Cataclysm Leveling Guide Preview

Retribution leveling is one of the most entertaining aspects of PvE gameplay, at least from this Ret Paladin’s point of view.  I have done a leveling guide for levels 1 through 80 for the WotLK expansion, and now Cataclysm has changed everything.

The leveling experience is brand new, the quests are different, NPCs have relocated, and new towns, cities, and fortresses have risen form the ashes of Cataclysm.  Some of these things have transpired over time, while others are the product of a brand new Azeroth.

Khor’s Leveling Guides

My leveling guides are not hand-holding guides.  If this is the type of instruction you are seeking, it’s best to move along.  To me, there’s no fun in following a quest by quest instruction sheet on where to go and what to do.  It takes all the fun out of the game!  But all the other tiny aspects that make leveling fun, fast, and efficient are what I can help you with.

I believe in efficient time usage.  I believe in getting you through the leveling process quickly, but having a bunch of fun in the process, all the while learning how to play the Paladin class.

My focuses include:

  • Optimal time management
  • Best gearing choices and stats to focus on
  • Quest stacking
  • Keeping stocked on supplies, requiring little to no extra travel time to the bank or Auction House.
  • Optimal DPS rotations for leveling, and quickest ways to kill your way to max level.
  • Situational awareness
  • Best glyphs for leveling
  • Talent leveling guides
  • What spells to use and what not to use
  • General zone by zone guides, with specifics if needed.

Here is an EXAMPLE of what to expect.  Although this time around, the guides will be much more in-depth.

Cataclysm Levels 1-10

As a little preview, I leveled two Paladins to level 10.  One was equipped with heirloom gear, and the other used the basic armor provided via questing.

Paladins are a great class to level, because they can perform just about any function they need to.  Survivability is high, and DPS is also very strong.

Levels 1-10 NO Heirloom Gear

Many players have asked me to do a leveling guide with no heirloom gear used.  Well, here is a preview of what to expect from your first 10 levels as a Paladin in Cataclysm:

  • Paladin – Rhetter, Human Paladin
  • Starting Equipment/Gear – None
  • Left Northshire Valley – Level 5
  • Deaths – 3
  • Reached Level 10 @ – Completion of roughly 75% of quests at Eastvale Logging Camp
  • DPS Abilities Used – Crusader Strike, Judgement, Seal of Righteousness
  • Time Elapsed – 1 hour, 45 minutes, 25 seconds

No Heirlooms + No Heals = Squishy

Have to watch out here  if you aren’t using any heirloom gear to start off with.  Mobs hit particularly hard, and without any heals until level 9, you will be finding yourself pulling single mobs.

If you are new to WoW, you will find out exactly what “Pulling” is.  There’s no Leroy Jenkins to be had at these early levels.  Two mobs of equal or greater level may actually give you a hard enough time that you will either flee, or taste hot Kobold candle wax.

You don’t need to bring food, or make bandages.  Just stay out of combat enough for the super-HP replenishment to cap you off.

Make sure to stick with mobs within 3 levels of your current level, and try to take on single-pulls only!  Yes, I died three times trying to tackle more than I should have.  It really annoyed the hell outta me!

Leveling by Questing

One hour and 45 minutes is a pretty long time from 1 to 10.  And I wasted no time whatsoever.  Blizzard has made it known that they have geared the leveling experience to be completed easily by questing.  No longer should a player have to grind kills to make up for a lack of quests at any particular level.

Cataclysm is aimed to be even easier, with a huge chunk of the player-base likely to create many more alts to experience the new leveling environment.  Blizzard essentially created us a brand-new game.

So, I figured I would try to just tackle this first 1-10 experience by questing alone, no extra killing, and following the quest path Blizzard has created for me in Cataclysm.

Northshire Valley was awesome, and I loved the changes.  Quest lines were easy, quick, and clear.  However, when I got to Goldshire, not much had changed, and I knew I was in for some running.  Although Princess has moved to a much closer location, the Billy McClure quest line still had me running back and forth.

When I finally found myself in the Eastvale Logging Camp, I knew I would hit level 10 there, and got through roughly 75% of those quests.  When I dinged level 10, I stopped.  Eastvale has some new quests, and a few quests have been relocated to NPCs there for ease of completion.

Level 1-10 WITH Heirlooms

This will be the leveling format you will see first.  My first Paladin to level will be a Human with Heirloom gear equipped.  Here is a preview of what to expect from your first 10 levels as a Paladin in Cataclysm with Heirloom gear:

  • Paladin – Rhori, Human Paladin
  • Starting Equipment/Gear – Heirloom Shoulders, Chest, 2H Axe, 2x Trinket – Total +20% experience gain.
  • Left Northshire Valley – Level 6
  • Deaths – 0
  • Reached Level 10 @ – Completion of 2 quests at Eastvale Logging Camp
  • DPS Abilities Used – Crusader Strike, Judgement, Seal of Righteousness
  • Time Elapsed – 50 minutes, 30 seconds

Heirlooms Equal /FLEX

As expected, I flew through every level, with most mobs dying from one hit at levels 1 to 6.  Beyond that, it was usually 2 hits unless I missed.  The XP gain was most noticeable from questing, though since I was able to kill quickly, I killed more along my questing routes, and saw the increase there as well.

Northshire Valley flew by, and I even was able to run around and kill 10-20 extra mobs at levels 3 and 5.  Literally one swing of Crusader Strike without stopping, plodding right on to the nest mob, who fell in the same exact way.

Goldshire Valley was a little easier since I had a better layout of the new and old quests.  For instance, the first time around, I had no idea Goldtooth was on top of the mine as opposed to inside it.  I also quest stacked like I normally would, instead of following the quest line Blizzard had laid out for me.

Basically, I love my heirloom gear, and as you can see, it shaved 55 minutes off my leveling time.  If I am going to spend minutes and hours of my life playing an online game, I am using that heirloom gear if it is available to me!  For those of you starting out, or don’t have the heirloom gear…don’t worry, you will get there.  Just a little blood and sweat is all it takes!


  1. Polirmon says:

    With heirloom I honestly suggest not to run hours on hours completing quests, but to go to a good place with alot of monsters in your lvl (+-5) and kill there for 20min.
    In my case, I got in 20-30min from 10 to 15 after hour of boring, endless quests.

  2. Shogan says:

    There has been some talk within my guild about the new leveling process, from which there have been two simple conclusions.

    1) Heirloom Gear – Use this if you want the leveling experience to be fast and furious. XP will come at you thick and fast, quests will fly by and you will be hitting Outlands in record time.

    2) Standard Gear – If you want to take things at a more leisurely pass to fully take in the whole new leveling process, this is the way to go. You will have the time to adsorb the scenery, new quests and really get to grips with the Lore.

    The only question I have is how will gathering professions affect the overall leveling time? I should find out today as I have decided to level another Paladin, I might as well do it now because I cannot get a Worgen Paladin in Cata.

  3. Milos says:

    Questline and the whole Westfall is so awesome, skipping that to save 10mins by grinding mobs is just ridiculous.

  4. Athotrias says:


    Been lvling a Tauren paly tank w/ heirlooms. OMG…

    1. Lvls fly by insanely fast (I sit down and have 1 ding/hour easy)

    2. Mining and BS go so fast that I lvl without realizing that I have to catch up my professions.

    3. Lvl 29 and 15 hrs in. I am being lazy. If Khor was doing it with a ret human, you would be able to track his movements from xp fire trails left behind. As for catching up, glhf.

    4. Dungeons, dungeons, dungeons. I will normally lvl once or twice in a 30 min dungeon I havent done yet cause of the multiple quests in there!!! There are anywhere from 3-7 quests in each new dungeon you do! With the 7-quest dungeons I always lvled twice! Ridiculous!!!

  5. Baz says:

    Athotrias, if you think you’re quick… 15 hours in and I’m level 41 🙂

  6. Alahrek says:

    This is redicules, a guy who dies 3 times in a starting zone shouldn’t really post a “leveling guide” that promotes heirloom gear. People who already have a level 85 wouldn’t have to check up starting zone leveling, even a total stranger could go up to level 10 with no causulties what-so-ever.

  7. Khor says:

    @ Alahrek – First, this type of post is not one I usually tolerate on the site here, in that comments and threads need to stay positive and constructive.

    Second, when I write content, I write to a broad playerbase, that doesn’t include only players with level 85s. Heirloom gear is only a part of some people’s leveling experience, so I am trying to appeal to both types of leveling experiences here.

    Third, it is clear you read this from a very narrow-minded point of view. When I accounted for my deaths, I noted it was because I was trying to take on too much at once. For just gray cloth item gear and weapons, I was trying to take on 5 and 6 mobs at a time, which was unsuccessful. This wasn’t a lack of skill, but a method of testing limits at that particular level, then reporting it on my post here.

    Finally, my “leveling guides” are not meant to take a player quest by quest, but more an overview and guideline for particular levels. Handholding leveling guides defeat the purpose of the game, in my opinion. So I try to provide detailed information to help a player succeed in particular levels.

    Further comments in this tone will be deleted. Please try and stay constructive when posting comments and feedback. Trolling, insulting, and flaming is not tolerated here, so take them to another site please.

  8. Jabkalak says:

    Couldn’t agree more with your comment Khor. Some people are just looking for a chance to insult others. Even in game I see that often. You make a mistake and you’re call a noob. It’s almost like WOW doesn’t allow for people that are starting the game. Some people expect that everyone is a pro on WOW but what they don’t know or don’t realize is that some of us have life outside wow.

    Keep up the good work. Because of your site I have decided to lvl a paladin. Just waiting for the heirloom.


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