Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The above is a screenshot of my /played time on the Sisters Bulimia upon dinging 59.
That's 1 day, 13 hours, and 33 minutes of time spent logged into those characters. Keep in mind that I spent a bit of time logged in but afk doing other stuff. I leveled them over the course of 9 days, starting Friday Oct. 24 and ending Sunday, Nov. 1. That averages out to about 4 hours a day. Usually, I played 2-3 hours a weeknight and 4-5 on weekends. That's a lot of playing, but not much more time than the average person spends watching TV.
So in 37 hours of time spent logged in, I got two characters to level 59. Compare that with this guy: a player who prides himself on speed leveling [warning: guide seller site. I do not endorse the guide, just needed an example of what used to be record-breaking leveling]. His record for 1-60 was 4 days and 20 hours /played before RAF. With triple xp, I just cut that into almost exactly a third. Makes sense.
So, in case you didn't get the message, RAF is LUDICROUS. And that's BEFORE I "gift" a free 29 levels to another one of my characters! I anticipate that in less than 3 days /played total, I will have 4 new level 59s and a 44. It used to take longer than that to get a single 60.
Last night, I brought my warlock/warrior pair to level 44, making all of my leveling plans complete. Tonight, I'll be giving all of my gift levels, and I'll bring some screenshots tomorrow to wrap up the ludicrousness of RAF.
Because you level so much faster using RAF, you're not going to follow a normal leveling progression. Your going to outlevel zones before you can clear them. You'll never need to stop questing to grind, and in most cases you won't even have to go to some of the zones you'd normally visit to level. Having a friend run you through instances can still be good xp, but remember you don't get the triple bonus when grouped with a 70, so in general it's a wash.
Keeping in mind this newfound freedom of choice, I'd recommend favoring any quest that has you kill x foozles. Both characters will get credit for each kill. Any quest that requires you to gather an item is less desirable, because you have to loot the items twice. The worst quests are those that have you loot a number of low drop rate items from a type of mob. Sometimes it makes sense to do these, but feel free to skip them if you have other quests available.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you have the Recruit a Friend summon available every hour. The summon for each account is on a separate cooldown. This means that your leveling characters should never have to travel to a new town to get a flight path. Simply log into your main character, fly to the location in question, then summon the leveling character from the other account to you. Then log off your main character, log back in the other leveling character, and then summon them. Poof, you never have to travel without a flight path again. I used this strategy to great effect, especially to get my lowbies to Gadgetzan, Dustwallow Marsh, Searing Gorge, and the portal to Outlands.
I also found it easier to organize and plan my trip by using the addons TourGuide, TomTom, and Lightheaded (along with Doublewide). Highly recommended.
Here's how I leveled. I did it from the horde perspective, but most of this is easily translatable for alliance, and where they differ I'll make a note. Don't bother returning to cities to train new spells and stash things in the bank until you have a natural break to switch zones (obviously, this isn't the case from 1-20, where you should be buying new skills constantly).
Levels 1-22: TBC starting area. No matter what your race/class, do the first 22 levels in the Blood Elf or Draenei starting area. They are just so much more well-designed and efficient. If you aren't making a BE or Draenei, then you can still get there quickly by exploiting the once-an-hour RAF summon as I described above by making a throwaway Blood Elf to initiate the summon sequence.
22-30: Horde can best do 22 through 30 in Hilsbrad. Go to Tarren Mill, and do all of the Elixir quests and the Battle of Hilsbrad questline, as well as the final step with the dwarves down south. This will easily get you through that entire level span. For Alliance, you can do the same in Darkshire, one of my favorite zones.
30-32: Don't forget to pick up your mounts! I got a summon to Shimmering Flats for these levels. However, this is optional, as all of the quests here are the inefficient "collect" quests. Skippable if you want to go straight to:
32(30)-38: Stranglethorn Vale. Yes, I know. You don't want to go there. Go there anyway. The questing is good, and you aren't going to be here more than a few hours this time. Horde will get extra quests as Grom'gol, while Alliance has a base camp to the far north. I did all of the quests in the north half, up to step 3 of the masteries, the goblin lumber area, the basilisks, the underwater murlocks, and the collection quests from the trolls (ears, etc.). Easy level 38.
38: After clearing north STV, it's worth it to make detours back to Booty Bay, Ratchet, and Shimmering Flats if necessary to hand in completed quests.
38-44: Dustwallow Marsh. For Horde, stacking the Brackenwall quests with the Muddsprocket quests is ideal (and don't forget Jarl's hut!) Alliance can replace Brackenwall with Theramore, there is some cool new stuff there.
44: Again, you may need to make some quick detours, but the mass quest xp bonus is worth it. Don't forget to keep both characters together for the bonus!
44-46/47: Tanaris. Gadgetzan and the eastern docks have lots of good quests. Please do yourself a favor and skip the one where you have to pick up like 30 artifacts out of the sand. Now worth it with 2 characters.
46-48: Clean up the end of the 40's in Feralas. This is a lot better for Horde than Alliance. I'd actually recommend Hinterlands for Alliance instead. Just do the easy stuff here, to give you a buffer.
48-50: There's some quick and easy questing to be done in Searing Gorge. Just do what's easy and don't get too anal. If you find yourself fighting enemies who are grey to you, don't bother with that quest.
50-52: You're in the home stretch, but these levels are the longest. Pass the time in Felwood, where the mass "Kill x furlbogs" type of quests will serve you well.
52-56: One of my favorite zones, Un'Goro Crater. Tons of meat here for both factions.
56-58: You can pretty much mop this up by doing the Cauldron quest line in Western Plaguelands.
An there you are, you've made it to Outlands! The path should be pretty obvious from here.
Though you do end up visiting some places you might not like, please remember: you never have to set foot in Desolace. That alone is worth the price of the second account.