What's the easiest WoW class to level-up?
Hunter (Beast Master spec ones especially) is the most common choice for easy and fast levelling for a multitude of reasons :
- Low dependence of gear to do damage : even with crappy gear you will be able to do decent damage
- Pet class : a pet able to really tank (hold the monsters on him while you're killing them)
- Ranged dps : you don't have to be teeth to teeth with the enemy
- Multiple escape mechanism : Hunters can disengage (jump back), feign death
- Built-in regen mechanism : You're able to regen while doing still some dps, and you're pet is able to DPS as normal while you auto regen
I have leveled every class other than death knights through at least level 50 ... and a couple up past 70. I haven't leveled anything up to 80.
I'm interpreting your question to mean "easiest" as in "requiring the least skill and/or attention to solo through to at least level 40."
In my experience the easiest to level has been my paladin. These have good armor, reasonably good combat, and can heal themselves. So you just wander around pulling with exorcism, and then just bludgeoning the mobs with a good mace or sword and occasionally healing yourself until they fall over. When you do a bad pull or get too many ganging up on you then run, use lay on hands when you're near death and keep running. (Yeah, paladins don't have any good crowd control). I've leveled my pally to 61 while while barely paying attention (watching TV, hanging out on StackOverflow, chatting); you really don't need to pay much attention. (Usually I start a fight, go auto attack and let the fight grind down on its own --- with just the occasional self heal).
Druid is the most versatile class. However, you have to pay a bit more attention when leveling and soloing them. Basically you have to watch your mana and switch to cat or bear whenever that gets low (but before your health is too low for that to be sustainable for the rest of the current fight). By regularly shifting from feral to caster you can continuously grind through quests and rarely need to stop for drinking (mana regens while you're in feral forms).
The most difficult classes to play well are rogue and warrior.
To play a rogue you have to employ a high degree of situational awareness ... always using the correct skills (which depend on whether your target is facing you are you're behind it, whether your stealthed, whether they are stunned or sapped, which of your skills is on cool down, whether they're casting (and you need to kick them), how many combo points you've worked up on that target, and how much energy you have. You can't just casually work you rogue up while chatting away in other windows.
However the rogue's advantages are stealth and vanish ... and crowd control using sap. I good rogue can keep a couple, as many as three targets sapped while concentrating on one target (and that's even as low as the mid-20s). A halfway skilled rogue can defeat any other class in a duel ... and most of them are toast even with a five level handicap on the rogue's side.
Warriors are almost as complicated, having to use a mixture of different skills to be effective. You do have good armor ... but the lack of self-healing (just potions and bandages) and the lack of good crowd control makes things more difficult.
Warlocks and hunters are relatively easy to solo. The minions/pets give you a disposable tank and 'locks "fear" can be amazing for crowd control (though it can bring adds). The hunter's feign death is a "get out jail free" card for avoiding those pesky corpse walks. (However, when playing in a party I had it when my hunter survives a wipe with feign death and I just sit around useless until someone else hikes back to res. I'm planning on changing my lvl 72 hunter to engineering and getting goblin jumper cables to at least have some chance of being useful in that situation).
Hunters tend to be in very low demand for groups. They just do DPS and don't really contribute to the party for much of anything else. 'locks are popular for their soul stones (wipe prevention) and their summoning, as well as their extremely good DPS and low maintenance. (You should never have to slow down while your 'lock drinks --- if your 'lock is ever low enough on mana to care then he's incompetent (or he's destruction spec'd which might be the same thing for party/raiding).
You'd think the shaman would be about as easy as the paladin to level. However, their weaker armor really hurts with that. I find that managing totems requires more attention then the paladin auras and blessings. The self-resurrection ankh (re-incarnation) is a popular wipe mitigation feature provided by shamans.
Mages are probably the hardest to solo level. No armor, relatively weak crowd control (just polymorphing), easy to run low on mana, no self-healing, no pets nor minions. Mages should team up with anything that can heal them. Their ability to conjure food and water can be handy as well as their DPS.
I've just recently been working a priest and it's been relatively easy but not nearly as easy as the paladin. You have the healing, but you don't get the armor nor the melee; I'm told you want to solo as shadow spec; but I mostly not intending this to be for solo-ing so I'm sticking with holy/healer. Of course I now have quite a bit of experience with all the low level quests for the alliance races.
In the long run I think the paladin is going to be the one I push up to 80 first. I like the flexibility of being healer and tank (and I am dual-spec'd for it). My wife's level 80 druid is reasonably popular with other groups for her healing and her ability to off-tank or shift to cat form for rogue-like melee DPS (and stealthiness). The ability to shadow meld out of combat (elves) can also be a handy wipe mitigation strategy ... and druids have the only in-combat resurrection ability (rebirth). So I'll probably focus on my druid on the other realm that I play on.
The fastest leveling strategy that I know of is to work quests through about level 16 then just do back-to-back dungeon finder (while only doing the occasional quests while you're in the queue).
Lots of opinion on this one but I would put a paladin up there. Paladins are a defensive focused class that can heal, wear highest class of armor and gets several types of damage shields. They become very self sufficient as they reach higher levels as their retribution abilities rgenerate health and mana. They are also a hybrid class that allows the person to choose any of the three roles of tank, dps or healer which can make finding groups to level with a lot easier.
I recommend a Protection spec Warrior and chain running groups using LFD. I recently levelled a warrior to 80 using the dungeon finder. This was quick, easy, and everyone loved me. :D
Using heirloom shoulders, chest and sword meant I was consistently doing 20-30% more DPS than other classes (even with heirlooms) up until Outland. I felt consistently overpowered.
If you like dungeons, go for a class that can tank (I recommend Paladin). You get to chain-run dungeons, set the pace, and if you do your job right, everyone will love you and you'll level up faster than questing.
While it's not easy per se, it's definitely more entertaining than collecting another 12 raptor heads.
Also, once you're geared up, you can kill 5-6 normal mobs at a time easily, which will significantly speed up your quests. Also, you can do some group quests alone, for example the entire Colossal Menace quest line.
Just to add that while Hunters are great at lower levels, once you have the epic flying skill (level 70 required, I believe), Druids of either Feral or Balance spec eclipse (no pun intended) all other classes/specs in terms of questing, travelling, and gathering speed by far.
In addition to the obvious benefits for outdoor questing, druids also have two abilities that boost their speed without breaking stealth (Dash and Stampeding roar), so while working your way through a cavern or indoors area, you can stealth past all the unnecessary mobs, and Feral Druids with 2 points in Feral Swiftness also gain a 30% movement bonus that works indoors as well in cat form.
The single most powerful benefit of being a druid that most people don't factor into levelling/questing speed is that druids do not need to shift out of flight form in order to pick up quest objects, while all other classes must dismount, and cannot re-mount (1.5 second cast) until out of combat. That means that for gathering quests where you simply pick up objects from the environment, you can avoid all mobs that are not ranged.
Even if you are hovering only a few inches above the ground, a non-ranged mob will not aggro. Although Druids must be touching the ground in order to collect a Herb, they do not need to be touching the ground to collect a quest object. Assuming that approximately 1/4 quests are collection quests, Druids are the best choice for level 60+ levelling and doing the Loremaster achievement.
Since the question is somewhat subjective i will add one thing: if you're looking for a class that levels fast then you're buying tickets for a faster re-roll to another class.
That said, if it's your first character you should take your time, level the 15 first levels of some classes you're doubting and see how it will be your role. Obviously if you don't like neither healing and/or hybrids you will quickly discard shaman, druid, paladin and priest. Something similar will happen if you also don't like tanking.
For the weak readers: level a class that fits you, not the trending one
Almost any class will level "fast". It's more a case of which spec in my class will help me level fastest ?
And that would be a DPS spec if you're grinding pre-level 80. Tank and healing specs are too slow when grinding trash for levels. Having said that though, playing classes that do group big group damage, (ie Shamans/Warlocks) seem to work quite well. But when you start raiding you'll need to consider what spec you will play. So be prepared to re-spec, and/or plan your secondary spec before then.
There are lots of DPS players out there and getting into an instance can take a while. But good tanks and healers are hard to come by.
although little outdated, this website is quite good: http://www.warcraftpets.com/guides/other/leveling.asp Leveling speed depends on:
- fast killing
- low downtime
- less deaths
Hunter kills relatively fast, WONDERFUL at low downtime, BEST at less deaths (especially with feign death after lvl 30, traps ...). Seems to be the fastest (if that is what you are only looking for)
Warlock is quite similar to hunter at those aspects: kills good, low downtime (can convert health to mana, quickly fill health with first aid (or suck it from enemy!) and go!) but can die :(
Mage/Rogue: BEST for killing fast, but mage downtimes due to mana filling, rogue downtimes due to energy and health filling (melee? with leather??) and they are fragile thus die easily. Their playstyle is quite risky and fun (both suck at the hands of an untalented player, both rock with talent (hunter's talent dependence is lower)).
Warrior: does not level. really... :) -> with recent arms tree upgrade, it seems that it can level thanks to rend-overpower(CRIT!!) combo (after around 25-30). But still, slow: has downtime for health filling (plate armor but not as high dps as mage or rogue), deaths are quite often and killing time is not that fast
Paladin: does not level, until u can aoe tank: read the link above for info. Less deaths thanks to plate armor and healing but very low dps until aoe leveling
Shaman: kills good, can survive thanks to healing but mana downtime is unbearable (mages can create water, shamans cannot, u must buy some all the time, and still annoying)
Druid: I do not know much but people say that it has high survival (less deaths), downtime of mana refill can be managed with beast forms but kills slow
Priest: for shadow spec: slow until 40, boosts around 40-50, then slows again. for healer spec: if you do instances, finding parties will be quite easy, thus you can level relatively fast but still, very hard to quest (i did not play any, only read about it)
Death Knight: can be opened only after u have a lvl 55 (starts at lvl 55) and u buy 2nd and 3rd expansions. People state it levels fast between 55-70, wears out a little after -but I did not play any-
Leveling speed also depends on how much fun u get from ur character, if it is not fun (e.g. if you do not enjoy a hunter or a warlock), then u cannot level since u wont play often whereas Blizz still robs you. Check what do you want to be in that game and pick accordingly -> or better, try every one, quit the one(s) when u get bored, go on with fun one(s). No class really sucks