So just how do you level these days?
I’m back to Wow after playing back in 2011 – 2013, so a lot of things have changed. As I mentioned in my last Wow post about Economics, the leveling experience is different in many ways. When I restarted in the May 2017, I had some characters up to 85 or so, both Horde and Alliance, and some saved gold. My goal was to build a realm of about a dozen Alliance toons starting with a DK that was already 85, a Hunter in low 80’s and a few other lower level toons. I’m an Altaholic so I try to play all the classes and many of the races.
Here are some tips that I’ve learned about how best to level.
(1) Take advantage of Heirlooms. With a 10% Exp boost for each piece and the power they give, they are worth the gold, even if you need to use a Wow Token to get and upgrade them. I splurged and have both Agility and Intellect Mail as well as Plate and Cloth sets. 32 Total, all upgraded to Level 100. Sure I could get 3 more for the side car mount that comes with the Achievement at 35, but I don’t have any more toons lower than level 20, so everybody already rides. Honored rep with your guild allows you to buy helms and legs, so that can be four pieces of armor. At 10% XP boost per piece that’s 40% XP boost per kill or quest – I think. At least I’m leveling a lot faster than otherwise. I’m leaving areas about half way through as I quest. The heirloom weapons are very powerful too. So that’s a minimum of five heirlooms per spec type. But there’s a lot of overlap. Druids and Shaman can both use the Mace with Intellect or Agility for example.
(2) Use Dungeon Finder starting at level 15 and grind dungeons to level 60. This is the fastest way to level, even if you need to stand around for some time waiting as a DPS. Tanks have the shortest wait times usually. Healer are next and DPS wait the longest. But it was never more than about 15 minutes. If I waited longer than that, I usually just found something else like leveling Herbalist or Inscription for a while. If you have a Shaman, Druid, Warrior, or Paladin, then set up as a tank. I’m not going to talk about Death Knight Leveling in this guide. I have a Death Knight and it’s my go-to toon for breaking new ground and collecting things – as a Skinner and Miner. I spec’d him as a tank and kicked butt in dungeons all the way to level 89. You can spam dungeons or follow this plan for your DK starting at about level 60 if you like when you come out of the DK starting area.
The reason to stop using Dungeon Finder at about level 60 is that you will be gold poor if you don’t. Unless you want to just buy more Wow Tokens for all your gold, or have some secret for making gold, you’ll end up poor using Dungeon Finder. You’ll get good gear for the slots where you don’t have Heirlooms, and you’ll make a little gold from selling loot, but the folks in Dungeons are in a big rush. If you are a tank or healer, you’ll set “Pass on Loot” since folks don’t want to wait on you looting items.
I have leveled some of my toons all the way to 80 and beyond using Dungeon Finder. And the dungeons are interesting and some are fun. The Cataclysm dungeons are a nice change from those earlier. Some earlier dungeons are a real mess. You may want to avoid Dire Maul after trying it once. Some of the three areas there are confusing and group leaders get lost. I never learned those after maybe 30 runs through there. Maps are no help since the connections between map levels are impossible. By all means avoid “Lower Blackrock Spire”. It is very confusing and I found that most groups have no clue how to get through it’s maze. If you die and release back to the beginning, you may never find your group again. The Detention Block portion and the short cut to spam the two bosses over and over can get you through that set of dungeons quicker. But at this point I began not using the Random Dungeon selector and just choosing dungeons to avoid Blackrock Spire all together.
You may want to avoid Straitholm both versions and just use Zul’Farrak which is much nicer.
On a toon or two, maybe your Death Knight, you may want to do the Cataclysm Dungeons and the Pandaria Dungeons all the way to 86 or 88. The Cataclysm Dungeons are fun and give so much XP that you only see them once or twice. The Pandaria dungeons are really fun and by that I mean Humorous. They are a real hoot, especially the brewery. No spoilers. But I wouldn’t drag everyone through there. Once or twice is enough.
But if you want to make any money in the game, you’ll have to start questing and at level 60, you can fly. Outland Awaits. I suggest that for most of your toons, just start questing at level 60 in Outland.
(3) Use Wow Pro as a leveling guide and go to Outland at level 60, after learning to fly. I use Bank-Items and Sell-Junk addons too, but Wow Pro is the most helpful.
In Outland, finish the HellFire Peninsula of course, and then you can move directly to Nagrand at level 64. You’ll want to stop by Shattrath, but don’t bother with Terokkar Forest unless there’s something there that interests you. The dungeons in this level are fun so give them a try if you like.
At level 67, which you should reach in Nagrand due to your Hierloom XP boost, you can go to Netherstorm and you should reach 70 somewhere in Netherstorm.
(4) At level 70 move to Northrend. Either Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord are nice. But I would avoid Zul’Drak. The dungeon was fun and I did it several times leveling some toons before I gave up on Dungeons above level 60. But the questing in Zul’Drak is confusing. I suggest Grizzly Hills after Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord both of which are nice.
And then after Grizzly Hills go to Sholazar Basin, the area is nice looking and the quests are straight forward. I skipped out on two quest lines in Sholazar Basin:
Don’t bother with the Oracles vs the Frenzyheart. So when I got to “The Part Time Hunter”, I just ignored the rest of this quest chain. Wowhead has a great guide for getting the Oracle Rep after you come back at 85 or 90 or 100 or whatever and sit around for a month or more to get the green Dragon mount.
Also, when the Avatar wanted to set up a portal to Un’goro, I skipped the rest of that quest line. Finish up in the Basin and if you are not yet 80, then move to Storm Peaks and do a few quests there to get to 80.
(5) At 80 move to Vashj’ir. This area is the first Cataclysm zone and is fun and great to look at.
You’ll start picking up armor that looks decent as you move through here. Cataclysm is the first expansion where the art design for gear starts looking decent. Also, for a change of pace you may want to complete the quests where you dress up as a Naga Battlemaiden to fight the invaders.
But you won’t get to see it all before you get to 83-84 and can move to Deepholm.
The questing is interesting here and this is the last zone of Cataclysm. I’ve done the dungeons here, and they are very nice. Not confusing. Also they give quite a bit of XP, so you’ll not feel like you are grinding them to get to 85. But, like I said before, you won’t make gold, so you may not want to do them with all your toons rather than questing. I never did complete the raid that is the demise of Deathwing. I suggest coming back to solo it when you are 90+.
But you only need to stay in Deepholm long enough to get to 85, and then you can move on to Pandaria.
At 85, your capital city has a popup quest for you to go to Pandaria.
Back in 2012 when the Mists of Pandaria released, the quests to enter the area were quite hard. If you only had quest gear, not high end dungeon gear or raid gear, you had to make do with the gear you got in the intro quests. This quest gear was barely good enough to get by. It was a struggle to kill each and every Hozen in the starting areas of the Jade Forest.
But things are much different now. Maybe it’s Heirlooms. Maybe it’s a change to the quests and mobs. But you can go with your four Heirloom armor pieces and an Heirloom weapon and kick serious butt in Pandaria now. The Hozen are toast.
Update: Just took an 85 Rogue with Heirlooms through the Horde Pandaria landing quests. Much easier than 2012 with release of Pandaria. Not a full set of gear from the quests now. Back in 2012, the quest chain geared you up with a full set of gear with higher iLvl for Pandaria, and that was barely good enough. But now you have plenty of space to pick your targets without being overwhelmed by mobs. I’m sure the quest chain is completely reasonable with normal green or blue 85 gear from Cataclysm. I’ve played the recent Alliance side several times, but never did Alliance Pandaria way back in the beginning. I only did the Horde side back in 2012.
I’ve entered Pandaria on several different classes on the Alliance faction and it’s no problem to level up and quest through the Jade Forest.
With the XP boost of the Heirlooms, my toons reached level 90 shortly after entering the Valley of the Four Winds and then I was off to the quest chain to reach the Vale of the Eternal Blossoms and get Flight in Pandaria. It’s not cheap to fly in Pandaria at 2500G, but it’s not as bad as Artisan or Master riding at 5000G each.
Once you are level 90 and can fly in Pandaria I suggest doing the Townlong Steppes quests for the look of the armor there. It’s some of the nicest in the game. Certainly the nicest to this point in the game.
This is as far as I’ve gotten in the game.
I know lots of you may have ground all the way to 110, but I don’t have legion and have not yet reached Draenor. But so much has changed since 2012 that I wanted to register my thoughts on how to progress in the game at this point.