I hope this information helps a lot for players that haven’t had the chance to play Beta and gives you an idea of what you should be trying to accomplish your first 2 weeks of BFA. If you plan on pulling all-nighters, please don’t be reckless and over strain yourself. People have died from lack of sleep. If you want some tips on staying up I recommend taking a nap before launch time, eating a healthy meal full of protein before launch, snacking on fruit and nuts (my personal go to is clementine oranges and almonds) while leveling, if you do decide to drink energy drinks I do recommend not getting the ones packed with sugar (I prefer no sugar no carb Redbull and G-Fuel) and making sure you drink at least 2 bottles of water in between every energy drink so you stay hydrated and don’t crash. A good time to get some sleep is after you finish all the questing and you are 120 which again will take average played 10+ hours. Again, please don’t be stupid and end up hurting yourself over a video game; everyone must sleep at some point, so you won’t be too behind the curve.
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Gold in WoW has value based on the time it takes a player to earn it. The various methods of farming gold, such as growing herbs, yield maybe 20,000 gold per hour. That means at a price of 100,000 gold, a token represents about five hours of grinding, or offers a wage of $3 per hour. The idea of gold being worth a certain amount per hour is a useful way of framing this discussion, in fact.
If you already have a high level character or a friend willing to give you gold then you can purchase Heirloom items. These items are bound to account and are accessible through the Heirlooms tab using Shift+P. The benefits of these Heirloom items is that they scale with your level keeping your gear up to date without you having to worry about upgrades, and they provide a significant XP bonus.
These two expansions are virtually identical in terms of exp/h. I personally favor Mount Hyjal, and think it's very slightly faster. But if you know Jade Forest well you can just as easily keep up there. Ultimately you'll end up doing both anyway, so it's mostly academic. Every time I've tested Valley of Four Winds or Deepholme, or any other zone in MOP/CATA's level range, they were worse exp/h. You should not even need to complete both zones to ding 91, so it's more important to just pick one and go.
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.
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Cooking benefits all classes, especially melee and hunters (it is a free source of food). Until higher levels, the benefits it provides are almost exclusively stamina buffs. While more stamina is always nice, cooking is not essential to leveling. Considering the time investment required, if you pick up skinning then cooking would absolutely be a wise skill to level prior to hitting your level cap, as beasts often drop meat useful for skilling up.
At 96 the standard wisdom is to immediately drop what you're doing and proceed to Spires of Arak and do the quests to unlock the Inn, granting a further 20% experience bonus while in that zone. You'll want to do that eventually anyway, but I'm not sure it outweighs the quest experience from Gorgrond. However, if you decided to go to Spires immediately at 96, restrict yourself only to bonus objectives and again leave Treasures until you're 100+. Make certain that when you being the quests to unlock the inn, you speak with the quest NPC to also learn Archaeology, since it's required to collect several of the treasures in Spires.
Edit 20 It’s been a week since this post and a lot of people are still reaching out to me with questions which is fine. I have had a few different people reach out to me to help make YouTube videos based off this guide and more info in BFA which I’m more than willing to do. Whoever gets the videos up first I will link them here for you guys to enjoy.