If you haven’t been keeping a close eye on Shadowlands development, you might not know about some changes to leveling that can be extremely frustrating if you are not prepared for them.
While leveling to 60 for the first time, your questing is limited to an ‘on rails’ experience with the story. There is a set sequence of events that are controlled by the Campaign quests.
Campaign quests are clearly differentiated from side quests by the shield icon surrounding the normal quest exclamation mark or question mark icons over the heads of quest givers. These quests are also separated into their own section in the quest log.
Travel to the different zones are locked behind story break-points in the campaign. For example, you cannot get to Bastion unless you finish the Maw introduction and do the quests that send you on a tour around Oribos city. Travel to the next zone is locked behind completion of the campaign in your current zone.
Further, each zone has a break-point where you cannot get the next quest in the campaign until you have reached that quest’s level requirement. For example, about 3/4ths through the Bastion campaign, there is a quest you cannot receive until level 53. If you are level 52, you won’t even see a grayed out icon over the quest-giver’s head, you will just be stuck with no quest, and no indication of what you should do.
The most important of these break-points comes in Revendreth. There is a point in the Campaign that you cannot continue past until you have reached 60. behind that quest is all the endgame content of choosing covenants, earning renown, everything.
For this last break-point, at least, there is a gray quest icon over the guy’s head so you know what the problem is.
IIRC there is one of these level break-points in each of the 4 zones. I know for sure there is one at 53 in Bastion, and one at 60 in Revendreth. I believe the breakpoints are 55 in Maldraxxus, and 57 in Ardenweald, but I am not 100% sure about those. The break-points will occur usually almost at the end of the Campaign for each zone. Right after you uncover the plot to (redacted) or rescue (redacted) from (redacted).
IF YOU DO CAMPAIGN QUESTS ONLY, YOU WILL NOT REACH REQUIRED LEVEL THRESHOLDS TO PROGRESS THROUGH THE REST OF THE CAMPAIGN IN YOUR CURRENT ZONE, OR PROGRESS TO THE NEXT ZONE.
This is slightly less true if you are playing with WM on. The bonus really helps, especially on the 30% side. BUT, it is generally not enough to get to every break-point.
YOU NEED TO DO MORE THAN JUST THE CAMPAIGN.
How much more, and what to do for ‘more’ depends a lot on how you play. If you stealth past as many mobs as you can with WM off, you will have a lot more to make up for than the guy who has WM on and kills every single mob that comes in range. Those mobs add up. Gathering helps too, so does exploring, but the thing that makes the biggest difference is doing some side quests.
SIDE QUESTS ARE YOUR BEST BET TO MAKE UP THE XP SHORTFALL.
Depending on how you play, the number of side quests you need to do will differ. But you will want to do ‘some’ in almost every zone.
SIDE QUESTS/MOBS DO NOT SCALE WITH YOU. QUESTS/MOBS FROM PREVIOUS ZONES CAN GO GREEN OR GRAY. DO SIDE QUESTS AS SOON AS YOU GET THEM.
Do side quests as soon as you get them. If you are 58 or 59 and try to go back to Bastion to do some side quests, they will be trivial and give trivial amounts of XP. If you had done those same quests while still at 52 or 53 they would have filled a much larger % of your XP bar.
Dungeon quests will also help, but you don’t get the dungeon quest for each zone until after you have passed that zone’s level break-point. It’s offered usually just as you are leaving the zone to go report back to Oribos. Those quests will help with the next zone, but not the zone it comes from.
NONE OF THIS HAS TO APPLY TO YOUR ALTS WHEN THEY LEVEL.
Mostly, all of this will only apply to the first toon you take through the SL leveling experience. Once you have hit 60 and done the tutorial introducing you to the covenant and renown systems, all four zones become scaled to you at 60 again, and you will unlock “Threads of Fate”, a separate leveling system for alts.
Threads of Fate is a little bit like ‘Chromie Time’ for SL. ToF allows your alts to do zones and quests in whatever order you want them to, all the zones and quests will scale with your alts as they move around, AND alts can choose a covenant right from the start and progress with that covenant during the 51-60 leveling process. I’m not gonna go into detail about ToF here, because this thread is about warning folks about the perils of the on rails experience required on the first time through.
Full disclosure, you CAN choose to let your alts do the zones in the ‘on rails’ version, but I have no idea why someone would want to do that, given the clear advantages of the ToF options.
I hope this PSA will help someone avoid the fate of my first beta toon, hitting the final campaign break-point at 58 and having nothing to do but grind mobs for a level and a half in order to progress the story.
TLDR: Go look at the bold ALLCAPS points.
EDIT: Even if you don’t like WM, it is worth turning on before you go into the Maw intro, as there is no PvP allowed in the intro. It’s free XP you can get and then turn off right before you leave Oribos for Bastion, Or leave on and turn off as soon as it bugs you. Remember WM can only be activated in a home city, but can be de-activated in ANY rest area.
EDIT #2: I copied some Q&A I thought might be useful for those who don’t want to wade through the whole thread.
From what i understand, pathfinder this cycle is going to be based on renown.
Currently there is no Shadowlands Pathfinder Part One in the game.
No, Dungeon quests are side quests.
I have brought many toons to 60 and have not done one dungeon run, saving them for the lIve game experience.
I am about 99% sure you just have to do the whole thing once to get an achievement that unlocks both sides.
Sort of. The zone order is Bastion -> Maldraxxus -> Ardenweald -> Revendreth.
There are breakpoints in each zone that will not allow you to pick up the next quest until you hit the required level. The one in Bastion is at 53, the one in Revendreth is at 60. iv’e never hit the Maldraxxus or Ardenweald ones so my info about those are less firm, but they do exist. I think they are 55 (maybe 54 now) in Maldraxxus and 57 in Ardenweald.
You can’t just leave one zone and head to the next when you think you have leveled enough. You have to progress the campaign in order to get the guys in Oribos to make a flightpoint for you.
You also have to do the campaign to unlock endgame systems.
If you sit in Oribos and queue BG to 60, you will still have to do the whole campaign in order to unlock endgame systems.
And again, this is just for your first toon to go through Shadowlands leveling. Finishing the campaign unlocks the alternative leveling path.
XP from PvP will help you reach break-points. PvP will not help you do anything at all with the required campaign.
LATEST EDIT: It has just been confirmed on WowHead that the Draught of Ten Lands will not work for level 50 toons. I guess some folks using party sync were abusing it, so now it’s being disabled for everyone.
EDIT!: I just checked on the “Draught of Ten Lands” the ones I thought would work. They are marked in the beta as requiring level 50 or below. The Disclaimer does not display until you are over the level limit. SO… You could pop one as you start leveling and it will help you get to 51 faster, but they will be useless after that. I believe some do, the ones you buy with tokens. not 100% sure on that, I never tried them. I was focused on what those who tried to do just the campaign would experience, not trying to powerlevel.
It is separated, but they still count towards the 25. AFAIK that limit has not been changed. At no time did I hit the limit.
Very easy. One of the things you do in Oribos before setting out to Bastion, is to set up portals back to your home cities portal rooms. In the portal rooms right now, you can see the place waiting to be used for an Oribos portal.