Leveling Challenge: The Early Teens

In the interests of scientific inquiry, Liala rolled a brand new priest on a brand new server: Liala the Second was born on US-Drenden without a penny to her name. Without heirlooms, without alts, without money of any kind, Liala II is an experiment in leveling a priest in 3.3.5 using wits alone. Follow along, if you dare…

Status: See Liala II’s progress on the Armory

Time To Level

  • 9 – 10: 23 minutes. At this point I’d pretty much had it with Eversong Woods, which bores me to tears, so I hit Silvermoon to pick up my new priest spells (Renew, Lesser Heal, Resurrection; Fade, Mind Blast, and Shadow Word: Pain). The Translocation Orb for Undercity just so happens to be right next to the Priest trainer, so I hopped on that, took a zeppelin to Ogrimmar, another to Thunder Bluff, and ended up in my favorite leveling zone- skipping the hated Ghostlands in their entirety. I had to ask a level 80 raiding priest for directions to the Thunder Bluff zeppelin, and she was perfectly charming about it (WTB flight points). I waited. And waited. And WAITED for that damned thing. Seriously, you can get to and from Northrend every three minutes, but two blocks down to Thunder Bluff takes ten?
  • 10 – 11: About three hours. I diddled around running to Mulgore (where I love to level), leveling a bit of fishing, cooking and first aid, visiting the Auction House, and generally pootling around. I also remembered very late in the process how much faster you level taking a whole slew of green quests rather than desperately hunting one or two orange ones. Without heirloom gear, this is the way to go.
  • 11-12: 1 hour, 20 minutes. When fighting alone, it’s important to remember that you can Shield yourself and drag the enemy you’re fighting out of the path of a potential, roving enemy. Better to take a few hits from one as you run than to pull two at a time- not a priestly strong point.
  • 12-13: 3 hours. At this point, I pretty much wanted to lay down and die. I couldn’t kill anything even remotely my level without taking a serious breather afterwards despite pressing danger, like a fat man on a fire escape. Ice Cold Milk. Ice Cold Milk! ICE COLD MILK! Things were not helped by logging onto my hunter and accidentally gaining two levels in 45 minutes. We still can’t use the LFD and self-leveling is, to be generous, extra-grim.
  • 13-14: At least four hours. Urge to kill… rising. No longer attempting to stifle screams of rage and tears of frustration. At some point I make a banker character, which does nothing to assist in the leveling process.
  • 14-15: At least five hours, including time spent clutching the Crossroads mailbox weeping copiously. I begin to see the background music. The Donner party’s actions now make complete sense to me. Loss of bowel control. Weeping continues uninterrupted. PvP is attempted and proves to provide even less XP than standard leveling practices. Seppuku seriously considered.


Smite to get their attention. Mind Blast. Self-shield. Shadow Word: Pain. Smite. Smite. Smite. Whack with stick.


Total Deaths: 16
Money earned: 17 gold, 46 silver
Alchemy: 39
Herbalism: 53
Ice Cold Milks Consumed: 87
Creatures killed: 432
Quests completed: 73
GearScore: 6


Nothing could ever, ever suck as much as this.

If you are actually starting a lone, boost-free priest, it’s insanely difficult to get through these first 15 levels.  If you want to heal in LFG dungeons, though, you won’t have the money to respec and so must start out as you wish to continue. The monotony and difficulty of these pre-LFG disc priest levels cannot be overestimated. Godspeed, noble Disco.



  1. Omg! That stupid zeppelin! I was getting charter signatures for a bank guild today on my horde alt, who I haven’t played in over half a year. A friend had maxed out his characters so I went to meet him in Mulgore and made the stupid mistake of waiting for that zeppelin. I think 5 minutes passed and I just ran to the crossroads. Blech!

    I’ve been leveling on Beta and for the first time ever (due to the new glyph system) slotted the Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain and it’s fantastic for regen… I think. High levels and beta, so it’s hard to tell just yet. But since you’re actively soloing at low levels (when mana is the biggest bitch) you should try it a shot and let us know how it works. Unless it’s crap, then just forget I said it >_>;

    Anyway, cute site! You’ve got a real gift for designing and making graphics. I went ahead and added you to my feed reader. ^^


    • That zeppelin! QQ! QQ!! I’ve been trying to convince myself it’s charmingly quirky, like Mankrik’s wife or Barrens chat, but no luck yet.

      I hadn’t thought at all about slotting the SW:P glyph for regen; it sounds like a great idea. I’ll slot it today and share my findings. Thanks for the feed reader add (I’d return the favor, but you’re already on mine!).


  2. Oh that sounds horrible.. It reminds me of my own very first priest back in vanilla. It was the first character I rolled.. and while going shadow at those levels it really didn’t make a difference. I remember getting stuck around level 12-14 wandering around Silverpine Forest and for some reason all of my quests were orange or red.

    I believe that was around the time I re-rolled on my undead rogue.. which was also the one I ended up raiding on. The priest came around slowly as I got a friend to level with me (being two sure helped!) but I didn’t “seriously” play a priest until I re-rolled alliance and took a priest for main (starting the entire thing all over again! – but with friends this time..)

    Maybe the moral of the story is.. never solo level a priest until you’re a higher level? 😛 Or can get boosted. Or something…


    • Or possibly, “Never, ever, ever undertake a stupid solo disc priest leveling challenge”. I honestly cannot remember how the heck I managed to level the first time around. I definitely do remember being ridiculously excited when I hit 20 for the first time, so maybe it was just as slow then but I was too green to realize it wasn’t that way for everyone!

      And I’m willing to bet you still harbor a little resentment towards Silverpine Forest 😉


      • It’s mixed emotions, for sure 😉 I loved the zone and the atmosphere of it.. but hated how much I struggled. It was also my first run-in with a Son of Arugal who at the time was a level ?? elite for me *lol* It was painful.. and after that I kept looking around whenever I was running around, making sure I’d not meet another!


  3. I just wanted to stick my nose in and suggest something that I didn’t see you mention. Something that saved me loads of stress when leveling my mage.


    Pound for pound they put out more dps than anything! I usually get a mob down to about 30% and then finish them off with my wand. That lets my mana start regenning and makes a ton of difference 🙂

    If I’m telling you something you already know I’m sorry!


    • Oh man, yes! I’m so glad you brought that up; I did indeed pick up the finest wand I could afford (10s, 4c) and it made a huge difference in giving me more time to regen that mana- particularly when used in conjunction with a Shield, which gives you that much more time to gently wand a creature to death without ending up as a smear yourself.


  4. Heee. Old post but I feel your pain. I’m working on a priest who is a. on a new server and b. my highest level alliance toon and c. unguilded. Oh, and d. leveling holy. Things have picked up a bit since 20 & the Smite Glyph, though I am starting to get lost more and more frequently. I ended up on the wrong boat and in Northrend instead of Kalimdor something like 4 times.

    As a dyed in the wool Hordie, I will trade your unbelievably slow boats for our Zepplins any day. You cannot port from Dalaran to anywhere on continental Kalimdor! What. the. hell, Alliance?


    • How can we be such a non-presence in Kalimdor!? That just drives me wild. Trying to get to Tanaris in the 30s is the PC equivalent of crossing the Serengeti in a pedal-powered scooter. QQ!

      I have nothing but sympathy for your Ally priest. The boats are a horror and leveling as a healer is a thing which should happen to no one. Every time I level, I honestly wonder how in tarnation I did it the first time (my first character was my priest), without LFD to boot, and am filled with respect for those brave souls who attempt it now.

      And… welcome to the dark side, hordie! Mu hu ha ha ha…


      • I always liked playing the Good Guys! (aka the Horde!! 😉 )

        I ended up going 14 points in Disc at around 24 because I was constantly OOM. Kill a mob, drink some water. Kill a mob, Drink some water! So now I’m going back into the holy DPS talents. I actually like Smitespec better than I liked leveling shadow – I remember my late teens on my first priest being AGONY until I could get SFK blues. Smite, wand wand wand, run away in a bubble!!

        I’m almost done in Ashenvale, and almost 30, and I just realized I have no idea where to go. Southshore? O.o Are you leveling in the Barrens for RP/Sado-masochistic reasons? If not, get yourself to Ghostlands! Infinitely better quests & gear there.


      • I have this weird dislike of the creepy areas (or areas I arbitrarily define as creepy): Ghostlands, Darkshire, and the Plaguelands. There’s something about the ‘Haunted Mansion’ feel that gets me; but I should Ghostland it, because I know the quest rewards are better. I know, but I can’t! /sob

        Personally, I’d do Arathi Highlands at 30 (just took my rogue on a lovely tour through there), Stranglethorn/Alterac/Desolace would all be good. Might be fun to hit Desolace before it goes up in smoke, too!

        I use this ‘Zones By Level’ guide from WowWiki constantly:

        Hopefully it helps!


  5. Ah, I’m a total sucker for creepy zones – I even love the Plaguelands. (And Tirion Fordring <3) Angrytrolls! Deadscar zombies! Sylvannas's necklace! – a must do new Hordie quest imho. Green quest rewards that aren't +2 spirit shields! I love Ghostlands.

    I'll check out Desolace & AH! I want to hit up the zones that have a lot of unique alliance quests, rather than neutral ones I've done a million times.


    • Well, now I just feel like a sissy! (Truth.) I’ll pull her over to Ghostlands and see if I can quiet my trembling soul long enough to get my hands on some dirty, filthy loot. I’ll report back on my loot-tastic findings.


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