While there are specific guides for each of the 10 classes, and, while there are even guides for specific zones, there is actually one, universal way to jump through the levels faster than anyone else. The name of this almost-magical shortcut is ‘Recruit a Friend’ (RAF), and leveling any quicker would just be cheating.
RAF is a special deal, set up and officially authorized by Blizzard on their Warcraft website, and is meant for those people who are just starting off that want to not just level quickly, but also play with a friend. The basic idea of RAF is that you and someone else who has an active World of Warcraft (WoW) account ‘merge’ your accounts through the Battle.net site – an easy process which takes just a few clicks of the mouse – and then both accounts immediately start reaping the benefits of the Refer a Friend offer.
What benefits, you ask? Well, first of all, the person who invites the second account can get a special rocket flying mount if the second account pays for at least two months of play time. Secondly, whenever you and the person playing the second account are on at the same time you get a special ‘summon a friend’ spell that allows the two of you to transport yourselves to the other’s location almost instantly. Even if you’re on separate continents in Azeroth you can both be playing and killing the same mobs (monsters) in as little as ten seconds.
Of course, the most fantastic benefit of the RAF system is the increased leveling speed. Whenever your character and a character on the other merged account are in the same vicinity and within 3 levels of each other, both characters will receive triple the amount of experience points (XP) that you’d receive playing by yourself. From Blizzard’s own Recruit-a-Friend FAQ page, “While adventuring with your linked friend or family member, you will each gain triple experience while partied…” This includes XP you earn from killing mobs and turning in quests, but, unfortunately the XP you earn for discovering new zones will stay the same. However, discovery XP or not, the bonuses you and your merged account will receive from playing together is large enough alone to make the first 60 levels fly by faster than an epic drake flying mount.
Unfortunately, though, the XP bonus stops working for both accounts as soon as you hit level 60 – meaning you can’t use the XP boost all the way to the level cap of 80; but, Blizzard has stated that they are considering extending the bonus XP to level 70 when ‘Cataclysm,’ the newest WoW expansion, launches in December.
Just How Fast is World of Warcraft Leveling With The Recruit-A-Friend Method?
Without a doubt, the RAF system is the fastest way to get to the level cap, and it allows you to do so with a friend at the same time. One important thing to mention, though, is that you do not necessarily have to use the RAF system with a second person. To get their new characters to endgame play as fast as humanly possible, what many people have done is gone out and purchased a second copy of WoW, used the free month of playtime that comes with the new copy, merged it to their existing first account, and leveled their new toons (characters) by playing two copies of the game at once – a process known as ‘multiboxing.’
This option, while it may seem kind of sneaky, is completely legal, according to Blizzard forum, as long as the person playing the two accounts is physically playing both copies and not using a third-party automated ‘bot’ program to actually play the game for them. A ‘Blue Poster’ (Nickname for an official Blizzard forum moderator) mentioned in the above linked thread that ‘multiboxing’ does offer advantages to playing World of Warcraft… but, then again so does grouping in general. In other words, it is completely legal to play multiple copies of World of Warcraft!
What you need in order to play two copies of WoW and take advantage of the RAF system by yourself is, most importantly, a computer that can handle running both versions of the game at once. This doesn’t require a state of the art computer, however, and even three or four year old middle-range laptops can do the job, as long as the video/graphic options are turned all the way down on both copies.
What you’ll also need, though, is a broadband internet connection that can handle the bandwidth needed to play two games at once – especially without causing your latency to climb above the 500ms range.
Make sure you have the proper PC or Mac rig, and at least a 1mb broadband connection at your ready before attempting to use RAF by yourself, and remember that you cannot return computer software. If you buy a second copy of WoW and your computer or internet cannot handle the pressure of running both versions at once, you’ll be stuck with a $19.99 digital paperweight.
What More Do You Need to Know About The Recruit-A-Friend Method?
Additionally, if you are going to attempt to use RAF by yourself you’re going to need to learn some macros to not only get you started, but make the process of trying to move two characters through 60 levels of Kalimdor and The Eastern Kingdoms as easy as possible. Two really good places to start looking for macros are the official World of Warcraft forums.
Whether you choose to use RAF by yourself or with a friend, though, you’ll notice right off the bat that you’ve picked the best and fastest way to legally level in WoW. You will notice that you level so quickly, in fact, that you’ll occasionally be too poor to buy everything off the auction house, or even from your class trainers.
You’ll get so much bonus XP that gold, silver and copper just won’t be as plentiful for your characters as it would leveling normally, because of the sheer lightning speed they jump through the first 60 levels. For this reason, it’s a good idea to only buy the spells and abilities you absolutely need to kill monsters in rapid fire. Skip out on circumstantial spells and try to avoid the auction house at all costs. The point of RAF isn’t to be rich when you get to 80, but just to get to 80 ASAP.
What’s the Catch? Is Leveling in World of Warcraft Really This Easy?
While there are really no downsides to RAF it should be mentioned that the bonus XP and ‘summon a friend’ spell will only work while the two accounts are merged, and they will only stay merged for 90 days. From Blizzard’s Recruit-a-Friend FAQ: “Characters will no longer be eligible for triple experience and increased reputation gain once level 60 or when the account link breaks after 90 days.”
This is more than enough time for the average gamer to get a character to 60 – especially with the double XP bonus – but the more casual players should definitely keep an eye on the time left on their merged accounts.
The Recruit a Friend program offered by Blizzard is something you should definitely check out if you’re even thinking of starting a new toon. It’s not only the fastest way to level, but also the easiest since it doesn’t require a special step-by-step guide, nor is it limited to certain classes.
So, before you swing your first axe, shoot your first bow or cast your first spell, be sure and check out the official World of Warcraft site and forums for more information on the RAF program, and how it can get you to endgame raiding and pvp’ing so quickly, you’ll swear it was magic.