Classic Hardcore Leveling Tier List
Ever wonder how classes fair in a Hardcore specific rule set when it comes to leveling? Check out our tier list to get a better understanding on how classes perform compared to others.
Summary of Hardcore Classes Leveling Rankings
Below is a quick summary of the full rankings that we have detailed on this page. While this gives a good outline of the standings of classes in comparison to one another, we recommend reading the full rankings to understand why certain classes are ranked as they are.
- Hunter (S-Tier)
- Mage (S-Tier)
- Warlock (A-Tier)
- Paladin (A-Tier)
- Rogue (A-Tier)
- Druid (B-Tier)
- Priest (B-Tier)
- Shaman (B-Tier)
- Warrior (C-Tier)
Hunter and Mage are the only two classes that make up the S-tier for Classic Hardcore leveling largely due to their ability to kill mobs efficiently while still remaining extremely safe with fairly minimal risk involved.
Hunter is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, leveling class in Classic World of Warcraft thanks not only to their pets, but their ability to deal damage while moving, enabling them to kite extremely effectively. Hunter pets scale entirely on level as opposed to gear which is a considerable benefit while leveling, as some classes lower on this list are much more dependent on gear. The great mobility of Hunter, due to their lack of casted spells or focus on melee attacks, will allow you to defeat foes much stronger than your character if you are able to make good usage of kiting. While hunter is probably the most new player friendly class on this list, there is a considerable amount of min-maxing that can be done as you grow more familiar with things such as your ranged swing timer and your pets threat generation.
Mage is an incredibly strong leveling class in Classic World of Warcraft, but will certainly require more experience than Hunter. Mage offers the highest multi-target mob kill speed of any class and can do so while still being very safe if done correctly. Mage utilizes its massive toolkit of roots and slows in order to keep a safe distance from your enemies while still dealing damage. While mage is much less gear dependent than some of the other classes listed below they strongly benefit from Intellect to allow them to cast more abilities before running out of mana. Mage is a decent choice for new player, but expect to have some growing pains are you learn how slowing and rooting mechanics work for this class.
Warlock, Paladin and Rogue make up the A-tier for leveling. These classes all have unique strengths that allow for them to level a bit slower than the S-tier classes, but at a consistent pace without too much stress involved in trying to survive.
Warlock is likely the strongest of the A-tier classes due to their unique summoned pets and strong consumables they can create such as the Healthstone. The Warlock Voidwalker pet not only gives you an on demand tank but also can provide one of the strongest shielding effects in the game in the form of Sacrifice. On top of having a pet, Warlock can deal with multiple mobs at a time due to the emphasis they have on damage-over-time abilities, while in dangerous situations they have access to on-demand crowd control in the form of Fear. Warlocks primary weakness comes in the form of resource limitations. You will need to be constantly aware of the amount of Soulshards you have, as well as your health and mana, as Warlocks have much higher mana costs than other casters due to their Life Tap ability. Warlocks benefit greatly from gear due to their high resource costing abilities. Both Stamina and Intellect can greatly benefit your leveling experience, and due to the nature of their talents, Hit rating is even more valuable than other spell casters.
Paladin is the safest of all melee classes due to their ability to self heal and how inherently tanky they are due to their usage of Mail and Plate armor. Paladin has one of the slower kill speeds of all of the classes of Classic, but is easily the best class to pair with in a duo thanks to their ability to heal regardless of specialization and the powerful buffs they provide even from an early level. Paladin damage is done primarily through auto-attacks augmented by various seals and unleashing those seals with your Judgement ability. Even if Paladin is the slowest class in regard to kill speed, it will provide the most consistent experience with a considerable amount of tools to handle almost any situation.
Rogue has one of the fastest killing speeds of any class in Classic WoW and a plethora of tools that can get you out of most sticky situations. While rogue lacks the ability to self heal and can be a bit squishier due to their leather armor, they have tools such as Evasion, multiple ways to stun the enemy, and a spell casting interrupt that can allow them to control enemies that would otherwise be quite deadly. While rogue has a much easier time maneuvering around in dangerous areas due to their Stealth ability, gear is extremely important as many of their abilities are based off of weapon damage and off-hand attacks are more likely to miss so trying to ensure your Rogue has the best gear possible at any time is crucial and can require a bit of planning.
Druid, Priest, and Shaman populate the B-tier, and while they all have significant weaknesses, they are all more than capable levelers and will require you to meet the challenges of leveling in some unique ways.
Druid is the jack of all trades, but the master of none. The kill speed on Druid is often times slower than most classes other than Paladin, but Druid is by far the most versatile of the classes available in Classic. Abilities such as Entangling Roots and Druids various forms they can shift through will allow you to kill dangerous enemies that other classes may not be able to solo. Druid will require a decent amount of time to truly master, as the possibilities are nearly endless. Druid is less gear reliant than the other Melee options for Classic. It is crucial to be aware of your resources at all time, especially Mana, as it is very easy to shift out of form only to realize you have no Mana to return to your Cat or Bear form, which is often required to kill an enemy.
Priest is one of the most highly sought after end game classes for Classic, but can be a bit of a challenge to level as they struggle to deal with multiple mobs. Priest has some of the strongest healing in the game so kill speed is not much of a factor for Priest. While not particularly new player friendly, as it lacks some of the emergency buttons other classes offer, Priest is very durable and when played correctly can kill mobs extremely quick. Gear is very important on Priest due to their lack of kiting tools so having plenty of Stamina and Intellect will do wonders for your leveling experience.
While Shaman excels in a group environment because of the powerful buffs their Totems offer, they can be a bit of a challenge to level, Shaman does good damage, can self heal efficiently and can be quite durable. The most glaring weakness of the Shaman is it lacks a true emergency cooldown, so you must be more careful on a Shaman than any other class in regard to pulling too many mobs. Shaman is not particularly gear reliant, but a quick weapon to take full advantage of Flametongue Weapon can greatly increase your kill speed. As with most other classes, Stamina is king.
Warrior is the only class in the C-tier and that is largely due to their dependence on gear and the importance of landing attacks which can sometimes be difficult in an unlucky situation.
Warrior is the best tanking class at end game and one of, if not the, strongest damage dealers, but the leveling process for a Warrior can be difficult. While Warrior deals a considerable amount of damage leveling, it is entirely reliant on hitting and being hit due to Rage being the Warriors primary resource. All melee, but especially Warrior, will struggle against mobs that are higher level than the Warrior as you will be leveling with a two-handed weapon and any miss can be the difference between killing or being killed. If you plan to play Warrior you must understand the limits of what you can fight and be ready to disengage and run if things even begin to look unfavorable, as you will not have your strongest defensive cooldown in Shield Wall until later levels, though abilities like Hamstring and Intimidating Shout can help you disengage from fights. Warrior is by far the most gear dependent as they need to be hit or need to hit in order to generate Rage which is required for most warrior abilities. You will also primarily be leveling using a two-handed weapon, so the more powerful the weapon, the less attacks you will have to use and it will be less likely you miss if you need less attacks to kill the enemy.
Considering Duo leveling? Check out our guide linked below on some recommend duo class pairings to better understand how they compliment each other and help smooth out your leveling process!
- 14 May 2023: Tier List added.
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