1. INTRODUCTION
Over time there have been a myriad of players, asking for help in deciding what class they should play, or which of a set of classes is the best, or whether X class is fun to play, etc. Nearly every of those questions has, undoubtedly, received a plethora of different answers, and most answers will point to one general rule: “Ultimately, others can’t decide what you will find fun, and the only one who can make the best choice for you is you.”

Although there is truth in the fact that, ultimately, you’ll have to decide for yourself what you find a fun class, there are still some helpful resources one can employ when in doubt, whether it is to ensure a choice will be correct in the end, or merely to help one deciding on a class based on certain properties that class has that others haven’t.

This guide is mainly aimed to coherently document these resources and, hopefully, serve as a rough guide to players needing a little help or, well, ‘guidance’ with picking a class, whether you are a completely new player or an old veteran looking to switch.

2. NEW PLAYERS – ‘WHAT CLASS WILL SUIT ME?’
Often, new players will ask for advice on picking a class by listing a few traits they look for in a class, such as them liking ranged classes over melee, rather have an easy rotation as opposed to a more complicated one, wanting to be able to both Tank and Heal, etc. As such, this section aims to give a basic overview of each class and their various traits/playstyles to give you a brief idea about the class. Mind that these aren’t extensive summaries of each class, merely a short bullet-point list of traits!

Death Knight:
– Can be a Tank or Melee DPS.
– Unique to Death Knights is starting at level 55, contrary to level 1 like other classes, and being able to raise Ghouls as pets. (Permanent for Unholy specced DKs.)
– Generally a very straight-forward class, considered easy to learn/play by many, and a solid choice for people who like being in melee range.

Druid:
– Can be a Tank, Healer, Ranged Damage Dealer (or DD/DPS for short), or Melee DPS.
– Unique to Druids is the ability to Shapeshift into various animals (depending on what specialisation one chooses.)
– Great for players who want to try out multiple roles without switching characters, since druids can potentially fulfill every role.
– Along with Rogues, Druids are one of two classes with stealth.

Hunter:
– Is always a Ranged DPS class
– Alongside Warlocks (and Frost Mages/Unholy Death Knights, to some extend) Hunters are one of few classes able to play with a permanent pet (or without, if so desired.) Contrary to other ‘pet classes’, Hunters can pick from a heap of pets (actually having to tame them in the world), customise their pet’s name, and there even are a few hunter taming challenges for unique pets.
– Currently, hunters are a very solid class, and the most mobile of all, being able to cast nearly all spells whilst moving. Due to having a pet that can tank for you, and some decent self-healing, it’s a very good soloing class and, arguably, easy to learn to play.

Mage:
– Is always a Ranged DPS class.
– Unique to mages is being able to create portals / to teleport to major cities, as well as creating food to eat to regen health and mana.
– A great class for players who like to deal damage from a distance. However, mages possess little healing and, wearing Cloth armour, are quite susceptible to damage. One must learn to avoid damage, since it’s not easy to recuperate from it.

Monk:
– Can be a Tank, Healer, and Melee DPS.
– Unique to monks is that they do not use weapons to attack, but rather always attack with their hands (Kung Fu baby!)
– Another versatile class that can fulfill multiple roles.

Paladin:
– Can be a Tank, Healer, and Melee DPS.
– Unique to Paladins is being able to ‘bubble’, i.e., becoming immune for 10 seconds whilst still being able to cast/move/whatever. They are holy warriors and, thematically, the opposites of Death Knights, and can heal, which DKs can’t.
– A versatile class that is very thematic, centered around the use of Holy spells.

Priest:
– Can be a Healer or Ranged DPS.
– Unique to Priests is them being the only class having 2 specs for healing, one based mostly on Absorbs and the other on ‘traditional’ healing.
– A solid class for people who like being a ranged, with good off-healing as a Ranged DPS (Shadow Spec) and with some variety in rotation depending on what talents you take.

Rogue:
– Can only be a Melee DPS.
– Rogues are one of two classes having stealth, along with Druids. They have a lot of utility and control spells.
– A class that requires some practice and is, at times, a bit squishy. However, you get to control the fight and, what’s more, pick your fights – you’re invisible right up until you decide it’s time to stab something in the back!

Shaman:
– Can be a Healer, Melee DPS, and Ranged DPS.
– Unique to Shamans is being able to summon Totems that provide various effects, and Elemental Pets. (Summoned with Totems though.)
– A versatile class, although arguably having a tad bit ‘out-dated’ design. I’d say it’s very much flavour class: either you really like it or you loathe it, haven’t seen many middle-grounds there. Still, I personally love my lil’ Shammy to death, and must say that Chain Lightning-ing a group of mobs to death feels really rewarding. 🙂

Warlock:
– Is always a Ranged DPS.
– Unique to Warlocks is being able to summon various demons as pets (or play without them, if so desired.) Also, you can create a summoning stone (with the help of others) to summon party members!
– A tad bit more resilient than mages, although possessing no healing like Priest (only self-healing through cooldowns/damaging abilities.)

Warrior:
– Can be a Tank or Melee DPS.
– Basically your standard Warrior/barbarian/whatever class. Like Death Knights they are pure melee and, well… smash things with enormous weapons. Like putting axes in skulls? Warrior takes care of that brilliantly. Warriors are also the only class that can, if specced Fury, wield two Two-Handed Weapons at once.
– Like being in melee range? Like going ‘Raaahh! Me Angry – me smash!’? Warrior is your class! 🙂

3. DOES MY CLASS PERFORM WELL?
Whilst each class faces it’s ups and downs, there are a few things worth noting. Outside of high-end content (World First / Top 100 PvE raiding or High Ranked PvP) EVERY class is viable. Viable here means that whilst some classes will (theoretically) perform better than others, every class is able to perform according to the requirements for certain content.

PvP is very dynamic, and whilst sometimes there are clear ‘overpowered’ and ‘underpowered’ classes, most of it depends on you as a player. An exceptional player can reach heights with a bad class.

In PvE, which is more regulated, there are still ‘better’ classes. However, again, every class is viable, and if you don’t plan on raiding in Top100 guilds, you can safely pick any class and do well enough. Tanking and Healing comes down to personal reaction and, frankly, unmeasurable play for the most part. A good tank makes sure he doesn’t die and keep the mobs focused on him, although little numbers show that he did this in the end – what shows this is when you do it and your raid succeeds.

As for DPS, your total damage is what you’re there for, and this can theoretically be measured for each class. Again, each class is viable, but if you’re interested in what class THEORETICALLY (important word, since this doesn’t apply to actual play half the time.) perform the best, you can visit Simulationcraft.org and see the simulated DPS rankings, such as these, based on an average of 665 iLvl gear:
http://www.simulationcraft.org/reports/Raid_T17N.html

My advice: Don’t pay too much attention on whether your class is good/bad if you’re playing casually. Play what you enjoy!

4. BUT HOW WILL I KNOW IF I’ll ENJOY A CLASS?
Alas, I sadly cannot tell someone what they will enjoy, since everyone enjoys different things. However, I can give some practical advice:

1) Read about your class. If you’re new to the game, read my 2. section, and read basic WoW summaries (such as those found here: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/game/class/) about classes so you get a feel of their theme/aesthetics and rough gameplay.

2) For players who are acquainted with the game, read up on class rotations and abilities. You will probably be able to judge whether a class is something for you once you read how a class is supposed to play. If a guide says that you have to minimise movement as a Mage to be most effective and you don’t like that at all, you might want to try a different class, such as a mobile hunter.

A lot of solid, good, detailed guides can be found on Icy Veins:
http://www.icy-veins.com/wow/

Go to Guides > Class / Specialistion you’re interested in.

3) Trying out classes. Whilst this is a VERY good way to check whether you like a class, do note that many, if not all classes play differently as they level up and gain more spells. Whilst a level 8 shaman moslty spams Fire Shock + Lightning Bolt, a level 100 Shaman will use far, far more spells in their rotation. I personally would say that it requires one to level a class up to level 80, roughly, to get a fair idea of the class and how it plays.

4) Visit class forums. You can always ask class-specific questions here or read various posts and get some insight in the class. Do remember that you’ll find a lot of subjective posts that don’t necessarily share your ideas/opinions/etc.

5. I LIKE BOTH X AND Y CLASS, WHICH SHOULD I PICK?
if you are still in doubt at this point, I doubt I can help you out a lot. I can ask you this, however; do you have to limit yourself to one class?

Although for some players having only one character to focus on (a ‘main’) is ideal, you can always decide to play both characters evenly if you enjoy both. If this isn’t an option, then you’ll ultimately have to decide at one point.

Ask friends / people for advice, read guides, inform yourself – if after all that you still can’t decide, I’d say just flip a coin and bind yourself to the result. Take a leap of faith and pick something! 🙂