WoW Shadowlands DPS Guide

As with all WoW expansions, Shadowlands comes with a plethora of mechanics additions and changes. Whether you are a World of Warcraft veteran or just recently chose to buy a World of Warcraft Shadowlands account, these changes may have left you bewildered and confused.  Some of these changes, such as the level squeeze, were introduced sooner than the expansion itself, due in part to the delay. Other changes are made with the release and some are alterations made post-release for purposes of balance. Whatever the reason, changes to the game’s meta are drastic and many players are left playing catch up. Understanding all the changes is hard and understanding how they interact with one another is harder. This is a comprehensive breakdown for the new top DPS builds with the introduction of Shadowlands, so you don’t have to feel left in the dust.

            Small note, these builds are specific for high level-late game gameplay, i.e. the Shadowlands expansion. If you are looking to raid in classic or the like then you will have to look elsewhere for that because these stats won’t apply to what you are trying to do.

            We’ll start with the build that has the absolute highest potential DPS in Shadowlands, and that is the Subtlety Rogue. Subtlety Rogues aren’t a ton different, at least not in play-style. The one big addition is the change in how Blackpowder works, giving rouge’s access to an AoE on top of their very high DPS.

            For those new to the Subtlety Rough, this is a build that revolves around managing a few different resources in order to spike your DPS output. Combining Shadowdance and Symbols of Death is essential for this build. You also need to perfect your combo point generation and to keep on top of your cooldowns. You may be a master of DPS but when your buffs wear off you will deal middling damage at best so it is important to minimize your downtime as much as possible. Vanish is very helpful for keeping you out of the way until you are ready to deal the hurt out again. Do this all with the correct timing and you will have the highest DPS of any build in the Shadowlands expansion.

            A few other builds can come close to this kind of output, though not too close admittedly.

            Destruction Warlock is probably going to be our most straightforward suggestion for a build. They may not be as flashy or interesting as the Subtlety Rogue and have a lower DPS, but you can’t argue with the direct force that a Destruction Warlock wields. Terribly efficient and, best of all, extremely flexible in most situations. Not to mention that they see less of a damage reduction while they wait on cooldowns.

            When we say this build is simple and direct, we mean it. Low ramp-up time means you be dealing out damage faster than your other party members and you’ll be able to quickly and decisively alter the type of damage to fit the situation. If you are looking for a balance of power and strategy, then the Destruction Warlock might be the build for you.

            The next build we are going to look at is the Marksmanship Hunter. While they may have a few more drawbacks than the first two builds, their lethal simplicity makes them a great pick for players who might feel overwhelmed by having to balance a lot of abilities. Not to mention that the Marksmanship specialty drops the need to invest in the hunter’s pet, which is just one less optimization you need to worry about.

            The biggest change to the Hunter in Shadowlands is actually the return of a lot of old abilities. So if Hunter used to be your class of choice and you moved away from it due to gameplay alterations, then you might want to look into getting back into it.

            The key strength of the Marksmanship Hunter is their DPS is one enemy specific. They actually deal with the highest single target DPS in the expansion. The gameplay aspect you will need to learn to monitor in order to succeed is your cooldowns. Marksmanship Hunters have notoriously long wait times between ability uses, making them a bit tough to play if you are impatient. If you don’t have a problem waiting for the perfect moment, then this is the class that was made for you.

            The last build we wanted to cover, but by no means weakest is the Frost Mage. The Frost Mage’s strength comes not from their DPS but for their ability to manipulate mobility. If you are your parties Frost Mage be prepared to take on the responsibility for kiting the bad guys. You are the best one for it, after all.

            Again, the Frost Mages strengths aren’t in high single target output, but that doesn’t mean it can’t deal damage. The Frost Mage is built to be a mop, taking out swarms of low health enemies very quickly and slowing down anyone who they can’t kill right away so they can take their time.

            Frost Mages also have a couple of other key essentials, such as consistent damage output. Unlike some of the other classes that like to spike and wane with certain abilities, Frost Mages will maintain throughout the whole fight. In addition to all of the above, Frost Mages are also blessed with some excellent defensive capabilities, so if something manages to get past everything they are throwing at it, they won’t go down right away. This is something party members like to see in a mage build since it makes their lives a little easier.

            Those are the current top tier DPS for Shadowlands. We have to stress current, though. With many expansions, the majority of the alterations are going to come early to address any balancing issues they couldn’t catch until people were playing en mass. So while our information here is accurate, it may not stay that way between patches. The important thing is to stay ahead of the curve. If you see people talking about an overpowered or underpowered skill, chances are that's the next thing to be “fixed”.  If you feel your class is underpowered, don’t panic and sellyour WoW account as Blizzard routinely patches and fine tunes class balance.

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