Thursday, November 14, 2013

Warlords of Draenor: Leveling

The big news in leveling is that WoD will give every account one free level 90 (I gather you can boost any one character to 90), allowing them to completely bypass the old leveling game.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, if you want to play with your friends, 90 levels is a pretty huge barrier. Plus, your friends can help you adjust to the flood of abilities at 90, not to mention that you can play with Proving Grounds and the 10 levels of Draenor.

On the other hand, I believe that a game should not offer a shortcut for it's "central fun", and leveling is certainly a very important part of the WoW experience. As well, it's a lot easier to adjust to all your abilities when you get them slowly over time.

On the third hand, leveling has been sped up and simplified so much that it is a hollow shell of the leveling experience in Vanilla/TBC.  There's really two opposing viewpoints here. One side feels that leveling should take time and effort. The other side believes that leveling is an inconvenience before getting to endgame. In the past, Blizzard has attempted to split the difference, making you level, but increasing the leveling speed so that you reach endgame fairly quickly.

I don't think this compromise has satisfied either side. One side is unhappy that they are outleveling their quests, while the other side is unhappy that they have to level at all.

I hope that Blizzard takes this opportunity to recalibrate leveling to something more sane. Something that may take longer overall, but the pacing of individual zones more closely matches the older experience. After all, everyone will already have at least one 90 that they can use for endgame. And probably this will get offered as a character service for an extra payment.

Then you can skip it leveling you want. But if you want to level, you get a proper, non-rushed experience.


  1. The way I see it they should just make both sides happy. Let people who want to level do so without massive artificial acceleration, but give people who don't a means to level up alts faster. My preferred idea is a Valor Point item that grands a level on use up to 90 or something. Or they could sell it as a service, but I'd much prefer to be rewarded for playing :\

  2. I think they already said that it will be a character service (since on the other hand there was the "shortcut" of buying a new wow account and merge the character to your 1st account, that was the excuse they(GC) gave anyway).
    Either way i do miss the old levelling experience so much that i now can only find it on private servers etc. They have a tremendous opportunity now to give some of it back to us alt junkies :)

  3. If they provide a shortcut than they have no excuse to have people outlevel the zones: make the leveling based on the questline advancement and not the "XP" (this could be hidden in dynamical XP adjustment for the quests). This makes everyone happy, you get to level doing full zones and I get to raid without bothering with killing 10 rats one million times.

  4. I think there's a fourth hand: Blizzard wants to play Oz, as in "don't pay attention to that expac over there".

    If you don't level, you don't realize how messed up the storyline is in the leveling experience.

  5. Blizzard is obviously going the route of paid levelling. The free level 90 character can be used to buy multiple accounts, but the cost is huge, $90-$120 for on level 90.

    It therefore makes sense to have a shortcut that costs $15-$50, and Blizzard will create far more demand for the process.

    I have 11 max level characters at present and I have no complaints about people short circuiting the process. I enjoyed the levelling and I have more time than money to spend $50 on a few pixels.

    One alternative to the "Go directly 90" would be to pay for additional 10 levels. Do you really want to the Outlands again, here is $10 to avoid the content or $10 for 5 Levels of Cataclysm or MoP.

  6. It just seems like Blizzard is saying "eh. The last 8 years of live, it's not important."

    Since LK, every expansion has, more or less, been the equivalent of a full character wipe. Anything you did previous to that expansion is irrelevant and your gear is worse than dropped greens. If I had given you a fresh 85 with MoP and a bag of green gear, you would have likely been more ready for the expansion than under "normal" circumstances.

    This is just a logical step for Blizzard. One I think speaks volumes about the dev team and their ability to build large scale, integrated worlds.