Monday, March 4, 2013

World of Warcraft Newbie Guide 2c: Choosing Your Class

There is now an updated version of this guide here.

A topic of character creation that I find overshadows all else is the choice of class. It often spawns as forum threads giving a selection of a few classes and "what is the best." Though I will address these sorts of questions here, I am going to give somewhat general information similar to the previous section on choosing races. Therefore, if you are looking for a more specific answer (like "Should I choose a Druid or Shaman), I recommend commenting below and I'll answer for you if I can. In addition, I am going to ignore class balance in this article (probably in general for this article series), as I feel it skews character selection towards "flavor of the month" classes and specializations.

At the current time there are ten classes to choose, each of which has a distinct playstyle and set of abilities that define them. In addition, each class also has a role or roles that they are able to perform, which are known as the Tank, Healer, and Damage Dealer roles. Though it's not necessary to go into details of what each role does, a Tank keeps enemies from attacking the rest of your group while also having high mitigation, a Healer keeps the group alive using healing spells while also attempting to sustain their Mana to fuel their spells, and a Damage Dealer attempts to do what the name defines by literally dealing damage to enemies until they are defeated. I will note the roles each class can fulfill at the end of their description.

It is highly recommended you click the class names below to see additional information such as spells the class learn, races that can be that class, and so on. In addition, keep in mind that choosing a class doesn't instantly force a commitment to the class, as you can feel free to play plenty of new characters of other classes. With all that out of the way, let us see the classes of World of Warcraft:
  • Death Knight (Wrath of the Lich King and above): Death Knights are heroes that have fallen and been risen again from the dead by the dark legion of undead known as the Scourge. Forced to follow the will of the Lich King, the supreme commander, Death Knights are plate-wearing elite fighters that bring despair and woe to the living. However, at the cusp of a battle with the forces of good, some Death Knights broke free of the Lich King's grasp and have joined their former comrades of the Alliance and Horde. Death Knights can afflict their enemies with diseases that deal damage and cripple their offensive power. In addition, they also deliver lethal weapon strikes with their rune-enchanted weapons while also lashing out with Frost and Shadow damage attacks. They can also summon undead Ghoul pets for a time or even permanently to fight for them. Death Knights use a rune resource system that fuels most attacks, which can then generate Runic Power which can be used on certain abilities that are often defined by specialization. Death Knights can perform the (melee) Damage Dealer and Tank role. Because Death Knights start at level 55 and require an existing level 55 or higher character to make, it is recommended to make one to have access to an additional character. If you like a class with close combat and a bit of ranged potential along with a morbid theme reeking of cold brutality, a Death Knight may be a good class for you.
  • Druid: Garbed in leather and other animal hides, Druids are a class with their roots deep in nature (no pun intended).  Druids can change into bestial or nature-based forms such as a Cat, Bear, Owlkin (specialized only), or Treant (specialized only) to further enhance their power. As an Owlkin, they can unleash attacks that stem from natural sources, even calling stars from the sky. As a prowling Cat or an intimidating Bear, they can fight with fang and claw either to defeat their foe or protect their allies. As a Treant (or humanoid), they can sustain the life force of their allies primarily through the use of healing over time effects. In addition to this, Druids can also use other animalistic forms such as that of a Cheetah or flying creature to travel quickly without the use of mounts. Druids are highly versatile and are able to perform all three roles of Tanking, Healing, and Damage Dealing (both melee and ranged) and have access to not only Mana but also Energy (as Cat) and Rage (as Bear) for resources to manage. If you like a class that can perform all three roles reasonably well and are fascinated with nature and/or animals, a Druid may be a good class for you.
  • Hunter: Besides wanting every single weapon in the entire game, Hunters are a class that has some experience with nature, drawing power primarily from the bestial instincts while also firing at foes with their bows, crossbows, or guns. Hunters command animal pets that fight in combat with them, even acting as a bulwark between extremely tough foes. Hunters utilize the Focus resource to fire shots that deal a mix of physical and magic damage from afar using their ranged weapons. Hunters also have access to an array of traps that can deal damage to harassing foes by freezing or slowing them to unleashing snakes that nibble away at the enemy health. Hunters have many forms of utility by virtue of their massive list of abilities both from their own training and the variety of pets they can tame. Hunters often fight by avoiding damage entirely as opposed to mitigating some of the damage, though their mail armor can withstand some punishment. Hunters can only be a (ranged) Damage Dealer. If you like a class that can rain down a hail of ammunition upon enemies while also having large strategic potential (it may even help if you like first-person shooter style games), or you just like having an animal pet, then Hunter may be a good class for you. (Disclaimer: Hunters will only really want to have a ranged weapon.)
  • Mage: Mages are a robe-wearing class that are studious in the arcane arts. They use Mana to cast magical spells of Frost, Fire, and Arcane to deal what is often heavy, bursty damage to obliterate their opposition. Mages also have defensive magic that can avoid or mitigate damage. Some such abilities are forms of crowd control, which are abilities that pretend the target from performing some or all actions. In addition, Mages have utility such as fast travel by teleportation and portals as well as the ability to conjure food that can be consumed to replenish health and mana, which greatly reduces downtime. Mages can perform the (ranged) Damage Dealer role. If you like a class that casts spells to get the job done while also having unique utility in and out of combat, you may like the Mage class.
  • Monk (will add icon later): Monks are masters of martial arts, using Energy and Chi to fuel what are mostly physical attacks. Alternatively, Monks can channel into a more tranquil art, allowing them to heal allies using Mana with life-giving mists.  In order to fight unencumbered, Monks use Leather armor. While Monks do mostly use fists (or weapons), they have a variety of handy tricks to supplement their fighting ability. For instance, Monks can drink brews that can replenish resources or enhance combat skill. They are also able to roll around for high maneuverability and counter the attacks of their enemies. Some Monks can douse enemies in alcohol and set them on fire while using their own endurance to reduce the direct damage of attacks, suffering said damage over time. If you like a class that is something of a classic martial artist combatant and is incredibly versatile in role, you may like the Monk class.
  • Paladin: Upholders of a force known as the Light, Paladins are holy warriors that can range from being protectors of the innocent to vengeful individuals who seek to smite evil. Paladins specialize in mitigating and even completely negating all types of damage while also wearing sturdy plate armor. Paladins can also heal primarily by using direct, bursty healing directed at a single target by projecting the Light. They can also protect their allies by taking up a shield and acting as a bulwark for their foes while unleashing holy energy. Alternatively, Paladins can grab a lethal two-handed weapon and strike staggering blows infused with the the power of the Light. All Paladins utilize a special resource called Holy Power to gain the use of certain abilities along with Mana. Paladins can perform all three roles of Tank, Healer, and (melee) Damage Dealing. If you like a class that is versatile but also durable and (for roleplayers especially) an upholder of all that is good and just, a Paladin may be a good class for you.
  • Priest: Priests are a Mana using, cloth-wearing class that can draw their power from the Light like their Paladin cousins, though not all Priests use the Light as a source of their power. Priests can invoke barriers around their allies mitigating incoming damage. Priests can also call upon holy energy to blast their foes or keep their allies alive, whether through instantaneous or over-time healing. Priests can call upon dark energies as well, using words of power that can cause an array of afflictions to their opposition with some priests garbing themselves completely in shadow to empower themselves. Priests can also bring (other) utility that protects allies or disrupts enemies. Priests can be Healers or (ranged) Damage Dealers. If you like a class that offers multiple styles of healing due to their versatility of keeping their allies alive or defeating foes by battering them with shadow energy, a Priest may be a good class for you.
  • Rogue: A class that is often associated with cutthroats and bandits, Rogues are a dual wielding class that strikes from seeming nowhere that uses deception and underhanded tricks to gain an advantage over their foes while also finding loot other classes couldn't even think of accessing. Rogues can specialize in the usage of daggers to either strike hard into an opponent's defenses from stealth or afflict their opponents with lethal poisons. Alternatively, Rogues can become more of a hand-to-hand combatant and use a large array of one-handed weapons to strike with quick, potentially powerful blows. Rogues have a unique playstyle that involves using Energy on strikes to generate combo points which can then be used on finishing moves that are incredibly strong with maxed combo point. Rogues have a large number of cooldowns that can control their opponents or give themselves a buff to get the upper hand. To stay as agile as possible, Rogues favor the usage of Leather armor. Rogues can play as a (melee) Damage Dealer. If you like to play a class that has a lot of abilities that can give you the upper hand and when strategically used makes you a devastating assassin or fighter, then Rogue may be a good class for you.
  • Shaman: Able to wield the power of the elements, Shamans, garbed in mail armor, can call upon earth, wind, water, and fire to destroy opponents or replenish allies. Shamans can fire lightning bolts and molten lava at opponents from a range while also many instant elemental bursts that deal damage while having additional effect. Shamans can wield two weapons enhanced by the power of the elements to unleash devastating attacks against foes. Shamans can call upon the power of water and the earth to keep allies alive by shielding them, using refreshing rains, and so on, especially to keep large groups of people healthy. Shamans can call forth elemental totems to increase the fighting power of themselves or their allies. Shamans can perform the role of Healer and (melee or ranged) Damage Dealer. If you like a class that can barrage enemies with a variety of spells and/or melee attacks, or enjoy healing large groups of allies (lots of green numbers), then Shaman may be a good class for you.
  • Warlocks: Warlocks are a Mana using, cloth-wearing class that practices the demonic arts and calls upon infernal magic to defeat foes. Warlocks have many different Shadow damage-based afflictions and curses at their command and they can leech the lives or even the souls from their opponents. Warlocks can call upon a variety of permanent and temporary demon minions, each with a unique set of abilities. Warlocks can also call down hellish fire to incinerate their foes with heavy burst damage. Warlocks, like other caster classes, use Mana, but they also use Health to fuel some spells and Soul Shards to empower others. Warlocks are exclusively (ranged) Damage Dealers. If you like a class that (usually) drips with evil intentions and enjoy giving enemies all sorts of different ways to fall, then a Warlock may be the right class for you.
  • Warrior: As a plate-wearing vanilla-style fighter class, the Warrior has common placement in the roleplaying genre. However, this doesn't mean the Warrior doesn't have some unique class mechanics. Warriors can rend and cripple their foes while also stunning them by knocking them down or dealing a concussive blow. Warriors can wield a single two-handed weapon, a pair of one-handed weapons, a weapon and a shield, or even two imposing two-handed weapons. Warriors are talented at the art of vengeance due to their Rage resource system which is generated by dealing weapon damage or receiving any damage. Warriors are also talented at dealing deathblows which can turn into a victorious assault that keeps them sustained in the thick of a fight. Warriors have an intimidating array of attacks such as cutting enemies apart by spinning, creating deadly shockwaves, or striking with incredible blows that penetrate even the thickest armor. Warriors can perform the Tank and (melee) Damage Dealer role. Warriors are a great choice for those who like to charge right into a fight and revel in close combat showing they're a force to be reckoned with.
To go to the next section to personalize your character with visual details, click here. Click here to return to the main article.

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