A hero class is a character class derived from the base classes, but with exclusive perks. These perks can include a unique starting experience, customization options, resources, class mounts, a higher starting level, and other flavor mechanics. There are currently two hero classes, the death knight and the demon hunter. The concept of a hero class is derived from the "heroes" in Warcraft III.
The term "hero class" is commonly misunderstood to mean that the class is more powerful than other classes. The term instead signifies a unique playstyle and experience, as well as denoting a class of heroes which start at an already "heroic" or "veteran" level, with an experience and gear to match.
- Main article: Death knight
The first hero class, the death knight was announced at BlizzCon 2007 and was released with Wrath of the Lich King. They start in a unique, phased starting experience set in Acherus: The Ebon Hold. The death knight can be a tank or damage dealer. They do not use shields while tanking, they instead usetwo-handed weapons and heal after losing Health. Death knights also use melee and non-melee magic abilities.
- Death knights start at level 55.
- Their resource consists in runic power and runes to power their abilities.
- Their class mounts are the Acherus Deathcharger and the .
- Their ability allows death knights to enchant their weapons.
- Death knights quickly obtain a full set of Rare gear in their starting area.
- Because they start the game at such a high level, death knights are automatically given all flight paths for the original continents.
- It was originally required to already possess at least one level 55 or higher character and to have purchased the Wrath of the Lich King expansion in order to be able to create a death knight. Players were also only able to create one death knight per realm. These restrictions have since been completely removed as of Patch 6.1.
- Main article: Demon hunter
This section concerns content related to Legion.
The second hero class, the demon hunter was announced at gamescom 2015 with the reveal of World of Warcraft: Legion. Their starting experience is set in Mardum, the Shattered Abyss. A leather-wearing melee class, demon hunters fulfill DPS and tanking roles, using flips, dives and agile attacks to evade damage while defeating foes using one-handed weapons and magical abilities.
- Demon hunters start at level 98.
- Their resource consists in Fury for and Pain for Vengeance to power their abilities.
- Their class mount is the Felsaber.
World of Warcraft
This section concerns content related to the original World of Warcraft.
All the hero units of Warcraft III were originally supposed to become hero classes in World of Warcraft. Hero classes were still listed in 2005 on the "Under Development" page of the original website. When a character hit level 40, it could start specializing in skills to become the same kind of hero. However, as Blizzard developed talent trees, they dropped the idea as they believed that the trees would provide enough customization. For example, a night elven warrior could specialize into wielding two one-handed weapons and essentially be a demon hunter, while a dwarven warrior could fulfill the fantasy of a mountain king.
Wrath of the Lich King
This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.
Many ideas were considered for the Wrath hero class, which were narrowed down to four front-runners.
Runemasters were a type of enchanters who wrote runes on their bodies to give them different physical powers. However, a lot of the features of the runemaster were given to the death knights and, later, the monks. Some of the ideas for the necromancer class were also incorporated into the death knight instead, which was chosen as the hero class. The monk was later added as a regular, non-hero class in Mists of Pandaria.
- Main article: Bard (April Fools)
According to the announcement, the Bard "can vanquish evil with the power of ROCK!" and wields a two-handed "ax" (that is, an electric guitar). Screenshots revealed a new "Fret Bar" interface (resembling that of the Guitar Hero games) powering the Bard's "Groove" resource system. Blizzard claimed that the Wrath of the Lich King expansion would ship with a Frostmourne-themed "guitar-based keyboard peripheral". Two Talent trees were revealed, including Metal Talents (such as Starstruck, Epic Solo, and Axe Specialization), and Punk Rock Talents (such as Shred, Mosh Pit, and Rock 'N Roll Racing).
- ^ Official Q&A on Death Knights - "It's also important to keep in mind that even though the death knight is a hero class, that doesn't mean it is more powerful than the other classes, just that it will offer a very different playing experience."
- ^ Ghostcrawler - The Term "Hero Class" - "Hero class" meant that the DK started at a higher level (and also with a lot of blue gear and so on). We thought it made sense for the DK story because you're treated as a high-level character and veteran of past events. We didn't think that made as much sense for the monk, especially when there were so many low-level pandaren running around, and the (perhaps flimsy) justification for non-pandaren monks learning how to be monks from the pandaren. We might very well use hero classes again if it makes sense for a future class though."
- ^ http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/game/class/demon-hunter
- ^ Under Development. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ Computer Gaming World, Issue Number: 231 (page 96). Computer Gaming World Museum (2003-10-01).
- ^ AMA on /r/WoW- Former WoW developers Kevin Jordan (classes and spells), John Staats (dungeons and instants), David Ray (database, Wowedit, tools)
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=1778028862&pageNo=1&sid=1#1
- ^ http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/wow-other-hero-classes-were-considered
- ^ World of Warcraft Diary
- ^ http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/community/blizzcast/archive/episode7.html
- ^ Official website - Bard class [dead link - archived copy]