Trying to pick a Class for Warlords of Draenor. Halp?

The beta for Warlords of Draenor is in full swing, and it looks like a lot of changes are coming the way of World of Warcraft players. A new continent and class changes are practically inevitable, but we’re also getting a new major feature in Garrisons, a semi-different leveling experience that rewards exploration and participating in randomized events, and a storyline that we really don’t know much of the direction yet. We knew what the inevitable fallout of Mists of Pandaria was going to be: Orgimmar was laid siege to and we would confront Garrosh Hellscream for his crimes. Warlords is (at least as of this writing) being a bit more coy. While we know how the events of the expansion will start, how they will end has not yet been revealed, and many popular theories (though not all) have been debunked.

This leads me to a decision I’ve found myself forced to make since the last two expansions. Prior to Cataclysm, I was still raiding (shoutout to Not In the Face!) and we were all discussing what classes we might change to and how that would affect the team’s makeup. I was working rather furiously on leveling my new Tauren Shadow Priest (this was during the ‘pre-expac’ patch which had given us many new race-class combos), and was enjoying it so much I had all but decided on making it my new raiding main in Cataclysm. However, unbeknownst to me, another member of the team had also decided to change to a shadow priest as well (or so I thought). Not wanting to have a conflict over it, I decided to stick with my mage and stopped leveling my Shadow Priest as quickly. By the time Cata rolled around and I realized the other person was not actually planning on changing after all; it was too late to catch up.

For Mists of Pandaria, I found myself having even more choices. I could stick with my mage, make the jump to the priest, or switch to the warlock, who had been the subject of a fairly major class revamp that was ultimately very successful. I posed the question to my guildmates, and got a variety of opinions. In the end I switched mains to the Warlock and did most of the expansion content with him, though I’ve played much of the raiding content with my mage as well. So in the end, it’s been about half and half split between the two.

Now, with Warlords coming soon, I find myself confronted with the decision again. One thing I want to do in this expansion is start raiding again after two expansions of not doing so. There’s a raid team in my guild that is made up of two kinds of guildies: ones that I absolutely love hanging out with and consider very good friends and ones that I probably will but just don’t know well enough yet. I’m looking forward to the possibility of joining up with them and having a couple nights a week to hang out and blast some orcs together. While they’re very much open to having their members play whatever they like, they may run into certain gaps in their raid composition, and if one of them happens to be a class I enjoy playing, I would heavily consider that option. Essentially, I’m no longer deciding for just myself.

I know for a fact that whatever I do play, it’s going to be a ranged damage class, and a spell casting one at that. I have no desire to heal or tank, and I don’t enjoy melee damage dealing in a group capacity. I much prefer the freedom that ranged damage offers. Focusing on spellcasting means I also eliminate the hunter, which I enjoy well enough in a solo capacity, but I’m not as big of a fan playstyle wise as I am the casters. I will be playing my hunter a lot as an alt, but primarily for the taming and collecting of rare or cool looking pets.

That leaves me with five options; the mage, the warlock, the shaman, the priest, and the druid. All five of those classes have one or more Spellcaster damage options. I’m going to discard the druid from this list as well, for the same reason as the hunter. I don’t enjoy the druid’s playstyle as much as the others. I haven’t paid as strong of attention to the changes to the druid in Warlords, but what I have read does nothing to make me immediately think this will change, so I’ll leave it out of consideration.

The remaining four are my viable options to play as a main in Warlords. This time around, rather than list pros and cons of each, I’m just going to list out the facts about them, and some interesting tidbits about their backstories, history, and random fun things I enjoy about them. If you’re so inclined, please have a read and provide your opinion on what I should play. Thanks and enjoy!

Dahkar
Class: Mage
Race: Troll
Available damage specs: Three, all direct-damage focused
Professions: Tailoring/Enchanting. Only character with any real progress in Fishing and Archaeology
Willingness to change race: None. Dahkar has been with me since 2005, and he’s been a troll all that time.
Most Exciting Change in WoD for the class, currently: NO MORE FRIGGIN’ MANA MANAGEMENT TALENT TIER! Level 100 talents look awesome too.

Brief summary of backstory: Dahkar is one of the first Darkspear trolls to study magic and has proudly served the Horde and his chieftan since the third war. During the War in Northrend, he grew disillusioned with the conflict between the Alliance and Horde, feeling it left both factions weaker when the Burning Legion inevitably returned to Azeroth and began secretly putting together a secret organization dedicated to ending the War between the two. Openly spoke against Garrosh following the war against Deathwng; he fled Orgrimmar to take up residence in Dalaran as a part of the Kirin Tor, where he was named an Archmage by the Six. Fled to Pandaria following Jaina’s campaign to purge the Horde from Dalaran, aided the Sunreavers in battling the Zandalari and the Thunder King and was a close advisor to Vol’jin during his rebellion. Finally able to return home, he has resumed his mission to unite Azeroth

Facts:
– Created in August 2005 during Vanilla WoW on my old server, Skullcrusher. Has been with me through 2 server changes ever since. Knew I wanted a troll mage from the start, because at the time the idea that trolls could learn magic just seemed crazy, and I like playing “outlier” characters that don’t fit the expected mold.
– Name was generated randomly by the game. Looking back on it now on a server full of names that I came up with myself, I actually kind of hate it, but that’s always been his name and I’m not even sure I could come up with anything better that isn’t already taken on Earthen Ring
– Originally had black hair, single long braid. When barbershop came out, I switched it to grey with multiple braids. I wanted him to look like a wizened old archmage troll. Now his hair is bright purple and sweeps to the side, because my wife thinks it looks vaguely like David Tennant
– Vast majority of raiding I’ve done at level has been with Dahkar. This includes part of Vanilla (MC, ZG, most of BWL, and the first few bosses of AQ40), a little bit of BC, the entirety of Wrath, and most of the LFR raids as they’ve been available.
– Has a number of Transmog sets, including all the Wrath Tier sets as well as Tier 5. Working on a recolor of Tier 8 from Ulduar as well as obtaining one final piece of Tier 11 (normal).
– Due to being bored one day, I farmed the Bloodsail Admiral title on him. Consequently, is hated by most goblin cities.  I’ve worked a bit on getting rep back with them with him, but have only succeeded in Ratchet.
– For most of his career, I’ve raided on Dahkar as Fire, though like most, I was initially Frost for most of MoP. I love all three specs, but Fire resonates with me the most. BURRRRRN
– Random things I enjoy about playing him: Portal Roulette, using the Illusion ability to impersonate people, jumping off high locations and blinking before death

Oldmanfranks
Class: Warlock
Race: Undead
Available damage specs: Three, two direct-damage focused, one damage-over-time focused
Professions: Mining/Jewelcrafting
Willingness to change race: None. OMF’s story does not work if he isn’t undead
Most Exciting Change in WoD for the class, currently: Permanent Infernal/Doomguard pets? Me likey.

Brief summary of backstory: Franks was a farmer in Lordaeron that fell victim to the Scourge during the Third War. He was freed by Lady Sylvanas some time afterwards, and bereft of any guidance in life, eventually fell into the path of the Warlock. He became apprenticed to a powerful master named Evrae and began adventuring alongside one of Evrae’s friends, Dahkar. Relations between the two became strained following the Sunwell, resulting in his absence for much of the Northrend war, though the two mended fences later. Following the deaths of the Lich King and later Deathwing, he became convinced of the inevitable success of Dahkar’s cause and the eventual loss of his warlock abilities. He constructed a new warrior body to inhabit, only to have it turned against him by Sylvanas. Sent by Dahkar to Pandaria as a double agent within Garrosh’s fortress, Franks fell in love with the continent and it’s people, and has fought tirelessly to protect them from the native threats while reporting on Garrosh’s activities as part of the Dominion Offensive. Has recently discovered his wife is among the Forsaken as well, and the two have rekindled their relationship, living in Halfhill together.

Facts
:
– Was originally a blood elf named Nihilus, had to change name to Nihl when I transferred to ER. This was before I developed my dislike of blood elves thanks to too many people in AIE that wouldn’t play anything else. Later changed to Undead, which got me playing the character again.

– When I developed his backstory, I combined elements of the original Oldmanfranks (a Death Knight) and Nihl’s. The DK later went through too many paid race changes before being deleted.
– OMF has always been bald. I have no idea why, I just like the look on him.
– Most of his transmog sets come from BC tier, but I have some custom ones such as a Skeletor set and a Red/black/silver themed set. Also retained the questing set from Valley of the 4 Winds, a reflection of how he has “gone native” in Pandaria.
-OMF’s storyline mentor, Evrae, was the Warlock character of my friend David who taught me how to play one when I first started.
– In his story, OMF has believed his wife was dead. He only recently discovered she has also returned to unlife as a Forsaken, and a mage at that, when he ran into her in the Inn at Halfhill. The two have rekindled their love. (yes, her name is OldLadyFranks, and yes she’s played by Karen)
-Affliction has long been my favorite Warlock spec, with Demonology behind that and Destruction a fairly distant third. I always believed that Destruction would be too “mage-like”, and I wanted to play specs that were different. Recently, however, I have discovered that I didn’t give Destro a fair enough shake, and now I love all three specs quite equally.
– Random things I enjoy about playing him: Class Mount that runs on water, summoning people over and over again, having a Felguard equip weapons from my inventory.

Durnnit
Class: Shaman
Race: Troll
Available damage specs: Two, one direct-damage focused, one melee
Professions: Inscription and Engineering (Gnomish Specialization). If picked as main, would drop inscription for Mining.
Willingness to change race: Possible, though would only consider Tauren or Pandaren
Most Exciting Change in WoD for the class, currently: Streamlining of Enhancement’s rotation

Brief summary of backstory: Brother to Dahkar, discovered a connection to the elemntal spirits during the Battle of Mount Hyjal. Trained by Drek’thar in the time following, Durnnit adventured with his brother through Outland, and joined him in Northrend as well. Became an advisor and friend to High Overlord Saurfang, and battled through Icecrown Citadel alongside him and his brother. Joined the Earthen Ring during the Cataclysm, and was among those dispatched by Thrall to Deepholm to focus on the repair of the World Pillar. Upon its successful completion, he alternated his time between helping the Earthen Ring in the Twilight Highlands and journeying Northrend to counsel his old friend Saurfang. This earned him Hellscream’s ire, and following Deathwing’s death he found himself exiled to the Echo Isles. He did not make the journey to Pandaria until his brother did, and the two have battled the Zandalari and Garrosh’s “true Horde” together.

Facts:
– First “successful” chracter made on Earthen Ring, in other words, the first to reach the level cap without being deleted that wasn’t a transfer from old realm.
– Healed with him during ICC farm runs, but aside from that has only ever been DPS. Healing changes in Cata/MoP have rendered me incapable of being a good healer.
– Toshiko gave him his name, and also suggested adding the extra “n” when “Durnit” was taken.
– Originally had the huge mohawk hairstyle, bright red. Went through several iterations before getting the “receding” bright purple hair he has now. Coupled with his facepaint/tusk selection, it’s pretty striking I think.
– Only has one transmog set, the crafted PvP blues from MoP that have a wooden-quality with glowing green symbols. Plus that wooden hat is cool looking. Would absolutely love to get the tier set from Throne of Thunder for him, given its strong troll theme
– Has mostly been played Elemental as his “main” spec, because I love the machine-gun style play of constantly slinging lightning and lava. Enhacement is fun as well, though I do wish Shaman could wield swords. I know thematically it doesn’t make as much sense, but I love the look of dual-wielding swords.
– Random things I enjoy about playing him: On demand water walking, Spirit Raptors,

Grothar
Class: Priest
Race: Tauren
Available damage specs: One, damage-over-time focused.
Professions: Herbalism/Alchemy (transmute specialization)
Willingness to change race: None. Was originally undead, but created with the intention of changing to Tauren when it was available.
Most Exciting Change in WoD for the class, currently: The general increase in overall power for Shadow

Brief summary of backstory: Member of the Grimtotem tribe, turned his back on them to become a druid. Befriended Dahkar during adventures on Azeroth. Prior to Northrend campaign, was reunited with estranged brother, who had become a Death Knight. The group battled together throughout Northrend, and later fought alongside their high chieftan’s son, Baine Bloodboof, against their former tribe. Following that, the brothers were selected to become a part of a new order of Sun-worshipping Tauren. Grothar became a Seer, while the power of the sun returned his brother to life to become a Sunwalker. The two were inactive for much of the war against Deathwing, helping to train the rest of their new order, though Grothar did provide help in Hyal.

Facts:
– Originally created as undead on Earthen Ring, named Qeldroma after a toon I had on my old server that I later deleted. As you can tell, I like Star Wars names and wish I still had more of them.
– Being a fan of Lovecraftian Mythos and its various inspirations, I find Shadow Priests utterly fascinating. There’s very little lore behind them, and with the sheer amount of Old God inspired abilities they utilize, I’m thoroughly amused that no stories have ever been written that even mention this.
– Due to his tribe, his skin is black. Gave him the “gorefest” horns and three braids hanging from his face because I thought they looked awesome. This contrasted awesomely with his DK brother, who had chalk white skin, the “longhorn” horns, and no facial hair. The latter two have been kept on his new Paladin incarnation.
– Only one Transmog set for him right now, Tier 5. Love how it looks in Shadowform. Farming some additional gear is a priority once I do get him to 90.
– Per his story, my druid was originally a Tauren with this name. I changed my priest to a tauren when they opened up and gave him this name. My druid became a troll.
– Grothar is dating (and madly in love with) a slightly deranged Blood Elf paladin by the name of Palacia. As you might guess, she is played by my wife.
– Grothar will primarily be Shadow. He has a Discipline offspec that I very rarely use except when questing with my wife. I like the playstyle of Shields with Atonement healing, but until it becomes truly viable on its own, I can’t do it in group settings. The current nerfs it has taken on the beta further push me from it.
– Random small things I enjoy about playing him: CONFESSION. Life-gripping people. Shadowform, especially on mounts.

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