I could go on and on about the new features included in Revenge of the Gnomes, but I'm sure you've heard about most of them already (like the subterranean hovercraft group-mounts and blue-pill, red-pill potions for alchemy). Suffice it to say that the feature everyone is most excited about is that the level cap is once again being raised another 10 levels, to a grand total of 110.
Like everyone else, you're probably wondering how in the world (of Warcraft) are you going to level your new Goblin Tinker character all the way through those tedious levels of 1 to 100? Everyone wants to try out the new content, but no one wants to slave away through Stranglethorn Vale for the 48th time. To complicate things further, Blizzard still doesn't want to add any more 1-60 quests in the lower-level zones (not to mention any of the Outland, Northrend, Emerald Dream, or Great Sea Expansion zones)!
Fortunately, though, Blizzard's got what you need! Are you prepared for the "/level" command? Stanley Nubsaus, new Lead of Quest-Development at Blizzard, has provided WoW Insider with some shiny new info about how the "/level" command is going to work.
"Yeah, basically we all got really bored of going through Stranglethorn again and again," Mr. Nubsaus said on the videophone, "and everyone wants to focus on new content anyways, so we figure, why reinvent the wheel when you can zoom past everything on a hovercraft? Basically what happens is, once you reach level 110 with one character, you can start a new one, play for however long you like in the starting zones, and then just type '/level 100' whenever you get bored and want to jump straight into the new content. Buy some level 100 gear at the auction house, and you'll be all set to go."
We asked several players what they thought of this new feature. Bob Forblog, whose main character is a Pandaren Brewmaster, said, "This'll be the greatest thing for me, because it'll let me have all kinds of alts all over the place, without having to go through all those hours and hours of work just to get to where I want to be! I'm going to have one of every race and class combination possible!"
Evelyn de Pompousse, a Blood Elf Death Knight, said, "This is horrible! Now all kinds of ignorant people will be skipping the important months of playing needed to learn their classes. They'll just jump into the Undergloom and high-end raiding without any idea of how to play! It took me most of the last two years to level up my Night Elf Demon Hunter alt, and I think anyone who wants to raid with a new character should have to go through the same endurance test that I went through!"
Cairne Bloodhoof (that's this player's real name, folks), who plays a Tauren Runemaster, spoke to us by videophone from underneath his shaggy hair and surgically implanted Tauren horns: "I'm a real big fan of WoW, you know, but back in the advent of WoW, I used to dabble in other MMO games too. Back then, there was this other game out there ... yeah I know, you're like 'other game? What other game?'... Anyway it was called Dark Age of Camelot, I think. Blizzard probably just borrowed and modified this '/level command' idea from them. Some people say this one little feature is what ruined that Camelot game completely, dude, because everyone had high level characters and no one knew how to play them. But you know, I never cared about that because WoW is like my LIFE if you know what I mean. If Blizzard does something, it's gonna be perfect, for sure."
Seth Dethloch claims to have been played the same undead rogue character every day since the game's launch 8 years ago. "I'm thinking of maybe going in a totally new direction with this expansion," he said, his face twitching, "I mean... I mean... I mean... I'm thinking maybe I should expand too, you know? Like, maybe... a GOBLIN rogue... yeah." (At this moment, Seth gasped and looked over his shoulder, apparently looking for enemies. But finding no one there, he went on...) "Actually you know what I think? I think they should DESTROY the world (of Warcraft). Yeah. Have the Old Gods come out and RIP IT ALL APART! Hahaha! ... hee heh... Then they could just start all over with one big Barrens/Wasteland leveling zone." Suddenly, Seth's eyes widened in shocking realization. "...I should play a Warlock!"
Mr. Tobold, an apparently normal human, and something of an expert on MMO issues, said, "I would rather have that Blizzard in the next expansion introduced new zones for all levels, so that anyone who wants to level up an alt can do so with completely new quests and zones. That would be more fun for people who aren't particularly keen on the end-game too. But of course that would require a lot more work from Blizzard, and right now I'm a bit pessimistic about whether they are ever going to create more low-level content. So at least a /level command would help."
Some casual players who agree with Mr. Tobold point out how important it is to enjoy the process of leveling, without just rushing to the end as fast as possible. Many raiders, on the other hand, explain that they've been through the old content a hundred times already, and that even new leveling content gets old and annoying pretty quickly. Seriously hardcore players may be too busy zooming past everything in their hovercrafts on they way to various world, server, and faction firsts to really care much what anyone else thinks.
What's your take on the problem of time-consuming character advancement? Do you like the "/level" command? If not, would you suggest something else instead, or would you say that the game is best when it's slow and steady?
Also, on a side note, if you have any more questions about the upcoming 5th expansion and the development of WoW from The Burning Crusade up to now, the year 2012, we'd be happy to answer them.