Exploration

Leveling in Mists of Pandaria

By Byron Mudry -
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Everyone is getting excited for the launch of Mists of Pandaria coming next month on September 25th, 2012.  For many players that means that the race is on, as they madly try to get to the new level 90 cap as fast as possible so that they can experience the new end game content.  That content includes Heroics, Raids, PVP, and now scenarios as well.

What is the best way to get to that level cap though?  Which zones do you go to when, and are there any special things you should do to level faster?  We explain it all right here.

Mists of Pandaria Zone Progression

In the Mists of Pandaria there are several different zones that you can quest in to level up. The zones get progressively harder as you follow the quest chains, however there are usually multiple zones at each level range that you can wander through.

Mists of Pandaria Zones By Level

Levels 85-86

When you first get to Pandaria and start adventuring you should start in the Jade Forest as it is meant for players level 85-86.  It is the only true “starting” zone in Pandaria and has the lowest level creatures and quests there. You start off in the zone establishing a beachhead for your faction and then make your way through multiple quest hubs including adventuring around the Temple of the Jade Serpent which is a new instance.  A major questing hub is the Dawn’s Blossom which has quests for both factions as well as portals back to Azeroth.  This should be your new hearthstone point for easy access to the mainland.

You can find a guides to the quests in the Jade Forest right here: Jade Forest walkthrough guide.

Levels 86-88

Once you are done in the Jade Forest it is time to move on to either the Valley of the Four Winds or the Krasarang Wilds.  Both of these zone are meant for level 86-88 players and the quests tie in across both zones very well.  The order that works well for the storyline in Valley of the Four Winds for a while then into the Krasarang Wilds then back into the Valley of the Four Winds as the quests lead you there.

Really though you can skip around any way you chose as there are a ton of quests in both zones. Additionally if you are coming into Mists of Pandaria with full raid gear, you could potentially skip right to these two zones to bypass some of the congestions the first little while in the Jade Forest zone.

You can find full guides to the quests in these two zones here: Valley of the Four Winds guideand Krasarang Wilds guide.

Levels 87 -88

I know that this overlaps with the previous level range, but you can move out of those zones before you are at level 88 if you so chose.  The zone to level at once you are nearing 88 is the Kun-Lai Summit to the north.  The zones is massive and can easily get you from level 87 through to level 88. This zone really starts the battle between the Horde and Alliance as both arrive and offer to help the Pandaren in the area that are under attack.  Both factions lay claim to villages of Pandaren as they help them out.  This zone hosts the massive Shado-Pan Monastery which has both an instance and a raid located in it.  Many of the quests revolve around learning more about this place.

Levels 88-90

At this point several options open up to you.  There is both the Dread Wastes and the Townlong Steppes to the west of Pandaria that are leveling zones, but there is also the Vale of Eternal Blossoms right in the middle of the continent that has quests available at level 89 as well.

The story line here really goes from the Townlong Steppes  and then into the Dread Wastes, but as with previous close level zones in Mists of Pandaria you can do them in almost any order.  The main enemy in both of these zones are the Mantid and the Sha as you fight to cleans the zones.

How to Level Faster in Mists of Pandaria

Now that you know where to go and at what levels to go there, realize that there are other items at play as well.  Leveling quickly takes a lot of planning and there are several things you can do to speed it up.  Here are just a few of them.

  • Make sure you keep lots of back space for items.  Not having to travel  back and forth to towns before you are ready can save a lot of time.  Put your off-spec and PVP sets in the back while leveling and sell anything you don’t need whenever you are in town getting new quests so that you don’t have to come back before your next set of quests are done.
  • Carry food, water, bandages, potions, elixirs, flasks, and any other consumable you may need.  This sounds obvious but many people forget about it.  Having that little bit extra that food and elixir/flask buffs provide can help you out leveling faster, and potions can save you from a graveyard run.  Food, water, and bandages can keep you in the action longer as well.
  • Log out in an Inn.  Make sure you log out at an inn for that extra rested experience any time you can.  It is something that can speed you up significantly and is completely free.
  • Try to get ahead of, or stay behind the curve while leveling.  This is talked about a little bit in the zone section above.  If an area is really crowded and you can not get the kills or items you need to complete quests, try to get ahead of the group in the zone, or move to another zone.  Being held up is inevitable for the first few weeks of an expansion but try to limit it as much as you can by looking for other areas that have lower player populations.
  • Join a guild that is at least level 6 and has the level 2 Fast Track guild perk, assuming you are not in one already.  This grants you 10% more experience and will help level faster.
  • If you are a tank or healer pick a spec that you can solo with as your off-spec, and make sure you are geared for it ahead of time. This will greatly speed up your leveling. Even if you are a DPS player, consider an off-spec that will allow you to level faster and with less downtime, for example while I play a marksman hunter most of the time, I find beastmaster easier to level with since I never die and my pet can hold 2-3 enemies with ease.

For New Characters only: If you are leveling a new Monk character get as many +experience heirloom items as you can.  This does not apply to leveling above level 80 or 85 though (depending on which items) as they stop granting bonuses at those levels.  Up to either 80 or 85 though the items can make a huge difference in your leveling rate.  It is worth collecting them now for new characters so that you have them ahead of time. 

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