World of Warcraft Shadowlands: How Long Does it Take to Reach Level 60?

Want to reach the level cap in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands as quickly as possible? Here's how long your journey from 1-60 will take:

World of Warcraft
Photo: Blizzard Entertainment

Leveling a character in World of Warcraft just isn’t what it used to be. While it can easily take a new player over 100 hours to reach level 60 in World of Warcraft Classic, modern WoW expansions have reduced the average leveling time to less than 20 hours.

What about Shadowlands, though? While much of the information we have regarding Shadowlands‘ leveling experience is based on the game’s beta (which means elements of the experience are subject to change), all signs point to Shadowlands offering the fastest path to the level cap yet. In fact, the leveling process should be so fast that even casual players may end up having 4-5 characters at level 60.

Here’s what we currently know about how long it will take you to reach level 60 in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands:

How Long Does It Take to Reach Level 50 in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands?

In Shadowlands, the 1-50 leveling experience can vary greatly based on what class you’re playing and how new you are to the game.

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If you’re brand new to World of Warcraft, you’ll start your Shadowlands adventure in the new Exile’s Reach starting area. Once you leave that area (which happens around the time you hit level 10), you’ll follow the Battle For Azeroth questing storyline until you reach level 50. From there, you’ll start the Shadowlands story.

The good news is that the Battle for Azeroth leveling experience is fairly quick and pretty entertaining. If you really are brand new to the game, you can probably expect to go from 1-50 via the Battle for Azeroth experience in about 20-25 hours. You can reduce that number to about 15 hours by using a leveling assistant add-on and choosing a high DPS class that is able to defeat mobs as quickly as possible.

What if you’re not new to World of Warcraft, though? Well, that’s where things get interesting.

Experienced World of Warcraft players will have the option of starting new characters at Exile’s Reach or at their character’s designated starting area (unless they’re playing Demon Hunters or Death Knights, which offer unique starting experiences). Once you hit level 10 with your new character, you’ll be able to “go back” to any previous expansion until you hit level 50 and begin the Shadowlands story.

Based on current estimates offered by Wowhead, this is how long it will take you to reach level 50 in each of the available expansions:

Warlords of Draenor – 12 hours
Legion -14 hours
Battle for Azeroth – 16 hours
Mists of Pandaria – 16 hours
Cataclysm – 20 hours
Wrath of the Lich King – 24 hours
The Burning Crusade – 24 hours

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Now, those are just estimates, but the important thing to keep in mind is that it’s generally faster to level through post-Cataclysm expansions. In just about every scenario, Pandaria, Battle for Azeroth, Warlords of Draenor, and Legion will offer quicker leveling experiences than Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, and Cataclysm.

If you’re just looking to level up as many characters as quickly as possible, you should absolutely stick to the modern expansions. Through them, you can hit level 50 in around 10 hours if you take an optimized leveling route.

How Long Does it Take to Reach Level 60 in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands?

Based on early estimates gathered from Shadowlands‘ beta players (and a bit of data mining), it seems that Shadowlands will offer little resistance on your way to level 60.

Shadowlands features a universal leveling storyline for every first-time player. As long as you bounce from story quest to story quest in the expansion, you should complete the expansion in less than 10 hours. As always, that number will vary, but many veteran WoW players using the appropriate add-ons currently suspect that they’ll be able to go from 50-60 in as little as five or six hours.

If you’ve played through the Shadowlands story at least once, though, you’ll have the option of either replaying the expansion’s story with a new character or leveling up by completing world quests, side quests, dungeons, and other objectives.

While current estimates suggest that the fastest way to level through Shadowlands is to follow the campaign, it probably won’t be long before someone discovers an even faster leveling path involving world quests and dungeons.

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At the moment, though, it seems the average veteran player will be able to go from 1-60 in about 15-25 hours with the proper assistance/knowledge. If you’re a new player, it might take closer to 35 hours to go from 1-60.

What Are the Current Speed Leveling Records in World of Warcraft Shadowlands?

World of Warcraft speedrunner DesMephisto currently holds the following Shadowlands leveling records:

1-50 Leveling Record Time – 3 hours and 33 minutes

50-60 Leveling Record Time – 5 hours and 37 minutes

So does that mean it’s possible to level a character from 1-60 in Shadowlands in about 9 hours? Well…yes and no.

First off, DesMephisto is the best WoW speedrunner in the world. While he’s posted guides designed to help players work their way through Shadowlands as quickly as possible, even veteran players will struggle to replicate those numbers. Actually, DesMephisto notes that his own numbers are inflated by a world buff that’s no longer available to players. As such, it’s doubtful he will be able to repeat that 1-50 leveling time anytime soon.

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That being said, this should give you an idea of how quickly you can reach max level in modern WoW if you’re really determined to do so.

What Are The Best Classes for Leveling As Fast As Possible In Shadowlands?

So far as leveling speed goes, classes in World of Warcraft really are more balanced than ever before. Gone are the days of needing to pick a Mage just to hit max level as quickly as possible.

Still, the following classes are best equipped to level in record time:

Demon Hunters

With their enhanced movement abilities, access to effective AoE options, and generally high power levels, you should find that it’s not that difficult to take a Demon Hunter from 1-60 in about 20 hours.


Along with their access to various forms which grant them enhanced movement speed, Druids excel at staying alive and effectively pulling multiple mobs at once. Definitely play as a Balance Druid if you’re looking for the optimal leveling experience with this class.


As always, Hunters’ pets allow them to take on certain mobs that other characters wouldn’t be able to solo. Properly training your hunt’s pet (and optimizing your own skills) will allow you to work your way through leveling zones in record time.

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Some things never change. Mages remain a top-tier leveling class due to their survivability tools and their unrivaled AOE abilities. They’re consistently fast levelers regardless of player experience.

It should also be noted that certain races have access to abilities that offer them unique speedrunning advantages. Dark Iron Dwarves, for instance, gain a movement speed boost in dungeons and can move quickly underground while they’re outside. You’ll want to account for these advantages if you’re looking to optimize the leveling process, but generally speaking, those differences will shave minutes (not hours) off your total time.