WoW Classic Era Class Rankings: PvP, PvE, Hardcore

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Classic Era servers experience a huge influx of players. Many people return to Vanilla as if they’re back in 2019, the release year of the Classic. The good old dungeons and outdoor PVP activities still seem to be mysteriously charming. Besides, a lot of players are inspired by the more and more popular Hardcore mode. We’ve got enough reasons to do the class rankings for WoW Classic PVP, PVE, and Hardcore. Let’s do it right now.

PvE: Leveling

PvE tier lists may base on a few different criteria. We will talk about two of them. The criteria for the first one is a levelling speed. Rushing to level 60 was quite a hard experience back in Vanilla. Some classes may seem to be utterly not adapted for solo leveling. Besides, the true power of some specs is revealed only after you reach a certain level. 

The second tier list’s criteria will be the spec effectiveness in the endgame content. Such rankings must contain a Classic Era top of DPS, Healer and Tank specs. The question we answer here is how high this or that spec was valued in the raids like Molten Core. Unfortunately, or fortunately, there was no Mythic+ during those times. The spec raid usefulness is almost the only indicator. 

In the picture above, you can see the WoW Classic top of the easiest classes to level. Mage is valued so high because of its AOE damage. Of course, you won’t feel that at the early levels. Quite the opposite, initially you’re guaranteed to lack mana even for a single target spells. But you’ll be beyond the competition at the middle levels already. At the higher ones, parties will seek for you to help them in a dungeon farm. 

Another reason they’ll need you will be your ability to make food out of nowhere. Finally, don’t forget about the insane mobility provided by the Portals skill set. That’s hard to overestimate in the times when there’s no portal room in the faction’s Capital.

Hunter and Druid share the S-Tier with Mage due to several reasons. After completing a short questline, Hunter gets a permanent companion at level 10. The pet is extremely helpful in tanking damage and dealing it to any powerful enemy. Druid experiences some difficulties with completing the Bear and Travel form questlines. However, once they’re done, Druid becomes one of the best PvE Classes in WoW Classic. It’s very diverse and ready for various obstacles met on the way to level 60. 

Unfortunately, the opposite can be said about Paladin. Vanilla Paladins are very different from the Retail ones. Today, you can deal with packs of mobs on the lower levels in Holy and Protection specs. Back then, it was a problem for the Retribution. Even the damage-dealing Paladin suffered from the lack of attacking spells. 

PvE: High-Level

The tier list for WoW Classic high-level PvE is different. It’s more convenient to talk about separate specs, not classes. One of this tier list’s sources is the Molten Core Season of Mastery DPS and HPS data collected by This data may not be entirely relevant now, but it’s still a good indicator.

For instance, Fury Warrior shows steady damage in the fight with most of Vanilla’s raid bosses. Besides, Fury’s Whirlwind and Cleave are truly deadly in raid AOE fights. A nice addition can be the Goblin Sapper Charge crafted with Engineering. (This profession was a kind of an extension to Warrior back then.)

Combat Rogue is inferior to Fury in AOE, but catches up when it comes to single targets. An advantage of this Rogue’s spec is its access to different weapons like both daggers and swords. This makes it easy to increase the necessary stats and significantly enhance the damage. Besides, the Adrenaline Rush spell was one of the most powerful boosts in the game back then. Its long cooldown only proves its strength.

Shaman is the best AoE healer class in WoW Classic. Priest’s Prayer of Healing couldn’t compare with Restoration’s Chain Heal. Prayer healed everyone but within a very restricted range. For casting Chain, you didn’t need to run to a group of teammates, although it healed 3 targets maximum. Not less indispensable was the Mana Tide Totem. In Vanilla, it was one of a few ways to regenerate party’s mana during the fight.

However, it’s still better to place Restoration Shaman a little lower than Holy Priest. The latter had many talents well-combined with crucial boosts and buffs like the Inner Focus or Power Infusion. Besides, the ability to instantly cast the Power World: Shield or Renew was too important in the boss encounters that required mobility. 


Subtlety Rogues deservedly takes the top of WoW Classic PvP rankings. Subtlety spec had the Improved Sap unique trait. It allowed becoming invisible again right after sapping the enemy. Other talents radically improved the Stealth spell. But most important was the ability to enhance the stunning skills. 

The Dirty Deeds talent decreased the cost of the Cheap Shot and Garrote. The Elusiveness lowered the Blind and Vanish cooldowns. The latter, along with other buffs, resulted in more stuns Subtlety Rogue could cast. How could this monster lose in PvP?

Affliction Warlock was a monster of a different kind. Its main threat is reminiscent of the one it poses in Retail: DoTs and Curses. A lot of DoTs and Curses. Warlock could just stay in the middle of a fight and give out various debuffs to members of another faction. There weren’t so many dispels in Vanilla to get rid of all the debuffs. 

Affliction’s Curse of Exhaustion was especially irritating. It greatly decreased the enemy’s movement speed. Every spec has at least a few mobile spells to overcome such a curse in Retail. Back then, it was an even more serious problem than the lack of dispels.

Balance Druid is often in the lower part of the Classic Era class and spec tier lists. In PvE, it’s valued more for the common Druid Innervate boost than for its damage. Its key AoE, Hurricane, has 1 minute CD and is easy to interrupt even in PvE. What to say about PvP? Boomkin didn’t even have a Typhoon to push the enemies of the Arathi Basin’s cliffs. 


The WoW Classic Hardcore mode class rankings are not to be confused with the levelling rankings. The tier lists will definitely have a lot in common. However, the criteria for the Hardcore rankings become more complicated. 

Normally, you don’t have to care about the number of save spells your spec has. You can live through the Vanilla challenges without them. Such a life can cost a row of deaths in the darkest corners of Azeroth, but that won’t be critical. An extra mob may appear near the pack you fight and send you to the local graveyard. But you can always return and take revenge on mobs one by one. 

To survive the WoW Classic Hardcore challenges, you need classes with the combination of the best combat skills and save spells. Besides, this mode imposes crucial restrictions on the dungeon and all the party farming. Each character can farm each dungeon only once and only at a certain level range. You can’t just invite a few players around to help you overcome some sudden obstacle. You may have only 3 members at a party outside of the dungeon. Last but not least, Duo and Trio parties have strict rules to follow. 

Anyway: you need to truly rely on yourself. What classes can boast of the maximum self-confidence in these harsh conditions? 

Positions of Paladin and Priest significantly improves in WoW Classic hardcore challenge rankings. Hardcore rules prohibit Bubblehearth, but they don’t prohibit Bubble by itself. Then, even though Paladin often lacks damage, this class doesn’t lack heal and save spells and talents. Players can steadily level up if they truly have Paladin’s patience. Quite the same logic applies to the Priests. However, they are too thin and much more dependent on mana.

Rogues are moved above Shamans, and Shamans remain in section B. Why so? Hardcore rules also prohibit reviving using Ankh. It complicates Shaman’s life very much. On the other hand, this class doesn’t lose its good combination of healing and damaging skills. It also has enough save spells, like the Ghost Wolf. A few Totems may count as such spells too. 
Rogue can’t be left low in the tier list of classes ready for the Hardcore challenges of WoW Classic. It can’t heal itself, but its escaping capabilities are incredible. This is not only about the Vanish and Blind. Even the brutal Vanilla players often forget about the Evasion and Kick. The Hardcore mode will make everyone remember many forgotten skills and appreciate them.

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