Check out this WoW Classic Hardcore Tier List aimed at leveling solo before you drop 100s of hours into a class you're not ready to play.
You're going to need your wits about you when you step into Classic Hardcore; hopefully, this WoW Classic Hardcore tier list helps you on that journey. Our goal here is to look at solo play only (we'll cover duo in another article). We'll also give some reasoning for each, but consider that even the “worst” class can be done, it just might take more time and planning.
WoW Classic Hardcore Tier List for Leveling Solo
Hardcore or no Hardcore, if you want an easy time while playing alone (or a duo), Hunter is going to be the class for you. For Hardcore, Hunter is the strongest leveling spec you can possibly play. From the fact you have a personal tank via your pet, your ability to deal damage on the move, which, in turn, allows you to kite in dangerous situations. Obviously, ammunition, “dead zone” range, and some other minor factors can make your life harder. However, compared to what everyone else has to deal with, these are minor.
Hunter is also a good option for anyone looking to give Hardcore a try for the first time. That said, to truly make Hunter the S-Tier spec that it is, you'll need to utilize rooting and snaring effects as well as traps. The spec is fantastic without these, but you're not a one-person army, even with your tanky pet.
If the above sounded fun, but you want to cast spells instead, Mage might be the spec for you. With high damage, sustain, defense via shields and great CC, Mage is an amazing choice. Also, their ability to make water and food makes them amazing for solo and group play. You'll need to learn to use the massive toolkit at your disposal, similar to a Hunter, however, once you master it you'll find most situations a breeze. You'll need to play it a little safer early on, maybe grind out a zone or two to begin with. But once you've got some levels under your belt, you should have an easy time of it.
Paladin is the best option if you want to go melee (sorry, Horde). This is 90% based on their ability to self-heal. While the Paladin has several downsides; slow kill time, Seal mechanics and mana, the payoff is likely worth it. While Blizzard has removed the ability to use the famous “Bubble + Hearth” technique in Hardcore, the class still has a lot of tools at its disposal. Your primary skill is Judgement, as you use Seals in between auto-attacks to take down enemies. As we mentioned before. Paladin is not the speed leveling class; however, it is fairly consistent with how you'll put down damage. With heals and bubbles, you should have no trouble surviving or escaping challenging situations.
While one of the weaker classes due to their leather armor, Rogue has a number of tools to help them survive. From Vanish to Evasion, you'll find a way out of many situations. Rogue also has one of, if not the fastest, time to kill of any class in the game. That, combined with their stealth and escape, Rogue should be a fairly safe pick for players looking to go the Solo route. An important thing to note about damage, however, is that almost all your ability damage is based on your weapon damage. So you need to keep on top of finding the best possible weapons to maximize the damage. Stealth will obviously help you maneuver around tricky encounters, while your ability to pick locks can help you find some nice extra loot while you level.
Pets make things easier, and while Hunter is the best of the pet classes, Warlock comes in a very close second. However, for Warlock, they have a lot more factors to consider when it comes to them being good. While mana is less of an issue due to Lifetap, you do need to constantly keep on top of your Soulshards during combat so you don't get caught out. Warlock also has a number of important class quests that you'll need to complete, which can cause some minor headaches while leveling. Warlock is also a class that is both highly gear reliant but also utilizes said gear much better than most other classes.
Druid is a weird class for Hardcore. On the surface, it looks to have everything you would need to perform. A bear form for tanky, a cat form for stealth, a travel form, and healing. But, this jack-of-all-trade approach is also what lets the class down. The time to kill is fairly low, and going deep into tanking and healing isn't great for solo play. Though, to play is safer you could pick up a few tankier talents in the feral tree (remember in Classic there is no dedicated Feral and Bear tree). While not as gear dependent as other classes, you are very resource dependent, so you need to keep that in mind.
Priest is an important Class in Classic. However, it's a nightmare to level. I personally leveled as a Shadow Priest in Classic and it was a pain. That said, with the slower leveling time in Hardcore (due to people being more careful), Shadow Priest might be ok. Though, you need to focus on gear, as the class is heavily reliant on staying with or ahead of the gear curve to succeed. We'd also suggest giving out lots of Stamina buffs to Mages in exchange for water.
If ever there was a class that screamed, “I need a group” it was Warrior, but also Shaman. While the Alliance get the best solo melee classes in the Paladin, Horde doesn't get quite so lucky. Shaman is built for group play, so solo leveling is going to be a little harder. Shaman is not great at multi-killing, so you'll need to find a nice fast weapon and get those weapon totem procs going as fast as possible. Keep stock of Mana Potions so you can heal yourself, and make use of totems in tight spots.
If there were a hard mode for Hardcore Classic, it'd be solo leveling a Warrior. Warrior is an all-or-nothing class; you charge into the fight and smash the face of everyone you see. While Fury Warrior offers a small amount of sustain, the Class isn't built for self-preservation. That said, if you find a duo or a group, Warrior is going to be a great addition to any group. For those looking to solo; make sure you stay way ahead of the curve on gear, keep healing positions handy and try to get elixirs to boost stats as often as possible. Really, you just need to plan a little more if you want to play a Warrior.