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World of Warcraft Races, Classes and Faction Guide


World of Warcraft Races, Classes and Faction Guide

In the last article I wrote, we discussed setting up a account as someone new to World of Warcraft, and also talked about how to choose a server. In this WoW how to article, we’ll discuss picking a faction, choosing a race, and selecting a new character class.

What Are Factions?

Players of World of Warcraft are divided into two distinct factions, the Horde and the Alliance. Choosing one over the other can be as simple as flipping a coin for some new players but others choose a side based on where their friends are playing. It used to be that new players picked a faction because there were certain classes that were specific to either the Horde or the Alliance. This is no longer the case. Now, any player in World of Warcraft can choose any class they like. So why should a new player choose Alliance or Horde? Some choose one over the other by aesthetics. Other new players to World of Warcraft pick one faction and then make another character on the opposing one. Still others carefully weigh the pros and cons of the racial perks before choosing. If you’re still on the fence, let me help you with choose your WoW race, and then by default, choose a faction.

The Alliance

Let’s start with the Alliance. Not out of favoritism, but because it comes first alphabetically. In the Alliance, you have Humans, Dwarves, Night Elves, Gnomes, Dranei and Worgen. On the Horde side, you have Orcs, Undead, Tauren, Trolls, Blood Elves and Goblins. And finally, the latest expansion, Mists of Pandaria, introduced a race that can be either Alliance or Horde. So how is a new player to choose from all of these World of Warcraft characters? Well, let’s start with a brief overview of each to help you choose a race and faction.


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Humans are what they sound like, your basic bipedal homo sapien. They have five perks to help them level. “Every Man for Himself” allows them to quickly escape if snared or frozen in spot. “The Human Spirit” grants them a 3% bonus to Spirit, a basic character statistic. Mace and Sword Specializations make it easier for humans to hit their enemies with swords and maces. And finally, “Diplomacy” grants a 10% increase in reputation gains, making it easier to become friends with new races you find.


Next on the list of Alliance races is Dwarves. Dwarves are versatile beings, equally at home underground mining ore or above ground using the elements to aid them in their fight. Dwarves have five racial perks. “Stoneform” allows them to instantly heal themselves of all poison and reduce the damage they take from fighting. “Crack Shot” gives them an increased chance to hit their targets when using ranged weapons, while “Mace Specialization” lets them use maces more effectively. “Frost Resistance” reduces all damage taken from cold based attacks, and “Explorer” grants bonuses to Archaeology, a secondary skill.

Night Elves

Next are night elves. They are most at home in the forest or woodlands. Night elves also have five racial perks. The first of these, “Shadowmeld” allows the character to turn temporarily invisible for a time. The second perk, “Elusiveness,” makes it harder for enemies to detect you while you are hidden by shadowmeld. The third is “Quickness” which allows you to dodge incoming attacks. “Nature Resistance” reduces damage caused nature based spells or items, and lastly, “Wisp Spirit” grants you the form of a will-o-wisp when you’ve been killed, making travel back your body faster.


The fourth race in the Alliance is gnomes. They are a race driven by curiosity of how things work. Gnomes have five racial perks. The first, “Escape Artist” is much like the human’s “Every Man for Himself,” allowing them to escape from any immobilization effect. The next is “Expansive Mind” which increases the mana pool that the gnome has. This allows them to cast more spells more quickly, which is great in a fight. “Arcane Resistance” reduces incoming damage from arcane-type spells. “Engineering Specialist” allows them to immediately start with an engineering skill of 15. And the last perk is “Shortblade Specialization.” This increases their ability with daggers and one-handed swords.


The Dranei are the first on the list of World of Warcraft hord characters. The Dranei are an ancient space-faring race with deep ties to Azeroth. The Dranei have only four racial perks. The first, “Gift of the Naaru,” allows them to heal their targeted ally. The second, Heroic Presence” increases all of their ally’s abilities with spells and physical attacks. Thirdly, “Gem Cutting” gives them a starting jewel crafting skill of 10. Lastly, “Shadow Resistance” reduces incoming damage caused by shadow type.


The last race on the Alliance list of WoW races is the Worgen. The Worgen were cursed by an evil mage in ancient times, and now have two forms. The first is human, but the second form is a bipedal wolf. Just don’t call them werewolves…They are Worgen, despite the similarities. They actually have six racial perks. The first is “Dark Flight” which allows them to move very quickly for a short time. The second, “Viciousness” increases their chance to land a critical blow while fighting. “Aberration” reduces incoming shadow type damage. “Running Wild” allows the Worgen to shift to their wolf form and run as fast as a horse, while “Flayer” gives them a starting skill of 15 in the skinning profession and allows them to skin faster than any other race.” Lastly, “Two Forms” grants the Worgen complete control over which form they take, which is wolf or human.

The World of Warcraft Hord

World of Warcraft


On the side of the Horde we start with the Orcs. The orcs were the founding race of the Horde under their leader, Thrall. They have four racial perks. The first “Blood Fury” activates to increase their attack or spell power for a short time. The second “Hardiness” reduces the duration of stun effects. The perk “Command” increases the amount of damage done by pets, and their last perk, “Axe Specialization” increases their expertise with this weapons and axes.


The Undead or the Forsaken are members of the Scourge that have reclaimed their personal will. Free of the Lich King’s control, they now seek to forge their own destiny. They also have four race perks in the game. The first of which is “Will of the Forsaken”. This perk removes any charm, fear, or sleep effect that is incapacitating your character. The “Cannibalize” perk allows the undead to regenerate health while consuming nearby humanoid corpses (typical of the undead). The perk “Touch of the Grave” gives your attacks a chance of inflicting damage on your opponents and healing you for the same amount. The last perk “Shadow Resistance” reduces shadow damage taken from all attacks.


The next race in the WoW Horde are Trolls. Trolls are a proud race, who are divided into three major tribes, and this tribe befriended the Orcs when they first landed. They have five perks. The first, “Berserking”, activates to increase attack speed. “Regeneration” increases health regeneration bonus by small amount and also allows health regeneration during combat. “Beast Slayer” grants a damage bonus when fighting beasts. The perk “Deadeye” grants increased expertise with ranged weapons. And finally “Da Voodoo Shuffle” reduces the duration of all movement impairing effects.

Blood Elves

Blood elves are distant cousins of the night elves. As you can imagine, there is no more ferocious war than the war between a family. The blood elves only have three perks. The first is “Arcane Torrent”, which can be activated to silence all enemies within a short range and also grants a small burst of energy to the character. “Arcane Affinity” enables blood elves to start the enchanting profession with a 10 point bonus. The last perk “Arcane Resistance” reduces arcane type damage from all attacks.


Finally we have the avaricious race, the Goblins. The newest addition to the Horde, the Goblins were driven into arms by the aggression of the Alliance. Although some goblins maintain their neutrality, the ones that have sworn allegiance to the Horde are as deadly as they are loyal. The goblins come with six perks, the first of which is “Rocket Jump”. This allows them to activate a rocket to jump forward a small distance. “Rocket Barrage” activates their belt rockets, launching them at an enemy to deal a small amount of damage. “Time is Money” increases their attack speed by small amount, and “Best Deals Anywhere” allows the goblin character to receive the best discounts regardless of how the seller and their faction feels about them. The perk “Pack Hobgoblin” calls in a friend to allow you access to your bank for a short window. And finally “Better Living Through Chemistry” increases the goblins alchemy skill by 15.

Pandaren – Nuetral

The last race is the Pandaren. This race remains neutral until they reach level 10 at which point the character must make a decision whether they wish to join the Alliance or the Horde. Pandaren have five perks. The first, “Epicurean”, doubles the buff that they receive from eating food. “Gourmand” increases their cooking skill by 15. The perk “Inner Peace” grants double the rested experience of other characters. “Bouncy” reduces their falling damage by half and finally, “Quaking Palm” allows them to strike their enemy with lightning speed, stunning them for a small time.

Choosing a WoW Race and Class

The races listed above are the available races so far in the World of Warcraft. As a new player, choosing which race or faction to play is not an easy one. After all, this is your character! Another way to make your decision is to look at the various classes available. Figuring out which class to play can also be difficult, however. Currently there are 11 different character classes in the World of Warcraft. The classes can be broken down into four basic archetypes. There are tanks, whose job it is to attract the attention of all the enemies and withstand the various attacks while your friends and allies beat on them. Then there are the healers, whose job it is to ensure that the tanks and the DPS do not die. Then there are the DPS. There are two types of DPS. There are melee DPS who stand close to the enemy using swords and axes and whatever else is at hand to inflict damage. Then you have ranged DPS who use either spells or ranged weapons to hurt the enemy.

Each class has three specializations that can be chosen with a wide variety of talents. The first class in our list is Warrior. Warriors can choose to be either tanks or DPS. They wear plate armor which enables them to stand toe to toe with the enemy and slug it out. Some can even dual wield two handed weapons, holding one gigantic axe in each hand. Next are paladins. Paladins also wear plate and can also be tanks or DPS. They can also heal when needed. Paladins channel the power of the Light to heal their friends or harm their enemies. Hunters, the next class on the list, are exclusively ranged DPS. They use bows and guns to damage their foes, setting traps on the ground that burst into flames or freeze the enemy where they stand. Hunters also have pets who can assist their master, attacking foes with vicious abandon. These pets are found in the wilds and tamed and befriended by the Hunter. Rogues are exclusively melee DPS. They use stealth and poisons to inflict damage on their enemies striking from the shadows when least expected. Some rogues focus on using daggers to assassinate their enemies and others prefer to use mace and sword to attack. The next class, Priests, can be either healers or DPS. As a holy priest their main focus is to heal their allies with the Light and as a shadow priest, they use dark energies to harm their foes. Sometimes they choose to strike a balance and use both the light and dark to smite their foes and shield their friends. Shaman can be melee or ranged DPS, using the elements of Azeroth to attack their foes, or use the elements to heal their allies. Stones rise from the earth to shield the shaman and they use totems to control mighty elementals in the field of battle. Another World of Warcraft class is mages. They are ranged DPS who inflict incredible damage. The mage can focus on frost, fire or the arcane schools of magic. Warlocks are a ranged DPS class who use a pet demon summoned from the nether. This demon is controlled only by the will of the warlock, and can inflict incredible damage or act as a personal tank. Monks are the newest class and one of two hybrid classes in World of Warcraft. Along with Druids, they can be either tank, DPS, or a healer, making them incredibly versatile characters. The last class, the Death Knight, is a hero class and is locked when first beginning your journey in WoW. They start at level 55 and are incredibly powerful for a starting character. So much so, that you are only allowed to have one per server. They can be of any race accept Pandaren, and much like warriors can choose to be either tanks or DPS. Dark Knights use dark necromantic energies to control the powers of frost, blood and pestilence to slay their enemies.

Making a Choice

So as a new player, it stands to you to determine what type of character you wish to play. Do you enjoy healing others while standing away from the fight, and ensuring that all of your friends stay alive? Or are you the type who likes to be a protector, shielding your allies and taking the damage for them so that they might have a chance to take down your enemy. Perhaps you would rather sneak up behind your enemy slipping from the shadows to stab them. Or maybe you’d rather stand out of arms reach letting others more foolhardy or brave take those blows, sending in spell or arrow to damage your foes.

The wonderful thing about playing World of Warcraft is that you’re not restricted to just one of these. If one day you feel like being a tank, then you can play a tank. Another day you might want to heal, or yet another, a friend might ask you to serve as an additional DPS in any series of dungeon crawls. So play what you like. So hopefully, as a new player to World of Warcraft, we have helped you select a class, and given you help in choosing a race and faction.


Now that you’ve chosen your character let’s help you customize him or her. After you’ve chosen your race and class combination, click the customization button on the bottom right. The first thing to do with your character is to choose their gender. For our character we are going to choose a female Pandaren Monk. There are five areas to customize. Skin color, face, hairstyle, hair color, and earrings for the females and facial hair for the men. Scroll to the choices on the right-hand side and select the skin color you like. In this case, our Monk is going to be a red panda complete with tail.

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Do the same thing with the options for space hairstyle hair color and earrings. The nice thing is well is by using your mouse and left mouse button you can spin your character to look at them from all angles

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Now the last thing to do is to select your name. Unfortunately, because World of Warcraft is over eight years old, most common names are taken. As well Blizzard prohibits naming your character after popular figures, both fictional and real. Profanity is also forbidden. Names are also only one word with no underscores allowed. If you’re having problems choosing your character’s name you can click the randomize button underneath the name field and one will be chosen for you. If you don’t like that one, click the button again and a new one will appear. If the name you’ve chosen is already taken on this server, you’ll get a prompt that says the name is invalid. If you are still having problems choosing a name, there are several resources online that can help. Sites that help parents choose their baby’s names are often used. One last thing about naming. Be aware that if you choose to create a character on an RP server, you should name your character appropriately. While the name “Urdumlol” will probably be accepted by Blizzard’s naming rules, you are likely to get some harrassment by the established player base on an RP server that you wouldn’t get on a Normal type server. Whatever you decide to name your character, it is your choice, so the most important thing is to have fun!

World of Warcraft

Here’s our new Pandaren Monk, Heshrai(helpfully chosen via the name randomizer button). This is the character that we will be using in the future to help you as a new player. We hope you join us next article when we will be discussing getting around in the World of Warcraft, the basics of questing, and tweaking your UI (user interface).

The following chart shows you what races can be what class and are also color coded to show faction.

World of Warcraft