflage ensure that you can’t possibly run far enough to save yourself, thanks to a handy stealth speed boost. The Opportunity talent buffs Backstab and Ambush attacks, initiating combat with a hefty blow. Hemorrhage fuels the Rogue combo chain, debuffing you with extra physical damage taken. Before you know it — unless you have a pocket healer the Rogue was unaware of — the battle is over, and you’re left with a long walk back to your body.
A good Rogue player knows it isn’t all about Subtlety, however. Focusing on Subtlety alone is a handy way to set yourself up for failure. The Assassination spec holds a wealth of beneficial talents as well, granting you powerful procs off core abilities like Kidney Shot, Rupture, and Eviscerate to turn you into a walking, breathing font of unquenchable damage. You might even consider a splash of the Combat spec for improved versions of your core Gouge and Backstab talents while you’re at it.
When it comes to vanilla WoW PvP, as long as you’re reasonably geared and thoughtfully specced, the Rogue remains one of the most terrifying and formidable forces on the battlefield.
The best DPS class for classic WoW
Despite significant evidence to the contrary, life in Azeroth isn’t all about the struggle between Alliance and Horde. In the deep, dark places of the world, adventurers work to defeat world-threatening forces beyond the ken of the mere mortals working for the weekend in the sunshine above. When you’re putting together a party to challenge an Old God, you’ll want a Warrior by your side.
While it’s hard to say what the best vanilla WoW class is overall, Warriors are the first to spring to many players’ minds. They are whirlwinds of damage that leave a trail of bodies as wide as the halls they walk. Whether you build into the Arms, Fury, or Protection specs depends on the specific role you adopt. The greatest damage can be found in the dual-wielding or two-handed Arms and Fury talent progressions, respectively, while the best tanking potential can be found in Protection. As you might imagine, you’re going to favor the former two for pure DPS.
Suppose you want to be the dual-wielding champion of Azeroth. In that case, you’re going to lean into talents like Bloodthirst for initiation, Impale for the critical strike damage buff, Recklessness for the increase in critical strike frequency, and Execute to finish off your wounded foes before they take advantage of the damage debuff Recklessness gives you.
Two-handed weapon Warriors are going to Slam like it’s Space Jam, using a rotation that includes Cleave for that sweet, sweet multitarget damage and Flurry for that frantic attack speed buff. Splash in Death Wish to trade armor for damage output, and you’ve got a tasty DPS stew going.
When the dust clears, and you’re all that remains standing among friends and foes alike, you’ll know why Warrior is the DPS king of classic WoW. Definitely one of the best WoW Classic classes overall.
The best solo class for classic WoW
Look, we’ve all got friends. Some of our friends play WoW. Sometimes. But it can be tough to synchronize schedules. You can’t count on your friends to be there for you when you’ve got a hankerin’ for a quest or two. Sometimes you just want to log on, put Fraiser on your second monitor, and tune out for the day. That’s the best time to break out a Druid. There’s simply no better way to experience the joys of Azeroth all by yourself.
Druids bring all the forms to the yard. Grind out some levels, and you’ll be able to transform into one of five different bestial shadows of your former self to suit specific needs. Bear Form helps you tank damage, Cat Form helps you deal damage, Travel and Aquatic Forms combine to help you get somewhere in a hurry, and Moonkin Form helps you indulge in some magical ranged mayhem.
Druids are the poster class for jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none players. When you’re playing by yourself and want to jump into an impromptu dungeon run, you’ve got all the forms you need to fill any role. Your standard form is also perfectly viable if you need some healing, but who wants to heal when they could be tanking as a bear or mauling the face off of some poor Dark Iron Dwarves as a sabertoothed cat?
That’s obviously a rhetorical question.
Naturally, the spec you lean into will depend on your chosen role. You can always respec along the way, but it’s costly and better to set yourself up so you won’t have to. This means that for solo players, Feral Combat is the best spec to roll with.
Ferocity reduces the energy cost of your beastly abilities in Bear and Cat form, while Thick Hide is a must-have for Bear tanking. Build down through the Predatory Strikes chain into Heart of the Wild and Leader of the Pack for some top-notch damage and party buffs your fellow adventurers will thank you for. Top it off with Sharpened Claws for that extra keen edge.
Splashing in some Restoration won’t be remiss either — take a look at Furor and Improved Enrage for better Druid resource management, and consider Improved Mark of the Wild to buff your buff.
The proof is in the pudding, as they say. For solo players, Druids are the way to roll.
The best race/class combo for classic WoW
Spend any amount of time in Durotar, and you’re guaranteed to see something akin to the picture above — the Troll Hunter in their natural habitat, with some form of low-level pet by their side. Ideally, they’d upgrade that pet as they level, but there’s something special about your first boar….
Suffice it to say, the Troll Hunter combo is one of the best race/class combos in WoW Classic. They’re certainly one of the most iconic. Why? Because of the racial buffs.
Beast Slaying grants extra damage dealt vs. beasts, making solo questing a breeze. Trolls even start with Bow Specialization, giving them a handy +5 to bow usage right off the bat. The Regeneration buff comes in handy for any damage that slips past your trusty boar, making it vanish about 10% faster than it would for any other race. When you’re inevitably backed into a corner and find your Regeneration overwhelmed, the Beserking buff lets you deal damage faster in proportion to the damage you’ve taken. All of these are handy traits for the wayward Hunter.
Beyond that, your Hunter specialization will come down to your playstyle. Use Beast Mastery if you plan to let your pet handle most of the heavy lifting. Marksmanship talents place the DPS burden on you, leaving your pet to draw aggro and soak damage while you lay arrows on the target. Finally, the Survival spec allows you to boost damage against other targets like Humanoids, Giants, and Dragonkin — this is an attractive option for the Troll, who already has the bonus Beast damage mentioned above.
However you choose to build your Troll Hunter, you can rest comfortably knowing you made an excellent choice in your character’s race and class combination.
The best PvE class for classic WoW
Everyone wants a healer in their party. Full stop. DPS characters are a dime-a-dozen, and Tanks are the next most crowded class archetype. So when you want to run some PvE content — namely dungeons and raids — who are you gonna call?
Yourself! Be the Priest you always knew you could be!
You won’t be dealing much in the way of damage (unless you roll Shadow Priest for some inexplicable reason), but you’ll be the bulwark that holds your party’s structure together, even when it’s on fire and screaming for heals. Especially then. It may be a thankless job, but Healers make the WoW Classic world go ’round. And as a Priest focusing on Healing, you’ll be making fair use of the Discipline and Holy talent trees.
From the former, grab Unbreakable Will to ensure that you stand strong and keep on healing when the party scatters from fear or staggers from a stun. Improve your Power Word: Fortitude and Power Word: Shield for that extra icing on the buff cake. If you’re adamant about dealing some form of damage, or plan to solo for any length of time, you may also want to consider the Wand Specialization. Round off that tree with Meditation for Mana Regen, then splash around as desired.
Over in the Holy spec, you’ll want to take Improved Renew and Holy Specialization to start for all the bonus healing you can conjure. Inspiration is excellent for buffing your healing target with a bit of extra armor, and Improved Healing is very on-brand by reducing mana costs for your core healing spells. Spiritual Guidance and Spiritual Healing offer even more healing than you can shake a stick at. But for that extra flashy finish, consider Spirit of Redemption — when you die, you get to stick around for ten seconds and keep healing. Because that’s what heroes do.
Of course, you could throw all this away and sink into the black morass of your heart as a Shadow Priest. If you choose this spec, it should be the only spec — perhaps save for Ward Specialization in Discipline. Your sole goal is to deal damage as a Shadow Priest. Be advised: you’ll have your work cut out for you to keep up.
Spirit Tap leeches Spirit from fallen adversaries and gives a Mana regen boost, so it’s a must-have. As is Shadow Affinity, which ensures aggro remains with the Tanks where it belongs. Improved Shadow Word: Pain buffs your core DoT talent, while Improved Mind Blast reduces cooldown on a solid damage dealer. Shadow Reach is a great talent to keep you out of harm’s way with extra Shadow damage spell range.
All of this aside, your real goal is to build down through Vampiric Embrace (life leech from target to party members) to Shadowform, which is, in fact, your final form. Shadowform buffs your Shadow damage by 15% (on top of the Darkness buff for 2%), and reduces physical damage done to you by 15% in turn. It’s worth noting that in Shadowform, you can’t cast Holy spells — once you’ve slipped this far into Shadow, though, you’ve left the Light far behind you already.
You’re probably still rolling your eyes, but even you can’t deny a good Priest in the right party makes all the difference in the world. Why not be that Priest, and bring a little Holy Light to the dark places of Azeroth? All the DPS mains will be glad you did, and you’ll have the unique satisfaction of knowing that no matter what anyone says, that dungeon run was only possible because of you. Embrace the best PvE class (and one of the best WoW Classic classes overall) that classic WoW has to offer.
Thanks for reading! As always, please feel free to leave a comment and tell us what you think are the best WoW Classic classes — we love to hear from you.