A lot happens to a character in World of Warcraft Classic after hitting that level 40 milestone. The most obvious is that you finally have a mount and that 40 percent speed boost is great for looks and leveling, but you also have to deal with having no money and fewer choices for grinding. Classic WoW is famous for having an uncomfortable lull in questing at this point.
The grind in Classic: WoW takes a lot of patience to begin with, and it’s easy to feel discouraged and not know where to quest at level 40. Battlegrounds don’t offer any experience points in earlier versions of the game, either. So before you sign out, here are some ideas for ideal zones to progress between the notorious level 40 and 55 level-range speedbump.
Updated on October 22nd, 2022, by Kristy Ambrose: The confirmation of a new expansion in an MMO is usually directed at maxed-out characters, with not a lot improving for new characters or mid-level players. The more recent Wrath of the Lich King expansion for Wow: Classic also followed this pattern. Virtually all the new content was designed for players that were maxed out and already at level 70. However, some zones in old Azeroth will have new lore and quests related to the new expansion. Even if the area you choose has remained the same, all those high-level raiders who used to farm in your zones will be busy with Outland and Northrend stuff, leaving more for you.
An extensive instance with enough content for levels 30 to 60.
The Valley of Spears, Desolace, Kalimdor.
None, but you can get a quest that leads to Maraudon in their capital cities.
Whether or not anyone likes this dungeon’s aesthetics is beside the point. It’s massive, easily just as big as anything in Blackrock Mountain, and consists of three different wings. You can start at level 30 and run this dungeon regularly up until leaving for Outland.
There’s plenty to slay here for XP, even if the wide variety of quests available are done and you’ve already obtained your best in slot (BiS) items for endgame content. Be prepared to commit to about three hours of game time for a full clear. Maraudon is also a great spot for farming resources for professions, including nodes for mining and herbalism, cloth drops from humanoids, and plenty of beasts to be skinned for leather.
13/14 The Swamp Of Sorrows
35 to 45; The Swamp of Sorrows is also a great place to level the gathering skills of Herbalism and Skinning.
The eastern side of Kalimdor, north of Stranglethron Vale.
A Contested zone with equal representation for both Horde and Alliance.
It’s a gloomy place to be, with less scenery than other parts of Azeroth, but it’s still worth a visit during this part of the leveling process. There are relatively few quests here, but enough to keep you busy while you grind up your gathering skills, making it one of the best places to quest at level 40.
You can explore the eastern part of the zone to find the Sunken Temple or head north to see what happens to Draenei who turn away from the Light. It’s also conveniently close to two other zones related to both your level and Outland lore, the Badlands and Deadwind Pass.
12/14 The Badlands
Levels 35 to 45; the Badlands is one of the earliest places you can visit in the central Eastern Kingdoms that isn’t high or max-level.
South of Khaz Modan and east of Searing Gorge.
The Dark Iron Dwarves
The biggest settlement in the Badlands is Kargath, a Horde city, but the zone is a contested zone, and the closest thing to a dominant faction here are the Dark Iron Dwarves. If you’re interested in the lore of Dwarves in Azeroth, this is a zone worth visiting, and you can follow their history from here all the way to Blackrock Mountain.
It looks empty at first, but there’s a lot to do here: several quests and plenty of herbs and ore to collect. There are neutral quests in the center of the zone offered by Goblins and Gnomes, two of the only races brave enough to survive the harsh landscape. They cover chain quests, gathering quests, and quests that lead into the nearby instance of Uldaman.
Levels 40 to 50; Feralas is a scenic area also great for resource farming.
Southern Kalimdor. Go south from Desolace or take a right when you reach Thousand Needles.
The area is contested, but the Night Elves have a much stronger presence on the west coast than the Horde on the eastern interior.
This is a zone where you can balance leveling the character and their professions, and most players know this is one of the best places to quest for level 40. There are many herbs, leather, and minerals to be found in the lush hills of Feralas, along with a long list of quests. High-level trainers populate these cities, and vendors often sell obscure recipes.
Some of these are lengthy chains that eventually lead to Dire Maul, the centerpiece of this ancient zone, where a few pre-raid BiS items drop. This is also where Warlocks and Paladins go to finish their epic mount quests, so you’ll see some level 60s riding through the zone as you quest.
Levels 40 to 60, which is five levels higher than the level of the zone where it’s located.
The northern part of the Badlands, near the border with Khaz Modan.
The Dark Iron Dwarves.
It’s worth a visit just for the history and not just the ancient Dwarf lore and Azerothian creation stories. If anyone has played retail WoW and experienced dungeons like Ulduar in Northrend, Uldaman will look strangely familiar. You can grind here for 20 whole levels because there’s just that much to do, making this an ideal zone for quests at level 40.
Lots of great items drop here, and there are chain quests galore, including a few that start with things to pick up or find. There’s no rep to grind, but some quests that lead here will start in your faction’s capital city. Even the digging area that surrounds the entrance holds a few interesting secrets for solo players.
Levels 40 to 50, but it’s common to see players of max level heading east to the
Caverns of Time
The southernmost point of Kalimdor, to the east of Un’Goro Crater.
A contested zone, and depending on where you are, the Steamwheedle Cartel, the Southsea Freebooters, and the Bronze Dragonflight. Most of the Goblins offering quests here represent the Cartel.
It looks like a wide expanse of nothing, but there’s a lot to do in Tanaris, and even more if you know where to look. Besides the variety of quests everyone can get, several professions house their high-end trainers and quests in the main city, Gadgetzan.
Visit the coastal town of Steamwheedle Port for even more quests here, while others are available that connect to the Hinterlands, Zul’Furrak in the same zone, and even the raid of Zul’Gurub. The dungeon of Zul’Farrak is in the western corner, a stepping stone to the endgame raid of Zul’Gurub.
Although it’s often considered an endgame zone because of the open-world bosses, Azshara is for levels 45 to 55.
Located directly outside the northern walls of Orgrimmar, the zone is only accessible via Ashenvale to save lower-level players from themselves.
No group, even any affiliated with Night Elves or Mages, lays claim to anything in this zone. Even though Azshara has a long history, there’s not much here in the form of settlements other than the Furbolgs.
At first glance, it’s obvious that this is one of the unfinished zones of the game because there isn’t very much here regarding transportation options or faction representation. However, it’s crammed with resources and XP once the player is done with the quests available. Several classes will also be visiting Azshara to complete their high-level quests.
Herbalists, miners, leatherworkers, and fishers can spend a few levels in Azshara honing their professions and gathering resources. There are plenty of humanoid monsters that drop cloth, which gives the Tailors something extra to do.
7/14 Searing Gorge
Follow the trail of Dark Iron from the Badlands into Searing Gorge when your character is levels 45 to 50.
There’s an entrance directly from the Badlands on the eastern side near the Horde settlement of Kargath. Alliance players can finish a quest line to get a key and enter directly from Loch Modan.
The Dark Iron Dwarves and The Thorium Brotherhood.
You’re clearing a path to Blackrock Mountain when you work through the quests of Searing Gorge. There aren’t exactly a huge amount of quests here, but the ones here are tough and make up long quest chains, with some leading into the nearby dungeons.
This zone is popular with miners and blacksmiths trying to grind rep with the Thorium Brotherhood. Five of the most notorious dungeons in the game are located between this zone and the Burning Steppes next door, and three are raids. That means virtually everyone ends up exploring at least part of this zone whether they plan to or not.
6/14 Blackrock Depths
Levels 45 to 60, with several other dungeons, a raid, a whole city, and the most popular bar in Azeroth.
The mountain is so big that it straddles two zones, the Burning Steppes and Searing Gorge.
The Dark Iron Dwarves.
It’s the only dungeon in Blackrock Mountain that isn’t a raid, and it’s also one of the biggest instances in Classic WoW. It houses a massive jail, a gladiator’s ring, Azeroth’s best tavern, and the city of Blackrock Depths itself. Certain areas can only be reached with keys, and attunement to the Molten Core raid nearby requires visiting its lowest, most dangerous caverns.
There is a myriad of quests here, some that start in the instance, and several of them award BiS items you can take to the other instances in this mountain. There’s enough to do to keep a party busy for some time.
Levels 44 to 54; an essential stop for adventurers heading to Zul’Gurub eventually if they want to follow the quest chain.
The Sandfury Trolls, but some of the quests for Zul’Farrak come from goblins representing the Steamweedle Cartel.
This dungeon deserves an entry of its own. There are lots of quests to do here, which is an obvious draw, but this dungeon is also connected to others through the lore and items. The Sandfury Trolls who dominate this area are connected to the ones in the Hinterlands, and there’s a quest chain there that leads directly to the end boss of this dungeon.
The quests in Zul’Farrak that have links to those that started in the Hinterlands will eventually lead players to higher-level dungeons like Sunken Temple in the Swamp of Sorrows and eventually the Zul’Gurub raid in Stranglethorn Vale.
Felwood is for characters from level 48 to 55 and has one of the game’s first really challenging rep grinds. You can follow a connected quest line further north into Wintergrasp and Moonglade.
North of Ashenvale, it can also be accessed via Timbermaw Hold to the north.
The Burning Legion.
This is an ideal zone for leveling, even if it isn’t exactly one of the prettier ones, and given the affiliation, the enemies here are mostly beasts and demons. It’s essential to visit to grind rep with the Timbermaw Tribe and the Cenarion Circle by killing various monsters and collecting certain items.
Herbalists and warlocks will appreciate this zone more than others. It stays a popular herb-farming route for characters even at max level. Warlocks visit Feralas to finish a portion of their high-level class quests.
3/14 The Blasted Lands
A higher level zone for characters level 45-55, the Blasted Lands grew considerably more important when the portal to Outland appeared near its southern border. This is also the location of the original Dark Portal from the lore.
The only entrance is on the northern border, from the Swamp of Sorrows, and neither faction has a flight path here.
The Burning Legion.
There’s a lonely orc ghost standing by the road leading south from the Swamp of Sorrows, and it’s one of the few quests you’ll find throughout the zone. The long quest chain he sends you on barely even takes place in the Blasted Lands, but it includes some interesting lore tied to the upcoming expansion. For Warriors, he has a class quest that’s exclusive to you.
The area is decent for farming items like Demonic Runes, which are handy for mana users and a nice way to earn gold. However, the quest chain that takes you through the Dark Portal is located in the southern half of this zone but isn’t available until level 55.
2/14 Stranglethorn Vale
Officially, levels 30 to 45 for leveling, but much higher level characters can be found here using the zone
as an open-world PvP area
The southernmost part of the Eastern Kingdoms, the capital city of Booty Bay is Azeroth’s busiest transport hub, with both sea and air transport available to Horde and Alliance players.
Bloodsail Buccaneers, Venture Company, and various troll tribes.
What makes Stranglethorn Vale a tough choice is its well-deserved reputation as PVP heaven. Or hell, depending on a player’s preference. If you can get past that, or if you’re into that stuff, there are numerous quests available here for both factions. Players can visit this zone as early as level 30 and stay until level 45.
This is one of the earliest zones that players can visit, easily accessible for both factions via boat, so you’ll see players of all levels in this zone, especially the cities. Players can also participate in the Stranglethorn Fishing Contest and grind rep with the local pirates while they work through the zone.
1/14 Temple of Atal’Hakkar
The instance is for levels 50 to 60, slightly higher than the surrounding zone.
The Swamp of Sorrows in the center of a brackish lake near the eastern coast.
None, but there are some close connections with the Green Dragonflight and the Atal’ai trolls.
At the higher end of the leveling spectrum, there’s the Temple of Atal’Hakkar. By now, you have defeated the forces of Zul’Farrak, and it’s time to take on the denizens of another Troll temple.
Love it or hate it, the instance also known as the Sunken Temple is one of the best places to level a character when you reach 50. Several class quests finish here in the late 40s, along with high-level enemies that yield leather and cloth.