One day I was innocently “questing” (cough killing low-level gnomes cough) in Stranglethorn and Reni sent me a whisper suggesting that I contribute to this World of Warcraft blog that she’s been throwing around in her head. I agreed, even though I’m relatively new to the game, but I figured I know enough to enlighten some newer players. Without further ado, blood elves and orcs alike, here is a starter guide to leveling.
There are three ways to level- questing, battlegrounds, and dungeons. You will get from level 1 to 10 by questing, and from then on you have a bit more freedom on how you play the game.
Player v. Player (PvP)
The “Player v. Player” button on the right side of your action bar (denoted by your faction’s crest; red for Horde and blue for the other one) becomes available at level 10. Upon clicking the button, you will see a window pop up that says “Random Battleground” in the middle. As a low-level player, you’ll probably only see “Random Battleground” and “Warsong Gulch” as options… that do exactly the same thing (at level ten). You click the button that says “Join Battle”, and you will join a queue, along with other players who are also waiting to join. The length of time that you’re in the queue depends on a lot of things; the time of day, the number of people in the queue, the phase of the moon, et cetera. To find out exactly what to expect in every battleground, click here. With every kill you get, you gain experience. So… go kill stuff, get the flags, and win!
The second way to level is through dungeons. You get to meet a whole bunch of people here, and on a more personal level of play, because there’s only five of you. Granted, some of those people can be about as much fun as a tauren’s rear end (no offense to any cows out there), but you have to know what the really bad pugs are like to fully appreciate the really good ones. The dungeon finder button becomes available at level fifteen (denoted by a little green button, right next to the PvP button to the right of your action bar). Click it, and you’ll see a window come up that says “Dungeon Finder” at the top. There are dozens of dungeons that you will experience throughout your World of Warcraft play- I kid you not. There are three roles- tank, healer, and DPS (damage). Basically, the tank makes all the bad things attack them, the healer heals the tank, and the DPS goes and hits things that the tank is hitting. There’s a common saying that applies here: If the tank dies, it’s the healer’s fault. If the healer, dies, it’s the tank’s fault. If the DPS dies, it’s their own fault. For more information on dungeon roles, go look at the post that talks more about it. Back to dungeons. For more specifics on what dungeons involve what bosses, loot, etc, click here. Dungeons last anywhere from fifteen minutes (with a good group and a short instance) to two hours (with a bad group and a long instance, like Wailing Caverns), roughly. Other dungeons you’ll see often are Ragefire Chasm and the Deadmines, and then Shadowfang Keep a little bit later on.
All of these dungeons have a few things in common. There are a lot of trash mobs that drop really crappy loot and a little money, little bosses that drop better loot and more money, and finally, they all have one main boss that drops excellent loot and even more money. The money and loot are a definite plus for dungeons- battlegrounds only give you a little bit of copper if you remove someone’s insignia. Otherwise, you don’t get anything (except honor points, which I won’t go into here- look for the PvP specific post).
Lastly is questing. When you first create your character and zone into your starting area, you will see someone standing near you with a yellow exclamation mark over their head- this means that they have a quest available for you. If you see someone with a gray exclamation mark over their head, it means that they have a quest, but you are too low-level to get it, and you should come back when you’ve gained a level or two. When you get a quest, it will go into your quest log, which can be easily accessed by pressing the button to the right of your action bar that has- none other than- a yellow exclamation mark. The window that pops up will show you all the quests that you are currently on, which ones you’ve already completed, the number of group members that are on the quest, and what zone each quest is in. It’s a really handy window. If for any reason you don’t want to do a certain quest anymore, you can select it in your quest log and hit the button that says “Abandon Quest”: pretty self explanatory. Once you have completed the quest, you go back to the person the quest says to return to, and once you get near enough to them, you will see that they have a yellow question mark over their head. If you haven’t completed the quest, that question mark will be gray. The quest giver and quest turn-in NPC are usually the same, but often enough they aren’t. The quest text will tell you who and where to turn the quest in. Quests give gold and loot rewards upon completion, along with a good amount of experience. This is a good thing. Once you’re at level 80 (or 85, come Cata), they will stop giving experience and start giving gold. It’s a pretty sweet deal.
Confused? There’s A Site For That!
If you’re ever having serious issues with a quest and are completely stumped on what to do (or you’re just too lazy to figure it out yourself), there are several absolutely lovely websites that will tell you what to do, where to find what you’re looking for, et cetera. My favorite, as well as thousands of other player’s favorites is http://www.wowhead.com. You type in what quest you’re on, and it will show you the quest text, and then it has comments written by other players who were once in your shoes- totally lost in Azeroth. Wowhead is also really handy for looking up where specific items are dropped or sold, where certain NPCs are in the world, what abilities bosses have, and so on and so forth. It’s just a super handy site. Yes, there are others that will tell you pretty much the same thing, but Wowhead goes into so much detail your head might just explode. Psych! But really, it’s your go-to site for quest help.
So there you have it. These three strategies- PvP, dungeons, and questing- will get you from level 1 to level 80 (or 85) in (mostly) no time flat. Quest till you get to level 10, do battlegrounds till level fifteen, and then do dungeons until 80, quest while you wait for queues, and you’re golden! Good luck, don’t die (much), and have fun!
EDIT: I realized that I forgot to mention something: gathering professions now (as of patch 4.0.1 (?)) give experience, too! Exploring also grants XP.