After playing Alexya for an hour, I switched it up with Avvath, the mighty Blood Elf Paladin. Paladin is a class I've toyed with but never committed to. My main for a long time was a warrior, and I just wasn't ready to commit to another long grind in plate. Happily, Paladin DPS has been nicely buffed since I played the class last and my days of fearing Paladin boredom seem to be at an end.
Having just done all the quests for Alexya, I knew exactly where to go for Avvath. An experienced player knows to make the most of his trips out of town, and hit as many quests as possible before returning. With Alexya, I went back to the quest givers about 5 times, with Avvath, I only returned three times. It's a lot faster when you dump your quest log all at once.
Something I didn't do that most experienced players do is grind mobs en route. This increases xp gains slightly, and when I'm at higher levels with these characters I will do this, but at lvl 6, it's just not practical. The newbie area is set up to get the character to lvl 6 with quests alone, and when it takes less than 10 minutes per level, grinding mobs is just extra tedium that I don't need.
At any rate, Avvath reached lvl 6.5 (as close to the same xp as Alexya) in 45 minutes. Part of that is playstyle differences (Alexya had to regen mana a lot more than Avvath) but the majority of it was extra travel time and searching for the right quest locations. Newbie quests are mostly good about directing players to where they need to be, but a few were very confusing. A novice player may wander around for a while trying to find the spot, which leads to longer levelling times.
More in dept analysis in a minute.