It’s difficult to write anything about Blizzard’s magnum opus World of Warcraft without it going out of date in a few weeks, so bear with me. As of now, the fastest way to level in the game is to complete quests rather than go for all out grinding. Grinding previously netted you more XP/Hour than anything else you could do in the game. However, simply completing quests doesn’t mean you’ll level quickly, and you need to approach the game with a few tools in hand if you want to reach the endgame as fast as possible.
The fastest leveling times ever achieved by WoW players have been through quests, but the trick isn’t to finish just any old quest however and whenever you like. Seasoned players know exactly the best time to accept a quest and the best time to finish. If you time it right you may actually find yourself completing three or four quests at once because they all want similar items. At the very least you can cut down your travel time by making sure you attend all the quests in a specific area exactly at the optimum point.
The size of the game and the fact that it’s constantly changing can be a challenge for new and old players alike. The best way around this is to use a gaming guide. There are plenty of guides available, although you should expect to pay a little bit of money for the more in depth help. Most are good value, but before you hand your money over make sure you know what you are getting. Even more importantly, make sure the guide is up to date! Good names to look out for are Zygor, Dugi and Joana. Buying a commercial guide is not recommended as these are likely to go out of date quickly.
Using a leveling guide will guarantee to cut many hours off your leveling time. However, because they tell you exactly where to go and when, guides can cut out alot of the fun experiences and exploration you can do in the game. Because of this they are generally more suited to experienced players who want to quickly level a character. They are best used from the very start of a new character because you’ll find any guide difficult to use if you start half way through.
If the idea of using a guide doesn’t appeal to you there are still a few sensible steps to take that can save you valuable time each session. Spend some time when you first install WoW to set up your interface. All the time spent downloading and installing various mods will pay back tenfold in the long run. Mods and add-ons are updated often, usually with every new patch of the game. Finding a quest mod and a map mod are most important as these can save you hours of time trying to find the locations for quests and hand-ins.
If modding the game doesn’t appeal to you, you’ll get a similar experience from using online wiki services like Thottbot which give details about quests, items, characters and more. Browsing the comment section of Thottbot can give you some really great information about how easy the quest is and the co-ordinates of quest locations. Be aware that some of the comments date back nearly four years so the information in them may be outdated.
There are also a few elements in the game you can effectively cut out in order to level more quickly. Examples of this would be removing talking with other players, training professions and joining groups. Generally people level faster when they go solo because of the amount of time it takes to arrange a group. For this reason there’s a chance you might level faster alone. However, if you join a guild that can quickly organize itself, or play together with friends, you can still make a lot of progression with other players. It’s merely the length of time it takes to arrange a group that makes working with instances difficult.
If you really get fed up you can always pay for someone else to level your character for you. This is expensive and many people think this defeats the point of the entire game. Paying someone to play a game that you’re already paying for does seem a little silly, but for some it’s an easy way to quickly get a character to the endgame which they enjoy more.
As always with Warcraft, it’s important to have fun. If you want to level at a good speed but still enjoy everything WoW has to offer, your best bet is a healthy amount of mods and the occasional journey to Thottbot to find out the co-ordinates of a quest. If you absolutely must get to level 80 as quickly as possible, a leveling guide and a fair amount of patience may be the smartest option.