New to World of Warcraft and have no idea what’s the quickest way to level? Interested in the fastest way to level an alt character? Or returning back to the game and either starting anew or getting your character up to scratch. If you said yes to any of these questions, this guide is for you!
The speed of leveling has been optimized a lot since vanilla WoW and it now only takes around 2-4 days playtime to level an alt character 1-90 based on whether you have heirlooms or not. There are even more super efficient ways of leveling but these either require multiple other accounts help or lots of preparation, both of which kind of defeat the purpose of an efficient leveling strategy if all you want is a max level character rather than a world record.
Skip this first part if you are completely new to WoW since you won’t be able to get these leveling assisting items as a new player.
Ideally you want to have a full set of exp heirlooms for your new character. Here’s a breakdown of what you can get and how much it is.
Gold Bought Heirlooms
If you are in a guild you have access to buy these heirlooms based on the guild’s level & achievements. These work up to Lvl85
Helm w/+10% Exp – 1500g (lvl20+ guild)
Cloak w/+5% Exp – 1200g(lvl10+ guild)
Legs w/+10% Exp – 1750g(guild achievement Working Better as a Team)
Justice Point Bought Heirlooms
The original items work up to Lvl80, and then you can upgrade them to Lvl85 with more justice points.
Shoulders w/+10% Exp – 2175 Justice points ////////// Upgrade – 870 Justice Points
Chest w/+10% Exp – 2175 Justice points ////////// Upgrade – 870 Justice Points
Fishing Contest Item
Dread Pirate Ring w/+5% Exp – 1st or 2nd place in the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza
Joining a Guild
Being in a Level 2+ Guild gives you +5% Exp, and being in a Level 6+ Guild gives you +10% Exp. It’s very easy to get in a leveling guild, just ask in General chat, or you’ll get invited to one anyway from scripts when you roll your new character.
This brings you to a +60% Xp bonus from everything mentioned above. There are of course other heirlooms, such as weapons, shields, trinkets but they have no exp boost, and cost much more, so aren’t as needed or worth it in my opinion. You can also buy all the above justice points items with Champion Seals(Argent Tournament), Darkmoon Tickets(Darkmoon Faire) and Honor equip equivalent versions with Honor Points.
The total cost of the above is 4450 Gold and 6090 Justice Points(or equiv amount of honor/seals/darkmoon tickets). It’s up to you to decide whether the 2 days or so playtime is worth farming for the heirlooms. On an approximation, you can get 400-500 justice points per heroic dungeon run which take about 15-20 minutes now, so thats your 6k justice points in 4 hours. If it takes 3 days to level to 85, 20% extra xp will reduce that by 14 and a half hours, so on paper its worth it.
I tend to think the heirlooms are definitely worth it, considering also that they stay Bind on Account and so you can level up another character that uses that armor type, making it an even more efficient purchase.
There are also some other methods of increasing XP gained, such as taking a ride on the carousel in the Darkmoon Faire for a 10% EXP increase for 1 hour, using a Elixir of Ancient Knowledge which gives a 300% XP increase, and can be farmed from killing Krol the Blade a rare in the Dread Wastes with a 10% drop chance for the elixir. The elixir buff disappears when you die, so use it wisely. You can also get a 1 hour 10% XP increase from the Midsummer Festival, by dancing round a fire.
Before you Level
Blizzard have included two very easy ways to level up. If you are new to the game, you really want to be Referred by a Friend, this gives you and your friend leveling bonuses for your characters, such a 300% Increase in XP when leveling together(up to lvl 80 and whilst within 4 levels of each other.), friend-to-friend summoning and your friend will get a free level up to add to one of their other characters lower level characters every 2 levels you level-up. This all works for 90 days from starting it.
If you are returning to the game after more than a 6 month break, you can get a friend who is playing to send you a scroll of resurrection, this will let you specify a character of your choosing to receive an instant boost to level 80(excluding Monk class), give you a free upgrade to cataclysm + 7 days free game time.
So even if you don’t have friends to give you these features, it’s worth going on forums and asking someone to do them with you, as the benefits are pretty amazing, and the person you ask will get rewards themselves, who wouldn’t say yes.
Something to note is that you should always try to log off in a city or inn to let your character accumulate rested bonus XP, if you play only a few hours a day, you can leave your character resting and accumulated rested bonus xp for the next time you play. This gives you double xp from killing monsters and other actions. T’s not much, but its a worthwhile increase for the simple matter of not being in the game.
For leveling, i advise you not to take any professions and spend time on them, you can easily level up professions once you are Lvl90 and have a faster mount for gathering, or just use the gold you earned to buy all the materials for leveling from the auction house. Blizzard also recently improved profession levelling in Pandaria for a quick route in leveling them.
If you’re new to the game, one of the items you start with is the Hearthstone, this is a recall point that you can use every 30 mins (or 15 mins if you are in a Level 8 guild) to send you back to the point you’ve set it to recall to. These points are called Inns and you can find Inns at every major quest hub and city. You can only set your hearthstone to one place, so its worth setting it somewhere where you know you will travel back to, to reduce the time it takes to travel. For example, you pick up all the quests in Tranquillen and set your hearthstone there, complete up all the quest traveling around the zone, then use your hearthstone to get back to the quest hub to hand them in. Which handily places you in a place to log off to have a break and gain rested xp bonus.
Lvl 1 – 15
Horde or Alliance, you should finish your starting area, the starting areas are super quick now. There are 2 starting zones for everyone, you should finish off both, they are quite straightforward so there isn’t much guiding needed. Just pick up every quest you see and finish it using the guide points set on the map. If you have heirlooms you should hit lvl15 halfway through the 2nd zone.
Lvl 15 – 19
At level 15 you unlock 2 dungeons, Ragefire Chasm and The Deadmines. They both have quests so you should do both. As you hit level 17, you unlock another dungeon, Wailing caverns. For new players this is still a confusing dungeon as you need to backtrack and travel all over for the quests. It’s not a train-tracks dungeon where the path is obvious. The quests are worth doing still and so you should try to complete them all. When you hand them in, the npc will need to be escorted for you to face a final boss. At Level 18 you will unlock Shadowfang Keep, another worthwhile dungeon, it’s very straightforward and quick to do.
Essentially if you are a tank or healer, you just want to spam dungeons from now on, it’s the fastest way to level, since your queue times will be quick. For DPS characters who don’t have heirlooms, you should be able to queue whilst you finish off your 2nd zone. If you finish it and you still aren’t lvl 19, you can consider you should have picked up a quest which sends you to whatever next zone is close to you, and you can start on that.
Lvl 19 – 29
Both Horde and Alliance want to be heading to Ashenvale since it’s an easy quest zone and will level you up a lot if you don’t like dungeons or do. At Level 20 you can buy your ground mount, which is a must have for getting around faster.
At Level 22 you unlock Blackfathom Deeps and the Stockade. BFD is definitely worth doing, as it will give you a couple of levels completing it and the quests, but the Stockade is completely worthless for Horde as there are no quests, for Alliance there are 3.
If you finish Ashenvale quests, head on to Stonetalon Mountains quests, which unlock at Lvl24, if you have heirlooms, you should level to 28 quite quickly just through Ashenvale quests and a couple of BFD runs.
At Level 28 you unlock the Scarlet Halls dungeon, which you should do as it has quests. Alliance can also do Gnomeregan at lvl26 since they have quests there, but Horde should skip it.
Lvl 30 – 39
If you’re not into dungeons, you should head to The Cape of Stranglethorn, and begin questing there, there’s a ton of quests that should take you through most of 30-35. At Level 30 you unlock the second part of the Scarlet dungeon, the Scarlet Monastery. There’s a single quest line split into two parts, so its worth doing. This instance is very straightforward and quick to do, you should keep re-doing it till Lvl 32.
At 32 you’ll unlock Razorfen Kraul, another worthwhile dungeon. RFK is a little bit too long, but the xp and quests are worth it. There’s an escort quest that you can do at the end, but most people just leave the group after killing the boss and it’s probably not worth the time. Just keep doing random dungeon or Stranglethorn quests till 34/35, at which point you can do some fast/easy quests in Western Plaguelands.
Around this time, different areas of the Mauraudon dungeon become available, but they aren’t really worth doing. Uldaman unlocks at Lvl37 and is definitely worth doing for the quests and tons of xp you’ll get from this place. You should get at least 2 levels from doing it a couple of times, heirloomed up. At 39 you can head onto Eastern Plaguelands if you are questing, or just keeping doing random dungeon until Lvl 40.
Lvl 40 – 49
Make sure to visit a riding trainer and upgrade your mount to epic speed, it will make travelling much more efficient and is worth the low cost of 50 gold that you should definitely have by now.
Level 40 unlocks Scholomance and that has a couple of decent quests for xp, it’s been redesigned a lot since Vanilla and it’s a much more forgiving instance, it used to be a nightmare back when the game was released. Lvl 42 unlocks Razorfen Downs, which whilst it has some decent quests, is a bit of a trek of an instance, plus many groups skip one side of the dungeon completely, and it’s hard to convince them to bother doing the spider and skeleton boss for the quests if they’ve done them.
Questing wise, EPL should have you set until even Lvl 44, but if not, you can travel to Thousand Needles for a the rest of the XP you need to hit 44, then heading on to Tanaris the zone below if you want to continue questing. Dungeon-wise at 44, you start to unlock the Dire Maul instances which have some decent quests to do. The redesigned Diremaul West is a bit confusing quest-wise as you require some knowledge of the instance, one thing to watch out for is that the final boss in the library has a surprising difficultly spike, because if it’s insane damage, and can wipe unsuspecting groups easily, which you don’t want because the run back is very long.
Keep doing random dungeon at this point until Level 47/48. At 47 you can head to searing gorge for some very easy questlines, and 48 unlock Stratholme, which you should do for quests. Questing can continue from Searing Gorge to Burning Steppes if you desire, or you can keep doing random dungeon for experience.
Level 40 – 50 is probably the worst part of levelling in vanilla wow still, the quests seem quite slow and the dungeons lackluster, thankfully it doesn’t take a massive amount of time like before, but it can be a bit boring.
Lvl 50 – 58
You should either be questing in Burning Steppes if you went the searing gorge quest route(most likely if you are Alliance), or the Tanaris to Un’goro route if you are Horde. At Level 52 the Sunken Temple becomes available, which is a very quick instance now it’s been redesigned, the quests are straight forward to do also and easily give you a level. At 53 Black rock Depths unlocks in different parts and you can repeat these dungeons doing random dungeon for easy levelling. Questwise, you can head on to Silithus if you finished Un’goro, or Blasted Lands if you finished Burning Steppes. Doing these questzones and random dungeon will take you all the way to 58 very quickly.
Lvl 58 – 68
As soon as you hit 58, you can head into Outland, which I highly recommend. If you have heirlooms, 58-68 can be done solely through the first quest zone Hellfire Peninsula and doing dungeons as they unlock for you. It’s very very quick. If you have to quest, you can still do this whole section in 2 and a half zones. Hopefully getting 68 towards the end of Zangarmarsh. There isn’t much to say about this levelling section. Each quest sections send you around the map, and it’s extremely straightforward, just dungeon queue whilst you do it. Watch out for being ganked in Hellfire Peninsula, there’s not much you can do, but you should be able to afford a flying mount and use that to escape anyone you notice. Often people will grief the entire city starting zone,, and it’s hard to take and hand in quests.
Lvl 68 – 80
At 68 you unlock the Wrath of the Lich King starting zones, again I highly recommend going there at 68 because of the better experience. I personally prefer doing Howling Fjord first before Borean Tundra. But I do them both, so it doesn’t matter. With heirlooms and dungeon runs you can reach Lvl80 through just these 2 zones. I’d say it’s almost as quick as the 58-68 section but obviously you are doing 2 more levels. You don’t have to worry too much about getting ganked in the Wrath of the Lich King zones, I guess the difference is there are 2 large starting zones with lots of phasing and it’s not as simple as ganking in the single starting zone of Hellfire Peninsula.
At Level 70 you can upgrade your flying mount to 280% which makes a big difference, however it’s a little bit expensive at 5000 gold(can be discounted based on reputation from the city you are buying from). But you should at least get cold weather flying at Level 68 to allow flying mounts in Northrend.
Lvl 80 – 85
You can choose two starting zones at level 80, Vashj’ir and Hyjal, I think Vashj’ir is the worst place to level because you can’t use a flying mount. In that aspect, if you have a 280% Flying mount, Hyjal is by far the faster zone to quest in. If you do dungeons whilst Hyjal Questing, you should be able to achieve Lvl83 by the end of the zone. If not you may have to start doing Deepholm quests till 83, which I generally try to avoid because they are not great to do.
Level 83 unlocks Uldum, and you should quest there until 84, at which time, head back to your capital city to star the very easy quest line to Twilight Highlands, you should only have to complete a few quest sections in Twilight Highlands to hit 85 if you are heirloomed up. If not the zone is fairly easy to complete, and the quests take you from area to area, and are very efficient.
If you have a high level friend, you can do the The Crucible of Carnage quests to get a ton of experience easily.
Lvl 85 – 90
Once you hit 85, you can head onto Pandaria from the quest line that starts in your main city. Once there, you get some very straightforward quests that take you through the first zone, the Jade Forest. You should replace your heirloom gear quite quickly as it doesn’t provide any Xp boost once you are 85.
Complete the Jade Forest in its entirety, as the quests are very easy to do. You’ll unlock two dungeons at 86, Temple of the Jade Serpent and the Stormstout Brewery. They are worth doing one time only I think, unless you are a Tank/Healer, questing seems much faster to level in Pandaria. Since a few patches, Blizzard reduced the experience needed to level to 90, and so you can pretty much go from Jade Forest to the Valley of the Four Winds and be Level 88 by the time you finish both zones. I personally prefer doing Karasang Wilds after this because of the straightforwardness of the zone, which takes me to Level 89 or near abouts.
The last stretch of 89 to 90 is very easily done in Kun-Lai Summit, I hit 90 halfway through the zone with the change to experience needed, previously you’d have to complete the next zone of either Townlong Steppes or Dread Wastes to get to 90.
Once you are 90, make sure you do the quest to open up the Vale, which you get from the quest that takes you to the Tiger Temple, and back south to open the gates to the Vale. You can then travel to the faction outpost in the Vale of Eternal Blossom, and set your hearthstone there.
Congratulations on your new Level 90 character, I advise choosing PVP or PVE to focus on first rather than delving into both at once, and checking out the Timeless Isle for some easy item level 496 gear to start you off. For an quick item level 450 weapon, do the Arena of Annihilation scenario.
With heirlooms I did the whole trip of 1-90 very comfortably in 2 days playtime. Playing 4 hours a night, thats 12 days to get a level 90. Using the refer-a-friend or other mentioned ways of levelling, you can obviously improve that time immensely.
It’s funny and sad to think how much time it took to level before in WoW, and I for one am very glad Blizzard have sped up the process. Thanks for reading, and I hope your leveling time was quick and easy thanks to this guide.