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The Queue: All about the levels


Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky (@adamholisky) will be your host today.

Alex went for an image on page 200, so I went for an image on page 2000 (which happens to be an old examination of patch 0.6 I did back in 2011). Unfortunately clicking doesn't work -- the gallery that photo belonged isn't active for some reason.

Art2 commented, in part:

They are doing an item squish in the next expansion I believe, but what they really need to also do is a level squish. There are just too freakin' many now, asking people to level 95-100 times is daunting. Cut that in half, make the level cap in the next expansion 50.

That's a very interesting idea! One that I hadn't heard before -- and I'm not really sure how much I like or dislike it. On one hand you're absolutely correct that asking people to level to 95/100 is a lot. That number is daunting, and there's a metric ton of research to back that up. Psychologically speaking we're trained from an early age to think 100 of something is a lot. When you have $91 dollars in your wallet you process it differently than if you have $100. That extra numeral is very deceptive, when though it amounts to a paltry $9 more. This is often why you see things priced at $99.99 or $9.99 -- the inclusions of the extra zeros does more harm than good.

So given there is at least some psychological grounding in this, would a level squish work? The answer is pretty simple: no, it would not. People have invested years, many nearly a decade in these characters. No one is going to want to remove the levels, one of the primary tools of advancement during that long period of time. I bet if Blizzard could go back in time they'd change their leveling curve a bit, but when we're there, we're there. There is no going back.

What I can see is a way to skip levels. I can actually foresee a future where Blizzard lets this happens via microtransactions; just so people can get into enjoying more of the recent content. I know I'm going to set off a fury of cranky comments and "play to win" garbage -- but just keep in mind that the real game doesn't start until you hit the level cap. A fresh 90 is worth only the time sink you've put into it; the character doesn't really amass any (perceived) value until you've spent a long time playing a the cap.

Raxwick asked:

Why is it that people are getting in some huge uproar about the concept of revamping or removing old content, and then (sometimes in the same comment) asking for the ability to skip outlands, or northrend, or complaining about how they have to level an alt through whatever content again.

I don't get it, what do you even want? Even Outland gives you plenty of options on which zone you want to level in, if you hate hellfire so much, go to Zangar, or Terrokar. Everyone has a choice and 'get there as fast as possible' isn't going to be the fun one in most cases.

I'm not trying to be a jerk here I just honestly don't understand what issue people have with leveling their alts. it's only 'through the same content for the 5th time' if you level exactly the same way every time, and that's your choice, not Blizzard's.

I think you'd find that it's often not the same people who feel both ways. Most don't hold the dualistic view of both hating and loving revamped content -- or at least not on a binary level like you're talking about. Although I'm sure I'm going to be proved wrong within the first hundred comments on today's Queue.

One of the big things about WoW, perhaps its greatest strength and weakness, is that it is home to a wide array of individuals with hugely disparate wants and needs. There is a contingent of players that are exceptionally hard core -- they play this game 60 hours a week. Then there's a group that is casual, maybe logging in once a week or two. And finally there is, what is often called the silent majority, the vast number of people in the middle between hard core and casual players (I solidly fall in the middle, as I suspect given our readership's demeographic most of you do too).

Those of us in the middle are very much of the mindset that while it's nice, it'll be something we do once or twice and then will want to move on to something else. That's not saying the revamp is bad, but it's not the be all end of all WoW. And too, skipping the content would be nice, so that if we don't want to do it with a particular alt, we don't have to. This best of both worlds strategy is what I find the designers cater to the most, and while it does create its own problems, it is also why this game is going so strong after all these years (and before anyone says otherwise, 7 million people playing it, or whatever the number happens to be at the moment, is still insanely strong).

Adam says:

Personal note to all the nerds:

I was Googling a question I had about jQuery and I typed in jQwert by mistake. I think I'm going to make this into a jThing. Because the world needs more JavaScript junk. You're welcome.

Have questions about the World of Warcraft? The WoW Insider crew is here with The Queue, our daily Q&A column. Leave your questions in the comments, and we'll do our best to answer 'em!

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