To give you some perspective I leveled both a LF Ret Paladin and BE Rogue (so one started from level 20 and the other from level 1). I focused on getting the achievements I was missing for the Loremaster, so not the most efficient route by any means. I was using full enchanted heirlooms (minus the ring) and the WoW-Pro addon though, as well as having War Mode turned on all the way.
-New dungeons- About 3/4 are fairly decent, not too long not too short, but none of them are compelling, none make me say to my friends and guildies, "Hey, let's do this instance, I love the theme and encounters." They're dull but tolerable. The other 1/4 of the dungeons just aren't fun and you will groan when you get a mythic Keystone for the Underrot, the snake temple, or Waycrest Manor. Waycrest Manor is actually one of the better dungeons, however, with the new Infested affix, Waycrest Manor suffers from many game-breaking bugs that end in the entire instance being pulled due to doors not properly working as intended.
So much new stuff. The war questline expands. Island expeditions get a couple of new locations to explore. Azerite armor gets tweaked so it’s slightly less stupid than it already is. While we wait for the servers to go back up, Blizzard’s prepared a handy survival guide for Tides of Vengeance. I suggest looking it over, or else risk not surviving at all.
Nightborne - "Isolated behind a protective barrier for 10,000 years, the elves of Suramar grew increasingly dependent upon the arcane magic of the Nightwell. To protect this font of power, the leaders of the Nightborne struck a bargain with the Burning Legion that plunged their kingdom into civil war. After fighting for freedom from their demonic masters, the Nightborne seek allies in the Horde to help them reclaim their place in the world."
If you just care about unlocking the ability to fly in the new expansion, and you should, the site’s Pathfinder tool is a must-bookmark. Its Character Planner is also incredibly useful for getting a sense of what you could (or should) do next, based on your recent activity, the gear you’re wearing (and would like to upgrade), achivements you’re close to unlocking, et cetera. If you want a simpler guide, the site also has a great list of all the activities you should be doing each day and week in Battle for Azeroth.
-Global Cooldown- Almost all spells are now on the global cooldown. This has slowed gameplay down quite a bit and you won't get to use the full potential of your spells cooldowns. For example, you cast a spell that increases your damage for 15 seconds, after the global cooldown and you're able to cast again, you now only have 13.5 seconds to make use of the remaining time. There are far too many spells on the global cooldown that shouldn't be.
Two new raids coming after the initial update differ drastically in size and content, depending on which side of the war you’re on. The Battle of Dazar’alor raid sees Alliance players trying to take over a city, but if you’re part of the horde, your version will see you try to defend it. Once you’ve beaten it once, you can then play the other side. The Crucible of Storms raid, on the other hand, is smaller and only consists of two bosses.
The reason is because higher rank recipes stay orange longer, so you get guaranteed skill points longer. The rank 2 of this recipe turns yellow at 135, while the rank 3 is orange up to 145. The rank 3 also cost fewer materials, so you will save a lot of materials by getting the rank 3. You could actually level to 150 with the rank 2 recipe, but it will be green for the last 8 points, so you will have to spend a lot of extra materials, and there is no reason to rush 150, so I recommend to wait until you get the rank 3.
If you’re jumping back in for Battle for Azeroth, we recommend checking out the big “what to do first” guide from Wowhead. You’re also going to want to brush up on specific advice for your class—both Icy Veins and Wowhead have incredibly detailed guides for all of the game’s combinations of classes and specializations. Make sure you go in and figure out all the new (or changed) talents you’ll be using, and start to memorize a typical combat rotation so you don’t die nearly as much in game’s latest incarnation.
Some quests in my guide are marked as "SKIP" and colored in red. These quests are simply either too hard to solo or not worth the XP/time and are skipped. My guide will only list SKIPPED quests if the quest is a direct follow up after completing a quest, not one that you have to click the NPC again to get it. If you hover over the skipped quests, it will give info on why it is skipped in the guide (unless that info is already listed directly in the guide text).
In addition, you'll want to pick up leg and shoulder enchants and have them in your bags. These enchants have a level requirement of 80/85, but can't be placed on items above iLVL 136. You can get around this by having a level 85-100 character apply the enchant before mailing it to the character you're leveling, thus getting use of the enchants before level 85. I've personally confirmed that this works.
At the end of Legion, the titan Sargeras was imprisoned, but not before he plunged his sword into the planet Azeroth. This not only devastated a massive area (much of the desert zone of Silithus is now cracked and scorched), but badly wounded the gestating titan inside. While the heroes managed to ablate the worst of the damage (at the cost of the majority of their artifact weapons' mythic power), the world is still wounded and bleeding a substance called "Azerite," which has great magical potential. The Horde Warchief, Sylvanas Windrunner, attempts to consolidate Horde power on Kalimdor and gain a monopoly on Azerite (which is primarily found at the southern end of the continent). Her campaign to do so, the War of Thorns, formed a pre-launch event for the expansion and ends with the major Night Elf holdings on the continent seized or (in the case of their capital city of Darnassus) annihilated. The Alliance makes a retaliatory strike against her home base, the Undercity, which was formerly the human capital of Lordaeron. This succeeds in driving the Horde out, but before leaving Sylvanas saturates the area with disease and toxins that render it uninhabitable. With this tit-for-tat military exchange, the Horde has almost complete control over Kalimdor, while the Alliance has near-total dominion over the Eastern Kingdoms. With further conflict inevitable, Battle for Azeroth takes the two factions to the continents of Kul Tiras and Zandalar to recruit new allies in order to turn the tides of war.
Players’ relationships with the NPCs around them have been hit-and-miss over the years. One of the original issues with Thrall, the Horde’s original Warchief, is that players began to refer to him as “green Jesus,” because of how infinitely powerful and infallible he was. But he’s been gone since the Warlord of Draenor expansion, and with the death of Varian Wrynn and Vol’Jin at the start of Legion, the old guard hasn’t been there to guide players the same way as it used to be.
That’s because armor of higher level has higher Azerite power requirements than lower level armor. That means a shiny new piece of Epic gear will have better stats but, unless you’ve been diligent about your Azerite power grind, won’t have as many traits unlocked. You lose options as you earn better gear. Eventually, you’ll grind out enough Azerite to earn those traits back, but you’re left with limited customization until then.
Stormheim is the zone you want to start it. For some reason Legion treasures are not worth any experience like they are in WoD...except in Stormheim. I haven't been able to find out any reason for this, and it's possible it may get fixed/nerfed at a later date. But for the time being you REALLY want to jump from treasure to treasure to augment your quest experience.
This top-end difficulty was missing entirely from Legion’s first raid, Emerald Nightmare, which was cleared by top guilds in around 11 hours. Meanwhile the first guild to clear Uldir’s hardest difficulty, Mythic, spent somewhere around 70 hours attempting to kill the raid’s eight bosses. Even after all that time, the guild, Method, still had members say they loved the raid, and that it was one of their favorite in recent memory.
War Mode: War Mode can be turned on at level 30 through your talent window, and will give you 10% bonus XP. You will, however, be attackable by players of the opposing faction, but changes have been made so that all players have a fair shot in a fight and even low-level players can kill much higher level players, and at least not get ganked and one shotted. Note: As of patch 8.1, you can get an additional call to arms bonus with war mode on if your faction is underepresented.