How to Write a Successful Leveling Guide

14 10 2010

This is not a post about how to level your DK. This is a post about how to write a leveling guide that will do more than just tell people what zones to go to. In my opinion, leveling guides are more about how you should be shaping your character, especially in terms of gear, talents, specs, and important things to learn on the way to max level. No, it won’t tell you how to level a DK (it’s not very hard) but instead some tips for writing a leveling guide.





  1. Include a spec. If it isn’t obvious what order points should be placed, then you should make a note of that. For example with this Unholy spec, you’re better off putting 2 points in Butchery before getting Gargoyle/Subversion, since 20 RP on a kill is really quite useful (more so than some extra crit or a 3min cooldown). If you’re going to outline each tier individually, as shown here, make sure to include what the end result will look like. I would suggest only including one spec that is generally agreed to be the best leveling spec. People reading leveling guides are often focused on speed rather than exploration, so including only the most useful spec will be helpful to readers. Note: spec includes things like glyphs, pet talents, etc.
  2. Discuss basic rotations. For an Unholy DK, this means something very basic. For example: put up diseases, cast Scourge Strike, cast Death Coil, cast Blood Strike. Highest priority to lowest.
  3. Explain instance roles and strategy. Writing for Mages? Note some beginner tips on how to sheep things while still doing effective DPS, such as using focus macros. Writing for Death Knights? Depends whether you’re advising tanks or fledgling DPS DKs. For a tank, discuss when oh-shit buttons should be used. For a DPSer, mention what types of mobs usually die first (spellcasters, healers, for example) or how important hitting mobs from behind is. Learning these types of things as you level helps immensely when thrown into the craziness that is max level raiding.
  4. Note any class-specific leveling habits. One example: Hunters. What pets are good for leveling? Tank pets (e.g. turtles) or DPS pets (e.g. raptors)? To use another example, what totems should a Shaman use? Should a Shaman bother with totems while leveling? If so, when is it good to use them (multiple mobs in one place, etc.)?
  5. Mention important quests and questlines. Some examples: the Hodir questline, any quest that gives a new weapon to Hunters/melee classes, that sort of thing. A quest that has a large effect on max-level play or speeds up leveling is what I would consider important.

Character first

I think leveling guides are at their most helpful when focusing on combat-related information because this is the most complex aspect of leveling a new character. Wandering from zone to zone is pretty straightforward, especially since starting areas get you well-acquainted with the basics of questing and moving to new areas.

Professions also have very little effect on leveling, aside from derailing them to make time for crafting. Crafting gear for yourself is rarely effective since stuff gets outclassed so fast/heirlooms exist. When I read a leveling guide, I want to learn anything and everything that will make leveling that class faster.

What about you, what do you look for in a leveling guide?




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