All the following information about level squish and new system of levelling in Shadowlands is live on pre-patch now. As Blizzard decided to release pre-patch without new quests, which will lead us right into The Shadowlands, pre-patch is the best time to level up your alts as it won’t take much time now. Moreover, you wouldn’t like to spend your time for leveling after Shadowlands release, would you?
Level Squish – 50 Is the new 120. Shadowlands includes a “level squish” – existing characters will have their level number reduced to a new scale. Level 120 characters will convert to level 50, and the other levels will scale down from there. Changing level numbers will not change your character’s relative power; the level number is simply a new representation of your character’s current power and development.
The following chart shows how levels translated into the new levels for Shadowlands.
Some observations about this chart:
Level translations are more uneven through the middle levels, varying between 2-3 levels/level, then move to a straight 2:1 translation starting at level 80 (level 30 Shadowlands).
Flying becomes available at level 30 in Shadowlands, which translates to current levels 80-81. In the current retail expansion, flying can be learned at level 60, which translates to level 25 in Shadowlands. Beta character copy so far has confirmed that players between 60 and 80 who learned to fly in the current expansion will retain the ability to fly in Shadowlands.
Leveling Speed in Shadowlands.
In Shadowlands, leveling will progress about 80-100% faster for 1-50, compared to the time it now takes to get from 1-120.
Leveling speed for 50-60 takes a huge leap forward, so you will not fly through the levels. In beta, characters could get to 60 by doing only the zone campaign without any side quests, but this has been changed so more will be needed to level up beyond just following the base zone campaign quests. However, it’s not the main theme of this article.
New leveling System
The new leveling system consists of 3 parts: 1-10 leveling, 10-50 leveling and 50-60 leveling.
1-10 leveling gives you a choice whether to go to new location for novice Exile’s Reach or to go to your race location.
10-50 leveling offers you 7 expansions for levelling: Burning Crusade, Wraith of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor, Legion and Battle for Azeroth. You pick one and go through it for most of your levelling experience. You are able to change it whenever you want in Orgrimmar or in Stormwind, just find Chromie.
New Players and Alts
New players and alts will have different choices and leveling experiences. New players will be directed through a specific, limited set of zones for leveling purposes; experienced players will have more choices.
While “new player” was not specifically defined, the most probable criteria is whether they have an account with at least one character leveled to 120 (50). Players without one will likely be defined as “new”; players with one will likely be treated as leveling an alt. If you’re currently new to the game (or have a new account) and want to preserve the maximum number of choices, be sure to get at least one character leveled to 120 before Shadowlands is released.
The new leveling choices both for new players and for alts break down into three leveling brackets, each of which will be discussed in detail.
1-10: Exile’s Reach (new newbie zone for all players)
10-50: Battle for Azeroth
1-10: Exile’s Reach or race starting zone
10-50: Any choice of the 8 expansions
War Mode offers a huge advantage for leveling, both by increasing the amount of experience earned by quests and enabling additional talents while out in the open world. This makes it a must have for the majority of players focusing on leveling up quickly. That said, while these bonuses certainly help you level faster, War Mode may not always be the answer – in most cases, there’s not a whole lot of PvP at lower levels, but some areas can be very highly trafficked, and if you find yourself getting bogged down in combat, or having to avoid enemy players, you may actually lose more time than you gain. The general rule of thumb is to start with War Mode on, but don’t be afraid to turn it off if you need to.
Fast Leveling 1-50
The fastest way to get level 10 is to pick one of allied races. If you chose to play not an allied race there are two ways: you either choose Exile’s Reach or your race’s starting location. Practically it seems like it’s faster to pick the racial starting location, but the difference in time is not so significant, so it’s up to you, whether to try brand new location for newbies or to spend 5-10 min less for leveling form level 1 to 10.
10-50. After you reached level 10, you can go straight to BFA quests or you can go to Chromie and pick another expansion. The amount of time you need to reach level 50 in different expansions is various. So, let’s take a look at average time for leveling in each expansion.
|Chromie Time Expansion||Approximate Pace|
|Warlords of Draenor||12 hours|
|Battle for Azeroth||16 hours|
|Mists of Pandaria||16 hours|
|Wrath of the Lich King||24 hours|
|The Burning Crusade||24 hours|
The amount of time shown here is approximate and can fluctuate depending on your skill and some minor factors, such as gear, boosts, class, specialization and so on. However, conventional decision for fast leveling is Warlords of Draenor.
Warlords of Draenor – How to Skip Opening Questline
If you have been through the Warlords of Draenor opening questline where you assist Archmage Khadgar and are introduced to the Iron Horde, you can skip nearly all of it with this method.
Select the WoD Timewalking Campaign from Chromie.
Accept the ride to Blasted Lands from the Archmage.
Once you are in the Blasted Lands, abandon the The Dark Portal quest. This method will not work if you leave the quest in your log.
When you reach the Dark Portal, instead of talking to Khadgar, run through the portal. You’ll come out at the crash site, at the beginning of the part where you actually open your garrison.
Leveling gear is extremely important, because the faster you kill mobs, the faster you do quests, the faster you do quests, the faster you level up.
Change of Heirlooms
Heirlooms don’t give extra XP anymore, however, it still automatically scales to your level, so your gear will always be up to date. But it’s not just about scaling. The more heirlooms you wear, the better set bonuses it gives you. Heirloom set bonuses themselves are fairly minor, with the greatest advantage being the extra rested experience, which is great for players who level slowly over the course of many play sessions, though much less relevant for those who binge level from 1-50 within a short time span.
Alternative for Heirlooms
Despite the fact that heirlooms are quite good option for 1-30 leveling, it’s extremely expansive to buy heirlooms for 30-40 and especially 40-50 leveling. It gives not that significant profit over the average dropped gear to pay that much gold. For those who believe that heirlooms are unreasonably expansive, there is the tricky way to have good gear through all the leveling without spending such amount of gold. You can use Relic of the Past I, Relic of the Past II, Relic of the Past III and Relic of the Past IV to craft gear for levels 15, 25, 35, 45. The price for this relics are extremely cheap, so it won’t cost you a lot of gold
Like consumables, enchants play a strong role in optimizing your character for leveling. Because of the leveling squish, many of these previously low level enchants offer very strong bonuses which remain competitive considerably longer now than they might have in the past. Likewise, some enchants which were higher level can now be used much earlier than before. Consider at least enchanting the heirlooms you plan to level with, as they will only need to be applied once, though carrying a stack of extra enchantment scrolls for gear slots that are regularly replaced is also an option for those who want to go above and beyond. Keep in mind that like heirlooms, there are a lot of useful enchants, and which one is strictly best may vary between class or spec. That said, simply having any enchant active is better than none at all.
WHEE! – extremely good buff for levelling. 10% more XP for an hour.
Draught of Ten Lands – More stats, experience, and it lasts through death. What more needs to be said?
Speed & Mobility
Goblin Glider Kit – Should always be kept on hand unless you’re an Engineer or Demon Hunter (although gliders are actually slightly faster). They’re also very easy to acquire by flipping Warlord’s of Draenor Garrison supplies at the trading post building, making them effectively free so long as you have supplies to spend. The usefulness really can’t be overstated, as you can save a great deal of time by simply jumping off mountains rather than mounting up and walking back down, and can even cross huge distances from the right height.
While there are several different pieces of mount equipment, they’re all fairly niche and their bonuses can be made up for in various ways. Because of this, it really comes down to how you approach the leveling process and whether you plan to use a full array of consumables. Equipment is also character specific, so you don’t need to worry about overwriting bonuses.
ight-Step Hoofplates – Doesn’t stack with a lot of mounted movement speed effects, it works quiet well at earlier levels for those who don’t have them, making it the best general bonus.
Comfortable Rider’s Barding – Can be very useful for players who prefer to ride straight through from one area to another, but you can get a cheap version of the effect for free by using the Chauffeured Chopper, which can be dazed, but cannot be dismounted.
Inflatable Mount Shoes – Would seem to be a very good bonus, but with the amount of water movement consumables, it actually slows you down. The buff is also removed upon being hit, so you’ll frequently lose time remounting in order to reapply the buff. If you’re not using consumables, this might be the best overall bonus just for dealing with water, but it’s certainly not the most effective use of the slot.
Saddlechute – Also isn’t overly useful as you should have gliders on hand at all times, though it might be more useful once you unlock flying.
Unless you’re a Mage, there aren’t a whole lot of ways to get back and forth between major areas to turn on War Mode or access the faction capital teleportation hubs, and your trusty Hearthstone can only take you so far. With these, you can free up your hearthstone to take you back to quest givers and flight paths, while still retaining the ability to get back to major cities.
Garrison Hearthstone & Dalaran Hearthstone – If you’re playing through Warlords or Legion content you’ll unlock these automatically, and they make a huge difference in your ability to quickly navigate those expansions, since you can continue to set your hearthstone elsewhere.
There are two basic ways of managing your inventory while leveling – keep it clean and loot nothing but the essential quest items, or loot literally everything and let the vendor sort it out. If you’re in the latter group, having mobile vendors is not only useful, but downright necessary for cleaning up your inventory on the go!
Reins of the Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth & Reins of the Grand Expedition Yak – Manage your inventory while auto-running from point A to point B, and the Yak even lets you transmog on the go, because we all know that looking good is the most important optimization you can make in any game.
Reins of the Mighty Caravan Brutosaur You’re probably not going to need to access the auction house very much, but if you find yourself running out of those consumables, being able to grab more from the auction house without heading back to a major city can be a huge time saver. Just make sure you have a nearby mailbox!
Ground Mounts and Flying in Shadowlands
|Rank||Speed||Type||Training cost||Required level|
The major changes here from BfA are that the interim flying level, Artisan Riding (280%), has been removed. This makes sense due to the short level span between Expert and Master riding.
It was initially reported that Apprentice Riding would be available from level 1 and flying would be available at level 25, but the latest information is charted above.
You will not need Draenor or Broken Isles Pathfinder to fly in those expansion zones in Shadowlands. If you learn to fly, you can fly in any expansion zones except those for Battle for Azeroth and Shadowlands, and in those areas where flight is prohibited (such as Timeless Isle in Pandaria). Battle for Azeroth zones will still require Pathfinder.
Flying becomes available at level 30 in Shadowlands, which translates to level 80 in the current expansion. Characters who learn Expert Riding at level 60 before the release of the Shadowlands pre-patch (translates to level 25 in Shadowlands) will not lose their ability to fly in Shadowlands when their level gets squished.
Battle for Azeroth Pathfinder is still required to fly in BfA zones.
Addons can be a massive help while leveling, whether by giving you more information, pointing you in the right direction, or just making the user interface look a bit nicer. While you don’t really need a lot of addons for leveling the way you might in more competitive content such as raiding or PvP, we’ve compiled a short list of handy addons which may help you throughout the leveling process.
Azeroth Auto Pilot – Azeroth Auto Pilot is a Speed leveling addon for World of Warcraft, which skips cutscenes, adds hotkeys for quest items, automatically uses flight points, picks up and turns in quests, tells you which quests to do, and even shows you where to go! This is the main addon for speed leveling.
If you don’t want to be led by AAP addon you can install AutoTurnIn
HandyNotes – A small and simple addon which allows you to place notes on the map.
SilverDragon/RareScanner – Alerts you to the presence of rare mobs, creating a frame and map icons whenever one is found.
Bagnon – makes your inventory look much pleasant and easier to manage
Scrap (Junk Seller) – The best way to manage your inventory by selling all useless items that you find during leveling.
AutoLootPlus/Speedy AutoLoot – addons which help you to loot mobs instantly, which is helpful while leveling
I strongly recommend you using Curse app for Windows to install and update all the addons, as it’s really the ABC method of getting all the addons you need.