For many players, part of reliving their early WoW days in Classic will be taking their time with levelling up, enjoying the journey and not worrying too much about racing to the end-game content.For others, however, the things they’re interested in don’t begin until level 60, and levelling up is simply a chore that must be completed beforehand
WoW Classic questing
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. However, 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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 burn 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.
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.
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