A class is the primary adventuring style of a player character which determines the type of weapons and armor it can use, as well as what abilities, powers, skills, and spells it will gain throughout its adventures.
Be aware that classes are constrained by the choice of a player's race; In other words: each race has a particular list of classes available to choose from, and some classes which they will be unable to choose.
Each class has three unique talent trees. As a character progresses, one can specialize their skills by assigning class talent points in any of the trees for their class. There are three talent trees for each class. For example, a druid can place their talent points in Restoration, Feral, or Balance.
Collecting class armor sets is a way players can improve a character when they have reached the level cap. Most dungeon and raid sets are made up of armor items designed specifically for the class; however, faction reward sets also include trinkets and neck pieces. When players collect more pieces of the set, they can receive set bonuses.
Brief summary of each class
There are nine playable classes in-game.
Druids are versatile hybrids. They perform different roles using appropriate shape-shifting forms. They can have high armor and rage like a warrior in Bear Form, stealth and fight in melee like a rogue in Cat Form, or heal and nuke with spells in humanoid form. Through talents, they can enhance one or more of these roles and even gain a new form for nuking (Moonkin Form). Their talent trees are Balance, for nuking, Feral, for melee damage and tanking capabilities, and lastly, Restoration, for healing. With roughly equivalent gear, talents appropriate to the role, and in the hands of a skilled player, they can be just as effective as one of the classes dedicated to each role.
Druids also bring certain additional utility, such as the unique battle resurrection with Rebirth, and emergency or additional healing or tanking, should one of the people filling the primary role die, become disconnected, or otherwise be unable to fully manage with their role. Certain key differences do still exist, giving them both advantages and disadvantages in any given role.
Hunters are the only class that can effectively use ranged weapons (bows, guns, or crossbows) as a primary source of damage. Very adept at kiting, they have plenty of tools to allow them to avoid melee combat, which is not where their strength lies. Hunters may tame many varieties of beasts to serve as combat pets, which along with an array of scouting, tracking, and survival abilities make them excellent solo characters. The three talent specializations for hunters are Marksmanship, Beast Mastery, and Survival.
While all Hunter specializations are considered DPS, they achieve this using slightly different methods: Marksmanship hunters benefit from weapon-based damage bonuses to inflict high burst damage; Beast Mastery hunters have specialized abilities that increase their pet's damage output; Survival hunters have improved traps and shots to keep their enemies at a distance while their DOT's drain HP.
Mages are ranged magic damage dealers with very powerful direct and area of effect damage spells, but in return have weak armor and defense. Mages also feature a variety of utility spells, such as teleportation or the creation of portals to captial cities. The also feature the popular crowd control ability, Polymorph, and can even conjure food and water. Because of their various spells which include burst damage, they are often effective at PvP regardless of their low armor.
Their talent specializations include: Fire, which uses many Area of Effect and Burst damage, Frost which offers great survivability and control, and Arcane which focuses on powering up their abilities for short periods of time. Each of their talent trees are sure to provide a unique yet intriguing play style.
Paladins are Holy warriors and are a hybrid class. They can deal melee DPS, tank, or heal. Paladins also have very strong group support and buff abilities, arguably one of the best buffing and group support classes in the game. They can wear heavy plate armor and carry shields, but are also efficient single target healers, which combine to produce their renowned durability in combat. With talent specialization and equipment selection, Paladins can fill the role of melee DPS, tank, offtank, or healer and excel when called upon to spot-fill all these roles in a group setting.
While a Retribution paladin's DPS is slightly less than a pure dps class, they make up for it with their extremely useful utility spells, buffs and auras. Their three talent trees are Holy, Retribution, and Protection. Paladins are exclusively an alliance class.
Priests are arguably the most versatile healing class in the game. Priests can be powerful in healing a single character or many allies at once. Priests have a variety of utility spells, along with a few tricks, such as Mind Control and the extremely useful Dispel Magic and Cure Disease.
Priests are also known for their shields as they can be used to prevent damage to both the priest and allies, providing a very efficient yet different healing experience. Furthermore, Priests can also specialize in offensive shadow magic, gaining the ability to assume Shadowform, and at higher levels regenerating mana quickly for their entire party.
Rogues excel at dealing melee damage and incapacitating their foes, particularly low health and low armor targets such as casters. Stealth gives them a tactical advantage and allows them to start a fight on their own terms. Other important abilities include lockpicking and the handling of poisons. Another perk of the rogue is their ability to stun and incapacitate a hostile target for a long period of time.
These skills, paired with the rogue's high damage, give them a formidable edge over their opponents. Rogues do not use mana for their combat abilities. Instead they use energy and generate combo points which are used to execute finishing moves.
Shamans are one of the most versatile classes in the game as they can switch seamlessly from offensive caster to healer to melee DPS as needed, though at later levels they often specialize in one of these roles. Shamans can provide good support to a party, with the ability to step in and fill any role that may be lacking at the moment. Their high burst damage and healing also make them quite good at PvP.
They are able to drop stationary totems on the ground which provide a variety of effects, many of which are useful to the entire raid. They are unique in that they can provide complete wipe recovery by self-resurrecting and then resurrecting the rest of the party. Shaman are exclusively a horde class.
Warlocks enslave demons and call upon dark magic and curses to dominate and destroy their foes. Like hunters, warlocks employ combat pets, but these are summoned demons rather than tamed beasts. They are primarily ranged magic damage dealers with a focus on dealing "damage over time" in addition to nukes and AoE, but lack the extreme burst damage capabilities of a mage.
Warriors are close-combat, melee fighters and usually fill the role of primary tank or off-tank, as they are able to both withstand and inflict fierce physical punishment. Warriors have the most versatile means of generating threat and keeping aggro off other characters. They can also contribute very strong melee DPS when needed. Warrior abilities use rage, which is generated by dealing and taking damage, but decays over time while not in combat.
Warriors are highly dependent on their gear, as their ability to deal and take damage is controlled directly by the quality and effects of their weapons and armor.
Class rolesThis section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
Base starting stats can be found on the race page.
These ratings are the opinions of Vanilla WoW Wikians and should hopefully be defended in the discussion page.
Marks in blue denote enhancements that can be made via talents.
Class colorsThis section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
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