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WotLK Classic: Classes Overview

Updated 18.01.2023 11 Mins to read Share
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WotLK Classic: Classes Overview

WotLK Classic brought many changes to WoW’s class system. Many class abilities and some central mechanics have been tweaked or overhauled. New levels brought with them new talents and talent points. A whole new class unlike any other has entered the fray. Throughout the expansion’s original lifespan, the class balance has been repeatedly overturned due to these changes and the resulting adjustments. It has been stated that WotLK Classic will start out with the final class changes of the expansion already active, rather than making players wait for the initial balance issues to be ironed out.

Classes in WotLK were better-balanced than ever before. Instances were designed to allow multiple classes to fill the same role, ensuring that different class choices were equally viable. The PvP balance has become more even as well. The last-patch start of WotLK Classic ought to reinforce this starting balance either, by removing many of the issues that troubled the expansion at the start. Still, that does not mean the classes are interchangeable, as all of them still have their own strengths and weaknesses. As Classic fans ponder which class they wish to stick with, it is important to keep those pros and cons in mind. Read this guide to learn about the state of each class in WotLK Classic.

Death Knight

The MMORPG’s first “hero class” was first added in WotLK. Death Knights start at level 55 and go through a unique experience before they join the other adventurers. They have unique mechanics, including a Runeforging skill that lets them upgrade their equipment and the Rune system. The latter involves spending Runes on some abilities to generate Runic Power, which can then be used to activate other abilities. The late-patch version of this class is somewhat weaker than the original release, but still quite versatile and solid.

Death Knights have three specs: Blood, Frost, and Unholy. The first one is chiefly a tank with some DPS elements, focusing on grinding down individual foes with attacks and debuffs. While tough, they are somewhat inferior to purer tanks. The other two are pure melee DPS, with the former doing more damage immediately and the latter wearing away at foes over time and relying more heavily on undead minions. All three variants boast both exceptional anti-magic protection and magical damage-dealing that bypasses enemy armor. This guarantees a reliable place in the upper tiers of their respective roles and a strong performance in both PvE and PvP.


Paladins are surely among the strongest classes in the expansion. While lacking in range and mobility, they are incredibly versatile in most other ways. Similarly to Druids, their specs cover all roles. The Retribution spec takes a while to come into its own, dealing unexceptional damage at first. The final raid tier brings them both powerful equipment and excellent opportunities for using it, turning them into area-of-effect DPS monsters. Holy Paladins consistently outshine all other healers, while Protection Paladins do the same for tanks, although the latter’s offensive capabilities are somewhat lacking.

Paladin specs all do best in high-level group PvE, such as dungeons and raids. Regardless of their individual focus, they can all function as the party’s backbone thanks to their significant and varied healing and support powers. The latter include auras that provide strong buffs to every nearby hero that is on their side. Those heroes are also pretty simple to use in all their roles, making them appealing for relative beginners to play. That is especially true of anyone focused on surviving over dealing damage.


Priests are another healing-focused class, with two pure healer specs and a third that focuses more on DPS. They are somewhat lacking when it comes to raw power after the latest round of nerfs, causing them to be underestimated compared to other heroes in their roles. Yet, their varied and versatile abilities still make them very difficult to replace. While their survivability is better than that of mages, they can easily become targets for foes. This, together with their support elements, means that this is a class for team players.

Holy Priests have been the main victims of nerfs, dethroning them from their previous position of glory. They can still be competent healers with the right equipment, but their healing is simply outpaced by others. That includes the Discipline spec, which focuses on damage prevention through shielding - a somewhat tricky, but invaluable approach in PvP. It also offers some useful buffs and dispels. The Shadow spec is wholly PvP-oriented. In that environment, they can do well due to a newly-enhanced capacity for both killing and healing.


Rogues absolutely benefit from starting in a late patch, balance-wise. They received numerous improvements throughout WotLK, including a poison buff and the addition of axes as eligible class weapons. The core of the class remains unchanged. They are DPS specialists specializing in burst damage against individual targets, while outmaneuvering others or keeping them at bay. Many players find it hard to use Rogues effectively, as they are heavily reliant on skill and cannot afford many mistakes. However, in the right hands, their abilities can be devastating.

Their specs are sharply specialized. Subtlety Rogues are mediocre outside PvP. In the Arena, though, they can avoid their foes for seconds at a time through stealth, only to strike when they are least expected. Assassin Rogues start the endgame as the deadliest of PvE specs, thanks to their reliance on poisons that avoid armor. However, Combat Rogues exceed them later on when their varied and powerful attacks become augmented with armor-penetrating gear. They can take out individual targets and harm groups of foes with equal ease, though their utility is limited.


The Shaman have lost some ground as a result of their latest overhaul. While not weak per se, they find it harder to keep up with other classes. The changes in the expansion amount to increasing their damage focus on the one hand and sharing some of their utility abilities with competitors on the other. Even so, every raid group will want one Shaman so they could benefit from the buffs on their totems. Shaman also benefit from not being overly reliant on equipment and having access to a decent mix of healing and damaging powers. This versatility also makes all of their specs surprisingly good at PvP.

The Enhancement spec can keep up the pressure on the enemy through a barrage of single-target and area-of-effect attacks. Elemental Shaman have benefited a lot from the patch, gaining superior burst damage and mana recovery. They are set apart from the first spec through their mobility. Restoration Shaman may have suffered the most from the changes, but they still have strong spells and talents. Their healing abilities are more versatile than they were. While area-of-effect healing is no longer an area of unique excellence from them, Shaman can still outdo others with targeted healing.


Warlocks underwent major changes in WotLK. Like Hunters, they benefit from the increased survivability of their pets, along with other improvements to the same. Many of their abilities have been repeatedly changed around during the original expansion. The end result seen in WotLK Classic would be somewhat weakened compared to the peak, but Warlocks are still perfectly viable damage-dealers. Their specs fluctuate in power at different raid tiers due to equipment, but all of them perform decently at one point or another.

Affliction is the spec that was enhanced the most. While many of their utility spells are no longer unique, they more than make up for this with damage-over-time attacks against both individual and multiple targets. This serves them well in both PvE and PvP. Destruction Warlocks have been weakened substantially, but a combination of crowd control and immediate single-target strikes gives them a viable and distinctive PvP playstyle. Demonology Warlocks have shifted away from PvP to PvE DPS. They get the greatest benefit from the pet changes, and can empower themselves and their allies through their pets with utility abilities. Their damage powers are quite versatile as well.


Warriors suffer from some major problems in WotLK. They focus on dishing out and taking physical damage, but many foes in this expansion are both well-protected from such attacks and inflict magical damage. As their gear improves in higher raid tiers, Warriors become much more competitive, which can be pretty satisfying. However, getting there does require a fair bit of patience and effort. They are also a deceptively complex class at higher levels, requiring careful tactics and/or macros to succeed.

Protection Warriors have been somewhat degraded as tanks, although they are still good at distracting enemy waves and can perform as flexible off-tanks in conjunction with other heroes. They are serviceable in PvP due to sheer toughness. Arms Warriors have numerous multi-target attacks and different combat stances that can perform well in the hands of good players, more so in PvP than PvE. Fury is the Warrior spec for PvE in WotLK. While starting out fairly average, by the end of the expansion’s raids those heroes become genuinely formidable against both individual and massed foes in their proximity.

With all the changes to the class system in WotLK, it is unsurprising that many WoW Classic players are considering making new characters. There are many new options to try out and a wholly different meta to deal with. The addition of the Death Knights and the fresh start realms that will be launched in the lead-up to the expansion’s release further encourage this tendency. However, the classes take a while to truly come into their own and unlock their most interesting abilities and features. Sadly, leveling up adventurers from scratch can be very tedious and time-consuming.

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