WoW Classic Leveling Tier List - Who's First to Level 60?
Since official WoW Classic servers release is coming in hot, it is time to have some reviews carried out. Or some reminders for those of you, who 15 years ago in the best years of your youth decided to raid and grind instead of playing soccer. Back then things were different. Everything was harder than in modern World of Warcraft. Let’s have a look at the Phase 1 WoW Classic leveling tier list before our journey to the realm.
How was leveling in Classic WoW
Before The Burning Crusade, the level cap was 60. You unlocked the mount at LVL 40, and got it for free if you played god tier levellers - Warlock or Hunter. Some key abilities were also coming with levels to boost the leveling speed, like Voidwalker at lvl 10, pet at the same level for Hunter, or some strong DPS talents specific for Mages class, that allowed them to AoE wipe mobs.
Level 60 commonly referred to as the end game in Classic WoW was a breaking point for certain activities, the most difficult and demanding raids, PvP milestone and so on. No wonder people were grinding the hell out of themselves to get there. Not to mention that lvl 60 was the moment, when the torment of leveling for Paladins and Warriors ended.
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WoW Classic server launched on August 27th 2019 will be run on patch 1.12.1. so before The Burning Crusade expansion. This means that pretty much everything stays the classic way.
Whole books could be written treating about this topic. It is impossible to place one of them in the rank 1 spot without setting the World (of Warcraft) on fire. If we gave the title to Hunter, Warlocks would send their Felhunter to attack us. If we said that hands down the Warlock is the best, Hunter enthusiasts community would launch their online arrows at us. There is no clear cut which class is ultimately the best at leveling, so it’s safe to place them ex aequo. However we've seen more than one forum thread with posts that we cannot quote. We were too afraid to reply.
What were the main issues while leveling in WoW Classic? HP and mana loss, lack of DPS and mobility, inability to deal with more than one mob at the time. Well, Warlocks could have overcome almost all of these, maybe except the mobility.
They have had pocket tanks since lvl 1 with Summon Imp. After level 10 they had even better tank in Voidwalker, which made exceptional meat shield virtually until lvl 60. He could kill as many mobs as his tanks could survive. Warlock provided strong DPS with his Shadow Bolt, DoTs and Destruction tree talents, inferior only to Mage.
He had quite good mana sustain despite being mana reliant. His spells allowed him to drain mana from targets. Also he had possibility to create Healthstones to sustain himself.
What more could you possibly want from a class in WoW Classic? Free mount, maybe.
Oh wait. Warlock was receiving a free mount at lvl 40 after completing a quest.
You have suggested levelling specs build for the class.
Second number 1 on our tier list. His biggest advantage is his greatest weakness at the same time. During leveling stages Hunter is kind of pet reliant. If he has his pocket tank, he’s good. If he can’t use it, he’s pretty weak. Also pet takes a lot more care compared to demons summoned by Warlock. It has to be regularly fed and happy. Sure, Hunter’s beast deals more damage than Voidwalker, and the player himself is not mana reliant, which sort of equals their potential.
Until level 10, where Hunters gets his pet, his leveling is similar to Warrior. It revolves around wandering and auto attacking things. This is where Warlocks have an advantage since they can summon the Imp from the start.
Outside of it Hunter may find himself in a hell lot of trouble, when his pet dies. He’s self-reliant should the case occur, and Hunter left on his own is nothing of the threat he is with his companion.
However if you master playing around it and avoid getting into sticky situations, leveling your character may be somewhat a walk in the park as Hunter.
Here you have a good build for Hunter in Vanilla.
As Warlock and Hunter are undisputed number 1 in pretty much any tier list (the only community discussion is between Hunter and Warlock really), we decided to place Mage at number 2. Same as for argue about the number 1, some Mage fans may say we are out of our minds, as Mages excel at clearing hordes of mobs, but… This tierlist, just like any tier list, is subjective content to some extent.
What Mages are the undisputed kings at, is dealing damage. We see a lot raid groups consisting of one healer, one main tank, one off-tank and rest of Mages to deal damage. So if you are not looking for a hit-and-run class, but more like hit-and-kill-with-one-spell class then Mage is definitely for you. This is class is much wanted in both PvP and PvE.
They are casters relying on mana, so playing around with this resource is crucial in leveling. This forces some downtime to drink and regenerate, which slows your leveling pace.
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But once you step on the battlefield. Boy, oh, boy… Mages are the only class in Vanilla that have AoE DPS on their disposal (except Engineering tools). This allows them to cut through large groups of mobs like a farmer cuts through wheat. Plus, this is extremely satisfying and more interesting then Warrior’s Hamstring kiting or hiding behind the pet like Warlock or Hunter.
The class lacks healing, but with correct usage of Frost spec spells and Crowd Control lock down you should virtually take no damage from mobs. Like not a single hit.
Mages are wanted in a dungeon party. If you decided to play the caster DPS class your offensive potential will always be handy.
With talents, specs and gear comes mana and health sustain, as well as better overall stats. Having those at decent, sufficient level makes grinding through World of Warcraft even more satisfying for a player.
Once reached lvl 60, you will rarely find yourself asking: “What do I do next?”. Mages will always be useful in both PvE and PvP. If you are not a kind of a player, to whom end game is literally end of the game, you will have plenty of exercises to do.
Here you have two viable builds for Mage from any point of view, both with strong DPS and kiting potential, as well as strong emphasis on Arcane talent tree.
The most resource efficient class in leveling in Classic World of Warcraft. Also useful in PvE raid and PvP as Holy Priest is unmatched healer.
Priest leveling is fabulous compared to resources he needs, but the only thing he needs more than any other classes ranked higher than him is time. As a player you will basically require a lot of patience.
Spirit Tap provides him with a mana and health sustain, which gives him possibility to never make stops, like other classes do. Drinking or eating was never the case for the Priest no matter the spec, whether it was Holy or Shadow. His DPS was unimpressive. Worse than Warlock or Mage, but still better than Paladin. It was his survivability, that made him good for leveling.
He has probably the best healing ability in the game, which has application in both PvE and PvP, raid or battleground. His heal is better than Shaman's or Druid's. He also has a shielding ability on top of that - this helps him survive throughout the leveling stages even better.
Sadly, he lacks versatility close to end game, being pretty much linnear. The chosen spec puts him into certain activities automatically, denying being at least good in others. For example Shadow Priest (preferably Undead) will be great for PvP but useless in raids. Holy Priest is the best healer from many seasoned players point of view. Discipline Priest is rather average in PvP and PvE, and not worth going for in Classic WoW unless you are a hardcore player.
Whoever played Hitman or Assassin’s Creed will have a fond for Rogue class. Sneaky murderers able to one shot low-geared ‘clothies’ have been dominating the PvP segments of World of Warcraft throughout the history. Their leveling is not so great but definitely rewarding later on, as they become strong single target DPS powerhouse.
Their downside is the lack of mobility that for example Druid have. Since in Classic World of Warcraft you spend half of your time walking around during quests, 5 minute cooldown Sprint might not be enough. Nothing slows leveling down like time that you have to waste traveling.
They are good at soloing mobs with high DPS and kiting potential, but dealing with more than one enemy can be somewhat problematic. Back in the days killing one adequately levelled mob could take a dozen or so seconds. And it was hard for every class to stand your ground when taking damage from more than one enemy. For most classes pulling two or more mobs meant death.
As Rogue you had no pet to tank for you, no defensive or healing abilities, no AoE DPS, so you needed to pick your fights carefully to come out on top. However you had your ‘panic button’. You could go stealthed at any moment of the battle and vanish in the shadow.
Once properly geared and levelled up, Rogue becomes a god-tier PvP class. And this is their purpose. They are arguably best melee class to climb and the highest melee DPS dealers next to Fury Warrior.
If Cenarius legacy is something important for you, then… Naaa, let’s be serious. Druid class has its pros and cons for playing just as other classes, and has its purpose in WoW Classic.
Bear form is excellent for tanking, Cat form gives DPS and Travel form helps moving between locations. It is so good that in certain situations it can allow you to skip the mount, and save a ton of gold.
The downside of playing Druid is their uselessness at 60. You are pretty much forced to become a resto healer role, and even then you are not the best at what you’re doing, losing to Shaman and Priest. There is a common belief that Druids are the best at farming and gold making, as they have class and racial utility buffs to it. There is nothing more to do. Prot Warriors are better tanks than Dire Bear Druid, Fury Warrior and Rogue have more DPS than Feral Druid, Priest and Shaman are better healers… This being said Druids make fine farming alts. Most players share the same view, no matter the tier list.
As for the build you want to put few points into Balance, take one talent from Restoration, and commit to Feral.
If you are set to be Horde-exclusive heal machine, you may want to go for Shaman class. Be aware that leveling as Shaman is not a piece of cake if you don’t have luck. Leveling as Shaman in Classic World of Warcraft can be boring and interesting, depending on the odds.
The reason is Windfury Weapon. This is what made Shaman class a kind of a ticking time-bomb. As the definition states, it imbued Shaman's weapon with a wind, giving him a chance for additional attacks with bonus DPS. The ability allowed Shaman to basically one-shot enemies, but it was inconsistent and unreliable. But as it hit... it gave more DPS than Rogue. All the player had to do was pray to RNG gods to lay some grace upon him.
Shaman always had decent heals as for healing classes, however their power was inferior to Holy Priest. Flametongue combined with a dagger made him quite successful 1 v 1. The class focused mostly on melee, due to high mana costs and low mana sustain. Yes, Shaman was more mana hungry than other classes we list.
Recommended Shaman build for leveling in Classic WoW suggests going Elemental.
One of the most suffering class throughout leveling stages. He was forced into Retribution spec build in order to do anything. His lack of damaging spells made him rely on auto attacks until lvl 60, and its DPS weren't any close to those of Rogue, Fury Warrior or Feral Druid. He couldn't hide behind the pet and shoot from boomstick or use Shadow Bolt. No stealth like Rogue didn't give him any option to leave combat other than Bubble Hearth. No AoE like Mage made him battle only one enemy at once.
He had healing, but it was rather average compared to those of Priest and Druid, and even Shaman. He struggled even to heal himself. Very mana reliant and unreliable DPS. Definitely a nieche pick for Alliance hardcores.
Clearly the purpose of Paladin is not fighting mobs.
Suggested Classic WoW leveling build for Paladin
Throughout our research we have failed to find a single guide or tier list, that would place Warrior in any other spot, than the dead last. Leveling as Warrior is slow, inefficient and painful. He lacks build in healing, which results in poor sustain. Has to make stops very often and eat a lot. Pulling more than one mob is high risk and often ends up with death. He has poor leveling build with little to no useful spells. The class lacks druid-like mobility, and some World of Warcraft fans are joking that you don’t need mobility when eating constantly. The only thing that make them worse than Paladin is lack of Bubble Hearth. This means that if you find yourself in trouble, well - you're in trouble.
What makes it up for Warrior is level 60. The class is extremely rewarding with a high skill cap and value in both PvP and PvE. Fury Warrior is unmatched melee DPS overshadowing even Rogues. Protection tank is by far the best tank in the game. Be prepared for being asked to tank even if you specialized for Fury spec, as many dungeon clearers will love you to take a blow for them.
Warrior players are the first to look for boosting or power leveling. Newbies will notice how hard it is to bring the character to desired level and what they've really sign on. Seasoned WoW enthusiasts will know, what’s upfront, and will want to avoid it at all cost. We can only feel sorry for those, who will be power leveling a Warrior.
Our tip for poor Warrior might be pairing up with a Mage, and doing some dungeons together. A Mage could use a tank, and Warrior will be grateful for some AoE DPS to slay mobs he’s tanking. Together they would compliment each other weaknesses. Sure, a Warrior seem kinda like a pet for Mage in this case, but it’s always better this way, since the word ‘grind’ has a different meaning for Warrior during his leveling period.
Suggested leveling build for Warrior in Classic, that may ease the pain just a little bit.
As Vanilla is much harder than modern World of Warcraft, players are more willing to group and make friends. It’s not that grouping is necessary, it is just something you cannot ignore. Since every class is different, having couple of them in party might cover their classes weaknesses. Protection Paladin lacks damage, and Mage lacks protection. Two Hunters will kill mobs even faster. Mage can easily AoE wipe mobs gathered around Warlocks demon, and Priest is able to heal damage, that tanking Warrior is taking without risking his cloth-armored body. Cooperation is always better in multiplayer aspect, than relying on individual skills.
The exact numbers are in the table below:
You can clearly see, that grouping as a 3, 4 or 5-man squad gives more EXP than others.
3 x 38% = 114%
4 x 32% = 128%
5 x 28% = 140%.
We may not be Maths titans here at MMO Auctions, but we know, that 140 is more than 100 in terms of experience in WoW Classic. You can see that working as a team of five people each of you can get up to 8% more experience, than solo! Teaming up will allow you to choose desired race and class without condemning yourself to painful grinding. It is definitely something worth thinking over. Plus, you're gonna make friends!
Moreover, as 5 you can take some dungeons or bosses that would be impossible to do solo for most classes, unless 25 levels above.
A party of 2 people will get only half XP each. Is it worth it then? We’d say: YES. The thing is, that being teamed up with a friend makes it far easier to kill a mob, that doing it on your own. Especially when your class is not very good at it. Exceptional pairing is Prot Warrior + Holy Priest or Warrior + Mage, as they will cover each others shortcomings. Resources are important, and time is a resource as well. Use them to its fullest potential.
We all know that everything was different back then. Mobs hit harder, your character was weaker, everything was taking a lot more time to do, and achieving level ups or finishing quests felt far more rewarding. Perhaps this is what made veterans nostalgic to the point, where Blizzard after 15 years online decided to launch its own Classic WoW server.
Some say that modern WoW is a lot easier than it was back in Vanilla days. Now you have your quest item highlighted upon the drop, dungeons marked, quest guidelines streamlined, with thousands of add-ons on top of that. Some say that the game is playing on your behalf. All you gotta do is to click correct button in the right time. We all have less complaints, but… whatever comes easy, doesn’t feel as satisfying as something that we’ve grinded for.
Make sure to hit us with your feedback posts. What do you think about our content? Will WoW Classic server show us all who’s the real deal? Or will people go for a cakewalk and stick to the retail version? What is the indicator of elite Classic WoW player? Are you going for easy pickings with Warlock or go hardcore with Paladin? Feral Druid, Rogue or Fury Warrior for DPS? Frost or Fire Mage? Holy Priest or Shaman for healing? What was your favorite class World of Warcraft before the Burning Crusade? Share some thoughts about this tier list in comments on our Facebook and Twitter. We’ll appreciate the community critic posts a lot, and we'll read them all.
In case of suffering any troubles feel free to contact us via email or support ticket.
Which class is the best at levelling in WoW Classic?
Warlock and Hunter. In 9 out of 10 rankings.
Which class should I pick in Vanilla?
Pick whatever you want and suits you. Wanna go for PvP assassin mode? Choose Rogue. Wanna be support type of guy? Take Priest and heal people. Wanna serve as a tank? Go Warrior. Don't want to tank on Warrior? Go Arms build. The choice is yours. Have fun. We will not tell you which class, build or spec is the best for everything, because it’s impossible. Classes and races are specialized. Our content is more for you to show you the way to follow, rather than dictate it.
You should decide what does your account need. Does it need farming alt? Or is it PvP only? You should plan on what you’re going for right as you’re creating a character, as it will significantly affect your leveling stage.
Check out our in-depth races, classes and leveling guides for more data.
How to level fast in WoW Classic?
Nothing is fast in WoW Classic. You need to be efficient and make the most out of your time. Waste nothing, use everything at your power to maximize your XP per hour rate.
For tips on leveling for each class, check out our Vanilla leveling guide.
How to level as Warlock in Vanilla?
Start with your Imp level 1 and use him to tank until level 10. Then get your Voidwalker, which will be primary tank until the end of leveling. Use the wand to deliver the killing blow, to conserve mana due to 5 seconds rule. Spam Shadow Bolt.
How to level in Vanilla as Hunter class?
Get to your pet as soon as possible. Then take good care of your companion, as it will help you up until lvl 60.
How to level as Mage in WoW Classic?
Use your spells to kite mobs. Once you get your strong AoE DPS spells, pull mobs, herd them together and kill. Play around mana and 5 seconds rule. Choose spec accordingly.
As opposed to Warlock and Hunter Mage has no pet, but can clear big packs efficiently, and in terms of leveling speed can sometimes beat aforementioned classes.
How to level as Priest in Vanilla?
Be patient and use Spirit Tap to sustain. You will level up efficiently but slowly.
How to level as Druid in WoW Classic?
Use your movement speed buff wisely. Switch between specific forms to maintain high HP while dealing damage during the battle.
How to level as Shaman in Vanilla?
Use Windfury Weapon and pray for good RNG. You will need many stops in downtime, as your mana and health sustain are not the greatest. Elemental spec may be your way to go.
How to level in WoW Classic as Paladin?
Go Retribution and have a large stock of patience prepared. Paladin and Warrior leveling in Vanilla is somewhat of a meme, and even Holy Paladin will be prone to use bad language.
How to level in Vanilla as Warrior?
Ask somebody for help. Seriously. Or have an alt leveled up. What Mage will do in one day, Warrior needs a whole week for it.
Engineering added to Blacksmithing may help at some point, but it's expensive so equipping yourself with a farming alt may be a way to go.