Leveling Guides 1-80 - Improving the quality

In case you haven't noticed, I released my last leveling guide 2 days ago: Jame's Alliance Leveling Guide - Grizzly Hills (75-77)

If you've been following my blog and the release dates on wow-pro.com, you must have probably noticed that my guide was released a full day after the original release date. If you wondered why, here are the reasons:

1st Reason: Improving the quality
  • One of my goals is to always improve the quality of my guides. Every new chapter I write, the quality improves. I try to make it more easy to read, more fluid and I try to make the maps better. If you take a look at my Grizzly Hills guide, you will notice that most maps only contain 2, 3 or 4 steps. Maximum is 5 steps, and it's only when there are no big images in the circuit. The reason why is simple: whenever I put too many steps in a circuit, people have to scroll back up to look at the map once they get to the latter steps of the circuit, and that's not really good. It makes them lose time and it makes them lose focus on the current step.
  • To achieve this goal, I had to do a lot more maps than I usually would for a chapter of this size. To give you an idea, I had to design 41 circuit maps for my Grizzly Hills guide, which is more than what I had to do for the previous chapters, even though Grizzly Hills is a smaller zone than Dragonblight, Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord.
  • I'm quite satisfied with the result, my Grizzly Hills guide should be even easier to follow than any other guide I wrote until now. However, as you can imagine, that took extra effort and time, which is partly a reason why I had to delay the release of this chapter.

2nd Reason: Managing WoW-Pro

Since the release of Wrath of the Lich King, the amount of traffic on wow-pro has nearly doubled, and more importantly, the community is at least 5 times more activte than before.

This means that everyday, I have to read dozens of comments as well as lot of new guides. And I also have to update the Karma Rankings accordingly.

As you can imagine, this takes a lot of my time. I'm really happy about it though and I wouldn't want it any other way.

While I'm on the topic, I want to say a big thank you to all the community members who take the initiative to reply to comments on wow-pro. This saves me a lot of time to not have to answer all the questions myself. So thank you, and please keep it up ;)

Improving the quality even further

I'm kind of running out of ideas at this point to improve the quality of my guides. So to close this article, I'd like to hear suggestions on how I could improve the quality of my guides even further.

Base your comment on my last guide, because I will revamp my older guides in the future (From level 20 to 70) and include all the improvements I have in my WotLK Guides.

Also note that I'm already working on an addon version of my guide, so that's already covered.

With that in mind, please fire away, and I'll do my best to include your suggestions in my next guides!

12 Response to "Leveling Guides 1-80 - Improving the quality"

  1. conundrum says:


    Keep up the excellent work! I am holding off leveling my second character to 80 until you release the addon! I was able to hit 80 in 2 days 13 hours thanks to your guides!

    Adam says:

    James, I've used your guides on many toons. In fact, I think only the first toon during the original release was leveled without them.

    I wasn't able to wait for the latest guide so I hopped ahead and did Grizzly Hills on my own. I've always appreciated you preventing multiple trips, thankfully I'm well ahead of the leveling curve and have an epic flying mount so those redundant trips are somewhat a moot point.

    Anyways, what I wanted to say, and something that has ALWAYS bitten me in the ass with your guides, is my constant use of just reading the next line, rather than the next 'section'. Multiple times I've overlooked something, or hadn't been killing X while looking for Y due to the fact that I hadn't read the whole section before starting out on the batch of quests you'd had me pick up.

    Part of this is lazyness on my part to read the quests sometimes (Though not so much with WOTLK, the quests really are getting better I think), and part of it is a lack of warning.

    So my thought here: Maybe create a little caveat in the front saying: read through a section (steps 1 through x) before galavanting off. Just skim if you must, but read it none the less.

    You sir, have made a huge impact as to how many high level toons I have (5 level 70's during TBC). I have cheated your guides here and there using some other leveling techniques (with a second account), but your guides are without question one of the best wow resources on the web.

    Thank you very much!

    You already read my mind on my only issue at the moment. Breaking down the maps. I tend to refer to them more for the 'find these mobs in this large area' sort of quests.
    I like how you tell us 'kill these at area 1 while getting objective 2 & 3'. Although I do get stuck in following them in a sequential order. Maybe marking those sort of 'while you're at it' quests marked with A, B, C? instead of numbers.

    Great guides. Finished Hellfire guide at 64 with DK rather than 62 but on top of 1) the mobs being easier, 2) you get more G in the long run, it is just 3) more fun.
    I have done a grind on the same mobs from yellow to gray for massive XP. But with the quest changes, not as efficient and just not as fun.

    Herc says:

    WTB Horde version guide for Grizzly hills!

    I have to agree on breaking down the maps. It makes going thru it so much faster.

    Thanks for your guide. I used it when Wrath came out but I couldnt wait for the Grizzly hills one cause I was already done with Dragonblight by the first Saturday Wrath was released >_<. Regardless it helped me ding 80 that monday. Thanks again.

    Anonymous says:

    Jame, let me start off by saying your guides are extremely helpful and easy to understand as they are. The biggest upgrade you can make would be to turn it into an add-on, that way all the "lol questhelper/joana/etc is better" comments will stop.

    Perhaps integrating class guides into this add-on would be good, that way players will know which talents to choose for the most efficient leveling talent build, they would know how to do difficult quests and level up as fast as possible with their class.

    Another idea would be to add reputation and achievements guides, some of which can be achieved even while leveling up! And this can go way beyond... I'm thinking instance guides, gold making guides, gear guides, pvp guides...

    Of course, you shouldn't include every single aspect of the game in the guide, these are just some ideas that would make your guides a complete tool to assist you in WoW.

    But until your add-on version of the guide is ready, here are some of my ideas that would help people level a bit faster or just enjoy the game better:

    - suggest the most efficient talent build for leveling right after they ding level 10

    - include tips for each class on how to do difficult/elite quests

    - include optional achievements guides (those that can be completed on the way as we quest, such as the exploration achievements)

    - advise people to read the quest text. You may laugh at this one, but reading the quest text really makes the game a lot more enjoyable. Especially in wrath, the storyline and questlines are incredible, and truly give you a feeling of actually doing something for the world, actually being a part of the lore itself. Of course, this applies only to people doing these quests for the first time, leveling alts and such does not count :P

    - maybe you should mention whether we can set our hearthstones anywhere we want. I know you already warn us when to set a new home location, but it would be nice to tell players at what point that location isn't important anymore. When you get summoned from Dragonblight to Tanaris to do a dungeon, hearthstoning to Dalaran is a lot more convenient than hearthstoning to Taunka'le Village :P

    Well that was kinda long, and these are just what I could think of at the moment, if I remember anything else I'll drop another comment :)

    Good luck with finishing your Horde Grizzly Hills guide, I'm off to level up my LW to kill time!

    Elad says:

    Hey Jame,

    Loving your guides. Here's a few ideas as requested:

    - Someone above me mentioned hearthstones. Hearthstones can save quite a bit of time if used smartly, and I couldn't help but notice that you rarely use them. For example, in your Horde Dragonblight guide, searching for the word "hearth" results only in a bunch of "New Hearthglen", lol.

    - Pay a little more attention to mobs that may be immune to a certain spell tree. There was nothing more jarring than following your guide, being told to kill a bunch of mobs, only to have 2-3 chasing you after you realize that they're immune to your primary school of magic (Frost, in my case).

    - As excellent as your descriptions for quests are, every so often I come across a quest or two that I have no idea how to complete, or need advice on how to finish. In this situation, I'll open Wowhead in a new tab, and look it up. It would be IMMENSELY useful if your guide had links to wowhead/thottbot/wowdb for each quest (a PHP script could easily parse the guide and add them automatically).

    - Every so often you come across a section that you must read entirely before proceeding, such as "this is what will happen after you pick up the quest", or "look for the following items while following the next steps". Most of the time you separate these in horizontal rules and make sure we read them before going on, but every so often they're hidden and aren't noticed. Just separate them from the rest of the steps.

    - I must say I love how you split up the steps now. Having to scroll up previously was SO annoying!

    That's all I can think of for now, I'll post again if I think of something else.

    Keep up the great work!

    Jame says:

    Good suggestions guys, thanks!

    Keep 'em coming ;)


    I'm going to also say that these guides have been a wonderful help during my leveling. Since I've been rested almost all the way through LK so far I was almost able to hit 79 before completing Grizzly Hills (I did do all the dungeons and group quests along the way).

    A couple of small suggestions:
    - Embed your videos. Clicking out to another site kinda sucks.
    - Link the quests to wowhead or wowdb. The folks at wowhead are very helpful and may even help with the scripting to make this easy. Linking the items and having mouseover tooltips could be nice also as a verification that I'm gathering the right things.

    These are entirely minor things, and feel free to ignore them. You're guides are fine without them.

    Beast says:

    Jame, I just wanted to express my thanks for all of your hard work. It is clear that not only are you great at this, but you're also a genuinely nice guy. With that said, it irks me when you apologize for things relating to your guides! Who cares if your guide came out a day late - you make the BEST guides and you make them for FREE! I appreciate how much you care about your readers, but seriously, we are lucky to have someone like you helping us with the game. The only suggestion I have is to keep doing what you've been doing, since you're the best at it.

    Anonymous says:

    This is off topic, I know. Sorry.

    I've tried to enroll in Wow-Pro three times now but each attempt goes off in limbo. I love your guides and want to leave my opinions, but I can't get a log on.

    Any help on the subject would be greatly appreciated!

    Jame says:


    Send me an e-mail with the name of the account you tried to activate on wow-pro.


    Jame, thank you very much as usual on your well written guides. My character hit 78 with just the Howling Fjord, Borean Tundra, and Dragonblight guides. That says a lot about the quality and efficiency of your guides.

    Overall, the leveling guides are excellent as they are. Incremental improvements you have put forth in the Grizzly Hills are always welcome. I would like to suggest having class shopping lists as some potential candidates in the guide queue. I personally found the DK shopping list immensely helpful. It allows me to make better choices on gearing up, to focus my effort on the quests that provide the upgrades, and to save money by avoiding unnecessary upgrades. Needless to say, my expereience with the DK shopping list have been very positive so far. Also, the class shopping lists need not cover all levels, just the higher levels such as 60-80 or 70-80 will do nicely.

    In any case, thank you once again for the work you have done in enhancing our gaming experience and for supporting the WoW community. You rock!