Every player in World of Warcraft, as in most MMORPG's, is defined by the set of abilities they are able to perform -- their class. World of Warcraft has nine different classes, each representing a different flavor of adventurer. Beyond this, players are further differentiated by factors such as their talent choices and their race, but class is easily the most distinguishing characteristic.
Each class has been designed to provide a unique experience not found by the others, by having both a focused theme and also having the flexibility to use several different playstyles.
Druids are hybrids that specialize in versatility. They are capable spellcasters, using both healing magic and damage spells, while being able to shapeshift into the form of several different animals. While in bear or cat form, they have entirely different ability lists that let them tank or deal melee damage effectively.
Hunters are the ranged weapon specialists of WoW. Needing a way to maintain their distance during combat, they also have faithful animal companions that keep their opponents at bay. Hunters are also experienced survivalists and trappers, and are one of the best solo classes in the game. It is important to note that hunters are not able to tame their first animal companion until level 10 when they are sent to a race specific animal trainer that will walk you through the process of learning to tame animals.
Mages are mastery of fire, frost and arcane magic. Though they tend to be fragile in nature, mages are excellent at dealing damage, especially against groups, and at controlling crowds, and are often considered an essential part of a successful dungeon group.
Paladins are holy knights, wearing heavy armor and capable of protecting or healing their brethren in battle. Paladins have very strong survivability abilities and AE threat generation, as well as making one of the best single-target healers in the game. Paladins can also bless their allies with potent buffs.
Priests have traditionally been thought of as the primary healers of the game, but they are also capable of outputting some nasty damage if they choose a darker path. As a healer, priests are able to prevent damage to their allies and extend their longevity. As a damage-dealer, priests melt faces.
Rogues are brutal melee fighters that will take every advantage in battle, including sneaking up on their opponents and using a variety of dirty tricks to distract or stun their opponents. Rogues use a unique energy system to power their attacks.
Shamans are masters of the elements, able to bend fire, earth and wind to their call. They also wear a modest amount of armor, are capable healers, and are surprisingly strong in combat if they need to be. The most distinguishing characteristic of the shaman are the totems he summons to provide bonuses to the area around him that either affect his allies or his foes for a short period of time.
Warriors are the most direct fighters in the game. They do not sneak around in the darkness like rogues. They do not cast spells or use mana. Yet they are still a rather challenging class, having three different fighting forms to use and a wide variety of abilities to attack enemies or defend themselves and their allies. A warrior is generally thought of as the best tank in the game.
While some players may choose to play a particular class for other reasons, one of the most significant reasons to pick a character class is their purpose in a group environment such as an instance or battleground.
The primary roles that a character can be asked to fulfill in a group include:
Some less-central roles that are also significant are:
|Death Knight|| || || || || || || || || |
|Druid|| || || || || || || || || |
|Hunter|| || || || || || || || || |
|Mage|| || || || || || || || || |
|Paladin|| || || || || || || || || |
|Priest|| || || || || || || || || |
|Rogue|| || || || || || || || || |
|Shaman|| || || || || || || || || |
|Warlock|| || || || || || || || || |
|Warrior|| || || || || || || || || |
|Excellent in this role|
|Very good in this role|
|Somewhat capable in this role|
|Little-to-no real ability in this role|
|No capacity for this role at all.|
For a new player, or one dissatisfied with his current character, it might be a difficult task to select a class for their new character. Here are a few things to consider when making this decision:
Blizzard has talked about the potential of creating hero classes for the game since it was originally in beta testing. However, with the announcement of the second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard is finally acknowledging they will be adding one hero class, the Death Knight, to the game.
Details about the Death Knight class, and how a player will get to become a Death Knight, or what they are good for are sketchy right now. Blizzard has also stated there is the possibility to add other hero classes in the future, but nothing is currently planned.
However, Blizzard has stated that it is unlikely they will ever add another basic class. A new class would have to meet several conditions, including originality, plausibility in the lore, and a meaningful group role that will not detract from other classes.