WoW Classic Racial Abilites and Best Classes Guide
Each race has had its strengths and weaknesses since the dawn of World of Warcraft, but the differences today aren't necessarily the same as those from 2004. We're about to hop straight into a time machine to 15 years ago with WoW Classic, and its racial abilities.
WoW Classic's racial abilities are easy enough to understand. Some races, such as Undead and Night Elf, are clearly more geared toward PvP content, but you will probably have the same fun with any class and race combination (unless you get a little too used to Will of the Forsaken).
It's important to keep in mind while reading through this guide that ultimately, you should choose whatever race and class combination you want to play. Meta gaming WoW Classic only does so much, and it's not like you're about to tackle the hardest content Azeroth's ever seen.
You have a little more to think about in terms of race as a PvP player, but if you played way back in the day you probably already know which race you want to carry you to victory in contested areas.
Let's cut past my rambling — there's plenty of it below. Good luck on your journeys!
Alliance Racial Abilities
|- Sword Specialization: Skill with Swords and Two-Handed Swords increased by 5.
- Mace Specialization: Skill with Maces and Two-Handed Maces increased by 5.
- Diplomacy: Reputation gains increased by 10%.
- The Human Spirit: Spirit increased by 5%.
- Perception: Dramatically increases stealth detection for 20 sec. (3-minute cooldown)
|Classes: Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Warlock, Warrior|
|Humans are predictably well-rounded, capable in both physical and magical regards thanks to their weapon specializations and The Human Spirit granting additional Spirit. Humans make ideal Paladins and Priests, but Paladins, in particular, due to melee specializations and additional Spirit. Their stats are well-rounded but weighted toward Spirit. Perception has its uses in PvP.
Human Priests are able to learn Desperate Prayer (Instantly heals the caster for X to X. 10 min cooldown) and Feedback (The priest becomes surrounded with anti-magic energy. Any successful spell cast against the priest will burn 18 of the attacker's Mana, causing 1 Shadow damage for each point of Mana burned. Lasts 15 sec.).
Both skills are worthwhile in PvP but Feedback doesn't have much use in endgame PvE.
|- Nature Resistance: Nature Resistance increased by 10.
- Quickness: Dodge chance increased by 1%.
- Wisp Spirit: Transform into a wisp upon death, increasing movement speed by 50%.
- Shadowmeld: Activate to slip into the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect your presence. Lasts until canceled or upon moving. Night Elf Rogues and Druids with Shadowmeld are more difficult to detect while stealthed or prowling. (10-sec cooldown)
|Classes: Mage, Rogue, Warlock, Warrior|
|Being the only Alliance race able to go Druid, Night Elves are ideal for the class; but they're also fantastic Rogues when considering Quickness, the Shadowmeld Active, and innately high Agility. Their Stamina and Strength are lacking.
Starshards (Rains starshards down on the enemy target's head, causing X Arcane damage over 6 sec.) is a channeled ability, making it risky to use in PvP and simply not ideal in PvE. Elune's Grace (Reduces ranged damage taken by X and increases chance to dodge by 10% for 15 sec.) is solid for surviving PvP, but doesn't make up for the presence of Starshards.
Neither skills are particularly impressive, but Elune's Grace is much better than Undead and Troll Priest exclusives Hex of Weakness and Touch of Weakness.
|- Arcane Resistance: Arcane Resistance increased by 10.
- Expansive Mind: Intelligence increased by 5%.
- Escape Artist: Escape the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect. (0.5-second cast, 1-minute cooldown)
- Engineering Specialization: Engineering skill increased by 15.
|Classes: Mage, Rogue, Warlock, Warrior|
|Gnomes are ideal for Mages and Warlocks because of their 5% increased Intelligence, and Escape Artist is among the best racial actives. Their based Strength and Stamina are very low, making them less ideal for Paladin or Warrior, but their very high base Agility makes for a good start to a Rogue.
Escape Artist is mostly useful in PvP situations, and its relatively short cooldown makes it easy to use more than once in a single skirmish.
|- Frost Resistance: Increases Frost Resistance by 10.
- Gun Specialization: Guns skill increased by 5.
- Find Treasure: Allows the dwarf to sense nearby treasure, making it appear on the minimap. Lasts until canceled.
- Stoneform: While active, grants immunity to Bleed, Poison, and Disease effects. In addition, Armor increased by 10%. Lasts 8 sec. (3-min cooldown)
|Classes: Hunter, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Warrior|
|Dwarves make for some of the best Paladins and Warriors in the game thanks to the Stoneform racial active and their high base Stamina and Strength. Their base Agility is low, making them less-than-ideal Rogues. They do make for pretty great Priests because of their base stats with the class and race-exclusive Priest skills.
Find Treasure is fine to have up while questing to seek out treasure chests, but as you can only track one resource at a time, you may not use it much if you take Mining, Herbalism, or go Hunter.
Dwarves boast one of the best sets of exclusive Priest skills in the game, primarily thanks to Fear Ward (Wards the friendly target against Fear. The next Fear effect used against the target will fail, using up the ward. Lasts 10 min.). Desperate Prayer (Instantly heals the caster for X to X. 10 min cooldown) is also decent for both PvE and PvP.
Dwarves are probably the best race for a PvP Priest in the Alliance.
Horde Racial Abilities
|- Axe Specialization: Skill with Axes and Two-Handed Axes increased by 5.
- Command: Damage dealt by Hunter and Warlock pets increased by 5%.
- Hardiness: Chance to resist Stun effects increased by an additional 25%.
- Blood Fury: Increases base melee attack power by 25% for 15 sec and reduces healing effects on you by 50% for 25 sec. (2-min cooldown)
|Classes: Hunter, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior|
|Orcs are the Horde's most well-rounded race and do well with most classes, but they are best as Warriors and (Enhancement) Shamans. They make for fantastic frontline fighters but are decent Hunters. Orc Rogues shine brightest only when Blood Fury is active.
Their weakest class is probably Warlock, which is best suited to Undead. Warlock pets often aren't used as active damage dealers in endgame PvE and are quickly dispatched in PvP, making Command less useful for the Orc Warlock. Its other racials also do not suit the class well.
|- Endurance: Total Health increased by 5%.
- Nature Resistance: Nature Resistance increased by 10.
- Cultivation: Herbalism skill increased by 15.
- War Stomp: Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yds for 2 sec. (2-min cooldown)
|Classes: Druid, Hunter, Shaman, Warrior|
|Thanks to the extra health from Endurance and on-demand stun from War Stomp, Tauren also make for great frontline fighters and are great Warriors and Shamans, though Tauren Shamans have the smallest starting Mana pool of the races. This is also the only Horde race able to go Druid.
Though the extra health from Endurance is a boon, the utility of War Stomp in PvE and PvP situations cannot be understated. Though Tauren Shamans don't bring great stats to the table, the extra survivability provided by War Stomp (after which the Shaman can heal in brief safety) is hugely helpful in PvP situations. Tauren Warriors are the beefiest (get it?) by a long shot, however.
|- Shadow Resistance: Shadow Resistance increased by 10.
- Underwater Breathing: Underwater breath lasts 300% longer than normal.
- Cannibalize: When activated, regenerates 7% of total health every 2 sec for 10 sec. Only works on Humanoid or Undead corpses within 7 yds. Any movement, action, or damage taken while Cannibalizing will cancel the effect.
- Will of the Forsaken: Provides immunity to Charm, Fear and Sleep while active. May also be used while already afflicted by Charm, Fear or Sleep. Lasts 5 sec. (2-min cooldown)
|Classes: Mage, Priest, Rogue, Warlock, Warrior|
|Undead racials are fairly even and are useful to basically every class, so it's hard to say what class Undead are best made into. A PvP-oriented player would say any class since Will of the Forsaken is so strong. There is no doubt among the WoW community that Will of the Forsaken is the best PvP racial, though the Gnomes' Escape Artist and Dwarves' Fear Ward come a little close. Still, no other deals with PvP's most debilitating status effects in such a way.
You can't go wrong with an Undead anything.
Undead Priests learn Touch of Weakness (The next melee attack on the caster will cause X Shadow damage and reduce the damage caused by the attacker by X for 2 min.) and Devouring Plague (Afflicts the target with a disease that causes X Shadow damage over 24 sec. Damage cased by the Devouring Plague heals the caster. 3-min cooldown). Devouring Plague is a boon in both PvE and PvP, though Touch of Weakness isn't that different from Troll Priests' Hex of Weakness.
|- Beast Slaying: Damage dealt versus Beasts increased by 5%.
- Bow Specialization: Skill with Bow weapons increased by 5.
- Regeneration: Health regeneration rate increased by 10%. 10% of total Health regeneration may continue during combat.
- Throwing Specialization: Skill with Throwing Weapons increased by 5.
- Berserking: Increases your casting and attack speed by 10% to 30%. At full health, the speed increase is 10% with a greater effect up to 30% if you are badly hurt when you activate Berserking. Lasts 10 sec. (3-min cooldown)
|Classes: Hunter, Mage, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior|
|Trolls make for great Hunters and Mages, though they are also fairly well-rounded with the classes available to them. The only class they're less than stellar in is Priest, and that's due to Trolls' lackluster exclusive Priest skills. Regeneration and Berserking are useful no matter your Troll's class.
Troll Priests learn Hex of Weakness (Weakens the target enemy, reducing damage caused by 20 for 2 min.) and Shadowguard (The caster is surrounded by shadows. When a spell, melee or ranged attack hits the caster, the attacker will be struck for 116 Shadow damage. Attackers can only be damaged once every few seconds. This damage causes no threat. 3 charges. Lasts 10 min.).
Neither one of the Troll Priest racials is particularly powerful, with Shadowguard just being a clone of Shaman's Lightning Shield. Hex of Weakness's biggest draw being it weakens the target for a whole two minutes — that's quite a bit, unless it gets dispelled, which it will in PvP at later levels.
Vanilla World of Warcraft was probably the best time in my gaming life and I played it like it was my job (not so easy to make money gaming back then), but I'm sure my opinions as stated above are different from those of other players.
Check out our other WoW Classic guides, of which there are presently few.. but will soon be many! For now we have a WoWC weapon trainer locations guide and a brief guide on where to find Mankrik's wife because, well.. you and I both know people are going to be asking.
Have fun in Azeroth, and I hope to see a few of you out there in STV and AV!