Alliance Leveling Guide
You know what was sad about vanilla WoW, and even The Burning Crusade? Leveling up as Alliance was so damn slow, that it would literally take you months to get to a point where you’d get some cool armor to cover up the dreadful decision of rolling a night elf male. Thankfully, Blizzard had mercy on us and lowered the experience caps for levels, as well as the xp gain from mobs and quests at lower levels, just prior to the launch of Wrath of the Lich King.
This Alliance Leveling Guide will try to adapt to this new situation, where you don’t really have to go through every quest or all the classic zones, as the higher level-up rate allows you to skip some dreadful places and most importantly, it allows you to ding strictly on quests, without any real grinding sessions. Sure, you might want to find yourself 1 bar away from level-up with no more quests in your current area, so closing the gap with some grinding probably isn’t a bad idea, but in general those long furbolg-smashing, wolf-slaying, gnome-stomping grinding sessions are in the past.
To make sure you level up as fast as possible, we’re going to try and adapt our leveling style to what some wow’ers call “Optimized Quest Circuits” these days. This means that instead of running around mindlessly, finishing quests as they unfold, you actually plan ahead and finish clustered quests, coming back to deliver them only when it’s worth it, time-wise. For that to happen however, you’ll need the help of two awesome WoW add-ons:
Alliance Leveling Add-ons
QuestHelper – As far as free add-ons go, Quest Helper is actually one of the most helpful ones ever created. With it, you can easily see what quest objective is where on the map, where it needs to be delivered and what’s the best path to complete quests. Of course, the “best path” is created heuristically and depends on your current quest (it doesn’t show quests in the vicinity of others, quests that you might not have picked up yet) and your current position. SO although QuestHelper is a great tool to have in optimizing your questing circuits, I’d rather take it with a pinch of salt and only use it as a guideline, not as a must-follow-in-a-zombie-like-fashion type of add-on.
Cartographer + QuestInfo – This is an awesome add-on combo that can come helpful in addition, or sometimes instead of QuestHelper or Carbonite. You’re probably already familiar with the basic Cartographer mod, one of the most famous ones around, which lets you manipulate the World map in pretty much any way you feel adequate. From setting transparency levels, to resizing the map, manipulating the undiscovered terrain or making the zone limits more visible, Cartographer’s got it all. All except the ability to map quests and make leveling easier, but that’s where the Cartographer add-on (yes, an add-on for an add-on, or more specifically, an additional library) QuestInfo comes into play, providing you with easy to use quest information parsed straight from resource sites like wowhead, allakhazam or wowbox (thus it updates from this sites, keeping quest information updated at all times. It’s a very useful add-on for planning your quest optimization route, as it shows you info on quest series, mob location and an easier to use quest log.
Alliance Leveling Guide – 21-30
With the lowered level cap these 9 dings should be easy as pie as they take a non-experienced player a couple of days to go through. The leveling zone of choice will still depend on the race you picked, unlike Horde characters, which tend to bunch up in one or two areas in this level range, regardless of their starting race. A decent place to go if you’re Draenei or Night Elf is Ashenvale, which should be the zone you follow naturally after Bloodmyst Island/Darkshore.
Ashenvale can last you a good 4 or 5 levels but it’s a bit annoying to maneuver around this area, as the scenery is kinda rough with hulking tees, steep hills and impassable heights. Unfortunately, in comparisson to Horde characters, Alliance ones have less quests here, although they’re closer together (the Hordes have to travel between the North-Western Zoram Outpost and the South-Eastern Splintertree hubs).
Dwarves, humans and gnomes have the long quests in Wetlands to go through at this point and I suggest choosing this zone over others at the same level because you’ll need to take the long hike from Stormwind/Ironforge to Menethil Harbor anyway at some point. Besides, the plentitude of quest hubs located in the Wetlands is quite impressive for a low level vanilla WoW zone.
Alliance Leveling Guide 31-40
It’s here that things start getting interesting for Alliance players as you can finally change the dull scenery you’ve been used to for the first 30 levels. I’d suggest going to the Shimmering Flats as soon as you hit 31, it’s one of the best areas in the game at this point as it has loads of quest tightly knit around a small area. However, take note that this is a favorite area for Horde players finishing their Thousand Needles quest lines, so if you’re on a PVP server you might end up being ganked while you’re peacefully picking up basilisk eyes off the floor.
The Flats should net you a juicy level 33 when you’re done, which is good enough for the starting areas of Stranglethorn Vale. The early mastery quests from Nesingwary’s Camp are level 31, so they should be easy to finish (as well as their second parts, which are levels 33-34) but if you can, try going to Booty Bay first and pick up the quests there, since many of them have objectives in the Northern, “easier” part of the Vale (You’ll need it for the Nesingwary quest line anyway, so even if you’re coming from the North, from Darkshore, don’t bother stopping by for quests yet).
If you find yourself continuously ganked in Stranglethorn Vale (as is the case on PVP servers that are moderately populated), I’d suggest going to Southshore for the alternative leveling hub around levels 34-35. Southshore is a decent quest hub, the only problem with it being the long walk you’ll have to put up with to get there. But then again, you’ll be wanting to take the Arathi/Alterac flight paths at one point anyway, so you might as well go there now, especially if you’re facing trouble in STV.
Level 38 will find you going to Theramore to deliver some follow-ups, no doubt, and while you’re here, might as well stop by for a couple of lower level quests (36-38) around the Theramore fortress.  The Old Lighthouse and  Traitors Among Us are two easy quests that you can finish without straying too far into the wilderness. For the last two levels, you could either go deeper in Dustwallow Marsh or come back for the harder quests in Stranglethorn. I’d suggest Dustwallow at this point because A. you should already be here, B. It’s close to Ratchet, which can easily take you back to Booty Bay and C. it houses the legendary Nat Pagle.
Alliance Leveling Guide 41-50
Done with Dustwallow? Then you should be level 42 at least, if you cleared all the quest hubs in the area. Time to go back to Stranglethorn and finish some elite quests and follow-ups then take the ship from Booty Bay to Ratchet and from there, take the Gryphon to Gadgetzan in Tanaris (you did pick up the Flight Path in Tanaris when you did the Shimmering Flats quests, right? Hopefully so).
The starting quests in Tanaris are level 44 and 45, but they should be easy to do even if you’re lower than that, since they’re mostly killing quests, which churn out a lot of experience that will ding you in no time (it’s sort of a grind session, I’ll give you that). The only one that could be problematic is  Wanted: Caliph Scorpidsting, as he spawns adds to fight alongside him when he engages you. You simply need to kill him and pick up his head for the quest, so try using some crowd control on the adds and nuke the Caliph, he’s not all that tough. Just mind the wandering mobs, most of those pesky wastelanders patrol about and being slightly lower level you could aggro them and get yourself killed.
Tanaris can provide a healthy amount of experience all the way up to level 48, which should be just enough to go to the next awesome questing area: Searing Gorge. A tight, circular zone with plenty of quests and mobs to kill that you should now be more than fit to tackle at level 47-48. Finishing all the quests in the Searing Gorge is a guaranteed level 50.
Alliance Leveling Guide 51-58
Go back to Tanaris after you’re done with the Gorge and travel south west, where you’ll see a mountain chain spreading over a deep valley: the Un’Goro Crater. You’ll have to travel to the south side of these mountains and follow the path that goes down into the Crater. A word of advice, if you’re the impatient type, now’s the time to keep your cool. Whatever you do, DON’T jump off the cliff. I did it myself, on several characters as I was leveling up and not once have I managed to land down without trapping my corpse and having to run for several minutes to get to a spirit healer. It’s annoying as hell, so just take that extra minute and go around the mountains towards the path.
Un’goro provides at least 2 levels of experience, due to the numerous killing and item collection quests that you can finish at the same time. For example, you could hunt for dino bones and at the same time kill lashers, or pick up crystals for the quest given to you by the cute guy in the cave behind Marshall’s.
The next best choice is arguably Felwood, an area that’s not so packed with quests, but it does take you through the ones it has progressively to the North, where you’ll want to follow up anyway, in Winterspring. Winterspring is actually the way to go, even at level 56, since the quests there are relatively close to the town and you’ll also have some awesome grinding opportunities (furbolgs) if you just want to kill your way to level 58 and subsequently, to pass through the Dark Portal.
Alliance Leveling Guide – Outland
I tried out reaching Outland at all three possible levels, 58 with my Warrior, 59 with my Death Knight and 60 with my pre-TBC priest. Class balance aside (which was wildly in favor of the Death Knight at this point), I found it a better idea to go to Outland at 59 instead of 58, mostly because there’s a good chance you can end up under the claws of some 4 level-higher mobs while doing your starter quests (and the difference between a mob being 4 levels or 3 levels higher than you is huge, especially since mobs are scaled to take a beating from TBC gear, whilst you’re still fighting in vanilla wow gear at this point).
In any case, it might be a good idea to pick up the quests that you can and start doing them, but not returning them once you’re finish. The reason is simple: the experience cap between going from level 59 to 60 is incredibly small in comparison to the one you need from 60 to 61 and from there on. And with mobs giving you 1,000 xp (or more if you’re rested), it’s so easy to grind your way through level 59 that it’s a shame to waste any quest experience on it. It’s actually the only occasion that I’ll be encouraging grinding throughout this Alliance leveling guide.
Now, if you remember the old progression in Outland, from before the experience and level cap nerf, it was usually 1.5 levels per zone, meaning you would get to Zangamarsh at 61.5, from thereon go to Terrokkar at 63, then Nagrand at 65ish, then Blade’s Edge and the final zones of Netherstorm and Shadowmoon Valley. Well now, you can actually be done with Outland just by completing a couple of zones. If you do all the quests in Hellfire Peninsula and get into a couple of quick instances to finish the quests there, you’ll find yourself walking in Zangamarsh at level 63 and if you choose to go for all the quests here as well, you’ll be ready to plunge straight into the Netherstorm for example.
The big question that arises at this point however is this: should you go straight to Northrend when you hit level 68, just like you did when you got to level 58, or should you finish off your quests and possibly go to the new continent when you’re feeling a bit more confident on your ability to handle the Northrend mobs. Well, the thing is, the jump from level 68 to Northrend isn’t nearly as big as the one from 58 to Outland, so I’d suggest you start off in the Borean Tundra (which I found to be easier than the Howling Fjord, but it might just be my old phobia of impassable terrains and deadly falls-off-the-cliff).
Alliance Leveling Guide – Northrend
So, hopefully you took my advice and went for the boat that goes to the Borean Tundra instead of the Howling Fjord one. One of the advantages of the Tundra is that it has a flat terrain that allows you to move much faster and its quest clusters are a lot closer to one another, again reducing travelling time in the long run.
The initial quests have you travelling in and around Valiance Keep and they’re quite easy, their purpose obviously being that of familiarizing you with the new environment. If you run into any trouble, simply flee back to the keep, which is surrounded by guards that will rush to your help. As you progress in the area, you’ll find yourself questing in different hubs, ranging from the Farshire Mine, to the DEHTA encampment, the Fizzcrank Airstrip (there’s a flight path here by the way) and finally in the Western edge of the Tundra, in Coldarra, where you’ll also encounter the first Northrend instance: The Nexus.
Again, I tested leveling in the Borean Tundra at all 3 possible levels, 68 with my Death Knight, 69 with my Warlock and 70 with my Priest. However, the difference didn’t seem so big as it was when I entered Outland, perhaps because the TBC gear scaled better with the WOTLK mobs than the vanilla WoW one did for Outland. I still had no problem at all finishing quests at level 68 with my Death Knight, but then again at the time I’m writing this, DK’s are Blizzard’s privileged children and they’re quite possibly the best leveling class in the game at this point.
Regardless of the level you landed in the Tundra, you should be somewhere around 72 when you’re done with all the quests here. Now, the next logical area, Dragonblight starts out at 72, so you could go straight to it, but if we follow the rule of staying away from zones that are of equal or higher level than oureslves in order to speed questing time and lower the death count, then I’d suggest taking the ship to the Howling Fjord (there’s a ship that connects the Tundra with the Fjord, you can find it near the entrance to Dragonblight, in the town of Kaskala) and doing the quests near the starting outpost; they’re extremely quick and easy and can fill the gap to level 73.
Once you’re level 73, it’s time to go to Dragonblight, which is arguably one of the coolest area in the expansion: it’s houses several of the dragonflights, who are now waging a destructive war against one another (I won’t spoil the surprises if you haven’t gone through Northrend already, but I assure you, you’ll go through some epic quest lines), you’ll get to fight huge venomous worms, zombies and ghouls, heck at one point, you even get to fight side by side next to your future self, which is quite rude if I recall correctly.
And the ending quest....ah, I won’t spoil it, as tempting as it might be. Just have your hankies next to you when you’re about to finish the Dragonblight quest lines, it’s going to get emotional :(
From here on, you can follow the 1.5 levels per zone rule again, with the logical choices being Grizzly Hills at 74-75, Zul Drak at 75-76, Sholazar Basin until 77 (The Storm Peaks is of equal level, but it has such a rough terrain that you shouldn’t attempt any quests there before you get your flying mount – sort of like Blade’s Edge in Outland, but harsher). At 78 though, you’ll have multiple options, as you should have already gotten your cold flying training and can access all areas in Northrend at this point. The thing is, whereas Sholazar or the Storm Peaks offer great fun in the form of quests and rewards, there’s really no point in not going straight to Icecrown, which is a lot more useful to quest in, in the long run. Icecrown has a multitude of progressive quest chains that end up in daily quests which can be finished afterwards in a matter of minutes and are a serious gold boost even to less hardcore grinders. Besides, it’s pretty much the only way (outside doing instances with their respective tabard) that you can raise your Knights of the Ebon Blade rep, a faction which is extremely useful for melee and DPS classes.
You might want to bring a friend with you though, as many of the latter quest chains involve difficult elite quests (some requiring up to 5 players to finish) but I assure you, the rewards are soooo worth it. Icecrown is basically your final push to level 80 and with it having so many dailies and having so many towns that you can unload your loot in, it’s also a great place to get rich in. Good luck!