Introduction: Hello everyone and thank you for taking the time to reading my guide. I have been playing WoW for 15 years. As a result of playing so long life eventually happens and I have had multiple periods of no subscription or missed whole expansions. This time I came back right at the very end of Legion with lots to catch up on and have been enjoying the game ever since. I think even with all the changes at Blizzard and its age WoW is still a great game. We have Classic, 8.2, and beyond to look forward to yet there’s always a lot of hate for the game on social media. So, I wanted to produce a positive piece of content of my own to help better the community.
Purpose: I see a lot of complaints about the grind to 120. I also see quite a few guides on how to speed level. What I never see are guides on how to enjoy the leveling process instead of treating it like a chore. We all know how easy it is to get a strong baseline gear at 120 so why not slow down and enjoy the content. Enjoy the journey because this is an active MMO so there truly is no actual destination. Destroy the illusion that the game has to revolve around max level and it can help return that RPG element to the game for you.
Who is the guide for?: My guide is catered to the experienced player. I am assuming you have at a minimum a full set of heirlooms and have a max level character that wasn’t boosted. If you’re brand new then please enjoy the read but more importantly slow down. This journey is most magical when its experienced for the first time.
Structure: I will break the content down into leveling brackets. I will rate the fun, difficulty, and speed of each bracket. For each of these I will give my opinion and explanations. In the speed section I will also include tips on speed leveling each bracket. I am only including the speed leveling piece because there is a lot of content out there and maybe you really hate Warlords of Draenor for example so you just want out as soon as possible.
1-60: (New) Old world! In Cataclysm the original content of WoW was all updated. As a result you wont have to do much backtracking to old areas, the quests will flow continuously, and there’s a lot of rich fun story elements out there to enjoy. Even though you can leave at level 58 I recommend staying until you get flying at level 60 because the questing wont flow as nicely in the 60-80 bracket.
Fun 5/5: This is an incredibly fun place to level in. You are learning your class one spell and talent at a time. The entire journey should only take you 3-5 zones to complete. This means you can pick a new path for your character every time you level. Plan this out in advance and make yourself not do the same zones you’re used to grinding. Use the dungeon finder to break the monotony of questing. Set a rule to queue every X levels or after completing X number story elements in zones. Switch your spec every 10 levels to force yourself to try new things.
Difficulty 3/5: The hardest part about this bracket is no flying or max speed mount. Depending on your decided zone leveling path you will also come up against elites that are hard to solo. Looking at you giant Yeti outside Tarren Mill!
Speed 3/5: The ground mount will slow you down but ultimately its just a lot of levels to clear.
Speed Tips: Purchase the heirloom flight points. Purchase enough heirlooms to get your level 1 mount. Avoid the dungeon finder. The Blood Elf and Draenai starting areas were not updated with Cataclysm so they are the oldest content in the game. The quest flow isn’t very good and you do a lot of backtracking.
60-80: (The real old world) Outland and Northrend! This is the oldest content in the game and the notorious alt killer but there are still fun things to enjoy.
Fun 3/5: This is the alt killing bracket that should take 3-4 zones. Many players give up on alts halfway through their first zone for several reasons. You are only going to get 1-3 spells and 1 of them is your passive mastery that often wont change your gameplay at all. Most players hop into one of the 3 standard starting zones and finish it which gets dry pretty quickly. I can do Hellfire and Borean with my eyes closed at this point. My recommendation is to get a baseline of gear from the starting zones and then use the board to pick a new zone. Chances are you haven’t cleared Storm Peaks or Shadowmoon on an alt for a while. Use that dungeon finder again. Alternate between Northrend and Outland so you never see the same dungeon twice.
Difficulty 4/5: You have to live through 10 levels of your 150% flying mount. You will be flying back and forth as quest fluidity is at its lowest point. If you are zone jumping like I suggested, you will come across more quests with difficult elites. Since these zones are less occupied it will be tough to get help for them. For these reasons I consider it one of the most difficult brackets to level in.
Speed 2/5: Bottom line here is its 20 levels of really old expansion content. 3-4 zones will take a lot longer than it did in you 1-60 bracket.
Speed Tips: Northrend quests are organized better in most cases so considering starting there. Borean, Grizzly Hills, and Zul Drak are all decently flowing. Avoid the dungeon finder again to speed things up. Have a friend clear Ring of Blood and the Amphitheater of Anguish for you for a quick boost.
80-90: Cataclysm and Pandaria! These zones are just gorgeous to look at. Between the two expansions there is just an incredible amount of variety.
Fun 4/5: A lot of people love this section of leveling. Probably because they just survived the 60-80 bracket but also because its just pretty. You are almost guaranteed to finish this is 1.25 zones. If you layer in the dungeon finder you will only finish 1 zone. Knowing this plan ahead and pick your zone along with a backup. Stick with it! Don’t just do the first Pandaria zone like everyone else. When was the last time you relived the glorious quests of Harrison Jones in Uldum? Again do some dungeons and alternate between Cataclysm and Pandaria.
Difficulty 1/5: Max speed flying and probably zero chance you’re going to die regardless of path chosen.
Speed 4/5: Its 1 zone so yeah its fast!
Speed Tips: Hyjal is an incredibly fast clear and depending on your +exp items can get you all the way to 90.
90-98: Warlords of Draenor! A very short visit.
Fun 2/5: I score this the lowest fun factor because no matter what you do you will not get to complete anything. Its 8 levels and you will get 1-2 of them just unlocking the expansion during the intro quest. The only thing you can do here to spice it up is use the board and get out of the starting zone. Do the bonus zone objectives. Level some parts of your garrison for fun. Hunt for world treasures.
Difficulty 2/5: I scored it 2 for those people without flying. With flying this is basically a 0.
Speed 5/5: Everything you do gives exp. Even your garrison gives you exp potions. Don’t blink or you’ll miss these levels.
Speed Tips: Want to go even faster? Get an addon to list world treasures on your map. Loot your garrison treasures and cache. Buy the exp potion and take to the sky. Fly to world bonus objectives and hit every treasure on the way. You will be done in no time.
98-110: The ever famous Legion! The expansion you won’t want to leave.
Fun 5/5: Legion leveling takes 2-3 zones. Chances are you probably already know how to have fun here. The best way to enjoy this expansion is to use your class hall as much as possible. The class campaign is fun and unique for every class. Unlock all your artifact weapons. Don’t skip the opening scenario. Start in a different zone every time. Feel free to use the dungeon finder. The dungeons are all fun but all the quest exp will be tied behind clearing a Legion zone. The Legion assaults are fun but know they will shave 1-2 levels off the process for you so it can reduce your overall personal experience in the expansion.
Difficulty 1/5: Again 1 for people without flying otherwise a 0. The mobs are really weak here for some reason. Regardless of class and spec you can take multiple mobs and not skip a beat.
Speed 3.5/5: It’s a larger bracket at 12 levels but the quests all flow perfectly. Class hall stuff is not as fluid.
Speed Tips: Bring a WoD exp potion with you for 98-100. Legion Assaults can be cleared in about 20mins and grant up to 2 levels. They are on set timers published online so you can plan your levels. Dungeon finder will slow you down a lot this bracket unless you happen to get a random bonus paired with a quest bonus. Either way best to avoid it. Once you get an Artifact weapon never touch the class hall again. If you aren’t doing this bracket in one sitting check your mission table before logging out. Often there are exp reward missions.
110-120: Battle for Azeroth! Believe me its not as trash as the posts say online.
Fun 4/5: What 4 on this crappy expansion?? Yes 4 because it offers some unique leveling components and azerite traits are essentially the first “new” thing your character has seen for 30+ levels. Also for the record BFA is not as bad as people make it out to be. This leveling also feels more rewarding because you know the reputation and quests completed apply to your end game. You will clear 1.5 zones to finish. If you’re going to end game your character then don’t worry about what zone you do for questing because you will just be finishing them at 120 anyway. Expeditions and the war campaign are how you break up the monotony here. Do your professions while you level, go out of your way for that herb, and kill that rare just because.
Difficulty 4.5/5: Welcome back Mr. Pony! You are grounded until 8.2 and if you can’t water walk its even harder. You will run through packs of enemies to go everywhere. Mobs will begin to out scale you in the 115 range and take longer to kill. You will also get quests for tough elites but there’s lots of players clearing them so finding help won’t take long.
Speed 3/5: The zones are longer than normal and you’re hoofing it!
Speed Tips: If you hate leveling here seriously just pay for that freehold boost spam you see every 15 seconds in trade chat! For questing use the pants, cloak, and ring heirlooms and ditch the rest.
You survived! But also consider:
-Watch the events calendar for holidays and the Darkmoon faire.
-I didn’t mention PvP once but yes layer that in if that's your thing.
-Keep your pet tracking on at all times. Capture new pets. Battle pets can give you ¾ a quest in exp.
-Every time you hit a capital city do the Cataclysm fishing and cooking dailies.
-Do some professions. The old world stuff sells more than you may think.
-Timewalking is a great way to pre-gear with tokens. A way of justifying to yourself going slow is okay because you got a great start at 120 waiting for you
-Group with friends for everything!
-Join the first guild that doesn’t invite spam you. Leave it and join another if you need to. Don’t be shy and you’ll find nice people out there.
-Try out an RP server. Its not just for the sexkitty pride inn! The type of people here tend to be focused on fun and not end game just as this guide is trying to get you to do.
-Read the quests!!!!! Don’t just click through and skip cutscenes. You’re missing it!
Thank you everyone that made it through my first guide. I honestly hope it helps you find the magic in WoW again. Also please excuse any grammar issues.
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