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So you’ve finally worked your way through countless fetch quests and days spent grinding endless mobs in zones like Grizzly Hills, Zul’Drak, and Icecrown. Finally, at the end of it all, the ultimate goal, level 80. Now it’s time to get into the fun stuff, all those raids and awesome PvP battlegrounds and whatnot your guildies have been talking about as you leveled up. The question is: where do you begin?
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Unfortunately, hitting 80 does not immediately qualify you to jump straight into Naxxramas or to take down Sartharion. You’re going to have to spend a little time getting some decent gear before you’re ready for true endgame raiding. Heroic Dungeons are the place to do just that.
You should have mostly blue gear before you start running heroics. If you’ve got some guildies willing to carry you along then you can probably get away with mostly greens, but if you plan on joining pick up groups (PUGs) then you should be prepared to do your share. If you did a lot of questing in Icecrown while getting to 80, chances are you’re in mostly blue gear already. If not, you may wish to consider spending a little time getting some better gear either through questing or by running normal instances before tackling heroics.
A great way to gear up quickly is to run the daily heroic quest every day. You can get it from Archmage Lan’Dalok inside the Violet Hold in Dalaran. Lan’Dalok will ask you to kill the end boss of a certain heroic dungeon in order to earn some gold and a couple bonus Emblems of Heroism. It’s usually pretty easy to find a group because many people run the daily heroic quest every single day.
The advantage of the quest dungeon versus any other random dungeon is many people run it solely for the bonus emblems and are consequently uninterested in most of the gear that is likely to drop. This way you don’t have to compete for gear upgrades and can consequently gear up much faster.
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PvP at Level 80
Another option at level 80 is to head straight into max level PvP. Like heroic dungeons, there is also a daily PvP quest available from an NPC near your faction’s battlemasters. Completing the daily “Call to Arms!" quest is a good way to get some bonus honor for battlefields you’d probably be participating in anyway.
Chances are you won’t be the best fighter on the battlefield in your fresh level 80 gear. Not to worry, though, because honor comes quickly and it shouldn’t take you long to get a decent set of PvP gear going on.
My personal favorite level 80 PvP venue is Lake Wintergrasp. Most of the combat out here takes place in vehicles or turrets, so your lack of gear will not hinder you as much, provided you can find a way to get the five kills necessary to unlock the ability to pilot siege vehicles.
There are also several Wintergrasp-specific quests that you can get from your faction’s basecamp while on offense or inside the keep while defending. Completing these quests awards not only honor and money, but also Stone Keeper’s Shards that can be used to purchase unique mounts and heirloom items.
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Faction rewards are another great way to pick up some pretty awesome gear. Different factions have different rewards, so it’s always a good idea to check out wowwiki or a similar site and take a look at the rewards that become available at Exalted and Revered before committing to a long-term grind.
Pet collectors, for example, will want to start running daily quests for the Oracles in Sholazar basin. Their quartermaster sells [Mysterious Egg] which has the potential to hatch into one of four unique non-combat pets every 7 days.
Daily quests are not the only way to improve reputation, however. Certain factions (Knights of the Ebon Blade, Kirin Tor, etc…) sell tabards that you can wear to increase your faction simply by defeating enemies in heroic dungeons.
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Reaching level 80 in World of Warcraft is certainly a monumental achievement, but it is far from the end of the game. Rather, it’s more of a first step into the much larger world of endgame content. Congratulations on reaching it, and I hope this guide has provided you with at least a small glimpse into the many awesome things to do at level 80.