World of Warcraft Classic brings us back to an interesting time in WoW’s history, when not all classes were nearly as equal as they are today. To start with, for instance, respecing is very expensive and all gear goes towards one spec for most classes so a Protection Warrior would have full defense gear which wouldn’t work for an Arms Warrior.
This list is broken into classes (with specs) to avoid, the best classes to play and the most fun which is a bit different than best. Since it takes so long to level a character, remember, it’s about what you have fun playing more than it is which one is the absolute best. This list also takes into consideration future patches and plans based on the entire vanilla WoW experience, instead of just at launch.
Class Specializations to Avoid
These classes are just absolutely awful and you should never ever consider playing them unless you have the gold to respec out of the joke builds. Druids and Hunters are weird in vanilla WoW because Druids have very little utility outside of healing in dungeons and raids. Hunters are a pure DPS class that come and go in some patches, but are hard to get group invites for and require ammo to shoot their bow which can be annoying.
- Retribution Paladin
- Balance Druid
- Beast Master Hunter
- Protection Paladin
- Protection Warrior (except for raiding)
- Feral Druid (except for leveling)
- Enhancement Shaman
- Assassin Rogue (except for PvP)
- Combat Rogue (just is bad in general)
Best Classes to Play
These classes are going to get you near instant invites to groups or are in generally really fun to play. Prot Warriors are on this list because they’re the only tank in the game and it’s kind of going to be smooth sailing to get loot. In WoW Vanilla raiding, tanks were often given protection gear for free, letting them spend their DKP or whatever raid currency on DPS gear. Although respecs were very costly and tanking isn’t the most fun job.
Holy Priests, Holy Paladins, Restoration Shamans and Restoration Druids are the only healers. Priests and Paladins are subjectively the best. If you’re going to play any of those four classes, understand that odds are you’re going to be a healer in dungeons and raids.
- Holy Priest (instant invites to groups)
- Affliction Warlock (great damage)
- First or Frost Mage (great damage)
- Holy Paladin (instant invites to groups, good defense in PvP)
- Restoration Druid (instant invites to groups)
- Restoration Shaman (instant invites to groups, good in PvP)
- Protection Warrior (instant invites, the only viable tank, not the most fun to play)
Most in Demand
Tier S (Instant Group Invites)
- Healers (Shamans, Druids, Priests and Paladins)
Tier A (Highly in Demand)
- Mages (for polymorph and DPS)
- Warlock (affliction for DPS and a variety of crowd control, like fear)
Tier B (Will Get Invited)
- Rogues (Great DPS, but high competition due to the number of them)
- Hunters (Mediocre DPS)
Tier F (Sits in Ironforge / Org all Day)
- Uncommon Builds (Feral Druids, Balance Druids, Ret Paladins, Elemental Shamans, Disc Priests)
Most Fun to Play
The most fun to play, in order from most fun to least fun in my opinion is:
Rogues have no downtime when leveling. They’re fast to level. They do great damage in PvP. They’re strong in most patches. They’re great in the battlegrounds and your only issue is if you want to raid, you have to compete with a lot of other rogues because they’re just so much fun to play.
Priests do okay damage while leveling and have fear, which makes survival on PvP servers a lot easier and the ability to self heal gives them a lot to work with. The instant group invites means you can spec holy and level up through dungeons, making leveling rather easy. They have a lot of utility and are often highly in demand.
Mages are just fun. Polymorph is a near requirement in dungeons. They do a lot of damage and with mana shield, they have a good bit of survival to them. The only issue is that you have to be aware of which spec is the one to follow during each patch. It’s very classic to spec into both fire and frost, but PoM Pyroblast was just an insane thing back in vanilla WoW.
Mages also make food and water, which makes your own life easy.
Tanking is the endgame for a warrior, but they’re still very powerful DPS in PvE and are in demand. Using rage instead of mana means little downtown. Warriors are a class you have to want to play, but if you want to play them they’re a lot of fun.
Warlocks do great damage, affliction is a power house and the pet just makes life easy for you by reducing downtime. They start off rather weak, without their full toolkit of skills available, but avoid the level 40 doldrums by being a massive powerhouse. They get dungeon invites rather easily, especially for health stones.
I’d honestly put warlocks above warriors and equal to mages, but warriors have more “groupability” than warlocks.
Paladins and Shamans
They’re healers, but can level up rather decently as well. Both get better armor than priests, which makes them strong in PvP but not as much crowd control. In their healing specs, they hit like weak noodles. Playing a holy paladin in vanilla made me long for the days of having a cool weapon and seeing big damage numbers.
Hunters required ammo and also were very hard to play. They’re great in PvP in some situations and you want one sometimes to pull enemies, but there isn’t a lot to write home about. Their pet spec is mostly useless through vanilla and it wasn’t really until The Frozen Throne in my opinion that they started to shine, when ammo requirements were thrown out and their skills started to make a bit more sense.
I find Druids to just be hard to play in vanilla. Honestly, the reason why is that there is no flying. At all, none, zero flying. So take that notion of being able to fly around and gather stuff out. Next, consider that flying didn’t come into play until Outland at max level. So bird form isn’t there. Both balance and feral were just not very strong,