The ever-growing world of Heirloom Leveling

I wrote a post back in early WotLK about heirlooms for leveling. However, I keep getting more questions about them, and my list was seriously out of date. So, today’s post will talk about the benefit (and drawbacks!) of leveling with heirloom items, and include a more up to date list of feral (cat/bear) and caster (resto/moonkin) heirlooms available to druids.

Benefits of Heirlooms:

Now, the benefit of most heirlooms is that they increase your experience (XP) rate while leveling. If your goal is to level as quickly as possible, then these items definitely do the trick. When you combine heirloom items with the guild perk XP bonuses (and rested XP!), you get increased rates of leveling. Faster leveling means getting your alt to the end-game faster.

You also get increased stat values compared to what most of the greens & blues drop from quests and instances. For melee classes, getting heirloom weapons can really make you feel much more powerful because they have a large impact on your damage at the earliest levels!

Drawbacks of Heirlooms:

The only drawback of using heirloom items is that you may level too fast. By that, I mean that you basically blow through the new Cataclysm content so fast that you miss all the interesting storyline arcs. You may do the first handful of quests in a zone, and then suddenly the quests are all green/gray and it’s time to move to the next zone. Also, you aren’t being challenged if you always out-level and out-gear the mobs you are killing. So, for people who enjoy the process of doing the lower level quests (or for people who like completing all the quests in a zone before moving to the next one), skipping on the heirlooms could be worthwhile to them.

Heirloom Shopping List

Feral (Cat/Bear) PvE heirlooms:

Caster (moonkin/resto) PvE heirlooms:

Other Heirloom Options:

There are also PvP heirlooms you can get from PvP vendors that have resilience on them. So, if you want to PvP level, or don’t mind trading some stats for resilence, these are great options for people who focus primarily on PvP. Cynwise has some PvP heirloom advice here.

Caster druid leveling can also use the cloth ones: Dreadmist Mantle, and Dreadmist Robe. However, I still prefer using leather over cloth if you have the ability to get the leather ones.

Wowpedia has some more advanced info on heirlooms available here.

Also, if you want help with how to enchant your newly acquired heirloom items, you should check out Psynister’s guide.

Happy leveling!

14 Comments

  1. Wooglie
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    You actually buy heirlooms with points now, but that’s just me being pedantic :)

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 21, 2011 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Justice points, champion seals, and honor points are all still badges to me.

  2. Shatamall
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    The increased XP is one of the reasons I’m not terribly concerned if my alts have the chest or shoulders. I miss enough of zones and quest lines from doing random dungeons. My priest alt has leveled about 60% in LFD, just because queuing as heals / dps pretty much means a < 5 minute queue regardless of level or time of day. And that's about enough time to knock out 1 quest, maybe. She's level 66 and has 165 quests completed. O.o

    That being said, I really like having heirloom weapons on my alts, since for most classes, that's the biggest bonus and usually hardest item to upgrade (decently).

  3. Posted April 21, 2011 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I have a love hate relationship with Heirlooms.

    I love them for LFD, but I miss out on a lot of the really neat new story lines in redesigned low level areas. As you said it happens in Cata, but at low levels I’ve been lucky to finish half of a zone. It makes the level flow really clunky and I find myself constantly hearthing to Orgrimmar for the new Call to Arms to direct me where to go.

    Ah well, I suppose it’s silly to complain about cutting down on so much grinding!

  4. Posted April 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Not a big deal, but there is no reason why Moonkin or Resto shoudln’t use the Swift Hand of Justice as well as the Discerning Eye of the Beast.

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Okay, added it to caster list.

  5. Posted April 21, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    The rate at which alts are levelling nowadays, with heirlooms, 10% xp from guild perks, mounts at lower levels, and the revamped vanilla zones, is really a far cry from the grind that it was when levelled my first characters.

    There are those that complain about these mechanisms being changed (perhaps thinking “if I suffered, so should everyone else”), but if it gets people back into the levelling process, then I reckon it’s a good thing.

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 21, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Garnaph, I agree for sure. I am MUCH happier with druid leveling in Cataclysm compared to the “glorified hunter pet” leveling I did with my first druid in Vanilla (where I made friends and followed them around healing them, and almost never did anything solo between levels 10 and 60).

  6. Posted April 22, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Also worth noting is that heirloom leggings are coming at some point in the near future. MMO-champion had an article about it here : http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/2239-Updated-Zul-aman-and-Zul-gurub-Loot-Tables-Heirloom-Legs-Comics. It appears they are not in 4.1, so my bet would be 4.2, since they’ve been datamined on PTR.

    • Posted April 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      My bad. “They’ve actually been there since the release of Cataclysm”. No promise as to when they’re coming out. So just an interesting point then ;)

  7. Terenaar
    Posted April 23, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    One more drawback to wearing heirlooms show itself when you go past 80.

    The 80-85 dungeons have item level requirements that is really hard to meet if you’re wearing heirlooms plus only quested greens. You’ll need to run Blackrock Caverns and Throne of the Tides a few times to grab some 308 gear before you’ll meet the iLv requirement for Stonecore and Vortex Pinnacle. Similarly, you’ll need quite a few pieces of 316 gear to queue for the level 85 dungeons.

    That aside, the new heirloom helm and cloak have a scaling problem at level 80, they don’t jump to Cataclysm scaling at 80, but remains scaled for Wrath. So you’ll find that quested 272 greens are much better than these two pieces at 80. They do scale properly at 81 so it’s just a temporary annoyance.

  8. Posted April 23, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    The ilvl requirement can be met by having the correct gear in your bag. It doesn’t have to be equipped. A couple of cheap BoEs from the AH normally does the trick The XP bonus alone makes it worth keeping heirlooms on regardless imo.

    That said, Wrath heirlooms stop working the moment you ding 81, so at that point you should replace them for stats asap.

    • Terenaar
      Posted April 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Unless there’s been a change, Wrath heirlooms stop working as soon as you ding level 80. Their stats will stop growing, and the experience boost will stop at the same time. I think it was confirmed by a blue post some time last year.

      As for iLv, my mistake. Indeed that’s how it works.

      • Posted April 24, 2011 at 3:12 am | Permalink

        A friend and I experimented by killing some mobs in Mount Hyjal (put heirlooms on, kill a mob, note the xp gained, take heirlooms off, kill identical mob, compare xp gained). The Wrath heirlooms continue to give the xp boost at 80, but the moment you ding 81 they stop working.

        When you ding 81, the stats also remain the same as they were at 80, as you said.