This idea has been spreading around a lot, and one that, honestly, I think deserves a bit of brain power dedicated to it. WoW's leveling is very different than Diablo's, and there isn't a direct 1:1 translation in experience gaining systems and "learning to play by leveling" (the process in which the class and game mechanics are taught). So Paragon leveling wouldn't really work in that regard, I think. You need to know what would kill you as a mage vs your paladin. If you become OP then you're not going to get the benefits of that knowledge.
Blizzard has already enabled cross-realm heirloom mailing, and they're looking at ways to integrate them into the UI / eliminate the need for mailing them all together. That's great, and something that I think will lead to at least some of the global effects that you're talking about.
The larger question is if level 100 will be the cap. I suspect it will be, and that we'll move towards an alternate advancement scenario. In such a scenario, we gain other levels elsewhere, so you get things like "100.1" or "100.Potato" -- EverQuest II and Anarchy Online have such systems, although EQ2 does it via an extremely antiquated talent point system.
We'll have to wait and see, however, what Blizzard does. They have an opportunity fast approaching to be a real innovated in gaming and do something crazy and brilliant with the typical level earning mechanics. Clearly they're already thinking about this, and I'm kinda excited to see where they end up.
Has Blizzard said anything about a longer term solution for naming connected realms? I have recently rolled chars on Shattered Halls/Balnazzar/Ahn'Qiraj/Trollbane/Talnivarr/Chromaggus/Boulderfist/Daggerspine and it's becoming a bit of a mouthful.
No, and I doubt that we're going to see a different naming scheme. Each realm is still a defined unit of virtual existence, and it's unlikely that those units are ever going to be merged now that the whole "connected" thing is working out.
If Blizzard were to name the units, it'd just be the same as a server merge. Now, at least, there is still some localized identity.
I personally want to thank the community for their (already!) outpouring of support with the changes that are happening to WoW Insider. I was keeping it together pretty well until this morning when the emails, tweets, and comments started to come in. There's so often negativity in a group as large as all the WoW players, it's heartening to see compassion and understanding exist at the same level.
Join me in having a drink at 5pm today for the good times that were, that are, and that will be. WoW Insider will continue. The days of writing of elves and internet dragons are not over.
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