I used fully upgraded and enchanted heirlooms; missing only the fishing ring. Leveling from 1-20 took ~3 hours, at which point I immediately turned on War Mode for the duration. I rarely encountered enemy players, and when I did they almost always left me alone. But the few times I did get ganked, the total cost in time was insignificant. Maybe a total of 5 deaths from ganks in the entire 40 hours.

Gold for riding training. Travel time is a SIGNIFICANT time sink while using quests to level. You don't want to wait to get it. In fact, while questing, the second you ding 40/60/70/80 you'll want to hearth and train it IMMEDIATELY! 10304 gold is the base cost, which will be modified by reputation. Also, make sure you're in a guild with the 10% riding speed bonus unless you're a class that already gets a mount-speed buff.


Once characters reach the level cap, gameplay turns from leveling to the end-game. This represents the culmination of the leveling process and the beginning of the deeper challenges awaiting max-level characters. While play prior to this point is oriented around accumulating experience and gaining new skills, the end-game represents the polished 'final destination' for players, at which characters are fully developed and ready to tackle the biggest challenges in the game, or to relax and make their own adventure.
The problem currently is that a previous patch introduced a much smoother paced leveling system, though it was definitely slower. Many actually enjoyed the tweak to the overall progression system but ever since patch 8.0 went live, many MMORPG lovers are reported that is unnecessarily difficult to level through some of the older content drops, which was an unintended side affect according to Blizzard.
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With 8.0, Blizzard introduced World of Warcraft’s second ever stat squish — where all the numbers in the game are lowered across the board for clarity. While it may make the game easier to read, it has caused some serious in-game problems. Since the patch, Blizzard has been throwing out hotfixes each day, fixing things that the stat squish either forgot to alter or simply broke.
Heirlooms. At the bare minimum you make sure all the armor pieces upgraded to 110, since this is the lion's share of your experience increase. Neck and Ring upgrades are secondary, but still important due to being able to enchant them. Trinkets can't be enchanted, but you'll want them at max as well, if only to save time by not having to worry about replacing them as you level.
In my opinion, Zygor makes the best WoW leveling guides. They have been around for more than 10 years, which shows their commitment to maintaining and updating their guides to provide you with an optimized leveling path for any class and race, whether it’s Horde or Alliance. Zygor is an addon that includes a waypoint arrow and a separate window with instructions that, taken together, show you step-by-step how to level your character to 120, FAST. You’ll know exactly what to do at all times. It’s also very easy to jump in at any level; you don’t have to start exactly at level 1 or 110 or anything. It’s a bit more expensive than the other options, but I’d say it’s definitely worth it.
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The Horde 12-25 (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.
Prior to update 7.3.5 it was far too easy to level up a new character. The experience needed to advance from one level to the next was too low, resulting in players out-leveling the story quests in each zone, moving on before getting the full experience. With low monster health and high player power (especially when players were outfitted in ridiculously powerful heirloom gear), creatures dropped like flies. Combined with easy experience gained by joining parties in the dungeon finder, the first 60 levels in the game flew by.
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