Efforts to streamline and codify wave energy resource characterization and assessment for regional energy planning and wave energy converter (WEC) project development have motivated the recent development of resource classification systems. Given the unique interplay between WEC absorption and resource attributes, viz, available wave power frequency, directionality, and seasonality, various consensus resource classification metrics have been introduced. However, the main international standards body for the wave energy industry has not reached consensus on a wave energy resource classification system designed with clear goals to facilitate resource assessment, regional energy planning, project site selection, project feasibility studies, and selection of WEC concepts or archetypes that are most suitable for a given wave energy climate. A primary consideration of wave energy generation is the available energy that can be captured by WECs with different resonant frequency and directional bandwidths. Therefore, the proposed classification system considers combinations of three different wave power classifications: the total wave power, the frequency-constrained wave power, and the frequency-directionally constrained wave power. The dominant wave period bands containing the most wave power are sub-classification parameters that provide useful information for designing frequency and directionally constrained WECs. The bulk of the global wave energy resource is divided into just 22 resource classes representing distinct wave energy climates that could serve as a common language and reference framework for wave energy resource assessment if codified within international standards.