World of Warcraft: The 12 Best Playable Races
World of Warcraft is all about choosing the right class and race for your character. We took a look at the best options.
There are a large number of races fans can choose to play as in World of Warcraft. Each comes with its own special perks, benefits, and abilities that can make them fierce heroes in the quest to save Azeroth, Outland, Northrend, and any other various zones and dungeons that make this world so massive.
With the expansions in retail World of Warcraft currently numbering nine, including the most recent addition of Shadowlands, the metas have been shaken up a little and some races have proven to be incredibly strong and others have suffered. Whether a player is just starting out or returning, here are the strongest races in the game.
12/12 HIGH MOUNTAIN TAUREN
The High Mountain Tauren is great as a melee damage dealer but not so great at anything else. Bull Rush is a nice trait for knocking down enemies, Mountaineer gives a helpful boost to Versatility, and Rugged Tenacity is great for reducing incoming damage based on character level.
However, this race seems largely pigeonholed into being standard Warriors without any flashy perks or abilities for fulfilling that role. They’re great at taking damage, but not so great at dealing it out. High Mountain Tauren will certainly fulfill the tanking role in Raids, but on their own or in PVP they struggle.
These Night Elves have been locked away for some time and it hasn’t been good for their combat prowess. Arcane Pulse is genuinely useful granting an aura of 200% arcane damage that pulses every two seconds and causes a 50% snare for 20 seconds.
The other traits grant a boost to magic damage and protect them from magic attacks, but aside from the Arcane Pulse they just don’t have enough punch. Their magical ability fizzles compared to other arcane races and they certainly can’t compete in a physical fight. They’re meant to be Mages or Warlocks, and ironically the lore only recently changed to allow Night Elves to play these classes, but there are better races for this.
Fans have had a love-hate relationship with the Pandaren as they represented a dramatic shift in tone for the game and many thought Blizzard was appealing to kids who weren’t playing yet rather than their loyal fanbase.
Their racial traits are just bizarre and seem geared towards a life of passivity and eating with Gourmand to boost cooking, Inner Peace to boost resting, and Epicurean which boosts the stat gain from Well Fed. Quaking Palm is a decent attack ability, but you’ll spend most of your time cooking and eating rather than being a fighting Monk.
9/12 KUL TIRAN
These humans, and therefore part of the Alliance, from across the seas may be master seafarers, but they’re a bit wobbly on land. Their passive Rime of the Ancient Mariner makes them resistant to Frost and Nature damage and Brush it Off is a nice regenerative ability that repairs 2% of damage taken over four seconds, but it’s paltry compared to the regeneration of Trolls and Zandalari Trolls.
Their active trait Haymaker is a one-time punch that deals decent damage that stuns and knocks back a single enemy, but that’s it. They’re suited to be Monks, but their mediocre traits and not-special stats make them inferior to the Monks of other races.
8/12 LIGHTFORGED DRAENEI
A quick look at the leaderboards shows that Lighforged Draenei isn’t doing so well and that’s not surprising. Light’s Judgement is their best trait that summons a column of holy energy to deal AOE damage and their Demonbane grants increased experience gained from Demons.
Light’s Reckoning causes AOE damage and heals the group, when you die, which isn’t a great tactic to rely on. If you’re pursuing blacksmithing or want to roleplay a Paladin fighting demons go for it, but for any other activity, you’re better suited to choosing another race.
7/12 THE FORSAKEN
A race dating from the earliest days of World of Warcraft, the Forsaken have always been understated as one of the best races to play when it comes to PvP and leveling with ease. This is mostly because of their two handy racial traits, Cannibalism and the Will of the Forsaken. This is the undead, after all, and it makes that they would have certain abilities unique to zombies or vampires in addition to being resistant to Shadow Magic.
Use Cannibalism to restore health when killing humanoids instead of getting weighed down by consumables, and Will of the Forsaken breaks virtually any kind of mind-control or fear spell cast on the target. Combine the race with a class like a Warlock, which has a Life Tap ability that converts health to mana, and the character doesn't need beverages either.
6/12 NIGHT ELF
Night Elves have been a popular race since the early days of WoW and for good reason. They have strong Agility and lots of helpful racial traits. Shadowmeld allows them to hide in shadows, which is the equivalent of Stealth, and Quickness makes them harder to hit. Nature Resistance makes it harder to damage them with Nature Spells, and Wisp Spirit is nice for quickly recovering from death.
Night Elves make excellent Druids with Elusiveness granting a better chance of remaining hidden when using Shadowmeld or stealth. They can also hold their own as Demon Hunters and Hunters.
5/12 ZANDALARI TROLL
Another entry for the Horde and the only Allied Race to appear on the best list are the Zandalari Trolls. They have the powerful Regeneratin’ ability which can recover full health in six seconds that can be interrupted through an attack. City of Gold increases the amount of coin that drops off enemies.
What really causes this race to shine is the Embrace of Loa passive, players can choose which spirit animal to worship which enables them to pick the passive best suited for their needs. Krag’wa can give you a boost to health and armor when taking damage and Bwonsamdi can heal you when you deal damage.
4/12 DARK IRON DWARVES
Anyone into the dwarven lore of Azeroth, or the history of the world in general, should play a Dark Iron Dwarf just for the experience. The mountain that they call home, Blackrock, is so big that it straddles two zones in the eastern kingdoms and contains not only their capital city, but also one of the game's biggest instances, Blackrock Depths, the raid of Molten Core, and the smaller 10-player raid prep dungeon of Blackrock Spire.
There was a time when this race was an enemy of both the Horde and Alliance, but once the Battle for Azeroth expansion was introduced they became a playable race. They have some handy racial traits that aid in transportation, with the ability to summon a Mole Machine to take them virtually anywhere, and a bonus to movement speed indoors. They also get a bonus for what they can make during the Blacksmithing process, and buffs for professions get overlooked too often.
Trolls have some helpful abilities for players both in PVE and PVP situations. They start with Regeneration which increases health regeneration by 10% and ensures that at least 10% of health regeneration will occur in combat.
Beast Slaying increases experience gained from beast kills, which is handy for power leveling. Berserking and Da Voodoo Shuffle also improve movement speed and reduce how long penalties to movement speed affect them, making it easier to kite enemies. They are some of the best Warlocks in the game.
2/12 BLOOD ELF
Dominating the leaderboards in both PVE and PVP are Blood Elves. With a good range of stats, access to some of the strongest classes in the game, and some great racial abilities it’s not hard to see why.
Arcane Torrent can silence groups and instantly regenerate 6% of mana and Magic Resistance is a powerful passive ability that causes spells to have an additional 2% chance of missing the player. This race makes for powerful Demon Hunters and Paladins, which are considered two of the strongest classes in the game
Considering Humans are the most prevalent race across the servers it’s no wonder Blizzard North has kept them a strong and versatile race for players. They have solid stats across the board when compared to any other race in the game, meaning they can be tailored for any purpose.
The Human Spirit is a handy trait for Shaman/Druid/Priests, Diplomacy allows Human players to quickly gain favor with different factions, and Every Man For Himself will grant an additional trinket slot in PVP. Whatever you plan on doing in this game, picking a Human is a great choice.
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