Leveling a Prot Paladin is incredibly fun to me. I love to grind and I love to knock out a lot of quests at once, and Lexington (BElf Paladin 66) has managed to do that throughout his career to an even greater extent than Psynister (Undead Mage 80) ever did.
Today I am going to go over where I leveled with Lexington to give you an idea of what I have done, and where I have been. The vast majority of my leveling has been done solo, save for the time that I have spent in instances, and regardless of where I am or what I am doing, AoE grinding is my method of accomplishing it.
In my Previous Updates post I showed a screenshot slideshow of Lexington’s leveling from 1 to 25, and at the bottom of this post will be another show of levels 26 to 66.
I’m not going to go into specific details as far as “take these quests, skip these, do them in this order” or anything of that sort, because I’m not about to remove the need for brain usage completely. What I am going to do though is give you an idea of where I was when I was leveling.
There are a couple of times that I stayed in a place a while longer than you technically should for being higher level than the quests you are doing (Arathi Highlands in particular), but that is usually because of something else I am trying to accomplish at the same time. For Lexington it was because I needed to level my mining and the area offered all of what I needed while also giving me plenty of AoE grinding opportunities in between nodes, and a decent supply of humanoids for cloth that I used for the Rep quests in each city which happens to contribute nicely to leveling as well.
Starting Areas: 1-12
When starting a new character, you should always do all the quests that are offered to you. If you strictly do the quests, meeting only the minimum requirements for each, then you can leave your starting area at level 5, or slightly under level 5 if you do it all in a group. I kill extra mobs myself, so I always leave the starting area at level 6 instead.
From there you move onto the secondary town and area, which is usually just the rest of the map section that your starting area is located in. You will end up traveling all around the map in most cases, but the quests are plentiful and generally fairly easy to solo.
As a Blood Elf, I did all of my questing at this time in my starting area. I often bring other races here as well, as I find it to be superior to all others for leveling professions at early levels as well.
You generally end up at about level 12 when you leave your beginning area. In my case, since I love to grind, I didn’t leave until I was level 14. When I did leave though, I stuck to the Blood Elf quest line and proceeded south to the Ghostlands. I really like this particular area, save for the dark and gloomy landscape.
Ghostlands is an excellent place to level your character, your primary professions, and your secondary professions as well. It’s also a very good place for pushing the limits of your characters as some of the best low level elites are found here in Knucklerot and Luzran.
For the paladin, level 20 happens to be where you pick up some of your key AoE grinding tools (Consecrate in particular), so I stayed in this area a bit longer that I should have as well to get back into the hard core grinding state of mind with the numerous undead mobs here.
Basic Leveling Guide: 21-30
At this point you have a few different options for where you want to go to level. Since I know AoE grinding was the method of choice for my own leveling, I chose Hillsbrad Foothills as my location rather than the others because there are just too many wonderful places for AoE grinding in this area to pass up.
Honestly, I recommend coming here with any character you have in this level range, simply because I prefer the quests here to the ones in all other areas. It seems easier and faster to quest here, which sets a nice momentum for carrying on and helps to keep you motivated and feeling good about your progression.
This also happens to be the level range where I really start to look at some of the instances. Most of my characters have already hit Ragefire Chasm by now as well as Wailing Caverns. Lexington was a bit of an exception because I skipped RFC until my paladin quest sent me there at level 20, and I did not bother taking him to WC until he was in his 40′s because there is little tanking gear there save for a couple of shields that I know are significantly outmatched by the shield found in SM: Cathedral.
The instances I did run at this range though were SFK, which I ran several times, BFD which I ran mainly for my paladin quest, SM: Graveyard, and SM: Library. The minimum level for entry into the SM Instances is 20 for all of them, but if you are running it with a group you should really be about level 28 before you attempt it unless you have higher levels in your group with you.
Arathi Highlands: 31-38
While I focus my questing in this area, and generally do all of the quests offered here, I also do a lot of leveling during this block in instances. Initially I hit SM: Armor and SM: Cathedral several times. There are great drops in all of SM for all of the classes. I cannot think of a bow/gun that drops there off hand, so some of the hunters may be a bit disappointed, but otherwise it’s great for drops. The shield that drops here is particularly good, and I end up wearing it until I get up into the mid-50s because there simply isn’t anything that can beat it.
Questing in Arathi is fairly easy, though the mobs do take on a noticeable increase in their strength and hit point totals. This is another great location for leveling cooking and first aid with the mobs that are available to you, and it offers some of the best mining you can find at this stage as well. While the drop rate is not the best, the elementals spread out across the region also have a chance to drop some decent mats that can be sold on the auction house for a nice amount.
Keeping with the current trend, the Badlands is another great place for AoE grinding and for leveling up your professions. There is a strong source of beasts here for skinning/leatherworking as well as cooking, and there is also a healthy supply of dwarfs and ogres in the area for cloth.
There also happens to be a very nice instance nearby called Uldamon, which holds nice drops for all classes and roles. This instance used to require you to have 3 people in your party to open up the doors to the last boss, but this is no longer the case. The instance is set for levels 38-44, though you can get in at a lower level than that. I ran this instance a LOT. I am not even sure how many times it ended up being, but I probably ran it just as many times as I turned in quests in the area.
The instance is not particularly hard, but it provides good drops that can either be equipped or sold for decent amounts. I soloed this instance with my paladin when he was level 45, which is how I know for certain that you no longer need 3 people to open the door to the last boss.
Another wonderful place for AoE grinding, which also has a strong instance in Zul’Farrak. I love the AoE grinding opportunities that this area has to offer, and it also provides a very good place to level my mining skill. The ZF instance has some more great drops in it, so I ran through there three times, though none of the items that I was particularly looking for happened to drop for me this time. As far as tanks and melee dps go, some of the best weapons for your level drop from bosses in here. Caster-wise, there is a helm in particular that comes to mind, and other items as well. ZF also happens to be where you can get your Carrot on a Stick to increase your mount’s run speed if you have the quest for it.
During these levels I do take the time to go through some of the other areas for a few quests, including Stranglethorn Vale, Dustwallow Marsh, Thousand Needles, and the Shimmering Flats. For the most part, I do the quests that I have picked up that send me to these areas to talk to someone, and I check the quests that are offered to me in the area. I don’t particularly care for any of those areas themselves though, so unless they offer a quest that is simple and does not require much time, then I just skip it and go back to Tanaris.
There are a couple of escort quests on this map, one of which requires you to lead a turtle across most of the map which is kind of annoying, but at least he follows where you go instead of making his own path. The quest takes a while, but it’s easy. The other escort quest I do here is for the mechanical chicken, but it requires a drop from ZF. If you do all of the chicken escort quests, then you can get a vanity pet out of the deal. I have not bothered doing all of them myself, largely because I don’t care about vanity pets. Regardless, I still do the quest if I find the beacon required to start it in ZF.
Felwood, Western Plaguelands and Un’goro Crater: 50-55
Personally, I hate the plaguelands with a passion. When I was leveling my mage, I simply skipped the whole thing entirely. With the paladin though, seeing as how almost everything here is undead, I walked in and concecrated them all to the ground. I did not stay in the area very long though, because I still hate it even if it is easier with the paladin than with other classes.
The good thing about this area though, is that there are a lot of quests that are all bundled up together, so you don’t have to do a lot of running around to different areas to get a lot of quests done. You also have a chance to build up some reputation here, which I did take advantage of to some extent, though not enough to matter much at this point. I have considered coming back later specifically to grind all of the rep though.
I did quite a few quests in Felwood during this span as well, but I don’t think I actually gained any levels while I was there. I gained plenty of experience for the levels I did gain, I just don’t think the actual “ding” happened there.
Felwood is very nice for your cooking, and grinding those bears in the key to doing it. This is also where you find Felcloth, though I think in all the time I spent there I only found about 3 pieces of it. There is a lot of AoE opportunity here though with so many beasts gathered up all together. The yellow/tan landscape though just depresses me, so I don’t stay here for long.
Un’goro is a wonderful place for AoE grinding, particularly on the raptors. There are also a lot of nodes for both mining and herbalism, though you have little in the way of tailoring mats since there are no humanoids. I don’t really like this area, but I don’t really dislike it either. The reason I come here is because once again you have a lot of quests bundled up into a fairly small area, so it is easy to finish several at once. That was my main draw here, and it paid off rather well in a fairly short time span.
You will see in the slideshow attached below that there some levels missing from this range. Those levels I gained while I was on a business trip and using my wife’s laptop instead, so no screenshots were taken, but I can assure you that this is the area they were gained in.
Winterspring, Western Plaguelands, and Eastern Plaguelands: 56-58
Winterspring is new to me since I skipped it on my mage, but it was a fun place to go. I definitely recommend this place you happen to be an herbalist, because this is the only place you can find Icecap. Because of this fact, a stack of icecap sells for around 40 gold on both of my servers. Icecap is also used by alchemists to make the Purification Potion that removes diseases, which is often sought after by players who intend to farm Stratholme for Runecloth as there is a particularly nasty disease in there that prevents you from healing and also happens to be a DoT. I farm Icecap with my mage and then send the herbs to an alchemist friend so that I can farm the runecloth with him.
Western Plaguelands still offers some decent quests at this level, but mostly it’s used for finding quests that send you over to Eastern Plaguelands. As I mentioned before, I hate WP, and the same holds true for EP. I hate both of them and would rather not bother with either one if I can help it. But, there are some very good drops in both areas, particularly if you happen to be an Enchanter. A lot of the quest rewards sell really well too if you aren’t an Enchanter.
Lexington focused mostly on Winterspring for these levels, and it was another perfect place for an AoE class to be. This is a very nice place for farming mining nodes right below the 300 range, and was the best place I found for mining Thorium. One other little bit of advice I have to offer here is that you can buy the Runecloth Bag pattern at the city in Winterspring which sells on my old server for 30g. I bought three of the pattern on my new server, and have not sold a single one. I’m not sure what the deal is over here, but it was a great money maker on my previous server.
Hellfire Peninsula: 59-64
Hellfire is a place I love to hate. There is a lot of stuff you can do here, plenty of profession opportunities, and so forth. I personally hate the whole stinking continent of Outlands, save for a portion of Nagrand. I’m not a fan of sci-fi and that’s what most of Outlands is. To me, it just doesn’t feel like it belongs and I keep on waiting for someone to pull out a laser gun and shoot me or something.
Regardless of my personal dislike for Hellfire, the questings is actually very good. The instances also offer some solid loot drops, though I did not bother with them on Lexington since I know that Northrend is just around the corner.
I like to get the achievement for doing quests here, so I do every one I can find until I get it. You have to do 90 quests for the achievement, so you can see just how many there are here.
One of my favorite moments here was soloing the Cruel’s Intentions quest, which I posted about last week. I know he was a beast when I fought him with my mage, so it was fun to take him on all alone with my paladin.
Terrokar Forrest, Nagrand, and Shadowmoon Valley: 65-68
TF is yet another area that I just don’t care for at all. I take the time to do some of the easier quests here that don’t take a whole lot of time, but mostly I find the place annoying.
With my mage I went to Zangar Marsh instead of TF, and I really enjoyed it. I skipped the whole zone with Lexington, even though I know there is a nice shield that can be obtained from the Sporeagar reputation. Since I already had the Skullflame Shield though, I didn’t bother with it. When I leveled my mage, the WotLK expansion was not out yet, so I was not in too much of a hurry to level, where I am with the paladin. Feel free to do whatever you want here. If you are playing a Prot Paladin and want a decent shield, I certainly suggest going to Zangar, otherwise do it or skip it as you please.
Nagrand is the only place in all of Outlands that I actually like at all, and a lot of it I don’t care for either. The good thing though, is that it is packed with quests, and it is really easy to knock out 5 or 6 of them in a single go and then head back to town to turn them in. Some of the quests here can be pretty hard, particularly the group quests and the ones requiring you to kill elites.
So far Lexington has soloed everything here, but I still have two of the hardest ones sitting in front of me. I am going to solo Durn the Hungerer at some point, though I have not yet decided which level I want to take him on at. I am currently level 67, and I know from trying it that 66 was too low. I watched him eat a full party of level 68-70 Alliance characters last week, so I want to get another level or so before I try it. After all, one Horde Paladin is easily the equivalent of any 4 Alliance characters.
I also have the Ring of Blood quest chain to look forward to. Being realistic, I’m not sure I can solo this before I will head to Northrend, and I don’t want to bother with coming back. I might take a shot at soloing it to see how far I can get, but in the end I will most likely get either a group to take it out with, or have higher levels in my guild come and give me a hand with it.
[UPDATE: Including the rest of my quest areas up to 68 and slightly beyond.] After running out of quests in Nagrand at 67, I went to Shadowmoon Valley to finish off to 68 with a handful of quests from the starting area. After I hit 68 I went to Northrend for a while before returning to Zangar Marsh to grind the rep I needed for the Petrified Lichen Shield that I mention down in the comments below. After obtaining the shield I returned to Northrend where I plan to stay from here through 80. [/UPDATE]
And here is a screenshot of of Lexington’s Levels, minus the few that I missed while I was out of town playing on my wife’s laptop without the MultiShot addon:
I intended to have a slide show of Lexington’s levels here, but apparently my upload did not go through at lunch as I had thought. I will work on getting that put together an including it here as well so that you can see where I happened to be each time I gained a level. It will not necessarily tell you where I was leveling at the time, especially for quests that you turn in at Location A after questing in Location B, but it will give you a general idea at least.
For My Twitter Peeps
Some of my friends on twitter brought up how hard some of the elites were when they went through, so here are a couple of screenshots that I took after speaking to them:
I was rather unimpressed with Guttripper. No bubble, no Lay on Hands, just a dead bird that wasn’t really worth my time. /sigh
And a question: If you happen to know where that “Fiery Payback” message comes from, and how to get rid of it, please let me know. A quick look yesterday showed that it might be part of a talented mage build and thus displayed from the MageAlert addon which I do have, but this obviously is not a mage, and I have used MageAlert since long before I had my paladin without ever seeing it. It pops up when you are below 35% health, which happens quite a bit with me since I love to over-pull and solo elites well beyond my level.
I suppose if it is MageAlert that’s causing it that I can just remove the addon and continue, but I do love it when I’m actually playing my mage. If you know another method of simply removing that box and preventing it from showing up though, please share. It’s driving me nuts.