I have two post series in mind, one based on each race and an analysis of them as a whole, and another for each class. Starting with races feels sort of odd since people are usually more interested first in a class and then deciding which race to make them, but I’m going to switch it up just a bit and do both of them.
Classes and Starting Attributes
Orcs have six different classes that they can choose from: Death Knight, Hunter, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior.
Blood Fury (Instant Cast, 2 minute cooldown)
Increases attack power by (Level*4)+2 and your spell power by (Level*2)+3 for 15 seconds.
Duration of Stun effects reduced by an additional 15%.
Damage dealt by Death Knight, Hunter and Warlock pets increased by 5%.
Axe Specialization (Passive)
Expertise with Axes and Two-Handed Axes increased by 5.
Here I go over each class with an analysis based purely on stats. A lot of people on forums like to ask what race their should pick for a certain class, and the answer they receive is always the same, “go for whichever race appeals to you most visibly”. But these people aren’t asking which race looks the prettiest, they are asking which one will help them the most with the character. The answer they receive is pretty valid, it really doesn’t matter. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t help as well.
While your race does not make a huge difference in the overall scheme of how powerful your character will be at end game, it can impact how well you do early on. Oftentimes a player will start a character and then decide within the first 10 levels whether or not they like the character. So, it’s important to start off with a solid race/class combination if you’re not one for sticking it out for a while to really give the character a chance.
If you ignore the long term and start out looking just at the base starting attributes then I find the following.
I find the Orc to be an excellent race for all of the classes that it can take. With their passive racial, Command, they make for excellent DK’s, Hunters, and Warlocks as they are able to increase the damage of their pets. With Blood Fury they are able to increase their attack and spell power significantly with every class, and their reduction to stun durations helps in both PvE and PvP environments.
Hunter: With a starting Agility of 20 the Orc is a fair choice for a hunter, though not outstanding. With an Intellect of 17 they will be lacking a bit more in mana that other races. Neither of these is a reason not to have an Orc hunter, and both of them are countered strongly by the passive racial, Command that increased the Hunter’s pet damage.
Rogue: With a starting Agility of 20 the Orc is a fair choice for a rogue, though not outstanding. Lucky for the rogue though, they don’t rely entirely on Agility for their strength in melee combat, and the Orc’s 24 Strength helps to balance that quite a bit. Higher strength will allow you to hit harder, while the slightly lowered agility will mean you aren’t quite as likely to score a critial hit. Having said that, note that the percentage of crit gained from only 4 points in an attribute is very, very minimal at only a fraction of a percentile.
Shaman: Shaman’s rely on a lot of different stats as they are very much a hybrid class. The higher strength and lower intellect pushes them more towards Enhancement builds than it does Elemental builds, but shamans are fortunate in that many of their spells have a low mana cost. With a nice balance of attributes with a high Strength value Orcs make for excellent shamans. With racial bonuses to expertise with Axes and the Blood Fury racial that increases both Attack Power and Spell Power (both used by shamans), Orcs are a prime choice for Horde shamans, and are my personal preference when rolling shaman. Strictly looking at racial abilities and stats, Orcs make amazing shamans, and this class is the only one that fully benefits from Blood Frenzy as shamans use a mix of melee attacks and spells during combat.
Warlock: Orcs start off with 19 Intellect as a Warlock, which makes them a fair choice. Inceased pet damage means you are not quite so likely to draw agro off of your pet at lower levels, and your racial ability of Blood Fury can provide a strong boost to your spell power to help increase your damage output. Orcs also have a solid starting amount of Stamina that will help when you get up to around level 8 or so and start being able to cast Life Tap to sacrifice your health for more mana.
Warrior: While this class doesn’t make use of the Command racial, it does put every other aspect of the race into use. High strength and stamina make this class an excellent choice, regardless of your talent specializations. Whether you’re a tank or you want to deal damage in large and frequent quantity, you can never go wrong with an Orc.
Personally, I feel that Orcs make the best Horde Shamans, and I feel that Shaman is the best class for the race as well.