World of Warcraft’s latest chapter takes players to the Dragon Isles, where you can level up in four zones while polishing your professions and learning dragonriding—definitely a highlight of the new expansion. Getting from level 60 to 70 in Dragonflight will generally take you anywhere from four hours to 14 hours, depending on how much you’re interested in speedrunning, whether you read quests and watch cinematics, and how many fun detours you take along the way.
This Dragonflight leveling guide will give you the tips you need to optimize your trip through the new content. Want to speedrun, maximize your professional benefits? I’ve got a few tips to help. And I have some thoughts on what role dragonriding should play in your leveling process.
Decide upfront if going fast is worth missing story
Speedrunning pros have already leveled from 60 to 70 multiple times, figuring out which quests and hubs to do, identifying any minor shortcuts they can find, and farming all the possible speedy items they need. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still go fast, even if you’ve never logged into the beta realms.
Speed gear, procs and items are helpful. Your goal is to get out ahead of the leveling crowd; even a minor advantage can multiply, since you’ll get to quests before they’re overrun with other players killing your mobs and looting your quest items.
To get ahead, you’re going to start by not reading any quest text and ideally, not watching any cut scenes. Most speedrunners get those out of the way while testing on beta or catch up with the lore later on alts. Mods like QuickQuest can help you with that, automatically accepting new quests and dropping off completed ones when you click on NPCs.
Don’t forget there’s a new Interact Key shortcut in the default UI and you can assign it to any key or button you like. You can find it by clicking on Options in the System menu, then searching for ”Interact”. Click to enable the Interact Key, then assign a hotkey to Interact with Target. That combined with an auto-accept mod means that all you have to do is get in range, point your character at a lit-up NPC, tap a key, and away you go.
Other ways to be speedy
There are a number of items, enchants and rare drops that can help you get from point A to point B quickly in Dragonflight. Some are a bit less important than in other World of Warcraft expansions thanks to Dragonriding, which can quickly jump you from spot to spot. But in many cases, jetting along the ground for incidental runs can save you some time.
Some of these items take quite a bit of work to farm. Falling Flame, a 50-use item that hurls you far into the distance, is a rare drop from the Cinderfall rare elemental monster on the Timeless Isle. If you’d like to farm it, good luck; it has a 1-2% drop rate.
But there are a few easy things to pack in your bags that will help you to get where you need to go more quickly. A few we recommend:
- Fried Bonefish, the Shadowlands expansion version of Bear Tartare. It gives your character a 282 speed rating boost (about 20% at level 60) after you kill a monster that gives experience.
- Straddling Jewel Doublet, a gem that adds 13 speed rating for every Shadowlands gem you have equipped.
- A 262-item-level crafted piece of Shadowlands armor or jewelry made with Pure-Air Sail Extensions, which add a flat 82 speed rating. The additional mount speed increase, alas, does not work outside the Shadowlands.
- The Fortified Speed cloak enchant from Shadowlands, which adds a flat 30 speed rating.
- Gunshoes, a Legion expansion engineering crafted item that sets your feet on fire and hurtles you for 25 seconds at 200%move speed. Useful for traversing a longer distance to get back to a quest hub, though perhaps of less value the further you go.
- Light-Step Hoofplates, if you aren’t already using them. This Battle for Azeroth expansion crafted mount equipment item adds 20% to your mounted speed, but it doesn’t stack with other mounted speed effects, like the death knight and paladin mount speed buffs.
- If you’re in a guild, pick up a guild cloak from your guild vendor in Stormwind or Orgrimmar. It’ll let you set your hearth wherever you like in the Dragon Isles and use the cloak to teleport to your capital city quickly for supplies or other errands. While you’re there, pick up a guild banner—they stack up the experience points when you’re killing monsters in one area for a while. The three banners and three cloaks do not share cooldowns, so you can buy and use all six if you like.
Which quests should you do?
If you’re trying to stay ahead of the crowds, even if you’re not committed to full-on speed running, the fastest way to move steadily ahead is to avoid anything optional. That means only doing campaign quests—which are listed separately in your quest journal and have an angular frame around the ! above quest-givers’ heads. Skip profession quests, any “go visit this distant hub” quests that aren’t marked as Campaign, and keep your nose to the grindstone for anything but dragonriding.
The campaign quests alone won’t get you to 70—they wrap up at about 67.5 assuming you haven’t picked up any rested experience time along the way—but when you get to the end, you have lots of extra choices for where you’ll go. That means you won’t be locked into any over-farmed, overrun areas with tons of other players.
The lone exception to this rule is the Dragonriding opening questline, not all of which is required by the campaign. You definitely want your new mount buddy and the first set of boosts and abilities. If you want to maximize speed, you’ll probably want to pick up the dragonriding glyphs from the first zone.
So you want to be quick, but not obsess
There is a compromise approach to leveling that can get you profession boosts, a bit of story and less stress, while still moving steadily through the experience. Start by skipping the quest text,which you can read at your leisure on alts later, but still watch the cutscenes, which usually catch you up on what’s going on.
Instead of skipping all profession quests, take them. They’re often in the same areas where you are doing other campaign quests, and you’ll get profession items and accessories as you level, which puts you in good shape when you hit 70 and want to level up your skills.
If you happen to be in a questing area where there are campaign quests plus an additional bonus-objective area, consider doing the bonus objective if you’re halfway or more done when you finish the campaign. Bonus objectives are worth about 1.5 times a normal quest for XP, so they’re worth it if you can easily finish them up—not so much if you need to travel to a new place to get them.
It’s probably still worth it to skip the out-of-the way side quest hubs on your trek to 70, but even if you’re speedrunning, go back to them when you’re done. They’ll help get you Renown with the various factions, and most of the distant quests are frankly a hoot to play through.
Dragonriding for two
If you’re not going for record speed, consider taking time out to do not only the dragonriding intro quests, but a quick sail around all the zones to pick up all the dragon glyphs. A fully unlocked dragonriding tree doesn’t take that long—25 minutes if you’re adept enough at it to stay aloft the whole time, and have a map/wayfinding add-on to help you—and it is absolutely a blast when fully leveled.
If you’re leveling with a friend, you can take turns grabbing glyphs when you need a break. If you visit the city of Valdrakken first, at any level, you can talk to the dragonriding trainer Lithragosa to get the ability to take each other along as passengers. It turns the ride-along person into a cute whelp. With a little work on midair positioning, you can both get the glyphs at the same time, while one of you gets the chance to grab a snack.
None of the weekly lockouts for professions, dungeons, or PvP are available until after the first weekly reset. Dashing to 70 will give you a little extra time to work on your character, but won’t give you a huge advantage, so leveling times are less pressured than usual.
What to do if you’re not in a hurry
If you want to relax and read everything, but don’t want to fight for your quest mobs, you can avoid the crowds by doing the opposite of speedrunning. Do every single side quest hub. Explore every valley for rares and gathering nodes. Get all those Dragonriding glyphs. Take some time to fish with the Tuskarr. Smell the proverbial roses. Log out during peak hours and back in during slow ones, with the bonus of having rested experience to burn. The crowds will pass you by and you’ll still get to 70 in about 14 hours of play.