This is the plan for my new death knight main’s first day during the WotLK Classic pre-patch. It isn’t a speed leveling approach, but rather one designed to make my entry into Outland a bit easier. Instead of going straight into Outland at level 58, my death knight day one plan has me targeting trinket upgrades and easy bursts of XP in Azeroth for a few levels. While missing the initial leveling wave, allowing for an easier time completing Outland quests.
Prepared for Since TBC Classic Phase 4 and Tested On the WotLK Classic Beta
I started gathering items for my death knight’s leveling to 70 before the release of Sunwell Plateau in TBC Classic. You can find my complete death knight shopping list here. Many of the items on the list will be used during my death knight day one plan. It isn’t too late to gather your items, as most of them are quite common or easily farmed by your current level 70 character.
I’ve run through this plan on the WotLK Classic beta, which allowed me to verify some numbers and make several tweaks to improve my time spent. During my beta testing, the 50% XP buff expected during the WotLK Classic pre-patch was not active. As such I expect my XP gains during the real thing to be much higher.
To be clear, none of this is necessary to get a death knight up to level 70 during the WotLK Classic pre-patch. Leveling through Outland will be easier than ever. You can go straight from the death knight starting area and progress fine. I’m attempting this plan to make the early Outland parts of leveling easier.
Ebon Hold & Scarlet Enclave – The Death Knight Starting Area
For the most part, you want to go through the death knight starting area and quests normally. The area will have a few potential bottlenecks, so better to get out ASAP by just progressing through the quest chain. My death knight day one plan doesn’t get started until you first arrive in Stormwind or Orgrimmar. You will be given everything you need to get through the content easily by the game, but there are a few things you can tweak if you like.
Quests Award Talent Points
You’ll start with zero talent points and will earn talent points from many of the quests, as well as the usual 1 talent point earned per level. At the end of the event, you will have earned enough talent points to match a level 58 character (and will be level 58, not including the 50% XP buff).
You can spend your talent points immediately or wait. You can get through the entire content without spending any, but they do speed up your kill times.
- On a Pale Horse can be used early, as you’ll get your fast ground mount within minutes of leaving the Ebon Hold.
- Improved Unholy Presence is working on the WotLK Classic beta without Unholy Presence being learned. A speed enchant to your boots will have the same effect if you prefer, and remember you can buy enchants at the auction house in WotLK Classic.
- The rest are standard unholy death knight leveling talents. Different guides will give different priorities to some of the talents.
- If you want to go frost or blood for leveling that’s fine, too. But keep in mind you won’t be able to get one-handed weapons until after you leave the starter zone.
Use Rune of Cinderglacier or Razorice For Now
Rune of Cinderglacier is ideal for two-handed weapons and dual-wielding main hands.
Rune of Razorice is ideal for dual-wielding off-hands only.
Tanks should use Rune of Spellshattering, as you should be using a two-handed weapon.
Yes, everyone says Rune of the Fallen Crusader is the best runeforge, and they are right. But you don’t learn it until level 70. So stick with the ones above while leveling up.
Get Your Horse First
Once you go outside the Ebon Hold you’ll pick up several quests. Complete Grand Theft Palomino first. It’ll lead to a quick follow-up quest, and then you’ll get your death knight mount. It is a 100% ground mount, at levels 55-56, and for free! It’ll make all other quests in the area much faster.
Magic Time Traveling Mailbox
There is a functioning mailbox in the Scarlet Enclave, not far from the death knight base. It’ll have a quest marker to help you find it the first time. You can magically send stuff to your death knight “from the future.”
No new items are needed for your death knight to complete the starter zone. You won’t fill up the smaller bags you start with and you’ll easily beat any enemies with the gear you’re given. That said here are some items you could send and use early on.
- Glyphs – The most beneficial items you can send. You can use 2 major glyphs and 2 minor glyphs.
- Bigger bags – Send the four for your character, and wait on any extras for your bank.
- Titanic Leggings – If you splurged for this upgrade you can equip it immediately. Do NOT apply Cobra or Nethercobra leg armor to it in advance, it’ll cause the leggings to become soulbound to the non-death knight holding them. The death knight can apply the leg armor later at level 60.
- Level 55-57 one-handed weapons – If going frost DPS, do not send maces as you won’t be trained in them yet.
- Enchant Boots – Minor Speed – If using enchants over talents for run speed, wait until you get your blue quality boots.
- First Aid – You can send Runecloth, TBC first aid books, and Netherweave cloth to level up first aid if you want.
Find Death Knights To Dual Going Down the Hills
The death knight NPCs you need to duel don’t have nameplates above their heads, making them annoying to find. The best spot is on the hills on either side of the death knight camp heading down to the battle areas. Click on one running by and it’ll stop.
Cloak Choice Doesn’t Matter
When awarded a new cloak pick whichever one you like the look of. The DPS specs are the same, the only difference is a measly +5 elemental resistance.
Noth’s Special Brew
Noth’s Special Brew is a special death knight potion that restores health and 50 runic power. It is only found in the death knight starter zone and you can only take 20 out into the world with you.
The initial quest will give you 5 brews. To get another 15 you’ll need to collect 60 more skulls. You’ll only get some of that from normal questing, so you’ll need to farm skulls to get the full amount.
Have all the skills you need and turned in before you accept Ambush at the Overlook. After that quest chain, you won’t be able to collect any more skulls. The last time to turn in skulls is before you complete the frost wyrm siege battle started by the Lich King.
Sword Over Axe
After the battle at Light’s Hope Chapel, you’ll choose your final weapon reward. Go for the sword, the hit rating on it vs crit rating on the axe makes it the best choice. Orc death knights can pick up a better axe in dungeons or from the Ring of Blood event in Nagrand.
Be sure to runeforge your new weapon after you’ve cleared out the scourge from Ebon Hold, but before you head for Stormwind/Orgrimmar.
Once In Stormwind/Orgrimmar
Now the death knight day one plan can get started. Turn in the final quest that sent you to your capital city and you are done with the death knight starting experience.
- Set Stormwind/Orgrimmar as your hearth. Note you’ll receive a new hearthstone.
- Grab any bags you have reserved for your death knight and set up your bank.
- Buying all bank bag slots will cost ~112 gold.
- I’m using Mooncloth Bags to start. I can upgrade to larger WotLK bags more cheaply later and the Mooncloth Bags can be sold or given to another character.
- Turn in the Stormwind/Orgrimmar cloth donation quests.
- Wool Cloth x60
- Silk Cloth x60
- Mageweave Cloth x60
- Runecloth x60
- Hold off on turning in more cloth for pure rep, you’ll have an easier time turning in the perfect amount for Revered after doing the plaguelands quests.
- Pick up the quest Call to Arms: Plaguelands (Stormwind/Orgrimmar).
- Optional: Skill up First Aid to 375.
- Doesn’t require a trip to Theramore, you can skill up to 300 with Heavy Runecloth Bandages.
- Can get up to 375 if you mail the TBC first aid books and necessary cloth to your DK.
- Optional: Skill up Cooking to 300.
- Can do it all with one trainer if you have the vendor recipes needed.
- Optional: Skill up primary professions to 300.
- I want engineering skilled up ASAP so I can get the goggles for leveling. As I’m going goblin I’ll need to swing by Gadgetzan at some point.
Turn In Additional Cloth Donations for XP
You can repeat the cloth donation quests for rep and XP in your other faction capital cities if you can reliably purchase portals or get a mage friend to help you out. Without a mage, this may not be worth running around and doing. The combined turn-ins are ~106,000 XP.
- Ironforge (2 turn-ins)
- Also, visit the weapon trainer to learn maces
I’ll be making a pit stop in Gadgetzan (via Theramore portal) for Goblin Engineering before I finish up in Darnassus.
- Orgrimmar (2 turn-ins)
- Thunder Bluff
- Also, visit the weapon trainer to learn maces
- Silvermoon City
- Return to Ogrimmar
Felwood & Winterspring – New Trinket
Now I’m going to complete a quest series for a new DPS trinket. Death knights get three trinkets from their starter zone:
None of these is a pure DPS trinket. I plan to get two new DPS trinkets as part of my death knight day one plan. I’ll also get a few other quests completed for XP without going out of my way. Not to mention avoid any initial rush on Plagueland quests from fresh death knights for a bit.
- From Darnassus/Ogrimmar fly to southern Felwood.
- Pick up the quest Timbermaw Ally and complete it. This will grant you an Unfriendly rep with the Timbermaw, allowing you to go through their tunnel without fighting.
- Fly to northern Felwood, then ride through the Timbermaw tunnel into Winterspring. You can now stay mounted while in the tunnel.
- Pick up the quests Winterfall Activity and Threat of the Winterfall. These side quests you’ll likely complete working on the main quest.
- Start killing nearby Winterfall tribe members until you get the Empty Firewater Flask. Use it to start Winterfall Firewater. Keep killing nearby Winterfall until you have completed the Pathfinder and Totemic parts of the other quests.
- Turn in Winterfall Firewater and work through that quest chain, which takes you into Felwood a couple of times. The quest chain is nearing its end when it sends you to kill High Chief Winterfall.
- Head to High Chief Winterfall and kill him. He will also drop Crudely-written Log, which starts the quest that awards the trinket. But you have to do the previous quest chain to get the drop.
- In the area around High Chief Winterfall, you can complete the other two Winterfall killing quests.
- Optional: If going goblin engineering and you’ve skilled up, then now is a good time to pick up the Dimensional Ripper – Everlook recipe.
- Head back to the entrance to Winterspring and turn in all quests. If you picked up other quest starting items you’ll be able to turn those in inside the Timbermaw tunnel, as you’ll reach Neutral standing once Winterfall Activity is completed.
- Head through the tunnel and then fly to southern Felwood for the final turn-in and your new trinket.
Total XP = 77,630 | 116,445 with 50% XP buff
New Item = Strength of the High Chief
I hit level 59 at this point on the beta. I would expect to be closer to 60 with the 50% XP buff active on the live servers.
Plagueland Cauldrons – Death Knight Day One Plan XP Burst & New Trinket
Now we return to the Plaguelands for another trinket and a load of prepped XP which requires Argent Dawn rep. Getting the needed rep is fast, and the process gives even more XP for easy fights.
Cauldrons Quest Chain
- From Felwood open a Death Gate to Ebon Hold.
- Alliance: Fly to Chillwind Point, Western Plaguelands
- Horde: Fly to Undercity, then head east to the Western Plaguelands entrance
- Turn in Call to Arms: Plaguelands.
- Alliance, start the quest Clear the Way. Horde, start the quest Scarlet Diversions. Complete and turn in your quest.
- Now you’ll be able to pick up your first cauldron quest. Do it and ignore most of the side quests (one exception below).
- Keep repeating the cauldron quests. The last one is at Gahrron’s Withering.
- The aim is to kill Araj the Summoner, an elite surrounded by undead mobs in the Ruins of Andorhal.
- You’ll need to do careful pulling to clear out the undead before engaging Araj.
- If you are solo or with other low-level death knights consider getting an Attuned Dampner by completing the quest Counting Out Time. It will weaken Araj. If you have a level 70 friend this can be skipped.
Total XP = 52,060 | 78,090 with 50% XP buff
New Item = Mark of Resolution
On the beta, I hit Friendly with Argent Dawn during the final cauldron quest, but completing the last turn-in was still worth it for the XP. I was close to level 60 and expect to be at level 60 with the 50% XP buff active. I also earned 1570 reputation with Stormwind, which was nice.
You can skip getting and using the Argent Dawn Commission. I didn’t get nearly enough scourgestones for a single turn-in.
Light’s Hope Chapel Turn-Ins – Death Knight Day One Plan XP Burst
With our Argent Dawn rep now at Friendly, we can pick up and instantly complete five high XP quests at Light’s Hope Chapel. Plus a sixth quest that didn’t require any rep.
- From Western Plaguelands open a Death Gate to Ebon Hold.
- Fly down to Light’s Hope Chapel.
- Grab your quest items out of the mailbox:
- Bone Fragments x30
- Core of Elements x30
- Crypt Fiend Parts x30
- Dark Iron Scraps x30
- Savage Frond x30
- Thorium Bar x2
- Golden Rod x1
- Hi-Explosive Bomb x8
- Unstable Trigger x8
- Pick up and immediately turn in these quests:
- Bonescythe Digs
- The Elemental Equation
- Cryptstalker Armor Doesn’t Make Itself
- Binding the Dreadnaught
- Savage Fronds
- That’s Asking a Lot
Total XP = 56,750 | 85,125 with 50% XP buff
On the beta server, I hit level 60 with room to spare after these turn-ins. Again, that was without the 50% XP buff active.
Flying Mount Discount, Blasted Lands, and Finally Outland
We’re almost done with the death knight day one plan. Now we get ready for Outland, with quick stops in Stormwind/Orgrimmar and Blasted Lands first for a final bit of rep and XP.
- From Light’s Hope Chapel, Death Gate or fly back to Ebon Hold for any training you may need before heading to Outland. You should also runeforge any BoE weapons you have and plan to use later while leveling.
- Hearth back to Stormwind/Orgrimmar.
- Optional: Turn in additional Runecloth if you want to increase your rep to Revered to save gold when buying your flying and epic flying training later.
- Requires 2400 additional Runecloth for Alliance with the extra Stormwind rep earned, Horde may need more
- Head to the portal area of the major city you’re in and use the new Blasted Lands portal. It will drop you close to the Dark Portal, so you’ll need to backtrack a bit for the next few steps.
- Optional: Alliance death knight can pick up Nethergarde Bitter for an Alliance-only quest in Hellfire Peninsula.
- Go to Kum’isha the Collector and turn in two items to him for XP:
- Imperfect Draenethyst Fragment x1
- Flawless Draenethyst Sphere x1
- Go to Bloodmage Drazial. Pick up and immediately turn in all five quests both blood elves are offering with these saved items:
- Basilisk Brain x11
- Blasted Boar Lung x6
- Scorpok Pincer x6
- Snickerfang Jowl x5
- Vulture Gizzard x14
- Head back to the Dark Portal, and pick up the nearby quest just before going through.
- Follow the quest chain which will lead you to your faction’s hub. Now you are ready to start questing in Hellfire Peninsula.
- Learn flying and buy a normal flying mount. You can fly at level 60 in WotLK and it’ll fly at 150% speed, faster than your death knight’s ground mount. You can’t learn epic flying until level 70.
- Optional: Head to Shattrath (picking up some flight points along the way) and set your hearth there.
You can now also fly directly from the Dark Portal (Outland side) to Shattrath if you need to.
Total XP = 23,800 | 35,700 with 50% XP buff (not counting the Hellfire Peninsula breadcrumb quests)
At this final point, I was level 60 and ~15% of the way to level 61. With the 50% XP buff active, I expect one will be level 61 and ~50% of the way to 62. This meant I was also able to equip all of these additional upgrades I had saved for my death knight:
With my death knight day one plan, you will have the option to skip ahead to Zangarmarsh with ease or just blow through your quest objectives in Hellfire Peninsula. I soloed every group quest in Hellfire except for Overlord.
The XP earned above is equal to ~39 Hellfire Peninsula quests. Under ideal conditions, the direct to Hellfire approach may be faster, especially once you get the flying mount at level 60. I also expect you’d see higher XP per hour as there’s more killing and less traveling in Hellfire. But by showing up late I get to miss much of the early crowd, I get into a later and less populated layer, immediately have a flying mount, and can get through mobs and elites much more easily.