I am asking this not to start an argument, but for an opinion on what makes things easy. For me playing a hunter is easy because I have been doing it so long but that does not change the fact that looking at it from the outside looking in a hunter is probably one of the harder class in the game to get the maximum out of for a new player. I am sure many disagree, but I will explain my theory for that in time and I would like to hear opinions anyway.
From the Damage Dealing perspective...
Having recently played a few specs I had not played much of in the past, shadow priest, elemental shaman, and demonology warlock among others, it has me thinking, which class is really the easiest for a new player to get the hang of.
Each class has its respective issues that add difficulty to it. Like the reason I think hunters are a lot more difficult for a new player than people give them credit for is because they have so many abilities it leaves it open for many mistakes. When there are a lot of things on your priority list all off cooldown at the same time the chance for hitting the wrong one is a lot higher. Being hunters have so many abilities and there are always multiple ones available to press at any time, that means that every single cooldown someone can press the wrong one, even if they know what is right. However, with hunters, even if you do hit the wrong one you can still do respectable damage, hence the reason for the belief that they are easy. Even when you hit the wrong things you can still do okay.
But who wants to just do okay? Maybe most people seem to be fine with it but I am not. Okay is fine when you are alone but in group content people need to try to be better than just okay. Lets face it, a hunter with a 500 item level doing 40K is not, repeat, not okay.
So what class is the easiest to be more than okay with?
The hardest, in my opinion, are feral druid, enhancement shaman and hunter of any spec, all for their own reasons. None of which those three classes share.
The easiest used to be an arcane mage but the addition of mana being an important factor for them it has actually bought a little complexity to what would otherwise be an extremely easy rotation. Like I said however, every class has its points of complexity and I think what it all comes down to is what we, as the player, can handle best.
Some people are great a multi dotting and other suck. Some people are fine with watching mana and others forget about it and it hurts them. Some people have no issue managing combo points and others lost track of them. Some people can manage multiple debuffs as if it were second nature while others easily get distracted by doing things that do damage and forget the debuffs make that damage higher. It is all about what our minds have an easier time handling and we are each different.
If we wanted the easiest rotation for any human brain to handle it would be the three button rotation. 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, and do that over and over, nothing ever changes. Even if it were extended to a five button rotation 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 over and over, it would be easy for anyone to get a handle on. The problem is that there is no rotation in the game that simple.
But which one is the closest to that?
In my opinion it would be the assassination rogue. But even if it is that simple, in theory, it isn't, there is more to it. For example I can give you my assassination rogue rotation, in numbers not names, and any assassination rogue would be able to tell you what I am doing skill wise.
Open from stealth with 5, hit 5 again, then 2 or 4 if it proced then 3. Now I do 2 three times, or 2 times if 4 procs which makes it 2 times and 4 once, then 1. Then 2 twice and 3 and back and forth between the 2 three times then 1 and 2 times then 3 switching out 2 for 4 when the target is under 35% and doing twice as many 4s and I did 2 each rotation.
See, 5 buttons basically. But I did that rotation completely wrong. There is so much more to it. I have 6 and 7 as cooldowns and Alt 5 to put me back into stealth and what about Alt 2 if I need to interrupt or so many other utility abilities I have on alts and shifts or other numbers and letters.
See, even the easiest rotation, as I see it, has a lot more to it then just those 5 buttons. Even with only those 5 buttons did you see all those conditions I had on it. Three of this ability but only if another does not proc and if it does then only two of that ability and the one proc one. So it is not 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. It is not easy.
Sure, it is really easy once you do it enough and it is second nature. But it is not easy to just jump in on. I have a sense for the game and for me, even not playing a rogue well, I was capable of learning it quickly. But I am not a fresh player. So me saying assassination is easy would not help a brand new player. It is still hard for them. So it might be the easiest to learn for someone that understand the game but not for a fresh face.
So what is next on the list that I consider easy?
Elemental Shaman. Start with 2 and use on cooldown, 1 on cooldown, 3 on cooldown, fill with 4. Hit 1 and alt 2 when lit up, alt 2 replaces 2 only when lit up. 5, shift 5 and alt 5 are all cooldowns. With this rotation there are also other things you could do, many other things, but that simple rotation will get you more for less buttons than any other class in the game. All that, and it really is simple. You have a 4 button rotation, 3 with cooldowns and one filler. So it is nearly impossible to press the wrong one. If it is lit, press it, if not, use the 1, 2, 3, priority and 4 if none of them are available, simple as that.
What rotation would you consider to be the closest to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and over again? That would be the easiest rotation in the game. At least for a new player that knows nothing about the game.
Just tell them hit 1, 2, 3, 4, whichever is available, and hit whatever lights up over that and then go back to doing that. Yeap, without a doubt, in my opinion, elemental shaman is the easiest rotation in the game currently.
From the Tanking perspective...
Active mitigation was a game changer and made it that you needed a lot more skill to play a tank, or at least play one well. Before the advent of active mitigation you could roll a shield tank, gear in tank gear, and just DPS the boss as long as you had the right spec and right gear and unless you where doing pressing content you would be perfectly fine. Tanking was as easy as hitting your attacks and taunting once in a while when someone pulled. The hardest part of tanking before active mitigation was finding damage dealers that gave you enough time to round up the mobs. Outside of that, you really did not need any skill or ability, your spec and gear and the healer behind you of course would be enough to keep you ticking like a well wound watch.
Now with tanks being responsible for keeping themselves alive, which tank is easiest comes down to which tank has the easiest time keeping themselves alive.
While I do believe I enjoy the new active mitigation design and find my warrior and druid more fun to play the survivability award has to go to paladins and death knights in my opinion. I will not mention brewmasters as I have no experience outside of some time on beta with one playing them. So I will hold my opinion on them, feel free to add yours.
So looking at the paladin and death knight you now have to go back to what is easiest with the human mind of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 mentality. While paladins have, in my opinion, superior survivability thanks to all the abilities they have, the skill cap needed to get the most out of it is a lot higher than that of a death knight. The paladin tank is kin to the hunter damage dealer. Twelve million buttons to do what other classes can do with 5. For that reason and that reason only death knights get my vote of easiest tank to play in the current design.
Perhaps my opinion is tainted by the fact that DKs have always been active mitigation tanks from the get go and I've had the most experience playing them that way but I do not think that is it. I think the reason they are the easiest is because they passively heal themselves so to speak. Even an unskilled death knight will hit their self heals while just doing damage and the more damage they take the more they heal themselves. So add in a cooldown here and there and they can take care of themselves a lot easier than any other tank class and really do not need to do anything different than an old school tank did, hit the mob.
From the Healing perspective...
I have two schools of thought on what is easiest from the healing perspective and one of them is contrary to what I said earlier, that 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 is the staple for easier. But first, the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 rule.
All healing classes have their collection of heals. There is a small and cheap heal, the big, long and costly heal, the big, fast and extra costly heal, the AoE heal and an HoT. Five types of heals for our 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 even if healers do not work like that.
So which class closest resembles that? We go to the shaman again for that. Druids just have too much going on all over the place, even if they are the best class on the move and priest have way to many options for healing, some might say they have at least 2 of each of those types of heals, which could lead to a new player getting easily confused on which one to use and paladins are the opposite of druids with lots going on in one place and not nearly as much mobility. Again, I will refrain from commenting on monk healing as I have yet to try it.
While shaman might also have some of those mobility issues that every class not named druid do they also have only one of each of those direct type heals. One small heal, one big one, one expensive one, one AoE one and one HoT one. Yes, there are other ones that could fit those bills, lots of them really with totems and ground effects and the such but the basic heals someone needs to learn to start healing are a no brainer. There is one of each and more importantly they are all useful. Unlike the disc priest that will never use their HoT so someone learning to play disc could easily be confused and using it when it really is not the best for them to do so. Shaman do not have that issue even if they do have a slew of additionals.
For part two of what I think makes for the easier heals is more buttons, in a sense, not less. This goes completely against everything I said about the other roles. And I do not mean two different small heal options, I mean utility abilities. Shaman have more of them that any other class. They can dispel, they have two sorts of CC, they can interrupt, they have a pet that can DPS a pet that can tank, CC breaking totems, group debuff totems, and so many other little tools that make your job as a healer easier.
Interrupting a cast that does 100K to everyone in a raid is the most powerful heal in the game. Isn't it better to interrupt it than to try to heal it? In a 25 man raid that means 2.5M heals that do not need to be cast in 1 second. Unless your healer can put out more than 2.5M HPS for the mana cost of one interrupt that makes a interrupting better. That is just one example of why healer utility, more buttons for healers, is good and makes them easier. It is easier for a new player learning to heal to not have to heal that 2.5M in damage.
So oddly enough I consider the easiest healing class to be the one with the most buttons, but they are most non repetitive buttons. There will still only be one of each type of heal which is what makes them easy to learn. A heal for all occasions.
Kind of funny that shaman, in my opinion, rank tops on ease to learn for two specs, but enhancement ranks near the hardest to learn.
What class do you think would be the easiest for a new player to learn for each role, damage, tanking and healing?
My three winners are Elemental Shaman, Blood Death Knight and Restoration Shaman.