Update: The reason for less experience from gathering is due to how Blizzard revamped professions and broke them down by expansion. In order to get full exp from gathering you'll simply need to find a profession trainer for the relevant expansion. (WoD you just mine or herb the first one ypu come across and the game gives you a scroll for learning WoD gathering).
“For us as game developers and makers of the game, what we want to do is we want to create an environment where players feel like they have the choice to do something meaningful and impactful in the game,” said Cobo. “Ultimately where that choice leads them — is it the right choice? Is the wrong choice? I don’t know — but that’s the whole point, right?
“I think that there’s a lot of gray in the game and in our world, right,” asked Cobo. “And so I think that tapping into that and making things reflect the complexities of the relationships that we have between these key characters and then the player itself, and having the player be able to experience that from their perspective, is really what is one of the strong connecting hooks of World of Warcraft.”
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.
Some people have made arguments that quest blues can sometimes be more powerful than heirlooms, especially with sockets. I'm not convinced. The simple fact that you never have to even look at quest rewards will save a non-insignificant amount of time over the course of leveling. Also of consideration is the value of enchanted gear never having to be re-enchanted.
Most heirlooms only work in a limited level range in their default form and must be upgraded to work at higher levels. That costs gold, and you’ll need around 30,000 gold to outfit yourself with a fully upgraded set (counting only those that give you bonus experience). You may need to spend some time on a boosted character to acquire the gold you need to outfit another character with heirlooms, but it’s well worth the effort.
As you're leveling, I generally recommend you just follow the natural flow of the progression through each zone. They're laid out fairly reasonably. But don't be afraid to hop around, especially if you're near a quest objective. You shouldn't actually need ALL of the zones listed to reach 62. Pick the ones you like best. It's much more important to simply be as focused as possible and flow from one quest to the next.
Special note: At 110 it's almost certainly worthwhile to go and immediately get your Heart of Azeroth and first piece of Azerite gear from the BfA opening quest. It doesn't take long and provides pretty high power levels. I'd then return to Legion quests until 111 or even 112, since the power of these items will increase your kill speed significantly over the scaled enemies of BfA content.
Elixirs serve the same purpose as Flasks, but the buff expires if you die. You'll only use these between 1-70, generally speaking, until you can start buying Flasks which persist through death. Try not to die, and carry extras just in case. If you can't find an Elixir with the stat you want, look under scrolls, since they count as battle or guardian buffs as well.
Groups are constantly forming in the group finder to go battle the enemy faction. If you’re more of a lone wolf, you can still stalk around the world looking for enemy players. You’re bound to find some. World quests with Warmode on also spark some seriously interesting interactions, especially ones for neutral factions like the Champions of Azeroth.
Do quests and complete the story of your first chosen area before returning to your capital to scrap all of the equipment items you acquired. You should be around Level 113 by the time you complete your first area. Before selecting your second zone, head to your faction hub ship to acquire your introductory quests to the mission table and your champions. Complete this introduction and then pick up the quest to establish your first foothold in enemy territory.