Shadowlands: What Should I Play?

Class Icons.

You can vote for which class I should play at this straw poll link: https://www.strawpoll.me/20918880

I’m having a bit of trouble deciding what I want to main in this upcoming expansion. This problem is generally amplified by being unable to get beta access to test the characters to get a feel for them. So far, I’ve made very little progress eliminating options. I’m further undecided because I’m not even set on a role. While I lean heavily towards dps main, the value of being able to tank mythic dungeons or heal PVP is not lost on me, and maybe tank or heal? Or maybe a class that can do all 3, but, then I’d probably only be exceptional at once of those. So, what do I choose: Melee or range? Tank, dps or heals? In this post I’ll break down the what and the why and there could be some links to some resources to make your decision too.

The Contenders:

  • Paladin: Ret MS, Prot/Holy OS
  • Death Knight: Unholy/Frost MS, Blood OS
  • Demon Hunter: Havoc or Vengeance MS/OS
  • Monk: Windwalker MS, Mistweaver OS
  • Mage: Any Spec
  • Hunter: Beast Mastery or Marksman MS/OS

In a way, it’s not even a comprehensive list. With the rewarks to Shadow, it seems pretty good… but I don’t really want to play Disc or Holy. Warlock is also looking solid, but when considering a pure dps, I have to limit it somewhere. This is also mostly why Rogue is out. I tend to like Resto Druid, but not Feral or Boomkin. Generally I prefer DK to Warrior… and Shaman just… never quit fits a spot for me.

The Role Consideration:

  • Tank: In BFA I didn’t tank much. I tend to want to over gear content on a tank if I am inexperienced with it. This led to essentially never tanking because by the time I over geared any particular level of dungeon, I didn’t want to run it. In years past I’ve tanked a couple of raid tiers, but it’s been my least played role overall. Part of me wants to try the something new. Another part of me wants easy group invites. However, it is nice to being able to go do some dungeons without needing to really think about it.
  • Healer: I’ve probably “mained” heals almost as much as I have DPS over my WoW history. In BFA, my Druid alt was MS heals as was Monk for a while and Hpal got a little bit of attention in keys. All 3 of those specs, along with Disc saw some arena play as well. Going forward, like with tank, I like the idea of having a more secure spot in groups, as dps are all-too-common. However, as far as enjoyment goes… pewpewing tends to be the most fun for me. But, healing would also help my group, perhaps the most, as we tend to only have 1 and they aren’t always available (or wanting to heal everything).
  • DPS: This is what I tend to lean towards. I’d say I enjoy DPSing more than other roles and that’s… most of what matters. However, unlike tank or healer, DPS brings nothing else to the table and doesn’t fill a more demanding role. My group of friends, specifically, or groups in general have plenty of dps to fill the spots. So… the game play that I enjoy more or the specs that will help facilitate game play?
Warcraft Frost Death Knight

Pros and Cons

  • Paladin:
    • Ret – Typically has good burst, but low dps outside of burst. Lots of utility, but no mobility.
    • Prot – I don’t really have much experience playing prot pally, which is fun to learn a new spec but means I’m generally less prepared. Looks fun in SL throwing shields all over, but again mobility.
    • Holy – I’m really not happy with holy power coming back. I mained hpal for some years before this happened last time, then quit that spec for years. I really, really, don’t like holy power as a concept. However… I haven’t gotten to get into the beta to test, so maybe.
  • Death Knight:
    • Unholy – This seems to be almost exactly as it is now, with a few extra pets, a better mastery and anti magic zone. Kinda win win win.
    • Frost – Again, they get AMZ too, however, frost might get stuck using a breath build, and, if so, I’d rather play something else.
    • Blood – Blood is always decent, seems to have gotten a little extra back and would make a solid OS choice.
  • Demon Hunter:
    • Havoc – In a way, Havoc should play very similar to the way it does now. This is good. It’s a fun, highly mobile, fast paced spec. However, nearly every aspect of the game play has been nerfed both directly from balance changes and indirectly from the loss of azerite. Furious gaze was game play defining. Now, with our demonic getting nerfed by 25%, self healing and the entire defensive talent row nerfed, I’m worried that it will feel bad. It might end up being balanced, but still feel terrible as the game play has less speed and less self-sustainability.
    • Vengeance – Again, this spec is very similar to life. However, generally tank DHs have gotten slight buffs and convenience changes. A highly mobile, self sufficient tank sounds like a solid choice for MS or OS>
  • Monk:
    • Windwalker – I really enjoyed WW in BFA, but in most areas of solo content it felt like I was a spinny-kicking paper towel. The game play is fast, the class mobile, and it’s gotten some buffs to defensives and self healing… so, really nothing bad to say about it right now.
    • Mistweaver – this has had some ups and downs. Nothing that I’ve seen for MW makes me want to play it more or less, however, tuning can be a bit sketchy for this spec.
  • Mage: Any Spec
    • To be honest, mage is primarily a consideration because one spec is always on top. I enjoyed the ice lance build in BFA… but it wasn’t optimal. With this, ideally I’d get to play a variant of that, but realistically I’m playing whichever is significantly ahead.
  • Hunter:
    • Ok… so, I’m still pretty tilted about survival. It was a fun mobile range spec and now it’s a bad rogue. I played a bit of BM during BFA, but it.. kinda gets old for me. However, MM seems to have gotten some mobility for Shadowlands and actually has some of old SVs abilities as talents. Outside of melee hunter, I’d probably play either spec if it was significantly above the other in viability.

A Decision?

No. I’m still hoping that eventually Blizzard will remove their head from somewhere and make sure there are actually beta testers for this game. I don’t think there are enough people. More than when I posted about it, but not nearly enough. If I’m able to play test, I can actually make an educated decision. But… where am I leaning, well.

However, I do have some thoughts, as of now. I’m leaning towards Mage main, particularly if frost is viable. Then, unlike this expansion where I alted everything, I’m intending only 2 alts. And for now, Demon Hunter (both specs) and Death Knight (whichever dps is better and Blood).

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