Best DPS Tier List / Rankings for WoW Classic - Phase 3 Blackwing Lair
Blackwing Lair has been live for over a week now, so we're diving back into the data recorded on Warcraft Logs in order to see how the different Classic WoW DPS classes are doing. With several thousand boss kill logs in the second raid tier of Classic WoW, we want to see how each class ranks up against one another and how they've changed since Molten Core. Of course, not everything is about raw damage, as many classes bring unique raid buffs, debuffs, and other specialized utility, which enables those high ranked classes to perform so well in the first place, as well as the influence of gear, group composition, consumables, world buffs, and how well the raid is min/maxed in general, as it leads to faster kills and better DPS. To get a good overview, we're looking at high parses between the
, to see how well each class competes at the high end.
Over all the recorded parses from
, we see a similar distribution to Molten Core, with Warriors, Mages, and Rogues remaining extremely popular. Although Feral Druid has risen significantly and a few classes have switched positions in the 90th percentile, not much else has changed since Molten Core, although Blackwing Lair is very popular, with an extremely high number of total parses in only the second week into Phase 3.
As with our
last article on Molten Core
, we've categorized each class into tiers, though keep in mind that several classes bring indispensable buffs and debuffs, rather than just their own damage, which we've detailed in the breakdown below.
Fury Warriors continue to dominate the damage meters, with a damage potential that quite simply outclasses that of most others in Classic WoW, and the top performers have their gear min/maxed to the extreme by this point. Interestingly, Rogue is competing very well, even to the point of sustaining a higher average in many percentiles, though max parsing Warriors pull ahead sharply and the class has much higher representation as a whole.
Similar to Molten Core, there's a strong split between Alliance and Horde at the top end, with
provided by Horde Shaman competing well against the various blessings offered by Alliance Paladins, and weapon skill provided by the respective Human and Orc racials offers a distinct advantage compared to other races, which is seen in player preference as the majority of high performing players are either Orcs or Humans. While Blackwing Lair opens up a number of new weapon options, such as the extremely strong
, it should similarly be no surprise that the current top performers are those few players who have put in the extreme amount of effort required to reach Grand Marshal/High Warlord rank in order to unlock Rank 14 weapons, as they remain competitive through Phase 5.
Although two-handed representation is comparatively low, there are a handful competing quite well, mostly playing two-handed Fury with
. That said, there are extremely few Arms parses due to the need to forgo their capstone talent
in order to not take up enemy debuff slots.
Fury Warrior DPS Guide
Fury Warrior DPS BiS Guide
Like Warriors, Rogues are performing extremely well in the early phases of Classic and have actually risen relative to Molten Core, keeping up very well with Warriors, partially due to very short encounters such as Vaelastrasz, although Warriors still pull ahead at the absolute max end. Like Warriors, the top performers are often Rank 14 players making good use of the advantage offered by their exclusive weaponry, with swords and daggers both well represented and many players switching between them as they make their way through the raid. While it is still a bit early to see the impact that Blackwing Lair gearing will have on performance, Rogues also have several strong gearing options available in the new raid, such as
, and the 8 piece
In later phases, Seal Fate dagger builds will rise to better compete for Rogues with enough critical strike to make the build function, though Combat never really ceases to be the go-to build for the majority of raiding Rogues. Once Ahn'Qiraj releases in Phase 5, Mages and Warlocks will start to catch up to and can even surpass melee DPS, though for the time being Warriors and Rogues continue to shine.
Rogue DPS Guide
Rogue DPS BiS Guide
Frost Mages continue to perform extremely well in Blackwing Lair, though they've dropped slightly in popularity relative to Warriors and Rogues, currently making up around 22% of all parses as opposed to more than 25% in Molten Core by the end of Phase 2. While their Frostbolt spamming rotation remains deceptively simple, this is the last tier for Frost to dominate, as Ahn'Qiraj and Naxxramas bosses do not have the same resistance as those in Molten Core and Blackwing Lair, allowing crit stacking Fire Mages to blast their way to the top of the charts. It should go without saying that Fire has been extremely underrepresented in Phases 1 through 3 due to the natural fire resistance of those raid bosses.
Mage DPS Guide
Mage DPS BiS Guide
Held back during Phase 1 and 2 due to their lack of Spell Hit gear, Warlocks are in roughly the same spot they were in Molten Core, though they creep higher in the 95th, 99th, and Maximum percentiles. Blackwing Lair introduces a number of important gearing options including
, as well as several fantastic pieces of Spell Damage gear in
, all of which will contribute to the growing power of casters, particularly Warlocks and Shadow Priests.
Damage aside, Warlocks continue to be important for maintaining debuffs in raid encounters, with curses limited to one Warlock each. While this creates a large disparity between who gets to use
and who has to maintain
for the benefit of the raid, it keeps the role relevant and gives min/maxing raid groups a reason to bring a larger variety of players beyond the limitations of Classic balance.
Warlock DPS Guide
Warlock DPS BiS Guide
Hunters are another rising star, competing with Mages in the higher brackets. Even the non-Grand Marshal/High Warlord Hunters have a huge leg up thanks to
becoming available in the new raid, a weapon which will easily last through Naxxramas.
remains an important buff for Warrior and Rogue damage, with most high end raid groups fielding anywhere from two to five Hunters to supplement their large roster of melee damage dealers.
Hunter DPS Guide
Hunter DPS BiS Guide
Feral Druids as DPS are also rare, still reliant on
, items which min/maxing players will use throughout the rest of Classic. Even with these items, Feral Druids are fairly low on the charts and only really prioritized for
, most often in Alliance raid groups in lieu of a Shaman for the primary melee DPS group. Because Feral ignores weapon damage in favor of stats and buffs, the Crowd Pummeller remains the best weapon in the game even beyond Naxxramas gear, which requires as great deal of farming due to only having 3 charges.
Despite upper middle of the pack performance in the lower percentiles, the highest performing Feral Druids are doing quite well compared to Hunters and Mages, particularly on some of the abnormally short encounters such as Vaelastrasz the Corrupt, which can be more easily covered by their weapon buff. Beyond
, Feral Druids also bring
, which they can utilize while power-shifting between forms in order to benefit from
Feral Druid DPS Guide
Feral Druid DPS BiS Guide
Shadow Priests are fairly rare, with only one (or sometimes none!) brought to raids in order to stack
, a significant damage boost for Warlocks. As many raids do not bring many Warlocks for damage rather than their curses, the debuff isn't in high demand; realistically even an offspecced healing Priest could maintain it if desired. In spite of this, Shadow Priests are still roughly middle of the pack in terms of damage, their main issue being mana sustainability, which is mitigated by the rather short encounters most high end groups see in Blackwing Lair, although it could turn into a serious disadvantage for still progressing groups.
Shadow Priest DPS Guide
Shadow Priest DPS BiS Guide
Elemental and Enhancement Shaman
Damage dealing Shaman continue to have very limited representation, with ~10% of all Shaman parses logged as DPS, compared to the overwhelming majority of Restoration Shaman. Elemental is still slightly ahead of Enhancement, though the gap has closed since Molten Core, though like Druids the real value of Shaman isn't in their own damage, but in the buffs they bring - most notably
, which has an
impact on Warrior damage. Enhancement Shaman can push the potential of this buff even further with
and alternating Windfury with
to maximize buff potential. Despite this advantage however, many min/maxing raid groups do not; preferring to use one of their healers and simply allocating that raid spot to a stronger damage dealer instead.
This isn't to say that Shaman are inherently bad, they're a very important support class for Horde raid groups, providing crucial buffs for both DPS and Tanks alike; Windfury aside, Shaman bring several other useful totems including
and spell resistances comparable to Paladin auras. The unfortunate truth is that they simply falter compared to other DPS specializations and their major benefits are also brought by Restoration Shaman.
Elemental Shaman DPS Guide
Enhancement Shaman DPS Guide
Retribution Paladins are in a similar state to their Horde counterparts, with about the same representation as Enhancement, they pale in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of Warrior, Mage, Rogue, Hunter, and Warlock parses. With less Rank 14 players than Warriors and Rogues, the top performers are using
, for the few lucky enough to get it, and a few are also activating
in order to increase their output.
Overall, this is where Retribution Paladins were expected to end up, and exactly why they're so commonly disregarded in favor of their healing counterparts; Holy Paladins are among the very best healers in Classic, and unlike Shaman who have the potential to spec fairly deep into Enhancement in order to increase the value of their buffs,
is at the very top of the Retribution tree where any build can access it. Because of this, and despite the plethora of buffs Paladins can offer to Alliance raids, there isn't a whole lot of reason to prioritize Retribution specifically over using Holy Paladin healers to provide the same support, much in the same way that Restoration Shaman are prioritized much more than Elemental or Enhancement.
Retribution Paladin DPS Guide
Retribution Paladin DPS BiS Guide
Balance Druids continue to bring up the rear, alongside Arms Warriors and Fire Mages; representation has actually fallen since Molten Core from ~20% of all raiding Druid parses to only ~10%. Although they do provide a strong caster buff while in
, the gain doesn't really outweigh their lackluster personal contribution, particularly in the current melee dominated tiers.
Balance Druid DPS Guide
Balance Druid DPS BiS Guide
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