World of Warcraft Pandaren reaches level 90 without leaving starting zone

MMO naysayers often complain about the interminable grind required to keep up in World of Warcraft. Well, next time someone has a whinge about the grind you can relate the tale of the brave Doubleagent, a World of Warcraft Pandaren who has managed to reach the level 90 level cap by grinding in the most excruciatingly slow way possible.

Because Doubleagent was determined not to side with either the Alliance or Horde factions, he's never been allowed to leave the Wandering Isle starting zone. This means he's spent the majority of his ascent to level 90 doing the grindiest grinding that has ever been grinded: picking herbs and mining. Apparently all this was worth it in the name of neutrality.

Once all quests available on The Wandering Isles were complete, he could no longer gain experience smiting its enemies over and over again. He couldn't engage in PvP because that would require a faction allegiance. When fellow adventurers asked how a high level character managed to get back to The Wandering Isles, Doubleagent would respond (wistfully, I hope) that he'd never left to begin with. He was fated to an eternity of picking herbs.

Well, it wasn't quite an eternity: Doubleagent writes on the that it took him more than 170 days to reach level 90 on this diet of XP.

“The story behind this is that I leveled this character without doing what most people do after finishing the initial starting zone quests, and that is picking either Alliance or Horde,” Doubleagent writes on “I stayed on the isle and refused to betray the 'Neutral' by choosing a side. I probably would have given up on it a while back had my friend not suggested that I would never be able to do it. But now I will be able to say I have a 90, max level, of every faction.”

Interestingly, Doubleagent addresses the burning question in his self-penned FAQ: was the process boring?

“At times I can find it relaxing, a change from the normal. Plus it's pretty easy to do when I have TV shows or movies that I need to catch up on, more so than trying to do that during a battleground or raid.”

You can read all about Doubleagent's (non)adventure over on the forums. If you want more tales of WoW grinding, here's one about a guy who got to level 90 without killing anything.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.