WoW Classic Leveling Guide

Last updated on Sep 14, 2019 at 18:35 by Impakt 5 comments

Leveling in WoW Classic is hard. There is no sugar coating it; leveling will take a long time. The world first Level 60 in WoW Classic had a played time of 3 days and 6 hours, which is an incredibly fast and unrealistic pace for the vast majority of players. Some of the most efficient levelers in the world still take between 4-5 days of played time, which is over 100 hours of playing the game at an incredibly efficient level.

Leveling can be an amazing journey, but it is important to know that it will be long. As a new player, anywhere from 10-14 days of played time is completely normal for reaching Level 60, but that time can be drastically reduced just by knowing some basic strategies.

1.

Class Leveling Guides on Icy Veins

While this is a general leveling guide, we have dedicated leveling guides for all WoW Classic classes.

2.

Recommended Questing Route Guides

Guidelime is an addon that easily allows you to follow a written leveling guide online, complete with quest objective tracking and an arrow pointing towards your next location, as well as World Map notes on what your next steps are and their location.

There are many guides available to download at Guidelime's Guidelist. We are currently using Sage's guide for Alliance leveling and Sevenleaves for Horde leveling.

Finally, if you would prefer a written guide, we recommend Nightfall's Guide for its attention to questing detail, maps and optimized routes, plus it is free!

3.

Leveling Methods: Questing and/or Dungeons

There are two basic leveling methods: questing and dungeons. If your goal is to reach Level 60 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 60. 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.

4.

Dungeons

Dungeon grinding can be an incredibly efficient source of experience in WoW 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, you could potentially do it as early as Level 13 (Horde only) all the way to 60 without stopping to do quests. While this will result in great XP/hour and gear, there are some real downsides.

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. In WoW Classic, everyone will need to run to the dungeon themselves unless you have a Warlock that can summon, meaning most of the time you are waiting on them. If you start a Zul'Farrak group and your last member is questing in Arathi Highlands when they join, it can take 15-20 minutes or longer for them to make their way across the world to join you in Tanaris. 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 60 to level them. A big selling point of WoW Classic 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.

If you are mostly leveling by doing dungeons, you can use Hakurai's Guidelime dungeon leveling guide!

4.1.

Melee Cleave

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 skills Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes, Cleave Icon Cleave, and Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind, 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 use rage, so 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 drinks. 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/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 their 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.

As a final note, weapon upgrades are critical for this group. Knowing the important weapons to go for along the way to 60 is critical, especially with multiple melee. For specific upgrades, check out the classic leveling guide for your class.

4.2.

Spell Cleave

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 Icon Blizzard, along with the talent Improved Blizzard Icon 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.

The biggest challenge in being a good spell cleave is setting up your pulls. You can have your tank run around to pick up lots of enemies, but they will take lots of damage, and potentially either die or cause your healer to pull aggro when they heal the tank. The best way to pull is using a Warlock and Priest. Warlocks have the spell Eye of Kilrogg Icon Eye of Kilrogg, which summons a floating eye that they can move around and control while they channel. The Priest then uses Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield on the eye, and the Warlock maneuvers the eye around through every pack of enemies that you want to pull. Eventually, the enemies will kill the eye, and they will all run back to the Warlock. This lets you safely pull lots of enemies and allows your tank to sit in front of the Warlock, picking them all up as they come. Once they are all grouped, the Mages and Warlocks can begin using their AoE, and killing the group quickly. Since they will all be slowed heavily, the tank can kite them back, and the goal is to kill them before they start to run away or start to kill the casters.

The only hard requirement for this type of group is at least 2 Mages. Mages are the main source of damage and slows needed to kill large groups. The absolute best comp to run is a Warrior tank, 2 Mages, 1 Warlock, and 1 Priest. This allows you to do the Warlock and Priest combo pulls described above, a Warrior to tank when needed (especially for bosses), and 2 Mages and 1 Warlock for AoE damage. While you can substitute in other DPS, they will not be nearly as good and your Mages will end up needing to just do more damage to make up for it. A single Mage is possible to work with, but your damage will probably be too low for the types of pulls that make this efficient, and the slows will be just a bit lacking.

4.3.

Pathing

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.

Another possibility than can be worthwhile is quest runs of dungeons. Most dungeons have quests available that you can complete in the dungeons, some of which give great rewards. Dungeons such as Uldaman and Maraudon are not worth farming for extended periods of time compared to the others, but can be worth doing a single run of just to complete all the available quests. Once you are Level 40 and have your mount, this becomes much more viable since traveling is easier.

As a side note, while spell cleave groups are not gear reliant, melee cleave groups are. Warriors specifically benefit tremendously from weapon upgrades, so routing around getting your Warriors specific upgrades can be a great idea, especially if you are in a group with multiple Warriors.

4.3.1.

Alliance

As Alliance, the earliest dungeon that you will have access to is the Deadmines. You should wait until about Level 16 to start this, meaning you will need to quest to level until then. If you are doing a spell cleave group however, you may want to wait until Level 20 since that is when Mages get Blizzard Icon Blizzard.

These level ranges are more guidelines than hard rules, and you can safely add or subtract a level from most of them. As a general rule though, you should always err on the side of caution, and do lower level dungeons rather than higher level dungeons if you are unsure.

  1. Deadmines from 16 to 23;
  2. The Stockade from 23 to 30;
  3. Scarlet Monastery from 30 to 44;
  4. Zul'Farrak from 44 to 49;
  5. Blackrock Depths from 49 to 56;
  6. Lower Blackrock Spire from 56 to 60.

One of the first things you will want to do at Level 60 is to start collecting your pre-raid BiS gear. Most of the pieces that you will want do not actually require Level 60 to use them, so if you want, you can start farming dungeons such as Scholomance and Stratholme at Level 58 to start getting better gear that you will use at 60. Check out the pre-raid BiS lists in the class guides for a full list of what gear you should be looking to farm.

4.3.2.

Horde

As Horde, the earliest dungeon that you will have access to is Ragefire Chasm. You should wait until about Level 11 to start this, meaning you will need to quest to level until then. At Level 11, you can farm the first half of the dungeon, but you will want to wait until 13 to try to do the second half.

These level ranges are more guidelines than hard rules, and you can safely add or subtract a level from most of them. As a general rule though, you should always err on the side of caution, and do lower level dungeons rather than higher level dungeons if you are unsure.

  1. Ragefire Chasm from 11 to 18;
  2. Wailing Caverns from 18 to 25;
  3. Shadowfang Keep or Blackfathom Deeps from 25 to 30 (this is a bit of an awkward spot for Horde, so stepping away to quest for these levels is also a viable option);
  4. Scarlet Monastery from 30 to 44;
  5. Zul'Farrak from 44 to 49;
  6. Blackrock Depths from 49 to 56;
  7. Lower Blackrock Spire from 56 to 60.

One of the first things you will want to do at Level 60 is to start collecting your pre-raid BiS gear. Most of the pieces that you will want do not actually require Level 60 to use them, so if you want you can start farming dungeons such as Scholomance and Stratholme at Level 58 to start getting better gear that you will use at 60. Check out the pre-raid BiS lists in the class guides for a full list of what gear you should be looking to farm.

5.

Questing

Questing is the default and most common way of leveling in WoW Classic. 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. Often, this means focusing on increasing your recovery speed instead of increasing your damage, which is why Spirit is an incredibly good leveling stat for most classes. Some classes benefit more than others though, since classes like Hunters do not need the regeneration as much as a Warrior might while questing. Check out the class leveling guides to see what is best for your class.

5.1.

Groups

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.

5.2.

Grinding

If you only go through zones doing exactly what is needed for each quest, you will end up running out of quests before Level 60. There are simply not enough quests available, especially at 50+, for you to purely level off of. This is one reason why throwing some dungeon runs in can be beneficial since it helps bridge the XP gap that you will surely hit in some zones. The main thing that you will need to practice is grinding. Grinding in this case means killing enemies over and over with as little downtime as possible for the most XP/hour. Some grinding spots with the right enemies are actually so good that they can be better than questing even. While you do not need to sit in one spot and grind for hours on end (although you can), the better thing to do is get in the habit of grinding while running between quests. As you travel, just kill every enemy that you see along the way. Travel time is one of the biggest issues in leveling since it is the only time where you are not working towards getting more experience at that moment. Grinding while traveling helps mitigate this, especially at lower levels where every class can auto attack enemies to kill them. Sufficient grinding will help ensure that you are getting enough XP per zone you complete, and will make it easier switching from zone to zone by ensuring that you are an adequate level.

5.3.

Zone Order

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 1-60 though and knowing everything that you will do is unrealistic without years 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. As a general guideline, you should finish the efficient quest chains in your current zone (kill quests) and go to the next zone usually 1-2 levels above the minimum requirement. For instance, going to Stranglethorn Vale at Level 30 is going to be much more difficult than going at 32. It is almost universally more efficient to do lower level content at a faster pace as opposed to doing higher level content at a slower pace. That being said, again, these are not hard rules, and you can choose to add or subtract a level from any of these ranges without much issue.

5.3.1.

Starting Zones

Every class has a starting zone, which is classified as 1-10. Try to get at least Level 11, preferably Level 12 before moving onto the next zone. If you supplement your questing with grinding, this should not be an issue.

In addition to each class having a starting zone, each class also has a secondary zone to immediately move to that is adjacent to their starting zones. These are listed below. It is worth noting that, after your starting zone, you can choose to go to any other zone you want. Even though your secondary zone will be the least amount of travel, you can still choose a different zone if it means grouping with a friend or even if you just prefer that zone.

Race Starting Zone Secondary Zone
Night Elf Teldrassil (1-10) Darkshore (10-20)
Dwarf and Gnome Dun Morogh (1-10) Loch Modan (10-20)
Human Elwynn Forest (1-10) Westfall (10-20)
Orc and Troll Dun Morogh (1-10) Barrens (10-25)
Tauren Mulgore (1-10) Barrens (10-25)
Undead Trisfal Glades (1-10) Silverpine Forest (10-20)
5.3.2.

Alliance

  1. Starting Zone (1-12)
  2. Secondary Zone of your choice (12-21)
  3. Ashenvale (21-25) or Redridge Mountains (21-25)
  4. Duskwood (25-29)
  5. Menthil Harbor (29-32)
  6. Stranglethorn Vale (32-35)
  7. Hillsbrad Foothills (35-37) or Desolace (35-36)
  8. Arathi Highlands (37-39)
  9. Stranglethorn Vale (39-41)
  10. Swamp of Sorrows (41-42)
  11. Tanaris (42-45)
  12. Feralas (45-47)
  13. The Hinterlands (47-48)
  14. Tanaris (48-49)
  15. Blasted Lands (49-50)
  16. Searing Gorge (50-51)
  17. Un'Goro Crater (51-54)
  18. Felwood (54-55)
  19. Winterspring (55-56)
  20. Western Plaguelands (56-57)
  21. Eastern Plaguelands (57-59)
  22. Winterspring (59-60)
5.3.3.

Horde

  1. Starting Zone (1-12)
  2. Barrens (12-20)
  3. Stonetalon Mountains (20-21)
  4. Ashenvale (21-22)
  5. Southern Barrens (22-23)
  6. Hillsbrad Foothills (23-24)
  7. Stonetalon Mountains (24-25)
  8. Southern Barrens and Thousand Needles (25-26)
  9. Ashenvale (26-27)
  10. Stonetalon Mountains (27-28)
  11. Thousand Needles (28-29)
  12. Hillsbrad Foothills (29-30)
  13. Arathi Highlands (30-31)
  14. Thousand Needles (31-32)
  15. Desolace (32-34)
  16. Stranglethorn Vale (34-37)
  17. Arathi Highlands (37-39)
  18. Stranglethorn Vale (39-41)
  19. Swamp of Sorrows (41-42)
  20. Tanaris (42-45)
  21. Feralas (45-47)
  22. The Hinterlands (47-48)
  23. Tanaris (48-49)
  24. Blasted Lands (49-50)
  25. Searing Gorge (50-51)
  26. Un'Goro Crater (51-54)
  27. Felwood (54-55)
  28. Winterspring (55-56)
  29. Western Plaguelands (56-57)
  30. Eastern Plaguelands (57-59)
  31. Winterspring (59-60)
5.4.

Quests to Avoid

The leveling path above is a general route and is not designed for you to need to complete every quest in every zone. The best idea is to focus on the more efficient quests, specifically kill quests, and when you have lots of quests that can be completed in a small area. On a PvP server, quests that take you to zones mainly controlled by the opposite faction can potentially be bad, since you are more likely to get killed in PvP. Elite quests are also going to be much harder, and you will almost certainly need a group to do them if you choose to. Lastly, quests that take you across the zone for a specific quest are often not worth it, unless they give a meaningful reward (like a weapon upgrade) or bring you to a new quest hub.

6.

General Tips

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.

6.1.

Breaks

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. To auto-run, Num Lock is the default key binding.

6.2.

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. Check out the class guides for specific upgrades since knowing when and where to get good weapon upgrades can greatly increase your kill speed.

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, you 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.

6.3.

Mount

Getting a mount at Level 40 is one of the single best purchases you will make. Mounts increase your movement speed by 60% while riding them, which will save you a ton of travel time over just running. Mounts cost 90 gold total for the mount and training, meaning you will want to try to save up as much as possible by Level 40. The best way to do that is by selling all of your unwanted items to a vendor, posting valuable materials such as cloth, gems, and ore on the auction house, and limiting the number of skills you train. You should focus on only training the worthwhile skills from your class trainers since lots of them are not necessary for leveling. For complete lists of what to train, check out the class leveling guides.

6.4.

Trainers

While leveling up, you are going to need to visit various trainers. The two most important trainers that you will need to visit are weapon masters and your class trainers.

6.4.1.

Weapon Masters

Weapons are incredibly important for most classes, and you will want access to all potential weapon upgrades. By default, you will only know how to use 1-2 weapons when you make your character. To learn how to use more weapons, you need to visit weapon masters in the major cities and train in new weapons. Learning how to use a new weapon costs 10 silver each, but is absolutely worth the investment once you have the money available.

Weapon Master location Weapon Skills available
Darnassus (around 57,46) Daggers, Fist Weapons, Staves, Bows, Thrown Weapons
Ironforge (around 62,89) Guns, Axes, Maces, Fist Weapons, Daggers, Crossbows, Thrown Weapons
Stormwind (around 57,57) Crossbows, Daggers, Swords, Polearms, Staves
Orgrimmar (around 81,19) Bows, Thrown Weapons, Axes, Staves, Daggers, Fist Weapons
Thunder Bluff (41, 62) Guns, Maces, Staves
Undercity (57,32) Crossbows, Daggers, Swords, Polearms
6.4.2.

Class Trainers

As you level up, you will get access to more skills. Every even 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 and some smaller towns around the world, including starting zones. Training is important, since it is one of the ways you gain power as you level. It increase 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.

6.5.

Professions

While professions might slow you down during leveling, they are incredibly important at Level 60 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 level them up 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 60 without worrying about them.

6.5.1.

First Aid

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 towards 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.

6.6.

Addons

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.

7.

Changelog

  • 14 Sep. 2019: Page added.
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