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WoW ClassicAug 23, 2023 2:00 pm CT

Best ways to level and to survive in WoW Classic Hardcore realms

We’ve covered the significant changes made to Classic Hardcore including the permadeath, dungeons, the new Duel to the Death system, and the other various things you need to know about Hardcore realms before jumping in this Thursday, August 24 at 3 p.m. PDT globally. Even though the Classic Era content will be the same, these changes mean many players are going to experience the game differently than they have in the past.

Levelling has always been intrinsically tied to a player’s survivability and on Hardcore realms it means more now than it did before because your characters only have one life. Blizzard has stated they wanted the player experience of Classic Hardcore to exist mostly in the open-world part of Azeroth, and to do that you’ll need to be able to reach the appropriate levels.

We’ve put together some of the best ways to level along with other gameplay tidbits to keep in mind in Classic Hardcore realms.


Quests are best way to level in WoW Classic Hardcore

The best way to level in Classic Hardcore is going to be zone quests. It sounds obvious — and it is — but because of the restrictions made to dungeons and PVP, quests are the main way to level in Hardcore realms. Each race has a specific starting zone that connects to an intended secondary zone and since travelling zone-to-zone can be lethal early on, you should focus on completely every single quest you can in these two zones to start off and you should reach level 20 before you hit the larger world. While in these zones you should:

  • Plan out your routes of travel and enemy engagement to avoid being overwhelmed. You’ll likely need to grind out enemy mobs to reach the recommended level of certain quests and areas, so take it slow.
  • Prioritize quests that have overlapping objectives (i.e., gathering a material for one quest from an enemy type you need to kill for another quest). This will help you gain XP quickly without exposing you to repeated encounters in enemy dense areas.
  • Each quest that rewards XP also has a color rating to let you know how difficult and how how much XP you can gain based on your level:
    • Red — 5+ levels higher than you. Avoid, and level up before attempting.
    • Orange — 3 to 5 levels higher than you. Difficult but doable, slightly higher XP rewards than standard.
    • Yellow — Within 2 levels (plus or minus) of your current level. Standard quest difficulty and XP rewards.
    • Green — At least 3 levels lower than your current level. Rewards reduced XP.
    • Gray — 5 to 10 levels lower than you. Rewards negligible XP.
  • Unless you have a trusted group, avoid dungeons and dungeon quests. Be conscientious when attempting open world quests in a group — move cautiously and communicate.
  • When you need to log out, try to do it at an inn to get the Rested bonus for when you return.
  • Each class has a unique questline that grants class-specific abilities as you level to 60. They appear at different levels based on class but you’ll be notified with a letter in your mailbox once you’re eligible.

The world can be deadly so be sure to prepare accordingly

As your level increases, so will the enemy’s as you move through zones. You’ll encounter different types that will challenge you and make surviving difficult. Travel can also be lethal so you really need to take advantage of every edge you can get to survive in the open world. As you quest, be sure to keep these other things in mind to make your leveling:

  • When you reach a safe area make a habit of selling all unneeded items, restocking food and drinks, and repairing your gear.
  • Upgrade your bags when you can — more space means more useful items you can hold and more loot for you to sell. Levelling becomes expensive over time and this helps you cover the costs.
  • Invest in a gathering profession and crafting profession combination that allows you to create items for yourself and items you can sell to vendors and on the Auction House for extra money. Blacksmithing/Mining, Alchemy/Herbalism, Jewelcrafting/Mining are some common profession combinations that fit the bill here.
  • Learn Cooking and First-Aid. Eating and drinking food will be the main way you regain health or mana. Take advantage of the stat benefits offered from different meals to get that extra edge. First-Aid is always good in a pinch because cloth drops are common as you level up so using bandages helps you preserve rarer items like potions.
  • Know where your class trainers are located in each faction’s capital city and in the open-world. They can become expensive especially at later levels so keep that in mind:

Classic Hardcore is meant to be challenging and part of the allure is supposed to be the preparation and planning, but overall it should be fun! If you tried Hardcore out of curiosity and don’t like it, remember you can transfer your Classic Era character free of charge at any time — you don’t have to wait until your character dies. The most important thing is to make sure you’re having fun, so that should be your priority overall. I’ll see you out there!

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