What's better: Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord?

Many players are asking themselves this simple question: When Wrath of the Lich King is released, where should I go level first, Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord?

Blizzard has stated many times that both zones would be viable for the Horde and the Alliance, and that ultimately, it doesn't matter which of the two you choose. However, this is not entirely true, there are slight differences between the two zones and they do matter a little, if your concern is to level up as fast a possible.

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Borean Tundra


Horde quests: 87
Alliance quests: 68
Both: 88

As you can see, Horde has a clear advantage here. Not only do they have more quests, but their starting point also has a better position in the zone, it occupies the center of the map, while the alliance starting point is shoved to the side.

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Howling Fjord


Horde quests: 52
Alliance quests: 77
Both: 66

As you can see, the situation is reversed here. Alliance has the quest advantage AND the position advantage in Howling Fjord.


Other observations

  • I've done Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord with both Alliance and Horde characters, and I can say that there are other advantages which confirm the above. The Horde quest hubs and quest chains feel more fluid, more well-connected together in the Borean Tundra. The opposite is also true for the Alliance in Howling Fjord. I don't know if this was intended by Blizzard, but it's just how it is.
  • The transition to the next zone also feels more fluid in Borean Tundra for the Horde, and the same is also true for the Alliance in Howling Fjord.
  • Borean Tundra has more quests overall, and that's of course an advantage. However, the zone is bigger and thus there's more time spent riding than in Howling Fjord. Howling Fjord is completed faster and allows you to move on to the next zone (probably less crowded) quicker.

Conclusion

If you are Horde, start in Borean Tundra.
If you are Alliance, start in Howling Fjord.

My 70-80 Leveling Guides will follow this choice as well. However, don't worry, I will also write a guide for Borean Tundra for the Alliance and a Howling Fjord guide for the Horde in the future. This is for people who don't want to miss any zone and want to do as many quests as possible for more reputation, gold, lore and of course, more achievements!

Of course, if everyone followed my advice, it would be a disaster, Horde quest locations in Borean Tundra would be way too crowded, and the same would be true for the Alliance in Howling Fjord. However, luckily for you, a large part of the WoW population still doesn't know about this blog and/or doesn't follow my guides, so just follow my advice and you'll have an edge in Wrath of the Lich King :)

11 Response to "What's better: Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord?"

  1. Storm says:

    Thanks again Jame, will definitely take your advice and stick to Howling Fjord!

    Lise says:

    As always, Jame is ahead of the game^^ will try to follow your advice anytime^^ nobody has better guides than you do.

    Keep up the good work, and thanks for everything

    lorelol says:

    Jame,

    Firstly, love your work. I'm a seasoned player of WoW from launch, yet I always find some new perspectives or techniques from your guides. You also are one of the few who attempt guide writing in a professional manner, so in the way of Colbert, a tip of the hat to you good sir! :P

    I have a question for you (not sure where else to post this request), that is to do with Death Knights. I don't believe you have answered this issue before. From reading around, I have come to understand it that duel wielding is only really used by frost-speced tanking Death Knights, due to the fact that 1h weapons are best suited for tanking stats and fast weapon speed for threat. DPS speced (Blood or Unholy) seem to favour 2h weapons. Would you be able to do an analysis of DW vs 2H, prehaps down the road, to see if DW replaces 2H for dps? What about tanking? I also know there is a lack of itemisation with 2H tanking weapons. Thanks again Jame, keep up the great work.

    Michael says:

    For Deathknights of both sides it might be recommended to go to BT for at least a short time, to complete some quests and get the Mightstone quest rewards since they seem to be a pretty good upgrade over Outland items. As far as I heard the quests can be done at level 68. Just an idea for your guide.

    Jame says:

    Well yes and no, because there is an equivalent in Howling Fjord as well.

    For example, those items are from the first quest hub, both for Horde and Alliance:

    Antique Reinforced Legguards
    Scavenged Tirasian Plate
    Ramshorn-Inlaid Shoulders
    Cragthumper

    Jame says:

    And actually, it's kind of a factor in the decision too.
    If you're a Death Knight or a Warrior for example, you can base your decision on the following:

    Do you prefer more crit rating? Go Borean Tundra.
    Do you prefer more haste rating / armor penetration? Go Howling Fjord.

    mauam says:

    Jame,

    Your guides are the best, best of whole world of warcraft! You are my Wow hero!! awesome, before wotlk even release, jame has the guide ready for use!! Awesome!! And I hope that every body is gonna take jame's advice, so we dont have much pking in the beginning :D

    Thanks

    I must admit i'm incredibly confused. I have read your post and looked at your guides, and they do not math up. You say here that bt is best for horde and hf for alliance, yet your 70-72 guides are written for exactly the opposite? You have horde in hf for 70-72 and alliance in bt. I'm very very confused about your choice given your statements here that the opposite is the best option.

    Jame says:

    Check the more recent posts I made about my Wotlk leveling guides and you won't be confused anymore :P

    October 22

    October 24

    Justin says:

    If I've already completed most, if not all of the quests in Borean Tundra and moved on to Dragonblight and finished everything there - leaving me at level 74 so far, is there any point in doing any questing in Howling Fjord? Thanks.

    Jame says:

    Hell yes there is.

    Howling Fjord at level 74 is great XP, faster than if you'd go there at 70 or 72.

    It will be a breeze and you won't regret it.

    Skipping any zone in WotLK is a mistake. Going back to Howling Fjord at level 80 for the quest achievement means you'll be doing grey quests, which is inneficient.

    If you do them now you'll end up with more gold once you've completed all the zones.

    Not to mention, you'll simply level up faster that way.