WoW Burning Crusade Classic Pre-Patch: Best Classes for the New Expansion Meta

The Burning Crusade is almost here (again), which means that it's time to look at the best classes in the next chapter of World of Warcraft Classic.

World of Warcraft Burning Crusade
Photo: Activision Blizzard

The next chapter of World of Warcraft Classic properly begins on June 1st when players are finally able to enter the Dark Portal and reexperience the first WoW expansion ever. Before then, though, players will have the chance to explore some of TBC‘s most notable upgrades, changes, and improvements as part of a special upcoming pre-patch that serves as a soft launch for the next expansion.

Whenever you start playing TBC Classic, you’ll probably want to be up to speed on which classes are best in the new expansion’s upcoming PvE meta. Even if you don’t care about joining a raid group in TBC, you may just find yourself wondering exactly how viable your preferred class will be at the start of the expansion and for every phase that follows.

While it’s still possible that Blizzard could make changes to TBC that subtly change the game’s PvE meta as we work our way through the expansion’s release phases, these are the best overall DPS, Healer, and Tank classes for TBC Classic‘s PvE mode based on what we currently know.

World of Warcraft Burning Crusade Classic – Best PvE DPS Classes

S-Tier: Warlock

Unless Blizzard makes some major changes to TBC, you can expect Warlocks to be the most dominant DPS class in the game for quite some time.

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While Destruction Warlocks are probably your best bet if you’re looking for the simplest form of incredible damage output, all Warlock specs will be viable when TBC launches. If you don’t like it, blame the power level of Warlocks’ new Seed of Corruption spell as well as a few ways that TBC changes WoW Classic‘s core combat systems that just put Warlocks way above nearly every other option.

A-Tier: Hunter, Mage, Elemental Shaman

It’s pretty easy to put Hunters next to Warlocks when you’re talking about TBC‘s best PvE damage dealers, but just to highlight how insane Warlocks will be, I feel compelled to put them just a notch lower.

Still, most Hunters can expect to regularly top the damage charts throughout TBC. While Beast Mastery Hunters may do more raw damage, you may rightfully be tempted to go for more of a survival build due to their raid friendly abilities. Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong.

Mages are probably the next best DPS class, which really shouldn’t be a surprise given that their AOE and single-target damage output is even better in TBC than it was in Classic (where they were already insanely good). They should be strong in every TBC phase.

Elemental Shamans, meanwhile, are going to start strong due to their powerful utility tools and massive single-target damage potential, but they will become slightly less viable as other classes gain access to better gear. Still, most raid groups will be looking for an Elemental Shaman, which is good news for Elemental Shamans who struggled to find a forever home in Classic.

B-Tier: Enhancement Shaman, Shadow Priest, Rogue, Retribution Paladin

Enhancement Shamans and Shadow Priests are in roughly similar spots in TBC. Both are prized for their versatile toolsets that enhance the damage output of other DPS player in a raid, and both are capable of standing their ground when they’re expected to actually deal damage themselves.

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Enhancement Shamans are probably the more well-rounded class overall, but the ways that Shadow Priests’ abilities make Warlocks even better than they already are mean that every raid is going to want one (and possibly more). They’re not the stars of their shows, but they’re a vital part of TBC‘s PvE experience.

Rogues are a little more complicated. They’re great melee damage dealers with some incredible abilities that raid leaders will value, but because they’re more gear dependent than other classes, they’re not going to showcase their full potential until later in TBC.

It’s a similar story for Retribution Paladins. They’re potentially powerful and bring irreplaceable abilities to any raid or party, but it’s going to be a while before they get the gear they need to really reach that next level. They’re outclassed by DPS Shamans until then in a lot of ways.

C-Tier: Druid and Warrior

While Druid players have been waiting for TBC and the chance to shine more than they did in Classic, the sad fact of the matter is that Druids are just not in the upper echelon just yet.

Balance druids are much more powerful than they were before, but they still burn through their mana pools as fast as any other class (often faster). Feral Druids theoretically got buffed, but only the best Feral Druid players will be able to outperform other melee classes (especially once those other classes start to get better gear). As we’ll talk about in a bit, though, there are certainly other reasons to roll a Feral Druid in TBC.

Finally, we have Warriors. The sad fact of the matter is that Arms and Fury Warriors will not be nearly as powerful at the start of TBC as they were at the end of Classic. Arms Warriors may sooner score a raid invite due to the power of their Blood Frenzy ability, but Fury Warriors are going to have a tough time adjusting to the new world order. They’re still capable of dealing incredible damage, but their gear dependency and lack of notable raid tools makes them a tough sell over so many other options.

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World of Warcraft Burning Crusade Classic – Best PvE Healer Classes

S-Tier: Restoration Shaman

Due respect to every other healer, but Restoration Shamans are really on a different level.

Restoration Shamans become the sole source for Bloodlust/Heroism in TBC, which is more than enough to ensure they’ll be invited to every raid group for the foreseeable future. Their improved Chain Heal ability is also one of the best ways to consistently heal a raid group through some of the toughest TBC challenges.

Granted, they’re not great single-target healers, but Restoration Shamans are so powerful in every other way that it’s hardly worth talking about their shortcomings.

A-Tier: Holy Paladin and Holy Priest

Interestingly, both of these classes find themselves in roughly the same spot they were in Classic with the biggest “nerf” being that both Alliance and Horde players now have access to Restoration Shamans.

Regardless, Holy Priests are still some of the best single-target healers around. They will be coveted by raid groups for that reason alone, while their Circle of Healing and Prayer of Mending abilities finally give them the viable AoE healing options they lacked in Classic.

Holy Paladins, meanwhile, are still all about the buffs. They’re solid all-around healers, but its their buff abilities that will get them invited to most raids. Whether or not you’ll find Paladin players still interested in raiding as a healer is the bigger question.

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B-Tier: Restoration Druid

Restoration Druids are in a weird spot in the early days of the TBC meta. On paper, they’re a solid overall healing class with a few new skills (most notably Tree of Life) that should make them one of the best overall healing options. There are certainly times when they are among the best of the best.

The problem is that Restoration Druids just aren’t as consistent as other healers. Very good Restoration Druids will do well in TBC, but the average Restoration Druid will likely come across as just that.

C-Tier: Discipline Priest

While Discipline Priests are going to be prized in TBC‘s competitive meta, the fact of the matter is that they just don’t bring enough to the table in PvE.

You’ll likely see some Discipline Priests in high-end raids due to some of their better buffs and utility tools, but their lack of a great AoE healing option and a few other missing key abilities makes them little more than a circumstantial option.

World of Warcraft Burning Crusade Classic – Best PvE Tank Classes

S-Tier: Protection Warrior

You’ll have a hard time finding someone who will argue that Protection Warriors aren’t the best overall tanking option in TBC..

While there are certainly other viable tanks in TBC, Protection Warriors offer a blend of consistency and high-end defensive abilities make them the one tanking class that you’ll always want in your raid. They even boast slightly better AOE threat options in TBC than they ever had access to in Classic, so this really is a case of the rich getting richer.

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A-Tier: Feral Druid

Feral Druids win the award for the “most entertaining” tanks in TBC. Their abilities and unique stat benefits make them surprisingly effective damage dealers, and their utility skills make them a more than appealing off-tank option for any raid group.

The biggest problem with Feral Druids is that they’re not Protection Warriors. They’re not as resilient, they’re not as consistent, and it won’t be long before most Protection Warriors are better geared across the board than most Feral Druids. Still, this is a fun way to play the game.

B-Tier: Protection Paladin

Protection Paladins are probably on about the same level as Feral Druids, but in the interest of separating your choices as often as possible, they’re ranked slightly lower due largely to the fact that they depend on gear that is almost certainly going to a Protection Warrior instead of them.

Still, Paladins have massive health pools (potentially), some great buffs, incredible AoE threat generation abilities, and are reliable enough to serve as a main tank for any raid that wants to mix things up a bit by relying on a more dynamic tanking option.