One of my greatest joys going into any new World of Warcraft expansion release is theorycrafting and speculating on what class I’ll end up playing, or “maining,” for the new adventures. Shadowlands is no different.
World of Warcraft expansions have a tendency to drastically change how classes and their individual specs look and feel, sometimes completely changing up their playstyle (ie. Survival Hunter). The old is often thrown out in favor of fresh, new ideas “better suited” for the content that is to come. Shadowlands follows this trend, and the departure from Azerite Armor, Essences, and Corruption gear has paved the way for new systems, such as Covenants and Soulbinds, alongside a slew of class changes.
When Does Shadowlands Come Out?
The WoW Shadowlands release date is October 27th. That means we should expect the prepatch to likely drop in the next few weeks, from mid/late-September. That timeframe will give players access to the first substantial pass of class changes in the new expansion. For those unfamiliar, this is a great time to hop in and get a rough idea of how your chosen class fares post changes. Prepatches can certainly be rough or downright broken in terms of class balance due to the blending of old and new. But hey, it can be fun and remains a reasonable litmus test for the general feel of a class going into the new content.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve likely been keeping an ear to the ground in regard to class changes coming in Shadowlands. Like any expansion, there are a lot, and it could easily change a class that someone has grown comfortable with into a complete mess (for them, anyway). Or, you might be one of those players that has stuck with the same class for years on end; through thick and thin.
So, How Do You Go About Picking a Main?
Are you the type that simply coasts along with the meta? Do you always go melee? Ranged? Have you mained that Ret Paladin (bless you) since Vanilla? There’s no wrong way to go about it, but for me, three factors must align:
- the class must be melee-oriented
- prefer a two-handed weapon
- has to be somewhat mobile.
Those elements alone will likely give you an idea of what I’m considering going with come Shadowlands, but I’d also like for you to let me know what YOU intend to main based on the information we know right now. The comment section is below, so feel free to fire away there once you’ve finished reading the article!
Before I reveal my own picks for a Shadowlands main, I’d like to share what I’ve mained each expansion and why.
My first max level character ever was a Tauren Hunter, which I loved to bring into battlegrounds to one-shot “clothies” with a well timed Aimed Shot. On the PvE side, however, I couldn’t consistently dismiss my pet before jumping off ledges, which meant I had a tendency to pull unintended packs and wipe my groups in dungeons. Yeah, I was that kind of Hunter.
As my interest in PvP waned, I wanted to hit PvE seriously. That’s when I decided to pick up a meaty two-hander and make a name(?) for myself in raids. The problem was…I swapped to an Arms Warrior. But hey, my raid group at the time didn’t mind. In fact, we had at least three other Arms Warriors in our raid group. Take that, efficiency!
The Burning Crusade
Arms received some pretty significant changes in BC, but still weren’t ideal for PvE content. Regardless, I continued on playing as an Arms Warrior until I was asked to raid as Protection, then I never looked back. While I didn’t raid the entire expansion, I did enjoy off-tanking in the first couple of tiers quite a bit. For fun, myself and a buddy of mine formed a Protection Warrior Arena team and…well, it went about as well as you’d expect.
We had fun, though!
Wrath of the Lich King
At this point, I was “all in” on Warrior tanking…until I played a Death Knight. Not only were they completely overpowered for the majority of the expansion, it also gave me the opportunity to tank while using a two-hander. Yes, please! Being able to mix and match from all three trees and still fulfill either tanking or DPS – again, with a freaking two-hander – was awesome while it lasted.
Cataclysm would begin the decline in my overall engagement with WoW from that point on, but fun times were still to be had. I would continue to play my Death Knight, with a Rogue on the bench for whenever I got an itch for PvP. Short lived for me personally, but still worth the time and effort.
Mists of Pandaria
Mists would be the point in which I’d hang up the Death Knight for good. While it was still my first max level character, I would eventually roll a Monk and enjoy literally everything it had to offer. The “drunken master” tank, the unusual healing fueled by a side of DPS, Fists of Fury, mobility for days…man, Monks were fun!
Warlords of Draenor
I would once again main the Monk in WoD, though I’d miss out on the majority of the expansion simply because I did not find it all that fun. A novel concept, I know.
Legion changed up the Monk in ways that I really didn’t enjoy, so I ended up being one of about 10 people to honestly give the new melee-oriented Survival Hunter a shot. It was awesome! While I wish there was a Lone Wolf option available to the spec – I tend to dislike pet classes in general – I still had a blast in Legion as Survival. I also enjoyed dabbling with the Enhancement Shaman from time to time.
Battle For Azeroth
BFA has, unfortunately, been my least played expansion by far, but I still gave it what I believe to be a fair shake. During this time, I continued on with my Survival Hunter, but the lack of changes going into Shadowlands has me once again considering something different.
With Shadowlands on the horizon, I’m actually thinking of returning to the Arms Warrior once again. It has been a decade or more since I last mained one, and the general lack of changes with the Survival Hunter (for now) has me considering jumping to my first true love.
I’ve always loved the fantasy of the Arms Warrior – smashing things to bits with a single two-hander and making them bleed profusely – and the updated animations really help drive home that feeling of being a one-man wrecking crew…even if the spec (in its current form) isn’t the most exciting thing to play.
I’ve also considered Enhancement Shama, too, but there are a couple of things working against it. It is already at a disadvantage in my eyes being a dual-wield spec, though I’m still holding on to the extremely unlikely possibility that it will receive its two-hander option once again in the future. Again, unlikely for Shadowlands since other classes, like the Monk and Death Knight, have already the 2h option while Shaman is still left to only wield two weapons.
On top of all that, I generally don’t play classes that can’t be the OG Human race for too long. I’ve always liked being able to make my character resemble “the real me,” and while some may think I look like a troll IRL (hopefully not my wife) it is why I generally stick to the most boring race: Human.
Editor's Note: Humans have won me over from Dwarves and Gnomes, too. It's for that sweet, sweet, 10% reputation increase. Anything to make those faction grinds easier.
But Enough About Me
What about you? What have you mained in the past, and what are you looking forward to in Shadowlands?
Whether we like it or not, Shadowlands will bring about drastic changes to our favorite classes. The question is, do you think these changes will make you change your main? If so, why? Let me know what you’re thinking!