Level Squish Simplified – Shadowlands

Leave a comment

As you might know, one of the biggest changes to the next expansion is the upcoming level squish that we are getting, which affects both characters and item levels in shadowlands. Let’s get into the details of this level squish in Shadowlands!

What is the max level in Shadowlands?

So the max level that we are required to be to play the end game content of this expansion is 60, same as it was in Classic, which means current expansion (Battle for Azeroth) is going to get players to level 50, and after that players start leveling in Shadowlands zone till they reach level 60.

level 1 – 10

The first 10 levels are going to be the introduction levels with the level squish, which means if you are a veteran player (if you leveled up before) you get to choose between the racial starter zone or you can get to the Exile’s reach.

Exile’s reach is an alternative starter zone that teaches you how does your class works and behaves and general wow mechanics in a basic manner for the newcomers. Exile’s reach ends with a mini-dungeon with 2 bosses which is designed for 1-5 players.

As a new player, you are forced to go through Exile’s Reach as it is crucial for you to know how the game behaves and to encounter things new you will see later in-game.

Blizzard has updated lower level characters item level progression and increased gold reward on all characters 16th of April.

Item level progression has been updated. Item levels now increase faster in lower character levels, and low-level creatures are better tuned to account for this and other factors.

Additionally, Gold rewards have been increased at all character levels.

Alpha Update – April 16

Level 10 – 50

This is where the new players have no choice but to do the BFA pre-quests so they catch up with what happened in the last expansion between Horde and Alliance and how it leads us to the Shadowlands.

As for the experienced players, they can choose whatever continent/expansion they desire by speaking to Chromie and they can change it in the middle of leveling (Again, thanks to Chromie) so no being locked in expansion zones forever.

It was said at Blizzcon that each expansion zone (like Northrend) will get you to around level 50.

Level squish speculation

A weird way of finding out how much each expansion will get level squish or what is each level in conjunction with Shadowlands level is to look at that expansion’s end game items and see their items level required.

For example, Arcanist Gloves which is an end game item for Classic require at least is level 25 which means maybe a level 60 character will be squished to level 25 as well.

Based on the above we can create a table of each expansion max level and corresponding level in shadowlands.

ExpansionMax levelItemLevel required in LiveLevel required in Shadowlands
Classic60Arcanist Gloves6025
Burning crusade70Reign of Misery7027
Wrath of the lich king80Bonebreaker Scepter8030
Cataclysm85Sash of Anguish8532
Mist of Pandaria90Bracers of Sordid Sleep9035
Warlords of Draenor100Chakram-Gripping Gloves10040
Legion 110Soul-Siphon Mantle11045
Battle for Azeroth 120 Unguent Caress12050

Shadowlands leveling zones

Shadowlands was announced with 5 zones 4 of which (Bastion, Maldraxxus, Ardenweald, Revendreth) we can level in. if you are leveling in shadowlands for the first time you are locked to doing them in the following order:

  1. Bastion
  2. Maldraxxus
  3. Ardenweald
  4. Revendreth

But for the second time, you are not obligated to do them in any specific order and you can choose freely where you want to level.

Demon Hunters, Death Knights, and Allied races

First of all, all allied races will start at level 10 in Shadowlands, and then you can choose which expansion you want to level in, skipping Exile’s Reach and starting zones.

Allied races starting at level 10 with Shadowlands level squish
Allied races

Demon Hunters, they start at level 8 and they are required to do their intro zone to be able to start their journey in any expansion they want.

Demon Hunters starting at level 8 with Shadowlands level squish
Demon Hunters leveling

Death Knights are a bit different, they are also required to do their intro similar to Demon Hunters but not all of them start at level 8.

if you choose a race that did go through what happened in Wrath of The Lich King expansion you will start at level 8, but if you choose an allied race they’ll start at level 10.

Deathknight starting at level 8 with Shadowlands level squish
Death Knights leveling

Mount riding skills

Surprisingly you’ll be able to learn Apprentice Riding at level 10 and you even get your own mount to ride on.

Likewise, other riding skills now require you to be lower level. Journeyman Riding requires level 17 to learn as seen below.

Journeyman Riding in Shadowlands
Journeyman Riding in Shadowlands

Expert Riding requires level 25 to learn shown by the picture below.

Expert Riding in Shadowlands
Expert Riding in Shadowlands

Artisan Riding requires level 27 to learn.

Artisan Riding in Shadowlands
Artisan Riding in Shadowlands

and last but not least Master Riding requires level 30 to learn (with a 4,750 gold cost).

Master Riding in Shadowlands
Master Riding in Shadowlands

Heirlooms in Shadowlands

Currently in alpha heirlooms are still having the same leveling system in BFA and are not done completely and some may speculate that heirlooms are getting removed due to extreme leveling speed from 1 to 50.

Other Informations


Normal Battlegrounds unlock at level 10 (Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin are available at 10) and Epic Battlegrounds unlock at level 20.


Classic Dungeons become available at level 7 and will unlock as you level up. BfA Dungeons unlock at level 10. Other dungeons remain to be tested.


You can learn professions at level 5 (Might change later). Thanks to XPOFF testing, we learnt more about professions item crafts:

Even if craftable by lower levels, items from expansions do not scale and may not be useable.

Items from Kul’tiras and Zandalar are able to proc gem slots for low levels.

In conclusion

seems like leveling in the upcoming expansion is gonna be faster or at least more comfortable due to faster mount training and the choice to level up where ever you want, but its just alpha and a lot will change towards the launch of Shadowlands.

You might want to save an alt or two to level up in Shadowlands to experience the new system but with the 100% Experience Bonus of Winds of Wisdom (available until 20th April) you can level up in Battle for Azeroth with much speed and have a thing to do before Shadowlands.

Table of Contents

    Shadowlands Class Changes

    Torghast, Tower of the Damned Preview by Blizzard