Updated Thu, Nov 27, 2008 by Messiah
Quick Reference: Zone Level Chart | Instance Level Chart
The Blasted lands continue to be in play until about the mid 50's. See the writeup in the levels 41 to 50 section for more details.
The Burning Steppes are located just north of Redridge Mountains and are a continuation of the mountainous terrain from the northern edge of that zone. It gets worse though as this zone has no green areas, no water and is fairly barren other than orc, ogre, dwarf and dragonkin ruins and settlements. There are also several elementals and a Giant that rage around the area.
In the south east corner of the zone there is a small Alliance settlement, and along the northern edge there is a neutral goblin settlement that also contains a Horde flight point. The Burning Steppes also contain the south entrance to Black Rock Mountain and therefore access to many instances (BRD, LBRS, UBRS, MC and BWL).
The Burning Steppes is a high level zone with many wandering high level elite MOBs. It is meant for level 52-60 characters. The Burning Steppes has many Alliance only quests in it as well as a bunch for both factions and a few for Horde. The MOBs range from level 46-60 with many of them being elite. It is a zone that is farmed heavily for thorium and for black dragon scales so expect traffic in the zone at all times. There is really only one large quest chain in the zone, being the Dragonkin Menace, which leads to the Alliance Onyxia chain. All the other quests for both factions are simple single quests or 2 part quests. For a complete list of quests in the zone check out our TenTonHammer database entries for the Burning Steppes . You can also find a map of the zone here.
The Burning Steppes have several items for herbalists, including some sungrass and moderate amounts of dreamfoil, mountain silversage, and black lotus. Black lotus is the highest end herbalist plant and requires 300 skill. It is only found in the Burning Steppes, Winterspring and Silithus so expect some competition for it, especially on a PvP server. The Burning Steppes also houses high end reagents for miners in the form of lots of mithril and an even bigger amount of Thorium, including the best spot to find rich thorium veins. Rich thorium veins are the only place to find arcane crystals and therefore they are in much demand. Despite having many dragonkin in the zone, skinners should not expect to find large amounts of leather and hides. What they do find is several skinning items that are more rare, such as silithid hides and black dragon scales, which are important to continue leatherworking. The skinning opportunities in the zone allow you to level from 240 to 290 in skill.
The battleground against the Scourge takes place in the Western Plageulands as well as the adjoining Eastern Flagellants. In the Western Flagellants however there are mobs meant for combat from low 50's all the way up to 60th level. Be sure to pick up the Argent Dawn Commission upon entering the Plaguelands so you can begin killing undead for scourge stones, which will increase your reputation with the Argent Dawn and allow access to high end items. Lower end players should avoid the central city of Andorhal which is filled with higher end mobs meant for a 60th level party if you intend to take on the 62nd level lich guarding the city.
The zone is full of undead in various forms, zombies, skeletons, ghouls and ghosts. There are also many undead beasts in the area to content with. The whole zone has a diseased appearance and is at times creepy and unsettling. Along the south edge is the ruined city of Andorhal and a graveyard full of undead, and to the north of the zone there are settlements for the Scarlet Crusade. To the south you can also find the level 60 instance of Scholomance an old school of magic now overrun by the undead.
There are several quest chains in the Western Plaguelands including Of Love and Family and Doctor Theolen Krastinov, the butcher for both factions, and Scholomance, and Clear the Way for the Alliance side. The quest chain about love and family is an excellent one that involves many challenging quests and some excellent rewards at the end. For a complete list of quests in the zone check out our TenTonHammer database entries for the Western Plaguelands. You can also find a map of the zone here.
For leveling up skill in professions the western plaguelands are not the best zone. Herbalists can only find moderate amounts of Arthas' tears, mountain silversage and plaguebloom in the zone, also while the Western plaguelands may have some mining opportunities, they are so limited that we have not found them. The western plaguelands do not house many beast for skinning, although they are all high level. They will require skill levels 255-270.
The Eastern Plaguelands is meant for high end players of at least level 55. Many of the quests continue from the Western Plaguelands into the eastern. The Eastern Plaguelands is a much more difficult zone though with many grouped, elite or fear causing MOBs. The MOBs range from 49-62 elite, most of the MOBs are around level 55. There are many quests located here for both factions, although the Horde has several more available to just them. The Eastern Plaguelands contains the instance city of Stratholme as well as one of the best farming areas in the game "Tyr's Hand". Stratholme is located along the northern edge of the zone, while Tyr's Hand is located in the south-east corner.
The whole zone appears diseased and infected and can be very creepy. Being one of the higher level zones it can be very difficult to solo at parts. However there are some real opportunities for loot in the zone. A prime example are the blighted horrors in the lake just west of Lights Hope Chapel that drop Essence of Water, which is used in high level crafting and sells for a fair amount of gold.
The Easter Plaguelands house a large number of quests however most are single quests or part of quests in chains from other zones. The only large quest chain that starts in the Eastern Plaguelands is the Ranger Lord's Behest by Nathanos Blightcaller for the Horde faction. It has some excellent reward items, and is a must do for many Horde characters. For a complete list of quests in the zone check out our TenTonHammer database entries for the Eastern Plaguelands. You can also find a map of the zone here.
Herbalists can only find moderate amounts of Arthas' tears, mountain silversage and plaguebloom in the zone, although plaguebloom can only be found in the plaguelands and sometimes in Felwood so it will be in demand. There is some mining in the eastern plaguelands in the form of moderate amounts of thorium veins found around the two alcoves into the mountains that house ziggurats. The first is located directly north of Darrowshire and the other just north of Lights Hope Chapel. While not as plentiful as the Burning Steppes it is still a good source of thorium and of rich thorium veins for arcane crystals. The eastern plaguelands do not house many beast for skinning, although they are all high level. They will require skill levels 265-280.
Azshara is a zone that mixes several different environements. To the north and south there the zone is made up of forest areas on tall cliffs. While in the center of the zone and to the east the zone is ruins scattered over a coastal area and out into the ocean on islands and beneath the sea. The spirits in the ruins along the coast have decent drops for both gold and items so the zone ussually has several players farming them, so stays fairly lively, especially on a PvP server.
Azshara comes into play in the low 50's and has many solo quests to be done. Azshara contains many more quests for Horde than Alliance and if you are Horde is well worth investing time in. The quests mainly involve killing MOBs throughout the area. The MOBs in Azshara are from level 45-57 and several of them are elite. The zone also has some areas to be careful of as it contains several higher level wandering elites, like the Cliff Breakers giants. Azshara goes up to about mid 50's before experience gain becomes too meager to really continue. Azshara also contains the outdoor raid boss Azuregos so be prepared to see raid groups of level 60's wandering the south-eastern area of the zone.
One of the most important quest chains of the game starts in Azshara. It is the Poisoned Water quest chain from Duke Hydraxis that is for both factions. It is the chain that leads you through a series of Molten Core runs to earn a very good good ring with fire resist on it. In addition to this quest there is the Stealing Knowledge quest chain for Horde. For a complete list of quests in the zone check out our TenTonHammer database entries for the Azshara . You can also find a map of the zone here.
The zone is only passable for gathering profesions as there are better zones at the level that provide more items. For herbalists there is some strangelkelp, sungrass, and dreamfoil along with a moderate amount of purple lotus. For miners there is a high amount of truesilver and a moderate amount of thorium. The issue with mining in the zone is that often the vien is either up on the cliffs or down by the water, ussually whichever place you are not (at least with my luck). There are a quite a few dragonkin in the south area of the zone as well as many other beasts to skin. Combined they should allow you to level skinning from 200 - 275, as well as collect a few blue dragon scales which can be either sold for profit or used in dragonscale leatherworking. Aszhara is one of only two zones that provides blude dragonscales.
Moonglade is an area that Druids gain access to early in the game, however most other players do not until they gain reputation with the Timbermaw Furbolg who will then allow them through the tunnel into Moonglade and Winterspring. There have been several festival quests that occur in Moonglade but other than that there is not much to do in the zone if you are not a druid. This may change in the future.
There is no gathering of any kind that takes place in Moonglade.
This zone is the home of the Silithid hives and is meant for a minimum of at least 55th level characters. The zone contains MOBs of level 49-60 and many of them are elite. With three different Silithid hives as well as several wandering mobs and Twilight Hammer encampments this zone has some defiantly interesting encounters. Patch 1.7 also saw the addition of a new city to the zone, Cenarion Hold. Since patch 1.9 the southern part of this zone, the ruins of Ahn'Qiraj was unlocked via a "World Event". Silithus is home to many elementals wandering the desert and hence is a favoride place for players to farm elemental essences.
The ruined temple of Ahn'Qiraj is made up of two seperate instances. The Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj (AQ20) a 20 man instance and The Temple of Ahn'Qiraj (AQ40) a 40 man raid instance. Both are extremely difficult, and should only be atempted in a guild raid.
There are more quests in Silithus than you can shake a stick at. So many that on a PvP server entering the zone is asking for trouble because it is that busy, all the time. Many of the quests are chain quests and almost all the quests in the zone are for both factions. The major chains are Aurel Goldleaf, Deadly Desert Venom, The Twilight Mystery and more! For a complete list of quests in the zone check out our TenTonHammer database entries for the Silithus . You can also find a map of the zone here.
For Herbalists you can find several different herbs, however many of them you will not need any more. The biggest exception is the small amount of black lotus that you can find in the zone. Besides the lotus you can find moderate amounts of sungrass, dreamfoil, and mountain silversage. For miners there isn't much of interest in the zone other than the odd truesilver, which you probably don't need anymore of. Skinners can find a very high number of beasts to skin in the zone including many silithid that will provide both light and heavy silithid carapace.
Out of a bad Sci-fi dream comes a 50+ level zone filled with dinosaurs, walking plants, elementals and strange insect creatures. You spend your time in this zone adventuring under a canopy of towering trees through most of the zone, other than the center, where you are under a cloud of ash, being spewed forth from a might volcano. The MOBs are between 45 and 55 in level and this zone is great for low to mid 50's level characters. While adventuring though, take care to avoid the wandering level 55+ elite Devilsaurs that stalk the zone.
There are many quests in the zone and it is a solid place to level for all low 50 characters. Most of the quests are for both factions. The main quest chains in the zone are Crystals of Power, It's a Secret to Everybody, and Chasing A-Me 01. For a complete list of quests in the zone check out our TenTonHammer database entries for the Un'Goro . You can also find a map of the zone here.
Un'Goro Crater houses many different items for the gathering professions and since you will likely spend some time here, you should try to level your skills as you go. For Herbalists you can find a moderate amount of blindweed, dreamfoil, and mountain silversage. Miners can dig up a fair amount of thorium as wel as the odd bit of truesilver. Skinners generally love the zone as it has a very high number of beasts that provide leathers and hides, as well as being the exclusive home of the Devilsaur and therefor the only place to find devilsaur hide.
In addition to the normal gathering profession items in Un'Goro there are different colored crystals that can be found around the zone. They are used for quests early on, but later can be used to create buffs that can be helpful in end game instances. It is well worth the effort to learn how to create them.
Winterspring is a zone meant for high-level characters of at the very least 55+. Accessing this zone requires passage through a tunnel out of Felwood that is inhabited by Timbermaw Furbolg who will attack unless you have gained reputation with them. This zone does maintain a neutral goblin town of Everlook that holds several rare suppliers.
The main quest chains in the zone are Are we There, Yeti and Falling to Corruption for both factions. There is also Luck Be With You for the Horde and Enraged Wildkin for the Alliance. The Battle of Darrowshire chain also starts in the zone with the Sister Pamela quest, even though most of the chain is completed elsewhere. For a complete list of quests in the zone check out our TenTonHammer database entries for the Winterspring . You can also find a map of the zone here.
Wihnterspring is an important place for gathering professions as it is one of the only places to gather blue dragon scales for skinners and high icecap for herbalists. In addition herbalists can find moderate amounts of wild steelbloom, mountain silversage, and more importantly black lotus. Skinners can find many dragonkin and other beasts to level thier skill from 250 - 300. Most important is the dragon scales that can be collected. Miners are not left out in this zone eather as it has a high concetration of Thorium and is generally less busy that the Burning Steppes.
Blackrock Depths (BRD) is located in Blackrock Mountain between the Searing Gorge and the Burning Steppes and is meant for levels 50-56. There are many quests located in BRD and it is an excellent place to level when you are mid 50's. Blackrock Depths also contains the entrance point that must be reached to access the Molten Core for the first time.
The instance is full of Dark Iron Dwarves and elementals. Most of the quests revolve around the Dark Iron Dwarves or the various elementals in the area. For a complete list of quests in the zone check out our TenTonHammer database entries for Blackrock Depths .
For miners there are several places that you can mine dark iron in the instance. It is also where you must travel to to create dark iron bars and to turn them into items, so prepare for multiple trips back here.
Lower Blackrock Spire (LBRS) is located in Blackrock Mountain between the Searing Gorge and the Burning Steppes and is meant for levels 52-58. While called Lower Blackrock Spire there really is only one instance. The distinction is made to easily refer to the lower area that you need to complete to get the key to open the upper area, and the area after that door.
The lower area is filled with a variety of MOBs feature Ogres, wolves, spiders and more! It is a fairly long instance and you will need to run it multiple times if you want to get your own key to Upper Blackrock Spire. While it can be a very entertaining instance, many people pass it by for better loot in the upper portion and some of the other high level instances. Finding a group for it is sometimes very difficult, which can be annoying for Horde players as you need to run it for several quests including the start of the Onyxia attunement chain. For a complete list of quests in the zone check out our TenTonHammer database entries for Blackrock Spire .
Upper Blackrock Spire (UBRS) is located in Blackrock Mountain between the Searing Gorge and the Burning Steppes and is meant for levels 56-60 in a 10 man raid group. While Blizzard says it is a 10 man 56-60 level raid, to clear it to the end you really need to all be 60. While called Upper Blackrock Spire there really only is one Blackrock Spire instance. The distinction is made to easily refer to the lower area that you need to complete to get the key to open the upper area, and the area after that door.
The Upper area houses Blackrock Orcs, Dragonkin and several bosses. All are elite and at least level 58. The key bosses are Rend, The Beast and General Drakkisath. All three are required for various quests and items, and you will more than likely spend a lot of time running this instance to finish quests and find specific set items that you need. Also General Drakkisath's blood is required for both factions Onyxia Attunement chains. For a complete list of quests in the zone check out our TenTonHammer database entries for Blackrock Spire .
Dire Maul (DM) is located in the center of Feralas and is an instance with three-separate wings for levels 56-60. The instance takes place in an ancient city and each of the three wings has a different type of MOB to deal with. This Instance has some very interesting loot including a class based trinket for each class that is a must have for the end game due to its fire resistance bonus.
The East instance is full of mainly plant and demon MOBs and is the first area you must clear. You have to do this first as it is the only unlocked instance and the only place you can find the Crescent Key which will open the doors to the other two wings. It also houses the completion area for mages to gain the ability to conjure Crystal Water.
The West instance houses mainly undead and elementals. It is also the way that you must go to defeat Immol'thar so that you can fight the Prince in the Library. To get to Immol'thar you must fight your way through the instance and destroy the elementals that are guarding each of five crystal pylons. Once all the pylons are destroyed then Immol'thar will be attackable.
The North instance is generally referred to as a tribute run and is full of Ogres. To complete this run successfully you must avoid killing all of the named ogre guards that you come across and then make an ogre costume to get by the last ones. You can then get to King Gordok and kill him while leaving Cho'Rush the observer alive. When the King dies, Cho'Rush will declare you the new King of Dire Maul and spawn a chest with treasure.
For a complete list of quests in the zone check out our TenTonHammer database entries for Dire Maul .
Stratholme (Strat) is located along the northern edge of the eastern plague lands. The nearest flight point for both factions is Light's Hope Chapel. Stratholme itself is usually referred to by the two possible entrances that you can take to it. They are the scarlet (referred to as either Live Strat or Scarlet Strat) and the undead (UD Strat) sides. While both are connected inside the instance, players generally do one "side" or the other, not both. To enter the Scarlet side you just follow the path and road signs to Stratholme and enter though the main gates. To enter the undead side you follow the road to just before entering the plague woods and turn north, there is a gate entrance along the mountains. The gate is locked however unless you have the key to the city.
Strathome is meant for levels 55-60 but really needs you to be all 59 or 60. We have several great resources for Stratholme including a complete guide to Stratholme here: TenTonHammer's Guide to Stratholme, a map of the instance, and a gallery. Also you can find a complete list of quests in the zone in our TenTonHammer quest database.
Scholomance (scholo) is located in the Western Plaguelands and is meant for levels 57-60. It can be done as a 5 man group to complete quests (with great difficulty if they are not all level 60) or as a 10 man raid to "farm" it for loot. Scholomance is full of undead MOBs of level 55-60 almost all of which are elite. The Bosses in the instance are up to level 62 elite. Many of the first level class set items are found here so it is a popular instance to run at level 60.
Onyxia's lair is a very small 40 man instance, really meant as a training instance for raid groups. Once the tactics are down it becomes a very easy fight. Before you can enter Onyxia's chamber and even attempt to defeat her though, you must complete an epic series of quests to get a key. The key is in fact an amulet that "attunes" you to the instance and allows entry to her lair. The quest chain for Horde and Alliance races are very different, but both very long and difficult.
We have a complete guide to both the attunement process and the fight tactics required to defeat Onyxia here: TenTonHammer's Guide to Onyxia.
Zul'Gurub (ZG) is a 20 man raid instance in Stranglethorn Vale for level 60 players. It houses many different Troll bosses that need to be defeated before fighting the final Boss Hakkar. The boss fights are amazing and are all scripted fights, on top of this they have tons of epic loot. The instance itself is much easier than Molten Core and because it is 20 man, easier to organize. It is generally not an instance that you can do with a pickup group though. Many of the fights are very tough and must be coordinated well. This generally means you need to be in a guild to complete it.
As you make your way to Hakkar you must kill 5 of his High Priests. The named Trolls you must kill are Jeklik, Venoxis, Mar'li, Thekal and Arlokk. If you do not kill the them they will grant Hakkar the abilities that will help him in thee fight with him. With these abilities it will be very hard if not impossible to defeat him. We have heard of groups that have defeated him with 1 ability left active and rumors of 2. To our knowledge no one has been able to defeat him without any of the Priests being downed. This may change in time though.
For a list of the abilities granted, complete tactics on each boss fight and more, read our complete guide to Zul'Gurrub here: TenTonHammer's Guide to the Zul'Gurub Bosses.
The Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj (AQ20) are an incredibly fun, fast small group raid instance located in southern Silithus. It is very easy to complete the entire instance (once you understand the strategies) in an evening. Many of the bosses introduce very interesting fight mechanics and are in general a lot of fun, while not being overly difficult. In addition there is some very nice loot drops. These combine to make what is one of the most fun instances in the game, in my opinion. This is definitely an instance that you want to spend some time in, Blizzard got this one just right.
The quests for Ahn'Qiraj are given out at Cenarion Hold in Silithus. Several quests are class specific and also reputation specific, meaning you can only complete them once you have earned a set amount of reputation with the Cenarion faction. The rewards for the class / Reputation based quests are a ring at honored, a cloak at revered and a weapon at exalted. The items are also part of a set, so when you complete the set of three you earn an additional bonus.
For a list of tactics on the trash mobs, each boss fight, reputation items, and more, read our complete guide to Ahn'Qiraj here: TenTonHammer's Guide to the the Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj.
Molten Core (MC) is an extremely difficulty 40 person raid that contains the first tier epic armor set for classes. All the MOBs in Molten Core are level 60 elite and higher. The objective of the Molten Core is to defeat Ragnaros. To do so you need to defeat 9 preliminary bosses on your way to him. Tons of epic items drop in the Molten Core, however you need to be in an organized guild with lots of good equipment to be able to run the core.
The Molten Core can be found in the heart of Blackrock Mountain. To get to it you must be attuned through a long quest chain. Once you are you can get to it through a portal at the base of the chain in the center of the mountain.
The bosses that must be defeated in the Molten Core are Lucifron, Magmadar, Gehennas, Garr, Baron Geddon, Shazzrah, Golemagg, Sulfuron, MajorDomo and Ragnaros. Most are fire based so having as much fire resistance gear as possible is critical for this instance. Many guilds attempt the instance and then get frustrated at wiping all the time, then farm gear and find it easy. Take my advise and get the gear first, it will save some huge repair bills.
By the way, not only are the bosses hard, but until you learn the tactics on the Trash MOBs, they can cause many issues as well.
You can find a complete guide to defeating the Molten Core bosses here: TenTonHammer's Guide to the Molten Core Bosses.
Blackwing Lair (BWL) is meant for a full raid of 40 level 60 players with all the best Molten Core loot already secured. All the MOBs in Blackwing Lair are level 60 elite and higher. Blackwing lair houses the Tier 2 armor set.
Blackwing Lair is a heavily secured fortress residing at the top of the Blackrock Mountains. Once owned by the Dark Iron Dwarves as one their largest fortress, it now is in the hands of the evil Nefarian, the son of the black dragonflights leader, Deathwing.
Nefarian, using this fortress as his base of operations, plans to mix the various bloods of the dragons to form an ultimate dragon race which he will use to slay Ragnaros and conquer all of Azeroth.
You can find our complete guide to Blackwing lair here: TenTonHammer's Guide to Blackwing Lair.
The Temple of Ahn'Qiraj is the 40 man raid instance in Silithus. It is 3rd in difficulty of the 40 man raids. The bosses scale from about as hard as Molten Core bosses at the beginning to much harder that anything in Blackwing Lair by the end. For many of the bosses you will need to farm nature resist gear in the same way you had to farm fire resist gear for Molten Core.
We currently do not have a guide for the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj, if you know the instance and would like to submit a guide for publishing, please contact us.
Naxxramas is a 40 man raid instance found in a floating necropolis over the Plaguelands. It is the hardest instance in the game before the expansion is released. It also houses the best gear in the game including the tier 3 armor set. To gain access to it you must first gain faction with the Argent Dawn and then complete a quest. Be prepared though that once you are attuned you may enter, but are probably not ready for it. Unless you have completed all previous instances the tactics and teamwork required here, even for the trash MOBs, will likely mean many wipes.
We currently do not have a guide for Naxxramas, if you know the instance and would like to submit a guide for publishing, please contact us.
For more information on these and other zones you should also read the following links:
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Quick Reference: Zone Level Chart | Instance Level Chart