Greedy Goblin

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The highest XP/hour

If you are leveling your first character, you most probably want to venture into the world, go places where no man went before you (like the secret pirate questhub in Arathi Highlands). Go for it! This is the game, don't let retarded pixel-hoarders hurry you!

But if you are leveling an alt for a purpose (like want to raid with another class, or participate in the undergeared or ganking project), you most probably want to get to max level as soon as possible. This case you are seeking for the highest XP/hour way of doing it. What is it?
  • Is it solo questing, doing lot of quests in the same zone, than moving on? Not really, because you will have crap gear and kill slowly.
  • Is it duo questing with a friend or a second account? More likely, since your DPS doubles, but the quest XP is not cut into half. The problem is that you need a friend who plays exactly when you, or a second account.
  • Is it chain-instancing? Most probably, but it needs something that is out of your control: to have guildmates/friends at the same level. A PuG can be terribly frustrating if you want high XP/hour. You get 0 XP while you are running as a ghost, waiting for "brb mum wants me to bring down the garbage" or single-target killing and CC-ing everything because your "tank" can't hold more than 1 monster or your "healer" can't heal him if he does.
  • Boosting: definitely. But of course it needs someone who boost you. You might find such idiot, might have enough gold to pay him, or not. On the other hand I'm 100% positive that cross-boosting (you boost his alt, he boost yours) has low XP/hour.
I'll tell you the secret: the highest XP/hour activity is reading and planning. Let me give an example: you can just queue up to some random dungeon as lvl 20 and can end up in RFC, Deadmines, Stockade, Wailing, SFK, BFD. You'll get the XP from the monsters you kill, some drops and the "satchel of agility to balance/restodruids and int/spi/str for hunters". Or you can start up WoWhead at the dungeon list. Select one in your range, for example Stockade, and click on the "quests" tab. You will see no less than 6 quests. 4 of them have no prequisite. You just have to go to Stormwind for 2 of them and Darkshire and Lakeshire for the others. One quest has a lvl 27 pre-quest (bad design), the other one has the pre-quest starting in Deadmines. And this is a go-here-go-there questline ending with audience with the king providing a good ring and great XP.

The 4 random quests and the questline together have 21K XP. On lvl 21 that's a full level! All you had to do for a full level is to open Wowhead, read for like 10 mins and go Stocks only after Deadmines (which is recommended anyway as 2 levels easier). Do you know any activity that gives a level in 10 minutes? And it's not just on low level. The quests to Maraudon give 9K XP on average and there are 8 of them for both sides. That's 72K XP, 80% of the XP needed on lvl 44.

Of course you can claim that it's not a level for 10 mins, it's a level (+ a third from kills) for 10 mins+the dungeon time. It's true. But if you would go to "some dungeon" anyway, you are wasting 70-100% of a whole level if you do it blindly and randomly. Forget the Satchel of useless goods! Plan your instance, do the pre-quests (they give XP too), collect the dungeon quests and go to your selected instance.

Before you'd say "you have to gather the quests and it costs time", think how much effort it takes to sit on the taxi? While it can take some minutes, it's AFK time that you can spend on doing something else, or reading the next piece on Wowhead.

If you are leveling with a fixed group or a guild, seeking quests before the dungeon is even more time-effective. Only one has to read and plan, the quests can be shared and the pre-quests can be stormed with a 5-man group.

The miracle of reading and planning works for solo questing too. Random questgiver tells you to collect 20 wolf claws. 30 secs of reading can save you from spending an hour seeking "dire wolves" among the countless "black wolves", buzzards and defias who aggro on you, just to find out that 2 houses away a guy wants you to kill 10 black wolves and the third guy was after defias bandanas.

PS: stop commenting "recruit a friend". It needs a second account, it's not "normal gameplay". On the top of that, the comment is not even true, as recruit a friend triples all XP, so the above still apply. If you triple a high XP, you get more than from tripling a low one.


Easy said...

There is one flaw in your entry today.
It also takes some time to gather the quests. Especially if you're chain instancing, because then you won't have the flightpaths.
Otherwise a very good post. I always forget the quests!

Anonymous said...

You have to factor in the time needed to pick up all these quests.
Yes, 8 quests are good, but how much time do you need to spend running around to pick all the quests for a specific dungeon? In the old world these quest givers tend to be really scattered around.

Sean said...

Not quite.

The highest XP/hour is earnt by installing the appropriate addons (e.g. QuestHelper).

I also remember that at one stage, leveling via BGs from 70-80 was the fastest. But I think this method has been nerfed.

Also, a clarification. The definition of XP/hour is "standard" XP/hour. There are faster techniques but they mostly involve getting boosted.

Anonymous said...

Highest xp/hour gives instance mob tagging. But this one requires experienced guild mates that need you to level up very fast.

I agree with the rest that planning increases your xp/hour a lot.

Anonymous said...

Instance quests have another advantage: Give better rewards than your generic "kill 10 rats" quest, on par with dungeon drops, and no one will outroll or "ninja" you.

For someone interested in lore or exploration, those quests are also richer in story (since major wow figures are usually instance bosses) than some quest "my family is hungry, bring me 10 bear hams".

Another part of "planning" is checking which quests give useful upgrades to your character. Better weapon, filling that empty hat / trinket / ring slot as a newbie is more valuable than yet another quest with vendor trash for 30 silver.

And when you begin in outlands replacing your gear gives immediate huge bonus, since usually all my gear is in the range between Tanaris greens and Sunken Temple drops. Hellfire greens really help a lot.

On the other hand I tend to skip quests which don't give anything useful and don't pair with useful quests. Doing 3 quests in one place is worth it, even if 2 give next to nothing, doing standalone crap quest far away... is the last thing you wanna do.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

I thought you could just check your map to see where the quest mob is. Isn't that default UI now?

Anonymous said...

ensure you have double exp that will last your entire play session. Pick your area. Get every quest at hub. Ensure your bags are empty... and i mean empty, when i go out i have hearthstone 1x stack of food "maybe" 1 or 2 buff items, and if you need pick/knife for skinning. everything else should be either mailed sold to vendor or quest item. Do all quests in area picking up any along the way.

Anonymous said...

1) use jame guide; it lets you plan ahead - e.g., have your mithril casing before going ungoro, etc. You are correct that, while carbonite or even ingame help find quest #57, planning does pay off.

2) Fastest leveling is clearly dualboxing with recruit-a-friend. by far. 300% XP gains thru 60, the RAF summon means one load up one toon with stuff, 1st toon hearth back to city, sells/mails/buys consumables and then the 2nd toon summons them back to whatever obscure place they were. Plus when you get them to 60, they get to level a third toon from 30-60. With RAF I think your runecloth donations were good for over a level.

My personal experience was that the quest/grind is also a bit class dependent. My rogue with modest gear was not near the grinder of a DK or ret pally, but stealth made a lot of quests easier.

Anonymous said...

Tip: Don't forget gold. Having the gold for mounts, training and some equipment and bags is quite a difference, although I highly suspect the readers of this blog will have enough gold at lvl 5 already.

If you're going for the highest xp/hour, don't forget to get heirlooms! At least the chest and shoulders for the xp increase, but a good weapon that changes when your level increases is also a huge buff to your damage or healing.

Picking a tanking or healing class might make your leveling even faster with dungeons because you don't have to wait for a dungeon that often. If you spec for that role, it's even possible to just keep chainpulling, clearing the instance even faster.

Plus that leveling is a joke nowadays. The xp you gain is huge.
And if it's still not fast enough, buy a second account or give a friend one, and enjoy 300% xp and 30 granteble levels. Statisfaction guaranteed.

Anonymous said...

One thing to keep in mind is that almost all of the non chain quests are sharable. I have a rogue who did all 4 of the quests you mentioned, only he didn't even have to pick them up. He got them shared by other people. Maybe you don't get every quest every run, but since you'll be running the same dungeon multiple times anyway (if you're using the lfd tool) chances are good you'll get all the quests.

Also, using LightHeaded, tourguide, crazy arrow, and heirloom shoulders and chest gives excellent xp too.

Observ said...

While that seems like a good leveling tip here is where flaw lays:
Say for example that you are lvl 50.
You got approx 10 dungeons to chose from: You gather all quests for all dungeons. You do the dungeons, you drop the quests. Tada you are lvl 53.
But now you got only 2 more dungones, and a lot less quests.
You get to do those, and now you are lvl 55 with all the quests done in advance for all unlocked dungeons.
Now what?

Best way to do it from my point of view is:
1. Install the following addons:
Alliance/Horde Leveling Guide (just type it on google you will find it)
2. In game select the area that fits your level.
3. Do the quests as instructed.
4. As you can see there are several quests you are instructed to take which take you to dungeons too.
5. Do the dungeons

This is how i do it, without needing any assistance from anyone.

Oxymustard said...

Boosting: On the other hand I'm 100% positive that cross-boosting (you boost his alt, he boost yours) has low XP/hour.

Yes, that has a low xp/hour ratio. When I did this with guildies we were doing it with 5 man. One person switching every hour or when the max 5 boosts are done. So you get 4x5 boosts before it's your turn to do do a round of boosts. It takes some dedication though, you have to have the same mindset as if running a progression raid, going afk or slacking makes it ineffective.

nonameform said...

That's actually how I leveled my main up to level 58 in TBC: just grabbed every quest for every instance and that additional XP was quite nice to save me from doing some random boring quest. Also rewards are decent most of the time, so I was full blue by the time I reached Outland (where I replaced everything with random greens of course).

Since I wasn't trying to set any sort of powerleveling record, my 1-70 time was hardly any different from what other people might have had, but I've spent plenty of time on leveling secondary professions, random exploration (endless pointless quest in Azshara anyone?) and stuff like getting exalted with home city at level 60.

nerdrager said...

The fastest solo leveling(no help from people involved) in my experience comes from installing:

- tourguide
- tomtom
- lightheaded
- jame's guide addon version (or another paid one, but since the free guide was good enough I never tested it)

You cruise between quests following a gps-like arrow without the need of reading websites (lightheaded has the wowhead comments in a local database no need to tab just to check a thing about a quest)and organizing anything since it's been done for you by the author.

Gear while leveling can speed up things, but takes time to be acquired and from a strict powerleveling point of view doesn't make much sense to get gear aside from the occasional heirloom that you can buy with spare badges that you pile up while farming frosts.

TLDR quest rewards are good enough and with an ingame leveling guide it's going to be fast.

Will said...

I always found that to level alts efficiently i leveled in the areas i knew well.

While others would obviously try the zones they missed to fill in the lore, i specifically stuck to all the same zones because i not only knew the quests but i knew how to group them up for maximum efficiency.

So basically if i never did a zone on my first toon, the chances of my other toons doing that zone was nil; as it would be inefficient.

Each to their own ...

Tal said...

There is a flaw in your calculations. Assuming you chain-instance while you level, then because you can only do the quests once, you have to divide that by how many times you're going to be running each instance. Actually, until you reach Northrend, it's not that bad - 2 or 3 times per instance for most of them, but once you hit Northrend it takes a lot more XP to level and you're gonna be running the same instances over and over A LOT.
You could say that you should only run each instance once, and do something else to get the rest of the XP you need, but that makes the quest more of a "one time thing" and not something sustainable you can actually use to consistently get high XP/hour while leveling.

Anonymous said...

It highly depends on your level and zone. Also what do you mean by "fast", /played-time or real time?
If you are a healer, then go dungeons only. Maybe pick up that quest or another but don't go out of you way to desolace to pick up 4 or 5 quests (the true goblins asks the others to share their quests anyway ...). Same for tanks/dps but you can do grinding mobs while waiting for a group, if a quest needs you to go to the same place then do it. Grinding mobs becomes way more rewarding (exp/gold) than doing quests after 40 (or even before this), its only downside is that it is boring. Example: Tanaris kill pirates and collect their hats (two quests with overlapping goals) gives ~12k exp together. To get the 20 hats you need to kill ~30 pirates (coincidental, but thats exactly the number of pirates you have to kill in the other quest), each gives around 300 exp unrested thats 9k. So only do quests if they have overlapping goals (and for that to know, reading might help (unless you're visiting the same zone for the 1000th time)), but if not, simply grind you way up while waiting for dungeons.
Grinding got so much fun on my retpaladin after getting art of war 2/2 (and those "useless bags" gave me items worth of 92 critrating alone) :D

If its all about /played-time. Have a few toons, do one (and only one) random dungeon a day. This way you get rested exp most of the time + 20% exp from heirlooms.

Anonymous said...

If you don't have the same-level friends, this strategy is superior to yours: everything you do, but instead of picking the dungeon directly, pick a random dungeon. If it's not randomly the one you want... leave group immediately, do more solo questing, and try again soon.

Anonymous said...

Even if you don't like to hear it: Recruit-a-friend should be mentioned in your post. WoW-Classic only costs 5€ and if you just create and recruit a new classic account, that just follows you, you gain +200% XP until level 60 on your old account + a level 60 char which you can tranfer to your old account + 30 level points to spend on another char of your old account. (Of course your have to level to 60 to get all the mentioned benefits, but even more is possible)

Anonymous said...

A comment on your ps. In an earlier post you told how to transfer goods across factions using two accounts which is not normall gameplay. Why change the rules?

Just wondering. :)

Aryas said...

"If you triple a high XP, you get more than from tripling a low one."

I find this funny that you have to state this. On the priest forums, I had an argument with someone who said that using heirlooms wasn't necessary if you were leveling efficiently. They refused to believe that efficiency wasn't one of the variables between using heirlooms or not.

Anonymous said...

Highest XP/hour in my experience:
- Install Carbonite or Tourguide
- As soon as you have high enough level for a new quest hub, go there. These are the zones where you get the higher concentration of quests done and delivered in the same zone.
- Everytime you pass by a NPC with a quest accept it. When your quest log is too full abandon grey and red quests unless you're sure you can complete them in less than 1 hour. Abandon all quests that you can't copmplete that day until theres 25 quests.
- Make a bank alt for you to mail all the stuff you make/get.
- Keep yourself in LFG all the time. Put slackers on /ignore. If 15 minutes passed (LFG cooldown) and the group is slow. get out and try again.

Argon said...

The vanilla dungeon quests are fun to do, but I wasn't entirely sure if they always paid off for my warrior I leveled from 15-60 almost entirely in dungeons. If they get you a piece of nice loot, then certainly they are worth it. One dungeon quest reward lasted me about 20 levels.

However, prequesting for some of the more out of the way dungeons can take a long time, especially if you are chain running instances and don't have many flight paths.
The journey from Darnassus to Maraudon is pretty long, even with a mount, so I'm not sure I came out ahead. Of course, now I have a flight path there, which might (or might not) come in handy later.

Anonymous said...

Classic wow =instances is best exp/hour (especially if you tank and can drive the pace)
Outland+Northrend = solo questing is insane, no point not chaining those quests like a madman. The quest hubs are much better and the levels just come. If you spend the tie getting ramparts gear and the blue quest rewards from hellfire (an investment that lasts until 70+) then you will be 3-4 shotting mobs with ease.


Anonymous said...

I used to get mad at my friends who would want to go run a dungeon... then they would show up. "Hey, did you get the quest, the item is here..."

"...I don't have any of the quests."

I made it a rule, when running friends' lowbies through a dungeon... I won't run them if they don't have the quests for the first run.

I also see that a lot of your commenters have kind of gone the "super literal" route of understanding, instead of really getting the point of your post.

Getting the quests for a dungeon is ALWAYS worth the time spent running around getting them.

@Pangoria, yes, the UI on the map will now highlight the areas where you can complete your quest objectives. (Multiple zones will highlight in blue when you select the quest 'number'. Example zones would be Un'goro and Nagrand where the mobs can be found in several areas.)

Anonymous said...

"I find this funny that you have to state this. On the priest forums, I had an argument with someone who said that using heirlooms wasn't necessary if you were leveling efficiently. They refused to believe that efficiency wasn't one of the variables between using heirlooms or not."

You can level without heirlooms but no matter how you're doing it, heirlooms with speed it up, for being:
1. Good gear.
2. Which doesn't need to be replaced (less time spend looking for upgrades, less "dead levels" where your weapon is 10 levels behind.)
3. Some of them give XP bonus (trinkets and weapons don't, but #1 and #2 apply).

There's no reason to not buy heirlooms other than some nostalgia ("I want to see how people levelled back in the pre-heirloom days"), but still... you'd NEVER get the vanilla feeling again, since levelling was boosted up on so many fronts...

Another reason is you can't transfer heirlooms cross realm yet as far as I remember and you don't want to pay for heirloom-dressed character's PCT.

I don't accept as a valid agrument that you can't "afford" heirlooms, a standard gearing up level 80 will get a lot of badges as a by-product, and usually WG shards as well, if your server isn't faction-screwed. You can spend them on gems and get gold, but I don't see a reason to get gold for the sake of gold, I'd rather spend it to make my play more enoyable and I'd rather have a heirloom than 2% of a mammoth. Maybe I'm blind but I don't see any big usefulness of a mammoth.

Anonymous said...

Like many have said the fastest method is to Recruit-a-YOURSELF and play both accounts in the same computer (with PiP -Picture in Picture it's really amazing).

The bad part is that you need to PAY REAL MONEY (5-15€ for the game and more for the transfer).

I just leveled 4 toons to 60 in <24h each pair, now I have 6 80's 2 70's and a pair of lowbies that I am leveling by the normal method, that is:

- Tourguide + Jame leveling guide (
- Carbonite addon (not necessary but useful)
- 2*Heirlooms +20%xp + HEIRLOOM WEAPON ENCHANTED!! (warrior with crusader enchant can one-shoot mobs).
- Allways in LFG

And, like the really Altoholic that I am I NEVER EVER play a toon that has not rested XP... when the rested XP is over I just switch to another char.

All said by Gevlon is true and can be applied to this method... just remember turn in all the quest from ZUL-FARRAK and level a full level or maybe 1,5?...

PS: Don't forget to do the 3 mechanic chicken scort quests... the final quest can be the MOST XP rewarding quest of ALL vanilla.

Bronte said...

Completely agree, reading and planning are the most effective and quickest means of leveling...

Anonymous said...

I built an entire guild around this concept.

Everyone rolled alts, we spent a smal ammount of time levelling to 15, then all we did was play taht alt for 2 hours every monday. 10 mins to get all the prequests sources from wowhead and then around an hour and a half to run the dungeon and hand in the quests. Net result? at least 2 levels everyweek, constantly rested, always in the best blues available and awesome 'training time' for people new to instancing. Level 60 took 30 weeks (ok not fast) but considering we only played for 2 hours a week - pretty damn easy