World of Warcraft, like any other game, offers a wide variety of options, is going to have a disparity between those options. While every option is viable (even necessary in high-end raids), the further you go off into the woods from the optimal strategies, the more difficult things can get, so you need to know what you’re doing for off-meta builds. And if you pick one of the sub-optimal builds by mistake…well, you could find yourself having a bad time.
That’s what this guide is here for, to break down the WoW Classic classes by overall ranking to help you choose your next character.
WoW Classic Class Tier List
Warrior – both Protection and Fury Warrior are excellent for PvE; the former is the best (some would say only) Tank option in the game, and the latter is some of the best PvEDPS the game offers. Combined with the fact that they scale ridiculously well with gear, and once you hit 60 (which can be an excruciating experience, mind you), they’re a powerhouse that no other class can match. They’re no slouches in PvP with the Arms spec either, so they’re jacks of all trades, master of some even if they’re not so great for duels.
Priest – Healing is an important role, and none do it better for PvE than Holy Priests. Engaging to play with a lot of utility (like Dispel Magic!), they bring a lot to the table. As a bonus, Shadow priests do excellent single target DPS, and Discipline is excellent for PvP, so you have a lot of options to choose from; Priest does it all.
Mage – Mages provide excellent DPS in all their specs, though can be a bit boring to play (hope you don’t get tired of casting Frostbolt from 1st level on up to 60), and suffer from having somewhat of a “dead spec” in that many prominent endgame enemies are fire-resistant or outright immune. Still, their damage in combinations of the Arcane and Frost specializations are second to none, and they bring a lot of utility to the table with conjured food and water when leveling.
Rogue – Rogues are to melee DPS what Mages are to ranged or magical; essentially unparalleled in their specific niche. Every Rogue specialization is good to some extent in some combination with the others, and they can make quick work of most opponents in both PvE and PvP
Warlock – While the pet build is somewhat lackluster, Warlock makes up for it with the sheer brutality of Affliction and Destruction when it comes to focusing down single targets. They’re great in both PvP and PvE content and can swap from one to the other without missing a beat.
Paladin – Paladins make it here almost solely by dint of the Holy specialization, but it’s a doozy; being able to off-tank while providing oodles of healing is a huge role, and offsets the fact that in Classic WoW their other specs are kind of lackluster. Their builds are pretty much the same for both PvE and PvP focuses, so at least it’s a simple choice.
Hunter – Hunters output excellent damage and slam through PvE content solo like nobody’s business. While they fall off a bit at endgame, they’re still great in raids for kiting bosses and similar tactics. While their damage is equally brutal in PvP, players find it a lot easier to exploit their weakness to foes getting up close and personal, dropping them a bit down the list.
Shaman – Shamans have three equally impressive specs to choose from, and have a wide variety of abilities and builds to try. Unfortunately, they don’t bring the house down with any of them, but they’re the kind of class that no matter what you pick you’re going to be decent (if a little lackluster in PvP). They shine a lot more in PvE where, if nothing else, everybody loves a Restoration Shaman and getting that sweet, sweet Windfury.
Druid – Similar to Shamans, Druids are jacks of all trades with three distinct and exciting specs. And, like Shamans, they suffer from the “hybrid tax” of being okay at anything, but great at nothing. Restoration Druid is typically the one people like to see in PvE, and none of Druid’s specs are super great in PvP, leaving them in a bit of a poor spot in Classic.
Keep in mind with this list what I said earlier though: everything is viable (this is true for any half-decent MMO as well). You can and will complete top tier PvE content no matter what you choose, so don’t feel constrained to picking just the “best” class. Player skill plays a part beside the build options and gear, and if you’re dedicated to making your off the wall pick work, it will work.