This is tricky, it’s taken me over a year to get a handle on it. Now that I do, I want to share the rule with you fine folks that are helping review and edit my posts, catching ones I let fall through the cracks. It is not a black-and-white rule, as I always assumed; you do not capitalize the name of a class in WoW in all contexts.
These rules apply to class (priest, druid, death knight, etc.) as well as race (orc, night elf, draenei, etc.)
In almost every case, the class name is not capitalized. This should be the default capitalization rule when in doubt, as it is simply a pronoun:
“The druid stood up in the middle of the raid, began to hearth, and
was back in Shattrath City vendoring off his raid gear.”
While it is true that Druid is a very-specific proper name for one of the playable classes in WoW, in the context of this sentence it is only a common noun; it acts as a generic label for a particular type of player. “The death knight gripped”, “A priest spammed guild-chat”, and “Some crazy rogue acted like a tyrant”. None of these sentences should capitalize the name of the class. If you could swap out “player” for the-class-name, it shouldn’t be capitalized.
Also, against my better judgement, I no longer believe that identifying a person/character by their combination of race and class warrants capitalization.
“Kadrok was a Tauren Shaman who kidnapped small children.”
“Kadrok was a tauren shaman who kidnapped small children.”
If the unique combination of a race and class defined the name of a title, then it would be capitalized, similar to many of the government titles held in the senate and house.
If it is used preceding a player’s name (as a superficial title), it should be capitalized:
“The Druid Dalans had a short temper and a shorter tolerance for
If it is used as a unique identifier that could not be swapped out with “player” and convey the same meaning, it should be capitalized:
“If we had any hope of battle rezzing on a consistent basis, I was
going to have to bring a Druid.”
If the name of the class is being used as a substitute to directly address a person, thereby acting as a replacement for their name (a proper noun), it should be capitalized:
Alright, Paladin…are you going to heal correctly this time around?
If the class name is paired with a talent specialization, when used as the central of focus of the sentence, it denotes a unique role or title, eg. the name of the role that’s being played, and should therefore be capitalized:
“I was going to require the expertise of a Restoration Shaman in
order to pull this tactic off.”
However, when used as a generic label to refer to/describe a person, it loses the capitalization (as it did in the above Kadrok example)
“The restoration shaman dropped his totem a moment too soon, and
Hydross became his new best friend.”
If referring to the official name of a unique title someone holds in the guild, it is capitalized:
“Annihilation served as the guild’s Warrior Officer for the
duration of Vanilla.”
This is contrasted with using the title as a substitute for the personal pronoun as the subject of the sentence, which should not be capitalized,
“I was going to have to check back with my warrior officer to
determine Omaric’s eligibility.”
Contribute thoughts/feedback/corrections as needed.