As usual, any advice I give on World of Warcraft is aimed at casual players without much time to invest in the game, yet who want to earn a lot of gold and level with relative ease. What I am about to describe is a unique way of leveling that I sometimes call the pacifist approach. I got the idea after reading about a guy who leveled one character only by picking herbs. He claimed not to have killed a single mob (I’m not sure how this is possible, since mobs are always guarding herb spawns) and not to have completed a single quest. The “pacifist approach” works best when you have multiple toons on the same server,and you cycle through them.
First, role a character on a medium to high population server. You must be on a server that has a healthy Auction House. Alliance AHs are more active than horde, so I recommend playing alliance. You don’t want to be on a full server because there will be too much competition for the herbs and ore. You don’t want to be on a low population server, because no one will buy your stuff.
If you’re in the USA, pick an Oceanic server for reasons that will be explained.
Personally, I avoid PVP servers because I’m always wasting time getting killed. The higher level you go, the more brutal and obnoxious other players are. So again if you don’t have a lot of time for the game, avoid PVP servers. They stress me out.
Now that you have your alliance character on a medium to high Oceanic server, quest to level 10. This shouldn’t take long. Log out in an inn or capital city when you’re done for the day, as this will accrue rested XP. Rested XP is very important to the pacifist method, as shall be revealed.
While you are leveling to 10, the moment you have enough copper, get trained in herbalism and mining (buy a mining pick). You must select these two professions for gold earning and XP purposes (you earn XP from each spawn you pick or mine). As you quest to 10, pick herbs and mine.
As soon as you hit level 10, get trained in cooking and fishing. This is where the plan begins. Stay logged in at a capital city and do the fishing and cooking dailies each day. Never log out outside the capital city (or if you do, log out in an inn). These two daily quests should take no more than 10 minutes a day.
Once your rested XP has stacked up significantly or maxed out (which it does at 1 1/2 levels), venture out into the world and find a remote triple spawn point. Some parts of the world are more crowded than others, so try to find an area, and a place in that area, without much traffic (so, for example, avoid spawn points by the road). Triple spawn points are common, usually consisting of two ore and an herb. Look for an herb that sells for more than typical on the AH. Briarthorn, goldthorn, and fool’s cap are good examples of this.
Now, you are going to camp out this triple spawn point while you either alternate between the other toons on the server (doing the same thing), or while you are doing something else on the computer. Herbs and ore respawn every 3-7 minutes (I don’t know this for a fact, but it’s been my impression). So every few minutes log back in, pick the herb, mine the ore, and log out. Defend yourself if attacked, but don’t kill anything in offense. You will earn the equivalent of 6 mobs each time you do this (since you’re on rested XP). Of course, make sure you are in an area where the herbs and ore are actually giving you a good amount of XP. If you’re not getting much XP from the herbs, move to a higher level area.
Once you’ve gone through your rested XP, return to the capital city, put your wares on the AH at 10-30% below the lowest price, and start the process over again. Do the cooking and fishing quests each day while rested XP stacks up, venture out, camp out the triple spawn site, return to capital city. You will be amazed by how quickly you level by doing next to nothing and investing very little time. You can level multiple toons on a server by cycling through them. They don’t have to be on the same server, but if they are, you can consolidate your gold, which you should be earning in large quantities from all those herbs and the ore.
At the end of each day return to an inn or capital city to rack up more rested XP. Never remain camped out overnight.
As for why people in the USA should pick oceanic servers: the daily quests will reset during daylight hours, so if you happened to have skipped the fishing and cooking quests from the day before, you can do the quests twice in one “day,” morning and night. Also, I’ve found that players on Oceanic servers are less disgusting, rude, and stupid than those on USA servers, which is an added plus.
For anyone who is interested, here are my two previous posts, 1 and 2, on gold farming for casual players.