As you continue to push through end-game content and you raise your reputations with various groups, you unlock more quests that send you to the opposing faction's continent where you generally try to mess with them, gather intel on their movements, and, of course, kill a whole bunch of them. These quest lines are fun, but generally pretty short and don't actually propel you through much of the three opposing zones.
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).
Again it breaks down to personal preference. I didn’t have an issue doing them at 120 on the toons I did them on. I felt like they took you out of the way when I just wanted to finish the zones. Too each his own. I liked it because I would finish the quest then be right there at the hubs for the quest on the new continent after I’ve finished all the quest on the first continent.
My toon was a monk, a class that gets extra experience for an hour at a time. I picked at it more than I have in the past, so I benefitted more from the 150 percent "rested" experience bonus. If I wanted to run a dungeon for quests, I fired up a high-level character on a second account and dragged my little toon through them. And having leveled dozens of characters to 100 and 110, I knew every zone and every objective.
A token was selling for 58,000 gold early that morning. The price had been hovering between 55,000 and 60,000 gold for a couple of months. By Tuesday morning, the price had rocketed to 115,000 gold. Gold-makers were panicking; the value of WoW gold relative to real money was in free fall. Players predicted tokens climbing to auction house prices as high as 200,000 gold.
I tell you my experience. I'm leveling a priest that it's 60 now and since I have also done some instances (and I have full heirloom set with 20% experience gain bonuses) and been very ahead of the guide, I skipped some zones since they were grey quest for me, well it was a real mess. Missing quests because I didn't to the previous to enable the following. Going in a zone then realizing that I couldn't do that quest because I didn't do the starting quest chain, very unconmfortable. In short what I suggest you it's not to skip areas, or make really sure that you do all the quests required (at least) and check carefully the previous zone you'll going to skip to make sure that you won't have problems with struggling finding where to start the quest chain to sync with the guide section.
Take breaks. Unless you're straight up no-lifing it over a weekend or something, this leveling process is going to take ~40 hours. But any time you do need to step away, log out. That tiny little bit of rested exp is insignificant...but you never know when something might come up and you'll have to leave for a longer period of time than you expected. Better to be logged out and safe(especially with War Mode on) than AFK waiting for a d/c. Plus, you'll need to stretch, eat, shower, and maybe sleep. XD
Guild Banners. The Banner of Cooperation and Battle Standard of Coordination will increase the experience from kills. They both have a 10 minute cooldown, but when you use one, the other is only locked out for 2 minutes. I was very bad about using these, so it might be worth using a macro to drop them on your first attack against an enemy. Keep in mind you must have reputation with your guild before being able to buy these, so new character may have a bit of a wait before picking them up.
If you level with friends Prot would probably be the way to go so you could pull and face tank the packs. I leveled 2 pallies both ret on beta and had 0 issues. Selfless healer and wake of ashes work absolute wonders. I leveled a bit as prot and just felt like I did 0 damage. I leveled solo so I don’t know about the xp fall off but I would assume it’s the same as legion.
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Professions: This may seem strange for a leveling guide, but the first opportunity you get, pick up both the Mining and Herbalism gathering professions. Not only will this allow you to track many various quest objectives on your map, but you also get a fair amount of experience whenever you gather. I'd put it at around 10% of a quest turn-in per gather. Since most of your wasted time in WoW is travel time, stopping to gather ore or herbs can keep your exp/h rolling as long as you don't go too far out of your way. You should only gather if it's convenient, and on the way to an actual quest objective. Don't make gathering your priority.