Over the next few
Hammer will be taking a look at
several leveling guides. We'll be covering in-game paid leveling
guides, as well as some free guides available for use on the internet.
Every guide claims to be the fastest and the best, but which one really
IS the best, and which ones are just cheap scams? We intend to find
out. After we've reviewed them all, we'll have a comparison to see
exactly which leveling guide reigns supreme.
Today David Piner takes
a look at the Joana's paid leveling guide.
Joana's Leveling Guide
Price: $77 USD
Reviewed By: Xerin
Joana’s Leveling Guide is one of the oldest and well known
leveling guides out there and it shows. If you look for the term
“leveling guide” you’ll find hundreds of
“reviews” on sites trying to earn money through
Joana’s affiliate program. Most of it is boilerplate nonsense
with alternating caps lock screaming how QUICKLY you can LEVEL to
eighty. I assure you that this isn’t like that, but a fair
and honest look at Joana’s guide. Is it worth the money?
To start with let’s look at the facts. Joana’s
guide is for the Horde only meaning that it’s useless for the
Alliance. I should say “guides” because
there are two. One spanning the first 70 levels and the second covering
Northrend (levels 70-80). The price is rather high with 1-70 costing 45
dollars (in USD) and the second guide coming in at 47 dollars. If you
buy together as a bundle you’ll need to cough up 77 dollars.
Once you make your purchase you’ll get access into the
special member’s area where all the content is located.
You do get a lot of content for your money. There is the HTML (online)
version of the guide that has links to popular WoW databases, videos,
and pictures for a lot of the quests. There is also an in-game addon
that we’re about to take an in-depth look at. You also get
free updates in the future, but the update frequency isn’t
too high to make that a major selling point. It’s also
exploit free and ToS friendly so you don’t have to worry
about Blizzard’s banhammer coming after you.
Even if there is a lot of content the big question remains, is it worth
We’ll look at the addon aspect along with the “does
it work” aspect in a little bit, but right now
let’s focus on the guide. Joana lists every quest that he
believes you need to do to speed yourself to level 70 or 80 (depending
on which guide you purchase). The entire guide is color coded so you
can see that blue means “pick up a quest” and this
color means watch a video and you get the drift. However, there is a
lot of key details missing.
It’s true that Joana tells you which quests to do and even
gives you the coordinates. What’s not true is that it
isn’t “detailed”. A good example would be
“Do X quest (32,18).” Or “Do X quest
(read the quest description or watch this video to see how I did
it).” Well, I’m not going to be speed leveling if I
get to those coordinates and don’t know what to do. Should I
loot something, kill something, or what? Some quests do give the full
details, but Joana gets lazy at some points making you have to rely on
questhelper or a WoW database or slogging through the WoW text to read
about the quest.
The videos are also unnecessary and the pictures obtrusive towards your
goal. If I wanted to look at pictures of how to do each quest I could
easily look at many of the free resources available online and videos
are overkill for 9/10’s of the ones he does. Not to mention
if you’re using the addon you’ll have to pop out of
the game to look the stuff up and if you’re not then
you’re already doing a good deal of alt-tabing.
The tone in which the guide is written can also get in the way. Many
times Joana will brag about how awesome he is. “Watch how
fast I did it in my video!” can get rather annoying when you
already have to get through the massive amounts of horn honking
that’s on his site.
Overall I’d rate the delivery method and writing style
poorly. In trying to condense his guide to make it as brief as possible
he also hinders you by making you do the work of finding out how to
complete the quests. Sure sometimes coordinates alone is enough to get
you through a quest, but it’s times where you need the
details that it’s annoying.
Leveling Faster than
Joana’s guide boasts insane leveling speed from
following his guide. The quests are selected to be as efficient and
possible with no overlap. It’s designed to tell you what
quests to get and what order to do them in to keep you from running
back to town just to get a followup for an area you already completed.
The goal is to get you the right quests and in the right order to keep
you from wasting as much time as you can.
The first thing to note is that the entire guide is written from a
Hunter’s perspective. The Hunter is one of the best leveling
classes in the game with high amounts of DPS and little downtime.
Hunters can also solo difficult enemies without a problem. This means
that if you’re not a Hunter then things may not work as fast
as he claims.
The second thing is the inherent problems with leveling guides. Joana
does a good job of breaking the guide up into sections but if you ever
lose “sync” (if you outlevel a section,
do quests out of order, etc.) with the guide then you’ll
spend more time trying to figure out how to get back to following it.
This isn’t Joana’s fault so much, but
it’s worth noting.
To give an opinion on if it works (and speeds you through leveling)
we’ll have to look at the various level ranges first.
To be up front and honest I’ll say that the guide was mostly
useless for me for the first sixty levels and even went as far as to
slow me down. If you’re wanting to get to sixty as fast as
possible you’ll be much better off purchasing a second
account through the RAF (Recruit-a-Friend
) service than
trying to run all over Azeroth. There are too many quests and you
don’t need a guide to pick up as many quests as you can do,
do as many as you can before you level, and pick up some more.
A long time ago before the XP changes you’d find
Joana’s guide as one of the best tools for getting through
1-60. Now though I find following it a chore and felt as if it slowed
me down more than sped things up. It might be me, but I see a
recruit-a-friend account and running a second instance of WoW a better
investment than this part of the guide.
Things pick up though during the Outland portion of the
guide. The guide is helpful and makes a lot of good calls on what
quests to do and in what order, but the game kind of already makes
those calls for you. Following his guide will get you through Outlands
in about one to two days /played if you’re really good and
know a lot of the quests. You’re going to spend a lot more
time if you’re new so you might want to look more towards 3
If you were to pick just one of the guides to purchase for
the near 50 dollar price tag I’d highly suggest getting this
one. This guide has the same problems as mentioned above but he does a
really good job of putting things in the “perfect”
order keeping you from having follow-ups for regions you’ve
already cleared. He’ll also point you towards lots of good
quests that start from drops and get you moving through things as fast
as you possibly could go.
It’s well written and the content is top notch. Following the
Northrend guide will get you from 70-80 in about 3 days /played if
you’re the average player. You may look for more, but
you’ll probably find yourself moving faster than if you
didn’t have a guide to lead you about.
Turn Left at the Green
Murlocs – The Addon
I do not have a lot of good things to say about the addon.
The interface is basic and I’d go so far to say that
it’s crude. It comes with a total of three buttons and a pull
down menu to navigate through it. You have to open the guide up and
click “prev” and “next” to
navigate the list (you can bind these buttons to keys if you wish)
while the pulldown menu will get you to the major categories. There is
no automatic advancement like in Zygor’s addon and the
details are often sparse on what to do (as you read earlier).
The main addon screen has a box with the guide in it. There
isn’t a lot more to it than that. The section
you’re on now is bolded and if you close it then
it’ll go into a mini-map button that you can highlight to see
what your current objective is. To see what’s going on
you’ll have to open the addon, read his brief description,
close it again and if you don’t know enough look up how to do
the quest. This makes things as annoying as fighting 20 Murlocs with a
level one newbie in the Barrens while you’re chasing
Mankirk’s wife who is spamming general about Chuck Norris.
The addon does work with TomTom to create waypoints and navigation
arrows to quest objectives, but that’s more of a
“sometimes” feature. If a quest has multiple
coordinates then you’ll only get one waypoint for the quest
or sometimes you won’t even get a waypoint. Joana
didn’t even take the liberty to put each objective on a
separate line, but instead puts the coordinates all on the same one.
Making your own waypoints can really tear into your leveling time and
makes things very aggravating.
A lot could have been done with the addon to make it worthwhile, but
overall it’s a big miss. While you get waypoints
they’re not always going to help and you often times have to
leave the game to view pics, videos, or just look up how to do the
quest online making things aggravating and pointless. It’s
nice to have, but it’s a poor way to get the information to
So, is it worth the gold,
I mean cash?
The title has a simple answer. “No, unless you
have the cash to burn.” The guide works and it works well.
Joana’s got a good system and his quest orders make sense.
Following his guide from 60 to 80 will get you zooming through the
levels like Dwarf after a full pint. However, his guide is stuck in the
past. What used to be acceptable isn’t anymore. Without more
descriptions, a better addon, and less ego-inflating text there is no
way you could call this the best guide anymore.
At one time Joana was king of the leveling guides, at least for the
Horde. Now you can find guides that cost less (and may even be free)
that may not have the same leveling system but do have more
information, better addons, and are way more user friendly. If Joana
ever hops out of the past and presents a more modern version of his
guide then I might say it’s the best, but until then take
your cash elsewhere. That is unless you already know the quests, have
the money to spend, and just want his quest order. Then it may be worth