Vanilla World of Warcraft or “WoW Classic” came long before the idea of respecting the player’s time. It was when MMORPGs were blatantly designed to sap up every waking minute of your free time — but we loved it. After all, Blizzard needed to give themselves time to crank out new content to justify your subscription cost, and making current content take hundreds of hours to complete was the sure-fire way of doing it. This all culminated in a World of Warcraft leveling experience that was by no means short. And with WoW Classic, it’s back with a vengeance.
An optimized run to level 20 could take between 7-10 hours, but anywhere after that and you’re looking at a real uphill challenge. This World of Warcraft Classic leveling guide won’t detail every single one of the hundreds of quests you’ll need to complete to hit the Level 60 cap, but it will offer some choice advice to help you climb that mountain.
WoW Classic Leveling Guide
How to level faster
Always log out at inns or cities
Inns and Cities are points of relaxation. Safe spaces away from ravenous wolves and mouthy Murlocs. These won’t be too much use to anyone doing a marathon run to the end, but for anyone taking it easy and looking to get the most experience points for their time, logging out at an inn or city will allow you to accumulate “Rested exp” while you’re away. Rested EXP doubles monster kill EXP totaling the amount accumulated over time, meaning you’ll get a nice little bonus upon your return.
Kill everything you see
Grinding: it’s an idea lost to time. Unless it’s a Korean free-to-play MMO or something like Oldschool Runescape, grinding EXP against mobs has long been replaced with near-endless questing or dungeon farms. In World of Warcraft Classic, it’s almost a necessity to bridge the level gap between two zones. You can get a headstart on this by supplementing quests with monster kills. Just aim to kill every monster you come across as you travel from one quest to another. It might not look like much when it comes in, but that little extra EXP will really build up over time.
Budget your gold
One of the biggest hurdles of early World of Warcraft was making money. The game was designed to wipe our your in-game wallet at certain levels. New skill ranks would chip away, flight costs would build up, and obtaining your first mount would basically bankrupt you. All of that is back with World of Warcraft Classic, and knowing how to earn and budget your gold can go a long way.
Despite how it seems early on, you really don’t need to spend your cash on every single new rank of spell or ability you come across. These can get very expensive, and offsetting the purchase of a mount for the sake of potential 1% damage boost somewhere in your rotation is bound to end up costing you more time than a mount would have saved. Just look up optimal rotations are work out whether that beefed up Thunder Clap will really make much difference.
Grab First Aid ASAP
Nearly every mob in World of Warcraft can drop some kind of fabric like Linen. These can easily be crafted into useful triage items like Bandages. Bandages are cheap and effective healing items that can greatly reduce downtime between fights. They’re not as effective as sitting down for a quick meal, but they’re comparatively cheaper. They’re fast, too, so you can limit the time between pulls or even wrap up an injury after stunning an opponent. It’s a must-have tool for classes like Warrior with limited self-sustain. First Aid trainers are found in every major city and it doesn’t count toward your two profession limit.
Train crafting and/or gathering professions while leveling
Crafting and gathering professions aren’t only good for making stacks of cash later on, but they can help you craft weapons and armor to help you during leveling. You can learn any two of these professions at a time, and while crafting will take time out of your leveling process to work on, gathering can be easily worked into each of your kills.
Most animals you kill can be skinned for leather and hides, and mining and herb nodes will often populate your minimap as you quest. Just right click on these things as you go about your daily grind and you’ll end up with piles of useful materials to sell or turn into items for yourself, friends, or anyone on the server looking to buy.
Best leveling methods in WoW Classic
For the vast majority of players, questing will make up almost all of your World of Warcraft Classic leveling time. You won’t get massive amounts of EXP per quest, but when tackled in batches, they’re far more rewarding than just killing mobs alone. But you can’t just go and complete any old quest you want to. Each zone in World of Warcraft is tailored toward players of a certain level, making it necessary to wander over one better suited to your level when you reach that stage or run out of quests in another. The way loot is shared out between groups means quests are better suited to solo players or, at a push, duos. Anything more than that and you might want to look at our alternative leveling process below.
We’ve listed zones down below based on their average level. It’s wise to head to these whenever your level allows rather than hanging around to mop up any unfinished quests a zone you’ve outleveled, as monster kills lower than your character level will award vastly reduced experience points. It’s rare for any zone to contain enough quests to carry you from one end of the level threshold to the other, so don’t expect to move around quite a bit.
- Durotar (1-10)
- Mulgore (1-10)
- Teldrassil (1-10)
- Darkshore (10-20)
- Barrens (10-25)
- Stonetalon Mountains (15-27)
- Ashenvale (18-30)
- Thousand Needles (25-35)
- Descolace (30-40)
- Dustwallow Marsh (25-45)
- Tanaris (40-50)
- Ferelas (42-50)
- Azshara (45-55)
- Un’goro Crater (48-55)
- Felwood (48-55)
- Winterspring (53-60
- Moonglade (55-60)
- Silithus (55-60)
- Dun Morogh (1-10)
- Elwyn Forest (1-10)
- Tirisfal Glades (1-10)
- Loch Modan (10-20)
- Silverpine Forest (10-20)
- Westfall (10-20)
- Redridge Mountains (15-25)
- Duskwood (18-30)
- Hillsbrad Foothills (20-30)
- Wetlands (20-30)
- Alterac Mountains (30-40)
- Arathi Highlands (30-40)
- Stranglethorn Vale (30-45)
- Badlands (35-45)
- Swamp of Sorrows (35-45)
- Hinterlands (40-50)
- Searing Gorge (45-50)
- Blasted Lands (45-55)
- Burning Steppes (50-58)
- Western Plaguelands (51-58)
- Eastern Plaguelands (53-60)
- Deadwind Pass (55-60)
WoW Classic Dungeon Farming – Melee & Spell Cleave
While not really considered worthwhile in the vanilla World of Warcraft days of yore, increased player skill and understanding of the game has resulted in the idea of dungeon grinding being a worthwhile alternative to questing. The idea here is to grind EXP from elite mobs found in dungeons as a group. When done correctly, they can offer comparable or greater EXP per hour than questing; even when split between party members.
Once a group has been found, compared to quests, dungeon grinding requires far less travel time between objectives and less time relying on specific monsters drops. Party composition becomes very important here as monsters need to be bunched up and effectively AOE’d down to reap the rewards. This has led to the term Melee Cleave and Spell Cleave based on the compositions used. Clear communication is key here, so it’s best reserved for good friends and guildmates over voice chat.
As you might expect, “Melee Cleave” groups focus on melee AoE damage. Warriors are typically best for this, so a common composition (as outlined here) is three warriors (with Cleave), one paladin, and a priest for healing. Shamans can fill in for the priest here, but rouges are basically a no-go due to their lack of area damage. It’s a simple case of having the Paladin pull entire rooms with a protection bubble and letting the warrior’s spin to win while the Priest buffs and heals as needed. There’s a bit less risk involved with a melee cleave group over spell cleave, but the latter can beat out the other for raw exp once mastered.
Spell Cleave dungeon groups are far more involved. Spell Cleave groups can burn down entire dungeons in one go if done right, but it’s incredibly hard to pull off. Instead, be prepared for small pulls with plenty of downtime for mana regen. The idea here is to pull packs with a warlock/hunter pet or bear druid and have mages slow/freeze them with their spells and burning them down with things like Blizzard. The packs will be large enough to one-shot almost anyone if they get close, meaning Paladins with a bubble are also good for large numbers. priests are fantastic healers here, but shamans and paladins can potentially fill in.
Instead, it’s mostly mages all around. The more frost mages with improved blizzard traits the better.
If you’re in a smaller group of two or three, open-world grinding can become an option. It’s probably not something you’ll want to do all the way to 60, but it can help bridge the gap between one zone and the next if you’re stuck somewhere with too few quests to complete.
Open-World grinding is the simple idea of rounding up mobs in quest zones and burning them down in packs with a couple of friends. It’s less lonely than questing alone, but it’s bound to get old fast. It won’t get you nearly as much EXP as a traditional Spell or Melee Cleave group in a dungeon, but it’s far easier to organize and pull off. AOE damage is obviously key here, so Rogues will have a hard time.
And that’s it! World of Warcraft Classic leveling is going to soak up a huge chunk of your free time. And considerably more if you factor in additional classes. While it may appear tiring and borderline pointless at times, it’s worth slogging through just to experience just how far games have come. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying WoW Classic meant a great deal to a lot of people, and having the opportunity to check it out now is like going back in time to witness a Jimi Hendrix gig.