Revenge-fueled MMO fiend wins race to max level in WoW Classic Cataclysm in just 3 hours to right a near-2-year-old wrong, despite Blizzard nerfing them twice

A WoW Classic character stands at the edge of a cliff
(Image credit: Blizzard)

A World of Warcraft fan has overcome two Blizzard hotfixes to not only hit WoW Classic Cataclysm's max level before anyone else in just three hours, but to secure revenge against a rival who beat them in the same leveling race back in Wrath of the Lich King Classic.

WoW Classic's Cataclysm servers are now live, sending many within the MMO's community on a race to see who can reach the new level cap the quickest – something that's been a tradition in World of Warcraft for years. This race was more of a sprint than a marathon, with streamer LMGD1 accomplishing the feat in just three hours.

As World of Warcraft content creator Sarthe neatly breaks down, LMGD's race to hit max level first starts logically. The race to Cataclysm's level cap was technically won under 14 years ago with the original expansion's launch, so why not start there? 

While flying around, though, LMGD spots a beach with seven enemies just hanging out. Curious, the WoW fan slays them to find that they offer decent experience and respawn instantly – two good things when it comes to leveling races, as you can rack up a good amount of experience points quickly. 

After running some spells and buffs math, LMGD finds the next good thing that max-level chasers need to win a race like this – a way to absolutely exploit the system. 

Part of that came from taking advantage of the Twilight Highlands PvP event that the Alliance-aligned foes are tied to, leading to a buff that offers 1,000 spell power and 400 attack power if you or a party member complete it.

The other part involves dialing up the hurt further through item and ability stacking alongside some coordination with others. You've got friendly Druids casting the Thorn spell for additional buffs, and a Mage and Warlock throwing hands at each other with AoE attacks that either damage or debuff the nearby mobs. The result of the team effort? Roughly 13 million experience points every hour for LMGD, who is chipping in with enough damage to get the full amount of experience points.

A group of WoW Classic players cross a sandy bridge

(Image credit: Blizzard)

The going was good until those mobs magically stopped offering experience points on kill, leading many to assume Blizzard hotfixed the strategy. Still, LMGD was level 84 at this point, so they moved on, having got plenty of bang for their buck and only needing one more level for max.

Thankfully, it took only a short time for LMGD to find another solid leveling method. Thanks to a PvP event once more, several tank enemies could be found nearby that had smaller minions working to keep 'em healthy. Destroy the tanks faster than they can be healed, though, and not only do they drop, but so do the minions. Couple that with the fact that respawns are generous here too, and you've got a new farming spot. That's until you don't, as these enemies also soon stopped giving experience points – once more leading many to believe that Blizzard was hotfixing as we went.

Despite the hotfixes, LMGD was so close to max level that all they had to do was travel to Deepholm to do the experience grind that everyone else was doing, which is roughly worth 6 million experience points every hour. Because of the time racked up elsewhere, though, LMGD was far enough ahead that it didn't matter if they were gaining EXP at the same rate as everyone else. And so, after just three hours, the title of World's First to hit WoW Classic's level cap belonged to them.

A dark castle looms in the distance in WoW Classic

(Image credit: Blizzard)

The accomplishment is an excellent display of breaking shit to make the numbers go up quickly, though there's a bit of backstory to this race, too. For LMGD, the victory is seen as redemption or friendly revenge as they also tried to snatch the title of World's First back in WoW Classic's Wrath of the Lich King servers. They missed out, though, as – now stop me if this sounds familiar – the strategy they used got hotfixed, while the eventual winner's strategy was not.

If there ever was a lesson to be learned here, it's not to underestimate a World of Warcraft player's commitment to the grind – or, indeed, revenge.

World of Warcraft vice president says "the dream remains" to bring the MMO to Xbox, even if there's "no room for that conversation yet."

Deputy News Editor

Iain joins the GamesRadar team as Deputy News Editor following stints at PCGamesN and PocketGamer.Biz, with some freelance for Kotaku UK, RockPaperShotgun, and VG24/7 thrown in for good measure. When not helping Ali run the news team, he can be found digging into communities for stories – the sillier the better. When he isn’t pillaging the depths of Final Fantasy 14 for a swanky new hat, you’ll find him amassing an army of Pokemon plushies.