WoW TBC Classic: DPS Tier List (PvE)

Warlocks and Hunters will dominate.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

A flurry of changes going into World of Warcraft Burning Crusade Classic is set to make a variety of classes significantly more viable than they were for the past two years in Classic.

Many specializations that were previously considered to be a “meme” have been revamped in ways that make them playable in end-game content, even if they don’t have the best throughput.

With raids in TBC being cut down from 40 to 25-man instances, every slot will be more important and raid compositions will differ greatly from Classic. Instead of having 15 or more Warriors in one raid, there’s a chance you won’t see more than four of a given spec in a balanced raid composition.

Despite the need to diversify your composition to optimize raid buffs, party buffs, and boss debuffs, there are still some classes that stand out on the DPS meters.

This tier list will aim to identify which classes are the most powerful and which ones you might only want one of (if any at all).

Tiers

S-tier: The best DPS in the game. They’re well ahead of other specs and you’ll want to run multiple of them.

A-tier: Provides more DPS than all but their S-tier counterparts. If you can’t stack S-tier specs, you won’t miss much by using A-tier replacements.

B-tier: Can still pump damage but they’re mainly brought to raids for specific buffs that they bring to boost the raid’s overall performance.

C-tier: Gives a necessary raid buff, party buff, or boss debuff but likely won’t be able to compete on the damage meters.

D-tier: Provides a buff or debuff that can be replaced or is unnecessary. These specs will provide bottom-end DPS.

Classes

Warlock: S

Warlocks are the best DPS in TBC. They provide raids with various curse to debuff boss encounters. 

Meanwhile, their utility is top-notch as well through the use of Health Stones and Soul Stones that increase raid survivability.

Destruction Warlock will provide the highest DPS and many raids will run four or more. Having one Affliction Warlock in the raid specifically for debuffs will amplify the raid’s damage as well.

Hunter: S

Beast Master Hunter will rival Destruction Warlock as the top DPS in TBC. While the infamous “One Button Macro” won’t be usable in TBC Classic, they’re the strongest of the physical DPS since melee classes take a backseat during the expansion.

Expect to have three or four Hunters in your raid that are paired with an Enhancement Shaman keeping a Grace of Air Totem down for them at all times and a Feral Druid giving them Leader of the Pack.

Some raids may have a Hunter spec into Survival for Expose Weakness. While that particular Hunter will deal less damage, the raid overall will benefit more to make up for that loss.

Mage: A

Mages don’t have the same damage as Warlocks or Hunters. But if those classes weren’t around, Mage would be the top dog and it wouldn’t be all that close. 

In TBC, most will use Arcane or Fire as their spec, veering away from the popular Frost spec that dominated the early phases of WoW Classic.

Meanwhile, Arcane Intellect is one of the most iconic buffs in the game that will guarantee Mages at least one spot in raids.

Enhancement Shaman: B

Enhancement Shaman will likely be the most useful melee DPS class in the game during TBC.

They deal stronger damage than most other classes with help from Windfury Weapon and the utility they bring to the table with their totems will make them a staple in groups with Hunters and other melees.

You should run a couple of Enhancement Shamans in your raid: one for a melee/tank group and one for a Hunter group. Talents like Enhancing totems, Improved Weapon Totems, and Unleashed Rage will make them irreplaceable in those groups.

Elemental Shaman: C

For the same reason Enhancement Shaman will be powerful in melee and Hunter groups, you’ll want an Elemental Shaman or two for your Warlock and other caster groups.

They’ll be able to keep up significantly better than they did in Classic on the damage meters, but their biggest value will come from giving Totem of Wrath to Warlocks and Mages.

Rogue: C+

Rogues take a step backward for the first part of TBC after providing the second highest damage in the game only behind Warriors in Classic

You’ll likely only want to run one in an optimized composition and you’ll want him to run Improved Expose Armor to support Hunter damage. But look out for them after Black Temple releases toward the end of the expansion. With the legendary Warglaives of Azzinoth, some rogues will start topping meters, moving the spec up to B-tier or A-tier.

Warrior: C+

The fall from grace is steep for Warriors in TBC. After being the most dominant class in Classic by a landslide, you’ll only want one DPS Warrior in your raid for the debuffs that they can provide.

Shadow Priest: C

Shadow Priests will also likely get some play in TBC as support for the S-tier classes. Since Warlocks weren’t as powerful in Classic, many raids didn’t run a Shadow Priest to boost their damage. But now that they’re on top, many raids will bring a Shadow Priest to supplement Warlock damage.

Balance Druid: C

Previously one of the worst specializations in the game, Balance Druid will get a little bit more play in TBC. Their increased damage will start to make it worth bringing them in for some of the utility they provide.

Retribution Paladin: C-

Some raids may bring in Retribution Paladins for specific buffs, but their damage won’t be nearly as high as some of the other specs above them. 

Their biggest value comes from providing Seal of Blood, which increases players’ damage at the cost of health.

Feral Druid: D

A nerf to the way that Feral Druids benefit from “powershifting” severely hinders their viability. Previously, Druids could tactically time powershifts around energy ticks to improve their throughput. But a hotfix to the way players get energy ruined that aspect of powershifting.

Additionally, the biggest utility that they bring is something that a Feral Druid tank can also provide—and Feral Druid tanks will likely be heavily played by many guilds.