Shadowlands will not represent us as much class changes, as Legion has done in its time, but there are some, nonetheless. In this overview, we would love to show you every class change to help you to make the right decisions in choosing a WoW best class for you to play.
How to Choose a Class
Here in this section, we wanted to make some recommendations to those who do not know what class to pick. Our pieces of advice will be useful for both newcomers and veterans. In case you are more interested in Classic WoW, we have a special Class Picking Guide for WoW Classic that covers the same subject.
WoW Best Class for Beginners
If you have just started the incredible adventure throughout Azeroth and know nothing about the game and its mechanics, we would recommend trying one of the following classes Druid, Monk, or Paladin. The thing is, there are three roles in the game: Tanks, Healers, and Damage Dealers (DD). And only these three classes offer you an opportunity to test all of the roles. What’s more, only Druid inflicts damage both in the melee area and in range zones.
WoW Best Solo Class
In case you prefer completing outdated encounters, doing quests; collecting pets, mounts, achievements, etc; the best choice for you will be Hunters. Your Pets are perfect Tanks for the absolute majority of trivial foes, while you may stand aside and either shoot the enemies or complete some extremely difficult tusks.
Shadowlands Best DPS Class
All recent researches say that the best DPS classes for the Shadowlands are: Affliction Warlocks, Marksmanship Hunters, Unholy Death Knights, Balance Druids, Shadow Priests, and Fire Mages. All these classes have certain advantages with different amount of aims. They are most effective in Raids, Mythic+, and in PvP.
The easiest in mastering as well as in effectiveness are Retribution Paladin, Frost DK, Demon Hunters (DH), and Fury Warriors.
WoW Best Tank Class
Deamon Hunters keep leading positions among other tanking classes for raiding purposes. They are also suitable for Mythic + Dungeons, but here you might use Protection Paladin as well. Brewmaster Monks are still very valuable at raids. Other tanks are a bit worse but still competitive.
WoW Best Healer Class
The best healers for Raids are still Discipline Priests, Holy Paladins and Restoration Shamans. At Mythic+ Paladins and Shamans are also a perfect choice.
While everything is quite clear with the PvE section, the choice of healers for PvP activities depends mostly on the team, so choose whatever you like and whatever is suitable in a concrete situation.
Hunters have been on top of almost every DPS chart for about five years now, and the damage they deal has permanently high figures. They have loads of useful and sometimes irreplaceable abilities, such as faint death or their immunes. These skills used in combination with their pets and buffs make Hunters a valuable class in any in-game aspect.
All specializations were given back the following abilities and skills in Shadowlands: Arcane Shot, Hunter’s Mark, Kill Shot, and Tranquilizing Shot.
Beast Mastery Hunter
The basic principle of Beast Mastery Hunter’s damage model is the damage dealt by a pet. Roughly speaking, the only thing your character does is empowering its pet this way or another. This specialization is rather hard to master, as you need to command and position your pet correctly. Beast Mastery Hunter is one of the most maneuvering specializations of all, as it can do anything in motion.
A distinctive characteristic of the Marksmanship Hunter is that this specialization does not use any pet and may rely only on themselves. After certain changes in Legion, this Hunter’s spec had one of the best DPS figures for a single target. Right now, Marksmanship Hunter considers being the most powerful specialization for both single target and AOE or cleave targets.
As long as Survival Hunter was also changed in Legion expansion, it is no longer helpful in PvE content. However, in the PvP specter of the game Survival Hunter became a very strong opponent. Taking this into consideration this spec is not recommended to start the adventures in Shadowlands.
Mages are, usually, one of the best DPS classes. Despite some complications during the first part of the BfA expansion, they returned previous positions in Patch 8.2. Mage is the only class, which has 5% Intellect group buff, immune skills, and extremely high mobility due to blinks. Mage is also a dangerous opponent in PvP fights, as it has a variety of controls and massive bursting damage.
As Shadowlands releases, all specializations will have Frostbolt, Fire Blast, and Arcane Explosion abilities. Unfortunately, these skills will not be in common use in inappropriate specializations, except for the Torghast Dungeon. More usable new-old skills are Mirror Image and Alter Time.
Arcane Mages consider being very effective against single targets, but despite that, this class has all chances to become very strong against a group of enemies in Shadowlands. The Arcane Explosion ability does not have any restrictions on the number of targets, so it becomes quite useful as well. Another important renovation is a lowering the necessary number of Global Cooldowns just before damage bursting; that became possible due to talent rebuilding. Another rework is the Touch of the Magi ability that now generates four Arcane Charges and counts as a basic skill.
This specialization is known for its good cleave and AOE skills. The lucky hour for the Fire Mage is the end of the expansion usually.
Unfortunately, Mages of this particular specialization became weaker than they were in Patch 8.3: random targets will not be affected by the Mastery: Ignite ability any longer. This function will be partially performed by another skill – the Phoenix Flame. However, Fire Mages are still the best choice for any type of content.
Frost Mage is a ruthless master of slowdowns. Even though this spec is rather average in PvE content, in PvP it terrifies every melee fighter, as nobody likes to be slowed for 70% of speed. On the whole, Frost Mage was left with almost no changes since BfA.
Priests are the only class in the game who can buff the entire group or raid for 5% of their Stamina. And they are also the only ones to have two healing specs. Priests can draw spirits of their party members towards them with the help of Leap of Faith ability. They can remove all the threats for ten seconds using Fade ability. They also have Mass Dispel and Mind Control skills, which are sometimes irreplaceable.
This specialization is the simplest one among all healers. Holy Priests are not extremely effective but are very reliable and easy-to-deal with. They are better only at a 30-man raid against the Discipline.
This spec is the favorite healer in raids, but, at the same time, the hardest to play among all healing specializations in the game. The results, however, are stunning in case your skill is high. Discipline Priest focuses on absorbing the incoming damage and that’s why it demands the profound knowledge of the game mechanics and encounters, and a good sense of time. Quite an uncommon healing technique requires inflicting damage; which makes Discipline Priests some sort of a hybrid specialization. Two very effective abilities are Pain Suppression and Power Word: Barrier, each of which greatly reduces the damage taken by allies.
Shadow Priests differ from all other classes with their visual appearance, as they have an exclusive Shadowform. The damaging system of this specialization is based on DoTs (Damage over Time), however it doesn’t make Shadow Priests irreplaceable on multiple targets as it was in previous versions of the game. Right now Shadow is very cool for single-target fights, or at stacked AoE. One of the features is that Shadow Priests can heal their allies by inflicting direct damage using the Vampiric Embrace ability. They also have a very strong self-defense ability called Dispersion.
Paladins are one of the most popular classes in the game, and that is easily explained, as the knight in shining armor who uses the holy magic is loved by oh, so many players. Paladins may play any role, whether it is a Tank, or an MDD, which makes them even more attractive. Their main abilities are Blessing of Protection, Lay on Hands, Divine Shield.
The famous Paladins’ auras will return in Shadowlands, and the Blessing of Sacrifice ability will be now available for all specializations.
Since the very beginning of the game back in 2004, Holy Paladins were extremely strong healers for Tanks. What’s more, they became even better and stronger throughout the years and now can heal raid groups. Holy Paladins are not only strong but tenacious healers indeed. We should also note that Holy Paladins has the highest DPS which is very important at Mythic raiding, high keys at Mythic+, and also at the arena.
Despite having a large amount of protecting and healing abilities, Protection Paladins lack the developers’ attention quite often. The strange mechanic where this specialization is forced to get it on the nose first thing and heal after plays a bad joke with both Paladins themselves and their allies. This issue is promised to be solved in Shadowlands, luckily, as Protection Paladin must be quite useful in Mythic + content.
A majority of players prefer using Retribution Paladins. This specialization was quite popular throughout the last decade, and though this tendency is lowering nowadays, there are still lots of Retribution Paladins conquering Azeroth’s challenges. Even though this spec is rather slow for the majority of the time, they still can make mincemeat of anybody every two minutes using the Avenging Wrath ability.
Warriors are the only class in the game, who can buff the entire raid or a group for 5% of Attack Power. Warriors are famous for their straightforwardness and have all the reasons and possibilities for this. The enduring and mobile plate user may put out of the operation any opponent. The distinctive feature of this class is Rallying Cry.
The strategy of Arms Warriors is the usage of adjusted and measured strikes. This is a rather unhurried specialization that, however, will defeat its foes no matter what.
This specialization has an extraordinary skill to wear a two-handed weapon in one hand; and this talent stands them out of any other class/spec in the game. The combat mechanic is opposite to previously described specialization – Fury Warriors mostly rely on a flurry of strikes, inflicted in a short period of time. Representatives of this spec have also an outstanding passive self-healing talent and an enlarged amount of health. After few ups during 9.0.2 has become a good choice for melee players.
Protection Warriors are symbols of reliability. A plate-wearing Tank with a shield has a huge set of useful Cooldowns, one of which, the Ignore Pain ability lets Healers do their job properly and restore Tank’s health without the rush. Over the BfA period, Protection Warriors were real kings of the Mythic + dungeons; unfortunately, it is expected to be changed once Shadowlands releases. In raids they are pretty good.
There is one class in the history of World of Warcraft that always has been relevant and highly effective in melee zones, and that is Rogue. But this class is not easy to master and that is why not that many players choose Rogues. All its abilities, skills, and talents circle around invisibility and its advantages. Some of them may greatly simplify the in-game experience of the Rogues themselves and their allies. Examples: Vanish, Pick Lock, Cloak of Shadows, Distract, Feint, Shroud of Concealment.
The Assassination Rogue relies on poisons and bleeding DoTs. Usually, the best results this specialization demonstrates in PvP and on single targeted bosses. Unfortunately, Assassination during 9.0.2 is still the worst spec for Rogues to play.
Open combat and a massive AoE damage is the forte of an Outlaw Rogue. Luckily, nothing will be changed even after developers decrease the possible number of targets to five in Shadowlands. Even with this restriction, Outlaw is still good at AoE situations.
The invisibility has had different advantages at different times, but in general, this specialization allows using obscurity abilities much more often. Subtlety Rogues are claimed to be the best choices against single targets in Shadowlands and also at PvP.
Shamans still are rather popular among WoW players, even though they are not particularly strong at the beginning of each expansion. The only exception is Restoration Shaman, whose skills are needed in raids. Distinctive characteristics of Shamans are Bloodlust for the Horde players or Heroism for the Alliance, Reincarnation, numerous totems, and a form of a Ghost Wolf.
This specialization is not only capable of inflicting damage from a distance, but does it with style: just look at all those lava flows, earthquakes, and lightning! What an incredible view! Elemental Shaman is good at dealing permanent and steady damage but has no strong bursting and AoE skills. Shamans of this spec may summon elementals under their control for a short time.
Elemental Shaman during 9.0.2 showed strong DPS at single target encounters, however it lackluster at AoE and cleave scenarios.
Enhancement Shamans mix Physical, Nature, and Fire types of damage in the melee combat zone. They are strong opponents in PvP activities mainly but may be sometimes useful in PvE as well. This specialization may summon ghost wolves to help them in combat.
The new Windfury Totem is a unique buff for melee players of your group or raid.
Restoration Shamans have two unique peculiarities. Firstly, the fewer Health Points have their allies, the more effective their healing skill becomes. Second, they do their job much better if other players stay in a dense group. Shamans of this spec have a large variety of strong healing Cooldowns, such as Spirit Link Totem. Restors are very welcoming in raids, though they are not the best healers in 5ppl groups. PvP fights represent Restoration Shamans as extremely versatile healers.
Druid is, probably, the most popular class in World of Warcraft over these fifteen years. And they surely deserve this title, as they can play absolutely any role in the game. They even have two different specs for melee and range fighting techniques. An extraordinary game mechanic of a Druid is composed of a variety of forms they can turn themselves into, such as a bear, a cat, a Moonkin, a tree, and different travel forms.
Moonkins are always either average or very good Damage Dealers – seldom they are placed at the end of DPS lists. You may find DoTs and instant cast abilities in the arsenal of any Balance Druid.
As other tanking classes were improved in BfA, Guardian Druids became less popular among the community, but they surely will show what they are capable of soon enough.
Cats are easy to deal with; they are quite universal and pleasant to master, and that is the main reason why they are so popular. Even though this specialization is not on top of the hardcore raiding or Keystone dungeons charts, it still can be useful and even somewhat irreplaceable in PvP fights.
This is one of the most desirable healers in any type of content. Their healing mechanic is based on HoTs (Healing over Time) abilities, which make it possible to inflict damage at the same time! Now, this is what is needed in every game aspect!
Warlocks have a permanent residence on top of every DPS chart throughout all expansions. What’s more, this is a completely self-contained class due to its teleporting, and healing skills, its large variety of minions, and other very interesting features. All these game mechanics allow Warlocks to dominate in every in-game aspect.
The main abilities are: Create Healthstone, Banish, Soulstone, Ritual of Summoning, Demonic Gateway.
Unfortunately, this specialization is not the most popular among Warlock specs. Almost all abilities inflict Damage over Time (DoT), just like Shadow Priests do. A very pleasant bonus, though, is their extremely high self-healing skills.
As the name suggests, Demonology Warlocks use their pets to inflict damage. They have very strong bursting skills, which are used on both single and AoE targets. The only weakness is the complete absence of instant cast abilities, which causes some troubles if there is a need for constant running.
This is the most popular Warlock’s specialization. It has a great bursting capability and can inflict equal damage to two targets simultaneously. AoE skills are also very useful. And above all these advantages, Destruction Warlocks are very easy to use and master.
This class has become the favorite choice of many players a long time ago. Additional points to the audience’s popularity add the fact that the leveling process starts from level 50 (will be changed in Shadowlands, unfortunately). Death Knight has a majority of saving abilities, like Anti-Magic Shield or Icebound Fortitude, and a steady DPS. As the new expansion releases, all Death Knights will be able to use Lichborne, Anti-Magic Zone, Death and Decay, Death Coil, and Rise Dead. Meanwhile, Blood and Frost DKs now can summon a ghoul for 30 seconds only.
Blood Death Knight
The tanking strategy of Blood Death Knight is to heal the incoming damage. This spec has a unique trait – the Gorefiend’s Grasp.
Frost Death Knight
An interesting fact about Frost Death Knight is that this is the easiest specialization of all in the World of Warcraft. It is very easy and comfortable to play. Nonetheless, Frost DK has good bursting skills and will be able to use a two-handed weapon in Shadowlands.
Unholy Death Knight
Another pet-orientated spec in the game is Unholy DK. The majority of damage is inflicted by their minions. The proportion will be only enlarged in the upcoming expansion, as now Mastery increases the Shadow damage dealt by the character and its minions.
Monks have always been a very questionable class ever since they were released in Pandaria. They have three specs for all roles. But despite all the problematic issues, Brewmaster considers being the best Tank for raids for the last two expansions in a raw. Other specializations show good results only on PvP battlefields.
The main features are Roll, Touch of Fatality, and Transcendence.
This specialization considers being one of the best Tanks for raiding purposes ever since the Legion expansion and keeps leading positions in Keystones dungeons as well. Brewmaster Monk has high mobility and a possibility to delay a portion of physical damage thanks to Stagger skill.
As it was previously said, Mistweaver Monks are not practically used in PvE activities, but they are frequenters of Arenas. A highly mobile healer is a real thorn in opponents’ sides. Unfortunately, the upcoming changes are very light, which will not cause major alterations in the PvE type of content.
A long-suffering Windwalker Monk will not receive any significant renewals in Shadowlands, which leads to the continuation of the existing state of affairs – very good in PvP and completely useless in PvE.
This is the newest class in the game so far. But despite its novelty, Demon Hunters have already won the love of a huge amount of players worldwide. And they have all prerequisites to that! The Illidan’s atmosphere, their stunning skills like Double Jump, Fel Rush, and Metamorphosis are surely worth trying. And as even these features were not enough, Demon Hunters start their leveling process from level 98 (will be changed to level 10 in Shadowlands).
Havoc Demon Hunter
Havoc DH is a Damage Dealing spec, and it took leading positions in BfA. In Shadowlands, regrettably, this specialization is greatly cut in all aspects. The maximum number of targets will be now equal to five; there will be no self-healing in Metamorphosis; the community expects massive talents rearrangements, and much more. What is left after all? Havoc Demon Hunters will still be relevant, but its potential and vitality on Arenas will decrease greatly.
Vengeance Demon Hunter
Even though the Demon Hunter class is very popular, you will not see representatives of this specialization often. Sadly, but Vengeance DH is still good only against physical damage and only thanks to its Demon Spikes, but has nothing to oppose to magical damage. On the whole, Vengeance Demon Hunter will show adequate results in raids and low Keystone dungeons, but will not be the choice of hardcore players in Mythic Raids and high Mythic+ dungeons.