Level 80: You're reached the beginning of the end. It's never been easier to take your character to epic levels of gear and adventure. Whether you're five-manning for its own sake or gearing up along the path to raiding, we've got the tips to help you make the most of your level 80 group experience. If you're so new to level 80 (or still working your way there) that you're not sure what to tackle and where to turn first, read Level 80: Now what?. Once you've got a handle on the available options, it's time to tackle the wide world of Wrath's five-man instances.
Group like a team player
- Get group experience on the way up. Before the advent of the Dungeon Finder, it could be difficult to find a group to run pre-level 80 instances with level-appropriate players. Now? There's no excuse for reaching level 80 without grouping experience. Get in there!
- Mind your basics. Experienced, highly geared (and overgeared) players may set a rapid-fire pace (and a sloppy example), but a new 80 can't afford to cut corners (yet). Know your role and stick to it. Don't be guilty of the most classic n00b moves.
- Let the tank set the pace. Don't advance ahead of the tank, don't pull additional mobs and don't try to "help" by off-tanking.
- Protect your healer. Don't assume that an impressively geared healer can deal with aggro from loose mobs; help out.
- Know your class. Read the class columns here at WoW.com. Search out the leading class-specific blogs. Take a whiff of the hardcore stuff at Elitist Jerks. It's time to be responsible for knowing all the ins and outs of what your character can do.
- Know the instance -- or ask. True rookies are in the minority at this point in WoW. If you're unfamiliar with a particular instance, throw up a flag and tell your group. Let them know you'd appreciate a heads up on any need-to-know details and tricky spots. Try looking up bosses on wowwiki.com, read through the comments tab of boss entries at wowhead.com, or Google for strat videos on YouTube.
- Be a savvy PUGger. Know what to expect from a PUG and what your PUG should expect of you.
- Be open to advice. Some players have all the tact of a Ferengi intent on enumerating the Rules of Acquisition -- but even so, sometimes they're right. Accept new ideas with good grace, regardless of the manner in which they're offered.
- Don't get demoralized by gear- and DPS-related group kicks. Unfortunately, some groups may unceremoniously boot you from instances based on your relatively lower gear or output (even if you're up to the task at hand). It's frustrating, since you can't magically improve your numbers without gear from those very same instances. Still, don't waste emotional energy on a boot. Hop back into the queue and have at it again.
- Queue up. Here's how. We have plenty of tips and tricks to help you navigate the system.
- Start at the beginning. Run normal, non-Heroic level 80 dungeons to build a foundation of level 80 gear. Don't forget to pick up the dungeon quests; look up each instance on wowhead.com to make sure you have all the associated quests.
- Hold off on Heroics. Don't queue up for Heroics in the Dungeon Finder until you're wearing more level 80 gear than not. The Dungeon Finder won't unlock Heroics as an option before you have enough gear to support a minimally effective effort, anyway.
- Take advantage of faction gear. Figure out which factions (Ebon Blade, Kirin Tor, Argent Crusade, Wyrmrest Accord, Sons of Hodir, Argent Tournament) offer the best gear and enhancements for you, and start working on those factions as early as possible. (Dalaran's daily cooking quest, for instance, can put you in good standing with the Kirin Tor before you even hit 80.)
- Rummage through the Auction House. An elite raider's sellables may be a fresh 80's gold mine.
- Research player-crafted gear. You can craft a number of your own level 80 starter pieces. High-level raiders can make you even more highly desirable items. (Before hiring a crafter, make sure the piece you want is BoE, not BoP.)
- Flex your purchasing power. In today's mature economy, don't feel obligated to harvest every last material and component yourself. Make your money however you do it best (questing, running instances, gathering, crafting), then buy what you need.
- Use the LookingForGroup channel. Keep your eye on the LFG channel to form groups for group quests, farming groups (groups that repeat certain instances over and over), pickup raids and other opportunities.
- PvP a little. While PvP gear isn't ideal for PvE content, gear from Battlegrounds and Wintergrasp can go a long way toward shoring up weak slots (and if you get in there before you hit level 80, you'll be earning experience, too).
- PUG a few raids. Vault of Archavon and Naxxramas runs are likely spots to fill in a slot here or there (and ease you into raiding, too).
- Consider GDKP runs. If you have plenty of cash to spare, a GDKP raid can make a big dent in your gear deficit.
- Head for the newer content. Regular Trial of the Champion and Icecrown five-mans drop gear that's significantly better than gear from the original Wrath five-mans. Run these repeatedly until the Heroic versions open up for you in the Dungeon Finder.
- Gem, glyph and enchant. Don't waste money on blue or purple enhancements for gear you hope to replace soon -- but don't play with empty gem slots and unenchanted pieces.
- Use consumables. Potions, stat food, whatever you make or can afford to buy ... Performance-enhancing consumables help you make a greater contribution.
- Start saving up (and spending) emblems. Use Emblems of Triumph from level 80 Heroic five-mans and Wrath raids to purchase Tier 9-equivalent gear. (You'll also start acquiring a few Emblems of Frost from your first Heroic of the day run via the random Dungeon Finder. You'll get to spend these later down the line.)
[Thanks, Shawn and Sarabande!]
Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to all our tips, tricks and how-to's. WoW Rookie walks you through all sort of new-player concerns, from game lingo for the beginner to joining your first guild as a mid-level player and on to what to do when you finally hit level 80.