Friday, October 12, 2012

World of Warcraft Newbie Guide 11: Better Leveling Through Questing - The Art of Leveling In Zones

(I apologize for essentially putting this guide series on three weeks of hiatus. I will probably update it a little less frequently given recently events that demand I post other content or allocate time for other activities but if the delays get this large again I will let everyone know.)

Upon reaching level 10 (or soon after) and choosing your specialization, you are usually close to finished with, if not completely finished with, your starting zone (Durotar, Elwynn Forest, etc). At this point you initially have two options, which are "questing" and "battlegrounds." In addition you open up another option at level 15, which is doing "dungeons."

While I have mentioned each briefly in previous articles, such as my last one, I also mentioned that I would go over each method of leveling in separate articles. In this article, I will cover leveling in zones, known commonly as questing. It is recommended you review my previous article on questing alongside this one as I will focus more on getting to a zone for leveling as that is generally the tough part of getting started with leveling in this manner.

What Zone Should I Level In (Next)?

This is a question I find a lot of new players asking, especially in public chat channels like Trade Chat. Here I will give the clear, non-trolly answers that should help you as you journey through Azeroth and beyond, experiencing a variety of environments and quest lines that tell stories, either in the form of an overarching story that covers the zone or short tales confined to areas where quests are plentiful, known as quest hubs (zones usually have a combination of the two).

Check The Map

The easiest, though somewhat cryptic way of finding out suitable zones to level in is to check your map. This was not an option in the past, but a stealth change added a way to check zones to level in on the map. After opening it you should see the zone map as usual, like below:
From here you can either right click the map or press the "Zoom Out" button at the top. This will bring you to the continent map, as shown below:
From here you can check each zone in the continent individually. Before doing so, however, you can zoom out further. Right click or press the "Zoom Out" button again to access the world map, as shown below:
On the world map you can see all of Azeroth, which (at the time) displays four continents. The northern and southern continents, Northrend and Pandaria, are for much higher leveled players (68-80 and 85-90, respectively) and will probably be discussed in far later articles. Technically, you can zoom the map even further to see the other planet, known as Outland, but this is also probably beyond the scope of your level (58-68). For now, the continents of focus are Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms (on the west and east, respectively).

In this example, I go back to the Eastern Kingdoms by clicking on the continent. I then highlight the zone I am in, called Elwynn Forest, as shown below:
When a zone is highlighted like this, the zone's name shows up. For a long time, only the zone name was shown. However, with recent implementations, a level range also shows up, indicating what levels a player should be able to enter the zone to access its quests. Level ranges are also shown in certain coloration similar to difficulty factors that I explained in the article I mentioned above. This can really matter, as shown below:
While in the picture before this, the level ranges were yellow, in this case the level ranges are red. This means the zone Westfall (for this particular character) is too difficult. Experiment around and highlight zones to see what zones are suitable to level in.

Follow The Breadcrumbs

This is usually the common method of going to new zones to quest. In fact, if you've done enough questing, you probably already have a quest to go to a new zone. Breadcrumb quests (see article linked above) are important because while you may be able to find leveling zones using the map, sometimes certain quests won't show up until you finish a breadcrumb quest to enter the zone (though this is pretty rare). To ensure you have a breadcrumb when getting into a zone, you can do one of the following:
  • Check previous zones/zones you're leveling in. When you level through a zone, even the starting one, you might notice a grey exclamation point that indicates you are not a high enough level to take a certain quest. These are usually breadcrumb quests to go to other zones and once you reach a sufficient level, you can accept these quests to go to other zones.
  • Check Warchief's Command/Hero's Call boards for quests. These are in capital cities and, when you believe you reached a sufficient level (as a general rule every multiple of five will allow access to new zones) you may find such quests. You can also find similar quests by exploring a capital city. In general if you want to find a breadcrumb in this manner, keep your eyes on the minimap for yellow exclamation points.
As nice as it is to have quests that point you in a direction, breadcrumb quests have an additional benefit. They give a minute amount of experience, which is essentially free since chances are, you were planning on going to one of those zones to level anyways if you plan to level by questing through zones.

That's really about all you need to know to get to a zone to level in. With some work you can immerse yourself in all sorts of new places and feel the wondrous magic of exploration that others before you probably felt back when they were newbs. (Also if you level in a zone, it is highly recommended you pick up a gathering profession or two.)

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