When BfA launched my first 120 was my Monk. Seems to have been the case since Pandaria, for reasons I’ve gone into a bunch of times. My 2nd was a Horde Demon Hunter, on another server due to the DH restrictions. I wanted to see the Horde storyline and DH is a ridiculously efficient leveling class. When both hit 120, there was a major gearing wall, and the azurite system made by blood boil. I dropped out until a few weeks ago.
I figured with double faction and xp, it was an ok time to use my pile of WoW tokens. When I started, the roster looked like this:
110: Hunter, Rogue, Death Knight, Demon Hunter, Paladin, Druid
80: Mage, Warlock
Warrior and Priest as bank alts.
Before I get into the details, there’s a question of why? Alts are easier to play in BfA than Legion (by FAR!), and allow running older raids for pets/drops with less waiting for lockouts. Also lets you see if you want to run another class as a main / fun factor. It is in no way practical to run multiple max level characters.
First up was unlocking flying. That took just over 3 days, as I had already unlocked Pathfinder 1 way back at launch. Mechagon was the holdout faction, even with a contract that added +10 per world quest. The bugger here is that Mechagon doesn’t have world quests, only dailies.
While I was unlocking that portion, I was testing the waters with the 8.2/8.3 content. The Heart of Azeroth boost in Naz is quick enough, and you unlock a huge power increase. That’s enough to survive the invasions that 8.3 brought, though you need an ilvl close to 420 to do the horrific visions for the cloak upgrade. The side areas can’t really be done by anything but a tank and low ilvls.
I was keeping mental notes of what happened when.
The Alt Plans
Heirloom gear to 120 (head, shoulder, chest, legs, cloak) gives +45%xp. The generic 100% boost helps. The choice was with or without war mode. I wanted to try without to see what happened.
Gearing would be weird bit, since scaling in BfA is all over the place. I know that starting BfA gives you a weapon, and that there’s 1 quest per zone that gives you another. Starting Nazjatar gives you a i370 weapon, and there are really high odds you get enough mana pearls to get 4 benthic (i385) armor pieces. Get that sorted out, then WQ to fill in the ring/trinkets, and then armor again. Mechagon is effectively useless for this. That’s enough to start an invasion from 8.3.
The Rogue was the next up to 120. Stormsong Valley + another dozen or so quests in Drustvar (unlocking the first village). That was pretty quick, a single death, but felt like I was hitting with a wet sponge compared to my Monk. Gearing went relatively smoothly, focusing on upgrading the worst pieces first. The cloak quest was painful to get through.
Next is the DH to 120. Drustvar + up to the boat crash section in Tirigarde. While it took more quests, the Drustvar experience was much faster than Stormsong due to the quest design. Stormsong has at least 4 quest hubs that are just a massive pain to get through due to mob density. If people aren’t leveling, then it’s just not fun.
Finally, I brought my mage up with War Mode enabled. I’ll talk about that mode in a bit, but the experience gains were massive. Drustvar alone was enough to hit 120, and that’s without any rested XP. However, the mage died a LOT. A bit from ganking, but way more due to power balancing. They have no real armor, making them ultra dependent on damage output. I leveled Frost, which is super proc dependent, which is greatly impacted by Mastery. Crappy gear = low weapon power + low mastery. = low damage.
This is a really, really weird system. +25% experience and +25% rewards (gold while leveling). Since every single zone up until Legion is designed to be faction specific quest lines, you rarely ever see anyone from the other faction. When you do, it’s clear you’re both leveling. The gains are significant XP-wise, but 25% more gold on a 3g reward is meaningless.
Legion has some rough spots, as you can’t really use AE or trigger a massive fight. If I did, it was often just easier to stand there and die than waste time fighting back. The optional “clear this area” quests were skipped for that reason. It was pretty quick, though I have to say the Artifact Weapon stuff is a bummer without the special skills. Since Legion doesn’t give any weapon rewards, getting the artifact at 100 is the only thing you’ll see for 10 levels.
War Mode in BfA. 80% of Drustvar is cool. The last 20% in the haunted village is less so. I got ganked, and then corpse hunted for 10 minutes. Being level 5 or 119, you are going to get stomped by any geared 120. The flipside is that the XP gains are solid (saved ~1hr or so), and the BfA gold rewards are significant. Was around 10k total by the time I hit 120. That said, the second I hit 120 I turned off War Mode.
Why? Cause 95% of world content is better in a group, and that means AE. AE + War Mode = massive battles. Useless battles. I would much rather complete a WQ / event 5x faster than get 25% more gold. More in another post.
There are many, many tools to help level up faster. Only a few are really worth it. Doing dungeon runs in LFG can be substituted.
- Heirlooms armor – getting +45% xp is easy enough (head/chest/shoulder/back). I suggest only having 1 cloak for all alts, rather than 3 of the (int/str/agi) if money is a thing. A single piece costs 500+1000+2000+5000 = 8,500 gold. Armor type matters (e.g. cloth for casters)
- Heirloom weapons – from 1-100 this is very useful and relatively cheap. At 100 you get an artifact weapon, and BfA is over quick enough. 1-100 costs 2,250 for a single weapon. Getting it to BfA quality adds 10,500 to the cost. The stats on the thing make a difference too. Hunters are the worst here, since they are the only gun users.
- Flying. Sweet baby jeebers, make sure this is unlocked before leveling in a zone and that you buy the associated skills (Master is optional)
- Zones: 1-60 any Vanilla zone is fine. 60-80 you want to do Borean Tundra (this is the slowest portion). 80-90 is Jade Forest. 90-100 is the starting WoD zone of your faction. 100-110 is Azshara. 110-120 is Drustvar / Vol’dun. You’re only going to see 1 zone per level range.
- Bags: Get 20 slot bags. You’re going to fill up like crazy.
- War Mode: Turn it on.
- Professions: Mining and herbalism gives great xp.
- Treasures / Rare mobs: Treasure chests are worth collecting for xp. Rare mobs should generally be avoided.
- Gold: At best you’re going to make 15,000g from 1-120 doing quests and selling loot, and nearly all of it coming from BfA content. Flying (280%) will cost you ~5,000g.
To give you an idea of where you can re-use Heirloom gear, as a full set of armor + weapons for 1-120 = 55,250g. Druid as a Cat saves money. Shaman as Enhancement as well.