These are mostly standard rules and do not only hold true for the end of the expansion. However, around this time of the expansion a lot of players start to reroll, sometimes on a new server, and for those that are experienced they might need a little refresher on what it is like to be new.
So for the new player, or the player starting new on a different server, here is a small list of things that you might find helpful to leaving yourself in a good position when you hit max level.
First things first. Get your professions ASAP. Look for the profession trainer, each area (except gnomes) has a professions trainer in the starting area. It does not show on the tracker, just hover over everyone until you find it. You can train professions at level 5. Do it. Don't hesitate. Don't procrastinate. Just do it.
The professions you choose really make a world of difference when you are starting new or rerolling. While the experienced players all know that things like jewelcrafting and enchanting seem like no brainers for the end game, when you are starting fresh on a server it is likely not the best idea to go with one of them at the start.
Enchanting is the worst profession to pick when rerolling or starting your first character. Not because it is bad, quite the opposite really, it is a great money maker. It is because it will hinder your making money while leveling. Something that is very important when going through things your first time.
With enchanting you have to disenchant everything you get to have materials to level and this cuts into your gold flow. Not to mention, some of the things you need while leveling enchanting can be very expensive on the open market meaning you spend a lot while leveling instead of making it.
Without enchanting if there is nothing you need from a quest you can choose the item that sells for the most and vendor it. Do that, do not take enchanting. Save that for the third character profession. Maybe even second. Not first. If you really want it on your first, wait until later to do it. You will see how easy you can do it later when this is done.
Another thing that is common is for people to pick paired abilities. Skinning and leatherworking, mining and blacksmith, mining and jewelcrafting. This again is a bad idea. While it is true you can get by with it, all of those things would require you to spend extra time farming materials and less time questing and enjoying the game just to keep up with the crafting profession. Save crafting for a second character or something to go back and get once you are max level.
So what should you do? Gathering of course. Skinning, mining and herbalism. Pick any two and run with it. I suggest skinning as the number one thing. Take skinning and one of the others, your choice. The reason for skinning is that leveling the crafting half, which is leatherworking, requires insane amount of skins which means that leather more than anything else has a fantastic resell rate all the time. Add to that the new transmog world and there will always be people looking for those lower leathers to make some gear.
Skinning is king in the world of professions to have on a reroll or a new character. Skinning, for the most part, will usually keep up with the speed of your leveling. With the exception of a worgen, which oddly enough has a skinning bonus, all races have enough wild life to keep you moving on. Herbalism and mining might need you to hang back a little as you will level faster than your skill level moves. At least with mining you can smelt whereas herbalism you are sort of screwed. All you can do to catch up is pick an area with lots of grass and hope it sprouts some herbs. Make it an area with lots of bears and beasts too, hoping that you are a skinner as well.
TL;DR: Pick up skinning and either mining or herbalism as your professions.
2) Secondary Professions:
Lets go over them one at a time. First up is fishing. Pick up this profession for a few reasons. One being now you have a daily fishing quest you can do. Another being that fishing can make you a boat load of money at all levels, including low levels. This is something rerollers seem to forget. And lastly, fishing makes leveling cooking much easier.
When you start off grab a few of the things that boost your fishing level when doing the daily. It might not seem like much but it will pay off in the end. Use the fishing skill increase things every time you plan to fish for the fishing quests as they do not mean fishing in pools. In the outside world you will only ever fish in pools, so no need to carry any on you. Pools are a 100% no junk catch.
When out in the world fish in every pool you see. You will see a fair deal of sagefish pools and as you get higher greater sagefish pools. Save every single one of those fish. Also, save the ones you get from the fishing daily as well. Fish are a cheap way to level cooking and all fish have their stages. In the case of the sagefish and greater sagefish they can get you as much as 60 skill points each when you get to that level. Can't beat that with a stick. This will also allow you to sell the meats you get when leveling because you will be using your fish to level cooking in many spots and meats do seem to sell better. More on that later.
Now for the reroll person, the one that might have forgotten about fishing, let me remind you of some simple facts. Fishing can get you leather, bolts of cloth, coins, patterns, and the weather beaten journal which will teach you find fish. Fish in every pool. All that stuff adds up and will all be incoming funds which you will need while leveling a new character, reroll or not. Just because you have experience does not mean you will not need money.
Now to cooking. It has an easy daily for experience, that alone should be reason enough right? Pick it up and make yourself some spice bread. You can get a good few levels off of this and the supplies are usually near the trainer. Make sure you buy any and all recipes that you can while you travel and learn them. The most important ones will be the ones that require fish to make, like the ones for sagefish and greater sagefish, sound familiar?
Whenever you get some items that you can make stuff with, make it. When you reach the sagefish level cook all your sagefish and keep cooking it until you can not get any more skill points from it. Same goes for when you reach the greater. Just keep up with your cooking and fishing together and you will be fine.
So why are we leveling cooking and fishing? Because cooking is a huge money maker later on and no one likes going back to level it. End game food on many server can go from 5-20 gold per when cooked thanks to people not wanting to level cooking themselves. Three cheers for lazy people making you money.
Also if you are leveling cooking you are more likely to remember how important fish and meat is. More on that later. While fishing you could always level later because you always catch a fish from a pool even if you have a level one skill it is just better to do it as you go.
Next up is first aid. Don't bother. You can go back and level it if you want to. However, if you are a reroll or a class that can heal, you will never find yourself in a situation where you need it really. And you will have lots of food to eat between battles because you are leveling cooking right? If you are brand new and your class does not have a heal you might want to pick it up but it is not entirely needed for the most part.
Now for archaeology. Don't even bother training it. It is a waste of coinage when starting. You will never be able to effectively level it until you have flying, faster flying at that. Save it for something to do when you are max level and bored. There is no real need for it in the game anyway. It is a for fun only secondary profession and there is absolutely zero fun trying to level it while leveling your character because of the random placement of dig sites and quite often all of them being in areas you do not have access to yet. Again, do not waste your time with it.
TL;DR: Pick up cooking and fishing and avoid first aid and archaeology.
For the reroll this could very well be the reason you hate rerolling. We are all used to having space and even with all 26 slot bags we always find ourselves with no space what so ever. So the first thing a reroll does is spend everything they can on bags. Try not to do that, it is really not worth it. There are ways around it and I am here to help the rerolls and the new players out with that.
Unless you are on a server that has really cheap bags on the auction house it is not worth buying them. If you are dead set, find out what they are made from, buy or collect the materials and tip someone to make them for you. It will, in some cases, be a quarter of the price they sell for on the market that way.
Lets start with the basics and these basics are the same for the entire time you are leveling. Every time you see a place to sell off stuff, sell off stuff. It might sound simple but people forget that. Even if there is only one piece of junk to sell off, sell it. Never pass a vendor of any sort without selling stuff that can be sold. Remember, many innkeepers have an option to sell stuff to them. Use that option too. There are enough vendors around that you can easily go without ever needing to throw stuff away, even with smaller bags, if you are good at emptying your bags every chance you get.
In every starting area there are a few rare spawns that are not exactly rare. They seem to have 10 minute spawn timers and while doing your starting quests you are bound to come across at least one of them. Beside the fact that they are amazing experience they all drop a six slot bag. Kill that baby and claim your bag. If you really want to you can wait for it to respawn and get another bag or two or three if that is your style. No need to waste even a few silver on starting bags when you can get them, and a boat load of experience, for free.
When it comes to moving up in the world of bags, never trust the auction house. Bags are always expensive there. Even those ones that look cheap like one gold can usually be purchased from a city vendor for 60 silver. So keep away from the auction house for bags, it is a bad idea for your bottom line.
So how do we get you some decent bags for leveling you might ask. 6 slot bags are not exactly going to last long. Well, there are a few cheap and easy bag options.
First ones comes from reputation. Every main city sells a 16 slot bag when you reach revered with their faction for around 1 gold. This means that you can get 6 per side as there are 6 races per side. This also means the value of a 16 slot bag is roughly 1 gold. Never pay more than that. If you see them for 5 gold on the auction house it might be worth it, but not 20 like they are on most. Just not worth it.
Sure, one or two reputations will be easy to get to revered quick while the others take time but there is one more cheap 16 slot bag you can get along your way, as long as you make a pass through Hillsbrad Foothills.
The Alterac Valley vendors sell the old hunter quivers there for the low low price of 50 honor. The thing is the old hunter quivers now are normal bags so that 16 slot quiver is now a 16 slot bag. For 50 honor. Are you insane? I think I might be. Even if you are not a PvPer just join one battleground at any given point. Run with the pack, kill anything and even if you lose you can easily get 50 honor to buy the bag. Even if you hate PvP isn't it worth it for a free 16 slot bag basically?
So with two revered reps and the PvP bag you now have three 16 slot bags while you are waiting to get the other reps up. That should be more than ample for leveling. Not great of course because the more space you have the better you are, but that is more than serviceable.
TL;DR: Get 16 slot bags from race vendors near flight points in major cities once revered and one PvP 16 slot bag in Hillsbrad Foothills.
4) Auction House:
A reroll might be tempted to buy everything. A new player might not realize it is even there. Both seem to forget you can sell stuff there as well as buy stuff there.
Seriously folks, there is a world of wealth to be had and starting fresh means you are going to be in need of every cent you can get. As the saying goes, one mans garbage is another mans gold.
All those things you might consider vendoring when leveling, sell them. Meats, fish, eggs and assorted spider parts you no longer need to level cooking because you passed their level? Sell them. Cloth you do not need because you are not leveling first aid? Sell it. Oddball things like thick spider silk, elemental water, and things like that you might over look? Sell them, people buy it. Trust me.
Everything can sell but you need to remember that you just want to make more than vendoring it. You do not want to get filthy rich off every single sale. So you might see it going for 30 silver on the auction house so it is not worth selling. Wrong. If it sells for 9 copper and you can get 30 silver you would be a fool for vendoring it.
What if I put that a different way to better explain it? Something vendors for 9 silver but you could sell it on the auction house for 30 gold, would you still vendor it? Of course not. 9 silver to 30 gold is the same as 9 copper to 30 silver. It adds up, sell everything.
Oh, and remember, you are a skinner and another gathering profession right? Sell all that stuff too. Never leave a beast unskinned, an herb unpicked, a mine uh... unmined. All of that is money just waiting to fill your bags.
If you can sell it on the auction house, sell it. If not, vendor it. Along with making sure to empty your bags often like I mentioned before, auction often. This is a huge key to making money and as a reroll or a new player you will need it.
TL;DR: Everything that can be sold should be sold.
I don't know how much I can stress this. It is my answer to everything when it comes to leveling.
What is the fastest way to level? Questing. What is a good way to get faction rep? Questing. What is a good way to make money? Questing. What is an easy relaxed way to play? Questing. What is a fast paced way to play? Questing. You get the idea. Questing rules.
Questing, aside from offering the best experience to time ratio in the game has so many benefits for the reroller or the new player. Questing means you get reputation for everything you do. Reputation for the main cities that gets you those 16 slot bags. Questing means you get some coin for doing the quest and sometimes an item as well. If you need none of the items it offers, choose whichever sells for the most and take that and sell it for even more coin.
Questing means you are out in the world killing things. Which means as a skinner you get more skins from killing more beasts. You also get cloth from all humanoid mobs. Not to mention the coins from various mobs. You run across more herbs and mining nodes while questing too. The more you quest, the more you run across.
You get the chance at rare drops that can sell for a fair amount. You get meat from spiders, bears, wolves, crabs, kodo, you name it and that stuff sometimes sells for a very good price. You get recipes, crafting items, and assorted other goodies that sometimes might seem like junk that sells.
The basic idea is to loot everything, gather everything, always take the highest priced reward and remember to empty your bags as often as possible. In the end, the questing route is the best and you will not regret it.
TL;DR: Just quest. Trust me.
6) Hitting Max Level:
Once you capped out you can look back at everything you did. You will probably have all 16 slots bags, unless you got into a few pugs or quests that got you some better bags. You will most likely have anywhere between 15K-35K gold, depending on the server economy, from selling everything along the way with your two gathering professions, your fish and your food sales. And you will be in an excellent position to start the end game on your new character or rerolled character.
Even on the low end, 15K, you can now decide to change your professions to what you really wanted. It would be more than ample to power level anything. If you plan to drop one of your gathering professions for something you will need that material in leveling it, go crazy gathering first before you drop it so you will have most of what you need already. You can now get yourself some nicer bags too with that added gold.
In the end you have yourself those better professions for the profession bonus and money making potential. You will have better bags. And most importantly you will have learned one hell of a valuable lesson.
The lesson is, you might want tailoring and enchanting or jewelcrafting and blacksmithing but that is what you want for end game. While working your way up, do not think about end game. Think about leveling and making money. When you get to the end, you can have anything you want because you set yourself up in a good position by doing the right thing.
New players get distracted by thinking they do not want to level a profession just to drop it. Rerollers get distracted by thinking they need two other professions for the end game. Don't get distracted. Leveling is about leveling. Just take care of that. Make some money along the way following my suggestions and when the time comes at the end you can do anything you want basically.
TL;DR: Don't worry about the end game when you are leveling.
So for all those new players that might be starting now or people looking to reroll on a new server these things could help you out a little bit. At least until the crafting professions are sped up to match the increasing leveling speed, it is just better to level this way. It is less stressful and quite frankly more fun if you ask me.
So jump into the game and have some fun with it. Rerolling can be fun and starting new doesn't need to be stressful. You just need to do it right. Have fun.
I would also suggest to all those that have never been horde or never been alliance, at least level enough to go through dustwallow marsh on the other side of the fence. It has always been one of the best designed questing areas in the game from the start of the game up until now. It was left mostly untouched from the cataclysm. So roll it from the side you never saw it on before and enjoy, for the last time most likely, the experience of leveling in one of the best zones before it is changed forever.