The time has come.
You plan on diving head-first into World of Warcraft: Classic on August 27th. You've reserved your names, you've finally settled on a class after flip-flopping for weeks, and the group-chat you and your fellow nostalgia seeking buddies formed has been nothing but anticipation memes, theory crafting, and last-minute debates about which server and faction you will all choose.
But maybe it has been years since you have even touched Classic and, while there are dozens of incredible guides to fast 1-60 leveling out there, that type of intensity and planning isn't what you are looking forward to. You want to enjoy leveling and take your time experiencing World of Warcraft as it once was.
Then again, maybe you'd like to be just a "tad" ahead of the curve?
Some Casual Optimization
If you aren't the type of player described above, it's ok because I am. Equipped with a job, a spouse, and tons of responsibilities like feeding my self and not dying, I am fully aware that this time around the Classic bend will be different. I won't be pulling all-nighters every day grinding at the cost of my eyesight and vitamin D. I won't be ignoring calls or experiencing major holidays next to a laptop -- I've already done that a decade ago and it was glorious!
No, this next journey into World of Warcraft will be hardcore in passion, but casual in execution. I have a feeling a large majority of gamers are in the same situation and, as they cautiously hover between going full Leeroy and leading their normal lives, their WoW rustiness may soon become a source of frustration once they sense themselves getting far behind.
With all that said, here is some simple but important Classic optimizations anyone can easily incorporate into their experience to significantly speed up their leveling and avoid the misery that is new-server poverty.
1. Use the Auction House With Caution
When leveling on a new server, the auction house is essentially a trap. There won't be many valuable items available and the ones you want are usually way too expensive to be worth it. On top of that, the fees required to place items on the Auction House are quite steep considering the new server economy and how gold intensive leveling can be.
In addition, buying gear on the auction house is almost always a bad idea when leveling. You will out-grow the gear quickly and every time you choose to spend your gold frivolously, the grind to afford a level 40 mount gets harder!
The only positive to the auction house early on is If you can use it to earn some gold selling stacks of cloth or materials gathered from professions. You will, essentially, be profiting off the players who are focusing on leveling their professions quickly and there will always be a large group of those around.
2. On Buying Spells...
In Classic, you will have to buy your new spells every couple of levels. They don't just magically appear in your... magic spellbook and you have to be taught them from a class trainer. They start off cheap but quickly start ramping up in cost. Eventually, around level 32, each new spells costs a whopping 1 gold and it still keeps rising in price.
So this means there will be periods in which you can't buy all of your spells. In fact, the majority of players won't have all of their spells learned for quite a long time. In order to stay effective, you should always be on the lookout for primary spell upgrades that increase your overall DPS.
If it helps you do more damage, buy the spell. If it is a fun utility spell or something out of your class specializations, consider skipping it and keep that gold towards your mount!
3. Kill Mobs All the Time.Especially in transit!
One of the staples of every optimal leveling guide is the strategic choice to kill enemy experience yielding NPCs every chance you get. A skilled leveler is always trying to kill something, especially when they are traveling to and from a zone. This habit also earns you a whole lot more gold in the long-run compared to a player who only kills mobs when a quest demands it.
Even if you aren't following a rigid guide or an optimal quest past, you can significantly speed up your leveling if you take the time to kill any and all mobs in your way. Naturally, the difficulty in doing so changes depending on your class and specialization, so keep in mind which mobs your class can kill quickly and which mobs aren't worth the hassle.
4. Invest in High Level Food
Mages can ignore this tip, but every other class can't. One of the most obvious and persistent obstacles players face is waiting around for their health and mana to regenerate after killing a mob. To combat this, having the highest possible food and drink available will significantly speed up your leveling.
You can't get around it -- invest in good food. If you are friends with a Mage or see one around, consider tipping them for a stack of their highest leveled conjured Bread and Water. It is cheaper than buying it at vendors and, usually, players are happy to help.
5. Use a Banking Alt.
Nothing screams Classic more than a bunch of level 1 characters sitting around major cities, running back and forth between banks, the auction house, and mailboxes. While I'm sure Blizzard developers never intended this to be such a prevalent optimization technique, there is no going back and banking alts are a permanent fixture of the Classic experience.
Just make a bank alt -- trust me, it will save you tons and tons of time. Your primary leveling character should very rarely visit a major city for the sole purpose of using a bank or an auction house because a cleverly named Gnome or Orc can be just a few clicks away. Log out any time you want and presto! you now have access to your private copper coffers.
Send items you want to sell to your bank alt. Send items you want to put into the bank to your bank alt, use your bank alts inventory and mailbox as a psuedo-bank in itself. The possibilities are endless and the efficiency is through the roof.
6. Get Some Rest!
Rested experience is an important aspect of Classic leveling and when you inevitably have to log off, make sure you are doing so inside of an inn or major city. The game prompts you whenever you enter an area that provides rested XP and, while you also gain the rested stated while logging off in the wild, it accrues much slower.
Here is how it works. You gain one "bubble" of rested experience every 8 hours you spend resting. The maximum amount of rest experience you can have is 30 bubbles, which is 150% of a level. This means, if a character is inside of an inn for 10 days straight, they will gain max rest experience. A full level of rest can be charged in just 6 days and 16 hours!
So if you want to level multiple characters (or you rolled a Druid and you need a secondary character to do anything well) be sure to have each of them resting in an inn or major city all the time.
Technically, you can level up an alternate character with a faster /played time by using this technique -- you'd just have to play them every week or so.
There are absolutely tons of ways you can optimize Classic leveling, but the 6 tips above can all be used without much effort to enhance your experience and help you stay relatively up-to-snuff when traversing Azeroth.
Did I miss any simple tips or easy ways to optimize Classic? Let me know in the comments section!
The official WoW: classic launch at 3:00 p.m. PDT on August 26.
Warcraft 3 is my one true love and I will challenge anyone to a game of Super Smash Brothers Melee.