- Author: Luxrah
- Date: June 16, 2023
- Expansion: World of Warcraft
With nine expansion packs, World of Warcraft today contains an overwhelming amount of content! If you’re a new player or you haven’t leveled a character for a while, you might be feeling a little lost. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the different paths you can take, including:
- Where you’ll start and at what level
- How to use Chromie Time
- How to find quests
- Where to level by expansion
Starting Zones and Levels
Your character’s race and class will determine where you start and at what level.
There are two classes that will override your race’s default starting level and zone, death knight and demon hunter. Each of these classes begins at level 8 in its own unique starting zone.
Beyond these classes, your starting zone and level will depend entirely upon your race.
Core races include all races that were added through the Mists of Pandaria expansion. These races are available to everyone and start at level 1. They each have a unique starting zone, but you can also choose to level in Exile’s Reach, the new starting experience that was added with the Shadowlands expansion. Exile’s Reach is designed as a tutorial for new players whereas the racial starting zones offer more distinctive lore flavor.
Allied Races include all races that have been added to the game since the Legion expansion. They start at level 10. While they each have a unique starting location, they don’t have a full starting experience like the core races do. Instead you will have a single breadcrumb quest that leads you to your faction’s capital city.
These races must be unlocked by completing special achievements or questlines. You can check out our Allied Race Guide for detailed walkthroughs to unlock each of these these races.
The Vindicaar (Argus)
Suramar City (Suramar)
As the newest race/class, dracthyr evokers get to start at a much higher level than other characters. Before you can play one, you’ll need to have at least one level 60 character on your account. Dracthyr can only be evokers and vice-versa. Their starting zone is The Forbidden Reach, one of the new zones in the Dragon Isles.
What is Chromie Time?
Chromie Time is a commonly used nickname for a the Timewalking Campaign feature that was added in the Shadowlands pre-patch. By talking to Chromie in your faction’s capital city, you can choose to change your current timeline and level through any of the previous expansions. The content will scale with your level all the way to level 60, so you won’t need to worry about whether you’re in the right zone for your level. You can just enjoy the campaign.
Before you can access Chromie Time, you will need to have at least one level 60 character on your account.
Chromie Time can only be used by characters who are below level 60. When you select a timeline, you’ll be phased into a different instance of the game where creatures will scale to your level. Certain other aspects of the game may be affected by the phasing as well. For example, Undercity and Darnassus are both inaccessible in Dragonflight, but you can still visit them through Chromie Time. You can speak to Chromie at any time to return to the current timeline.
Chromie will give you a quest to start you off on the campaign for the expansion you selected. Dungeons for that expansion will also become available in the Dungeon Finder. Otherwise you are still free to go wherever you like and even do quests from other expansions.
One thing to note is that Chromie Time still preserves the minimum level for each zone. So although you can stay in the zones all the way to 60 and continue to gain experience, you still won’t be able to jump into a zone that is too high for your current level. Level ranges for every zone can be found in our main Exploration Guide.
How to Use Chromie Time
To start a Timewalking Campaign, you will need to locate Chromie in your faction’s capital city. She can be found sitting on top of her hourglass near the embassy in either Orgrimmar or Stormwind. Speak with her and you will be able to select a timeline.
Timewalking Campaign Options
The only expansions that do not currently have Timewalking Campaigns are Battle for Azeroth and Dragonflight. Those two expansions must be approached by other methods. Here are the options for the other expansions.
This campaign aims to take you through content from the Cataclysm expansion, which includes reworked versions of the vanilla zones. The breadcrumb quest will send you to the Hero’s Call Board (Alliance) or Warchief’s Command Board (Horde) to get started. There you can choose from numerous zones in your home continent to get started. The exact quest Chromie gives you depends upon your faction:
- Alliance: ! Cataclysm: Onward to Adventure in the Eastern Kingdoms
- Horde: ! Cataclysm: Onward to Adventure in Kalimdor
Portal to Outland
This campaign aims to take you through the Burning Crusade expansion. The breadcrumb quest, ! Burning Crusade: To Outland!, leads to the Dark Portal in Blasted Lands, which you must pass through to get to Outland. From there you can begin questing in Hellfire Peninsula or the Outland zone of your choice.
Fall of the Lich King
This campaign aims to take you through the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. The breadcrumb quest will send you to Northrend, where you can continue questing in the zone where you landed or another zone of your choice. You can choose to start in Howling Fjord or Borean Tundra. The version of the quest Chromie gives you to depends upon your faction:
Wilds of Pandaria
This campaign aims to take you through the Mists of Pandaria Expansion. The breadcrumb quest will send you to your faction leaders in your capital city. From there you’ll head to Pandaria, where you can begin questing in The Jade Forest or the Pandaria zone of your choice. The version of the quest Chromie gives you depends upon your faction:
The Iron Horde
This campaign aims to take you through the Warlords of Draenor expansion. The breadcrumb quest, ! Warlords of Draenor: The Dark Portal, leads to the Dark Portal in Blasted Lands, which you will pass through to complete the special Assault on the Dark Portal quest chain. From there you will establish your garrison in Shadowmoon Valley (Alliance) or Frostfire Ridge (Horde) and can begin questing in Draenor.
The Legion Invasion
This campaign aims to take you through the Legion expansion. The breadcrumb quest will send you to your faction’s main port to ship off for the Battle for Broken Shore scenario. From there you’ll be sent to Dalaran and can continue with your class order hall and artifact weapon quests or begin questing in the zone of your choice. The version of the quest Chromie gives you depends upon your faction:
The Realms of Death
This campaign aims to take you through the Shadowlands expansion. The breadcrumb quest leads you to meet Darion Mograine in your faction’s capital city. He will send you to complete a special quest chain that takes you through an instanced version of Icecrown Citadel and The Maw before landing you in Oribos, the main city of The Shadowlands. From there you’ll be able to continue questing in Bastion or the Shadowlands zone of your choice. The version of the quest Chromie gives you depends upon your faction:
How to Level Without Chromie Time
Leveling without Chromie Time is the same as leveling with it, except that zones will not scale all the way to 60, so you will have to move on when you out-level them. You also won’t get a breadcrumb quest from Chromie. You’ll have to start each zone via one of the other methods below.
How to Find Quests
Beyond the initial quests that Chromie will give you (or if you choose not to use Chromie), you can start new zones and storylines through one of three ways:
- Through the Adventure Guide
- From a Hero’s Call Board (Alliance) or Warchief’s Command Board (Horde)
- Head directly to the zone and look for quests on your map
We’ll go through each of these methods in the sections below.
Using the Adventure Guide
The Adventure Guide can be opened through the micro-menu in your interface or with a hotkey (Shift-J by default). Click on the Suggested Content tab and you will be able to browse recommended quests and other content for your level.
Using the Hero’s Call Board and Warchief’s Command Board
There are bulletin boards scattered throughout Stormwind and Orgrimmar, as well as in other locations throughout the world. They will offer breadcrumb quests for three different zones at any given time. If you don’t see an option you like, you can accept the ones that are there and new ones will appear. Then you can abandon the ones you don’t want.
For Alliance, a Hero’s Call Board can be found in the center of the Trade District in Stormwind.
For Horde, a Warchief’s Command Board can be found next to Grommash Hold in Orgrimmar.
Finding Quests in Zones
There’s one other option if you have a good idea of where you want to go. You can head straight to the zone you want to quest through and simply look for quest markers (!) on your map. In most cases you will be able to start the zone’s quests right there on the spot. But keep in mind that many zones have prerequisites that must be met before their quests become available. You’ll also be missing out on a tiny bit of extra XP from the breadcrumb quests.
Quests that are too low to give any experience at your level won’t show up on your map unless you enable Trivial Quests under Tracking. You also won’t be able to see any quests that are too high for your level.
Where to Level by Expansion
Each expansion in World of Warcraft has unique content. For the sake of both efficiency and coherence, picking one expansion and sticking with it as long as you can will usually make for the best experience. With that said, Azeroth is a big place and you can go wherever you want!
Here’s a quick summary of each expansion and its zones.
Vanilla World of Warcraft
The Cataclysm expansion completely reworked the original vanilla zones across Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. You can no longer access those old versions of the zones in retail WoW, not even through Chromie Time. Those zones are only available in WoW Classic.
The Burning Crusade
The Burning Crusade was the first expansion for World of Warcraft, and it added a completely separate world to visit. Outland is the shattered remains of the orc homeworld, Draenor. The world has been invaded by the Burning Legion and is infested with fel forces. Expect to spend some time fighting demons if you go there.
The starting level for Outland zones ranges from 10 to 25, with Hellfire Peninsula serving as the typical jumping off point. Without Chromie Time, these zones cap out at level 30. An alternate universe version of Draenor is also in the game now, added by the Warlords of Draenor expansion – so be careful of confusing them!
The Burning Crusade added a few zones to Azeroth as well: Azuremyst Isle and Bloodmyst Isle are low-level zones for draenor characters, while Eversong Woods and Ghostlands are low-level zones for blood elves. The Isle of Quel’Danas was also added as a daily quest hub in the Eastern Kingdoms, but it’s not a very effective place to level.
Check out our guide How to Get to Outland for a walkthrough of how to start the Burning Crusade campaign.
Wrath of the Lich King
Wrath of the Lich King added the first new continent to Azeroth, Northrend. A frozen tundra near the northern pole of the globe, Northrend is home to the Lich King and his Scourge. You can expect to encounter a lot of undead and a lot of snow if you go.
The starting level for Northrend zones ranges from 10 to 25, with Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord serving as the best starting points. Without Chromie Time, these zones cap out at level 30.
Check out our guide How to Get to Northrend for a walkthrough of how to start the Wrath of the Lich King campaign.
The Cataclysm expansion completely overhauled the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, replacing the original vanilla zones with ones that had been designed with flying in mind. It also added some completely new zones to the world, including Vashj’ir, the first entirely-underwater zone.
The starting levels for the revamped vanilla zones ranges from 1 to 15, and caps out at level 30 without Chromie Time. These zones can be accessed by flightpath or on foot from your faction’s cities.
Cataclysm also added a couple of starting zones to the map: Gilneas for worgen and Kezan and Lost Isles for goblins.
The other completely new zones added by the expansion start at level 30 and cap out at 35 without Chromie Time. These zones can all be accessed by portal in your faction’s capital city. The Cataclysm portals are in a different place than the main portal room. Check out our Stormwind Portals & Boats and Orgrimmar Portals & Zeppelins guides or details about their locations and how to unlock them.
Mists of Pandaria
The Mists of Pandaria expansion added another new continent to Azeroth. Pandaria is at the far south of the map and is home to the pandaren.
The starting level for Pandaria zones ranges from 10 to 35, with The Jade Forest serving as the main launch zone. Without Chromie Time, these zones cap out at level 35.
Mists of Pandaria also added The Wandering Isle, the pandaren starting zone, near The Maelstrom.
Check out our guide How to Get to Pandaria for a walkthrough of how to start the Mists of Pandaria campaign.
Warlords of Draenor
The Warlords of Draenor expansion added an alternate-universe version of the planet Draenor to the game – a version of the world that has not been shattered like what is now Outland. It includes revamped versions of some Outland zones as well as some new ones.
The starting level for Draenor zones ranges from 10 to 40, and they cap out at 40 without Chromie Time. Alliance will typically start in Shadowmoon Valley and Horde in Frostfire Ridge, and it’s recommended that you complete the quests in your launch zone that unlock your garrison before moving on. The garrison is a major feature of the Warlords of Draenor expansion.
Check out our guide How to Get to Draenor for a walkthrough of how to start the Warlords of Draenor campaign, including the Assault on the Dark Portal introductory quest chain.
The Legion expansion added the Broken Isles to Azeroth, a new continent in the center of the map that houses the Tomb of Sargeras. The expansion marked the return of the Burning Legion, the main enemy faction of the Burning Crusade expansion, and you’ll once again encounter a lot of demons in its content.
The starting level for Legion zones ranges from 10 to 45, and they cap at 45 without Chromie Time. The city of Dalaran serves as your jumping off point, and you can quest through any zone on the main continent in any order you wish, with only Suramar requiring a higher level (45). The expansion also added Argus, the Burning Legion home world. There are three level 45 zones in this world, and they’re not really designed for leveling. There is also Mardum, the Shattered Abyss, the starting zone for demon hunters.
Beyond the Broken Isles and Argus zones you’ll be able to complete a class-specific quest campaign that will unlock special artifact weapons and your class order hall. These quests make Legion an especially popular expansion to level through because each class campaign is a completely different experience. For a walkthrough, check out our guide How to Unlock the Legion Campaign & Order Hall.
Battle for Azeroth
The Battle for Azeroth expansion pitted the Alliance and Horde against each other, giving each a major foothold in a new continent. Kul Tiras was added to the map as a primarily-Alliance continent, and Zandalar was added for Horde.
The starting level for Battle for Azeroth zones ranges from 10 to 50, and they go all the way to 60. Chromie Time is not available or needed for this expansion. You’ll have to start in the main city for your faction (Boralus or Daz’aralor), but from there you can go wherever you wish.
Check out our guides for How to Unlock the Battle for Azeroth Campaign as well as How to Get to Zandalar and How to Get to Kul Tiras. The Mechagon and Nazjatar zones require level 50 and must be unlocked by completing a quest chain. We have guides for that too – How to Get to Mechagon and How to Get to Nazjatar.
The Shadowlands expansion brought us into the afterlife, adding the Shadowlands realm to the game. The Shadowlands is made up of several separate zones floating off on their own.
The starting level for most Shadowlands zones is 10, and they cap out between 53 and 60 without Chromie Time. There are two level 60 zones, The Maw and Zereth Mortis, which aren’t good places to level. You’ll start your Shadowlands campaign in Oribos after completing a short scenario in The Maw, and from there you’ll be able to go on to Bastion or any zone you wish.
Check out our guide How to Get to the Shadowlands for a walkthrough of how to start the Shadowlands campaign.
Where to Level in Dragonflight
When you reach level 60, your only option to continue leveling is in the Dragon Isles. The Dragon Isles were added by the latest expansion and serve as the ancient homeland of the dragonflights.
The starting levels for Dragonflight zones ranges from 58 to 70, and they cap at between 64 and 70 (with 70 being the current maximum level in the game). You’ll start out in The Waking Shores, and on your first character you’ll need to follow the main story campaign through the zones in order. Subsequent characters can change things up. There are two level 70 zones that aren’t good for leveling, The Forbidden Reach and Zaralek Cavern.
Check out our guide How to Get to the Dragon Isles for a walkthrough of how to start the Dragonflight campaign.
A major feature of Dragonflight is dragonriding, which you’ll learn early on in The Waking Shores. Our guide to the Dragonriding Tree and All Glyph Locations can help you get the most out of this feature so you can navigate the Dragon Isles with ease.