Power leveling is the term used to describe the process of leveling a character as rapidly as possible with the least amount of play time. It can be used from any level up to the maximum level in the game which is currently 90. Contrary to what many believe, efficient power leveling does not require endless hours of grinding. The best methods of power leveling involve doing many quests in an orderly fashion.
The goal of these guides is to help you level a character, whether your first on the server or not, to the level of your choice as quickly and efficiently as possible. At the same the quests will be ordered in such fashion to ensure you gain reputation with each of the 3 major factions on either the Alliance or Horde side.
Common methods of power leveling include doing only those quests which are most efficient in terms of experience over time, and analyzing the quests in a given zone so as to do them in the most efficient order possible. Remember, the idea of power leveling is speed and efficiency--you may wish to obtain an addon that will show you how much experience per hour you are gaining to test your techniques. Additionally, ensure your character's talent build is crafted for maximum endurance. You want as little downtime (walking, drinking, eating, crafting, typing, etc.) as possible.
With regard to professions, an example would be for a tailor to farm or purchase large quantities of cloth, then identify and repeat the cheapest tailoring recipes so as to maximize skill point gain compared to cost.
Twinking is distinct from power leveling. A twink is usually intended to remain at its current level for an extended period of time, thus providing some justification for the large investment into its gear. A character being power leveled is often equipped with inexpensive gear, since the player will be planning on outleveling it quickly.
Also note that power leveling is sometimes used to refer to paying someone else to level your character to 80 as fast as possible (i.e. they power level for you); a distinction used by Blizzard is to refer to the paid leveling as "power leveling service." This behavior is against Blizzard's Terms of Service. Power leveling yourself, which this article covers, is perfectly acceptable.
- This is not your first character. Usually people learn the basics on their first character by trial and error and stumbling around.
- Since it's not your first character, you understand the basic elements of the game (like class, talents, tradeskills, etc).
- Learn how to use Keyboard Shortcuts. Clicking on toolbars is great for newbies to learn, but the fractions of seconds you save while using keyboard shortcuts will help you level much faster
- Learn how to play. Read a lot. For example, if you are a warrior, read the entire warrior wowwiki article.
- Most macros and addons usually aren't truly necessary until you start raiding, but some can help
- Max out your gear as much as you can afford. You should rarely have a piece of gear that is more than about 10 levels below you.
- Use a proven leveling spec that someone else created, or if you are making your own spec, understand that some talents are more pvp oriented (for example, stun resistance is very useful in PVP, not so much in PVE)
- Enchantments aren't necessary since you'll be upgrading your gear constantly. That said cheap enchants that help with your damage are always welcome.
- Usually it's best to avoid a lot of instance runs. It is too difficult to account for bad groups, and some instances are too far away with too few quests. Since the experience is very good, it's a good idea to clear nearby instances which have a lot of quests once (Gnomeregan, Deadmines for Alliance). Distant instances with few quests should be avoided (Deadmines for Horde). Low level instances can be cleared by paying or befriending a single high level character. However, since patch 3.3 a new Dungeon group finding system has been implemented, as well as a direct port to dungeons (when entering the group you get ported to the dungeon and back to the same location if you leave it) and thus the travel time to dungeons has been greatly reduced. This makes it a good idea to complete quests or grind while you wait for a group to become available.
- Specing healing or prot is fine if you are leveling with instances, but that is not considered power leveling. Usually spec for max DPS. One exception is Protection Pally which can slowly grind multiple mobs and level efficiently.
- Some classes can efficiently burn two or more mobs simultaneously (like warlocks and Priests with fear and DOTs, or prot Pally's)
- Always end your session in a capital city or inn, so that you remain rested.
- If you are a non-healing class, have a good supply of bandages through First Aid since bandaging is much faster (and more expensive) than eating.
- The first thing you should do when you arrive at an auction house is fill your four vacant bag slots with the largest bags you can afford
- Always turn on Auto-Loot in the Interface Options menu when starting a character. If you do not want to auto loot a specific target simply click Shift+Right Click.
- Always put a temporary buff on your weapon (sharpening stones and weightstones for melee classes; mana oil for hunters; wizard oil for casters).
- If you can afford it, always have one guardian and one battle elixir active. This gets really expensive really fast, so it's only for those with deep pockets or alts who can farm them.
- If you enjoy PVP, spend a few hours at level 29 in Arathi Basin and get 30 marks to buy a Talisman of Arathor (or Horde equivalent). This trinket will likely endure until you get Outland trinkets. The bubble will save you countless times for the Plan ahead.
- Occasionally search the auction house for gear that is about 10 levels beyond you. This is especially true at around level 50, when you should start stockpiling level 57 Outland gear that will be a huge upgrade for you.
- Do something productive while flying like organizing your bags, reading about future talents, or organizing your quest log.
- Use a guide (free or paid) that will tell you the order to do quests efficiently. If you do not use a guide, then be mindful of the following additional tips:
- Mods like Carbonite and QuestHelper can significantly improve questing efficiency if you know how to use them.
- MOST quests can be completed alongside other quests. Look for "circles" of completion so that you are questing on the way out from town and on the way back.
- While it may be useful to collect an abundance of quests, don't try to complete them all in one circle. Future quests are often needed to complete new circles.
- It is a good idea to complete quests in zones with enemies 5 or so levels below you. This will decrease the difficulty of quests and the time it takes to complete them, while still giving you good experience for your level.
- As soon as all of the enemies in a zone are more than 5 levels below you, it is probably time to move to the next zone.
With the goal of obtaining levels as quickly as possible it is recommended that if you decide to pursue tradeskills you choose those which will support the process.
- Herbalism can be used to support Alchemy or add to your gold through sales on the Auction House or to vendors. Lifeblood will prevent you from dying so easily.
- Mining can be used to augment your income by selling the materials on the Auction House or to vendors. Toughness increases your health.
- Alchemy when combined with Herbalism provides many methods of negating damage done by mobs, especially casters like Shamans who can be more easily handled if you have Nature Resistance potions available.
- Skinning is a good money maker as throughout your travels you will fight many beasts. It also won't take much time, only 1-5 seconds after every beast. Miners and herbalists have to travel all the way to the nodes.
- Tailoring might be a good choice if you are a caster or you just want access to cheap bags. Otherwise the cloth is better used for First Aid.
- Blacksmithing is not recommended during the course of these guides as long term development is involved and costly.
- Leatherworking is not recommended during the course of these guides as long term development is involved and costly.
- Engineering is not recommended during the course of these guides as long term development is involved and costly.
- EXCEPTION: If you have Mining and only use Engineering to craft ammunition (for a gun-using hunter) or explosives (dynamite and bombs), then this may be a useful tradeskill. However, it should only be used to assist the leveling process and should not be focused upon as a skill. In other words, only use it for supplying essentials for your leveling (mainly gun ammunition) and not for any other purpose.
- Enchanting is not recommended during the course of these guides as long term development is involved and costly.
- Jewelcrafting is not recommended during the course of these guides as long term development is involved and costly.
- EXCEPTION: If you have Mining and only use Jewelcrafting to craft stone statues (for additional in-combat healing), then this may be a useful tradeskill. However, like Engineering above, it should not be a leveling focus and should only be used to assist with power leveling. Doing any more than this will become costly and should not be undertaken during the power-leveling process.
- First Aid should be trained no matter what class you are playing. It won't yield much money, but it is inexpensive to train and a great help to reduce downtime.
- Cooking benefits all classes, especially melee and hunters (it is a free source of food). Until higher levels, the benefits it provides are almost exclusively stamina buffs. While more stamina is always nice, cooking is not essential to leveling. Considering the time investment required, if you pick up skinning then cooking would absolutely be a wise skill to level prior to hitting your level cap, as beasts often drop meat useful for skilling up.
- Fishing requires much time and does not yield much profit until its later levels. Unless you enjoy it for its own sake, avoid seriously delving into fishing until your level limit. It is not a bad idea to do a little when starting out a new character on a new server, though - the gray items you fish up sell for good money to a starter, which can help you out with your other tradeskills.
- 01-06 Coldridge Valley (Dwarf & Gnome)
- 01-06 Northshire Valley (Human)
- 01-06 Shadowglen (Night Elf)
- 01-06 Ammen Vale (Draenei)
- 06-10 Dun Morogh (Dwarf & Gnome)
- 06-10 Teldrassil (Night Elf)
- 06-10 Elwynn Forest (Human)
- 06-10 Azuremyst Isle (Draenei)
- 11-20 Loch Modan
- 10-22 Westfall and Deadmines
- 15-21 Redridge Mountains
- 10-18 Darkshore
- 13-20 Bloodmyst Isle
- 50-55 Western Plaguelands (Alliance)
- 01-06 Valley of Trials (Orc & Troll)
- 01-06 Red Cloud Mesa (Tauren)
- 01-06 Sunstrider Isle (Blood Elf)
- 06-10 Durotar (Orc & Troll)
- 06-10 Mulgore (Tauren)
- 01-10 Tirisfal Glades (Undead)
- 06-10 Eversong Woods (Blood Elf)
- 10-20 Ghostlands (Blood Elf)
- 10-20 Silverpine Forest (Undead)
- 51-55 Western Plaguelands (Horde)
- Multiple Account Power Leveling
- Commercial Guides
There are some guides available which you can buy, the most known Joana's Horde Leveling Guide and Brian Kopps Alliance Guide. See a full list at List of commercial WoW guides Whether these guides are more useful than the content you can find here or elsewhere on the web for free is left up to you.
Related comments from Blizzard
Some power levelers have hoped for a day when you could use real money to buy individual items in-game, some times called "micro-transactions." At a Game Developers Conference 2008, Rob Pardo gave a strong indication, Blizzard would not ever go this route with World of Warcraft.
- Q: Have you considered micro-transactions in WoW?
- A: We chose to go with the subscription-based model instead of that approach. We've taken the approach that we want players to feel like it's a level playing field once they're in WoW. Outside resources don't play into it -- no gold buying, etc. We take a hard line stance against it. What you get out of microtransactions is kind of the same thing and I think our player base would feel betrayed by it. I think that's something else you have to decide on up-front instead of implementing later.
- Q: But it might make it easier for the casuals to catch up....
- A: They aren't going to be the ones spending the money.
- 01-70 Alliance power leveling