Updated Thu, Feb 21, 2008 by Ethec
While it's not immediately apparent to young adventurers, the new homeland of the Night Elves is situated on an lonely island far from the cities of their Alliance brethren. What the Night Elves have lost in convenient travel they've gained in relative safety; the tainting effects of the Scourge- which tore apart the Night Elves' ancestral lands and made enemies of their magic-hungry kin, the Blood Elves- feel completely foreign in the enchantingly deep hues of Teldrassil's forests. This is not to say that Teldrassil doesn't present a young Night Elf worthy challenges. The firbolgs and timberlings, for example, have become dischordant with the land, growing in number and turning hostile.
While the wise ones of Darnassus, the grand Night Elf city located in western Teldrassil, seek answers, new adventures begin their story in Shadowglen, spending their first 4 or 5 levels in its enclave (and probing the dangers of Shadowthread Cave) before advancing south throught the pass, then southwest to Dolanaar. Quests here will take adventurers southward around Lake Al'Ameth, east to timbermaw-overrun Starbreeze Village, southwest to the labyrnthian expanses of Gnarlpine Hold, west around the ridge to the Pools of Arlithrien, and northwest toward the growing demonic influence in the Oracle Glade. Finally, Night Elves will enter the proud gates of Darnassus and, from there, discover their destinies in greater Azeroth.
Generally speaking, you'll fly through the lower levels faster (and, in my opinion, more enjoyably) if you work your way through quests rather than attempt to grind for experience (that is, to simply kill every creature you come across that offers experience benefits like some level-happy psycho). If this is your first time out, quests are given by non-player characters (NPCs) with a yellow exclamation above their head, and generally require you to kill certain things and/or deliver items (or pickup items), and reward you with bonus experience and sometimes items or coin. If an NPC has a silver exclamation point above their head, return to get their quest in a level or two.
The natural progression is to complete the quests in the starting area in and around Shadowglen, proceed southwest to Dolanaar and knock out the quests in this larger area. Be sure to "bind" your hearthstone to the inn in Dolanaar (speak to the innmaster and choose the appropriate option) for quick travel back as you complete quest objectives. After you finish just about all the quests in Dolonaar, explore the principal Night Elf city of Darnassus (west side of the map), then finish up the Teldrassil quests or go through the portal to Rut'theran Village. From here, it's a quick hippogriff ride to the next step on the level march, Darkshore.
Other quick notes: if you plan to pick up the primary professions of skinning, mining, or herbalism (you can only choose one!) the sooner you can shell out the 10 silver to the trainers in the Craftsman's Terrace of Darnassus, the better. Dun Morogh is rich in resources (except ore, you'll have to take a long trip to Stormwind or Ironforge to learn the mining trade), and the sooner you get started, the less backtracking through easier areas to progress your skill you'll have to do (this is especially true of the skinning profession). If you feel confident that you'll want to explore skinning / leatherworking, there are two special trainers for these professions on the road just outside Darnassus.
The Ten Ton Hammer quest database has plenty of information for travellers of all levels, but we need your help to make it grow! Click here for a listing of all quests that begin in Teldrassil.
Quests in Teldrassil do an excellent job of "breadcrumbing" adventurers from place to place. Don't get bogged down chasing quest objectives; especially at early levels. Rather, accumulate as many quests as you can and look for ways to complete several objectives from more than one quest with one trip out of town. For example, you should speak with Gilshalan Windwalker and Dirania Silvershine in Ardrassil before heading towards Shadowthread Cave since both of their quests (Webwood Venom and A Friend in Need) will progress based on things you'll find at or near the cave.
Once you get to Dolanaar, there are several opportunaties in Teldrassil for group work if you find you make a good team with another player or two. Indeed, in a good group, the experience will fly by and you'll likely find yourself enjoying the game more. For group-based challenges, however, seek out The Emerald Dreamcatcher, Twisted Hatred, and The Relics of Wakening.
Most adventurers want to get out of the confines of Teldrassil quickly, so you might find things less crowded than in Darkshore if you simply bide your time and complete the quests remaining in your journal. There are several quests which start in Darnassus that take you up into the Oracle Glade. These quests are suitable for adventurers level 9-12. By the way, finding your way around Darnassus can be daunting; be sure to talk to select guards (the "Darnassus Sentinels") who can point you on your way.
When you've exhausted all that Teldrassil has to offer, it's time to go through the portal to Rut'theran Village and from there, speak to the Hippogriff Master. He'll send you off packing to your new home: Auberdine, in Darkshore!
Darkshore is the closest and best place for a night elf to wend through the teen levels. Creatures both beastly and demonic run rampant in Darkshore, making the region suited to your adventures through around level 20. That's especially the case since many of these mobs can be tamed by Night Elf hunters or skinned by those pursuing leatherworking. Alternatively, you could take a boat from Auberdine and travel overseas to Westfall (see our handy travel guide), but it's a long and arduous journey that's best completed with a few more levels under your belt.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to email me with comments, suggestions, or whatnot.