Wondering which WoW Classic race to choose? Whether you played the original World of Warcraft back in the day or you're keen to jump into Azeroth's past, having played through more recent expansions, there is a choice to be made when you hit that character creation screen in WoW Classic.
The release of Burning Crusade Classic introduces two new races to the world of Azeroth, making your choice just that bit more difficult. Of course, your chosen faction should help narrow things down a bit. But if you're stuck trying to decide between the different races, this guide has you covered. Read on to find out more about the original WoW Classic races, as well as the newest TBC Classic races: Draenei and Blood Elves.
WoW Classic races: What you should know
In the early days, World of Warcraft was very different to what we play now. Crucially, the decision of whether to go Alliance or Horde is a massive one. Once you take a side, that's it for that server. We'd suggest you stick with what your friends plan on doing. With no cross-realm chat and no cross-faction chat, you don't want to be cut off from your buddies.
Thousands of words have been written about what race is best in World of Warcraft. Honestly? Much of it comes down to what you end up preferring. Experimentation is key.
Consider this an overview of what to expect, giving you an idea of the pros and cons of each race, but don't expect any one race to be the best of the bunch. World of Warcraft Classic and TBC Classic are pretty well balanced and each race has its perks.
After first fleeing their homeworld of Argus, these Eredar named themselves 'Draenei', meaning 'exiled ones' and, led by their leader Velen, settled on the world of Draenor. Following more persecution however, the Draenei found themselves in Azeroth and made their home on the Azuremyst Isles off of Kalimdor. Their ship the Exodar—also located on these islands where it crash-landed—is now their capital city.
Draenei have the following racial perks:
- Gemcutting: Jewelcrafting skill increased by 5.
- Gift of the Naaru: Heals a target over time. Lasts 15 seconds.
- Heroic Presence (Hunters, Paladins, and Warriors only): Increases chance to hit by 1% for you and all party members within 30 yards.
- Inspiring Presence (Mage, Priest, and Shaman only): Increases chance to hit with spells by 1% for you and all party members within 30 yards.
- Shadow Resistance: Shadow Resistance increased by 10.
Available classes for Draenei:
The Draenei are the only Alliance race that can play a Shaman so this is a solid pick for the new race.
The Gemcutting perk is useful if you're planning on giving the new TBC Classic profession a try. The Inspiring and Heroic Presence perks are useful for min-maxing group content, and it's always handy to have a healing spell when you're out and about questing or leveling. The extra Shadow Resistance could also be helpful in certain situations.
A hardy race of small yet tough folk from the Khaz Modan continent in the Eastern Kingdoms, Dwarves are ideal for players keen to embrace that Lord of the Rings feel that fantasy MMOs can easily encapsulate.
Their main base city is Ironforge which has easy links to Stormwind—the biggest city within the Alliance. Either Ironforge or Stormwind are ideal places for newcomers to the game to learn more and feel part of a bustling world of players.
Dwarves have four varied racial perks:
- Find Treasure: This allows you to sense nearby treasure, making it appear on the minimap.
- Frost Resistance: This increases one's Frost Resistance by 10.
- Gun Specialization: The Dwarf's natural guns skill is increased by 5.
- Stoneform: An active skill, this grants immunity to Bleed, Poison, and Disease effects. Also, armour is increased by 10%. It only lasts 8 seconds, however.
Available classes for Dwarves are:
Thanks to Stoneform and Frost Resistance, the Dwarf is a solid choice for anyone keen to get involved in PvP regardless of which class they favour. Stoneform is a hefty advantage if you're trying to fend off an enemy Rogue or Warrior, for instance. Dwarves are fairly tough so they work well as Warriors or Rogues.
They also work reasonably well as Priests. While their intelligence isn't as naturally high as other Alliance races, they have two class-specific racial perks that are great for PvP. Fear Ward allows you to defend against Fear for 10 minutes, while Desperate Prayer instantly heals the caster saving you in a bind. I'm also partial to a Dwarf Hunter thanks to Gun Specialization providing a small advantage early on.
Lore wise, Gnomes are obsessed with gadgets and technology and that's reflected in their racial perks as well as the classes you're able to choose from.
They start out in a region nearby the starting area for the Dwarves, so they can easily reach the city of Ironforge and later Stormwind.
Gnomes have four varied racial perks:
- Arcane Resistance: This increases one's Arcane Resistance by 10.
- Expansive Mind: The Gnome's innate intelligence is increased by 5% thereby boosting their mana reserves.
- Engineering Specialization: The Engineering profession is increased by 15.
- Escape Artist: This allows you to escape the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect spells, which is useful in a fight.
Available classes for Gnomes are:
Gnomes work best as Mages and Warlocks. That's because of the Expansive Mind perk which boosts their intelligence as well as their mana reserves. The chance to critically hit with spells is further increased with higher intelligence. They're pretty weak as Rogues and Warriors, and there aren't really any discernible racial perks to make you consider this combo other than for the novelty factor.
If you're keen to try Engineering as a profession, the Gnome is also a great choice. Escape Artist is pretty handy for getting you out of a jam in PvP too.
Starting out in the Elwynn Forest, near the city of Stormwind, Humans are the safe bet for the Alliance player. Their starting area is easy to explore, and you can create a character to reflect your own look if you want. They also offer more perks and class choices than many others.
Humans have five varied racial perks:
- Diplomacy: Reputation gains are increased by 10% with reputation affecting how NPCs react to you as well as the prices of shop goods.
- Mace Specialization: Mace and Two-Handed Mace skills are increased by 5.
- Perception: Activate this skill and your ability to spot stealthed creatures is dramatically increased for 20 seconds.
- Sword Specialization: One's skill with Swords and Two-Handed Swords is increased by 5.
- The Human Spirit: Humans benefit from a 5% increase in spirit which affects mana regeneration.
Available classes for Humans are:
Alongside Dwarves, Humans are the only other Alliance race that can play as Paladins. Humans are a pretty good all-round choice. The Human Spirit perk makes them good as Priests given their steady mana regeneration, with the class-specific perk Desperate Prayer allowing for a quick heal at the last second. Priests also have Feedback, a perk specific to Priests which causes the loss of any attacker's mana at a steady rate.
Weaponry specialisations also mean the Human is a great Rogue and Warrior.
When it comes to PvP, the Perception perk is a good one for spotting sneaky Rogues or Druids.
Formed from a matriarchal society, Night Elves are a solid combination of both mystical and tough qualities. Their lore is complex and fascinating, making them a fun choice for players keen to role play.
They start out in Teldrassil before moving to the Night Elf capital of Darnassus, so if you want to see the main hubs of the Alliance like Stormwind, you're going to have to travel quite far.
Night Elves have four different racial perks:
- Nature Resistance: Nature Resistance is increased by 10.
- Wisp Spirit: Upon death, you transform into a wisp, thereby increasing your movement speed by 50%
- Quickness: The chances of dodging are increased by 1%
- Shadowmeld: Activate this skill, and you can slip into the shadows, reducing the chance of enemies spotting you. It lasts until you cancel it or upon moving.
Available classes for Night Elves are:
Night Elves are the only Alliance race that can be Druids. The Druid is a mixture of many other classes, encompassing the ability to fight as a tank, DPS, magic caster, and healer. It's very versatile and immediately makes the Night Elf an attractive proposition.
The Night Elf also makes a good Rogue given its racial perks like Quickness and Shadowmeld which ties into the sneaky nature of a well played Rogue. Either Druid or Rogue is a great choice for the Night Elf.
Thinking about becoming a Night Elf Priest? Class-specific perks include Starshards which causes significant damage over 6 seconds against your foe, and Elune's Grace which reduces ranged damage taken, while also increasing your chance to dodge by 10 percent.
Descended from the High Elves that almost brought destruction to Azeroth thanks to Queen Azshara's plotting, the Blood elves named themselves such to honour their dead. Their capital city Silvermoon is in the far north of the Eastern Kingdoms, at the location of a Sunwell.
Blood Elves have four racial perks:
- Arcane Affinity: Enchanting skill increased by 5.
- Arcane Torrent: Silences all nearby opponents for 2 seconds. Also restores Mana and Energy (15).
- Magic Resistance: All Resistances increased by 5.
- Mana Tap: Reduces target's Mana by 50 and charges you with Arcane energy for 10min. This effect stacks up to 3 times.
Available classes for Blood Elves:
As the only Horde race that can play as a Paladin, that might seem to be the obvious class choice. But the Arcane Torrent racial makes Blood Elves especially useful to have around. While any class benefits from this perk, it's especially useful for Protection Paladins when dealing with trash packs in dungeons.
Magic Resistance is always welcome to aid with general survival and being able to reduce an enemy's mana can also have value in different situations.
Favouring physical combat over all things magic, the Orc's journey begins in Durotar before soon moving to the capital city of Orgrimmar. It's a fine starting place for anyone new to the Horde and keen to see what's what.
Orcs have four racial perks:
- Axe Specialization: Skill with Axes and Two-Handed Axes is increased by 5
- Blood Fury: An active skill, this increases your base melee attack power by 25% for 15 seconds, while reducing your healing effects by 50% for 25 seconds
- Command: Any damage dealt by Hunter or Warlock pets is increased by 5%
- Hardiness: The chance of resisting a Stun effect is increased by 25%
Available classes for Orcs are:
Orcs are solid all-rounders for the Horde, much like how Humans are for the Alliance. Axe Specialization and Blood Fury makes them an appealing option for melee fighters such as Warriors and Rogues, but Command is a great perk for Warlocks and Hunters. Hardiness is a useful bonus for those looking to join a PvP server too as it can help substantially when duelling.
Kind of like oversized cows, Taurens are smarter than they look, thanks to their Shamanistic background. Players start out in Mulgore before moving onto Thunder Bluff, a richer and more diverse city. Ultimately though, Taurens are meant to be reasonably nomadic so this is a race that requires a little more travel than others.
Taurens have four racial perks:
- Cultivation: Herbalism profession skill is increased by 15.
- Endurance: Total health is increased by 5 percent.
- Nature Resistance: Nature Resistance is increased by 10.
- War Stomp: An ability that stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds.
Available classes for Taurens are:
If you're keen to develop your Herbalism skills then the Tauren is a perfect choice to make. Cultivation is a great perk for putting you in good stead here. Elsewhere, War Stomp is a good choice if PvP is your plan or if you want to tank frequently as a warrior during dungeons. Both stats wise and lore wise, it makes sense to go Tauren if you want to be a Shaman too.
Many different tribes of Troll exist in Azeroth, but only the Darkspear Tribe have become part of the Horde. They dwell in Durotar near the Orcs, and share Orgrimmar as their capital city. That makes travelling a fairly easy thing to do.
Trolls have five racial perks:
- Beast Slaying: Damage dealt versus Beasts is increased by 5%
- Berserking: This skill increases your casting and attack speed by 10% to 30% with the amount increasing by how low your health is. It lasts for 10 seconds.
- Bow Specialization: Skill with a bow is increased by 5.
- Regeneration: Health regeneration rate is increased by 10%
- Throwing Specialization: Skills with Throwing Weapons is increased by 5.
Available classes for Trolls are:
If you're keen to solo then a Troll Hunter is a perfect combination of abilities. Beast Slaying, Bow Specialization, and Regeneration is a great mix of perks alongside tackling many PvE scenarios solo. It can make a huge difference.
Troll Priests benefit from class-specific perks including Hex of Weakness which weakens the enemy, reducing damage caused by 20 for 2 minutes, as well as Shadowguard which causes damage to the enemy every time they attack you. If you're keen to participate in PvP, a Troll Priest is a surprisingly difficult class/race combo to take down.
Looking part zombie, part skeleton, the Undead is unsurprisingly not very physically close to other Horde races. Located in Tirisfal Glades, it's going to take a while to get to other non-Undead players, but there are plenty of reasons why the Undead is a good choice to take.
Undead have four racial perks:
- Cannibalize: Requiring you to be within 5 yards of Humanoid or Undead corpses, you can regenerate 7% of your total health every 2 seconds for 10 seconds.
- Shadow Resistance: Shadow Resistance is increased by 10.
- Underwater Breathing: Players can stay underwater for 300% longer than normal.
- Will of the Forsaken: Immunity to Charm, Fear, and Sleep when activated. It lasts 5 seconds.
Available classes for Undead are:
Cannibalize is a fantastic ability for solo players focused on levelling up. With Warlocks being probably the strongest solo choice here, an Undead Warlock is a good option, as well as great for roleplaying purposes.
Will of the Forsaken is a great ability when engaged in PvP with all the Undead classes being pretty reliable here.
A shout out has to go to Priest Class-specific perks, Touch of Weakness and Devouring Plague. The former means the next melee attack on the caster will cause extensive Shadow damage on the enemy, while the latter afflicts the target with a potent disease that causes substantial damage over time. Both means that an Undead Priest is pretty handy in a fight.