World of Warcraft Classic launched on August 26 to a massive response from both WoW veterans and newer players who never got the chance to experience the game’s “vanilla”, pre-expansion state.
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.
Even though there are only 60 levels in WoW Classic – compared to the 120 of current retail WoW – the process can be much slower, with Blizzard having streamlined levelling several times over the various expansions.
It’s estimated that even the fastest players will take somewhere in the region of 80-100 hours of game time to hit the level cap in WoW Classic, and that’s using every trick in the book and a pre-planned strategy to maximize the rate of experience. For most players, getting to max will take a lot longer.
For those looking to shorten the levelling grind as much as possible, however, here’s a few factors that can influence how long it’s likely to take, and some tricks and tactics for speeding up the process.
For most players, how quickly they can hit 60 isn’t a major factor in picking their class – you’re going to be spending a lot of time with it no matter what, so you’re better of picking a class you actually enjoy.
That being said, if you’re really set on levelling as fast as possible, or trying to decide between multiple options, there are definitely some classes that will be quicker and easier to level than others.
Generally speaking, the classes that are entirely focused on damage-dealing are likely to be effective simply because they will down enemies more effectively on average. If you’re going to be playing solo a lot Hunters and Warlocks stand out, with pets to offer tanking and other utility, while the AOE damage and crowd control of Mages makes them very effective, especially when paired with a healer.
On the flip side, the likes of a Warrior may be the strongest tank in the game, but with no self-healing abilities you’re going to have a lot of downtime playing solo, while Priests are also going to have a slower time that most classes fighting their way through the thousands of enemies they’ll have to slay on their journey to 60 without the aid of another more damage-focused class.
While completing quests is a large part of what makes the levelling experience varied and interesting, if you’re looking to maximize your experience rates it might be more effective to simply find an area with a lot of enemies and “farm” them, killing as many as possible with as little downtime as you can manage.
The choice between these approaches is influenced quite heavily by the choice of class – Mages excel at killing groups of enemies at once, even without assistance if you use your spells correctly, so farming is a strong option for them. Classes that kill slower and can’t handle as many enemies at once may find farming much less effective.
A decent middle-ground between the two is to focus on quests that themselves require you to kill a large number of enemies – effectively farming with an extra bonus at the end – while disregarding those that will involve a lot of travelling and not a lot of earning XP.
Equally, when you do have to travel to quest objectives, you can earn a little bit of extra experience by killing enemies you come across as you travel – you can disregard things like mana and even use some cooldowns to burst through kills as the opportunity arises. Those extra kills picked up along the way will add up in the long run.
If you want to make questing more efficient, however, this is the method that benefits the most from the use of addons.
There are a variety of addons designed to make the WoW experience a little easier, and when it comes to questing some can make a significant difference.
One such addon is Azeroth Auto-Pilot, which is designed to be act as a full-blown guide in-game. Not only will Azeroth Auto-Pilot tell you what your next quest or objective should be at every step of the way, it’ll even give you an arrow pointing you in the right direction, allowing you to follow an efficient route without ever stopping to figure out what you should be doing at any given time.
Even if you’re looking to level up a little bit faster, however, not everyone wants to entirely sacrifice the rest of the experience in favor of the maximum possible XP rate at any cost.
If you want to make life a little easier while still staying a bit more engaged in the levelling process, there are some addons that will help cut out some of the time spent simply figuring out where you’re supposed to be, or how to get there.
Questie isn’t a full-blown guide in the way Azeroth Auto-Pilot is, but it does provide some of the conveniences that retail WoW players will be used to, such as markers on the map for available quests, and the objectives you need to complete.
Meanwhile, even the simple convenience of a more detailed map that doesn’t need ‘discovering’ can make life that little bit easier, as offered by the likes of Atlas World Map Classic.
If you really want to level up as fast as possible, one of the most effective strategies is to spend almost the entire process in dungeons. This is the approach you’ll see taken by many of the fastest levelers in the world, but it does require a dedicated five-man group, a particular strategy, and the right set of classes.
This tactic sees groups go into the dungeon most appropriate to their level – ideally the one with the highest density of enemies if there are multiple options – and speed-clear it by gathering up as many enemies as possible and then killing them all at once with AOE.
At least one Mage is effectively essential to this strategy, as abilities like Frost Nova, Blizzard, Cone of Cold, and Frost Block are key tools in collecting and slowing large groups that can then be kited while they die to AOE. In addition, the more AOE damage in the group – ideally extra Mages – the better, although it’s worth having one Priest to help prevent deaths that will slow you down.
If you have a viable group for this approach, it’s simply a case of clearing the dungeon you’re in as quickly as possible, resetting, and going again, until you need to move to the next dungeon or you’ve gotten bored of power-levelling like this.
While this isn’t likely to be a viable strategy for the majority of players due to the coordination and particular class distribution it requires, it is worth being aware of if you’re playing with a group of friends or guild members and want to burn through some levels as fast as possible.
If you don’t have a full five-man group prepared to commit to this strategy, dungeons might actually be best avoided until you’ve collected multiple quests that need to be completed in a particular instance, as finding a group of players – especially if you don’t already have a tank and healer – and travelling to the dungeon for individual runs isn’t likely to be an efficient use of time otherwise.
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