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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Leveling from 61 to 80

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Leveling in Northrend was made easier with patch 4.3's reducing the experience necessary by 33%. In addition, many quests in Outland and Northrend were retuned from group quests to soloable, and the major quest givers for instance quests were moved inside the instances in most cases so that players using Dungeon Finder to level through them could turn them in more easily.

These changes make leveling through the oldest content in the game (with the Cataclysm revamps, Outland and Northrend are in fact older content than the 1-to-60 game) easier than it has ever been. That makes now the perfect time to talk about how to level through these 19 levels and get ready for the 80-to-85 content. Since we talked about 1 to 60 two weeks ago, we'll follow much the same format.

Some like it fast, some squirm when the speed is on

It's undeniably true that the hands-down fastest way to grind out these levels is to go protection, especially with the proper heirlooms, and simply queue as a tank in the Dungeon Finder over and over again until you're level 80. If you're absolutely uninterested in the story of either The Burning Crusade or Wrath of the Lich King, that is the way to get as many levels in as short a time as possible. You will have nearly instant queues, you'll be able to do the dungeon quests the first time you get the place and then you'll just ride the group XP bonus. If you're an old hand working on an alt, this is simply the most efficient path to 80.

Efficient isn't always the most fun, though, nor is it the best path for everyone. You may not enjoy tanking or possess much aptitude for it. Despite what players of DPS pure classes will tell you, it's OK to play a warrior and not tank. We have two DPS trees with solid PvP and PvE viability. It's more than fine for you to use one of those trees.

Likewise, while running instances as a tank is the fastest way to level, you can absolutely get there by running instances as DPS. You can get there by PvPing. You can get there by running the various zones in Outland and Northrend and just completing and turning in quests. Most importantly, you can do any and all of these things. With or without heirlooms, with or without questing in zones, with or without PvP, and with or without Dungeon Finder, it's never been easier to clear these levels.

When I level an alt warrior, I tend to run the Dungeon Finder once per instance to get the quests cleared out, then work on quests in zones until I get bored, then run some PvP for a change of pace. Making use of all the options of your tank/DPS hybrid makes leveling less of a chore and more of a learning process.

Please be all that you can be

Hopefully, you will have picked up Dual Talent Specialization as soon as it came out. Make use of it. Even if it's only to have two DPS specs, do it. Right now, I tend to do raids as arms on trash and fury for bosses, and there's no reason you can't do dungeons that way. Even if you intend on tanking your way through everything, keep a backup spec to avoid burnout. (Even die-hard tanks can benefit from a PvP protection spec to play around with.)

60 to 80: Talents and abilities

Levels 61 through 80 have many of the most iconic talents and abilities of the warrior class. Talents such as Bladestorm, Titan's Grip/Single-Minded Fury and Shockwave are gained at 31 points into their respective talent trees, meaning that they are gained ta level 69. While the change Cataclysm made to talent specializations gives the level 10 warrior iconic specialization abilities as soon as a talent tree is chosen, it is my opinion that nothing makes a warrior feel more complete than selecting that big capstone.

As for pure abilities, the big cooldowns Retaliation and Recklessness become available at level 62 and 64, Spell Reflection at 66, Commanding Shout at 68, Intervene at 72, Shattering Throw at 74 and Enraged Regeneration at 76. Please also keep in mind that past level 69, you are no longer constrained to a single talent tree. Once you've spent your 31 points in whatever tree you've chosen as your primary, you can begin spending points in the other two. (Old hands at the game will know this, but for those of you just picking it up, please do keep it firmly in mind.)

Gear and spec

At these levels, all warriors want strength. Protection warriors leveling up should start looking for gear with dodge and parry on it, while DPS warriors value crit, hit and expertise. Mastery doesn't come into play until level 80, so don't concern yourself with it. Here is a SMF build for a leveling fury warrior at level 69 that includes some basic survival and avoidance talents, useful for questing. This is a Titan's Grip build aimed more at instancing. This is an arms build that tries to be flexible for either PvP or PvE. It suffers somewhat for lack of focus, but at these levels, that's less important than being able to fill either role. Finally, try this bare-bones tanking spec for level 69 that focuses slightly more on AoE damage output.

As you can see, by level 69 you have enough of your toolkit to really feel like the spec and role you plan to play at max level, while still having some signature potent abilites to look forward to between 70 and 80. This is when all three specs start to show their mettle in instances.

Some more personal advice

I mentioned instancing, questing and PvP for leveling. However, with transmogrification now a viable possibility, 70 and 80 raids (and even some 60 raids) are more open than ever. While they won't give you much XP, the gear in them is usually still pretty potent for leveling, and while you'll have to fight with max-level players who want X piece of gear for their look, one secret to keep in mind about transmog is it doesn't work on rings, necklaces or trinkets. These can be some of the most difficult slots to fill for a leveling player, and getting a trinket you know you might not replace for six or seven levels is often worth it all by itself.

Next week: Dragon Soul.

At the center of the fury of battle stand the warriors: protection, arms and fury. Check out more strategies and tips especially for warriors, including Cataclysm 101 for DPS warriors, a guide to new reputation gear for warriors, and a look back at six years of warrior trends.

Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Cataclysm

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