Questing vs Grinding

TL;DR - Is pure grinding faster for 1-60 than a mixture of grinding and questing, on average?

Simple title, simple question. If one is looking for the most efficient way to level, would you recommend questing or grinding? I’ve heard that simply grinding mobs from 1-60 is technically faster than doing quests, for a variety of reasons ranging from saving time on having to find groups, to not having to compete for specific quest mobs, to not having to run back and forth between quest NPCs, etc etc etc.

However I have to also wonder how feasible it would be to attempt 1-60 purely through grinding, that is, never bothering to pick up ANY quests and just killing things nonstop. On one hand I feel like it may end up being slightly more difficult over time since you’re not really gaining any targeted gear, rather just at the mercy of whatever greens/blues RNGsus decides to reward you with. On the other hand, I am legitimately curious what the average time frames are for one method over the other.

I’ve never tested it out or seen concrete numbers but word on the street is questing is faster till around 30 or so then grinding mobs is faster since alot of the later zones send you running around all over the place.

From what I’ve read it’s a combo.


I feel like ordinarily questing will give you the best xp/hr, provided you are grinding between quest hubs and zones.

However, during launch (provided we don’t have sharding, or at least limited sharding) quest mobs are probably going to be camped to absolute death. as such, it might be higher xp/hr to grind out levels in zones with low/no quests if you have access to them (e.g. desolace).

The efficiency of grinding is also very dependent on your class, Mages for instance can AoE down 20-40 mobs provided they can be kited safely (much better than a warrior who has to eat bewteen every 1-2 mobs).

Fastest to least:

  1. AoE grinding on Rested XP

  2. Questing + Grinding World record is 4days 20 hours.

  3. AoE grinding w/o Rested XP

  4. ST grinding w/ Rested

  5. Strictly questing (ie running straight to objectives, not grinding as you move)

  6. ST grinding non rested

  7. Dungeon Spamming

I MOSTLY ST grind when I level once I hit contested zones, since PvP action slows down leveling more than anything, and I use optimal leveling talents rather than optimal pvp talents to level up with…With a mixture of Rested and Non rested XP, I can get a lock to cap in ~6.5 played and a rogue to cap in around 7.5.

That’s over a full day behind optimized power questing (questing + grinding mobs to and from any quest objectives), and an additional day for a slower leveling class

Questing is better than just grinding.

it’s pretty necessary for some classes as classes have quests for certain skills and abilities.

Also, gathering a bunch of quests for instances means you have much better gear as you level, and minimizes any xp loss from grouping, as well as making any grinding you end up doing easier.

Nitpicking here a bit, but two things:

Mage AoE grinding really only really works for the first couple of mages to level up… after that, they get too much competition to really effectively AoE grind, from what I’ve seen.

As for Warrior efficiency (or rogue, since it’s one of the comparably slow classes)… or really any class, you should be able to kill 5+ mobs without stopping to eat in ideal circumstances. Casters need to use their wands effectively and invoke the “5 second rule” (spirit starts regenning mana after 5 seconds of not casting) to reduce their downtime. If you are having difficulty sustaining that many mobs in a row, you are fighting the wrong mobs for grind- leveling, and probably want to look for something 2-3 levels lower. Mobs on the yellow/green - fully green level range are the ideal targets and can be mowed down with near impunity.

The only ones who really might have to stop and eat/drink are:
-Mages playing ST style instead of AoE grinding
-Elemental Shaman, who are the fastest TTK (time to kill) specs in the game after hitting 40, and can find it faster to just hiroshima bomb nuke mobs to death and drink as they level.

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Fair points. Since warrior and Rogue are so dependent on gear however to up their efficiency, I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of players did struggle after 2-3 mobs just because they are lacking gear during the week post launch (not saying this will be the case, just my opinion). A lot of green items that give huge dps boosts won’t be getting posted on the AH and if they are you probably don’t have the money to spare.

Warriors grinding on mobs 2-3 levels down defeats the purpose of grinding as it kills xp gain.

At that point might as well be questing and tanking instances, which a warrior needs to know how to do in vanilla anyway.

You take a massive xp hit with just 1 level down.

What you should do grinding is kill the mob, pop brage and bandage, then go for the next mob. You should be able to do that with equal level mobs.

I know quests gave a lot less back then but I still think it would be fastest to include quests, and grind in between. You don’t have to do every quest in a zone, just the big chunks. You get a quest to kill ten boars, do that, then kill all the boars.

I once knew a guy who did grind all the way to 60 though, for the purpose of going back and completing the quests at 60 so they gave more gold. He had a lot of free time.

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Fastest I leveled a Warrior on old Elysium forsaking professions was 7 days 14 hours. I utilized a combination of bulk quests group and solo and dungeon spamming in the mid 30s+40s to get a gear advantage as I hit 50. Having Blackstone ring, Raging Berserker Helm, Herod’s Shoulder, Stoneslayer from Uldaman, and a cheap pair of Obsidian Greaves for 1g with a minor speed enchant, I cruised to 55 from 48 in 1 day 12 hours just killing mobs in Blasted Lands and Deadwind Pass. The moment I hit 55 I did some basic prep work for attunements and grinded BRD to 60. Took that Warrior only 89 runs for his Ironfoe. The other 2 I made were in the 200-run range each.

Early on, just rend and hamstring everything. Utilize cooking for bonus spirit. Bandage and bloodrage. Once you hit 36 you get whirlwind. Grinding mobs 1-2 levels below you is not foolhardy. I grinded Thousand Needles basilisks for about 20 hours over a 2-day period on Northdale, when the zone was hotly-contested. Made over 60g in raw greys sold. Super easy 34->40 push as well as 500-600 HKs. Once those mobs were green and yellow I had absolutely zero downtime. I could chug a potion and kill 4 or 5 at a time, or bandage and do 3 at a time. My Warrior was one of the first with the UBRS key as well because I just sat down and grinded and did bulk quests. Don’t do the insane run around quests if your goal is to level fast. Linken’s quest is cool but not worth the time.

Dungeons are worth it if your group is capable. Doing a full Maraudon clear is not worth it unless you have a group of guys who want to do it all in 2 hours and ask you to pull fast. Spending 4 or 5 hours to do the outside quests and inside quests when you can’t use anything at level 45-46, just because you have all the quests, is not worth it. Just go to Feralas and grind Nagas south of Feathermoon Stronghold for golden pearls and Edgemasters, and minimal downtime.

For almost any class outside of maybe mages who can AOE grind you’ll always be better off doing quests. Especially if you won’t have rested exp all the time. There were a couple weird gaps in questing where you had to grind but for the majority of the time you’ll have yellow quests in your level range to do.

Currently leveling a warlock on a naughty server with the goal of doing a practice run (or two) for launch, and I concur with the majority here. The combo seems most efficient, especially (as Apoc) says, in contested zones. Ganking and other things like the opposite faction killing questgivers on a crowded server really slows you down.

I’ve been completing quests as I’m able to but if not, I don’t sweat it and just grind. On a warlock, there’s so little downtime that it’s easy and the time goes by very fast.

Here is what I do and recommend. Go to your level zone and pick up all the quests. As you travel to the quest location kill everything. Don’t do any quests that require crazy travel. Although these long travel quests are fun they slow leveling down. The only exception is class quests. It’s true grinding is faster but supplement it with quests as well. Always log off in an inn to get rested xp. Get your mount the moment you turn 40 for faster travel. Even though this goes against the spirit of vanilla avoid group quests when possible. If you do an instance make sure to grab all the quests first and just do it once. Best classes for speed are hunter and Druid. Worst is probably paladin for slow dps and warrior for downtime. Mages have a lot of downtime too but you make up for it killing groups of mobs. Good luck.

Warrior is gunna be a pain in the ace to level up no matter what.

And you dont just “GET” whirlwind at 36 lol… Its a little harder then that especially if its the first toon you roll and everyone is leveling and not going to help you.

BUT if you go through the pain of leveling warrior and then getting some gear it is the most OP god status any class has ever been outside of S5 DK’s when it comes to the patch they’re going to start us on.

What I plan to do.
Grab quests.
Go to quest destinations killing everything on the way.
Complete quests.
Kill mobs on way back to quest giver.

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If you want to level as quickly as possible I recommend using a good guide. Here is a very good and detailed one.

What do you mean for the “first couple of mages to level up”? You don’t AoE grind in groups. At least not in Vanilla.

AoE grinding wasn’t worth it. While leveling the conditions had to be perfect with no competition. The only place where you could Aoe down enough mobs to make a huge difference early on were the murlocs in one of the swamp areas. And even then Blizzard indirectly nerfed it by added a lot more ranged murlocs. You got a respawn from one of the ranged, you were running for your life, probably pull a croc or spider then died.

There were pirates in Tanaris but again, only select packs - 6 at a time because there were ranged units thrown in.

AoE was fun and when done right a little faster, but it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.

DM and Mara however, was real - until then nerfed it or flat out made it impossible.

Edit: Regarding “multiple mages aoe”, I now remember there was some “feature” on one of the “Vanilla like” private servers where you got bonus xp or some nonsense. Is that what you were talking about?

Talking about solo leveling, just referring to the fact that the ideal aoe grind packs at widely known by this point and it’s much less worthwhile to bother trying to farm them when there’s other people around competing for the mobs.

The pirates in Tanaris, for example at only 6 total pulls between the desert camps (east of Gadz) and the pirate encampment on the south east coast) . The 2 locations are slightly different levels, and can be quickly leveled on by 2 different mages (one at each), but you’re going to be sitting around waiting on respawn more than you’re killing things with 4 mages trying to do this (2 at each)… or even just random levelers coming in and pulling mobs from your intended packs.

So imo aoe grinding only really works well for the first few mages that level up on a server, because the zones are simply too crowded unless you are ahead of the pack, particularly when every single mage believes themselves to be the smartest in the world, and the only one to ever think about aoe grinding one of the few pulls per each leveling bracket, despite the fact that there’s countless guides everywhere all talking about the same couple of spots.

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Joanna’s is good, but I’d caution people that it’s written to be completed by a hunter or warlock, since it’s written for pure speed leveling. It’s not impossible for weaker leveling classes, but it does send you after orange level quests /mobs at times and weaker classes might have some issues there as a result.

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