Oh, and did we mention money? Even though most of the better loot you'll find in these dungeons is bind on pickup -- meaning you can't toss it on the auction house -- it will sell for gold to vendors. That means if you clear out your inventory so you're prepared to pick up and vendor everything you come across, you can make a pretty decent profit grinding through old dungeons.
It's not the most time-efficient way to make gold, but it can be a lot of fun. So if you want to try your hand at some solo content -- whether you're level 90 or not -- keep reading for the tips you need to succeed with soloing.
It's impossible to set hard and fast rules for soloing content, because your ability to solo can depend very heavily on your class and specialization. Though all classes have some soloing ability, some are definitely better than others -- death knights, with their ability to soak up damage and self-heal, top the solo-friendly charts, but hunters and warlocks are good options, too, because of the extra utility of their pets. Because of their ability to stealth, rogues and druids can also be good soloing choices since they can can bypass some content to get straight to bosses.
However, if you don't play one of those classes, that doesn't mean that you can't solo content -- just that you may need to expend a bit of extra effort to get there, especially on higher level encounters. (Personally, I do a lot of soloing on my monk without trouble.) Every class has its strengths, whether it's absorbing damage, dishing out damage, or healing -- all of which can be an asset when soloing.
Focus on your strengths and be sure to make use of every tool in your arsenal that can help you survive and dish out more damage. Every class has abilities that you might not use regularly -- for example, a survivability cooldown isn't something you need to rely on if you're DPS and don't usually take damage, but you'll want to use it often to help you through solo content. Any crowd control spells that can help slow your opponents down or temporarily keep them out of the fight are also a big asset when you're going it alone.
As a general rule of thumb, you can almost certainly solo any dungeon that's ten or more levels under you. However, this isn't a hard and fast rule -- my level 90 monk solos normal Cataclysm dungeons for reputation without trouble and heroic Cataclysm dungeons as long as I'm paying attention. But if you keep to ten levels below you, you should find most content pretty easy. For raids from 10 to 40 players, you may want to give yourself a bit more of a level cushion -- especially if your gear isn't great. But if you've got a set of end-game raiding gear, you can definitely push, break, or completely ignore these limits.
However, some dungeons and raids will be difficult to solo regardless of your level or your gear. A good example is Razorgore, the first boss in Blackwing Lair. Even though this is a vanilla-era raid, the way the fight is structured -- you have to mind control Razorgore to destroy a bunch of eggs before you can fight him, and all the while adds are spawning -- can make it tough to solo. Tough doesn't mean impossible, because plenty of players have done it -- but it's a challenge that has nothing to do with how much damage you're dealing.
There's an important lesson Razorgore can teach soloers, though: no matter how much you outlevel or outgear content, you can't (always) ignore the fight mechanics. Though there are plenty of dungeon and raid fights that you can brute force your way through, many require specialized tactics. Before you head into a raid or dungeon by yourself, look up the fights and do a search for "solo <dungeon>" to see if there's anything soloers need to know.
Not sure if you're ready to solo something? Head out to the dungeon and give it a try. If it doesn't work out, you still have plenty of other dungeons to choose from.
If you're just getting started with solo content, I'd recommend checking out the game's very first raid, Molten Core. Level 90s will find this easily soloable in just about any gear, so it's a good way to get a feel for how soloing works without too much risk. Also, if you haven't been there before, this is a chance to get achievements, pick up some pets, and grab tier 1 gear for transmog.
If you do well in Molten Core, you can move on to other dungeons. You can prioritize based on what you're after, whether you're looking for mounts, pets, or tier gear. If you're not sure where you'd like to go next, you can always work your way through the armor tiers: Molten Core has tier 1; Blackwing Lair has tier 2; Karazhan, Gruul's Lair, and Magtheridon's Lair have tier 4; Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep have tier 5; Hyjal Summit, Black Temple, and Sunwell Plateau have tier 6; Naxxramas, Obsidian Sanctum, and Vault of Archavon have tier 7; Ulduar and Vault of Archavon have tier 8; Trial of the Crusader and Vault of Archavon have tier 9; and Icecrown Citadel and Vault of Archavon have tier 10. Beyond tier 10 you have Cataclysm raid content, which isn't impossible -- but definitely ups the difficulty level.
Great soloing feats to inspire you
Not sure you can do this? Check out these amazing soloers to get your own solo-spiration.
- Death knight Mionee solos Deathwing, Yogg-Saron, the Lich King, and more.
- Death knight Raegwyn solos Dark Animus in Throne of Thunder.
- The Cranky Tank offers warrior soloing advice.
- Megan O'Neill offers advice for soloing warlocks speccing for old world raids, soloing vanilla raids, and solo dragon-killing.
Just because you're a newbie doesn't mean you can't bring your A-game to World of Warcraft! Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from the seven things every newbie ought to know to how to get started as a healer or as a tank.