- The Demon Hunter class is favored by World of Warcraft players for its mobility and high damage output, making it a top choice for fast-paced gameplay.
- The Evoker class has become a popular pick for raid teams due to the support and buffs it provides to other damage dealers.
- The Mage class remains a reliable choice for ranged DPS, and its Fire and Arcane specs have seen significant gains in Mythic+ Dungeons.
Despite being around for 20 years, the class balance in World of Warcraft has been difficult to achieve at any given moment. While some classes and specializations are considered among the best at what they do in World of Warcraft, others could stand to gain from some adjustments. With The War Within expansion right around the corner, class balance should remain a priority for Blizzard.
However, as is the nature of the MMORPG genre, some World of Warcraft player classes are capable of doing more than their counterparts at a given moment in time. For this list, each class was listed based on a few factors, such as average performance in World of Warcraft‘s high-end raids and dungeons, and PVP effectiveness. Balance updates made during Patch 10.2.5 and shortly after were also taken into account. However, exclusive racial traits that some classes can utilize more than others were not considered. Individual specializations for each class were also considered when sorting each class, based on how they performed within their respective roles. Finally, the list focused exclusively on Dragonflight, and not on any World of Warcraft Classic game modes such as Season of Discovery.
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Demon Hunter: Despite having just two specializations, the Demon Hunter’s mobility and high damage output made it a clear favorite among World of Warcraft players. Though the Demon Hunter received some talent reworks throughout the Dragonflight patch cycle, the changes mostly enhanced what the class was already capable of doing as both a Tank and a Melee DPS. While other specs such as the Retribution Paladin have had adjustments to improve their mobility and damage output, the Demon Hunter remains a go-to choice for players looking to try a fast-paced class and look good while doling out some punishment in World of Warcraft.
Evoker: Azeroth’s latest player class, the Dracthyr Evoker, has remained a steady pick in most raid and mythic dungeon compositions. Though it initially launched with the Devastation and Preservation specializations for damage and healing respectively, the addition of the Augmentation spec in WoW Patch 10.1.5 changed the game for both Evokers and World of Warcraft raid teams. Despite some adjustments by Blizzard to bring them in line, Augmentation Evokers remain steadfast additions to most raid teams as of Patch 10.2.5, thanks to the support and buffs they provide to other damage dealers such as Unholy Death Knights.
Death Knight: With two specializations that saw a lot of use following the introduction of the Augmentation Evoker, the dark and brooding Death Knight was given an extra edge as Dragonflight went on. In a raid setting, the Blood Death Knight remained a solid Tank in nearly every encounter within the Amirdrassil raid, and the Unholy Death Knight made a name for itself when coupled with the Augmentation Evoker. However, Frost Death Knights received the short end of the stick, and are due for some tuning to remain competitive with both their Unholy counterparts and other melee DPS.
Mage: As a pure ranged DPS, the Mage continues to serve as a reliable choice in any situation despite its nature as a glass cannon. Though Frost remained a dominant force in both PVP and in some raid tiers, the Fire and Arcane specs saw significant gains in most Mythic+ Dungeons, depending on the dungeon and the affixes at play. While they remain dependent on getting lucky with critical hits, WoW Fire Mages in particular continue to blossom as time goes on.
Paladin: While the Holy and Protection specializations remained steadfast picks in the Healer and Tank roles, the Retribution Paladin was initially left out of some raid compositions due to outstanding issues. However, a special rework of the Retribution Paladin was made in Patch 10.0.7, which gave them more mobility and damage-dealing options than before. While the Paladin still has some quirks to it, its utility and defensive toolkit have made it a staple in most raid and PVP teams. Though the Retribution Paladin continued to be slightly hindered by the “hybrid tax” due to its utility, it received some damage buffs one week after the release of Patch 10.2.5.
Rogue: With updates to its talents and adjustments to the potency of many of its abilities in Dragonflight, the wily Rogue quickly climbed back up the damage charts across all three specializations. Though initially seen as a PVP-focused specialization, the ninja-inspired Subtlety Rogue has seen some additional playing time during the Amirdrassil raid tier. While Subtlety has seen a rise in player count, the poison-focused Assassination spec, and the swashbuckling Outlaws have kept pace. It remains to be seen how the Rogue will evolve with the addition of Hero Specializations in The War Within.
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Monk: As a hybrid class, the Monk is both simple and complex to play. While it can be tricky to manage, players able to master the Mistweaver Monk specialization have become the best Healers that World of Warcraft has to offer. On the other hand, both the Windwalker and Brewmaster specs have fallen out of favor in some situations, largely due to other classes and specializations receiving attention. While Windwalker Monks have received PVE-focused buffs throughout recent patch cycles, Brewmaster Monks have sadly been outclassed by other Tanks.
Priest: Though both the Holy and Discipline specializations continue to be chosen by most raid teams, the Priest’s Shadow specialization remained in a strange spot for most of Dragonflight. As a caster DPS by trade, the Shadow Priest has changed each expansion, and Dragonflight was no different in that regard. Given the Shadow Priest’s history with Xal’atath, the Harbinger of the Void, the story of The War Within may give Blizzard the perfect opportunity to expand on the Priest’s dynamics and weave it with the lore of the expansion.
Shaman: The element-focused Shaman is the embodiment of “average” in World of Warcraft across the board. While the Elemental and Enhancement specializations have their fans, the Restoration spec for Healers has largely stuck to its aquatic identity. While the Shaman did not excel at any particular encounter, it did not hit rock bottom either. That said, the totemic class has plenty of potential going into The War Within, but big questions remain whether it will be worth World of Warcraft players’ time.
Warlock: Compared to Mages, the demonic Warlocks had one of their specializations stand out clearly above the rest in PVE content. With the ability to summon waves of minions at any time, the Demonology Warlock remained a popular pick for both its class fantasy and its high damage output. While the Affliction specialization continued to carve its niche in PVP Arenas, the Destruction Warlock saw limited use outside high-level Mythic+ Dungeons. That said, all three Warlock specializations had their roles to play in Dragonflight.
Druid: Another “jack-of-all-trades” class in World of Warcraft, the druid is also the “master-of-none” to a fault. With four specializations and the ability to become any role to suit the situation, the Guardian of the Emerald Dream has long been prized for its undeniable versatility and adaptability. Aside from the Restoration specialization being among the best Healers in the Amirdrassil raid tier, the Feral and Guardian specs are among the lower-end of melee DPS and tanks respectively.
Hunter: As the only class capable of doing ranged physical damage with two of its specializations, the Hunter is sadly outclassed by other pure DPS classes in most situations. However, the Beast Mastery specialization was the lone exception thanks to its appeal and its versatility. While the Beast Mastery Hunter continues to be popular, in part due to the number of exotic World of Warcraft Hunter pets at their disposal, both the Marksmanship and the Survival specs have been left far behind by players. It remains to be seen if both Marksmanship and Survival will make some changes in The War Within to give them some stronger appeal.
Warrior: Unless they chose the Fury specialization, the raging Warriors of Azeroth had plenty to be angry about throughout Dragonflight. With the ability to dual-wield weapons that would normally require two hands, the Fury Warrior was a consistent and popular pick for World of Warcraft players due to its simple but fast-paced playing style. However, the same could not be said for Arms and Protection Warriors, and those specializations were left to collect dust despite their high mobility.
World of Warcraft: Dragonflight
- November 28, 2022