WoW Classic levelling guide - deep dive into the Shifting Sands
REACHING THE LEVEL CAP IN VANILLA WOW
Vanilla is coming and this time we are going to be prepared for anything that will come up to face us - the bold adventurers, delving deep into secrets of ruined cities, murky swamps and god-forgotten, vermin-infested pits of pure evil. As Blizzard has officially stated the exact game build on which will Classic WoW be run, we’ve decided that proper leveling guide might come handy, hence this article. We are going to cover all the ins-and-outs of climbing towards WoW’s level cap - mostly we will focus on the orthodox approach - questing and skilling professions - but for those short, on time we have something special, closer to the end of the guide.
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Few obligatory words of introduction first - Classic WoW will be released to the general public on August 27th 2019. Running on patch 1.12, which is often considered the best WoW ever was. This patch comprises all of the vanilla endgame content. Game designers decided to release instances in six phases in order to keep the challenge and item progression curve in check and mimic the way it happened back then, 15 years ago. This means that aside from Onyxia or Azuregos being fearsome again, Scarab Lord title is obtainable once again as players will have the opportunity to engage in epic, legendary and generally one of the highlights of vanilla, Ahn’Qiraj questline. So what’s more there to say - wait patiently and set out on a nostalgia trip once the gates to the past open. Ah, and players don’t have to pay any additional fee for the reintroduced content - your WoW subscription covers it all.
Table of Contents:
The Leveling Guide Proper
So you’ve got yourself all subscribed and hyped up, ready to delve in the fantastic world of swords and magic, immerse yourself with MMO experience and freshen up your knowledge of the lore. Aha! That’s sweet. One would think that such lighthearted naivety was lost to the world - although Azeroth is not exactly the grimiest and the darkest of grimdark settings - well actually it’s quite light on the tone - its online implementation is metal all the way down to its core. Recent expansions to the retail WoW have warped the way in which the original leveling and questing was designed, focusing heavily on the overall feel of continuous and guided main questline.
Quest nowadays consist of carefully devised quest hubs, waypoints and rhythm (or loop if you wish to call it so) of exploration-fight-powertrip (i.e., Nazmir’s Torga questline with quite awesome Fate’s Hand hacking and slashing experience, although it’s not the end of this particular story, it opens the third act of it), repeated in every zone and story (some zones sport a few of those loops, good example would be aforementioned Nazmir). Although it helps with keeping ourselves engaged since it’s not the usual cutting through a menu of mobs dwelling in the immediate area, generally most would agree that’s some kind of progress and arguably one of the good things that came out of Cataclysm expansion, the vanilla was nothing like it. We mean it - literally questing in vanilla was so far from what Blizzard offers us today that we bet new players who joined after Cataclysm will feel lost, almost as if they played completely different MMO.
Whether it’s good or not it's not the topic of this guide, but you were warned - vanilla was hard, not Dark Souls hard of course but virtually any class there was, had to take mobs one by one (except for the mages and maybe, maybe particularly skilled warlocks), scavenge for quests, players had to assemble themselves in groups in some zones, sometimes extra grind was needed as quests weren’t enough to reach the level cap. Sounds harsh, but that’s how things were back in the good days of yore and might. Feel anxious or less hyped about this nostalgic endeavor you were supposed to hop on? Fear not, we are here to grab you by the hand, whisper some words of comfort (My blood is venom, and you will bathe in the glory of snake god!) and guide you through ramparts of clunky early WoW systems.
For Mary Sues out there, feeling like they will do just fine with general directions we have completed list of arbitrarily picked zones fit for fuss-free and handsomely rewarded leveling. Divided into three sections - Alliance, Horde and Contested Territories - seems like a straightforward route, but nothing is further from the truth - it’s just a draft, you will have to regularly jump from zone to zone in order to gear up or straight-up smash some mobs to fill the experience gap separating you from next level. So treat this as a general overview of what’s there to kill, the proper guide comes next.
Darkshore (11-19) - topographically similar to Chile, it’s probably the second leveling zone that most Night Elves players will choose, but it’s not limited to them only, other Alliance characters can choose to go on a trip there too, if they feel like wandering through what’s left of proud Kaldorei folk. Occupying northwestern strip of Kalimdor, it’s basically huge unguarded beach at the feet of Mount Hyjal, full of moon bathing Nagas and Murlocs and spiked with elven ruins, haunted by the Kaldorei ghosts, as if they couldn’t come to terms with what has happened to their marvelous empire, forever trapped in grief and solitude of eternity of mourning. In more recent times, Night Elves set up there an outpost, called Auberdine, which is the only friendly place on Darkshore (and if you are Horde player and somehow ended up there, you are going to have to break the ice with Nagas, feat worth trying in our humble opinion, Horde-Naga peace would be a revolution in Azerothian geopolitics).
The zone is designed for level 11-19 characters, although nothing is going to stop you from coming there on a higher level to steal kills from leveling players (please don’t do this, we will track your IP and cut you off the Internet, seriously). Plenty of quests there, cool lore related stuff and elven priestesses all around (if you are into RP, otherwise that’s gross), all in all, it's worth giving it a try.
Loch Modan (10-19) - TOTALLY NOT generic dwarven area, this genuine and groundbreaking (this being truer than ever after the Cataclysm) surrounds its namesake - lake Modan which lays at the feet of one the most impressing feats of dwarven engineering - Stonewrought Dam. Currently, Loch Modan (zone, not the lake, but who knows) is infested with trogg - crude, annoying little plops - which came out of the caves unearthed by the dwarves during prospecting and archeological excavations. Intended for players in the beginning of their epic world-saving quest (levels 10-19), oftentimes ends up populated by gnome and dwarf players, however that doesn’t have to be the case, vanilla explorers keen on getting themselves familiar with unique, transgressive and never-before-seen dwarvish locations and lore should take themselves through country roads to Loch Modan, place where they (feel like) belong.
Westfall (9-18) - GNOLLS, Defias Brotherhood LARPers, American Midwest vistas, pumpkin-growing groggy farmers. It’s grim. It’s dark. It’s almost post-apocalyptic. Heretics, naysayers, enemies of the Kingdom and generally all unfair and vicious folks around the world believe that’s the ultimate proof of rampant corruption within the Kingdom’s bureaucracy and indicator of powerful lobbying groups in the service of military-industrial complex that managed to sway Stormwind’s policies towards endless and fruitless military conflicts around the world, thus leaving commoners to fend for themselves. Westfall is a 9-18 Alliance zone (and we mean it seriously, Stormwind is just down the road) with its own dungeon - The Deadmines - and quests associated with it. Defias Brotherhood thugs are roaming the land while gnolls keep to the caves (filled with plenty of valuable ore), XP-ing with friends is strongly advised as area is considered to be a tough one, and well it’s fun to wander through Alliance’s doorstep and mocking king for impotence of its internal affairs policies on Discord. Also, remember to clear the dungeon in order to finish its appropriate quest, it’s fun as an instance itself (as it will be your first dungeon as an Alliance player) and for the ridiculousness of the whole operation as well. If you play paladin, please remember to recite the rights to Defias Brotherhood every time you engage in combat with them.
Redridge Mountains (15-25) - To untrained eye it may seem as poor play on West Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains range, with all the country roads and idyllic vistas, but every Warcraft buff knows that’s not true, Redridge Mountains is a completely original and genuine creation by Blizzard, just like Loch Modan, and it certainly isn’t another uninspired Alliance zone as those pesky Horde players keep barking on the web. Once you shrug off the feeling of awe and pure amazement, you will soon realize that however intended for players with levels ranging between 15 and 25, Redridge questing ought to be supplemented with hopping to other regions as its quests are quite spotty in terms of level progression although it’s absolutely possible to solo all the content without breaking a sweat. No dungeons are present, but some Horde players can be stumbled upon, feel free to show them how humans managed to turn Westfall into a nightmarish hellscape.
Duskwood (10-30) - Huh, that’s weird - it’s another zone that proud dynasty of human rulers forgot about, and thus it fell into chaos and despair. Dusky, dampy, dump infested with horribly huge spiders, rabid wolves and other unholy abominations likes of despicable Flesh Eaters and uncannily humanoid canines - Nightbanes. Duskwood is brimming with quests, either awarding players with honest amounts of experience or handy equipment to help them squish those eight-legged atrocities even faster. Ah and some may like it also for the lore. The zone is labeled as suitable for levels from 10 to 30 you are going to mix it up with Redridge Mountains in order to streamline your leveling and keep it on par with vastly superior leveling routes of Orcs and their friends.
Wetlands (10-30) - Swamps filled with rot, stink, and decomposing carcasses. Spotted with small ponds and lakes, frequently crossed by rivers, it’s tough terrain to fight in if you are meek, weak and whiny mama’s boy pretending to be a warrior. On an unrelated note, Alliance struggled to keep the region in their possession after dwarves lost their holds to Orcish tourists from Dragonmaw Clan. Currently, Alliance presence is limited to Menethil Harbour, but future of outpost is unclear as herbivorous lizards and fearsome Murlocs are regularly raiding the place’s trash bins scavenging for food and shiny trinkets, pushing humans more and more to the sea. Truly oppressive and unwelcoming environment. Duskwood offers tasks and spoils for players with levels between 10 an 30. It’s the last Alliance “controlled” zone, and thus it’s strongly advised to get out everything you can from it as next up are big boys only contested territories. You might want to reconsider farming career human after all those Defias guys aren’t that bad after all - they fend off gnolls and fetch the best booze that Booty Bay can offer.
Ah, beautiful Kalimdor, land of Orcs, Tauren, Trolls, and those traitorous Elves. Honorable, oath keeping warlords rule here, the human infestation is kept minimal, and might is respected by both its people and enemies. From sprawling steppes of Barrens to depths of Un’Goro jungle, challenges are lurking, and ferocious beasts are awaiting their demise. Those who want to prove themselves as capable warriors will find plenty of opportunities to do so. Grab your axe, down the dragon, write your name in the history books.
The Barrens (10-30) - Weaklings from Eastern Kingdoms say it’s devoid of water. They would often claim that only madmen settle here and in order to survive, one has to fight for food with wild animals. Barrens is the place where our younglings prove themselves to be useful, those that fail are shunned upon, and if they manage to survive somehow, we reward them with a second chance - the peonage. Barrens is filled with scenic plains, with occasional peaks and hills growing out of it. Plenty of orcish settlements and camps can be found here, as well as the goblin trading outpost - Ratchet. Barrens is a highly popular area for adventurers between levels 10 and 30. Questing here involves fighting for kills since many adventurers decide to look for fame and fortune here lately. Barrens is also ripe with dungeons - Wailing Caverns, Razorfen Kraul and Razorfen Downs are waiting to be cleared for good by bold adventurers.
Silverpine Forest (10-20) - Silverpine Forest is not much Silver these days as Plague ravaged it dearly while forest’s custodians - Gilneans - decided to wall themselves off in what was left of their kingdom. The official reason being a sprawl of Plague and their unique Worgen curse. One would point that being damned for eternity hasn’t stopped Forsaken from fulfilling their duties and remaining on the post, but well - Gilneans are mere humans. In the end, Silverpine Forest landed in Horde hands with Forsaken fighting Scourge, Gnolls and whatever remained from the Human resistance. Rookie adventurers (Undead or not) will find a plentitude of jobs to put their hands into, more experienced could consider assembling a small party and attempt an assault on Shadowfang Keep since Archmage Arugal still lives there and threatens Horde presence in the region.
Stonetalon Mountains (15-25) - Although technically within Horde territory, Stonetalon Mountains are frequently visited by Night Elves, as deep within mount Stonetalon lies Barrow Den - a place for Druids to slumber and connect with Emerald Dream. Taurens - of course - with love for all kinds of bluffs, hills and peaks are involved in this nature-worshipping business too. Thus Stonetalon peak is one of few places in the Azeroth to accommodate peacefully members of otherwise hostile factions. Quite ironically Stonetalon Mountains are a place of extensive Venture Co. plundering operations, leading - as usual - to degradation of the environment and overall hostility of Horde warlords. Adventurers are free to disrupt their disastrous endeavor. Although Venture Co. mercenaries and machines pose enough threat to the region, it is also home to the harpies, so extreme caution is advised as foes can attack from land and air as well. Level range of Stonetalon Mountains overlap with The Barrens, combining the two in your leveling route may prove helpful.
This ends the section dedicated to relatively safe zones, mostly under control of either faction. What follows are contested territories, subjects to frequent military advances, adventurers from PvP realms may find themselves being targets of griefing activities, although threat of player killers is not ubiquitous to all of the areas below, severe caution is advised in Hillsbrad Foothills and Stranglethorn Vale, murder rates are skyrocketing there, on some days effectively barring low-level players from even entering them.
Hillsbrad Foothills (20-31) - Mildly green bluffs, carefully tended by farmers, sprawling flora and fauna, both spared from horrors of Plague, those hills have seen more blood than Hakkar himself, soil and rocks soaked with it to the bone, if any of the Old Gods would have ended up trapped beneath Hillsbrad, he must have drowned in sanguine deluge by this time. With that being said, it’s clear there’s plenty of work for willing adventurers, not afraid of a minor brawl with opposing faction.
Ashenvale (19-30) - Being the ancestral forest of Night Elves, adventurers that aligned themselves with Horde will be met with very violent resistance, not only from Elves but virtually anything that manifests even the most rudimentary and vestigial signs of life. Beastfolk, vegetation, satyrs, ancients all are after Orcs and their allies. Some grunts report that even air out there seems to be menacingly harsh on the throats. Of course, Night Elves being outstandingly xenophobic and straight-up crazy - passed this madness upon wildlife as well, so Alliance is struggling with keeping their presence in Ashenvale too. Both factions are short on manpower and thus will gladly welcome any helping hands keen on taming this chaotic tangle of hatred-propelled forest and containing of daemonic forces of the satyr. For brave and the bloodthirsty - Blackfathom Deeps await - ta maze of underwater caverns inhabited by Nagas and Twilight Hammer followers, rumored to be a place of worship devoted to Old Gods. Fearsome hydra made its lair down there below so expect to face a real challenge.
Thousand Needles (24-35) - Leaving every visitor in awe of its astonishing sky-scraping spires of sandstone, shaped by the river that used to flow here. Nowadays it’s mostly dry, except for the one water basin in the center of the region. To the east lies huge flat pan of salt, called Shimmering flats, where goblins and gnomes race against each other in their ridiculous vessels, oftentimes leading to fatal accidents due to experimental and unstable nature of said machinery. Flats are also home to the goblins oil drilling operation, jealously guarded against any outside interference. Adventurers tend to avoid the place due to its harsh and unforgiving nature, although experienced travelers shouldn’t find it difficult to plow through centaurs and wind-snakes. Or so I believe. Ah and no matter what stay away from goblin’s drilling operation, it’s for your own good, really.
Stranglethorn Vale (30-50) - Infamous meat grinder, jungles there seen many overconfident would-be champions of light, darkness, chaos, fel magic or whatever you can think of, fell under deadly blows of gladiators that throng there from all over the world in search of glory and hopefully swift death at the hands of their betters. If hordes of savage, bloodthirsty, death seeking madmen weren’t enough to make Stranglethorn Vale - to say the least - inhospitable to visitors, remnants of once-mighty Gurubashi Empire still roam the jungles. Deep within ruins of their fallen empire’s capital - Zul’Gurub - dwells unspeakable and ancient monstrosity - Hakkar the Blood God, waiting patiently for its time to devour every living thing on Azeroth. Both Alliance and Horde consider Zul’Gurub a focal point of their interest and thus are willing to send as many heroes, adventurers, errant knights to contain this growing evil.
Desolace (30-39) - A dour and depressing land, almost devoid of life if not for the four centaur tribes engaged in a never-ending war. Some futile attempts at restoring Desolace to its former more welcoming state were made, but to no effect, judging by the barren landscape and sky that looks as if it was some kind of fel creature that lives on sucking all the happiness from the world. Tauren lead by - as it soon turned out - ill-put belief in Princess Theradas’ connection to the earth elemental plane decided to wake her up. Grave mistake it turned out to be as not only they unleashed evil force upon the world, but also awakened spirit sucked out all the life of what we now know as Desolace in order to restore its full power. Theradas resides nowadays in Maraudon, dungeon ruled by centaurs, and certainly deserves to be conquered by fortune-seeking adventurers. Aside from that Desolace offers wide roster of foes waiting for their doom - to the west are shores swarming with nagas, southern reaches are rife with undead, demons, and fel portals constantly summoned by Burning Blade followers, on top of that there’s centaur war to involve oneself into if aforementioned threats prove to be not enough of a challenge.
Arathi Highlands (30-40) - once a seat of power of the human kingdom of Arathor, nowadays it’s just mostly grassy plains with some farms, much like Hillsbrad Foothills. Arathi Highlands serves mostly as a traverse point on the road to the Lordaeron, and thus its peace is disrupted by war between Horde and Alliance. Both factions set upholds there - Hammerfall and Refuge Pointe, respectively. Although some minor skirmishes happen in Arathi Highlands - mostly between free-roaming marauders, small bands of mercenaries and overeager adventurers on their way to the proper battleground.
Badlands (36-45) - We haven’t talked about dwarves for a while. Badlands lies in the heart of Khaz Modan, allegedly mighty and certainly unjustifiably proud kingdom of child-sized manchildren. Back in the olden days when all Orcs were crazed with demon blood, all of Khaz Modan was under the rule of the Old Horde. After the Second War ended, Khaz Modan was once again under the Ironforge Clan rule (most of it since Black Iron Dwarves went their own way), with unsurprisingly Badlands left to its own, as it proved too big of a challenge for sturdy mountaineers to overcome. Untamed and dry, roaring wildlands as they currently are, Badlands makes for a perfect spot to test yourself. Troggs roam the land, vultures rule the skies and makeshift graveyards, coyotes stalk merchants and those who lost their way or sanity due to dehydration. Horde maintains here fortress called Kargath from where raids into ruins of ancient city Uldaman and Dark Iron Dwarves fortress just south of it can be launched. Alliance presence limits itself to few outposts near dwarven dig sites. Eastern reaches of the area are populated by black dragons, constantly attracting dragon hunters into the land.
Tanaris (40-50) - Huge desert in the southern reaches of Kalimdor, Tanaris is an unlikely home to many creatures - goblins live in their shady city of Gadgetzan, Sandfury trolls dwell in the ruins of Zul’Farrak, apart from that dunes are swarming with lizards and buzzards, down south Silithids have their revolting hives and in the mountains to the east lie Caverns of Time, home of the Bronze Dragonflight. A pretty crowded place for a supposedly desolate desert. Apart from Zul’Farrak which can be easily looted (desert trolls aren’t nearly as menacing as the Gurubashi), Tanaris is interesting for its Silithid hives. These repulsive, brutal, and aggressive creatures are a great game for hunters willing to expand their trophy collection. Gadgetzan goblins offer some menial tasks for travelers short on coin (although they will certainly come up with some ridiculous excuse to not pay the promised amount, so keep a means of persuasion handy). After all this dungeon crawling, fighting dragons and servants of primeval or otherworldly evil, Tanaris with its greedy denizens seems like a calm place to rest for a while, collect yourself before another serving of high-stakes and world-ending threats.
Searing Gorge (43-56) - Horde adventurers access this zone via pass near Kargath while Alliance has to do a quest chain in order to open gates in Loch Modan (rogues can just casually pick the lock, seems like dwarf are pretty chill about the security of their core lands). One of the two zones related with Blackrock Mountain - seat of all things evil, among them angry and fiery Ragnaros. This is probably the first real endgame zone encountered by players. Searing Gorge is mainly roamed by dwarven constructs, elementals, and Dark Iron Dwarves - servants or as one might put it - slaves to Ragnaros. Dark Iron Dwarves are generally hostile, save for Thorium Brotherhood - a dwarven guild of blacksmiths, known around Azeroth for their craftsmanship and predatory business practices. However, adventurers can run a few errands for them and learn some of their secrets in exchange. Horde and Alliance as rarely as they do, agree on this - stay away from Blackrock Mountain, this is very dangerous and not very well known area, everything that can be told for sure about is that Black Iron Dwarves rule it, Ragnaros sits in its bowels, and recently black Dragonflight invaded the mountain. However, rumors are spreading about gathering large forces by Alliance and Horde alike, in order to penetrate the mountain and eventually sacking it.
Feralas (41-60) - Beyond the west border of Thousand Needles lies (as unlikely as it may sound) lush rainforest of Feralas. Powerful magic is at play here as the forest is surrounded by barren lands and despite this soil here is fertile enough to support massive, mountain-high trees that grow all over the place. Claimed by both Horde and Alliance, the factions are represented by the Tauren of Camp Mojave and Night Elf islanders living in Feathermoon Stronghold. However, most of the war effort here is sunk into a regular war waged against Gordunni ogres of Dire Maul, which control most of the Highborne ruins scattered throughout the forest. Feralas also contains one of the portals to the Emerald Dream, guarded by stalwart forces of Green Dragonflight which successfully stomp on any force that attempts to come to the vicinity of it (please stay away from them).
Burning Steppes (50-59) - Lying in the menacing shadow of Blackrock Mountain, it’s yet another region where Alliance dropped the ball - it was once part of Kingdom of Stormwind - vital one to say the least as Burning Steppes are the only way to the Khaz Modan - but was abandoned and thus fell into Dark Iron hands . As with most abandoned strategic bottlenecks, Burning Steppes is a subject to frequent skirmishes between forces of dwarves, dragons, ogres and orcs, latter not affiliated with Horde (these are the very last of orcish forces still believing that Third War is a thing)
Un’Goro Crater (48-55) - Exotic and hot Jurassic Park/Lost World themed zone, full of engaging and fun quests, ripe with easter eggs and references. Un'Goro Crater - a lush jungle in southern Kalimdor - lies between two huge deserts - Silithus wastes and Tanaris - one would think that rainforest there is unlikely but apparently unique weather patterns occurring in the area thanks to its topology being shaped by a meteor strike, are able to sustain abundant vegetation. Un'Goro Crater is a rather isolated area, populated by many bizarre creatures - carnivorous plants, devilsaurs, and tar abominations - not found elsewhere in Kalimdor, all awaiting their gruesome fate - being hunt down by adventurers. Contrary to post-Cataclysm Un’Goro, vanilla one will carry you only two levels up and will prove challenging due to all of the devilsaur elites roaming the crater. Un’Goro is filled with a plethora of references. One of the most popular of them is the Linken questline, a high profile The Legend of Zelda easter egg. Among other Zelda related items, players are rewarded with Master Sword replica!. Another manifestation of love for Nintendo games is empty barrels by Gorillas (Donkey Kong reference). There are few other references, but we’re not going to break it to you, have fun finding it on your own!
Western Plaguelands (46-57) - an excellent zone for gaining large amounts of experience in (barely) no time thanks to Plague Cauldron quest series, which first needs to be unlocked via appropriate questline. Western Plaguelands is a plagued forest zone in northern Eastern Kingdoms. Coupled with Eastern Plaguelands, this area forms greater Plaguelands megaregion, contagion territory affected by the Lich King. Western Plaguelands are coated with thick gray mist, the flora is very sickly, and the fauna is rabid. Huge spiders rule the forests together with other abominations. The four big farms that once were vital points of area are now sites of foul magic, executed with the help of Plague Cauldrons, used for spreading the Scourge. Adventurers can prove themselves in Scholomance, Plaguelands High for ambitious necromancers. Compared to its Eastern counterpart, the area wasn’t hit by the Scourge so hard, some untainted enclaves remain.
Eastern Plaguelands (54-59) - More heavily devastated part of the Plaguelands. Ruled uncontested by the Scourge, effects of the plague are spread all over the place: earth and sky indicate foul magic at play, trees transformed into noxious mushrooms, the air harbors suspicious orange fog, no one really knows for sure if it’s even safe to breathe it. Crusaders of The Argent Dawn have maintained a small camp in Light Hope's Chapel, for a while now, and don’t seem to be gravely affected by an unpleasant aura of this place. Said camp is the only safe harbor out there. On top of all that inhospitality and nightmarish outlook of situation in Eastern Plaguelands, area is also home to Phase 6’s raid Naxxramas - the dreaded floating fortress. Till that time adventurers will have to sate their raiding hunger with Stratholme - Scourge’s capital city - formerly one of the most cosmopolitan and greatest cities of Lordaeron, its citizens were all killed in act of mercy by Arthas Menethil, after he discovered that they’ve been consuming grain tainted by the Scourge, and were bound to feel into the dark abyss of Plague.
Winterspring (55-60) - A snow-covered valley in northern Kalimdor, at the feet of Mount Hyjal. This frostbitten zone serves as the primary home of the Blue Dragonflight in Kalimdor. Although elven ruins litter the place, indicating that it was populous in the past, nowadays the only settlement in Winterspring is Everlook, a Steamwheedle Cartel town that is neutral to both Horde and Alliance. Alliance adventurers can exclusively affiliate themselves with Wintersaber Trainers, faction which operations are limited to Winterspring. Upon reaching exalted status with them, purchase of the elusive Reins of the Winterspring Frostsaber is available. On a somewhat grim but related note, Winterspring offers weird quest chain that rewards special trinket that allows … killing yourself without the death penalty. Potentially useful for spies or some such folk. Due to its harsh climate and isolation, Steamwheedle Cartel and other parties are starving for workers not afraid of some minor frostbites and putting a bit of a fight with local fauna.
And thus we’ve finally concluded the section of this guide dedicated to the general overview of locations and their features. What comes next is lengthy, albeit not very complex: talent tree builds coupled with some advice and brief commentary on the gameplay.
THE CLASSES OF WORLD OF WARCRAFT
For almost two decades the consensus stands - Feral is the way to go for leveling druids, the reason behind it being cool Cat Form unlocked at level 20 and Feline Swiftness talent, granting a slight boost to movement speed. Although movement speed never ceased to be important in WoW, due to prices of mounts in vanilla and how low on gold you are going to be, this grants druid almost unfair advantage over other classes. Overall we are going to focus on taking talents that boost damage in Cat Form in order to streamline leveling as much as possible.
Alternatives: There’s no one proper order of spending your talent points, and despite the fact we strongly support going into Feral for that sweet, sweet movement speed, some players start with the 11 points in Balance for Omen of Clarity, some go for the Furor instead of specing into Feral. All in all its up to you and your preferred playstyle.
Ferocity - funnel your first five points entirely into it in order to reduce the amount of resources your abilities take.
Feral Aggression - there goes next five points - this talent increases your damage and gets you closer to the next tier of the talent tree.
Feline Swiftness - as mentioned earlier - movement speed reigns supreme in terms of its amazing impact on the comfort of leveling up. Put two points here.
Sharpened Claws - Take three points of it, this way you’ll unlock higher tier. Alternatively, you could go for Feral Charge, although we are going to get there eventually and there are fancy talents higher up the tree.
Predatory Strikes/Blood Frenzy - dump three points in Predatory Strikes and then take 2 points in Blood Frenzy. The actual order of picking up those two is not that important, do as you wish, as long as five points are invested in total.
Faerie Fire (Feral) - take this as you will be putting it on virtually every mob encountered.
Savage Fury - take this (meaning invest two points) for additional DPS.
Feral Charge - finally, we believe that’s the proper moment to take up this talent.
Improved Shred - here, take this, you are going to need it.
Heart of the Wild - no brainer stage, put as many points as you can into it (five).
Leader of the Pack - finish Feral talent tree with it and then proceed either to Balance or Restoration. We will consider here going for Balance first.
Nature's Grasp and Improved Nature’s Grasp - put one point in the former and then go all the way and stuff 4 points into improvement.
Natural Weapons - You will then take 5 points in for increased damage.
Omen of Clarity - pretty cool, some say it’s so OP that it’s worth going for it first.
Furor - well at this point you are almost done leveling, albeit its worth to put yourself to it, after all, it’ll still take you some time to reach level cap talent reset, anyways put five points here.
Natural Shapeshifter - max it with three points.
Improved Shred - last but not least, reward yourself, you’ve finally done it.
Spells to buy for your Druid while leveling
Please don’t skim over this section. It’s critical to strategically plan your training expenses as not every skill has to be bought. Overthinking it can’t do harm, quite contrary - it will save you a lot of gold that’s going to help you fund your first mount, and in the endgame, you will have a better grasp of all the ins and outs of skills and its ranks, crucial stuff for being an optimal raider. Ah, the travel time is going to be spared too. So here’s going the list of essentials skills to train on a particular level and some additional useful abilities that are optional.
Mark of the Wild - Buff so good that not only it was considered the best in the game for some time but also (at the times of late vanilla/early TBC) was known among other MMOs. You can’t invest too much money in it, train this at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60.
Claw - Once you get Cat Form at level 20, you'll use this as your primary energy dump. You can train this at the following levels: 20, 28, 38, 48, 58.
Faerie Fire (Feral) - Neat armor reducing skill, pretty useful in mob encounters (and on the occasion of being hit by the player killer) trainable at the levels: 30, 42, 54.
Ferocious Bite - As per skill description, this is a finisher, nothing much else to add. But it at the following levels: 32, 40, 48, 56, 60.
Druids are somewhat hipster class with a wide variety of abilities that can be utilized on more rare occasions you’ve probably never heard about before. Those feeling strong about their gold-making skill can feel free to purchase any abilities they think would prove useful while leveling in addition to aforementioned spells. Rule of thumb is: if any particular ability requires Cat Form to use, a purchase can be initially deemed substantiated. Please remember not to blow all your gold on stuff. You are going to need that mount at level 40.
As for the rotation during leveling, you'll want to stay safe and stuff yourself up with Thorns and critically acclaimed Mark of the Wild. Up to the 20th level, you are going to rely on Bear Form with its awesome Maul heavily, then just switch to superior Cat Form. Ah, don’t forget that Bear Form is obtained via Heeding the Call questline (available to both factions at the Bloodhoof Village for Taurens and Dolanaar for Night Elves). Upon unlocking the Cat Form you are going to become a real pain in the butt for monsters out there, just remember to spam Claw, Tiger’s Eye (great skill granting a short boost to damage) and keep Faerie Fire (Feral) on your enemies, and you will be good. However, when things go south, hit the Dash and make yourself disappear. If it wasn’t easy enough, at level 30, you are going to learn how to morph into cool Travel Form that’s going to stay with you for next ten levels (or longer if you mismanaged your funds and can’t afford a fancy mount).
One of the great things about Classic are the weapon skills that have to be properly developed for each weapon type to ensure the maximum damage dealt with a particular tool of choice. You may argue that’s grindy, but it’s a proper RPG mechanic that works great as both roleplaying medium and gating functionality. On top of that, the weapon choices are fairly limited at the beginning, although there’s a small pool of weapons Druids can train themselves in. Below is a short list of default weapons and those aforementioned options, available after proper training.
Default - Daggers, Staves
Trainable: Fist weapons, One-handed maces, Polearms, Two-handed maces
Default - One-handed maces, Staves
Trainable: Daggers, Fist Weapons, Polearms, Two-handed Maces
Our outlook on best leveling gear for druids
Druids don't really need gear to be effective. It’s good to keep up your ilvl as high as possible; however, what matters are the stats on the equipment. So when looking for a gear upgrade, put extra weight to the items that up to you stats than just raw DPS numbers. Generally, you’ll want to prioritize stats this way:
Strength = Spirit = Agility > Stamina
Strength - Attack power scales mainly off it (every single strength point converts into two Attack power points), thus it is essential to bring it up, every time you’ve got the chance.
Spirit - Increases regeneration of health outside of combat, extremely important for leveling since Classic leveling is more like a cooking show than anything else, thus reducing time spent eating is greatly increasing your leveling speed (believe it or not but in the end it’s one of the major factors contributing to your general time spent on leveling).
Agility - Improves the chance for critical strike and dodge, self-explanatory we believe.
Stamina - Although not as useful as skills listed above, stamina increases your overall health points, arguably not as critical as strength or spirit but it’s nice to have some kind of safe pillow to fall onto if things go wrong.
Our best guess for playing Hunter in vanilla is to resist the obvious temptations of black powder and crossbows, seriously throw this stuff out the window. Although it seems cool and funky, it’s a real chore to make it to the 60 with all the kiting and constant managing your bags in order to never run out of ammunition. Believe me. You really don’t want to live through this (speaking out of the personal experience, on my first playthrough ever, back those 15 years ago I’ve specced into Marksmanship, god that was a mistake but nobody really knew any better back then).
So what then? Beast Mastery, of course! BM is going to be your best option for almost anything, just name it - leveling, PvP, maybe even this quirky early transition period of endgame - no need to worry about ammo, gear, damage scales of your skills, talents, and level of your pet of choice. Your pet will be your guide, bodyguard, meat-shield, gun and if you spec high enough in Beast Mastery tree it will even pick up your kids from school and allow you to solo some tougher enemies and generally will maul its way through the mobs like a brutal breeze. We will give you some room to tweak our build for the particular requirements of your pet, like attack speed and specific talents.
So well it goes like this - Frenzy - each point invested is going to increase the chance for your pet to gain the proc (30% attack speed boost), although the effect gained is constant. Thus you don't necessarily need to max said talent. It is rather pet-dependent, say you’ve got yourself a pup with 1.0 attack speed, 4 out of 5 points in Frenzy should suffice to keep the buff up for the duration of the encounter. On the other hand, slower pets, like those w 2.0 attack speed, will greatly benefit from maxing said talent. In case your pet ends up getting debuffed frequently for whatever reason you might consider taking Improved Mend Pet. However, some hunters never bother with it as it’s not really that essential during leveling; it mostly proves itself useful in areas abundant with PvP threats.
This said, let’s jump into tech tree progression proper.
Improved Aspect of the Hawk - No doubts here, stuff as much points as possible as it nicely increases ranged damage done.
Thick Hide/Improved Revive Pet - put 3 points in former and two into the latter, the order is entirely up to your encounter performance and pet survivability.
Pathfinding - now is the time to work on your general movement speed, pack two points here, it will boost your Aspect of the Cheetah speed buff a bit. Keep in mind that being attacked while in said Aspect effects in being Dazed for 4 seconds, tread carefully.
Bestial Swiftness - treat your pet well and take this talent.
Unleashed Fury - put two points in this talent only after you’ve finished two former steps. Don’t get tempted by 20% damage buff.
Unleashed Fury/Ferocity - once again, the order in which you are going spend five talent points at this step ultimately depends on your preferences as both talents are damage related, just finish Unleashed Fury and put only two points in Ferocity.
Intimidation - take it for its usefulness in world PVP
Ferocity (again) - finish it off now.
Spirit Bond - put one point here, this will unlock next stage of the tree and also comes handy in long fights and during tanking mobs (although you shouldn’t tank them at all)
Frenzy - turn your pet into proper death engine by putting five points here.
Bestial Wrath - GET IT, it’s amazing cooldown, your pet will hit like a hurricane and on top of that will be immune to CCs for the duration of the ability. OP.
Efficiency - time has come to open Marksmanship tree, put five points into talent; it’ll help with mana management.
Lethal Shots - five points here for that sweet crit chance buff.
Aimed Shot/Hawk Eye - you are slowly approaching 60, and it becomes more apparent that talent order is less important, so you have some leeway with approaching this stage of progression, just make sure to take these two, and you will be good.
Mortal Shots - last talent points go here.
Congratulations, you’ve made it.
What spells to buy while leveling Hunter?
It may seem like not that kind big of a deal, although careful planning of your spell purchases is critical, please take the time to read this part. It is a common misconception that you'll need every single ability when, in reality, you can skip some of them and only focus on purchasing certain ones at certain levels. This way you will save yourself trips to the trainers every other level and also will be able to raise more gold for your mount trust fund. Anyways - let’s go over it.
For the first ten levels, spells aren't that expensive, so actually you can go ahead and pretty much buy anything you believe may prove useful. However, you should pay attention to Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot, and buy them every time new rank pops up which will happen at levels 1, 20, 28, 36, 44, 52 and 60 for the former and 30, 42, 54 and 60 for the latter.
Level 10: is basically the time when your Hunter slowly starts to take the shape of what’s yet to come - you get the quest to tame your first pet and also get the first rank of Aspect of the Hawk.
Level 12: Pick up Wing Clip and Mend Pet.
Level 18: Get yourself a new upgrade of Aspect of the Hawk, Serpent Sting and buy Immolation Trap.
Level 20: Buy Aspect of the Cheetah at the trainer and while you are at it don’t forget to pick up new ranks of Arcane Shot, Mend Pet, and Freezing Trap.
Level 28: Pick up new ranks of Arcane Shot, Aspect of the Hawk, Rapid Fire, and Serpent Sting.
Level 30: Feign Death and Multi-Shot become available, buy them.
Level 34-38: New ranks of our old and trusted skills become available - Arcane Shot, Aspect of the Hawk, Immolation Trap and Serpent Sting.
Level 40: Time to buy the mount, however, if you have the cash drop by your friendly neighborhood trainer and check-up for some new skills, also training in wearing Mail armor becomes available, buy this ability as soon as possible.
Level 42-44: New ranks of Arcane Shot, Multi-Shot and Serpent Sting become available. Go get them boy.
Level 48-50: Buy new ranks of Aspect of the Hawk and Serpent Sting.
Level 52-58: Almost there! At this point, you should have a comprehensive library of skills but keep up with the new ranks nevertheless, buy then Arcane Shot, Aspect of the Hawk and Multi-Shot.
Skill Rotation for leveling Hunter
In this build, your pet is your main damage dealer, so treat it well. Although there is meta involving most effective pets and skill combinations, we won’t force it on you. However, pets will be covered a bit later. Aside from pet, you will be doing big chunks of damage by auto-shooting, so keep yourself on the lookout for new gear. Use Aspect of the Hawk while in the fight and can secure a safe firing position. Switch to the Aspect of the Cheetah while traveling. Use Arcane Shot as much as possible, despite its high mana cost, supplement it with Multi-Shot, whether or not you are fighting multiple enemies (although you really shouldn’t face more than one foe). Keep Bestial Wrath and Rapid Fire on cooldown, seriously, make it your life goal to hit those two skills as frequently as it is physically possible.
If everything has failed, the enemy is in melee range, about to bash your skull in, use Wing Clip to get out of the clinch and pepper him with arrows from a safe distance. However, if a tactical retreat is not possible, you’ve got some melee skills at your disposal - Mongoose Bite and Raptor Strike to fend them off.
Weapon Skills for Hunters
We’ve said it before, and we’re going to said it again (and again, and again…) - vanilla weapon skills system is funky fresh, we like it, we dig it, we will defend it to death. Since that’s clear, let’s just bring up the fact that different hunting races across Azeroth have different default weapon proficiencies, although all of them can expand their knowledge of various weapons to encompass all hunter-related gear.
Default: Guns, One-handed axes
Trainable: Bows, Crossbows, Fist weapons, One-handed swords, Polearms, Staves, Two-handed axes, Two-handed swords, Thrown weapons
Default: Bows, Daggers
Trainable: Crossbows, Fist weapons, Guns, One-handed swords, One-handed axes, Polearms, Staves, Two-handed axes, Two-handed swords, Thrown weapons
Orcs & Trolls
Default: Bows, One-handed axes
Trainable: Crossbows, Daggers, Fist Weapons, Guns, One-handed swords, Polearms, Staves, Thrown weapons, Two-handed axes, Two-handed swords
Default: Guns, One-handed axes
Trainable: Bows, Crossbows, Daggers, Fist Weapons, One-handed swords, Staves, Polearms, Thrown weapons, Two-handed swords, Two-handed axes
Since time immemorial, ambitious adepts of arcane arts levelled they way to the level cap (no matter how high would it be) with cool mind, chilly voice and freezing gaze - yeah, yeah, nothing has changed since the day one of WoW, Frost is the coolest (hehe) way to do it as a mage. Why tho? Well casting takes less time, spells are cheaper mana-wise and - last but certainly not the least - a little bit of cold slows down foes. Frost is most suitable for solo play, although in the endgame you will find yourself utilizing all three Talent Trees.
So as we’ve said somewhere at the beginning of this article - mages are basically those super cool guys you’ve always wanted to be friends with when you were little kid, back at the primary school. Their otherworldly arcane parents got them the ability to solve famines, make travels ultra-safe and ultra-fast and turn everyone into sheep. And to top that - hell, because why not - mages speccing in Frost are probably the only vanilla WoW class to be able to take up few enemies at the same time, freeze them to death and survive it to tell the tale, all of that with margin of safety wide enough to make mage AoE Frost leveling mainstream build. Although frostbolting everything isn’t a bannable offense, we strongly advise against it, as it is incredibly time-consuming compared to patrician’s choice AoE nuking (frosting?), and so this guide will be devoted to the said school of mage training. Clean your room, buckle up, and follow me bucko, we’ve got much to do.
Talent progression forks into two unequal parts, first one - beginning with character creation and lasting till the 50th level - dedicated to gathering some kind of combat prowess and vernacular “kick”, second one is just talent sandbox, where you screw around with different utilities while waiting for that 60 (somewhat snoozy bit albeit not as much as playing paladin). Okay, let’s skim over what you would like to have unlocked in your talent tree.
Elemental precision - improves the chance of hitting enemies with spells (or - to be exact - reduces their chance to shrug them off), max it out.
Improved Frostbolt - Put two points here, it will improve your core spell and unlock more talents
Permafrost - three points for that comfort of keeping enemies at a safe distance
Improved Frost Nova - two points for the same reason as above
Improved Blizzard - your main AoEing device is going to need some love, max this talent
Cold Snap - take this OP cooldown and use it wisely as with great power comes great overconfidence, a straight way to spectacular fails
Piercing Ice - put a point here, we are not going to max it yet, for now, we are just going to establish a perimeter.
Frost Channeling - three points to reduce mana intake of spells
Arctic Reach - put two points, take mind-numbing comfort of improved range and radius of crucial skills, profit.
Ice Block - punny skill, your last resort when you suddenly find yourself in quite uncomfortable circumstances, nine times out of ten you are going to use it in world PvP
Improved Cone of Cold - three points will nicely finish off the Arctic Reach to Cone of Cold
Piercing Ice - finally you can finish off this talent
Ice Shards - put four points to increase the chance to critically hit your foes
Ice Barrier - complete the tree with it and proceed into arcane-arcane arts of Arcane talent tree
Arcane Subtlety - two points
Arcane Focus - three points, this and above reduce the chance to resist your spells, take them to become even more lethal
Arcane Concentration - five points to up your mana-management game
What’s next? Oh well, it doesn’t really matter as there are only ten levels left, just chill out and screw around with different talents.
Spells to pick while leveling
Contrary to popular opinion, not every rank and skill were created equal, and thus there’s no apparent need to acquire every single one of it while leveling. Actually, it would be wiser to refrain from doing so, as saved money will contribute to your mount fund. Also, it’s worth noting that it may not seem like so but time wasted on traveling to and from trainers significantly stretches your overall estimated time of arrival at 60.
Frostbolt - Your main battle spell, you are born with it, you are going to die with or by it. Trainable at levels 8, 14, 20, 26, 32, 38, 44, 50, and 56.
Frost Nova - Cool AoE (although don’t get too excited, it’s not really that powerful), used mostly for crowd control, trainable at levels 10, 26, 40, and 54.
Arcane Intellect - Class buff that’s going to be up all the time, one wonders why wouldn’t they make it a passive INT buff. Trainable at levels 14, 28, 42, and 56.
Arcane Explosion - Another AoE, this one has its own talent that makes it proc Clearcasting. Trainable at levels 14, 22, 30, 38, 46, and 54.
Blizzard - Household AoE, essential for efficient grinding, we can only imagine how many low effort jokes were made and told during balancing frost mages. Trainable at levels 20, 28, 36, 44, 52, and 60.
Cone of Cold - Plug and play cone AoE, used mostly for slowing down enemies, trainable at levels 26, 34, 42, 50, and 58.
Above are absolute essentials - don’t forget to pick up conjurable food and water skills, mana gems and Blink.
Early on there’s not much you could do, just stick to frostbolting enemies religiously. Alternatively, you could supplement your DPS with fire spells as they will do more damage than unmodified frost spells. Get and use Arcane Explosion as often as possible as it is your core AoE spell as it procs Clearcasting per hit. Frost Nova works as crowd control, use it to manage gathered up enemies. Cone of Cold has variety of applications. Mainly you will want to slow down opponents although it’s useful tool for generating critical strikes. Once in safe and comfortable distance, pour hell over your foes with Blizzard, this will keep them slowed down, probably freeze them in place (here comes the Cone of Cold, it generates a guaranteed critical strike on frozen enemies) and generally let you pull off insane amounts of damage with relatively small amounts of mana.
Although as a mage you should avoid melee encounters at any cost and thus weapon proficiency isn’t as important, we are going to list available weapon options anyways, no questions asked. If for whatever ungodly reason you are interested in dealing melee damage done, remember that along to-hit-chance it scales with weapon proficiency level.
Gnomes & Humans
Trainable: Daggers, One-handed swords
Trolls & Undead
Trainable: Daggers, One-handed swords
As raw gear isn’t remotely as important as proper stats, this time we are going to focus on stat weights exclusively. Here it goes:
Spell Power > Spirit = Intellect > Stam
Spell Power - Counterpart to melee Attack Power, gear with it is extremely rare during leveling, although if you come upon the item with this stat keep it as long as feasible (i.e., when SP boost is not enough to substantiate sub-par overall item parameters)
Spirit - Speeds up health regeneration, making leveling quicker by cutting time spent on eating, extremely important in vanilla.
Intellect - Mana pool and critical chance scales of it, making it one of the defining stats of a mage.
Stamina - Well, it increases your health points pool, that’s it.
Leveling as Paladin is mechanically mundane (basically, you are going to *BLAM* everything till its HP reaches 0) although on meta-level it’s got some complexity to it, as we are going to respec in the early stages. Paladin pros have spoken and agreed that Retribution is arguably the best tree to spec in, mostly because of nice synergy between talents. Bit of trivia: vanilla paladins make for a good leveling partner thanks to their utility abilities, you may want to consider pairing up with one, especially if you are playing as Warrior, class particularly bad at progressing to 60. Although any combination should fare good either against mobs or players in world PvP. Okay, let’s explain why should you respec your talents very early in the leveling - Retribution tree that’s going to be your focus during the journey to the level cap is based around auto-attack up until level 22, so having in mind your sanity and general fun, for the first 20 levels we are going to go Holy. Although some may disagree with our approach, we’d like to point out that underestimating how impactful general gameplay fun is on your commitment and engagement in leveling process will lead you nowhere else but in the damp, dark corner of despair and saltiness. Stay positive, go Holy.
Divine Strength - put five points here, it’s pretty self-explanatory talent - it increases your strength.
Improved Seal of Righteousness - increase damage output done by said seal by maxing out the talent.
Right before respecing put two points into Improved Blessing of Might for some extra damage, although the second point is optional, after all, you are going to respec right away.
RESPEC AT 22
Improved Blessing of Might - start respecing with generous five points spent on it.
Deflection - step up your game with awesome resilience and damage boost, stuff it with 5 points, no-brainer here.
Seal of Command - take it and use it for the rest of your life, its awesome
Pursuit of Justice - two points here for the sake of movement speed which - we can’t stress it enough - is almost as critical as actually logging in and questing/grinding.
Conviction - five points, increases critical strike chance, not that important on its own although eventually increases damage done and unlocks higher tier talents at the same time.
Eye for an Eye - useful passive-aggressive talent, although it will more likely find its place in world PvP, put two points in it.
Sanctity Aura - unlock it, your priest friends are going to be thankful (and well if you are a solitary knight errant, you are going to be happy with this choice too).
Two-Handed Weapon Specialization - time has come to increase your raw damage output, big boy style - invest three points here.
Vindication - one point, it’s going to proc from time to time reducing targets strength
Vengeance - max it, as we’ve said - Retribution talents are combining into deadly mechanism nicely, this is one of the arguments for it as it will boost your damage every time you critically hit, neato.
Repentance - put one point into it to finish Retribution tree and troll player killers.
Improved Devotion Aura - five points will buff up Devotion Aura armor bonus
Guardian's Favor - max it for increased survivability and toughness.
Precision - increases the chance to hit with melee weapons, worth maxing out.
Divine Strength - once again, we are focusing on Holy talent tree, as we already know, Divine Strength grants useful damage boost, put five points here.
Divine Intellect - tend to your body and mind, for the last five levels increase your Intellect with this talent.
Hey, you’ve made it, now you can respec into some ridiculous support build and go make Horde jealous.
Spells to buy as a Paladin
Paladins are in a convenient financial position of not having to worry about buying a mount at level 40, since they will get their class-specific steed, so managing your funds properly isn’t that important in comparison to other classes. Although you should prioritize buying auras and blessings, as paladin playstyle is built around utilities.
That said, you are awarded with a lot of freedom in terms of choosing what you are going to train, don’t get too intoxicated with it, remember to systematically upgrade Seal of Righteousness, as you are going to be stuck with it for the first twenty levels, until you are going to switch to Retribution.
Blessing of Might - new rank becomes available at 12th level, take it as soon as possible.
At level 18 you are going to upgrade Seal of Righteousness, also take Blessing of Freedom and Blessing of Wisdom, the reason being that as we’ve said - paladins are auto-attackers with a wide array of utilities, you’ll want to collect as many as possible in order to increase your flexibility.
Once hit level 22, take the new rank of Blessing of Might and don’t forget to respec as per talent tree guidelines.
Seal of Command gets new rank at level 30, train it.
At level 32 Blessing of Might gets a new rank, train it at your convenience or just wait for eight levels and buy along Summon Warhorse and ability to wear plate armor, your call (although buy the mount and armor skills). Don’t forget to check up other skills, Seal of Command and Divine Shield get new rank at 40.
At 42 new rank of Blessing of Might pops up, also finally Cleanse is unlocked.
Level 50 brings final ranks of Seal of Command, Divine Shield. Take the Hammer of Wrath too, if you haven’t already.
At the final levels, greater trims of your standard blessings start popping up. There’s no pressing need to buy them although check up on them every once a while, to see what’s going on.
>Paladin leveling rotation
As a rule of thumb you are going to keep one of your auras up, either Sanctity for increased damage output or Devotion one in order to take few more punches. You’ll have to figure out on your own which one will fare best at any given moment. Spam Seal of Righteousness, switch it with Seal of Command upon hitting 22, it will become your go-to awesome button ability. Stick to auto-attack while seals are up, once they are down hit Judgement, although don’t overdo it as it’s quite expensive. Although paladin rotation isn’t exactly intellectually challenging (some say it’s just outright nonexistent), you’ll have to learn when to use which of your Blessings as they are actually the core of your class and give you a significant edge over other melee classes. Blessing of Might is probably going your most used ability although don’t stick to it too much, experiment, look for new ways. Otherwise, you are going to bore yourself to death with auto-attacking. Look for opportunities to use one of many of your utilities, stick Hammer of Justice somewhere from time to time, hit up Divine Shield and look what will happen, you know - just have fun.
As paladin gameplay is limited to almost idling through your foes with auto-attack, skilling weapons is critical for efficient leveling, make sure to plan your gear progression ahead, and grind accordingly. Here’s the list of all the weapons that paladins can wield or learn to do so.
Dorfs and Humans
Default: One-handed maces, Two-handed Maces
Trainable: One-handed axes, One-handed swords, Polearms, Two-handed axes, Two-handed swords
Optimal gear for leveling as a Paladin
Okay, this is straightforward - playing as a paladin is more akin to hack and slash experience than cRPG, upgrade your gear all the time, weapon damage is critical here, and you will be fine as long as you keep all the core gear stats high. Visit armor and weapon vendors regularly, try running dungeons. Generally, it’s a no-brainer, just keep creeping up the item level power curve, can’t make a mistake here (we hope).
As for the stats weights, they look like this:
Strength = Spirit > Agility > Stamina > Intellect
Strength - Base of all your endeavors, increases overall Attack Power, keep it as high as possible as this is going to affect how fast are you able to AFK through mobs.
Spirit - crucial classic leveling stat, Spirit influences your health regeneration rate, coupled with Strength it comprises overall encounter time cost (as encounter starts with - obviously - aggroing then after short movement period it turns into regular fight and ends with recovering from wounds, you will want to cut corners on every stage of this process)
Agility - responsible for a chance to dodge an attack and critically hit a target, nothing else to add here.
Stamina - marks the boundaries of your health points pool
Intellect: Increases mana pool and chance to critically hit with spell
Priests have nothing much to say when it comes to leveling as Shadow is the only viable way to go. Somewhat similarly to the paladin, talents found in the Shadow tree are complementary to each other. Once you hit 31 talent points mark, you should’ve enough synergy between talents to considerably boost your leveling efficiency.
Spirit Tap - start your journey with leveling by putting five points here, it grants unique Spirit regeneration buff, triggered by killing blow dealt to the enemy.
Shadow Focus - put three points here, it’s your standard increase-chance-to-hit caster talent.
Improved Shadow Word: Pain - two points for increased duration of said skill
Mind Flay - it’s cool, take it
Shadow Focus - Finish it now.
Improved Psychic Scream - two points here, it’s going to ward off other players in world PvP.
Shadow Weaving - max it out for increased damage.
Silence - it’s a bargain, you should take it.
Shadow Reach - three points for uh, extra spell reach.
Vampiric Embrace - healing utility, although we are taking solely to unlock next tier of the talent tree
Darkness - five points for the blood god.
Shadowform - last talent you are going to take in this tree
Wand Specialization - start Discipline talent tree by investing five points here
Improved Power Word: Shield - three points
Martyrdom - two points
Inner Focus - just take it
Meditation - three points
Improved Power Word: Fortitude - one point
Improved Inner Fire - three points
Improved Mana Burn - last two points
Which spells to buy while leveling priest?
A common misconception is that you will need all the skills that pop up during leveling. This is the main reason behind players’ struggle to get the mount at 40. Please follow our guide in order to optimize your leveling and save some money (and time).
Smite - Baby’s first priest spell, you are going to activate Spirit Tap with it, switch from it to regular shadow spells once you’ve unlocked shadow damage boost talents. Trainable at levels 6, 14, 22, 30, 38, 46, and 54.
Mind Blast - That’s the spell that’s going to substitute Smite once you’ve enough Shadow tree talents unlocked. Trainable at levels 10, 16, 22, 28, 34, 40, 46, 52, and 58.
Power Word: Fortitude - Household buff, just another skill that’s going to be up all the time and so it could be made into class passive. Trainable at levels 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60.
Inner Fire Armor gain buff, very helpful since priests are restricted to cloth gear. Trainable at levels 12, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60.
Power Word: Shield Serves as comfy instant absorb cushion to fall on in. Trainable at levels 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, 54, 60.
Shadow Word: Pain Use it alongside shoot, very mana efficient damage boost, trainable at levels 4, 10, 18, 26, 34, 42, 50, 58.
Generally, you’ll want to shoot mobs with a wand and then make sure to trigger Spirit Tap with Mind Blast or Smite. Maintain Power Word: Fortitude and Inner Fire on yourself all the time and keep the Shadow Word: Pain on your foes. And uh that’s it - keep your buffs and debuffs up, shoot them (as shoot doesn’t use mana) and carry on. What’s with those Holy-based classes and simple rotation?
Weapon Skills for Priests
In classic, players are required to gain proficiency in their weapon of choice in order to increase damage done and chance to hit. Although priests are healers and support ranged damage dealers and they don’t really need to focus on training weapon skills, Wand will come handy as you are basically going to rely heavily on autoshooting.
Dorfs, Humans and Night elves
Default: One-handed maces, Wands
Trainable: Daggers, Staves
Trolls and Undead
Default: One-handed maces, Wands
Trainable: Daggers, Staves
Priests get access to exclusive, additional two racial abilities, thus choose your race wisely.
Unlocked at level 10
Desperate Prayer (Humans and Dorfs) - Huge, instant self-heal with 10 minute cool down.
Hex of Weakness (Trolls) - Damage and healing debuff, lasts for an insane 2 minutes.
Starshards (Night Elves) - Channeled damage spell.
Touch of Weakness (Undeads) - Somewhat similar to Hex of Weakness it decreases attacker’s damage output, but it also deals a small amount of damage.
Unlocked at level 20
Feedback (Humans) - Defensive buff that burns mana of anyone who casts spells on you
Fear Ward (Dwarfs) - Protects spell target from fear effects.
Shadowguard, (Trolls) - Deals shadow damage to anyone who hits you.
Elune's Grace, (Night Elves) - Defensive buff that reduces incoming ranged damage.
Devouring Plague, (Undeads) - Damage over time effect that heals the priest based on damage dealt.
Spirit > Spell Power > Intellect > Stamina
Spirit - Reduces the amount of time spent on eating and drinking after every fight as spirit boosts your regeneration rates.
Spell Power - Increases damage done by spells, although you probably won’t come across gear with this stat while leveling.
Intellect - Increases the chance to strike critically with spells and boosts the overall mana pool.
Stamina - Increases the number of health points
Two approaches of leveling rogue exist - sword one and the dagger one. Rogues specing in daggers are viewed as a skilled stabby boy, build reserved for experienced players. We are not going to focus on that. Instead, sword spec will be covered in this guide in order to increase the accessibility of rogue class. Sword spec focuses on solid rotation and pulling mobs. However, you don’t need actually to wear swords. Generally, you are going to utilize the best weapon at hand (although don’t get too wild with it as weapon proficiency gate is a real thing in classic WoW and will severely limit your hit chance and DPS)
Improved Sinister Strike - two points here
Improved Gouge - three points
Precision - five points
Deflection - five points
Riposte - cool skill get it ASAP
Endurance - two points
Improved Sprint - two points
Take Blade Flurry now
Dual Wield Specialization - put four points into it
Aggression - three points
Weapon Expertise - two points
Adrenaline Rush - take it to finish Combat talent tree
Malice - five points
Murder - two points
Improved Eviscerate - three points
Relentless Strikes - one point
Lethality - four points
Fill the blanks in Assassination tree till you reach level 60, and you will be good.
Essential Rogue skills
Okay, don’t buy every skill available while leveling, it’s a waste of money and time spent on going back and forth to trainers. Also saved gold is going to go towards your privately owned mount fund.
Actually, rogues are simple and have relatively cheap skills, so the purchasing strategy is just like this:
Sinister Strike - Visit the trainer at levels 14. 22. 30. 38, 46, and 54
Eviscerate - Upgrade it at levels 16, 24, 32, 40, 48, and 56
(Seriously it’s that simple when it comes to your core abilities)
You can mix it up with some controlling abilities like Kidney Shot, although you will have to figure out on your own what works best for you.
Generate combo points with Sinister Strike, spend them with Eviscerate, collect loot, repeat. Sometimes you are going to use some abilities that put pressure on your foes. Aforementioned Kidney Shot will fare well in this slot, Cheap Shot and Gouge are good too for this. Add Blade Furry and Adrenaline Rush to your core rotation as soon as you unlock them. They do massive damage.
Rogues have a huge amount of weapons at their disposal, almost all heavily impacting their playstyle and overall gameplay of the class. What’s unique all races have access to these same starting and trainable weapon classes, so we will just stack it all up and post a long list:
Default: Daggers, Thrown
Trainable: Fist Weapons, Crossbows, Guns, Bows, One-handed maces, One-handed swords
Rogue is heavily gear-dependent, there’s no point in listing every possible gear combination you are going to encounter and/or need while leveling, although we strongly recommend visiting weapons and armor vendors and upgrading every time there’s a chance to do so. Also, stick to your greens and blues if they provide you with stats with high priority.
Agility = Spirit > Strength > Stamina
Agility - provides you with Attack Power, dodge chance and critical strike chance
Spirit - Increases regeneration rates, greatly reducing the time spent on eating.
Strength - Second source of Attack power
Stamina - Responsible for your health points pool
In this section, we are going to cover Enhancement build, match up, which is both classic and has long meme history in WoW community. Generally, you will deal fair damage early on, and as you progress you are going to get a lot of useful utility skills, will be able to kite and even help your friends if you decide to group up.
So without any further delay, here are the talents you should use:
Ancestral Knowledge - five points here
Thundering Strikes - four points, stuck it deep.
Improved Ghost Wolf - two points for your fursona
Improved Lightning Shield - put two points here
Two-Handed Axes and Maces - get this talent when you acquire a proper weapon
Flurry - five points in it
Elemental Weapons - three points put here
Parry - one point
Improved Lightning Shield - time to finish it
Weapon Mastery - five points (as usual)
Stormstrike - finish the tree with it
Convection - five points for cost reduction of your skills
Concussion - once again five points (do you see the pattern?)
Elemental Focus - one point
Reverberation - four points
Elemental Devastation - three points
Reverberation - finish it off
As a prize for reaching level 60, you can put the last point whenever you want!
Spells to buy while leveling as a Shaman
As with everything in life, you can optimize what you are doing almost infinitely, and that’s what this section is all about - don’t get yourself screwed with “buy all the skills and ranks” meme, it will waste your time and gold, which both could be spent better, i.e., shiny new mount.
Focus on upgrading your Lightning Shield, and Rockbiter Weapon (switch the latter to Windfury Weapon once you hit 30) Don’t forget to get fire totem via a quest at 10.
At level 16 Lightning Shield and Rockbiter Weapon get new ranks, grab them along with Earth Shock. Then at 20 pick up Frost Shock, you could do your water totem quest too although it won’t be essential for a while. Four levels later a lot of new ranks arrive, among them Lightning Shield, Rockbiter Weapon, Strength of Earth Totem, Earth Shock. Also, you could get yourself Water Breathing if you are big on Harry Potter or James Cameron and wish to LARP a bit. Switch Rockbiter for Windfury Weapon at 30, pick up Reincarnation and Astral Recall, if you have spare gold grab Water Walking too. It may seem too early, but you really should come back at 32 and get another rank of Lightning Shield. Another training tour is going to pop up at 40, right at the time you should be buying amount - drop by your friendly neighborhood shaman and upgrade your core abilities (Lightning and Windfury ones). At 48 new ranks of Earth Shock and Lightning Shield pop up, don’t stretch yourself on it, get them at your leisure or wait for 50 when another rank of Windfury unlocks. And there you are pretty set for the next ten levels, although check up trainers when it’s convenient because some of your abilities are going to get new ranks before 60.
Shaman Leveling Rotation
At the beginning keep the Rockbiter Weapon up, once you hit 30 switches it with Windfury Weapon. Put up your Lightning Shield during every encounter. It deals with nice passive damage. Throw Earth Shock to the mix, wait for 40 to unlock Stormstrike, and there you have it - your Enhancement Shaman rotation is finally complete. Don’t forget to utilize your support abilities, likes of totems, and Ghost Wolfs. They make shaman’s life so much easier.
Weapon skills galore
Although shamans can fill a variety of roles, ranged to melee, DPS and healer alike, weapon proficiency is crucial for them, especially during leveling, so remember to skill them properly in order to deal fair amounts of damage. Here’s the list of available arms:
Orcs, Taurens and Trolls
Default: One-handed maces, Staves
Trainable: One-handed axes, Two-handed axes, Two-handed maces
As mentioned earlier - shamans are quite gear dependent, although what you should be on the lookout for are mainly weapon upgrades, armor comes second despite the fact you are going to be in melee range constantly - you’ve got enough damage mitigation abilities to save yourself the fuss of spending a fortune at vendors. As for the greens stick to these weights:
Spirit > Strength = Agi > Stam > Intellect
Spirit - Increases your regeneration rates, troll shamans are going to appreciate it twice as much due to their racial ability to mend the wounds quicker than others
Strength - Increases Attack Power
Agility - Critical chance and dodge chance scale off this, pretty useful
Stamina - Increases overall health points pool
Intellect - Stretches your mana pool and increases the chance to hit with a spell critically
Overall shamans are in a unique position due to their hybrid damage structure - they are going to strike crits both from spells and melee attacks, which are tied to each other.
For leveling warlock, we’ve decided to cover Affliction mostly due to its instant cast abilities and various damage over time effects. That coupled with warlock’s pet and utility skills are going to make you a natural born killer, plowing through enemies with ease so great that taking several of them at the same time won’t be a challenge. However, beginnings are going to be hard. Thus we have decided to do respec at 22 in order to introduce some flexibility into your first steps in dark magic mastery. Okay, everything, since everything is set, let’s dive into the talent trees.
Improved Corruption - three points,
Suppression - two points
Drain Soul - two points,
Improved Corruption - finish it off with two more points
Suppression - three points this time
Improved Healthstone - two points
Demonic Embrace - three points
Improved Voidwalker - one point
Corruption - three points
Suppression - two points
Improved Drain Soul - two points
Improved Voidwalker - finish it
Improved Corruption - two points,
Suppression - three points
Amplify Curse - one point
Improved Curse of Agony - two points
Nightfall - two points
Grim Reach - two points
Improved Corruption - finish it off
Siphon Life - take this as
Improved Life Tap - two points
Fel Concentration - two points
Shadow Mastery - five points
Dark Pact - take it
Fel Intellect - two points
Fel Domination - take it
Fel Intellect - three points
Demonic Embrace - one point
Unholy Power - dump here everything whatever comes up
What spells to buy while leveling as a Warlock?
As warlocks get their class mount at 40 instead of buying one you are in a privileged position of not having to worry about your money, so feel free to buy what you feel will fit your playstyle. On the side note - warlocks actually don’t get a lot of upgrades, so there’s not much space for throwing your gold around. Nevertheless, we are going to provide you with some guidance. As a rule of thumb - look for Affliction upgrades.
Get your imp minion ASAP, then amass enough copper to unlock Corruption, Curse of Agony and Fear. At level ten, you are going to do voidwalker quest and unlock Drain Life skill. Then you are going to visit the trainer at level 14 and get yourself new ranks of Corruption and Shadow Bolt. At 18 a new rank of Curse of Agony is available along with Create Soulstone (Minor) - you should pick up both. Then you are going to purchase new ranks of Corruption, Drain Soul, Demon Armor, Immolate, Shadow Bolt, Drain Life, Create Healthstone (Minor). This makes for quite a shopping spree so set aside some gold for this. After that, you get next rank of Curse of Agony and Shadow Bolt. Level 34 brings upgrades to your core spells among them Corruption and Immolate, visit your trainer and check up what’s worth buying. Level 40 is the time when you get your class mounts as well as a wide host of upgrades, check them up as the list is long and you are going to be talking to warlock trainer anyways, so there’s no need to put it here. Come back at 44 to grab new ranks of Shadow Bolt and Corruption. You are now halfway through to 60 now, updates are going to be sparser - at 48 new ranks of damage over time abilities pop up, and 54 is going to be your last pit stop with a whole lot of crucial upgrades to your core skills, go get them all.
The core of your rotation form Corruption, Curse of Agony, and Siphon Life. Add some Immolation if need to tag enemy although use it sparsely in order to save mana. Speaking of mana remember to use Drain Soul on enemies nearing their end in order to regenerate it. Use Shadow Bolts and Drain Life as you see fit, mostly to add to DoTs and help yourself when tanking. Throw Fear when facing Elites, players of a group of mobs. That’s it. Warlock rotation is priority-based and somewhat more complex than others, although it's easy to grasp.
Weapon Skills for Warlocks
Weapon skills are not of your concern when playing Warlock and game systems reflect this - every playable warlock regardless of the race starts with Daggers, Wands and can train in One-handed swords and Staves.
Spell Power > Spirit > Intellect > Stamina
Spell Power - Responsible for damage done
Spirit - Helps regenerate faster
Intellect - Increases mana pool and chance to hit critically with a spell
Stamina - Ramps up your health points
Leveling is tough as a warrior. It’s probably the slowest class to level up in classic so brace yourself and prepare for long hours of clicking through enemies and generally being squishy despite posing for a tough guy. We have chosen to cover Arms build as its quite versatile and lets you face-off players in case someone deems you an honorable kill (not likely but still…).
Improved Rend - three points
Deflection - two points
Tactical Mastery - five points
Anger Management - one point
Deep Wounds - three points
Improved Overpower - one point
Impale - two points
Two-Handed Weapon Specialization - three points
Sweeping Strikes - take it
Two-Handed Specialization - finish it off
Improved Overpower - finish it too
Improved Hamstring - one point
Mortal Strike - finish Arms talent tree with it
Cruelty - five points
Booming Voice - five points
Battle Shout - yet another five points spent in Fury tree
Enrage - your last five points - you can pat yourself on the back, you’ve made it to 60. As a warrior!
Maintain Battle Shout, dump rage into Heroic Strike, Overpower and Execute (use the last one when the enemy is below one-fifth of health). Once unlocked, spam Whirlwind all the time even when fighting a single enemy. Mix up your core with Mortal Strike and Sweeping Strikes, and you are good to fight your way through Azeroth, good luck.
Skilling your weapons is crucial for warriors, always try to pick the gear that matches your stats best or at least train it for a bit to increase damage output and chance to hit. List of available weapons is extensive and encompasses all available weapon classes in WoW, although we recommend sticking to axes and fast, two-handed weapons like swords.
Best Gear For Leveling
This is going to be really expensive as gear is your bread and butter in terms of survivability - visit every arms vendor you meet and check-up for potential upgrades, you are really going to need them. Aside from that look for greens and guide yourself with following stat weights:
Strength = Spirit > Agi > Stam
Strength - Hit harder, kill faster
Spirit - Heal your wounds quicker, can’t stress enough how important spirit is for speeding up warrior leveling
Agility - Responsible for dodging and crit chance
Stamina - Helps you survive on the field by expanding your health points pool
This concludes our in-depth leveling guide for Classic WoW. We hope that will be helpful in your future endeavours. Good luck!