Level has a few meanings that apply to World of Warcraft:
- All players, mobs, NPCs, quests and items in World of Warcraft are assigned a level. This is a way the game categorizes their overall effectiveness, power, usefulness, strength and challenge. This degree of comparison is in no way exact and considered more of a guideline.
- The level of a Player, Mob, or NPC relates to a guideline to expect similar abilities, attributes, Equipment, and powers. Creatures of similar level should fight at about an equal footing such that one will not easily defeat the other.
- The level of Quest or Item determines the required Player character level needed to pursue that quest or Equip that item. Quests of similar level should be of similar difficulty to complete and items of similar level should have similar stats.
- Degrees of advancement in skills (profession) are sometimes called levels. For example, one may have Journeyman skill level which is better than Apprentice. Or one could say that you need at least 50 levels (points) in Skinning, before you can Train Journeyman.\ Skinning.
- Spell ranks are sometimes called levels (but this is more rare).
Some comments on general levels:
- Characters under level 10 are usually considered Newbies.
- Most players only begin to master their Class starting around level 30.
- Even though it may seem like a long way to 40th level, below that might be considered "low level", since you can reach up to level 110 (current cap).
- Training gets progressively more expensive as levels increase.
- Elite mobs vary wildly in how much harder they are to kill than their level would indicate. Some non-elite mobs are much easier to kill than their level would indicate.
- Level is just a guideline, so some types (classes) of creatures match up better against others regardless of their level. For example, a rogue-like mob might be much easier to kill than a priest-like mob, if you depend too much on your physical defenses. Rogues do much better against casters than tanks. Priests and paladins do much better against undead mobs than normal mobs. And so on...
NPCs such as trainers and quest givers rarely make direct reference to a player character's level. Notable exceptions are very early quests (teaching you, the player, about training new ranks of skills), and Rhonin who at level 80 congratulates your character on reaching "the 80th season of adventure" in an in-game mail.
- In the alpha version of the original World of Warcraft, the maximum was level 10.
- In World of Warcraft: Starter Edition (aka the free trial), the maximum level is 20. After that you need to pay.
- The maximum level in the original World of Warcraft was level 60.
- This was raised to:
- 70 with the first expansion, The Burning Crusade
- 80 with the second expansion, the Wrath of the Lich King
- 85 with the third expansion, Cataclysm
- 90 with the fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria
- 100 with the fifth expansion, Warlords of Draenor
- 110 with the sixth expansion, Legion
- 120 with the seventh expansion, Battle for Azeroth
The characters and mobs you come across in your travels will have their difficulty (determined by level) indicated with a color.
- Skull (AKA "Level ??") is a hostile mob which is 10 or more levels higher (or a "boss").
- Red is anything more than 4 levels higher.
- Orange is 3 to 4 levels higher.
- Yellow is always up to 2 levels lower or higher.
- Green limit changes depending on your level:
- Level 1-9: 4 levels lower
- Level 10-19: 5 levels lower
- Level 20-29: 6 levels lower
- Level 30-39: 7 levels lower
- Level 40-85: 8 levels lower
- Gray is anything below the lowest green level
Battle pet levels
This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.
Unlike players, battle pets, introduced in the Mists of Pandaria expansion, have a level 25 cap. Battle pet level ranges will appear under zone level ranges recommended for player characters when moving the pointer over a zone in the continent view of the world map.
Honor, PvP & XP
- Gray level players do not give you any Honorable kills
- Gray level quests give you a highly reduced amount of experience.
- At the level cap (100), instead of experience, you will be awarded 6 copper per exp point.
Hit & Crit Chance
- On Orange and above Mobs you will have a greatly reduced hit and crit chance. And at the same time they will have a much increased chance to hit / crit you, and can cause crushing blows.
( You can offset this by getting a lot of +defense skill items and skills )
- On Green and Gray level mobs you will have a higher hit and crit chance than what is shown on your skill list. Because their "defense" skill should theoretically be lower than your weapon skill.
- On Yellow Mobs your hit and crit chance is about accurate.
There are nine skill levels:
This section concerns content exclusive to Warlords of Draenor.
- Main article: Garrison building
There are 3 levels of buildings. The criteria for leveling buildings combines factors of player level, quest completion, and achievements. As level increases, what you can do with the building should improve, but the usefulness of the improvement from level 1 to 2 or 2 to 3 may not seem dramatic depending on the type of building.
It's not clear whether the term for various improving states of garrison buildings is called "level" or "tier", but level seems to have stuck. Blizzard originally called them "tiers", but seems to have not enforced that term editorially.
- The maximum level possible to have in the game is 255. It is only attainable with GM commands.