It's been a month since World of Warcraft Classic was released, giving players the chance to journey back to a simpler time before Dungeon Finder, on-the-fly respecs, and easy soloing. A long-requested feature in the WoW community, WoW Classic has been warmly received by players who were nostalgic for the good old days of 2004, when the game was community-focused and hand-holding was nonexistent.
Despite the fact it's only been a month since launch, high-level guilds have been clearing Molten Core and Onyxia for weeks now, and the raiding loot is beginning to pile up. With these being the only two raids released in Phase 1, the first of Blizzard's planned stages for WoW Classic, there isn't a lot of variety, but without the no-hassle respecs of retail WoW, even PvE players still rising through the lower levels need to keep raiding in mind when building their character.
The Big Boys
The two undisputed kings of Damage-per-second (DPS) in WoW Classic raiding are the Fury Warrior and the Combat Rogue, each capable of putting out terrifying amounts of damage in the right circumstances. Of the two, the Fury Warrior edges slightly ahead, owing mostly to the amount of top tier items that can be acquired for the class before raiding. Their DPS is then further boosted by the popularity of support buffs like the Windfury Totem of the Horde-only Shaman, and the blessings of the Alliance-only Paladin.
The Combat Rogue can also benefit from these buffs, and therefore remains only slightly behind the Warrior in raw numbers while also bringing more utility to the battlefield. Swords are currently the most popular spec for the class, though daggers are still competitive and definitely shouldn't be ignored, particularly if players get a lucky drop.
Snipers, Snow and Suffering
Following behind these melee masters are three ranged classes that, while on a lower tier, are still capable of putting out boss-slaying levels of DPS. The closest to the front-runners in terms of raw numbers, the Markmanship Hunter is a class that is boosted hugely by the epic Rhok'Delar, Longbow of the Ancient Keepers, which is obtained through a Hunter-only quest chain. Without this bow, which requires slaying raid-boss Onyxia to acquire, Hunters occupy a lower spot on the list, but are still competitive.
Taking fourth place in the DPS stakes is another WoW favorite, the Frost Mage. Perhaps the simplest raiding DPS to play, the Frost Mage is nevertheless capable of putting out extraordinary damage through powerful items like the Robe of the Archmage, as well as anything that can seriously boost their Spell Hit Chance.
Also relatively simple to play is the Affliction Warlock, which takes the fifth spot in the DPS charts. The Affliction Warlock deals most of their damage through Damage-over-time (DoT) spells and through spamming Shadow Bolt, and can boost their numbers just like the Mage, by making sure their Spell Hit and Spell Crit stats are as high as possible.
The six remaining raid DPS builds - Shadow Priest, Feral/Balance Druid, Elemental/Enhancement Shaman and Retribution Paladin - fall behind the front-runners in both popularity and effectiveness. However this is expected to change as further WoW Classic Phases are released, adding more raid bosses with new strengths and weaknesses, as well as making new items available that'll bring lower-tier DPS classes up to a competitive level.
WoW Classic is available now on PC.