How to Quickly Gear a New Level 90 World of Warcraft Character to Prepare for Warlords of Draenor

A quick guide to gearing up a character for the release of Warlords of Draenor.
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So, you heard that WoW’s next expansion, Warlords of Draenor, was coming out next month, and it’s offering a free level 90 character boost. Awesome! You purchased, rolled that perfect Fury Warrior or Fire Mage, applied the boost…and now you’re totally lost.

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No problem. By following this step-by-step guide, I’ll get you acquainted with your skills and land you some gear upgrades that’ll make your progression into Warlords of Draenor much smoother.

Step 0: Character Creation

If this is your first-ever World of Warcraft character, I highly recommend starting with a Ranged DPS character, such as a Hunter. Being able to hit things from far away gives you much better control over when to initiate battle. If you choose a hybrid character, please start with a Damage specialization; a Tank or Healer specialization will find the initial going much slower. (You can always change it to what you want later.) 

Step 1: The Blasted Lands

When you enter the game, you’ll be in the Blasted Lands with a set of green item level 483 gear, and immediately tasked with a brief questline to help repel the Iron Horde invasion. Do it – it doesn’t take long, and the majority of your class abilities and talents are locked away until it’s complete. Upon finishing, you’ll have picked up 4 new pieces of gear, which should boost you to item level 491.

Step 2: The Timeless Isle

After completing the initial quests, you’ll want to head to the Timeless Isle. (You’ll need to take the portal to Pandaria, which is in the same city where the Blasted Lands questline ended; ask in chat if you need help finding the portal). There’s several quests here you can do, but the best thing for quick gear is to open chests, as shown on the map above. There’s about 40 chests on the Isle, and each has a 15% chance or greater of dropping a token which turns into a piece of level 496 gear. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across a Burden of Eternity, which allows you to upgrade that token to level 535.

There’s also a Blazing Chest with a guaranteed Burden (marked with a 7 on the map), but you’ll need some help getting to it. Look for an Ordos group in the group finder, which will typically summon you very close to the chest’s location. Don’t forget to also look for a Celestials group in the group finder; these two Timeless Isle raid bosses offer a weekly chance for a powerful piece of gear.

Step 3a: Looking For Raid, Throne of Thunder

At this point, you should be familiar enough with your class to jump into a LFR-difficulty raid. These are typically not very challenging, so don’t worry too much; as long as you quickly review the “Overview” tab in the Dungeon Journal for each encounter, you’ll be fine. Start with the first Throne of Thunder wing, Last Stand of the Zandalari, and work your way through. Each encounter offers you a chance at level 502 gear, which is a slight upgrade to any pieces received from the Timeless Isle, and a significant upgrade to any of your starter items. 

Step 3b (optional): Shado-Pan Assault gear

After completing a few wings of Throne of Thunder LFR, you’ll have earned enough reputation with the Shado-Pan Assault to reach Friendly, which will unlock a large quantity of level 522 gear for purchase from Ao Pye at Niuzao Temple in Townlong Steppes. These items cost 200-500 gold each, however, so this may be out of your reach as a new character.

Step 4: Looking for Raid, Siege of Orgimmar

Siege of Orgrimmar requires a total item level of 496; if you followed the previous steps, you should easily have reached that by now. (If not, go do some quick quests for gold to purchase what you need for lagging slots.). As with Throne of Thunder, these fights will be extremely easy, and each will reward you with a chance at level 528 gear. 

Step 5: Upper Blackrock Spire

This is the final step, and the only truly difficult one. The new UBRS requires a minimum item level of 510, so you may not be able to get here until a second week of drops from Looking for Raid. The bosses in here can also be fairly challenging for the undergeared, so make sure you talk to your groupmates. The reward is worth it, however; item level 550 gear, which you will likely only replace once you get close to level 100.

That’s it! You can stop here, secure in the knowledge that your gear will give you a solid base until the mid-90’s for Warlords of Draenor. If you want to keep upgrading now, you’ll need to return to the Timeless Isle to farm up Charms of Good Fortune. 50 charms will let you upgrade any piece of gear 4 levels. You can also look for groups who are clearing harder difficulties of Siege of Orgrimmar; defeating Garrosh at Normal difficulty or above will reward you with an heirloom weapon, which will last until level 100. Either way, best of luck on your quest!

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Chase Hasbrouck
Freelance writer and principal author of the druid blog The Fluid Druid, at