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WoW Rookie: Leveling in the pre-Cataclysm era


New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the basics of a good start in the World of Warcraft. See all our collected tips, tricks and how-to's at's WoW Rookie Guide.

Make hay while the sun shines. In fact, if you're leveling a character pre-Cataclysm, you might want to consider making that hay on one of the farms in Westfall. Westfall is slated for a "moderate" overhaul in the upcoming expansion, so the Harvest Reapers you see today might be something entirely different come Cataclysm. Maybe the farms will be gone entirely. Who knows? Whatever ends up coming our way, it's time to stop and smell the flowers (or in this case, the sweet scent of hay). Whether or not you choose to purchase Cataclysm, zones like Westfall will be forever changed when the expansion hits.

My significant DPSer and I are currently leveling a set of Alliance characters (our original faction, but one we haven't played much in several years) specifically in order to revisit content that Cataclysm will sweep away. We're not the only ones with that idea. Still, it's not all nostalgia. The desire to soak up all that WoW has to offer rings just as true for new players who are leveling their first characters. We'll show you how to embrace it all while you still can.

Our suggestions for new players who'd like to experience as much of WoW's original content as possible before Cataclysm changes the face of Azeroth:

  • Quest in zones that Cataclysm will be changing.
  • Deploy some alts. If you're pushing forward toward Icecrown Citadel, we understand. It's pretty cool stuff. But if soaking up lore and exploring new territories is more your style, now's a good time to slow down and make enough alts (both factions!) to see all the sights before they're gone. Leveling goes so fast these days that you'll level past many zones and instances while you're busy in other areas. It might take several characters (or a willingness to work through grey quests) to see everything that will be changing.
  • Get a handle on the game's lore. The World of Warcraft is a living, breathing world. If you understand what's already gone on, you'll be in a much better position to keep up with the context of changes Cataclysm will bring.
  • Retro raiding (going back to see old level 60 and level 70 raiding content once you're level 80) and classic raiding (raiding the level 60 and 70 content when you're at the appropriate level) are both great ways to see what used to be considered endgame content. Looking for a group? Send The Classifieds your Armory link and a line or two about what you're looking for; email We'll take retro raiding and classic raiding guild recruitment notices this week, as well.
  • The gang playing along with's Choose My Adventure series is specifically targeting content that will be changing come Cataclysm. The project's moving along on US Zangarmarsh-H as part of <It Came from the Blog>.
New at for new and leveling players

Recent resources for the new level 80

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.

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