Classic WoW might have been pretty revolutionary for its time in terms of ease of leveling, but looking back, it was kind of terrible. It was just a lot better than what we had at the time. Thankfully, Cataclysm has fixed a lot of the original game's leveling issues, and I can say from personal experience that bringing a character from 1 to 60 is more fun than anything I've ever done in WoW before. And that's with no heirlooms, no gold from my main, no auction house, no nothing.
Let's talk ways to maximize your fun while leveling in Cataclysm.
- Dungeon quests are right inside the dungeon now. While zones still have lots of quests leading up to their respective dungeons, the quests that actually send you inside the dungeon are, well, inside the dungeon! Often, there are four or more quests per dungeon, and they're worth so much experience that they can get you almost a full level -- and that's not even taking into account the experience you'll earn from killing mobs and bosses while in the instance.
- Doing random dungeons can get you great rewards. Just like in Wrath, completing a random dungeon gets you a Satchel of Helpful Goods, a bag that contains a random piece of blue-quality gear. What slot the item fits in depends on your level, and you might not always get an item that fits your particular class or spec -- but even if it's not particularly good for you, you can always sell it for a fine price. Remember, there's no limit on the number of random dungeons you can run per day.
- Several dungeons have had their level ranges lowered. Dungeons like Scholomance and Dire Maul are now available at lower levels, meaning not only do you have the dungeon quests available earlier, you also have more variety in what will come up while running random dungeons -- and more variety in the blue items you can get.
- Class quests are back. Every class has two special dungeon quests: one available at 20, and one at 50. These send you into Shadowfang Keep and Blackrock Depths, respectively, and reward you with a choice of nice rewards for your spec.
- Lost? Lacking direction? Go to a Hero's Call or Warchief's Command board. There are now bulletin boards in every major city that will send you toward zones on that continent that are appropriate for your level. If you decide you want a change of scenery, go to a city on a different continent and see what the board there has to offer.
- Faction loyalty at low levels is rewarding. As you level, you'll discover that you're gaining reputation with faction cities. You can use this reputation to cash in on great rewards like a 16-slot bag and a blue cloak, along with a snazzy high-res faction tabard. Just head to your city's quartermaster, located near the flight master, to check out the rewards.
- Pick up every flight path. Even if you're just passing through a zone to move on to the next one, stop by each quest hub and pick up its flight path -- there are a lot more flight paths in Cataclysm, and missing one might increase your travel time in flight.
- See quest lines through to completion for maximum benefit. Nearly every zone in Cataclysm now has an epic quest chain that ends with your receiving a big chunk of experience and a nice piece of blue equipment. Make sure you follow up on loose ends and finish quest chains, even if you have another zone to move on to -- you might accidentally miss out on a really great piece of loot (or a really epic moment) if you don't.
- Join a guild and reap the benefits. Guilds have always been a great way to get help while leveling, whether for running dungeons or handling an elite quest, but in Cataclysm, they also grant you awesome perks like an experience boost, a movement speed increase and more.
Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from how to control your character and camera angles when you're just starting out, to pulling together enough cash for mid-level expenses such as mounts and dual specialization, to what to do when you finally hit level 80.