If you need the abridged version, because you’d rather spend an hour in a game than hearing someone talk about a game, you can also check out the excellent “New & Returning Player Guides” series from YouTuber (and World of Warcraft expert) Bellular. And you probably even skip the bits about ”how to purchase” or “how to install” the game, saving you even more time for new World of Warcraft adventures:
Picking up herbalism and mining is the best professions to have while leveling. Not only will you earn gold as you level, but you will also get extra XP. At level 20 you will get over 500 XP for picking up a ore or a herb while killing a mob only gives a little over 100 XP. Don’t go out of your way to pick herbs if you are trying to level quickly, but pick the ones that are on your way. Leveling from 110 to 120 can be done pretty quickly just by doing this. There are a few items that will help you if you decide to use professions while leveling:
The downside is that War Mode will make you vulnerable to other players, which means you might be killed more often. Whether it’s worthwhile will depend on the zones you’re visiting and how active the other faction is on your server cluster. Heavily populated realms usually mean more players on both sides, and more conflict, but on quieter realms, you may rarely run across an enemy.
Anyway both got to 110 at around 50h played. I messed up with my Pal by going to Legion once I hit 100 instead of finishing treasures and bonuses in WoD. All in all, if I picked the best zones and was only trying to level as fast as I could, I would probably could have done it in roughly 40h. Note that it would have a been A LOT faster with a Monk as both Ret and Rogues don't really have a decent AoE until 40+ (45 for Ret and 63 for Rogue I believe). The daily also helps a lot. I know that leveling my Monk before the pre-patch was insanely fast. Might be slower with the changes to FoF, however.
Incursions are a new world content activity that are unlocked when one character has unlocked World Quests. This feature is unlocked account-wide meaning that all characters on that account can access Incursions even without being Level 120. This provides for a lucrative experience acquisition method that is available in a similar pattern to what Legion Invasions offered with nearly an entire level earned by completing an Incursion series which involves four World Quests and one mini-scenario at the end. These also grant item level 370 weapons and Azerite armor, so they should be done any time they are up. Incursions follow a similar schedule to Invasions and are available for 20 hours once they are initiated.
The zone you start in isn't under your control, in as much as it's pre-selected for you based on your race. But for leveling purposes we want to make scaling work for us as much as possible. That means sticking to the lower level zones. Even though scaling will increase the level of the quests and mobs in those zones, the layout and design of them is built for a player with no mount. So you'll blaze through them and gain more exp/hour than higher level zones which assume you DO have a mount.
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.
Leveling used to be a treat in WoW. New, unique abilities drove you forward and made getting past the horrible grind worth it to some extent. Now it just feels like everything is set to grind. More than it used to be. Once it was tolerable, rewarding even, but now you grind to unlock an allied race through reputations barely connected to most of these races, only to have to level up that character to get their unique armor set (compelling you to not just boost your character and instead suffer through the slog of ANOTHER group of alts), then you get back to current content and grind some more with a random chance to drop the item you need to get your ilvl up to finally enjoy the single warfront available (as I write this).
Tiragarde Sound and Stormsong Valley are both fairly similar zones, but Stormsong is a little longer, meaning that you might not even have to finish it to hit 120. Tiragarde also comes with a bit of a warning. There are plenty of side quests to do in the zone after you finish the story quests. Don’t do them. It’s not worth the time or the experience you’ll get.