Instance Leveling 101

So, the new dungeon tool is awesome; we use it for our daily emblems and to get our alts their needed gear. But what if you have lowlevel (pre-60) alts? Don’t worry – they will level quicker than ever. Below is a quick guide on using the dungeon finder tool to level your toon, how to prepare, and how to get the most of the experience.

Character

It will be beneficial for you if you have a toon that can heal and/or tank; queues for DPS are much longer. You may need 3 of them per instance, but there are more people leveling as DPS than as tanks or healer. Paladins and druids are ideal for this role, as they can fulfill every role you could need, regardless of what you want them to be at level 80.

For my examples here I will use my little paladin, Aranth, as a live example of these principles – currently level 39, he has leveled from 36 in 2 days with only sporadic dungeoneering – 1 level per 2 or 3 dungeons in total. At this time he is a healadin, but I want to try my hand at tanking. Since a paladin tank starts to get really in his element at level 41 abouts, I will stick out with healing for 2 more levels, then making the switch.

Gear

You want heirloom gear – shoulders and chest at least, but the trinkets may come in handy too. When tanking, Swift Hand of Justice is king, while healing prefers the Discerning Eye of the Beast. I currently have one of each equipped. A good heirloom weapon can make things easier, but since they can only be enchanted with pre-TBC enchants, they tend to fall behind at Wrath levels. For tanking I’d recommend the Venerable Mass of McGowan.

Professions

As far as professions go, the choices are rather limited, since materials will be in short supply in dungeons. Jewelcrafting, Engineering, Inscription, Alchemy and Leatherworking are of limited use and will not provide anything you can’t get off the AH. Rather try and invest in Skinning (many instance mobs are skinnable and it gives a Crit bonus), Mining (for the money and Stamina bonus), Tailoring (cloth drops are common, but mostly good for clothies) or the king of dungeoneering: Enchanting.

Considering you can expect to receive 1/5th of the trash drops, disenchanting them will provide you with more than enough supply to level way past your gear’s requirements. It also means you can always have your gear’s efficiency maxed out, regardless of the source. You can also disenchant the left-overs of your quests, and the contents of the Satchel of Helpful Goods you receive after each successful run.

Enchanting, I heartily recommend it.

Modus Operandi

You can start queueing for dungeons around level 15 or so, when Ragefire Chasm is available. I am not sure on the exact level requirements, but you should check your dungeon finder tool every level until you find you can queue. When you can, do so.

Make sure you have the dungeons in your level range studied, and can get the quests for them. Simply run from area to area, collecting all the quests for a dungeon. Share them when you enter the instance, that always gets you friends. If you have the quests you need but no dungeon pops up, finish your class quests, delivery quests and the like. Make your rounds leveling your mining, herbalism or skinning skills and simply be sure to visit a town every now and then.

Stock up on water, food, bandages and potions. You will have plenty cloth for it. Potions for low level characters can usually be found for ridiculously cheap prices on the AH. Between your heirloom gear and the dungeon rewards, you should have no problems being kitted to the teeth.

Every two levels, visit your trainer for new spells, and make sure to get the next level of your craft skill whenever possible.

So what’s new?

Well, you will be able to level your toon quicker, gear them easier, and level your professions at an obscene rate without technically ever needing to leave your home town. Sometimes you have to wait 20 minutes in the queue, where you will fall into a regular questing pattern. Otherwise, it’s a monster truck race to 60. Between 60 and 70 things may get a bit tight, because that level range is more empty. It picks up again in the final stretch to 80.

Yes, you will have to contend with fail pugs, sleeping healers, silent tanks pulling half the instance and even crazier (trust me, I have enough material here now to become a stand-up comedian) but take it in strides. In the end you will have pre-packaged dungeon experience. I love it, try and see if you will too.

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One Response to “Instance Leveling 101”

  1. […] people writing things in a much more systematic and helpful way than I am. Naturamah wrote this Instance Leveling 101 guide. Cass over at HoTs & DoTs has been mapping Gnomeregan for the directionally challenged. I might […]

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