Have you recently come back to World of Warcraft with no idea what class to play? If so, you're in luck! Not only does the game offer class trials to give classes a test run before officially diving in, we also have a rundown of the different roles to guide you in the right direction.
In Legion, each class and all of its specs have unique playstyles and even more unique Artifact weapons with their own acquisition quests. Melee DPS classes tend to be some of the strongest DPS when played well, but can be a bit difficult to master, as you're always up close and personal with the action. If that's not something you want from your DPS, be sure to check out our guide to the game's ranged DPS classes.
If it does sound like what you want, Melee DPS will offer you quite a few very fun options, so take a look below and see if any of them sound like your kind of role!
Rogue (3 different DPS specs)
Artifact weapons: Dual daggers (Assassination/Subtlety), Dual swords (Outlaw)
Play a Rogue if: You like the class fantasy of ninja and/or pirate, and enjoy being able to sneak around, unseen by enemies.
Rogues are the ninjas of World of Warcraft. And thanks to Legion's revamp of Combat (now named Outlaw), they're also the pirates of World of Warcraft. Rogues are one of only a small number of "pure" DPS classes (i.e., no tanking or healing specs) and can deliver solid damage.
The most fun part of Rogues comes from their ability to stealth, which hides them from enemy view and allows them to sneak around wherever they go. They also have a decent variety of playstyles. Assassination emphasizes poisons and damage-over-time debuffs, Subtlety takes the stealth aspect and bumps it up a notch and allows you to use stealth-only abilities during combat, and lastly, Outlaw is the "pirate" spec that has you wielding a saber, shooting a pistol, and even summoning a ghost ship to rain cannonballs on enemies.
- The Stealth mechanic means you can sneak around unnoticed
- Has several stuns that are useful in both PVE and PVP
- Consistently delivers high DPS in almost all environment
- Roll the Bones (Outlaw spec only) is incredibly susceptible to random luck
- You can die relatively quickly if you're not careful
Warrior (2 different DPS specs)
Artifact weapons: 2-Handed Sword (Arms), Dual 2-Handed Swords (Fury)
Play a DPS Warrior if: You like being a master of large, two-handed weapons and charging at enemies while wearing plate armor
Warriors are the standard plate-wearing melee class fantasy. They are tough, they hit hard, and they will charge at your with all their rage. Additionally, they have great survivability and a variety of stuns, buffs, and debuffs in their kit.
Thanks to two different melee DPS specs, Warrior can focus on ability-based burst damage (Arms) or consistent, fast auto-attack damage (Fury). Both are strong and Fury even offers the game's only way to yield two two-handed weapons at once, which is pretty badass.
- Very high survivability
- Fury is the only spec that can dual-wield two-handed weapons
- Relatively mobile thanks to Charge and Heroic Leap
- Arms has a slower attack speed and relies on heavy-hitters
- If you're successfully kited by a caster, it can be hard to do much to survive
Death Knights (2 different DPS specs)
Artifact weapon: Dual swords (Frost), Two-handed sword (Unholy)
Play a DPS Death Knight if: You like dealing damage via frost spells or by spreading diseases across multiple targets, or you like the idea of glowing, undead eyes
Death Knights were introduced back in Wrath of the Lich King as the game's first hero class, and as a result, they have a unique starting zone experience and begin at level 55. Their DPS roles emphasize diseases (Unholy) and frost damage (Frost, obviously), and have changed quite a bit from expansion to expansion.
Death Knights tend to be pretty strong against caster enemies; however, Frost's damage and fun factor tend to be lower than Unholy's, but both allow you a variety of tools to tackle various content.
- Can summon undead minions
- Unholy generally considered very fun right now
- Strong AOE damage
- Unholy's damage can be dependent on random procs
- Survivability ranges significantly across Death Knigth specs (with Blood tanking being the best and Frost DPS being the worst)
Artifact weapon: Polearm
Play Survival Hunter if: You like the idea of laying traps and using a polearm to hit enemies in the face (or using a Harpoon to launch toward them!)
Survival Hunters are basically a brand-new spec as of Legion. Where they used to be ranged-based like their Beast Mastery and Marksmanship Hunter counterparts, they're now an entirely melee-focused spec.
They have the same benefit as all Hunters in that they still can tame beast-type enemies as a pet. Survival Hunters are pretty unique and will likely take a bit of time for players to get used to.
- Relatively simple primary ability toolkit
- Entirely revamped spec means all Survival Hunters are on the same page
- Several traps to keep track of and know when to properly use makes for a complicated secondary toolkit
Havoc Demon Hunter
Artifact weapons: Warglaives
Play Havoc Demon Hunter if: You like your melee with a mix of demonic abilities or love using mobility as an exploration tool
Havoc Demon Hunters are the newest addition to the game, and it definitely shows at times. In addition to having double jump as a base of the class, Havoc Demon Hunters have the most mobility of any class in the game thanks to Fel Rush and Vengeful Retreat, which can be used often and launch them forward and backward, respectively.
They're not as durable as their Vengeance tank counterparts, but they also have very strong AOE capabilities thanks to cooldowns like Eye Beam, which is exactly what it sounds like and burns through all enemies in front of you. Additionally, killing enemies yields soul fragments, which heal the Demon Hunter and increase damage if the soul was taken from a demon enemy.
- Has the highest mobility in the game
- Strong AOE cooldown abilities for mowing down multiple enemies at once
- Great at exploring the environment
- Very limited self-healing
- Rotation can switch from boring to complex very quickly depending on talent choice
Artifact weapon: Dual maces
Play Enhancement Shaman if: You like the idea of infusing your melee with the fury of the elements
Enhancement Shamans utilize the elements in the same way as their healing and ranged-DPS counterparts, but they do so from melee. They primarily use lava and storm-based abilities and rely on a mix of autoattacks and abilities to deal their damage.
Enhancement is both aided and hurt by its large toolkit. While it can bring a lot of utility to groups and utilize strong cooldowns (including one to summon two very strong spirit wolves), it can also be a bit daunting to keep track of all its abilities.
On a personal note, I talented to several abilities that sounded cool, but the result was not knowing when to use any of them. Enhancement can be very fun when played properly, but is a bit less beginner friendly than other melee classes.
- Can summon spirit wolves to deal massive damage
- Very high burst capabilities
- Can self-resurrect if needed
- Somewhat confusion Maelstrom/Mana resource system
- Lots of abilities to keep track of, especially if talented into active abilities rather than passive ones
Artifact weapon: Dual fist-weapons
Play Windwalker Monk if: You're a fan of martial arts and like punching, kicking, and spinning your enemies to death
Windwalker Monks are probably exactly what you'd expect if you've ever seen a Kung-Fu flick. They specialize in martial arts and have a unique Mastery that increases your damage when you don't use the same ability twice in a row, which encourages you to constantly rotate what you're using.
They have a solid mix of single-and-multi-target abilities and even the very-cool Storm, Earth, and Fire ability (from Warcraft 3, albeit slightly different) which splits the Monk into three different elemental spirits to attack enemies from all angles and mirror your attacks.
- Is the epitome of Kung-Fu movies
- Great mobility
- Mastery encourages a "c-c-c-combo" style gameplay that can be very fun
- Limited self-healing capabilities
- Combo Strikes Mastery can be difficult to keep track of
Artifact weapon: 2-Handed sword (Note: Retribution Paladins get the fabled Ashbringer sword)
Play Retribution Paladin if: You like the idea of a slow, but strong hitter and mixing your melee with righteous, Holy justice
Retribution Paladins build Holy Power through most abilities and can spend it to deal heavy damage. Mechanically, they feel a bit like Warriors mixed with Holy spells borrowed from their healing twin. They don't necessarily hit as hard as Warriors, but they have significant utility tools thanks to being a hybrid DPS spec.
Unfortunately, Retribution has not been well received in Legion, so it's either going to stay unliked or receive changes that will require adjustment.
- Plate armor makes Retribution Paladins very durable
- Healing spells and defensives can be used frequently
- Largely regarded as one of the worst specs in Legion at the moment
Artifact weapon: Dual daggers*
Play Feral Druid if: You like the idea of being able to stealth, but also want an emphasis on bleeds and a more nature-based approach to fantasy than Rogues
Feral Druids are a unique melee class in that they deal damage as a cat. In doing so, the spec has a heavy emphasis on bleed effects (which deal damage over time). It also means Feral Druids are very, very mobile — in fact, they have a baseline movement speed increase in addition to other abilities that aid movement.
Like other Druids — especially Guardian Druids, who tank as a bear — Feral Druids can't really show off their armor since they're in cat form during combat. This has been improved in Legion, as your Artifact appearance has a direct effect on what your cat form looks like but it's still worth considering if you like showing off armor.
- Also has the Stealth mechanic like Rogues
- Very mobile
- You fight as a kitty. A deadly, deadly kitty
- Like all Druids, Feral benefits from having tanking, healing, or ranged DPS options as off-specs
- Like other Druid specs, armor is obscured by Cat Form
- Only four races can play as Druids (two per faction)
That's it for melee! While they still deal damage like their ranged counterparts, melee is almost always an entirely different experience. Truthfully, they can be a bit more difficult than ranged DPS at times, but they also have some of the coolest ability animations in the game and will tear through enemies in the right conditions.