Speed Leveling Shadowlands Alpha in 7 hours with DesMephisto
For the second time since the
alpha began, Warrior obsessed streamer and speed leveler DesMephisto has sped his way from level 1-50. This time, he completed the journey in just 6 hours and 54 minutes, nearly halving his previous record of 12 hours... and it's only going to get faster!
is no stranger to leveling characters, having taken 47 characters to max level (all of them Warriors!), achieving multiple speed records, and been a major contributor to
Azeroth Auto Pilot
. While certainly not the only speed leveler in WoW, his dedication to streaming and frequent charity events have made him well known on Reddit, Discord, and other online communities.
The Leveling Squish
is the biggest change to leveling since
level scaling, reducing the current level cap to 50, going up to 60 in the new expansion. Levels 1-10 takes place in the new starting zone Exile's Reach, after which veteran players will have the choice to level up through any expansion content. On the alpha, players are currently restricted to
Battle for Azeroth
(which all brand new players will default to), and DesMephisto thinks his speed leveling times will only improve in those other expansions.
Riding and flying skills have also changed, earned every 10 levels, with
artisan riding removed
. This means players will unlock the slowest form of flying (150%) at level 30 and then jump to the fastest at level 40 (310%), though new characters on the alpha do not have Pathfinder unlocked, so they can't currently fly in Battle for Azeroth content even with the training. This is likely a bug, but it remains to be seen what Blizzard will do with these requirements when leveling through previous expansions in Shadowlands.
How to Ignore Your Friends and Level Quickly
There are a
of experience buffs and leveling advantages in WoW, several of which aren't even available on the alpha currently, which means sub-6 hour times will quickly be surpassed. For this run, DesMephisto used four heirlooms (Helm, Shoulders, Cloak, and Chest) and the underrepresented faction War Mode buff, for a total of +65% increased experience, but that's leaving out several extra bonuses:
Not to mention a wealth of consumables such as
to help quickly get around and help fully kitted characters reduce times even further. The route through
Battle for Azeroth
, at least on the Alliance side, is fairly simplistic - avoid major time sinks and roleplay while moving between quest hubs and bonus objectives.
I finished Exile's Reach at level 12 due to heirlooms and the amazing amount of experience from rares and bonus chests, after which the game takes you to Stormwind and into Battle for Azeroth content. The alpha has a lot of bugs and a few broken questlines, so you can't actually skip the Boralus intro quest, but I made up that time easily enough. I specifically chose to do nearly all of Tiradarde, as it only has one major RP component with Flynn; I skipped the S.E.L.F.I.E. quest, but opted to do the Norwington Estate riding quests because while both are tedious, the Norwington is significantly faster.
After finishing Tiragarde, I completed the Zuldazar and Vol'dun war campaign pieces which both have a relatively low amount of travel time and RP, before heading to Drustvar, taking a very basic route similar to Azeroth Auto Pilot - hitting the southern quest hubs and bonus objectives before circling back north and reaching level 50 just before the Trogg quests.
It's also important to note that nearly every treasure chest gives half quest experience now, which makes BFA leveling much quicker. Leveling Azerite is also item level 56, which is very strong, although you'll want to continually swap them with Heirlooms for quest turn in. All in all, level 12-50 in Shadowlands requires about the same amount of BFA content as level 110-120 on live... though on live you also have flying, enchants, consumables, and a +100% experience buff.
Choose Your Own Adventure
While new characters on the
alpha can only level through
Battle for Azeroth
content, future builds and the live release will allow players to include other expansions, which is great for player agency but may cause the leveling experience to vary wildly. Vanilla doesn't have a very wide range of powerful gear rewards due to its current early level bracket, while
The Burning Crusade
Wrath of the Lich King
both suffer from old gameplay systems, such as 30 second cooldown multi-use quest items artificially slowing the pace of gameplay. Likewise, while most leveling zones were built without flying in mind, many of the wide sprawling zones of
stand to suffer without it, at least for the first half of the leveling process.
Warlords of Draenor
Battle for Azeroth
all benefit from much more abundant treasure chests and bonus objective areas, not to mention the potential power gains found in Artifact weapons or Azerite. Unfortunately Legion legendary items have rather extreme restrictions - requiring level 40 and becoming inactive at level 48 - though like Heirlooms they may be awaiting further tuning.
As it stands now, it seems likely that players wishing to level as fast as possible will gravitate toward MoP, WoD, Legion, and BfA for the best times, though much of this will depend on how Blizzard decides to tune each piece of content. We should know more as DesMephsito continues to set new records throughout the
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