The fourteen classes of the original 1999 version of EverQuest were later expanded to include the Beastlord and Berserker classes with the Shadows of Luclin (2001) and Gates of Discord (2004) expansions, respectively.
The classes can be grouped into five general roles that share similar characteristics, as described below.
Members of this group have a high number of hitpoints for their level, and can equip heavy armor. They have the ability to taunt enemies into focusing on them, either directly or through the use of aggravating spells and abilities. This is to keep their more lightly-armored companions alive and well, who may otherwise provoke the wrath of one or more deadly creatures.
Warrior: the prototypical tank class, able to avoid and mitigate more damage than any other. In a way, this is offset by their inability to cast spells. Owing to their stalwart defensive prowess, the Warrior often has a crucial role as main tank of a group or raid party, absorbing or mitigating the sustained assaults of enraged and often numerous opponents. Their high hit points also allow them to take more punishment than most other classes before succumbing, which gives healers a greater chance to keep them, and thus the party, alive and well. In their role as tank or proverbial damage sponge, the Warrior uses their Taunt skill to keep dangerous enemies trained on them, rather than chasing down overly-aggressive wizards or rogues, who may come under attack after landing a devastating backstab or lightning strike. All these qualities may help engender a sense of trust in a well-known and well-armored warrior, who can generally go toe-to-toe with a powerful mob for longer than any other class.
Shadow Knight: a durable tank class; this Warrior/Necromancer hybrid has vampiric and damage-over-time spells. Shadow Knights have the unique ability to Harm Touch (do direct damage) every seventy-two minutes, the power of which increases in absolute terms but decreases relative to enemies’ hit points as a player levels up. Since this class is a hybrid, they must wait longer than the Necromancer to begin receiving spells, and longer yet for the more potent incantations such as Summon Corpse and Feign Death. Shadow Knights are, after some time, able to summon a weak skeleton pet, as well as summon a player’s corpse that is in the same zone as them, a vital skill when things have gone amiss in some dungeon. Their Feign Death spell, similar to but slightly less reliable than one possessed by the monk class, can prove useful in dangerous situations.
Paladin: the virtuous counterpart to the Shadow Knight, a Paladin is a hybrid Warrior/Cleric. They were originally able to Lay on Hands (heal themselves or another player) once every seventy-two minutes (real-time); Lay on Hands is now available as an innate ability. At mid-levels, paladins can purchase some resurrection spells. Paladins are tough in melee with some healing, protective, and stun spells. At mid-range levels, they can purchase a “pacify” line of spells that allows them to function as a puller for a group. Like Shadow Knights, Paladins have powers which enable them to do comparatively greater damage to undead opponents.
The following classes are able to deal high corporal damage to opponents. Within the game, these classes are often referred to as ‘DPS’, which stands for Damage Per Second. There isn’t a definitive top DPS class, as damage dealt will depend on numerous factors which vary from one encounter to another (such as the enemy’s armor, its positioning, and its magic resistance). Another complication is that while Wizards can readily deal tremendous damage to enemies, their ability to do so is limited by their remaining mana pool, as well as how fast they are able to regenerate mana. That said, Berserkers, Rogues, and Wizards are three classes most commonly cited as the highest overall damage dealers.
These melee damage dealers have a medium number of hit points per level, but cannot wear the heaviest armors and are less likely than a tank class to be able to survive direct attacks for a sustained period of time.
Beastlord: A unique class which combines some powers from the Monk and Shaman classes along with a powerful pet. Beastlords can imbue their pets with powers, and engage opponents with either hand-to-hand melee skills, or with weapons. They can de-buff enemies with spells, and possess modest healing abilities. This diverse array of skills allows Beastlords to be effective solo adventurers at many levels as well as being handy in a group.
Berserker: A specialist form of the melee type, the Berserker is primarily a medium-armored, high-damage dealer that uses two-handed weapons and who can hurl axes and other miscellanea, often stunning their enemies, or hampering their movement.
Monk: As masters of martial arts, Monks are the hand-to-hand fighting experts who can learn to use one-handed and two-handed blunt weapons, making them powerful opponents in close-quarters combat. Monks get many, if not all, combat skills (dual wield, double attack, triple attack, etc.) before any other class. Monks have the ability to feign death with a high degree of reliability, and possess additional skills that enable them to be a strong pulling class. They have the ability to heal themselves, with a moderate cooldown, with the Mend ability.
Ranger: A versatile hybrid class combining some of a Warrior’s fighting prowess with a Druid’s spellcasting, Rangers are able to deal large amounts of damage both from a ranged distance and in close quarters. Their most unusual ability is to track unseen NPCs, for which they are highly valued as pullers in outdoor zones. Rangers also have the ability to taunt, and they possess a harmony line of spells (like pacify, but which only works outdoors) which allow them to play the role of tank to a limited degree. They can make use of archery better than any other class. Their line of snare spells (which hampers an enemy’s movement) is very useful in groups looking for quick experience, by preventing enemies from running away, as well as allowing the Ranger to effectively kite a hostile creature.
Rogue: With their backstab ability, which multiplies damage done to an unguarded enemy’s back, Rogues are able to inflict massive amounts of damage, provided that they are in a group that can keep the opponent facing away from the Rogue. Later in life, with the help of alternate advancement abilities, rogues are able to backstab opponents even when facing them. Rogues have the ability to make poisons, pick pockets, and pick locks. Their abilities early on to sneak and hide allow them to walk past both living and undead mobs without being seen.
Caster classes have the lowest hit points per level and can only wear the lightest of armors. Casters draw their power from an internal pool of mana, which takes some time to regenerate and thus demands judicious and efficient use of spells.
Wizard: The primary nuking class; these casters are able to deal catastrophic damage to enemies over a very short time from a distance, particularly with their Manaburn skill, although the length of encounters often makes manaburn inefficient to use. Wizards are considered to be the masters of teleportation, and have appropriate spells to facilitate group travel to certain locations, including designated safe spots when things turn sour for the whole group. A Wizard’s direct damage spells are generally from the fire, frost, and magic schools.
Magician: Usually referred to as Mages, Magicians are similar to the Wizard class but with noticeably less direct-damage spell power. They are able to summon strong elemental pets, from the domains of Earth, Water, Air, and Fire, each with unique strengths and weaknesses. They have the ability to conjure pet armor and weapons, food, drink, and mod rods, which allow players to convert their health into mana. Magicians can summon party members to different parts of a zone with the Call of the Hero spell, which can be helpful in raid zones. Magicians’ direct damage spells are generally from the fire school of magic.
Necromancer: These masters of death are able to summon, buff, and heal powerful undead pets, as well as use poison, magic, fire, and disease damage-over-time spells. Necromancers are able to feign death, snare enemies, and summon players’ corpses that are in the same zone. They have a potent arsenal in their spellbook, particularly with their ability to snare then fear their opponent, as well their ability to lifetap – taking the enemy’s health and using it to restore their own. This allows the Necromancer to function effectively without the services of other players, perhaps more so than any other class.
Crowd control / utility
These classes share the ability to prevent enemies from attacking the party, as well as improving mana regeneration for themselves, teammates, and in the Enchanter’s case, anyone they come across.
Enchanter: A caster class that has few hit points per level and can wear only the lightest forms of armor, Enchanters are crowd control experts and are the most proficient class at Charming, Stunning, and Mesmerizing enemies. They have the ability to Memory Blur an opponent (causing them to forget they had been attacked) or Pacify an opponent (making them oblivious to antagonists in the area, but which has a small chance of backfiring), both of which may be extremely useful in avoiding unwanted skirmishes. Enchanters have a wide range of utility spells, including the Clarity (AKA ‘crack’ due to many caster class players becoming ‘hooked’ on the increased mana regeneration that this spell provides and constantly seek enchanters to cast it on them, often offering generous amounts of in-game currency) line of spells, which when cast on a player allows them to regenerate mana at an improved rate. In addition to being able to both increase players’ rate of attack (with the Haste line of spells), and Slowing that of enemies, Enchanters may also cast Illusions on themselves and others, which may have no real benefit (other than conferring a new look) or may grant tangible benefits such as underwater breathing, flight, or a vampiric touch. Lastly, Enchanters possess the unique Rune line of spells, which creates a magical protective buffer against all forms of damage until it has been worn down. This class is also uniquely suited for the jewelcraft trade, because it is the only class able to enchant metals.
Enchanters possess some rudimentary direct-damage and damage-over-time offensive spells, all in the Magic school of casting, although using mana in this way is not often efficient or effective.
Bard: a jack-of-all-trades class with fair melee ability, good armor, and the ability to play songs that benefit all nearby comrades. They can use crowd control songs in order to pacify hostile opponents, or help regenerate health and mana for their comrades using a different set of songs. Bards possess the unique ability to ‘fade’ from their enemies’ memories. This makes the bard an excellent pulling class. Bards possess lesser versions of many of the special abilities of other classes. They are known for their ability early on to increase the movement speed of their party faster than any mount or movement buff. Bards can weave the effects of up to four songs at once to confer the greatest advantage to their group. Bards themselves often do not receive the full benefit of their songs, but they can still be an effective solo class at many levels, especially with their strong kiting proficiency.
For a long time the Bard was generally considered the most overpowered class in the game, able to originally stack multiple versions of a single buff, and benefit from all of them, while other classes could not. The Bard is also the only class able to cast spells from items, while running.
Priest classes have medium level of hit points per level and have access to healing and “buff” spells.
Cleric: The most powerful healer in the game, and for the first few years of EverQuest the only class capable of resurrection with experience regained, and the only class with the spell Complete Heal. As the game has changed, Complete Heal has become less effective compared to the cleric’s many different lines of more powerful and quicker (albeit more mana-intensive) heals. Primarily healers, the cleric also has some “death save” spells, as “Divine Intervention” and can increase spell casting haste with “Blessing of Loyalty”. Clerics can wear the heaviest plate-mail type armors. Clerics are great solo classes due to the introduction of the “Vow of Valor” line of spells, which provides the cleric with increased melee damage and a high rate of self-regeneration, at the cost of halving their direct heals’ power.
Druid: A priest class that can cast healing spells, teleport, snare (to slow down enemies movement rate), and moderately-powerful nuking and damage-over-time spells, as well as charming animals to use them as pets. Druids may only wear leather armor, and have a number of transportation spells that allow speedy movement throughout much of the gaming world. Their combined tracking and foraging skills make them accomplished trade-skillers. Druids can, just like shamans, resurrect other players after a fight, but with the same experienced regained as a paladin, or a lower level cleric.
Shaman: Shamans can take many roles, and are often considered as a “utility” class. They are excellent in soloing, group and raid situations. While raiding, a shaman will primarily heal and enhance the attack rate of melee fighters, as well as decreasing the ferocity of opponents. Shamans, or “Shammies” may cannibalize their health to restore mana, which means that they are able to keep casting their spells for much longer times than clerics or druids. They wear chain armor, and can summon an animal pet.