Though World of Warcraft is still enjoyed by millions of people around the world, many veterans of the online sensation are tired of the repetitive grind of getting to the maximum level. Fortunately, with the changes brought about by the latest expansion pack and subsequent patches, Cataclysm leveling is faster and less repetitive than ever before. Also, the amount of experience required to get from level 60 to 80 is much lower than it once was. The next patch to be released in the end of 2011 is rumored to lower the amount of experience required from level 70 to 80 even further.

In spite of the changes, starting out at level 1 and reaching your way to level 85 can still take at least 4 days of played time, which equates to almost a hundred hours. Using the following methods, you can greatly decrease the amount of time it takes to reach the level cap.

Don’t Forget about Heirlooms!

Heirlooms were introduced in the previous expansion pack, Wrath of the Lich King. Cataclysm leveling from 80-85 is not affected by these old heirlooms, but level 1-80 is. Two new types of heirlooms were also introduced with Cataclysm leveling, which are effective all the way to level 85.

Before you start rolling a new character, you should ideally have your main in a guild with exalted reputation status. This takes a few weeks to achieve from scratch, but most people already have an active main character who’s been in the same guild for a while already, so this should not be a problem.

One of the main keys to fast Cataclysm leveling is to buy a full set of heirlooms for your new character. This includes the shoulders and chest-piece which you can buy from level 80 from the Justice Points heirloom vendor in your faction’s capital city (Orgrimmar or Stormwind). You should also get the heirloom head-piece and cloak from your guild vendor. To get both pieces, you will need to be exalted with the guild and you’ll need to have a fair bit of gold. Finally, you may want to purchase the heirloom trinkets and weapon for your class although keep in mind that they do not offer an XP bonus.

Once you have all of the heirloom items providing bonus experience, any character wearing them will level 35% faster thanks to the 35% extra experience gain to all kills, quests and everything else.

The Importance of Being in a High Level Guild

Assuming your main character is already in a high level guild (preferably level 25), you should get an officer to invite your new alt. Your new alt will be able to take advantage of all of the 25 guild perks – a massive boost to the whole Cataclysm leveling experience. This includes another 10% experience gain on top of your heirlooms for a total of 45%! In addition to that, you get better discounts, special rewards, more honor points in PvP and a variety of useful spells such as Mass Summon and Mass Resurrection.

One More Thing before You Start

Install a Cataclysm leveling add-on. There are loads to choose from such as Zygor Guides or the free ones such as TomTom combined with Tour Guide. A leveling add-on will tell you which quests to take and where to take them. It will always point you in the right direction for taking quests, carrying out the relevant tasks and handing them in. This will allow for a completely streamlined and fully optimized Cataclysm leveling experience.

Now to Begin!

Now you’re all ready to start leveling. Once you reach level 15, which should take around a couple of hours or less, you’ll be able to join random dungeons in the Random Dungeon Finder. Completing a random dungeon every level or two can provide a great boost to your experience. You get a lot of experience from completing one-time dungeon quests, killing bosses and for completing the dungeon.

If you are playing a healer or tank, dungeon queues are usually instant. If you’re playing a damage-dealing class, you may have to wait some time, in which case you should continue questing while waiting.

If your primary concern with Cataclysm leveling is to get to 85 as soon as possible, then avoid random battlegrounds with one exception. If you’re level 45 or above and it is the Alterac Valley holiday weekend, then you should always be queued for the battleground. Completing and winning Alterac Valley rewards an enormous amount of experience, especially if your team destroys all of the enemy’s towers.