TBC Classic Leveling Guide
Leveling in TBC Classic is not quite as difficult as the 1-60 journey in WoW Classic, but is still difficult. The fastest players may reach Level 70 in under 24 hours, but most players can expect 2 or more days of played time. Even if you have played throughout WoW Classic though, you can drastically reduce your leveling time in TBC Classic with some basic leveling strategies discussed in this guide.
Class Leveling Guides on Icy Veins
While this is a general leveling guide, we have dedicated leveling guides for all TBC classes.
Leveling Methods: Questing and/or Dungeons
There are two basic leveling methods: questing and dungeons. If your goal is to reach Level 70 as fast as possible, dungeons will be faster, especially if you do not have experience with the questing process.
Questing can also be efficient, but some classes are better than others, and it can be easy to get side-tracked. On the other hand, questing allows you to do other things, such as Professions and PvP, while leveling, which can be both enjoyable and help set you up for playing at Level 70.
There are pros and cons to each, which will be discussed further below. Keep in mind that, while you can solely stick to one strategy, you do not have to. Mixing dungeons and questing can be a great way to keep things interesting while leveling and will let you pick up dungeon gear, while getting the benefits of questing as well.
Dungeon grinding can be an incredibly efficient source of experience in TBC Classic. With a group of 5 players, you can clear through instances for fast and efficient XP while getting dungeon drops that will almost certainly be upgrades over the gear you may have from questing. The experience from dungeon grinding is so good that, when done well with a geared and coordinated group, can be over twice as fast as traditional questing. However, this is entirely dependent on your group's gear, knowledge, skill, and efficiency. When executed well it is incredibly lucrative, but if not planned properly it can be much worse, especially if you have to constantly find new group members after every dungeon clear.
Dungeon grinding can be efficient, but you become reliant on a group. If you do not have a set group of 5 people that plan to go together most of the way, then you are going to be reliant on finding people to do dungeons with in-game. Most servers have a "Looking For Group" and "World" chat where you can find players for dungeons, but it can be hard to find people looking to play on the same schedule as you. If you end up having to find new people every 1-2 clears of a dungeon, then your XP/hour will drop drastically. For the fastest possible leveling, you will want a consistent group that you can run with for minimal downtime.
Another potential issue with dungeon grinding is that you become isolated from the world for prolonged periods of time. While this can be great on PvP servers (to avoid getting killed by players) and for avoiding congestion on high-population realms, there are some downsides. It is almost impossible to keep most professions leveled as you do dungeons, meaning you will be forced to wait until 70 to train them. A big selling point of WoW is the community and open world, which dungeon grinding can take away from by forcing you to only interact with a select few people and keeping you in small, isolated areas. But again, this is more of a personal preference issue and should not deter you from trying it out if you desire.
The difference between efficient and inefficient dungeon groups is enough to make dungeon grinding better or worse than questing in terms of XP/hour. For the best possible experience gains, there are two types of "meta" groups. It is important to note, however, that with a full group of raid-geared players from WoW Classic, almost any comp is acceptable to dungeon with especially early on. The difference in power between a freshly-boosted character and a full BiS Tier 3 character is going to be night and day in dungeons, and it will make more of a difference than class choice.
The first type of "meta" dungeon grinding group is known as the melee cleave. This group is made possible by one class: Warriors. Warriors use Rage to deal high amounts of melee damage, and gain access to the Sweeping Strikes, Cleave, and Whirlwind skills, which allow them to do very high cleave damage to 2-3 targets at a time. Melee cleave groups are built around Warriors, and are designed to pull small, controlled groups of enemies at a fast pace with little to no downtime. This is made possible since Warriors using Rage means they do not need to regenerate Mana between pulls.
They also are naturally durable and can "tank" while being in their normal DPS setup without issue. With multiple Warriors, your healer can focus on naturally regenerating lots of Mana, doing mostly efficient healing with only occasional drinking. Above all, the goal for this style of group is to minimize downtime. If you are always pulling, that means you are always killing enemies, which means you are always earning XP.
This is the most common type of group since the comp restrictions are much more lenient. The best version of this comp is 4 Warriors and 1 Shaman or Paladin, but you can exchange 1-2 Warriors for Hunters, Rogues, or really any DPS without much issue. Mana users such as Mages will not be nearly as good in this style of comp, though, due to the frequent pulling, meaning they will have to spend lots of time drinking and not dealing damage. For healers, Shamans and Paladins are the best due to the powerful buffs they bring for the Warriors, in addition to their efficient healing and Mana regeneration. Priests and Druids are viable, but are not as good.
The other type of "meta" dungeon grinding group is known as spell cleave. While melee cleaves are built around Warriors, spell cleaves are built around Mages. Mages get the spell Blizzard, along with the talent Improved Blizzard, which, when combined, enables them to keep many enemies slowed while dealing the best AoE damage in the game. Mages and Warlocks use up lots of Mana to do damage, but have access to strong AoE spells as well. Instead of using up lots of Mana to kill 1-2 targets, you can instead use slightly more Mana to kill 10+ targets at once, and then take a break to recover before doing it again. This type of group is high risk, high reward; when executed properly, this will yield the best XP/hour out of any possible activity in the game. However, to get the most XP/hour you need to do incredibly large pulls, which can also be very dangerous. Dying even once per dungeon can quickly turn this into an inefficient strategy.
While you might be tempted to do each new dungeon as soon as you can, that can be incredibly inefficient due to the travel time between dungeons. If your goal is the best XP/hour possible, it will be better to stick with fewer dungeons for longer periods of time. This is the list of the most efficient dungeons that you should do for the best XP/hour, and the levels you should be in them for.
One important thing to keep in mind is the attunement process. If your goal is to raid at Level 70, you will want to unlock all Heroic dungeons and level up specific reputations eventually. You can actually jump-start that while leveling if you desire, but it is optional.
- Hellfire Ramparts from Level 60 to 61;
- The Blood Furnace from Level 61 to 62;
- The Slave Pens from Level 62 to 65;
- Mana Tombs from Level 65 to 66;
- Sethekk Halls from Levels 66 to 69.
- Shadow Labyrinth from Level 69 to 70.
Questing is the default and most common way of leveling. You can play on your schedule, there is always content to do, and you are not reliant on anyone else if you are questing solo. If you do not have a set group for dungeon grinding, this can easily be more efficient and will minimize your downtime.
Your time spent while questing can be broken down into three basic parts: combat, recovery, and travel time. Combat is the time you take to kill enemies, recovery is the downtime while you recover Mana or health in between killing enemies, and travel is when you need to move between quests or zones. Lots of people focus solely on optimizing combat times, but the most efficient players will focus on optimizing their time as a whole. Check out the class leveling guides to see class-specific tips on how to better optimize your leveling speed.
Contrary to popular belief, grouping can actually be a great way to quest. Whether or not it is worth grouping comes down to your personal preference and kill speed while solo. First and foremost, leveling with a friend can be much more enjoyable than playing solo, so do not hesitate to do what is most enjoyable to you. If all you care about is efficiency, though, then you need to look at kill rates. Most classes benefit greatly from pairing up into a duo or group, but some less so than others. Hunters, for example, already have one of the fastest kill rates in the game solo, so putting them into a duo is only going to slow down their XP/hour compared to being solo for the most part. Warlocks also have an excellent kill rate while solo, but giving them a duo partner who can tank or heal allows them to purely focus on damage which can greatly increase their kill rate, making them a great class for duos. To figure out if it is worth it or not, you need to know how XP is affected in groups.
Let us start by assuming you are going to kill an enemy, and that enemy will award 100 XP for the kill. The list below shows how much each player would earn from killing that enemy in different-sized groups.
- Solo: 100 XP;
- Two: 50 XP per person;
- Three: ~39 XP per person;
- Four: ~33 XP per person;
- Five: ~28 XP per person.
To determine if grouping is beneficial, you need to compare the XP reduction that you get to the group's increased kill speed. For lots of players, the safety and kill speed increase of being with a group ends up being more beneficial than playing solo. It is worth noting that this only affects your XP rates for killing enemies and will not affect your quest XP. Grouping also can be better since you can complete quests faster, but sometimes can be worse if there are not lots of quests or if an area has a low mob density meaning your kill rate will not be as high as it could. Lastly, grouping can sometimes be worse if you and your group have different play schedules. Tying yourself to someone else's schedule can limit your playtime, which might end up slowing you down over just questing yourself. The answer is different for every player and it is up to you to decide if grouping is worth it.
Unlike in WoW Classic, grinding is a poor option in TBC Classic for leveling. There are more than enough quests in Outlands to get you from Level 60-70, and grinding just is not worth it compared to questing in the zones. You could grind mobs if you choose to, but it is not recommended. Grinding will get you less xp, less gear, and is more boring to most people than questing.
Having a route planned out ahead of time for what zones you want to go to, or even going so far as knowing what quests you want to complete, is the main way that people get more efficient at leveling. The more precise your route, the faster your leveling will be. It is a long journey from 60-70, though, and knowing everything that you will do is unrealistic without a ton of practice. For most players, the best compromise is just to know the order you should go to zones in. When changing zones, there is no hard or fast rule on when to change. In TBC Classic, you generally will want to go to zones at their level to do the content. Most zones will give you 1-2 levels, with some particularly lucrative zones offering far more.
A general zone order to follow is listed below. Both Alliance and Horde can follow the same path in TBC Classic, the only thing different will be the location of their questing hubs within some of the zones.
- Hellfire Peninsula (60-62)
- Zangarmarsh (62-64)
- Terrokar Forest (64-65)
- Nagrand (65-67)
- Blade’s Edge Mountains (67-68)
- Netherstorm (68-69)
- Shadowmoon Valley (69-70)
There is one important thing to note for this order: if, on launch, Hellfire Peninsula is far too crowded on your server, then you can choose to skip Hellfire Peninsula completely and go to Zangarmarsh first. You will need to complete more in Terrokar Forest later, but it is an option to potentially take a much less popular questing route.
Having a route is important, but knowing some of the basic time-saving strategies is also useful. Here are some general tips that can improve your efficiency while leveling:
Leveling takes a long time, so it is easy to think that breaks might not matter overall. But, over the course of leveling, even lots of small breaks can add up to hours of lost time. It is unrealistic to never take breaks while leveling, but you can be strategic about them to improve your efficiency. Flight paths are a great way to travel between zones and, most importantly, require no input from you while your character is flying. This is a great time to go to the bathroom, get food, or do whatever else you need to do. Some zones are also relatively flat, and you can run in a straight line for long distances. Auto-run is dangerous to do unsupervised, but can be used to have you character run in a direction while you step away for a minute. Use the default keybind of "Num Lock" to toggle auto-running in this way.
Gear and Consumables
Some classes benefit from gear more than others. For Physical damage dealers, weapon upgrades are hugely important. For casters that can use wands, wands are also incredibly important due to their high DPS and zero Mana usage.
While you will not use or have access to many buff consumables while leveling, food and water will be very important. If you only try to passively regenerate health and Mana, your regeneration time will be absurdly long, especially at higher levels. You should keep food on you at all times and, if you are a Mana user, should keep water on you as well. Befriending a Mage who can create these for you is a great way to save gold, but you can also buy them from a vendor as well.
Ideally, you should have an epic mount before entering Outland. If you are playing on a freshly-boosted character, this may be difficult however. As soon as you can get the 540g required for epic riding training — and the 90g for the mount if you need that as well— you should immediately buy an epic mount. It is one of the most important purchases you will ever make.
While leveling up, you are going to need to visit various trainers. The most important trainers that you will need to visit are your class trainers.
As you level up, you will get access to more skills. Every level, you will have new abilities or ranks of abilities available to train at your class trainer. Class trainers are found in the major cities around the world. Training is important, since it is one of the ways you gain power as you level; it increases the damage and healing your spells will do. Be aware that major cities will not have every class trainer, such as Undercity not having a Druid trainer. Talk to the guards in the cities to see if your class trainer is in that city or if you need directions to anything.
While professions might slow you down during leveling, they are incredibly important at Level 70 and can be worth the time investment. Skinning, Mining, and Herbalism specifically can be worth it, since you are traveling around the world anyway and can earn skill-ups for them as you go. Professions like Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, and Tailoring can also be great for making armor upgrades while you level. You can choose any professions that you want, but think about whether you want to spend the time getting the up while you level or if you would rather rush to Level 70 without worrying about them.
While leveling professions is generally optional while leveling, First Aid is not. First Aid allows you to use the cloth you get from killing enemies to craft bandages, which are a Mana-free means of healing yourself quickly. This is a secondary profession, meaning it does not count toward your two primary profession slots. You should absolutely keep this up-to-date while leveling and you will be able to get good usage out of the bandages. Check out our First Aid guide for more information.
There are many addons that can help you while questing, but the only one that is required is Questie. By default, no quest objectives, pick-ups, turn-ins, or locations will be shown on your map. Questie will put all of these on your map, and is vital to ensuring you always know where to go.
- 02 Jun. 2021: Guide created.
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