The Ins and Outs
The character races are interesting while offering the standard fantasy fare. The Horde is comprised of Orcs, Undead, Trolls and Tauren whereas the Alliance offers the choice of Human, Dwarf, Gnome and Night Elf. Most classes have their own unique cities, but for some reason the Gnome and the Troll get folded in to the larger cities of certain other races. Either way, the races don’t make much of an impact on your character class other than aesthetics. Each race offers certain bonuses here and there, but these do not have a major effect on gameplay and players usually end up choosing races based on visual perference.
When making a WoW character, there aren't all that many ways to customize your character's appearance. There are some different head and hair models for each race and gender, as well as non-gender specific options such as skin/fur tone, but this doesn't add up to the visual variety possible in other games. Not to say that appearance options are shabby, but don’t expect a level of customization that was offered in City of Heroes for instance. This ends up being perfectly ok, though, as the equipment you gather throughout the game will change your outward appearance noticeably.
Once you decide upon a faction, you can then choose which class you’re going to play. A lot of the classes are shared, but there are a few that are faction specific. For instance, Alliance members can be Paladins whereas the Horde has Shaman. These are very slight differences because most of the factions can play most of the character classes.
The classes are you usual fantasy fare, but we’ll go over them briefly. First up is the Druid. Druids are magic users that are tied heavily to nature and animals. The druid is a healer of sorts but is also heavily concentrated in damage. The Druid can transform into different animals for different bonuses. Hunters are a basic pet class. A pet class meaning that they have animals they control directly to attack monsters and players. Hunters have many special abilities centering around the use of ranged weapons and their pets. The pure caster class in WoW is the Mage. Mages concentrate on pure damage output as well as being able to cast a few really great support spells. They’re always good to have in a party for the damage as well as they can summon useful items for the party such as food and water.
Paladins are a class unique to the Alliance and are very deadly. They’re a cross between a warrior and a priest sharing some of the finer qualities of both. Basically a Paladin is a holy warrior that can heal himself and wear very nice armor. The main healer in the game, priests, are also very deadly. There are many different ways to set this class up and all are effective. Rogues are pure damage dealers. The majority of the options for making a rogue in this game lead to either jumping out of hiding to either do massive damage or stun an opponent. They’re easily one of the more deadly classes in WoW. The other hybrid healer class is the Shaman. Shaman are spiritualistic casters who can heal and do massive damage. They throw down totems to aid them and their allies in combat. Never underestimate the amount of damage a Shaman can do.
Warlocks are mages that delved deep into demonology and rely heavily on the dark arts to damage and control their opponents. The Warlock can summon demons to do his bidding and they all have different abilities that are useful in certain situations. They’re one of the more difficult classes to play due to having to have the right thing in the right situation. Finally there’s the Warrior. The all around fighter class of WoW, Warriors can take a lot of damage and also deal out quite a bit in return. They’re a basic necessity for most groups and are always useful.
Every class in WoW is useful and different in its own way. One nice thing about Wow is that you can play each class a little to get a feel of what you like because the early levels come quick. Don’t be afraid to experiment some.