Leveling Experience in Shadowlands: Pandaria Journey

Level 50 taken today on a newly created alt, I’m sharing my journey :)

Let’s start with conditions:

  • Exile’s Reach -> Mists of Pandaria
  • Leveling through questing, no dungeon chain queues
  • Heirlooms (now without XP bonus, for transmog purposes)
  • No speed leveling – I was taking my time
  • No professions, although herbalism/mining or both could have added to the experience points
  • Travel/riding upgrades were learned immediately as available

My aim was to see how Blizzard reworked leveling and whether they achieved the announced goals. Well, in general: yes, they did :)

Starting Zone

Exile’s Reach took me longer than it could, because I was carefully reading every quest, and the second half of it was new to me, as I didn’t play it through in full on PTR. All in all: a great education for new players, yet story seemed pretty boring and uninspiring, and I don’t think I want to repeat the experience again for now. Back to killing boars!

After you finish the zone, there is a very brief tour around your capital city, where you will meet Chromie, learn how to hearthstone and your riding skill. If you are playing an alt, you will be able to pick expansion of choice from Chromie by the Stormwind/Orgrimmar embassy – in my case it was Pandaria.

Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard has claimed that you will see more than one zone – and I’d say this was a huge success in Mists of Pandaria. Previously, completing only Jade Forest without dungeons will rocket you 80->89, and you’re good to go to the next expansion step.

Leveling in Shadowlands realities took me through 4 zones out of 6! My journey was:

Jade Forest (10->29) -> Valley of Four Winds (29->39) -> Kun-Lai Summit (39-44) -> Dread Wastes (44->50).

I also did a couple of Halloween dungeon runs, one Stormstout Brewery (by quest and by choice, so no random dungeon extra experience), and 2 days worth of Tillers’ dailies (because I like them). By the way, you can only queue to dungeons of the expansion you’re currently in: no Classic, Northrend or Burning Crusade unless you chose this trouser of time.

I have done all these zones’ questlines in full – except fishing village in Dread Wastes, because underwater questing, ugh. I can say that a new player who’s leveling an alt would totally understand by level cap what Pandaria is and how it works. There are also options of Townlong Steppes and Krasarang in case another alt also levels in Pandaria, so you don’t get tired of the too-linear re-runs.

Success? I think so.

Learning and Power Curve

The pace was really great. I got new abilities or upgrades with every level, which felt super nice. My Arms Warrior has started to feel her rotation shape & click in its final version by level 25-26, then came only pleasant small things and spell upgrades. I can say I really learned to play my class.

It was super weird to enter Pandaria at level 10, because we entered the zone with a full spell arsenal before. Yet – nothing bad happened. Even if I traveled on foot/ground mount until level 30, the experience was not too tedious or super dangerous.

Enemies have grown in level and power according to my level and haven’t posed any problems, I even managed to take out rares one-on-one (quite doable). I did not feel underpowered at all, mobs were falling by my axe equally at level 10 and at level 49. I remember how common mantid in Dread Wastes have been a great problem when Pandaria was current content – well, not his time. By 49 I’ve got used to pulling 2-3 mobs at once – and not even once they chipped my health under 60%. Did I die? Yes, but it was due to pulling too many, or a sneaking patrol coming from behind.

In other words: learning curve and scaling older content – 5 points out of 5.

A small and funny vignette: when you reach level 50, you will have two phone calls: one from Magni, inviting you to Silithus, and immediately after the one from Chromie. She says that your adventure in time has come to the end, and will automatically teleport you to the faction capital.

I thought it was awesome, because it wraps up your time travel and doesn’t let you to forget that it really was a time travel, the events of the past – not a current reality. Blizzard have finally solved the mish-mash timelines problem and effectively archived the older content. Yet you will have to return to Pandaria in case you have some things left undone – like I had to return and fly to Krasarang to get my water strider mount boots.

In conclusion:

I don’t really see how my leveling journey in older content could have been more educating, smooth or pleasant. And it felt super weird and fun too: as you know that when you end up Dread Wastes, there will be no Draenor, Legion or BfA steps, as well as there are no vanilla, Outland, Northrend or Cataclysm experience behind your back!

Really, really well polished and well done, Blizzard!

P.S.: /played 18h 25m


One thought on “Leveling Experience in Shadowlands: Pandaria Journey

  1. I’m in the process of leveling a Vulpera warlock through WoD as my Chromie Timewalking reality. I have to agree with you. It just feels like I am leveling through it as if it was current relevant content.

    Also, my Zandalari was upper 30s after the level squish and I wasn’t sure how I wanted to push his last 10+ levels. On a whim I had him visit Chromie and inject himself into Legion so I could get the Dreamgrove teleport spell and just did 10 levels in Legion on him. This makes me think swapping your timewalking if you get sick of a reality is going to be very painless. You’ll just pretend you are starting in the new zone as if it was current and relevant for whatever level you are.

    I think they did a great job on Chromie Time. I’m looking forward to leveling more toons to fill out my roster.


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