Why Level Survival?
For most players, the answer to this question is the Traveler's Tents! These are crafted items that last for 30 minutes. While you stand in or near the tent you gain a significant boost to your rested XP gains. The best part is, the boost from tents can stack! So if you get multiple tents set-up next to one another your rested XP gains go up even quicker!
The Cost of Survival
The cost to complete the survival quest is 75 silver 50 copper. But once you have the survival skill you'll need to purchase items to craft in order to level your profession. The TOTAL cost of completing the survival quest + purchasing enough items to level your survival to the point of being able to craft your own tents is 1 gold 45 silver 65 copper. When you have enough to complete the quest and purchase the necessary items it's time to head to the Survival Expert in Stranglethorn Vale!
Total Cost: 1g 45s 65c
The Survival Quest
To get your survival skill you need to complete the Night's Exploration quest from Rufus Hardwick (survival expert) located at Nesingwary's Camp in northern Stranglethorn Vale. The quest requires that you obtain 3 items.
The first item is a Wooden Club. This can be looted from a small Pile of Wood on the ground at the camp where you get the quest. The second item is a Coil of Sturdy Rope. This can be purchased from Jaquilina Dramet (superior axecrafter) at the camp for 35 silver. The third item is Cheap Goblin's Oil. This can be purchased from Mazk Snipeshot (engineering supplies) in Booty Bay for 40 silver 50 copper.
The best way to complete this quest at low level is to get the Darkshire flight point in Duskwood then head to Nesingwary's Camp in northern Stranglethorn Vale. Talk to Rufus Hardwick (survival expert) and accept the quest he offers. Look around on the ground at the camp for a wood pile and loot it for the Wooden Club. Talk to Jaquilina Dramet (superior axecrafter) and purchase the Coil of Sturdy Rope (35s). Now hearth to Stormwind. Talk to the Arena Ambassador (near the Storwind Bank) to be teleported to the Gurubashi Arena. This will help you avoid the long and dangerous run through most of Stranglethorn Vale. From the Gurubashi Arena run to Booty Bay and talk to Mazk Snipeshot (engineering supplies) to purchase the Cheap Golin's Oil (40s 50c). Get the flight point at Booty Bay and fly all the way back to Duskwood. From there, return to Nesingwary's Camp and turn-in the quest. You'll receive a book and a torch as quest rewards. Read the book to learn the survival skill and start at skill level 1 then light your torch using the campfire in the camp to gain survival skill level 2!
Horde Players - You can get to Stranglethorn Vale using the boat to get to Booty Bay (buy your Cheap Goblin's Oil before starting the quest), your version of the arena ambassador (which I assume is in Orgrimmar) to get to the Gurubashi Arena, or I believe you can use your flight point in Stranglethorn Vale to complete the quest. It's just a question of how long a run you want to make to get to Nesingwary's Camp!
Now that you've completed the quest it's wise to purchase everything you need to get your survival skill up to level 75 so you can make tents for rested XP. Purchase the following items from Rufus Hardwick (the same guy who gave you the quest):
- Flint & Tinder (1)
- Unlit Poor Torches (60) *
- Simple Wood (60)
- Traveler's Tent Blueprints (1) *
Leveling Survival 1-75
The key to leveling your survival skill is patience. Every item has a cooldown period, so it's just a matter of time + crafting items as you quest. Place the Unlit Poor Torches (from your inventory) and Bright Campfire (from your spellbook) on one of your actionbars so you can see the time remaining on their cooldowns. Now as you're out questing constantly make a bright campfire and a torch whenever the campfire is off cooldown. Torches are on a shorter cooldown than the campfire, but you need a flame to light the torch with, so it's easiest to craft them whenever you make a campfire.
The campfires will give you a skill-up 100% of the time all the way to 75. The torches will give you a skill-up 100% of the time up to about skill 10-20. After that it's more like 50% of the time, so keep making them even if they don't give you a skill-up. The Bright Campfire has a 5 minute cooldown and the Unlit Poor Torch has a cooldown of about 1-2 minutes (unfortunately, torches don't show their cooldown timer).
If you make a campfire and a torch every 5 minutes it will take you roughly 3-4 hours depending on your luck crafting torches. If you stand around making campfires every 5 minutes and torches every 2 minutes you can hit 75 in roughly 2.5 hours!
Leveling Survival 76-150
Again, the key here is patience. You can keep crafting torches & lighting campfires, but now you can make tents too (2 hr cooldown timer). Just keep plugging away at it until you hit 125 and can make your own Fishing Boats!
Hosting A Tent Party!
Now that you can make Traveler's Tents it's common for players to host a Tent Party in front of one of their faction's major cities. For Alliance this is usually Stormwind. For the Horde this is usually Orgrimmar. Announce that you're hosting a tent party in /world before you pitch your tent. Other players will usually show-up for the rested XP gains. Some of them will be able to make tents too! With any luck you'll get several tents up to significantly increase your bonuses!
UPDATE: Players have started hosting Tent Parties at the Gurubashi Arena since both factions have Arena Ambassadors that will teleport you directly to the arena! Be sure to advertise on /diplomacy so both Horde + Alliance players will show-up to benefit from your tent and maybe pitch one of their own!
Hope this guide helps =)