Not necessarily in order:
- The leveling order is Howling Fjord / Borean Tundra – Dragonblight – Grizzly Hills – Zul’Drak – Sholazar Basin – Storm Peaks – Icecrown. As a rule of thumb, try to do as many quests as possible in a given region before proceeding to the next.
- The instance order is Utgarde Keep – The Nexus – Azjol-Nerub – Ahn Kahet (The Old Kingdom) – Drak’Tharon Keep – Violet Hold – Gun’Drak – Halls of Stone. The remaining four instances (Oculus, Halls of Lightning, Culling of Stratholme, Utgarde Pinnacle) are level 80 instances.
Utgarde, Azjol-Nerub, Ahn Kahet, Violet Hold and Halls of Stone do not require prequesting. Nexus and Gun’Drak require partial prequesting so that you can get all the quests out of it (for Nexus, just do all the quests on Coldarra if you’re interested. For Gun’Drak, I don’t know, I didn’t do the quest myself). As far as Drak’Tharon is concerned.. I don’t remember. I know that I did at least one quest inside that was the result of a LONG chain of quests (offered by some troll, Drakuru I believe, who is in a cage in a camp formed by the same people involved in the Zul’Aman timed runs (the prisoners) as well as Budd (who has become a quite interesting NPC. Remember when you do the quest that involves taking him for a stroll that you have to activate your pet bar, in case it doesn’t activate by itself). I don’t remember exactly where the camp was, but you’re definitely going to get there while you’re questing in Grizzly Hills.
- Zul’Drak contains an arena which can be done at level 75. Get the prequest in the sewers of Dalaran, get his quest, get a 5 man group together, and do it. It gives a HUGE EP boost, just like the Nagrand arena back then. The bosses don’t hit hard, with the final one (the guy that comes charging in with his rhino), be sure to tank him with your back against the wall while he’s mounted. As soon as he dismounts, someone who is not the tank or the healer needs to mount the rhino (yes, you can hijack his mount) and bash him with it.
- Probably a very obvious hint, but as soon as you turn 77, immediately grab Cold Weather flying, either in Sholazar Basin (Pilot *I forgot his name* in a camp a ways east of Nesingwary’s camp), or in Dalaran, near the flight master. It’s 1000 gold, but it’s definitely worth it. Most quests in Storm Peaks after a while cannot be done without a flying mount. Same goes for Icecrown. Sholazar can be done entirely on land, but it’s definitely handy to have an (epic) flying mount on hand.
- Remember that most of Dalaran as well as Wintergrasp are no-flying zones. If you’re one of those people that like to turn on autowalk and go AFK while travelling from one location to the other, either plan your routes so you don’t fly over those two locations, or consider using the flight paths.
- Speaking of Dalaran, you can enter the city via a crystal just below the city. Look for a dome (a shield you might say) slight west of the central point of the city. Click on the crystal, and up you go! Another way to get there is to talk to some archmage in Wintergarde (eastern Dragonblight) as soon as you’re… 74, I believe. He will teleport you *directly* to Dalaran, where you can then proceed to assign your hearthstone to. Dalaran is a beautiful city (I never get tired of the soundtrack). You’ll know what I mean the first time you fly off of the flight platform and turn around.
- A few more notes about Dalaran. If you went very early and you don’t have any flight connections, or you’re just extremely cheap like I am sometimes, you can exit the city by entering the building on the other side of the road of the building that leads to the flight platform. Click the crystal inside and you’re back down in Crystalsong Forest. There are profession teachers scattered throughout the city. Remember also that there are two banks. And, for future reference, know that you do not turn in your emblems at a single location as you did in BC; rather, you go to the weapons store, the cloth armor store, etc etc, and the person (or one of the people) inside will offer those items for sale.
- As soon as you get to the point where you can quest in Storm Peaks (level 77-78, 78 is better, 77 if you got tired of Zul’Drak way early like I did and went to Sholazar too early), do *everything*, every single quest. This is crucial, because the main quest in Storm Peaks eventually opens up the Sons of Hodir fraction. I cannot emphasize how important this faction is: they are your source for your shoulder enchants, just like turning in holy dust (or whatever that was, what you got in exchange for fel armaments from the aldor) was in BC. It’s a LONG questline, but it also opens up two quests for Halls of Lightning in the end, which is very good.
- When you start questing in Storm Peaks, don’t be surprised when you die. You’ll be at the graveyard mounting a gryphon. This I believe has been included to allow you to retrieve your corpse from certain completely unreachable locations. The same happens inside Icecrown.
- Daily quests: do them. From the beginning on. You *need* that reputation. Wyrmrest Accord offers a very easy quest as soon as you start questing in their temple (in central Dragonblight). It involves mounting on a dragon and going around shooting down other dragons. Not only is a nice break from the endless mob killing, it allows you to build up reputation, which allows you to get some pretty nice reputation rewards. Wyrmrest in particular offers some nice plate for warriors (can’t remember exactly what, I think it was a pair of boots).
If you’re a fisherman (or fisherwoman), Kalu’Ak offers a very easy quest in their village in southern Dragonblight. You run around and gather some wolvar offspring. You can either kill the Den Mothers, or just run into the camp, pick them up, and then run away and laugh at their pitiful damage (that is, if you’re still specced as prot and wearing your tanking gear!)
The aforementioned Sons of Hodir offer a few daily quests, which are absolutely vital, since questing alone will get you somewhere between friendly and honored, whereas your goal is to eventually become exalted. As soon as you finish their quest line, start doing those daily quests… well, daily! You need that reputation because you need that shoulder enchant. The sooner you start doing them, the better off you’ll be, because eventually (as soon as everyone learns about it) those quest areas will be absolutely overfarmed, you only have about three quests that you can do and they are your only source for getting to exalted!
A few Knights of the Ebon Blade daily quests open up eventually in northern Icecrown. They are quite fun quests (one of them involves hijacking a harpoon gun and shooting down dragions that fly in front of you); this faction however did not interest me as much as the others.
I haven’t quested much for the Argent Crusade (they’re up in southeastern Icecrown). I might give an update sometime in the future when I take a break from the endless instance rushing that is going to commence… well, as soon as the servers are back up (we have maintenance right now). Argent Crusade is another incredibly important faction because at revered they offer the head enchant (just like the CoT guys offered it in BC).
- Tabard. You can buy a tabard from four different factions (Kirin Tor, Wyrmrest, Ebon Blade, Argent Crusade) from their respective quartermasters. The effect (increases your standing with that faction) only works in level 80 instances, however it does *not* require *you* to be 80. Feel free to tank through Halls of Lightning or Utgarde Pinnacle while you’re 78-79; if your gear is decent (or was great pre-WotLK), it won’t be a problem.
The instances that allow this are: Halls of Lightning, Utgarde Pinnacle, The Oculus, The Culling of Stratholme. I’m guessing that heroics will work similarly, however I have not entered one as of yet (I think it may be better for me to become crit immune before trying to tackle them, 3,20% crit reduction is not quite enough IMHO).
- As soon as you can start taking daily non-heroic instance quests, do them. The reward is one of four commendations of some sort (one for each of the four factions listed above under the tabard section), which you can turn in for reputation for that respective faction. Reputation grinding is very important in WotLK, and I’m glad Blizzard did not make it as monotonous as it was early on, because, now that you can actually choose which reputation that instance gives you based on the tabard you’re wearing, it now goes hand in hand with the arduous quest for better gear. You’re no longer limited to doing Auchindon instances for pushing up your Lower City reputation, for example