Considering that some World of Warcraft players hit level 100 within 24 hours of the Warlords of Draenor expansion's launch, it's a safe bet that many of our readers are max level by now or plan to get there shortly over the holidays. The game has been out for a full month, which is more than enough time to ding (level up) ten times even if you've just been questing casually.
So, you've reached the end game. Now what?
One of the great things about Warlords of Draenor that makes it stand out from 2014's other MMOs is the great variety of activities to keep max level players busy. As soon as you level up to 100 and claim your last talent, a lot of options open up. The game doesn't really push characters in any specific direction after that last level up and this can lead to a lot of aimless wandering around if you don't tackle the end game with a plan. With that in mind, here's our guide to surviving life at level 100...
Level Up Your Garrison
After playing through levels 91-99, it's pretty hard to not notice how valuable the Garrison is. The feature that we all expected to be standard player-housing evolved into something much more entertaining and profitable in WoW. At level 100, players should visit their Garrison at least once a day if they have time. Unless you've done some wild spending in Draenor, chances are you'll have enough money and resources to upgrade your Garrison to a level 2 as soon as you ding. Even if you entered the game with a brand new 90-level booster character and no money, the quest rewards alone should have earned you the gold required for the first upgrade.
Players should aim to get a level 3 up and running as soon as possible. This will be a little bit tougher... Even if you have the gold needed for the second upgrade since you'll likely be running a little low on Garrison resources at this point. Your Garrison passively accumulates resources on a daily basis, but using only those will take a long time. You want to upgrade as early as possible to get access to that extra real estate and build additional workshops (which give access to Alchemy, better loot drops, a blacksmith, etc...), so you should be going out of your way to stockpile those valuable resources.
The best way to increase Garrison resources is to build a Lumber Mill. This investment allows players to mark trees around Draenor for your followers to chop down and use as resources. You'll also want to get out in the world and continue questing. Many of the quests in the expansion offer rewards in units of Garrison resources, so completing all of those quests is important even for players who don't need experience points anymore. Lastly, and this one is definitely optional, is limiting your follower missions to only ones that reward Garrison resources. Follower missions are a ton of fun, so I hestitate telling anyone that they should stop doing the majority of them, but keep in mind that every mission costs Garrison resources. Any mission that doesn't pay out in resources is just slowing down your goal of upgrading to level 3.
When hitting level 100, a LOT of quests become available and it's easy to overlook some of them. If you have any interest in participating in end game instances, heroics, or perhaps even raids; you'll want to be sure not to let the Proving Grounds quest get buried in your log.
Proving Grounds are a new scenario that allow a player to gauge how well they are performing their role in groups. The scenario offers three challenge levels (bronze, silver, and gold) to test the skills of DPS, healers, and tanks. The scenarios scale all gear down to item level 463, so all level 100s should be on a mostly even playing field for the challenges.
Experienced dungeon grinders can fly through the bronze and silver challenges without much of a problem, but if you're newer to being tested in your designated role, these can take a few attempts. Not only do the Proving Grounds help players become better party members in difficult end game dungeons, but they also offer important rewards. The quests alone offer a sweet new weapon that is sure to up your gear score (unless you somehow already forged or picked up a level 615+ item). In addition to the gear rewards, completing the silver level also unlocks the Looking for Group feature for Heroic dungeons. This is a huge convenience if you aren't in a serious end game guild.
Apexis Crystal Daily Quests
Valor Points may be gone in Warlords of Draenor, but the end game currency has been replaced with a new system. Apexis Crystals can be collected off of Draenor's toughest mobs and then used to buy an assortment of end game items that should be of interest to just about any style of player. The Crystals are most often used to purchase end game gear of three levels (you can purchase the first level then trade it in with another batch of Crystals to upgrade), but the Apexis shop also offers mounts, battle pets, elixirs, and character effects.
If you are trying to raise your item level up to 615 to qualify for the Looking For Raid (or Heroic) tool, the Apexis Crystal gear is a great place to get started. Players pick up Crystals as a reward for select follower missions and for killing certain level 100+ baddies around Draenor, but the best way to stockpile the crystals is to complete the daily quests available in the Garrison. Usually, there's a choice of two quests, one meant to be solo'd and one that requires a group. The dailies seem to award somewhere between 800 and 1000 crystals, in addition to the handful gained from killing mobs for the quest. The first tier of Crystal gear available is iLevel (item level) 630 and costs between 3000 and 5000 Crystals (depending on which gear slot you are filling). After just one week of daily quests, players should be ready to pick up at least one or two big gear upgrades.
Dungeons, Heroics, and Challenge Modes
If you don't want to raid with a massive group of players,, that doesn't mean there are no big bosses for you to slay in Warlords of Draenor. At level 100, four new dungeons unlock (assuming you have an appropriate iLevel). Completing all of the level 100 dungeons on normal mode enough times to gear up for Heroics should keep you busy for at least a week or two if you're playing at the casual level.
Once you get that iLevel up to 615, you can start tackling Heroics and Challenges. The more difficult instances and 5-man challenges offer comparable end game obstacles and rewards, without having to commit to raids that can take multiple hours a few times a week. These hard mode dungeons are really the perfect way to experience end game difficulty, while maintaining a casual level commitment to the game.
Molten Core Throwback
You've destroyed the Proving Grounds. You leveled up your Garrison. Your item level is through the roof. What next, you ask? How about a return to vanilla WoW's most iconic raid?
The limited time Molten Core raid is available for any level 100 players with an iLevel of 615 or higher. Until January 6th, you have the opportunity to visit the dungeon with a group of 39 other players and earn an awesome assortment of rewards. Participants who complete the raid unlock a limited time achievement and get an impressive Core Hound Chain to summon the epic mount pictured above. In addition to bragging rights, there is legit end game gear that drops off of the bosses in the raid. If you plan on making a habit of raiding in Draenor, then this is the place to start.
If PvE isn't your cup of tea, then you likely already know all about Ashran. The new end game, world PvP zone offers a constant, massive battle between the Horde and the Alliance. The zone delivers 100 vs. 100 PvP battles that are designed to offer a slightly more organized version of the kind of chaos you might remember from the old battles in Alterac Valley.
Even if you want to be exploring the end game PvE content, you might consider spending some time in Ashran just for the PvP rewards. Grinding honor and reputation in Ashran can earn you iLevel 660 gear - a major upgrade for players who may not have already been raiding and grinding Heroics.
If you already hit 100, how have you been staying busy? Dailies? PvP? Raiding? Let us know your poison in the comments.
Follow Denny on Twitter @The_DFC.