World of Warcraft’s new leveling system fixes the most important barrier to entry

As an alternative of any fancy, back-of-box options like a brand new class or race in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, Blizzard is specializing in revamping outdated components of the sport. The obvious instance of that is the brand new character customization system — at present accessible within the Shadowlands pre-patch. However Blizzard additionally fully revamped World of Warcraft’s historical leveling system, and it’s one of many largest recreation changers we’ve seen in years.

Previous to the pre-patch, leveling in World of Warcraft took skilled gamers 80 hours or extra, with new gamers taking months to totally stage a personality from 1-120. However within the new pre-patch, it took me lower than 20.

How leveling has modified in World of Warcraft

Shadowlands character customizations

A number of the new faces in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
Picture: Blizzard Leisure

Raids and dungeons are the highlights of World of Warcraft, and plenty of gamers view leveling as a barrier to the sport’s greatest content material. There’s a purpose gamers need to get to max stage as quickly as they’ll.

Previous to Battle for Azeroth, I made a decision to run a brand new Lightforged Draenei Warrior by way of the leveling expertise. By the point I hit max stage, my playtime on that character was 60 hours. That’s 60 hours for an skilled participant with Heirloom objects that elevated my expertise achieve.

Within the Shadowlands pre-patch, Blizzard modified virtually the whole lot about that course of. They squished the present max stage right down to 50 — with it going as much as 60 when Shadowlands drops. And so they added an hour-long tutorial expertise that takes gamers from stage 1-10. For ranges 10-40, they carried out a brand new time journey expertise that gamers name “Chromie time.” Gamers select an enlargement they need to stage by way of, and Chromie the time gnome sends them. By the point they end with that one enlargement storyline, they’ll be max stage and prepared for Shadowlands.

Interested in this new system, I made a decision to attempt it out with a personality I’m contemplating maining in Shadowlands: my Vulperan Shaman. As a result of I’m taking part in an unlockable race unavailable to new gamers, I obtained to skip the opening sequence and begin at stage 10. I placed on my Heirloom gear — which had its expertise bonus eliminated and now simply gives bonuses like extra rested XP after logging off or fight bonuses — and traveled to the Mists of Pandaria enlargement.

In lower than per week, I went by way of 4 main zones to finish my leveling expertise. I’ve quested by way of Pandaria earlier than, so I used to be conversant in the route. However I additionally wasn’t pushing for a quick time. Earlier this week, I hit stage 50 at 18 hours performed. If you happen to add the one-hour tutorial I skipped after which subtract an hour for AFK time, that leaves me just below 20 hours.

After ending, I found that I selected one of many slowest of the trendy leveling expansions, and skipped out on varied time-saving measures. Some gamers can full the trek in beneath 10 hours now, beneath the best circumstances. It’s remodeled WoW into an entirely affordable timesink, and has eliminated the MMO’s largest barrier to entry.

Bringing new gamers into the WoW fold

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands

Certainly one of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands’ new leveling zones
Picture: Blizzard Leisure

I really like all of the lessons in World of Warcraft, and I’ve a close to max stage model of every one. I’m a blatant “Altaholic,” and I’ve spent fairly a bit of additional money over time shopping for max stage character boosts. This new leveling system modifications that for individuals like me. If I need to stage a brand new character, I can stage them from scratch within the time it takes to play a contemporary single participant expertise. It opens up different lessons to longtime gamers who by no means needed to trouble going by way of the depressing leveling expertise once more.

However the actual boon right here is for brand spanking new gamers. I got here to World of Warcraft late — on the finish of Mists of Pandaria in 2013. However I’d spent years making an attempt to persuade pals to play with me and stage a personality. The one purpose my group began taking part in was due to a now-defunct leveling bonus referred to as refer-a-friend, which drastically elevated leveling speeds when taking part in with real-life pals. Even with refer-a-friend, it was a protracted, depressing slog.

That 80-120 hour barrier to entry was a frightening wall, forcing gamers to sacrifice dozens of hours earlier than attending to the “good things.” And whereas the climb normally pays off, many gamers give up earlier than they get there. However now I can advocate {that a} buddy play World of Warcraft and know they’ll get a great expertise within the time it takes to complete the most recent God of Struggle. It’s essentially the most welcoming change we’ve seen out of Blizzard in years, and it’s an enormous boon for the WoW veterans and the WoW curious.

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