We've been wondering for months now what Blizzard is holding back. Wrath of the Lich King seems like a very competent, well-planned addition to World of Warcraft, but it's all so samey. More zones, more loot, more content, the usual. The addition of the Death Knight and a PvP-focused overland zone are interesting, but hardly revolutionary - Burning Crusade changed so much about the game that it's been hard not to be a little dissapointed. Now Massively's sister site WoW Insider offers a hint that perhaps there's more to the expansion than the company has let on. WI reports on a post to the MMO-Champion site, from a forum-goer who found something intriguing in the newest 2.4.2 patch notes.
Buried in the code are several programming strings that hint at big changes to the WoW Recruit-A-Friend program. At the moment all the program offers is a few days of extra play time if your companion opens up a subscription. The strings, though, suggest that someday your referred friend may be tied much more closely to you. Hints are there that you'll be able to teleport your friend to you, that recruiting a friend may increase your reputation with certain in-game factions, and even that you may be able to grant levels to your friend's character. If these additions to the game are to be believed, this system will have limits; you won't be able to teleport your friend around beyond a certain level, and characters that have leveled past a certain point will no longer be able to have levels granted to them.
The notes also imply that your own character's level is somehow tied to the number of levels you can grant a friend; perhaps some sort of metacurrency. This is fascinating news, if true, and hints at the possibility of even more changes coming to World of Warcraft in coming months. Certainly here at Massively we've been talking enough about subjects related to this; it's wonderful to see Blizzard coming at the problem of the endless grind from such a unique angle.