14 Best Places to Level from 40 to 55, Ranked

A lot happens to a character in World of Warcraft Classic when they hit that crucial level 40 milestone. The most obvious is that you finally have a mount and that 40 percent movement speed boost is great for looks and leveling, but you also have to deal with having less money and fewer choices for decent grinding locations.

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Classic WoW is famous for having an uncomfortable lull in questing at this point. The grind in Classic: WoW takes a lot of patience to begin with, and it’s easy to feel discouraged and not know where to quest at level 40. Before you sign out, here are some ideas for ideal zones to progress between the notorious level 40 and 55 level-range speedbump.

Updated on December 6th, 2023, by Kristy Ambrose: There are now three different versions of Classic WoW that players can choose, and that doesn’t include the Wrath of the Lich King servers or the upcoming Classic: Cataclysm expansion. When it comes to the 2004 version of the game, players can go Hardcore, Seasonal (Season of Discovery), or Classic Era. Although some details aren’t the same when it comes to gameplay and character building, the same rules apply when it comes to zones and leveling. All of the following locations are ideal for characters between the levels of 40 to 55 no matter which one you choose.

17 Dustwallow Marsh, Kalimdor

Also Great For Levelling Alchemy And Herbalism

A bridge near the entrance to dustwallow marsh in Classic: World of Warcarft

Level Range: 40-45

  • Location:
    A zone in the central-south Kalimdor,

  • Faction:
    Contested; each faction has a settlement here.

The location of Dustwallow Marsh makes it an easy stop for both factions, with Horde walking in through the Barrens and Alliance coming to Jaina’s Proudmoore’s hometown by boat. It’s a dangerous place that some players skip entirely, but that means less competition for quest objectives and resources if you decide to venture there.

Another important presence here is the dragons and the dragonkin, concentrated in the southern part of the zone, with some of the most deadly elites roaming near Onyxia’s lair. Even if you skip this zone during the leveling process, you’ll likely return at level 60 as part of a dragon-slaying raid.

16 Maraudon, Kalimdor

A Vast Instance With Excellent Grinding Potential

The interior of Maruadon where you fight the Princess in WoW Classic, with three players in the foreground and the princess in the background.

  • Level Range:
    30-60

  • Location:
    The Valley of Spears, Desolace, Kalimdor.

  • Faction:
    Neutral, but you can get a quest that leads to Maraudon in their capital cities.

Whether or not anyone likes this dungeon’s aesthetics is beside the point. It’s massive, easily just as big as anything in Blackrock Mountain, and consists of three different wings. You can start at level 30 and run this dungeon regularly up until leaving for Outland.

There’s plenty to slay here for XP, even if the wide variety of quests available are done and you’ve already obtained your best-in-slot (BiS) items for endgame content. Be prepared to commit to about three hours of game time for a full clear. Maraudon is also a great spot for farming resources for professions, including nodes for mining and herbalism, cloth drops from humanoids, and plenty of beasts to be skinned for leather.

15 Western Plaguelands, Eastern Kingdoms

Grind Reputation And Experience The Path Of The Frozen Throne

World of Warcraft Classic zone, the western plaguelands, main road flanked by trees and ruined lamp-posts.

  • Level Range:
    46-57

  • Location:
    The northern part of the Eastern Kingdoms, east of Tirisfal Glades.

  • Faction:
    Contested, but there is only an Alliance FP and town in this zone.

In the retail version of WoW, which has level-scaling, the Western Plagulands still have a unique nostalgic charm that recalls the RTS games. For Classic players, the Western Plaguelands are a gateway to some of the most difficult content in the game. Many of the quests that either start or lead to these desolate places and items that drop here are, intended to prepare characters for endgame content.

Scholomance, one of the mandatory high-level dungeons to visit for BiS loot, is located in the eastern part of the zone. Alliance players can find a flight path at Chillwind Camp, and although Horde players don’t have a flight connection they can follow the river north from the nearest one in Tarren Mill.

14 The Swamp Of Sorrows, Eastern Kingdoms

Ideal To Level The Gathering Skills Of Herbalism and Skinning

swamp of sorrows, lily ponds mangroves Cropped wow classic

  • Level Range:
    35-45

  • Location:
    The eastern side of Kalimdor, north of Stranglethron Vale.

  • Faction:
    A Contested zone with equal representation for both Horde and Alliance.

It’s a gloomy place to be, with less scenery than other parts of Azeroth, but it’s still worth a visit during this part of the leveling process. There are relatively few quests here, but enough to keep you busy while you grind up your gathering skills, making it one of the best places to quest at level 40.

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You can explore the eastern part of the zone to find the Sunken Temple or head north to see what happens to Draenei who turn away from the Light. It’s also conveniently close to two other zones related to both your level and Outland lore, the Badlands and Deadwind Pass.

13 Dire Maul, Feralas

The Home Of Ogres, Exiled Mages, And Epic Mounts

World of Wacraft Classic, inner courtyard of Dire-Maul with ogres in the background.

  • Level Range:
    42-60

  • Location:
    Central Feralas

  • Faction:
    Contested; each faction has two settlements here, with the Alliance on the west coast and the Horde in the eastern interior.

It’s a niche dungeon that you visit only when they have a specific quest to finish or an item to find, partly because it’s a fair distance from either faction’s settlement and also because it’s one of the toughest instances in the game. Dire Maul is a big place with several different wings, entrances, and exits, and it’s easy to get lost or ambushed, which is also how it can host a wide range of levels.

One of the few quests available to classes other than Druids in Moonglade leads here, to the lair of a minor boss and some interesting lore about the long-vanished Night Elf mages. Warlocks and Paladins have to come here for their epic mount quests, and these are made up of long chains that often start in the early 50s and finish at 60.

12 The Badlands, Eastern Kingdoms

A Desolate Landscape With Plenty Of Mining, Dragons, And Dark Iron Dwarves

Badlands landscape with road and red cliffs from Classic World of Warcraft.

  • Level Range:
    35-45

  • Location:
    South of Khaz Modan and east of Searing Gorge.

  • Faction:
    Contested, mostly

    The Dark Iron Dwarves

The biggest settlement in The Badlands is Kargath, a Horde city, but the zone is contested and the closest thing to a dominant faction here is the Dark Iron Dwarves. If you’re interested in the lore of Dwarves in Azeroth, this is a zone worth visiting, and you can follow their history from here to Blackrock Mountain.

It looks empty at first, but there’s a lot to do here: several quests and plenty of herbs and ore to collect. There are neutral quests in the center of the zone offered by Goblins and Gnomes, two of the only races brave enough to survive the harsh landscape. They cover chain quests, gathering quests, and quests that lead into the nearby instance of Uldaman.

11 Feralas, Kalimdor

A Scenic Area Also Great For Resource Farming

Inland road in interior Feralas with trees and forest from WoW Classic.

  • Level Range:
    40-50

  • Location:
    Go south from Desolace or take a right when you reach Thousand Needles.

  • Faction:
    The area is contested, but the Night Elves have a much stronger presence on the west coast than the Horde on the eastern interior.

This is a zone where you can balance leveling the character and their professions, and most players know this is one of the best places to quest for level 40. There are many herbs, leather, and minerals to be found in the lush hills of Feralas, along with a long list of quests. High-level trainers populate these cities, and vendors often sell obscure recipes.

Some of these are lengthy chains that eventually lead to Dire Maul, the centerpiece of this ancient zone, where a few pre-raid BiS items drop. This is also where Warlocks and Paladins go to finish their epic mount quests, so you’ll see some level 60s riding through the zone as you quest.

10 Uldaman, The Badlands

A Big Instance With Plenty of Quests And Cool Items

The Uldaman entrance, flanked by giant statues, underground in the mine from WoW classic.

  • Level Range:
    40-60

  • Location:
    The northern part of the Badlands, near the border with Khaz Modan.

  • Faction:
    The Dark Iron Dwarves.

It’s worth a visit just for the history and not just the ancient Dwarf lore and Azerothian creation stories. If anyone has played retail WoW and experienced dungeons like Ulduar in Northrend, Uldaman will look strangely familiar. You can grind here for 20 whole levels because there’s just that much to do, making this an ideal zone for quests at level 40.

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Lots of great items drop here, and there are chain quests galore, including a few that start with things to pick up or find. There’s no rep to grind, but some quests that lead here will start in your faction’s capital city. Even the digging area that surrounds the entrance holds a few interesting secrets for solo players.

9 Tanaris, Eastern Kingdoms

Dungeons, Raids, Rep, And Many Quests

A view of Tanaris in Gadgetzan from the southern road in Classic WoW.

  • Level Range:
    40-50

  • Location:
    South of Thousand Needles and east of Un’Goro Crater.

  • Faction:
    Contested zone among the Steamwheedle Cartel, the Southsea Freebooters, and the Bronze Dragonflight.

It looks like a wide expanse of nothing, but there’s a lot to do in Tanaris, and even more if you know where to look. Besides the variety of quests everyone can get, several professions house their high-end trainers and quests in the main city, Gadgetzan.

Visit the coastal town of Steamwheedle Port for even more quests here, while others are available that connect to the Hinterlands, Zul’Furrak in the same zone, and even the raid of Zul’Gurub. Most of the Goblins offering quests here represent the Cartel. The dungeon of Zul’Farrak is in the western corner, a stepping stone to the endgame raid of Zul’Gurub.

8 Azshara, Kalimdor

An Unfinished Endgame Zone With Open-World Bosses

A road in Azshara with red trees and ruined pillars, from World of Warcraft Classic.

  • Level Range:
    45-55

  • Location.
    Located directly outside the northern walls of Orgrimmar, the zone is only accessible via Ashenvale to save lower-level players from themselves.

  • Faction.
    Nuetral, some Furbolg tribes.

At first glance, it’s obvious that this is one of the unfinished zones of the game because there isn’t very much here regarding transportation options or faction representation. However, it’s crammed with resources and XP once the player is done with the quests available. Several classes will also be visiting Azshara to complete their high-level quests.

Herbalists, miners, leatherworkers, and fishers can spend a few levels in Azshara honing their professions and gathering resources. There are plenty of humanoid monsters that drop cloth, which gives the Tailors something extra to do.

7 Searing Gorge, Eastern Kingdoms

Essential For Blacksmiths, Raiders, And Grinding

Classic world of warcraft, view of Searing Gorge landscape ith distant mountains and dwarven towers.

  • Level Range:
    45-50

  • Location:
    Horde players can enter from the east via the Badlands. Alliance players can get a key and enter directly from Loch Modan.

  • Faction.
    The Dark Iron Dwarves and The Thorium Brotherhood.

You’re clearing a path to Blackrock Mountain when you work through the quests of Searing Gorge. There aren’t exactly a huge amount of quests here, but the ones here are tough and make up long quest chains, with some leading into the nearby dungeons.

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This zone is popular with miners and blacksmiths trying to grind rep with the Thorium Brotherhood. Five of the most notorious dungeons in the game are located between this zone and the Burning Steppes next door, and three are raids. That means virtually everyone ends up exploring at least part of this zone whether they plan to or not.

6 Blackrock Depths, Burning Steppes/Searing Gorge

A Whole City, A Long List Of Quests, And Azeroth’s Best Nightlife

A shot of Blackrock Depths and a mole machine near the anvil in WoW Classic.

  • Level Range:
    45-60

  • Location.
    On the border of the

    Burning Steppes and Searing Gorge

  • Faction.
    The Dark Iron Dwarves.

It’s the only dungeon in Blackrock Mountain that isn’t a raid, and it’s also one of the biggest instances in Classic WoW. It houses a massive jail, a gladiator’s ring, Azeroth’s best tavern, and the city of Blackrock Depths itself. Certain areas can only be reached with keys, and attunement to the Molten Core raid nearby requires visiting its lowest, most dangerous caverns.

There is a myriad of quests here, some that start in the instance, and several of them award BiS items you can take to the other instances in this mountain. There’s enough to do to keep a party busy for some time, with plenty of loot for every class and generous experience points to be had.

5 Zul’Farrak, Tanaris

A Prequel The The Zul’Gurub Raid And A Long Quest Chain

Zul'Farrak and the final boss setting with high steps and big statues from WoW Classic.

  • Level Range:
    44-54

  • Location:
    Northwestern Tanaris.

  • Faction:
    The Sandfury Trolls and the Steamweedle Cartel.

There are lots of quests to do here, which is an obvious draw, but this dungeon is also connected to others through the lore and items. The Sandfury Trolls who dominate this area are connected to the ones in the Hinterlands, and there’s a quest chain there that leads directly to the end boss of this dungeon.

The quests in Zul’Farrak that have links to those that started in the Hinterlands will eventually lead players to higher-level dungeons like Sunken Temple in the Swamp of Sorrows and eventually the Zul’Gurub raid in Stranglethorn Vale.

4 Felwood, Kalimdor

A Haunted Wood Full Of Demons And Fel Magic

Wow Classic, Felwood, with corrupted tree elementals and fel pools.

  • Level Range:
    48-55

  • Location:
    North of Ashenvale, and it can also be accessed via Timbermaw Hold to the north.

  • Faction:
    The Burning Legion

This is an ideal zone for leveling, even if it isn’t exactly one of the prettier ones, and given the affiliation, the enemies here are mostly beasts and demons. It’s essential to visit to grind rep with the Timbermaw Tribe and the Cenarion Circle by killing various monsters and collecting certain items. You can follow a connected quest line that starts here and further north into Wintergrasp and Moonglade.

Herbalists and Warlocks will appreciate this zone more than others. It stays a popular herb-farming route for characters even at max level. Warlocks visit Feralas to finish a portion of their high-level class quests.

3 The Blasted Lands

A Dangerous Hellscape With Few Quests But Plenty Of Monsters

Orc warrior with ax, big shoulder pads and mounatins in the background, promotional art for World of Warcraft.

  • Level Range:
    45-55

  • Location:
    The only entrance is on the northern border, from the Swamp of Sorrows, and neither faction has a flight path or settlement.

  • Faction:
    The Burning Legion

There’s a lonely orc ghost standing by the road leading south from the Swamp of Sorrows, and it’s one of the few quests you’ll find throughout the zone. The long quest chain he sends you on barely even takes place in the Blasted Lands, but it includes some interesting lore tied to the upcoming expansion. For Warriors, he has a class quest that’s exclusive to you.

The area is decent for farming items like Demonic Runes, which are handy for mana users and a nice way to earn gold. You might remember this area as where the dark Portal to Outland is located, but that doesn’t exist in this version of World of Warcraft.

2 Stranglethorn Vale, Eastern Kingdoms

A Virtual Encyclopedia Of Quests And Open-World PvP

Booty Bay, Stranglethorn Vale in WoW Classic, view of the dock from the FP with ship in port and statue

  • Level Range:
    30-45

  • Location:
    The southernmost part of the Eastern Kingdoms

  • Faction.
    Bloodsail Buccaneers, Venture Company, and various troll tribes.

What makes Stranglethorn Vale a tough choice is its well-deserved reputation as PVP heaven. If you’re into that or don’t mind a few runs from the graveyard, there are numerous quests available here for both factions. You can visit this zone as early as level 30 and stay until level 45, with both sea and air transport available to Horde and Alliance players.

This is one of the earliest zones that you can visit regardless of level. It’s easily accessible for both factions via boat, so you’ll see players of all levels in this zone, especially the neutral city of Booty Bay. This is where the Stranglethorn Fishing Contest takes place, and you can also grind rep with the local pirates while grinding through the zone.

1 Temple of Atal’Hakkar

An Ancient Troll Temple With Puzzles, Dragons, And Ancient Lore

The interior of the Sunken Temple or Temple of Atal'hakkar in WoW Classic, with snakes and hanging vines.

  • Level Range:
    50-60

  • Location:
    The eastern part of the Swamp of Sorrows, in the center of a brackish lake near the coast.

  • Faction:
    Neutral, but there are some close connections with the Green Dragonflight and the Atal’ai trolls.

At the higher end of the leveling spectrum, there’s the Temple of Atal’Hakkar. By now, you have defeated the forces of Zul’Farrak, and it’s time to take on the denizens of another Troll temple. Even if you aren’t trying to finish one of the many quest chains that go through this dungeon, it’s a great place to grind some of the toughest and highest levels in the game.

Love it or hate it, and the drab design leaves much to be desired, the instance also known as the Sunken Temple is one of the best places to level a character from level 50. Several class quests finish here in the late 40s, along with high-level enemies that yield generous amounts of leather and cloth.

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