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WoWAug 24, 2016 5:00 pm CT

Level your alts to 100 with Legion’s demon invasions


We have less than a week until Legion arrives… and that may well be enough time to level every alt you’ve ever wanted to level, even if you haven’t started yet. (Okay, almost every alt. At least one or two.) No, really. In the past two weeks, I’ve leveled two alts to 100 and plan to max out a third before Legion’s launch. And I haven’t even put in all that much time — I know some people who have gotten a lot more levels on a lot more alts.

The speed at which you can level right now can only be described as ludicrous.

If you’re wondering just how I found the time to do all of this leveling, I’ll tell you my secret: it’s demon invasions.

Update: This was originally posted when the Legion invasion started, but for those of you still leveling alts, we’ve updated it with the latest info. Happy leveling!

Sure, invasions are a great way to gear up your level 100 characters to face the challenges Legion will hold. (Because even though you’ll replace gear pretty quickly in Legion’s starting zones, better gear will certainly let you have an easier time until you get it.) You get level 700 gear drops which will be a heck of a boost to players who haven’t been hitting Hellfire Citadel. You get cool, Legion-appropriate transmogs. You can grab a pet, more transmogs, and more gear with the Nethershard currency that drops from demons.

But invasions also scale to level. Any player above level 10 can jump into an invasion zone and have a fair shot at fighting demons. You’ll get level-appropriate XP for everything you tag when it dies (so tag away!) and big chunks of XP whenever the invasion ticks over from one phase to the next (as well as chest with loot at the end of phase two and phase four). In the level ten range, you can get five or six levels from a single invasion. In the level 90 range, you might get a level every two invasions, depending on the effort you put into it.

That experience stacks with XP buffs from heirlooms and more — though they aren’t necessary to race through the levels — which makes this the best time to dust off those alts and get leveling.

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Demon invasion basics

First, let’s review the basics. Right now, six zones — Azshara, Dun Morogh, Hillsbrad Foothills, Northern Barrens, Tanaris, and Westfall — have active invasions at all times. You can clear an invasion in each of these zones every two hours, when they reset. (Mouse over the zones on your map to see the reset time.) Spending 15 to 25 minutes per invasion, this is typically just enough time to make a full loop of Azeroth and start again. Oh, and don’t worry if they’re in an opposing-faction city: the guards will leave you alone for the duration of the invasion.

However, you’ll want to get out quickly when the invasion’s over, otherwise you’re likely to find yourself dead. If you die in the middle of an opposing faction town near the end of a boss fight, it’s probably for the best to take a spirit rez. Otheriwse you could find yourself getting repeatedly squished by city guards. Be careful not to rez at a graveyard too close to town, either: the graveyard near Kharanos, right next to the flight master, is a real hazard for Horde players.


Heading into an invasion

Invasions take place in four phases that are fairly self-explanatory. When you enter a zone, a scenario pop up on the right-hand side of your screen will tell you which stage you’re on and list the objectives, and NPCs will shout out directions, too. If you’re not sure what to do, pop open your mini-map, which will show where the Legion’s forces are. Each invasion takes 15 to 25 minutes minutes, though it can take more or less time depending on how many people are in the zone working on it.

There are two ways to get experience here. You’ll get a chunk of experience each time the phase ticks over as long as you’re in the zone — which means, yes, you can be flying overhead or be idle at the flight path and still get this XP. However, compared to the XP you get by fighting mobs, this is small potatoes. Killing a boss will give you as much — or more — XP as completing a phase (depending on the phase, as earlier phases give less XP).  Killing elites offers around half of what you get from phase 1. In addition to a boss in phase 2 and a big boss in phase 4, there are named elites scattered around the map in phase 3 and each one will give you a huge mountain of XP. You don’t need to solo the mobs to do so — and the bosses really need to be fought with a group — just tap it and you’ll rack up the XP when it dies.

By now you probably have the idea: grab your alts, head to an invasion zone, and start swinging your sword (or mace or daggers or spells or whatever else). Then head to the next invasion zone and repeat the process.

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Be careful!

It’s no surprise that the Burning Legion is a force to be reckoned with, and while the enemies do scale to your level, they’re still dangerous. While regular mobs shouldn’t be a problem for most classes and elites are soloable for most classes if you’re careful, be wary of pulling big groups at once. It’s a good idea to tackle objectives as a group, either following along with the crowd or joining a party. It doesn’t matter what level the rest of your group is: mobs will still scale, so you can group with friends regardless of level. If you don’t have friends or guildmates to group up with, ask in general chat if there’s a group going or check the premade group finder. As you might guess, groups are especially important for healers, as they tend to be extra squishy — and because you aren’t automatically put in groups during invasions, having a party will make it easier to see who needs healing.

When the boss spawns, you need to be especially wary. The bosses feel a bit overtuned, and they’re especially rough on melee classes because they do a lot of AOE and have relatively small hitboxes. If you’re playing on low graphics settings to avoid lag in these big group melees (I definitely am), it can be hard to see AOEs and other hazards. Keep your movement cooldowns at the ready and don’t be afraid to run out of range to heal or even bandage if you’re in trouble. Remember: dead DPS does no damage!

And for racking up the XP, there’s another important consideration: if a mob dies while you’re dead, you get no XP at all. Stay alive at all costs!

If you do die, however, the Spirit Healer works as it does in PVP, automatically rezzing you at the graveyard after a few seconds. Make a run for any bosses you were fighting and try to tap it before it’s too late!

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Gearing up with Invasions

Whether you’re gearing up a main or an alt, here’s what you need to know. You’ll get a loot chest at the end of phase 2 and another at the end of phase 4. They contain armor and weapons, but not all armor and weapons: you won’t find cloaks, necks, rings, trinkets, shields, staffs, polearms or off-hands. You can, however, buy a cloak, neck, ring, or trinket at the invasion vendors… but for tanks looking for shields, you’re out of luck. Casters are also in trouble, because the event only drops one-handed caster weapons… there’s no caster shield for Holydins or Resto Shamans and no caster off-hands, so you’ll have to make do with whatever you have.

The gear scales to your level when you open the loot box, so for alts you’re leveling to 100 it may be a good idea to hold on to your boxes until you hit max level. Level 100s can enjoy the thrill of ripping them open as soon as they get them. Inside, you’ll find some Nethershards and a random selection of armor and/or weapons. Everything starts at ilvl 700, but armor can randomly be Warforged up to ilvl 720 and weapons can be upgraded from ilvl 700 to ilvl 725 using Coalesced Fel. This consumable can drop from chests or you can buy it for 150 Nethershards — each Coalesced Fel adds 5 ilvls to your weapon.

No matter when you open your loot, however, any spare gear you get sells for decent gold. Even if you open it up on a low level alt, it will sell for the same amount of gold as it would if it were ilvl 700 gear — which can be a great way to fund abandoned, gold-starved alts.

If you’re looking to grab Nethershard gear, any character who’s completed the Broken Shore will find vendors in Stormwind or Orgrimmar. For lower levels, look for Demon Hunter camps in invasion zones, which will be happy to sell you anything you might need — however, cloaks, necks, rings, and trinkets don’t scale to level, so you may not be able to equip them yet.

Now get out there and take the fight to the Legion level those alts!

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