The Horde 12-20 (Barrens + Stonetalon Mountains) guide has been rewritten and revamped.  In addition, there has been numerous tweaks to the speedrun route to make things faster and easier to follow.  Also, in case you haven't noticed I am now adding about 40% more info per step and redoing all the images.  Unlike with my previous vanilla guides, I am now giving a brief explanation of where to go and what to do with each step along with any other helpful tips.
Class abilities were reworked dramatically across the board, with some still needing a serious balance pass. That left many players not only feeling underpowered, but having to learn how to play their characters all over again. Bosses in large-group raid dungeons that were easily killed each week by experienced guilds of players suddenly became challenging again, or worse, completely unkillable, halting forward momentum on old content for a good chunk of the high-end player base.
No matter your experience level—whether you’re about to experience the thrill of hearing the Stormwind City theme as you walk through its epic gates for the first time, or whether you can spell Ahn’Qiraj off the top of your head—here are some tips and suggestions for making the most of your new life in the World of Warcraft (or your epic, Illidan-like return to Azeroth.)
The prepatch for Battle for Azeroth first hit on July 17th, but the first real pieces of story weren't available until this week (more on that in a minute). The storyline is called the War of the Thorns, and it's intended to hype up the faction-vs.-faction conflict that makes up the core of BfA. Instead, it feels like it's sucking the air out of the room.
Just like player item levels, the game's professions have become pretty bloated over time. Blizzard has made some updates to the leveling process before but Battle for Azeroth features a skill squish that should smooth things out considerably. Instead of having to level hundreds of points before you can start crafting Battle for Azeroth items, each expansion will have its own separate skill tier. In other words, you can start crafting Battle for Azeroth content right away, while the gear and items from other expansions will each feature their own separate counters. Your first Battle for Azeroth item will put you at 1/150 on the counter for the new expansion, no more grinding needed.
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.[4] 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.[4]
You can also kick up your feet and watch your way through World of Warcraft’s story via Blizzard’s incredible cinematics—one of the company’s cornerstones. Sure, you’ll be spoiling yourself for parts of the game you have yet to uncover, and you might not know the importance of the various characters you’re watching, but you’ll at least get a pretty good sense of how World of Warcraft operates. Also, did we mention that Blizzard’s cinematics are gorgeous? We’d rather watch these than the Warcraft movie, that’s for sure.

Island Expeditions are three-man scenarios that pit the team against three enemies using what Blizzard calls “advanced A.I.” That means the enemies will act more like players, pursuing goals proactively and filling class roles. The expeditions take inspiration from action RPGs, with randomized areas that mix up the experience each time. Players’ main goal will be obtaining resources more quickly than their foes, and expeditions should last 15 to 20 minutes. While primarily meant for PvE, there is a PvP mode that replaces the opposing A.I. with teams from the enemy faction.


This was a seriously entertaining read. Your unapologetic style of writing about this topic fit so perfectly. Unfortunately, I had to choke back a laugh more than once at work and now a few of my coworkers are looking at me funny. . .Speaking of which, special shout-out to that Fortnite entry. Anyway, I'd personally like to add Hello Neighbor to the list. (I know it technically launched in Dec 2017, but it continued assaulting new consoles in 2018 so I'm arguing it counts.) What started as an unexpectedly fun balance between straight-up goofiness and an intriguingly dark backdrop transformed into an unfinished mess I cannot fathom to this day. Even the betas and alphas added new problems before fixing any of the old ones like it was nobody's business. At least YouTube playthroughs provided ample warning on that one.P.S. I highly recommend videogamedunkey's review of Super Seducer to anyone willing to listen.
Allied races: Our new allies will join the factions and players will be able to unlock the ability to play their race. There are 6 planned for launch. Horde: Nightborne, Highmountain tauren, Zandalari troll. Alliance: Void elf, Lightforged draenei, Dark Iron dwarf. Additional races are planned for the future. Receive a Heritage Armor set, if you level an allied race character to level 110.[5][6]

New to Patch 8.1 is a new leveling flask called the Draught of Ten Lands which increases all primary and secondary stats by 20 and experience gained by 10%. This effect lasts for one hour and persists through death, similar to other battle flasks. This item can be purchased using a new Patch 8.1 currency called  7th Legion Service Medal or  Honorbound Service Medal which can be earned doing the new incursions and Warfront activities. Simple earn these medals on your main character, purchase the flasks, and send them to your other characters. The cost is 10 of the medals. 

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.
Most classes in World of Warcraft start at first level, but Death Knights and Demon Hunters are exceptions. They start at level 55 and 98, respectively. This alone can shave a huge chunk of time from your leveling experience. Of course, it only works if you want to play a Death Knight or Demon Hunter, but they’re both solid classics that can dish out damage or tank in a group.
That lack of storytelling agency may soon change with Patch 8.1, Tides of Vengeance, which is coming to Battle for Azeroth soon. While there are plenty of fun gameplay changes that should make the expansion better, one of the most interesting additions is that of choice. In an upcoming quest, players will be able to choose whether they want to support Saurfang or Sylvanas — essentially honor or evil — in the struggle for Horde warchief.

Before anyone asks - yes there are archived copies of old addon versions both on our github repository and on several of the addon sites we use, and these will continue to be available after Cataclysm comes out, so you'll be able to get those old files if you really want them. I'm not going to bother making these more easily accessible unless you give me a very good reason. "I'm on a private server and I need them since we didn't upgrade to Cataclysm" is a BAD reason - and it's illegal.


Island Expeditions:[5] 3-Player co-op with optional 3v3 gameplay. Players will explore uncharted isles across the Great Sea. There is azerite and other unclaimed resources bubbling to the surface that is highly sought by both factions. Complete varied and dynamic objectives with a large variety of challenges to overcome. Race against advanced AI opponents designed to thwart players using tactical and strategic moves that consistently change. Optionally, players can choose to race against other players, creating a 3v3 PvP environment. 
 ":"  -  Any time a step ends in a ":" instead of a "." means that the next step is part of the current step you are on.  This generally means the next step should be done while working on the current step.  This means every "start working on" or "continue working on" will end in a ":".  But this is used with other occasions as well, so keep this in mind.
Download the game right now, create an account (a new one; not your old one, if you were a previous player), and you’ll be able to level your character all the way to 20 for free. There are other annoying limitations placed on this free experience, but it’s still a great way to familiarize yourself with the world, see if you enjoy the experience as much as you were hoping, and get a feel for the different classes before you settle on a main one to play as for the next 100 levels’ worth of gaming.
Meanwhile, on the island continents introduced in the Battle for Azeroth expansion, players level 110 and above who have unlocked world quests can participate in Faction Assaults. These special events, alternating between Alliance and Horde territory, will give each faction a chance to band together to defend their territory or invade their enemy’s via a series of world quests. The prize? Survival! Also faction, gear and gold. Maybe even some pride.
The Heart of Azeroth is an artifact given to the player character from the world soul via Magni Bronzebeard. It is a necklace that can use the power of Azerite, the lifeblood of the embryonic titan Azeroth (See Plot, below). Azerite is similar in function to Legion's artifact power, in that it is gathered normally from playing the game and is used to upgrade an artifact; likewise, the Heart is similar in function to Legion's artifact weapons by having the capacity to be constantly upgraded. Unlike artifact weapons, however, the Heart is shared with all of the player's specializations and can empower all eligible pieces worn simultaneously.
If you love running old content for transmog items, you'll love the new legacy loot system. Whenever a player enters a dungeon or raid where they are 10 or more levels above the content, the dungeon or raid bosses drop an amount of loot equivalent to what would have dropped for a full group when the content was current. That means players could earn loot for five people in dungeons and loot for 20 people after soloing a raid. The legacy loot system also drops other gear types, like cloth dropping for a plate wearer. It's now much easier to get the transmog gear you want, and you can also collect gear for your alts on the same run.
Buffs. Food/Flasks/Scrolls/Potions/Elixirs are a small, but noticeable, buff to your killing speed and survivability. If you have a max level character that can already supply you with cooking or alchemy, you'll be very well off, because the AH is a cesspool for this. I can't really give you specific foods or potions to look for, since each AH is going to have different supplies. Generally speaking, lower level foods are going to only last 15-20 minutes until you can buy the more powerful versions at 60+. Look for anything that adds versatility or your primary stat, and buy stacks for each level range(1-60/70/80/90/100).
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I like his recommendations 2 level 1-20 zones to get to 20, then do all the 2nd zones since they are designed for walking (Horde: Northern Barrens, Silverpine Forest, Ghostlands, Azshara, & Hillsbrad Foothills if you need a little more. Alliance: Westfall, Loch Modan, Darkshore, Bloodmyst Isle, and if you need a little more Redridge Mtns, or Duskwood). Don't even bother with the higher level areas, too spread out. Finishing up a Monk now and I had done all these zones before the update, the running between quest and the 50% experience cap is driving me crazy.

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.
Even if you don’t have flying in WoD be sure to get the WoD handy notes. If you have flying simply fly and pick up all the treasures that you can and do bonus objectives. Not every single piece of treasure will be worth it though as some are hidden in caves or are just hard to get. So if you find yourself spending more than a few minutes finding a treasure, just skip it and move on, there is plenty of treasure to go around.

Today, I finally found out what the real problem was. I have always had the "Enable Zone Map" feature off, but noticed that I had "Enable Auto Zoom" still enabled. I assumed if you turned the map off, the auto zoom would just automatically not do anything. Turns out, every time I moved, the auto zoom was still collecting information and 'zooming' a map that didn't exist. I've turned it off now and my game is perfect - not a single slowdown. The difference is dramatic.
Allied races are variants of existing races. The Void Elves are a version of Night Elves, while the Highmount Tauren are, you guessed it, a version of the Tauren. Four allied races are already in the game before launch and two more, the Dark Iron Dwarves and Mag’har Orcs, were added after Battle for Azeroth launched. Each Allied Race has its own racial abilities. You can also unlock a heritage armor set by leveling any Allied Race to the level cap.
If you’re a returning player, consider paying for a month’s worth of playing time—a mere $15—and using the game’s newer Class Trials to see if you still have that spark for higher-level play. While you can also go the “Starter Edition” route for a free, limited romp through Azeroth, you might need a little more than the newbie zones to help you decide whether you want to play through the game’s latest expansion.

At 98 you have the option to drop what you're doing and return to your capitol city to start the quest for your Legion Artifact weapon. However, I do not believe this is necessary to do right away unless you're struggling with kill speed in your current gear. I would recommend waiting for a natural pause, such as hearthing to repair and clear your bags. From 100 to 107 you won't even really fight mobs that often; only just enough to clear the way to any treasure you need to pick up.
5% was admittedly an exaggeration, just felt that low. I'd say it was probably closer to the 30-40% range. It was Artifacts of the Blacksilt, spent a good 10-15 minutes killing Blacksilt Seers to get two damn idols to drop. A quest that had me killing Elder Brown Bears for bear flanks also took quite a while, though that was less due to drop rate and more due to how spread out they were.
That lack of storytelling agency may soon change with Patch 8.1, Tides of Vengeance, which is coming to Battle for Azeroth soon. While there are plenty of fun gameplay changes that should make the expansion better, one of the most interesting additions is that of choice. In an upcoming quest, players will be able to choose whether they want to support Saurfang or Sylvanas — essentially honor or evil — in the struggle for Horde warchief.
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