With only two days until the release of WoD, here are some key dates and goals. The release schedule this cycle is pretty relaxed. There will be a little more than two full weeks before raid content is available so there should be plenty of time to level and gear and maybe even explore some of the quest story lines this time!
Leveling rush starts Thursday the 13th at Midnight pacific, 3AM eastern, 2AM central or 1AM mountain will be the start. There will be no server reset, the quests and portals and such will just become active. There are no server first achievements this time around, leveling or professions. They blame merged realms for this, but for those of us who plan to make a pretty good session at leveling should plan to take your pre-leveling nap Wednesday evening and get up 45 minutes or so before leveling start time. Expect that there may be a queue if you wait until the last minutes to login. Expect that there will be chaos and lag on Sargeras as everyone tires to hit the leveling zone, plan to rush the first areas and get out of there if you're starting at zero hour.
We expect that with the 2+ week time allowed, everyone will have their main toon ready and as geared as they can be. With all of this time you should also have an alt leveled and it's strongly encouraged that you have it as geared as you can. I know that I will have my tank toons running lots of dungeon content and I encourage everyone to help people farm as needed.
As far as raids, Highmaul is the first part of the tier 17 raids with Blackrock Foundry to follow. The release schedule for Highmaul is:
2 Dec 2014-----Normal-----All bosses / No requirements
2 Dec 2014-----Heroic-----All bosses / No requirements
9 Dec 2014-----Mythic-----All bosses / No requirements
9 Dec 2014-----Raid Finder-----First wing / Min. ilvl
16 Dec 2014----Raid Finder-----Second wing / Min. ilvl and First wing
The release date for Blackrock Foundry does not appear to be set in stone yet, but it was stated to expect it 2-3 weeks after Mythic Highmaul, that would place it right about new years or the first week of Jan on the 6th and it should have a similar tiering release so Mythic would not be for another few weeks.
Gearing, the heroic 5 mans will drop 630 items that can be warforged also, Highmaul raid finder will start at 640, each bump in difficulty after that adds 15 ilevels, Mythic for Highmaul will be 685. When Blackrock Foundry releases all ilvl's are 10 higher so 695 for Mythic.
5 Man loot recap
Bloodmaul Slag Mines Normal: ilvl 530
Iron Docks Normal: ilvl 550
Auchindoun Normal: ilvl 570
Skyreach Normal: ilvl 600
All other normal dungeons: ilvl 615
Heroic bosses: ilvl 630 (plus warforged)
Wowhead has has some good links to various coverage of Warlords info:
Additionally in the next week I'll post some quick notes about the encounters for Highmaul Mythic bosses. It looks like there will be a number of sources for videos but few seem to solid info on Mythic since the testing was pretty limited. As more info becomes available I will start collecting it in the raids forum within the members section.
Overall pretty excited for the new content, happy leveling everyone.