DPS Rankings / Tier List for WoW Classic
No game is perfectly balanced, and WoW Classic is no exception. Some classes are better than others at the high end for pure DPS and, inevitably, a meta exists. This ranking is based on pure DPS output in a raid scenario right now in the game, assuming you are Level 60 with full pre-raid BiS gear and perfect consumables.
It is important to note that, just because a DPS class is not "S tier", this does not make it unplayable; most classes in the game are viable if played well with the right consumables. This ranking is simply to showcase which is the true best of the best when played perfectly with top gear and consumables.
This list will be updated based on new BiS lists as the phases progress.
Summary of DPS Class and Specialization Rankings
Below is a quick summary of the full rankings that we have detailed on this page. While this gives a good outline of the standings of specializations in comparison to one another, we recommend reading the full rankings to understand why certain specializations are ranked as they are.
- Warrior (S-Tier)
- Mage (A-Tier)
- Warlock (A-Tier)
- Rogue (A-Tier)
- Hunter (B-Tier)
- Feral Druid (B-Tier)
- Shadow Priest (C-Tier)
- Retribution Paladin (C-Tier)
- Enhancement Shaman (D-Tier)
- Balance Druid (D-Tier)
- Elemental Shaman (D-Tier)
Healer and Tank Class Rankings
If you are interested in our other rankings for WoW Classic, please click the links below.
Full DPS Class and Specialization Rankings
S-Tier Classes and Specializations
Warriors are the most powerful DPS in the game, without question. Their base damage even while leveling is incredibly high, and when it comes to 2-4 target cleave, they are in a league of their own. Warriors and Rogues both require weapons though, and with access to the top tier weapons from Blackwing Lair, AQ40, and Rank 14, Warriors are unparalleled in their potential to dish out unmatchable damage in raids. It is specifically worth noting here that the true reason Warriors are the sole class in S-tier is due to kill times. If bosses had longer kill times, like 2 minutes or more, other DPS like Fire Mages would actually be competitive. However, in the current state of WoW Classic where the majority of kills times are under 1 minute, Warriors are beyond dominant due to their extremely strong, long cooldowns, specifically Death Wish and Recklessness. No other class has anything close to the burst potential that Warriors do, and it is almost entirely due to these cooldowns.
A-Tier Classes and Specializations
Warriors, Warlocks, Rogues, and Mages will make up the S- and A-tiers for all of WoW Classic. These four classes are considered to be the core DPS classes, and will make up the vast majority of every raid group. In speed kills however, Warriors are the core class, with Rogues filling in.
In the early phases, casters generally suffer slightly because of a lack of spell power on gear. Starting in the AQ40, the amount of spell power available skyrockets and Mages and Warlocks start to really scale. Mages scale extremely well with spell power, but they have a naturally strong toolkit, due to high base damage on most of their spells, specifically for AoE. Mages are far and away the best class in the game for large scale AoE, but their single target potentially really takes a leap forward when they also are able to finally play Fire in AQ 20 and AQ 40. Up until this point, Mages have been forced into playing Frost due to a high base fire resistance and the occasional fire immunity from bosses, specifically in Molten Core and BWL. With the resurgence of Fire, Mages can show their strength on single target once again, while still being the AoE powerhouses that they have always been.
Similar to Mages, Warlocks scale extremely well with spell power. However, there are a couple of key differences that put Warlocks below Mages in the A-tier. Firstly, Warlocks have weaker AoE than Mages and, to do their max AoE damage, they must be in melee range using Hellfire. Secondly, Warlocks suffer from severe threat issues, meaning they will often need to stop DPSing to ensure that they do not pull aggro off of the tank, due to Shadow Bolt generating an enormous amount of threat. Warlocks are still incredibly strong on with full consumables, but the limitations on their damage for both single-target and AoE put them slight below Mage in the A-tier. With the spell power boost in phase 5 however, Warlocks and Mages surge in power, and pull ahead of Rogues in DPS.
Apart from Warriors, Rogues are one of the strongest melee in the game. They have a rough time leveling, but, even with little gear, they quickly become one of the better single-target specs in the game. Once you get raid gear, you will be topping meters in no time. Just like Warriors, the addition of the top tier weapons from Blackwing Lair, AQ40, and Rank 14 gives Rogues the edge they need to make them one of the dominant DPS specs. Rogues are still below Warriors however, specifically because of the discrepancy in burst damage and in cleave damage. Rogues lack access to the god-tier cooldowns that Warriors have access to, and do not have any sort strong AoE options outside of Blade Flurry. Rogues can go toe-to-toe with Warriors in sustained single target, but the longer fight durations that would be needed to make that happen are just not that common in WoW Classic. With the surge of spell power added in Phase 5 as well, Rogues do not get quite the same boost in DPS that Warlocks and Mages will, meaning the casters will finally pull ahead, putting Rogue at the bottom of the A-tier.
B-Tier Classes and Specializations
These are strong DPS specs, but are still noticeably below the S- and A-tier specs. 2-4 Hunters and 0-1 Feral Druid will be the standard in most raids. Ferals are strong early on, but fill a very specific role and are hard to play, making them much rarer in raids than Hunters.
Hunters are the lowest out of the pure DPS classes. Hunters peak during late Molten Core due to the strength of their Tier 1 set and Rhok'delar, Longbow of the Ancient Keepers, and then peak again during Blackwing Lair, once they get Ashjre'thul, Crossbow of Smiting. Hunters still fall behind the top 4 classes just due to a comparatively low base ability and auto-attack damage, and while they do solid damage, will not be topping meters. Rest assured though, Hunters bring important utility with Tranquilizing Shot and Trueshot Aura, meaning at least a couple of Hunters will be needed in every raid group.
While Feral Druids may be an off-meta spec, they have some very real strengths. Feral Druids have access to Wolfshead Helm and Manual Crowd Pummeler early on, which are BiS for them all the way through WoW Classic. This gives them an early power spike compared to many other specs, putting them higher than they might be later on. Their major downside is Mana; Ferals need lots of Mana to power shift, and while consumables will help, they cannot do it indefinitely. Ferals do scale exceptionally well with gear, however, due to strong Strength and Agility returns, so they may see a jump into the A-tier later on. It is worth noting that they will never have the AoE potential that any of the other classes above have however, which is a severe limitation.
C-Tier Classes and Specializations
The specs in this tier are not optimal, but you might see one in a raid occasionally.
Shadow Priests are not brought to raids for their damage. They have no real AoE and very little single-target damage. Their main contribution to the raid is Shadow Weaving, which increases the target's Shadow damage taken. Some raids will bring 1 Shadow Priest for this purpose. Sadly, Shadow Priests cannot do much damage themselves, since they can really only use Mind Blast and Mind Flay. Their DoTs cannot be used due to the limited number of debuff slots. Shadow Priests do get a slight boost at this point in WoW Classic however, both due to the readily available spell power gear in Phase 5 and with the potential access to the Honor Rank 13 PvP gloves that you could earn. These gloves halve the cooldown on Mind Blast, which is a significant DPS upgrade over any other piece of gear.
Retribution Paladins are a rarity in most raids. They bring Sanctity Aura for extra Holy damage, but only other Ret Paladins can benefit from it, since no other DPS do Holy damage. All of the Paladin buffs can be brought by Holy Paladins as well, meaning Rets are not necessary for Paladin buffs. Rets can make use of both melee and spell power consumables, giving them a slight edge early on when consumables are more meaningful, but Rets are already fighting for a spot, due to low damage, and are solidly in C-tier for all of WoW Classic.
D-Tier Classes and Specializations
This is the only tier that could be classified as being "non-viable." All of these specs have major issues, and while they could make it through raids, you would be struggling to pull your weight, even with full consumable usage.
Enhancement Shamans simply do not bring anything worthwhile. All of the important Shaman buffs and totems can be brought by Resto Shamans, while Enhancement does not have any unique buffs. Enhancement's damage is also very low, even with full consumables. Their one redeeming quality is that they can use Nightfall to keep up the debuff, although there are better classes and roles for it.
Balance Druids bring a small 3% spell damage increase to their group, but sadly their low damage and Mana issues are too severe to be worth a spot. Balance Druids can only use Starfire in raids for damage, which is a very Mana intensive spell. Because of the high Mana cost, you will be forced to downrank it quickly, especially in pre-raid gear, which will result in very low damage. While Balance Druids can bring some nice Druid utility, Resto Druids can bring the same spells while also healing, making Balance Druids a poor choice for most raid groups.
Elemental Shamans suffer from the exact same problems as Balance Druids, but they do not bring any sort of unique buff to their group. A Restoration Shaman will bring the same buffs, making Elemental a poor choice due to Mana problems and low damage.
- 28 Jul. 2020: Updated for Phase 5.
- 15 Apr. 2020: Updated for Phase 4.
- 11 Sep. 2019: Guide added.
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