About the Author
Mass Effect
Final Fantasy X
Batman:Arkham City
Borderlands Series
Weekly Column
Champions Online
World of Warcraft
DM of the Rings
Good Robot
Project Frontier

How Long Is WoW?

By Shamus
on Saturday Apr 17, 2010
Filed under:
Video Games


While working on a comic for the coming week, a question came to mind. A sort of “how long is a piece of string?” type question…

How long would it take to get to max level in WoW? About how much time would it take to finish the raiding stage of the game after that? (I know it’s almost impossible to really finish all the raids, but I’m just asking for a ballpark “how long to get the most common / interesting gear that most players want?)

Yes, I know the question is vague. Answers will no doubt be all over the place. For extra fun, try giving your answer without reading anyone else’s first. I’m curious what the numbers will look like.

Comments (134)

1 2

  1. Simulated Knave says:

    Depending on play frequency…a year? Two? Maybe even three? And that’s assuming they don’t add anything in the interim.

    • Randy Johnson says:

      Not even close. I have witnessed first hand a friend level to max in two weeks, and it only took him roughly a month after that to be geared well enough to be high end raiding with his guild. He has done this on multiple alts. If you know all the levelling tricks, and have a guild that will run all the various raids with you, it doesn’t take long at all to get into the end tier of the game.

      • Heron says:

        For a while they had a refer-a-friend experience bonus promotion, where if you referred a friend to the game, both you and your friend would get something ridiculous like 300% experience from everything.

        So… if they do something like that again, you could get there all the more quickly.

        • AGrey says:

          only if you and your friend were in a group together and within a certain distance of eachother.

          basically, when you started playing, they would pretty much have to roll an alt beside you.

          • Max says:

            However, as one of you gained levels (can’t remember if it’s the already-playing person or the new recruit) you could grant that person levels up to level 60, effectively halving the rate to that milestone. Those could be granted at any time, too, so that someone could skip the Old World and head to the Burning Crusade area.

            • Ian says:

              The system is a bit more complex than that.

              The referred player is the one that gets the level granting ability. For every two levels that the referred player makes, they have the ability to grant one level to any of the referrer’s characters up to level 59 (or one lower than the referred character). The referrer does not have this ability at all.

              One nice part about this is that the experience bar remains at the same percentage. When I got my cousin hopelessly addicted to WoW, I typically lagged behind in level on my alt since he would solo while I was offline or working on my 80s. When I got to the end of my experience bar he would grant me a level, then I’d quickly gain another level through an experience gain (i.e. he’s grant me a level at 99.9% and I’d kill a single monster to ding again).

              On an unrelated note, one huge problem with the recruit-a-friend system is that leveling a character using that system is an enormous money drainer. You have to buy skills at a much faster rate and, since you’re blowing through levels at three times the rate, you don’t have the chance to nurture and build professions that can get you money. Either you transfer money from another character, level a profitable profession, or use lower ranked skills until you can afford to upgrade them.

    • MichaelG says:

      How long is WoW? How long is life?

  2. Jaz says:

    My wife and I got WoW at xmas and while I’m stuck at level 63 and going nowhere fast, she’s gearing up a level 80 Hunter right now, and she’s got some more alts approaching level 70. So what, four or five months if you’re playing for a few hours a night? We’re busy people, but we don’t have a lot of friends out here and we don’t do bars or things like that.

  3. Not Yet Measured says:

    Assuming we’re talking /played, I will guess 1,000 hours, but that’s probably a little high. I though I read somewhere that a guy claimed to have “won” it by completing all of the quests or something like that and that it took him on the order of 2,000-4,000 hours.

  4. Guile says:

    I’d say about 100hrs or so. That’s about where I stopped anyway, at 80 after having run raids for a few weeks.

    Of course, I remember this particular guy who was up at around 500hrs and counting, so who knows?

  5. Greg says:

    Depending on the persons drive to do so, it could be anything from a month to a year, but if you’re playing a couple of hours a night it would take a few months. The more experienced you are with the game though, the shorter it would take.

    I’ve been playing off and on for 4 years now, so like Randy’s friend I could do it in a few weeks. But for someone with heirlooms and my experience it would easily take much longer. And that’s assuming the pick a solo/level friendly class. Levelling a warrior would be much harder for someone new to the game than levelling a hunter or a paladin.

  6. Sam says:

    That depends on whether you’re talking actual play time or real time. Took me…I want to say somewhere in the vicinity of three or so years to get my first toon to level 80. Though that was with several long breaks in between short bursts of intense play sessions (I’m talking about six to nine months in between a 1-2 month span where I’d play WoW a lot with a bunch of different characters and then get sick of the game and quit). As far as the amount of time played, I could not wager a guess as to how long I spent/wasted getting that one character up to level 80. I can’t give any comment about raiding, because I felt as though once I’d reached level 80, I was done with the game. Yes, I know that there’s a huge amount of content left once you get to the level where you can START raiding, but I didn’t feel like wasting the next thousand hours of playing time getting modestly better gear only to have everything become totally obsolete when the next expansion came out. I’d wager somewhere in the hundreds of hours someone would likely spend trying to get the best gear in end-game raids, but I honestly have no idea.

    • Jarenth says:

      And therein lies the answer: WoW lasts as long as you want it to. Milage may vary, I guess.

      • 1d30 says:

        That’s not the point. You can replay Super Mario Brothers a thousand times and still wring some measure of enjoyment from it. Or you could get bored and hate it by the end of World 4_1. That’s not the question here.

        It’s “how long would it take to reach max level and raid a bunch of dungeons?”

        WoW may last “as long as you want it to” but you’re replaying content. You can finish the game without being finished with the game.

  7. Alex says:

    Depends on how much support you get.

    Refer a friend gives a huge experience boost and someone else who has done most of the stuff before. And teleportation and other useful stuff. It’s possible to level to 80 in a couple weeks (depending on how much playtime is done). Much longer if a new character is started without any support.

    At max level, a 10/25 man raid could easily carry an ungeared character someone through everything. Doing it from scratch would probably take a month to get to a gear level where you can contribute and then another month to clear out the instances (depending on how good a group it’s possible to get in).

  8. Galenor says:

    There really is a lot of factors that come into this! Let’s say you’re going hardcore, putting in a load of time, making the best decisions and playing the game with the idea of, basically, World Of Warcraft Time Attack.

    The first thing you’d probably do is roll up an easy leveller – rogue, hunter, whatever. Getting this chap to 80 would take…two weeks? Now, if you were just getting into WoW, and had a friend who was already playing, he could ‘recruit’ you, giving you double EXP!

    So now you’ve got your lad to level 80. Congrats! The next hurdle you face is the elitism of your server. Elitist servers will demand the best gear from everyone, so you’ll have to trail through heroics for Naxx gear, then do the climb from there – would take a month or two at hardcore level. However, if your server is really cool and lets lowbies in for some gear-gathering, you’ll see this shortened by a lot.

    It’s a hard question! :D

    • glassdirigible says:

      Coming from a former one of those elitists (I don’t play anymore, otherwise I probably would still be one), it is difficult to judge the skill of a person by looking at a character. Looking at gear or achievements is the fastest way to get any sort of metric.

      Yes, it’s not terribly accurate, but I haven’t seen another way of doing it that is at all fast. I’d rather weed out a large quantity of bad players and a decent chunk of good players than fail at something that should be trivial. There is nothing more annoying than failing because one idiot didn’t realize that fires, ice, giant clouds of gas, or whatever the flavor of the month damage is, all hurt.

      Some elitists have alts that they gear up as well. Depending on their guild, the only way to gear up the alt may be to enter random pugs for lower-level dungeons.

      Also, occasionally looking at gear and especially gems/enchants can give an incredibly accurate metric for how skilled/knowledgeable a player is. A paladin decked out in spirit is nobody’s friend.

  9. Skip says:

    It really depends on what you’re doing – if it’s not your first time through you can hit level cap in a week or so, or even faster with the Refer a Friend bonus XP. At that point, probably 30 or 40 hours total of grinding the random heroic instances will get you enough badges and gear to not be a total hole in a raiding guild.

    Once you’re in a raiding guild, as each new tier of content comes out it typically takes a few months to get everyone who’s raiding most of the gear out of that tier that they want. So I’d say, if you had friends that could ensure you a spot in a top raiding guild, from a standing start you could do it in 3 months. Without that spot, you’d be looking at lower-end guilds, and having to trade up a few times, so add a few months.

  10. It has taken me 5 years to get my first WoW character to level 72. I have yet to get ANY character to max level in that game.

    According to WoW’s stats, I’ve played my main character for 25 days total.

    But I find it very difficult to commit to only one MMO – and I have the blog to prove it.


  11. Jeff says:

    My third 80, which I started a few months ago, took a bit over a month of daily evening play to get to 80, which included dragging my feet with 20% of that battleground PvP leveling. He was wearing heirloom pieces which increased XP gained by 20%. That was 180 hours of play, and that was just to 80. A jobless player who has 16 hours a day to play could do that in less than 2 weeks.

    Getting all of last season’s PvP gear took just a few evenings. Then a few evenings of PUGs to quickly fill in some of the other gear. I did all that completely solo — wasn’t in a guild the whole time — so it took a bit longer. So someone working a normal 9-to-5 job playing only in the evenings could have a nice set of PvP gear on a max level character in 1.5 to 2 months.

    Of course, once you have the gear you want you end up not using it, because there’s nothing left to get that doesn’t require ridiculous amounts of boring grinding.

  12. pnf says:

    I haven’t played WoW since before Burning Crusade came out; I had four level 60s when that was the maximum, so I can’t provide a good answer. I will say that it’s a moving target for a couple of reasons:

    1) It depends a great deal on whether you engage in time wasters such as, say, trying to follow the story, or if you just do what it takes to level most quickly.

    2) Everything I’ve heard about WoW since I stopped playing suggests that the game has been made progressively easier and leveling faster; for example, they’ve removed the great majority of the elite mobs from the greater game world (i.e. outside instances), and you get your mount much earlier (and it’s cheaper, I believe). This is a pretty standard thing in MMOs…as the mature playerbase begins to cluster around the endgame, they want new players catching up with them as quickly as possible, and the same for leveling alts.

  13. AGrey says:

    I started playing around thanksgiving and hit 80 the first week of february.

    so… a little over two months. on one hand, I didn’t play all too often, but on the other hand, a friend of mine used a ‘recruit a friend’ promotional that gave both of us bonus XP when we quested together.

    and to say that you’ve finished raiding I take to mean that you have not only all of the absolute greatest gear for your class, but you have all of the achievements from all of the raids as well.

    after downing a boss in a raid, you are ‘locked’ to that instance of the raid, meaning that you will always enter that version of the raid with those bosses down.

    raids reset once a week. Some of the achievements require that you do a specific task within one raid lockout, and if you fail, you will have to try again next week.

  14. Last time I played (which was… probably two years ago), I powered through a mage to 70 for my guild in something like three months. That being said, having a nasty WoW addiction certainly helps at that whole “winning at WoW” thing.

    Getting to 70 is an easy alone task. Getting fully geared, at the time, was a hassle. Even in a heavy raiding guild, it can be a crap-shoot. The problem is that in order for one person to “win” you need a guild behind you to help out. And they all need to be geared too. So the fully geared part becomes harder to assess.

  15. Nick says:

    Without RAF, I’ve seen /played times from as high as 15 days (my first time) to about 5 or 6 days /played time to 80. Past that, you can actually experience all the raiding content (assuming a competent and skilled guild) within a month’s time, max.

    Realistically, what keeps the end-game current is that to get EVERYTHING on your wish list can take months more, as you can only do each boss once before they are gone forever (until the reset on tuesday morning), so if they didn’t drop your item, better luck next week.

    And currently, you’d be hard pressed to find more than a handful of guilds that have reached, let alone completed the most basic level difficulty of the end-game. Unless you got it down pat, each week is a long journey from the start of the raid back to where you left off (you can actually EXTEND the raid period more weeks, but doing so you miss out on “loot” from earlier bosses, and most guilds still need that gear even if the content is on “farm”).

    Starting from scratch, and meeting other like-minded players, you can maybe take half a year before you see end-game. And, it changes every few months, so it’s always just out of reach.

  16. Emm Enn Eff says:

    To get to level 80?

    70-80 hours if you’ve done all the quests before, and don’t waste time with random dungeons, traveling all around the world, etc.

    Maybe a bit less then double that if you’re new to the game.

    To get fully geared out?

    ~15 hours of random dungeons should get you in a full set of pre-raid gear.

    In that gear, you’d be a contributor to a raid.

    To get raid gear… That has everything to do with how much gear the rest of the group wants. If your guild has been clearing the raid instance for a few months, two runs in it will probably get you 50% of the gear that you want.

    Four runs would probably get you 80%.

    For 100%, it would take substantially longer. Some items are rare, and are highly contested. (Regardless of how much better they are then the “Second best” piece).

    If your guild just started doing the instance, then it’ll probably take 12/15 runs through the instance to get everyone equipped in 80/90% of the gear that they want.

    If you’re a PvPer, then it takes about 50 hours to grind out beginner PvP pieces (Less if you’re playing with friends). And with those, getting the latest gear is just a question of skill. A good player can PvP for 2 hours every week, and be picking up a new item every two weeks. He will also get no benefit from playing more then 2 hours a week.


    Getting the “Best” gear can take a while. Probably ~250 hours played if you don’t have a lot of help. A little over half that time if you’re in a good guild.

    Getting “Enough to do what you want to do in the game” gear takes a lot less. The best gear is not necessary to beat any of the encounters in the game.

  17. Sanguine says:

    For an experienced player: 1-80 should take between 4-6 days, depending on class.

    To get good enough gear to be useful in a raid? Maybe a days worth of random dungeons.

    To get fully geared out in current content gear? Depends on your guilds progress. Typically at least 4 raid lockouts, so maybe 2 days over the space of 4 weeks.

    So in all, ~7-9 days played, or ~200 hours.

    To finish the raid scene entirely, that is have all the meta achievements for each raid, would take significantly longer. Upwards of 10 lockouts, once your in strong enough gear to attempt hard modes. Not to mention the time taken to research the more difficult encounters. Additionally, at this level there is actually a measure of skill involved, so it may be impossible for many players to defeat these encounters as current content.

  18. Kotenku says:

    Estimates run between 6 and 7 full days of play in order to get from level 1 to 80, if you follow a Speed Guide. (Which I strongly recommend, despite what I know of your proclivities when it comes to gaming (going slow, experiencing everything), because the speed guides typically ensure that you are sampling a wide variety of quests and zones, usually time close enough together that you aren’t spending an undue length of time in any one place.)

    After you reach level 80, raiding depends largely on what sort of guild you join, and how motivated you are to seek out equipment by repeating raids on a weekly basis.

    There isn’t really a “comfortable” place wherein you get, say, half a set of purples, and the rest are blues, and call it finished.

    When I played, I played in a “casual” raiding guild, which meant that when I raided, I had a chance of getting, at most, 1 piece of “tier” gear, during the weekly raid. If I had been extraordinarily lucky, and dedicated, it may have been possible to get a complete set of Tier 7.5 (that is, the 6 “Valorous” vouchers which could drop in Naxxramas, the Vault of Archavon, and Obsidian Sanctum) within two and a half months of reaching Level 80.

    Because I was NOT lucky, because I was not very dedicated, and because my guild was so Casual (read: consisting of many people who no other guilds would take), I played WoW for 6 months after hitting level 80, only barely broke into the top 5 DPS in my guild, and by the time we were getting Naxxramas to a point where we could get 25 people and clear the entire thing over a space of three nights, Ulduar was released, and Tier 7.5 was no longer relevant.

    This may sound like I’m coming down a bit hard on WoW, or that I’m bitter in some way. Not wholly true! I did enjoy it for a time, but eventually the fact that “success” was so generic, and could be made meaningless so easily, that I became disenchanted, and wasn’t getting my money’s worth anymore.

  19. ngthagg says:

    If you’re a fast leveler, you can get to 80 in under a week of time played. For the second question, that’s trickier to answer. Theoretically, a group of could rush you through raids and let you ninja all the appropriate loot. You’d still be looking at months of realtime, however. At the other end of the scale, if you start on raids with a brand guild full of people in dungeon blues, odds are you’ll never make it without either the guild falling apart, or Blizzard releasing a new expansion.

  20. Steve C says:

    I’m someone who has all the “most common/interesting raiding gear” and I know how to level a character fast. I’d say it would take less than 40 hours of /played time to go from level 1 to 80 without help assuming you know what you are doing and are purposely trying to speed level.* It really depends if that character is your first or not, and how well you already know the quests/dungeons/content. Basically to determine how fast you “finish wow” it comes down to if you know how to play the game or not.

    The breakdown of the time between leveling and “finishing raids” will mostly be raiding. Leveling is extremely fast now. I disagree with the previous poster who said to stay away from dungeons. They make leveling extremely fast and easy. 5 mins after hitting max level you can have a endgame raid viable character just from crafted/purchased gear off the Auction House.

    A big hangup will be getting into a good raiding guild. A good guild doesn’t just let anyone in. You have to prove yourself while on probation and you get lowest priority on a raid spot and gear. After you are in a raiding guild it’s really hard to say how long it would take to get “all” the gear. 8 weeks of raiding 5-10 hours per week at least. It’s far more variable while raiding because you may not get the drops you want and you are far more dependent on your raid’s skill as opposed your personal skill while leveling.

    *I’ve never tested this out. I like to level my characters slowly and enjoy the content before max level.

  21. Ok, you want 1-80 with no commercial guides or help, right? Using the free, easily available stuff, four days.

    I’ve used the guides, leveled several characters, two to eighty.


    Especially with the changes to the random party and battlegrounds, the death knight I rolled up levels up about every hour or so of play (of course I cheat with rested bonus and heirloom equipment — without that it would take two hours).

    Now raids are a different thing. If you do the daily heroic once you get to 80 (to collect frost badges) and are in a guild, within three months you would be ready to start on Icecrown (ICC10) Four months, ready to be doing ICC25. Roughly my experience with my horde mage, once my daughter took off with my warlock.

    Now to progress all the way through ICC? I figure another three months.

    VoA if you are a class that doesn’t show up much, you will probably pick up a sanctified piece every other week. That gets you to ICC10/25 much faster.

  22. My current character is Bitterhope on Ravenholdt if you want to check the Armory. I’m actually going for the Meta “Long Strange Trip” so I’m kind of sidetracking a lot, rather than trying to join the progression group on the ICC 25 runs.

    • Here is a link:


      Depending on how much you play a day, you can get to 80 in about 80 hours of play or less

      Then, an hour a morning for a couple-three months and you will have the basic raid gear, enough to start on ICC 10 (because the damage bonus has kicked in).

      You run a daily heroic (use looking for group, random) and do the Argent Tournament dailies while you wait for it to ping.

      If you are willing to run a tank, it is much, much faster.

      Once you get to the stage looking for group kicks in, you will wait about a minute for a group (vis 15-16 minutes if you are a dps). You will run the instance in less than half an hour. You will level every hour of play, doing instances.

      If you could start with a deathknight, you would be at 80 before you knew it (the easiest way to do that is to transfer a deathknight from one account to another, Blizzard will let you do that rather easily, which is what I did to get my daughter’s deathknights away from my account :0 )

  23. SolkaTruesilver says:

    hahaha… you fools! Shamus isn’t interested in this question.

    He wanted to know this: “How soon can I get to 100 comments regarding World of Warcraft”, and you all have played into his hands!

  24. Thanakil says:

    80-160 hours to get to level 80, if you know what you’re doing. (1 hour on average per level would be a best case scenario for most)

    Then when it comes to raiding, it’s actually MUCH faster nowadays. It used to be that you had to clear out the previous tier of raiding before you could progress (possibly because of attunement quest, but mostly because of gear, you needed the gear from Raid A to be competitive in Raid B) but Blizz changed that quite a bit.

    Now whenever a new raid was added, new gear that could be bought with badges (which can be gained from 5-man dungeons) was added to the game, and that gear would generally equal the previous tier of raiding.

    Ex : We’re doing Raid B, Raid C comes along, new gear that can be bought with badges is added that is of the same quality as gear from Raid B.

    So if someone joined the raiding scene with every raid added to the game (no need to wait for new ones), it wouldn’t take very long to gear up for it (1-2 weeks, if you played 1-2 hours a day).
    Then it would all be a matter of luck, the first items you would get from raiding would be quick to get, then it would progressively slow down. In the first 15 hours you’d get a fair bit, after 25-35 hours you’d be in kickass gear, but getting the last 2-3 pieces you’re looking for could prove troublesome.
    (Unless you do both 10 and 25 man raiding, in which case it’s simpler, but also take more time each week.)

  25. chakan says:

    A bit off topic, but something I’ve just wondered. There seems to be a huge emphasis on the gear you have, to the point where a character with an all blue set could simply be done in by an instance that the same characte in armor and weapons one step up would breeze through. Is this really how it is, and if so, do you see lots of *Best Quality Adamantine Sword*’s on the market, like you would in EVE, where players will charge hundreds of millions of credits for one particularly good item? Further, it seems it’s much more common (mostly due to size and popularity) to see people buy gold in WoW with real money, do people sometimes use raids to fund their subscription?

    • Steve C says:

      Even the most expensive things don’t cost hundreds of millions of credits in WoW. I think the gold cap (most money you can have on your wow account) is around 250,000 gold. The most expensive shiniest things cost 10,000g. Raids cost gold. IE you will have a net decrease in your gold from raiding.

      There is an emphasis on gear because it’s a goal and easy to measure. But really it’s the bad players that emphasis gear. Gear =/= skill. Just yesterday I was in a random group with a well geared tank. He blamed the group, he blamed his class for the difficulties we were having. The group asked him to leave and a far less geared tank (same class) replaced him. We breezed through the rest of the dungeon.

      Gear can sometimes cover for bad skill. Skill beats gear.

      • chakan says:

        well, hundred of millions is a big difference between gold and ISK (eve currency.) In WoW, there’s coppers then silver then gold, whereas in eve, it’s all ISK like modern money with a decimal place, but after running the tutorials a character could have 2-3 million credits easily. Just a sidenote, for posterity I guess.

    • Athan says:

      Yes, gear counts for a lot. On one very basic level there are encounters with mechanics that mean if you have less than X hp you *WILL* die due to that mechanic. This also applies to damage output, if the whole raid averages less than a certain DPS the boss in question may will enrage and start one-hit-killing *any* character (so it doesn’t take long for it to wipe the raid). Likewise your healers need a certain amount of healing per second to keep tanks up (and top up the whole raid after any AoE mechanic).

      All the skill in the world can’t compensate for your character(s) just not being able to get to the numbers necessary to survive. But skill does *also* count on the currently very hardest encounters (so that would be Heroic mode 25 man Ice Crown Citadel, the last few bosses, certainly The Lich King, currently). Someone in full(ish) ICC25 heroic gear who bought/borrowed the character and has hardly played before will likely be *useless* in those end-raids.

      But there’s not too much of “Best Quality Adamantine Sword” in the game because the majority of desireable items are ‘Bind on Pickup’ which means that as soon as it’s in your bags (let alone worn) it is Soulbound to you, meaning the only way you can get rid of it is to destroy it or sell it to an NPC vendor (at which point that instance of the item is destroyed). No selling, no trading, no swapsies (with the small caveat of a 2 hour window post-looting where you can trade an item to anyone else present at the kill in case a mistake was made in loot distribution).

      There are a _few_ items that are exceptions to this (i.e. Battered Hilt http://www.wowhead.com/item=50380), but they’re rare in the grand scheme of things.

      • Emm Enn Eff says:

        Naxx 10 and Ulduar 10 have been cleared in full blues.

        TOC 10 hasn’t been attempted in blues, but I’m pretty sure a few epics will let the group clear it as well.

        ICC 10 has the very substantial stacking buff. I’d say that by the time it reaches 30%, full Naxx 10 epics (Or an equivalent mixture of blues and 5-man epics) will be enough to clear it. Gear checks certainly exist in WoW, but in my experience, lack of gear isn’t what holds most people back.

  26. David V.S. says:

    As long as you want…

    Which is why WoW is still going strong.

  27. NBSRDan says:

    I’m sure it takes forever to get the maximum level, but that’s only because the level-up requirement rises much faster than XP rewards for available tasks. The actual length of the game- the amount of unique playable content- is more in the 0-1 hour range.

    • Athan says:

      Er, actually the XP per level requirement doesn’t rise up like that. Yes, there are a few step-changes, but patches in the last couple of years have smoothed those out and even reduced them greatly. For the most part, once past level 20, the XP per mob kill and quest hand-in will be rising proportionately with the needed XP per level.

      1-10 will FLY by for anyone with half a brain cell. If you’re taking more than 10-15 minutes per level you’re doing it wrong.

      10-20 slows down a little, but not that much.

      20-60, and particularly 30-40/40-60 used to be hellishly slow, but in line with the level cap increasing to first 70 and then 80 Blizzard tweaked a lot of the lower level content and it’s not much of a pain any more.

      People focusing on levelling, and especially with Refer A Friend, Rested and/or Heirloom bonuses will likely level, on average, once every 1-2 hours. My own slightly more leisurely experience is it taking approximately 4 hours per level once past 60, a little faster before that, but I never went in for levelling guides or AoE grinding. That’s usually with Rested (double XP, whilst it lasts) XP though.

  28. Emm Enn Eff says:

    You don’t need 3 months of doing the daily heroics to get ready for Icecrown 10. The instance can easily be cleared in full Tier 9, on every raid member which costs… 220 badges?

    As for the amount of time it would take to clear the instance… Some guilds will take 3 months. Others will take 1 month. Yet others can do it in a week. There’s a vast gap of player skill – which is the biggest factor at play.

    And sadly, being in a good guild is more about connections, networking, and luck then anything else, including skill.

  29. Falco Rusticula says:

    Play style matters. Some people amble around, in no particuular rush to complete quests, enjoying the scenery and experiencing the world. Others hammer through quests and dungeons (and with the new dungeon finder system, you can gain a lot of XP that way) and always log off at an inn. The latter will burn through levels way, way faster. People who’ve done it before are also likely to get there quicker.

    So…I’m guessing a minimum of 150 hours /played, or around that. (It’s entirely possible to play for literally months and not gain any levels whatsoever. All you have to do is spend your time roleplaying in cities.)

  30. neothoron says:

    Ok, from someone that has stopped playing a few months ago.

    Going to level 60 has been greatly eased all over the place, I believe that should take about 70 hours.
    30 hours to get from level 60 to level 70.
    And 30 hours to get from level 70 to level 80.
    (I’m talking about someone leveling relatively efficiently)

    After that, the raiding environment becomes really difficult to evaluate – you can get boatloads of stuff by doing heroic dungeons (would take around 100 tedious hours to get enough stuff to raid in Icecrown), and after that, Naxxramas, Ulduar, TotC are regularly completed by pickup groups everywhere. For Icecrown Citadel I don’t really know, but it should be possible to get the 10-version done in a pickup group anywhere, too.

    • WarlockofOz says:

      Thirty hours 70-80 seems optimistic to me. The very first level 80 took 27 hours (with an out of party healer and beta experience), so it’s not impossible – but it’s not something I’d expect from an ordinary player.

      • neothoron says:

        Yeah, at second thought, I may be underestimating the time needed – I’m frightened by the time I have spent on it.

        Count maybe 160 hours if you want to level up at a leisurely pace (and reading the quest text).

        Also, Shamus, don’t forget that as soon as Cataclysm is out, many zones and all quests will change radically. It could be your last chance to experience the last iteration of the original quest and zone design, if you want to.

        • Steve C says:

          One level every 3 hours of played time for levels 70-80 is not optimistic… it’s pretty average now. It can be done in far less time. The big difference between the first guy who spent 27 hours getting to level 80 and someone today getting to 80 is now people know how to play, and Blizzard has made it easier to do so. That first guy on the server has can’t purchase gear because nobody has anything to sell. He can’t run a quick dungeon because nobody else is the right level. He likely doesn’t even know how to best play his class yet because he’s not had the practice with the new abilities.

          Contrast that to now. People know the quests. They know the dungeons. Gear is cheap and plentiful. Levelers have +20% xp from heirloom items. If you spend more than 15mins in a Northrend dungeon then you’ve got a bad group. Doing a dungeon 4 times (an hour) should get you a level.

          • WarlockofOz says:

            My ‘ordinary player’ at the end was important. Someone that doesn’t bother with a quest guide because they know all the zones so well that checking an efficiency guide would actually slow them down, that has enchanted heirloom items in half their slots including the weapons… yea, they’ll be fast, but a first timer isn’t going to manage that. If you’re thinking ‘my alt did it in 30’ then you’re probably not an ordinary player.

            Also, I’m pretty sure the guy that managed to be the first level 80 in the world knew how to play his class.

            • Steve C says:

              How could he possibly know how to play his class?

              I’m sure he was closer to the “good” side of the scale than the bad. There is a huge difference between each expansion in terms of how a class plays. I was a good player and routinely topped meters during the last expansion. I’m a good player now and routinely top meters again. While I was leveling between being a good level 70 and a good level 80 I was NOT a good player. It took practice to learn the new mechanics.

              If you power level you don’t have time to learn it and practice it. This is doubly true if you all you are doing is tagging monsters to get xp and letting other people kill them like he did.

  31. WarlockofOz says:

    Depends on how much you play, how focused you are, whether you’ve done it before and the guild you’re in.

    I took me sixteen days of played time (much more in real world time) to reach level 60 (then the level cap) with my first character, a Druid not long after release. At that time Druids were probably the worst levelling class and I spent a lot of time exploring and experimenting. My guild had the size but not the right social dynanics for raiding; we tried but I never completed any raid dungeon with that character despite over seventy days of played time (and more on alts). That was a frustrating time for me – I wanted to progress my character but loyalty to my friends and guild prevented me from doing so. It felt like every new addition to the game was intended to make my character less fun to play, since my character stayed the same while others improved. I remember working out once that killing trash mobs in Molten Core (the first raid dungeon) was some 20,000 times as rewarding per hour spent as completing the hardest available 5-man content.

    I returned to the game in the first expansion. I’m not sure of how long it took for my first 70, partly because I continued an alt. I did level another from scratch during the expansion and it was about six days to 60 and another four to 70. My guild this time was better at raiding but still not hardcore; I completed the first raiding tier, burnt out on the second, left the game for a year, came back to a new guild and then completed the second tier plus much of the third (much of which was easier than the second, but for a long time you couldn’t enter the third without completing the second). The fourth was laughably out of reach.

    In the second expansion going from 70 to 80 took me perhaps four more days in-game, admittedly starting with vastly better gear than a new 70 would have and focused on levelling. I stuck with the same guild as it had evolved into quite an efficient raid team; we were the second or third progressed guild of my faction. We blew through the normal modes (one of the big features of the expansion being a ‘normal’ and a ‘hard’ mode for most fights) and made rapid progress on the hard modes so for the first time ever I was one of the best geared characters around. The problem was that I wasn’t having fun – I had no friends there, guild activites were too big to socialise in and it felt like a second job with mandatory attendance. So I quit again.

    If (when) I go back to the game I’ll look for a smaller guild – small enough groups that you can talk and make friends. I doubt there will be any five-man content requiring enough time commitment for a group to bond but ten isn’t too bad.

    Now to read what others have said :)

  32. Aquin says:

    Well, they’ve made it quite a bit easier. Honestly I’d suggest hanging on for Cataclysm. That’s MY plan!

    It might depend on skill and your ability to micro-manage quests I dunno. Personally, I got my priest to 70 (with max-ish professions) after about a week of /played. If I really cared, I could have done it in half the time. 70 – 80 took me another couple of days of /played.

    But in terms of real time? I dunno. Two years? I rarely ever play the game. Usually a month every year or two.

    (sorry, should mention. YES, I did do end-game raiding content with my 80 priest.)

  33. Priit says:

    But how long does it take to finish Runescape? I bet it takes a lot longer than finishing WoW.

  34. Kreek says:

    my guess, based on haveing never offically played wow, nor ever gotten to max level in ANY mmo EVER (includeing the paltry 20 levels in guildwars, atleast when it first came out)

    my guess is about a year, maybe a year and a half
    IF you were increadibly lucky and managed to find a decent guild right off the bat, spent atleast 8 hours a day playing, and managed to get the wanted drop for yourself from the raid bosses every time…

    on a more realistic scale
    it will take…. untill blizzard goes under and finally shuts off the wow servers, as any time you even get within the sight of the goal of getting it all, they will add a new expantion

  35. Tuck says:

    I hadn’t realised WoW was such a lightweight game…two weeks to max level?!

    My main character on the Discworld MUD is over 300 days old (yes, over 7000 hours of game time), and I have another 50 odd days on other characters…

    I would expect a minimum of 20 days of play time to be able to hunt the highest level content with a group, probably double that to solo it reasonably safely. And that’s definitely as an experienced player, a new player wouldn’t have a hope in that time span.


    PS. MY game is better than YOUR game. :D

    • Athan says:

      One thing to keep in mind is that ’20 days’ wasn’t that far off for first level 60s in WoW back when it was first released.

      Blizzard have done lots of marketing research, they know their playerbase and they have made things easier as a result. Much to the chagrin of the elitist jerk players at the high end.

      WoW is now MUCH more about the end game of raiding than it is about the levelling experience. In Vanilla, in the first 6 months of the game you got to 55 or so and then started doing 5 man dungeons and there were huge quests lines to follow and you could spend months just gearing up at that level before even considering raiding (I did). These days you hit 80, grind heroic dungeons for badges for a week or two, and then can start PuG raiding and carry on up from there.

      It just isn’t the same game(ing experience) any more. But note I’m not saying that’s necessarily bad.

  36. Chris says:

    With recruit-a-friend and boosting, you can get a character to 60 within 24 hours, or so I hear. From there you could probably get to 80 within a couple of days. Of course, that’s grinding up as quickly as possible. By comparison, my first ever toon hit level 80 just shy of 500 hours /played.

    Since the emblem changes with 3.3, all tier 7 & 8 content, plus most tier 9 content is essentially pointless. Random heroics take ~15-20 minutes to complete usually, and net an average of 5 badges, assuming you skip unneccesary bosses (which you should, if you are aiming for highest badges/hour, as finishing the dungeon gets you 2 extra badges). Emblem ring, trinket, ranged slot, 4-piece tier 9 + emblem helmet comes to a total of 345 emblems, or 17 straight hours of grinding to max out badge gear. Of course, that’s before you take into account grinding Icecrown Dungeons + ToC for decent loot drops. Best case scenario, you’d be finished the heroics stage of ‘gameplay’ within about 24 hours. That’s all assuming that every group you get skips optional bosses + plays well enough to get things done quickly, and that you get instant groups, as opposed to the standard half-hour wait for DPSers.
    How long it’d take you to complete ICC depends on various factors of yourself and who you planned to run it with, plus on your definition of finished (Arthas killed? Arthas killed on hardmode? Arthas killed on hardmode without the stat buff? Frostwyrm mounts earned?).

    EDIT: If the best case scenario is >100 hours to be ready to raid from scratch, then spending the £100-£200 pricetag for raid ready characters on eBay seems like a bargain.

  37. rofltehcat says:

    Ok, posting before reading the others.

    I played WoW from the EU release to the release of the Wrath of the Lich King addon. I mainly played my paladin but I also played a few alts, although their game time can’t even compare to my paladin’s.

    Generally assume that I raided 3 days a week, tuesday and thursday something like 18:00-23:00 and sunday from 16:00-23:00 (with 1 hour break). On the other 4 days I’d normally play a minimum of 3 late afternoons + evenings, often longer on saturdays. This time was spent with farming, running instances (more for just doing something with my ingame-friends than actually achieving something) or doing the small raids like Karazhan or once in a while other raids we already ‘beat’. So I think I effectively raided like 10-14 hours a week and had like 40 hours weekly game time.
    Before the first addon we were pretty ok in the raiding stuff although we didn’t manage to finish the first naxxramas. In Burning Crusade we were pretty good in raid progress and in the end we beat the last boss in sunwell plateau a few weeks before Wrath of the Lich King and I completed my T6 armor set with weapons etc. so I basically ‘finished’ it.
    I can’t check it but I think my paladin had something like 1.3 years /played. But remember that this number also contains a hell lot of AFK time that was spent with stuff like just being logged in and watching TV or surfing or doing something else, you get the idea, because someone from the guild or the friends might message you to go do something.

    But now? Well, normally people don’t run old raids anymore so I’d say getting from 1-80 would be maybe like 14+ days /played (for a normal player who explores a bit and does quests etc. and not just powerfarms for max exp/time but I read that leveling is now easier again? O.o) and I heard raiding got a lot less hardcore with WotLK (it was already much less hardcore in BC, which is imo a good thing).

  38. Aufero says:

    I’ve “finished WoW” about five times now, but I usually play multiple characters at once. The process of leveling a character or two to 80, grouping, raiding and PvPing until I get bored and quit playing again takes me about five or six months. Then I make a tour of other MMOs, hoping to find something more interesting.

    Right now I’m really enjoying LoTRO – I blame a certain blogger.

  39. Vegedus says:

    Hm, well, there is a variety of accurate estimates for how long getting to 80 takes. I’m guessing googling that is cheating, though. The leveling have become notably faster since I last played, though, and I’ve never had any above level 70, so I don’t know how hard those levels are to gain compared to the rest. For a competent player, I’m guessing the numbers a somewhere in the couple of hundred hours. I think I was around 200 hours getting to 60 on my second main, so everything considered, 300 hours should be sufficient.

    As for raiding, I know that it was just recently that a raiding group defeated Arthas on “hard mode” (25-man raid). That means that it’s taken this long since the Arthas patch for people to begin completing the game. There’s still a lot more effort to be done before they’ve killed him enough times to have gotten all the good stuff. It’s been some four months since the patch came out, and we can probably add four more for the time spent on gathering equipments and such before the patch, and for killing Arthas enough times.

    So 8 months of dedicated gaming. That’s quite a lot. I think that would be somewhere in the realm of a 1000 gaming hours. So lets say 1300 hours in all. That actually seems a relatively small number, but it’s assuming a player starts at level 1 today, and works directly towards killing Arthas for the loot, every step of the way. Oh, and that he’s very experienced and dedicated.

    Of course, since one of the great things about WoW is the variety of classes, you might as well times that number with the amount of classes…

    Edit: After reading other comments, it seems most likely I overshot. 60-70 and 70-80 doesn’t take as long as I thought, and neither does getting raiding gear, apparently.

    • D says:

      One thing that’s not coming up very much here is the fact that your server and your guild play a role in your success. A raiding guild with a friendly attitude that invests in its new players because it wants them to have fun and get ready to join the raids may just plain GIVE a heap of very good BoE gear to their newly-lv80 member so that they can start getting them through the Lich King raids for good BoP gear, and whammo. But such guilds aren’t too common (especially the friendly, ‘invest in our new blood’ attitude). Many guilds restrict participation in raids such that it’s hardly worth joining them as a new player at all. Some servers are more popular than others, so that affects the ability to get into pick-up raids (too unpopular a server and there aren’t many raids; same problem if the population is too ‘old’ and they’ve done them all; too popular a server and the raids can get overstuffed and overpicky. And I would bet good money that leveling on a PvP server will slow the process down immensely.

  40. In terms of hours played, I’d guesstimate 70-100 hours to reach max level, and then probably a similar amount of time to have got all the gear you’d want from raiding as it currently exists. Didn’t read the other comments, so this should be interesting

  41. Ross Bearman says:

    A better measure may be the /played time, as the amount of real time it takes somebody is totally dependant on how often their playing, from somebody playing it a couple of hours a day to somebody playing it a couple of hours every weekend.

    So it would be better to find /played times to level 80 (optimum levelling speed if I recall correctly gets you there at about 7 or 8 days /played, 5 or so with the refer a friend bonus). Then from there you can work out the time it would take for different kinds of players.

  42. Stern says:

    Not looking at replies and assuming the player makes it to the maximum level with the interest of still playing I would say somewhere in the ballpark of at least a year provided the player is in a guild that’s not farming all the bosses and is looking to kill them all. My reasoning is that a guild with everything on farm would become tiresome for a new player. They need the stimulation of a challenge.

    On the other hand, I’m certain a new player will spend a rather long time to hit the max level if they literally did not know how to go about it (talent allocation, knowing what addons are, zone progression, etc.) and even longer at max level to understand how to play a certain class well enough to be accepted into one of the guilds that considers him an asset. With that in mind the possibility of simply burning out and quitting seems likely. In that case I’d knock down my prediction to about 3-4 months.

  43. DGM says:


    …I think the problem, to be quite honest with you is that you’ve never actually known what the question was.

    EDIT: And if I’d posted this just 15 minutes earlier, it actually would have been comment #42. Heh.

    EDIT #2: Wait. Shamus, check your scripts. The dice icons say that this is comment #43, but there’s only one comment after mine as I type this and it says at the top that there are 52 comments total.

  44. Liam says:

    it depends really, I know my first year of playing I logged in 50 days of playing time with my main and never really got to the top, sooo, 1200 hours in game

  45. From my experience, and some ballpark guesswork:

    5 days /played will get you to 80, give or take.

    From there, if your aim is to beat the lich king, and you’re actively working towards just that goal, you could probably do that in more or less the same time again; grind in heroics to get badges, buy gear with badges, use money earned to buy enchants and gems, find a pick-up group that’ll take you (or form one yourself).

    If your aim is to beat all of the raids, the limiting factor is how many people want to go to Ulduar. Naxxramas is easy badges, Trial of the Crusader is harder but short, but Ulduar is long and non-trivial, so people don’t go there.

  46. briatx says:

    I think a person could get to max level in a couple of months.

    As for finishing the “entire” raid game, it’s hard to say how long that takes. At this point, the game lets you skip to the most current content pretty quickly. So you outgear the older raids, but it’s hard to find people running them. The easiest way to clear *all* the content is to do it as it comes out, and that takes… as long as it takes Blizzard to release it.

  47. Judging by my experience, 12 years or so. I starting playing the week of launch (I was out of town on launch day, annoyingly). My highest level is 43.

    So, yeah.

  48. Amarsir says:

    Boy: Mr. Owl, how many weeks does it take to get to the end of World of Warcraft?
    Mr. Owl: Let’s find out. (Subscribes)
    Mr. Owl: a-One.
    Mr. Owl: a-Two.
    Mr. Owl: a-Three.
    (Mr. Owl gets bored and quits)
    Owl: a-Three.

  49. D says:

    From newbie, having never played an MMO (Kingdom of Loathing notwithstanding), to lv80 – cap at that time, when Lich King was only a few months old – took me about a month and a half playing evenings (but not all of them) and very few weekends, with a near-week vacation somewhere in there.

    Since new gear’s always being added/discovered – or it was then, because when I started raiding Ulduar was new and it was still being discovered – I have no sense of how long it would take to get to ‘I have the best possible raiding gear for my class/role/build,’ which is probably what most serious raiders want. I was with a very good guild – very lighthearted, ‘casual’ acting, but with excellent raid dynamic and builds, near the top of their server’s positioning – but not in a good timezone for my guild, so I got to go on maybe a fifth or quarter of their raids (once I was geared up enough that I could even keep up in the big Lich King raids). I played for another 3 months like that before getting frustrated with how hard it was to find a raid group, my timezone issues, my slow computer, etc. When I quit, I certainly didn’t have the ‘best’ raiding gear for my class and build, but it wasn’t like any sensible raid group would have turned me down on basis of equipment, either.

    So I’d estimate, if you take a very ‘serious’ path as I did, and if you’re in a good timezone with a good guild, 6 months on the outside. But if you’re just enjoying the game, or your guild focuses on other things, or you spend a lot of your time in PvP, it’s going to take longer, in possibly a geometric scale – years, decades. You can play the game in different ways, so it’s hard to create a scale of ‘how long’ this piece of string could be. What kind of string do you want?

  50. JimminyJoJo says:

    For me, WoW, or pretty much any MMO lasts amlost exactly a month because that is when when I tend to tire of the increasingly repetitive nature inherent in the system.

    Just like the peasant from The Holy Grail sees the violence inherent in the feudal system.

    I’ve tried many MMOs (WoW, Age of Conan, Vanguard, LOTRO, EVE, DDO) and this holds true for pretty much all of them. What I really enjoy are good stories, and each of those (except EVE) have at least some good quest lines. I have never made it to end-game content in any of them because I just cannot force myself to grind, whether it be mindlessly killing beasts until I hit max level, or wading through ill-conceived and trivial quests.

    I want to be part of an epic story from start to finish and feel the consequences of my actions along the way, not merely be a mercenary that systematically helps each goblin in the villiage kill x number of wolves until I am strong enough to move on to the next villiage with slightly bigger wolves.

    I’ll try again with Star Wars: The Old Republic because I trust the quality of Bioware’s story writing to help me break the 1-month barrier.

    • Vipermagi says:

      Guild Wars nowadays is fairly empty when it comes to storyline missions, but I’ve always loved the storyline of the first campaign, Prophecies. It’s fairly predictable, but you’re actually playing through a story, rather than walking at random doing unrelated quests.

      Never been much a fan of Factions, but that’s due to the design it follows; you’re max level throughout most of the story, with several difficulty spikes. Nightfall is okay/good, but once again, the level cap comes fairly early. Both are fairly linear stories.

      Do note that “good” means “good, for an MMO-type game” ;)

      • Anaphyis says:

        Depending on how deeply you explore the prologue, you’ll reach max level in Prophecies before leaving Ascalon (not the prologue one though there is an extra achievement for reaching level 20 there – but actually doing so is a bitch)

        Leveling is such a minuscule part of Guild Wars they could’ve left it out entirely. I’m pretty sure the only reason they included it is because of genre conventions.

        • Vipermagi says:

          I’ve never reached level 20 before Maguuma (which is 4 story missions beyond Ascalon). I do skip half of the side-quests, though, because I know they’re not worth the effort.

          • Pickly says:

            I didn’t reach 20 on most characters until Maguuma or the desert either, and that’s even doing the side quests. (The quests themselves don’t actually give big chunks of experience, but in prophecies at least, they do give skills, which are quite useful.)

            to the guy at the top of the page, I’d most likely suggest nightfall a the guild wars version to play. Storywise, it’s my favorite, and gameplay wise, it works out a lot of kinks that prophecies and factions had. (Through I also had been playing guild wars since a bit after prophecies came out, so Nightfall’s difficulty may be higher as well.) As the post a couple above mentions, levelling isn’t really anything to worry about at all (except in factions, where it’s worthwhile to make sure you’ve done all the quests in the starting area), so whichever version might be chosen, it’s not something to need ot think about.

            I also tend to like the guild wars quests better than others, since they seem to usually have more variety than “(backstory, backstory)…kill 3 turtles”. It probably helps as well that later quests in nightfall, and some parts of factions, aren’t actually needed or important for improving a character, so they can be explored and tried when desired without any worries about leveling and such.

  51. SatansBestBuddy says:

    *without reading anyone else’s*


    Ballparking it, I’d say it’d take at least two years to clear out the game to the point where you’ve got a complete set of epic gear and have finished all the raids, assuming you only play 6 hours a day.

    Course, it’s been two, three years since I’ve played, and they’ve added a hell of a lot of content since even the last expansion.

    I’m guessing one of the best ways to gauge how “complete” the game is is to look at how many people have gotten all the achievements the game can offer.

    Naturally, “completing” WoW is impossible, and I don’t mean in that TV way were it’s just a word used for drama’s sake, but literally, as Blizzard is adding so much content to the game all the time; I don’t think more than two months has gone by without a major update since the game was released, meaning that people who have played this game to death are always given a reason to come back.

    To be perfectly honest, even I’m tempted to try and dust off my old account’s and get back in the game in time for Cataclysm, which is yet another expansion to an already massive game, and one that adds two new races, too!

    Anyway, back on topic; assuming you only want to raise two characters up to max level, one on both sides of the war, (so time spent mixing up classes and races to find what you’re most comfortable with and understand how to level properly isn’t counted, and having two characters means you can see more of the game’s quest lines) and that completion is measured by being at the highest level, with a full set of armour, (no mixing, just the set, most likely purple, too) and having completed all the raids, I’d say you’re looking at…

    … god, I don’t know, even counting out the achievements and quest lines and other races and class’s (so, like, more than half the game), there’s still a lot of game here, and it would take the average gamer months on even the most efficient schedule.

    EDIT: out of curiosity, I went and looked up a list of WoW achievements, and found this: http://www.wowwiki.com/Achievement

    So, yeah, they launched with 749 achievements, some as simple as getting a haircut or giving 10 hugs, others as massive and complex as exploring every zone in the world or completing a specific dungeon in a specific amount of time with no deaths, and they’re adding more achievements all the time.

    Just looking at any one of those sub-categories reveals more achievements than most full on games have, and is a real good measure of just how massive WoW has become.

    • SatansBestBuddy says:

      Okay, looked at other people’s comments, and I’m way off base, but I chalk it up to the fact that most people were talking about how to play the game as fast as possible, while I was thinking about how to enjoy the game as much as possible, ie read all the text, absorbing as much story as you could, looking at the interesting sites and exploring the little nooks and cranny’s the game is filled with.

      I guess it’s just differing play styles; when I played WoW, I played for a good two months, but only got to level 37-ish because I spent so much time simply exploring the world, reading random books I found and taking the time to read what those people giving me quests had to say.

      So, from my perspective, “completing” WoW is an impossible task, as there’s so much to see and do that seeing and doing all of it really would take years.

  52. BaCoN says:

    I dunno, man. To the end, it takes, at the MOST, 14 days of actual time played. I’m at 11 hours at 72, but I’ve also taken the time to get my tradeskills up(not having a main on a new server makes things so much more interesting!) and doing every single quest in the Old World.

    Also, Fishing. Lots… and lots of fishing.

  53. Gman says:

    From my personal experience playing through the beta, starting up with release: 2 years of max leveling and playing raid content and I got bored before I completed everything available. I remember people would ask you what your “/played” was at 60, and I can’t believe I still remember: 17 days, 6 hours. I’m really glad I don’t play anymore. There’s no more smug satisfaction to be had to WoW, instead I pity people who are playing and I maintain a seething hatred for the time lost in that game. Yet I am still getting giddy about The Old Republic.

  54. WarlockofOz says:

    I’ve just gone looking for hard data. There isn’t much, or at least not much that my google-fu was sufficient to locate.
    I did find http://virtuallyblind.com/files/mdy/blizzard_msj_exhibit_7.pdf which is from Blizzard’s suit against glider and claims 20 days /played to the level cap, referring back to a study done in classic. I’m pretty sure that 1-80 now is faster than 1-60 then, even for players new to the game.

  55. Joe says:

    How long does it take to “win?” Infinite time. As with just about all MMOs, the game doesn’t really stop until you stop having fun. There really isn’t any closure to it, any end to it. It just keeps going… and going…

    “Kill 10 rats” upgrades to “kill 10 wolves” upgrades to “kill 10 ULTIMATE DRAGONS OF DOOOOOOOoooooooommmmmmm.”

    MMOs allow developers to say “Finished all the quests you can? Well, go try some PvP, you wuss. we’re working on more. Just keep paying our monthly subscription fee.”

    This is why I don’t play MMOs. I like to know that it is possible to “beat” the game. With a single player game, you need to provide some kind of closure, if for no other reason than to provide a decent setup for the sequel. With a single-player game, I can choose to buy games that fit what I want to do, not that force me to kill 500 rats to get level 80 so that I can save the world from the Evil Villain of the Week. Or bake a gorram pie.

    Apologies if this sounds a touch rant-ish. I don’t mean to sound like a lunatic…

  56. Dys says:

    Depends how hardcore you are.
    Solid powerlevelling and prearranged raids, you could probably go from zero to hero in a week.

  57. Macil says:

    Heh, interesting blog post. I didn’t read all of the prior posts, so forgive me if these points have been made.

    I recently resubscribed to WoW in order to better explore the whole “guild” experience, since I hadn’t done so in my previous plays of the game.

    I have a level 80 mage and the day I hit 80 I had probably around 10 days of /played time. That probably came to around three weeks in “real time” of fairly consistent play, but nothing ridiculous (a few hours a day). This was at the release of the Lich King expansion. Using a guide is helpful, but if you just follow all the quests, you should be good. (tip: never group for leveling)

    The easiest part of the game is getting to 80. The hardest part, for me, is finding the time to upgrade my gear.

    I find that I can get the most reward with the least responsibility by playing the PvP battlegrounds. The PvP gear won’t cut it for the high-end raiding situations, but I think the PvP help get you into a “ready” position to do raiding quicker.

    Either way, you’re really looking at heroic-dungeon (5 man) grinding to pick up your T9 pieces to even be useful enough in a raid situation to pick up your T10 pieces before you die of old age.

    One of the best changes Blizzard made to WoW is the introduction of a “Random Dungeon” finder and a “Random Battleground” finder. You can queue anywhere in the world and can form a dungeon/pvp group on-the-fly from people across realms (servers).

    You also get bonuses for using the Finder, usually in the form of Emblems of Triumph: http://www.wowwiki.com/Emblem_of_Triumph or Emblems of Frost: http://www.wowwiki.com/Emblem_of_Frost

    And yes, you can queue as a group, although I *think* you get less bonuses if you do.

    I, myself, have done next to no heroic dungeons since resubbing because I’m afraid of the time commitment, but I understand a good group can complete these in like 15 minutes. I’m looking to test that claim in the near future.

    Hope that helps!

  58. Nalano says:

    /played 248 days, 11 hours total. 46 days, 20 hours of them at level 80.

    Leveling takes practically no time at all, as percentage of total time played. A new player to the game could be predictably level-capped in two months real time if he played semi-regularly.

    Thing is, a fresh 80 and an 80 you’d take to raids with you is another two months, dependent on that player’s skill in the class s/he chose, that player’s regularity in attempting to improve his/her gear, and your raid guild’s ability to accommodate this player both in terms of class and play style but also personality and schedule.

    Then for gear parity another two months may be added, dependent on whether said player is soaking up gear the guild no longer needs or is learning new encounters along with the guild.

    That’s a lot of caveats:

    – The player plays regularly (several hours a night).
    – * – And doesn’t burn out.
    – * – And doesn’t get bored.
    – * – And keeps a regular schedule.
    – * – And shrugs off the lack of other new players in anticipation of a relative social reward two months down the line.

    – The player is knowledgeable in his/her chosen class.
    – * – And thus does his/her homework, which means looking at sites out-of-game to shore up efficiency in leveling, gearing and maximizing class utility.
    – * – And learns group dynamics and group roles after having leveled practically solo to level cap, due to population imbalances in established servers.

    – The player doesn’t spend much time dithering about with alts.

    – The player can find a guild willing to take him/her raiding.
    – * – And hopefully the server (or the side s/he chooses) doesn’t have a low population, or is saturated with established guilds with little turnover.
    – * – Adding time for the hurdles of guilds that have substantial entry requirements, requiring the player pick-up group for a lot of starter gear, (this has been made easier with cross-server PuG finders, though it’s all a giant crap-shoot) or enroll in lesser guilds so as to generate off-site paper trails.

    – The player’s guild lasts long enough to gear the player.
    – * – Which means the other players in the guild must maintain their characters’ skills, not burn out or get bored, keep a regular schedule and not get into too many inter-personal problems with one another. High turnover guilds add a potentially infinite delay in gearing, as content must be relearned and new players regeared constantly.
    – * – And as the player progresses, his/her notoriety server-wide may become known, helping or hindering him/her in the process – enough time in bad guilds or enough terrible PuG experiences or enough interpersonal problems and the well is poisoned. Like skill, reputation adds another modifier to the time line.

    So I’d ballpark fresh player to competitive player at six months real time. Even then, seeing 100% of the game content before the next add-on is almost totally unpredictable for any one example, but highly unlikely on the whole. After all, the new add-ons are not necessarily for the benefit of the hardcore raiders (who are a minority in the game) but for everybody else who start to lose interest after it becoming clear that for whatever obstacle in front of them they will never finish the current content.

  59. MichaelG says:

    I started in Jan of 2006, played a Warrior solidly for a few months, to level 40, then started getting carpal tunnel problems and quit.

    Restarted again a year later and played a Warlock up to level 80, though I left and came back when Lich came out. Then quit again last fall because I was bored with the whole thing. I really wish there were more to do there than raids. I did Alchemy and messed with the AH, but I had bought everything I wanted.

    Besides, they nerfed the motorcycle, which used to be able to take unlimited damage. You could jump from the tops of mountains riding it! Same with the mammoth. But now they are just like other mounts.

    I’ll probably join again when Cataclysm comes out, just to see what they’ve done. Overall, I think I have about 60 days on my main char. I’ve definitely played WoW more than any other game.

  60. Kyle says:

    If you haven’t gotten enough information from all of these previous responses, I will proceed to add my data to the collection.

    I started Wow on September 1st, 2009. My friends had been playing for a while, and I decided that it would be a fun thing to do. I leveled a Mage, so I didn’t have much in the way of soloing, read: self-healing ability, except for my magical conjured food! Especially since they quit Wow shortly afterwards.

    I finally dinged 80, without any bonus XP gear, or any assistance really, on >.< I can't remember the date now, but it was just a week or two into January of 2010.

    Since then, I have spent the time running dungeons for emblems and gear, then raiding Trial of the Crusader (The pre-endgame raid at the moment), and then onto Icecrown Citadel, where my guild (very casual) has 6/12 bosses downed.

    So, of course the leveling and the raiding games (since they are quite separate) take a fair amount of time, with Recruit A Friend, gifts of gold, or guild members running you through raids, this could probably be cut to a third or more. At the moment, I believe I have 25 days of /played, although my brother occasionally spends time logging onto my account to just peddle around.

  61. Dys says:

    Oh, and I just remembered, friend of mine was playing about with refer a friend and managed to make a character, log off, refer all the levels gained through RF to this one alt and ding from 1-60 as soon as he logged back on.

    So, 1-60 fastest time? About one second, if you cheat.

    If you include achievements the minimum time would be one year real time, due to the seasonal meta-achievement.

  62. Chuk says:

    I’ve been playing for about four years and I’m level 29. Presumably, another 51 levels will take about 7 years, for a total of eleven years to level 80. And I have no idea about the end game since I’m not there yet.

  63. LazerF, says:

    For a complete noob, the average seems to be about 48 hours for ‘classic’ 0-60 levelling, then another 15 – 20 hours for each expansion, so a total of about 80 hours all-told. I’ve done a 0-80 run, with a Zygor’s guide addin, in just 22 hours, but that was pure powerlevelling. It has been done in under 17, but that’s really extreme.

  64. Galad says:

    “How Long is WoW?”


    (Not to scale)

1 2

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *


Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>