It’s been over a decade and a half since the release of World of Warcraft and the game has changed drastically. After eight expansions, 13 new races, and four new classes, raiding has transformed.
The release of Classic has given players the opportunity to relive the heyday of WoW where high-octane 40-man raiding was the norm. The boss mechanics might not be as demanding as Battle for Azeroth, but the competition is fiercer than ever.
Here’s our tier list for WoW Classic PvE from the best class to the worst.
Protection Warrior, Holy Priest, and Combat Rogue
Protection Warriors are the go-to tanking class in Classic. They really have it all, combining their large health pools with their high threat, mitigation, and innate sustainability. Neither Feral Druids nor Protection Paladins come anywhere close to a Warrior’s ability to tank, lacking the fundamentals to thrive in a raiding environment. Any competitive high-end guild will sport at least two Prot Warriors, putting them at the very top of this list.
Holy Priests are the counterpart to Prot Warriors. They’re by far the best healers in Classic, topping the meters and offering a range of raid buffs. Power Infusion, Power Word: Shield, Fortitude, Fear Ward, and Shadow Weaving are invaluable to raiding. Priests are also an incredibly flexible healing class, allowing for both steady and reliable tank healing, as well as effective raid healing.
Rogues are the DPS top dogs in Classic. They’ll top the meters with their pure and unadulterated damage all the way from Molton Core in phase one to Naxxramas in phase six. While Rogues may not have the utility of some classes, they still play a crucial role in a raiding environment.
Fire/Frost Mage, Affliction Warlock, Fury Warrior, and Holy Paladin
Mage comes in second to Rogue. They’re the best-ranged DPS class, convincingly beating out Warlocks. They’re a little slow in the early stages of the game, having to rely on Frost Bolt in Molton Core, but this quickly changes in phase two. Once their Fire spec comes into play, they soon contest at the very top of the tables alongside Rogue.
Warlocks might not be as powerful as Mages, but they do offer a range of vital debuffs and raid-wide utility. In addition to Soulstones, Healthstones, and Blood Pact, they have Curse of the Elements, Shadows, and Recklessness—each helping to improve the raid group’s DPS.
Fury Warriors are similar to Mages. In the Molton Core and Blackwing Lair, they’re decently strong, but when they have a good set of weapons and gear, they scale extraordinarily well. In the later phases of the game, particularly in Naxxramas, they can easily contest with Rogues to top the DPS meters. They can also be used to flex into the off-tanking position, aiding all sorts of encounters.
Alliance narrowly beat out Horde in raiding scenarios solely because of Holy Paladins. They offer a huge range of raid buffs, including some of the best in the game. On top of Blessing of Kings, Might, Wisdom, Sanctuary, and Salvation, they have a set of useful passive auras to help protect the raid. They’re also one of the most powerful single-target healers alongside Priests.
Restoration Shaman, Restoration Druid, and Hunter
Resto Shamans are the Horde’s counterpart to Paladins. They’re far worse single-target healers, but they make up for it with their raid-wide healing from Chain Heal. They also have a set of handy Totems that are incredibly versatile in a raiding environment.
Druid offers raid utility in the form of Innervate and Rebirth. They’re the only class in Classic with combat resurrect, making them a necessity in high-end raiding groups. They also have Faerie Fire, helping buffer physical damage substantially. They’re far from the best healing class on the list, but they’re effective when it comes to sustaining the raid.
Hunters deal very little damage in comparison to Rogues, Mages, and Warriors, but they’re still vital for raiding. Tranquilizing Shot is absolutely necessary for bosses with enrage, so at least two Hunters should be in any raid group.
Shadow Priest, Feral Druid, and Retribution Paladin
Shadow Priests are a weaker version of Warlock. They offer little damage, but their Shadow Weaving ability is crucial. It’s particularly important in high-end raiding groups to help buffer shadow damage.
Feral Druids are viable in both their DPS and tanking forms, despite their poor regard in Classic raiding. They’re decent off tanks, offering a critical strike buff, and their DPS is reasonably competitive. They do require a lot of skill, though, and Rogues will often take their spot.
Similar to Holy Paladins, Retribution offers a wide range of raid buffs. Their damage is nothing to write home about, though, and they’re easily outperformed by Warriors. They do have the means to deal decent DPS, but similar to Feral Druids, they require knowledge and a good amount of skill.
Elemental Shaman, Enhancement Shaman, Protection Paladin, and Balance Druid
Both Elemental and Enhancement Shamans offer the same reliable raid utility as Resto. They have real problems keeping up their mana, though, and will find themselves unnecessarily missing out on DPS. This makes them a risky choice when forming a raid.
Protection Paladins lack the defensive capabilities of their tanking partners. They don’t have a taunt ability and they’re susceptible to premature death. For this reason, Prot Paladins won’t be featured in high-end raiding groups under any circumstances.
Balance Druids are notorious for running out of mana. Nicknamed Oomkins, they simply don’t maintain enough mana to be worth playing. They do a fair amount of damage, but in long fights, they’ll quickly fall to the bottom-of-the-table classes.