Is Leveling Too Easy?
Recently, a former Blizzard developer claimed that WoW is now too easy. And he has a point – everyone is racing to end-game and not stopping to smell the flowers that are now growing in Desolace. And this is somewhat true.
As an experienced WoW player and altoholic extraordinaire, I don’t think of the leveling game so much as too easy, as it is more convenient. When I leveled baby alts through Cataclysm, I was shocked to see all the starting zone mobs were now passive. I can now kill zombies at my leisure, instead of running for my life. As I leveled through zones such Silverpine Forest and the Hinterlands pre-Cataclysm,, Pyrewood Village in Silverpine and the troll area Jintha’Alor in Hinterlands was now solo-able, as the worgen and trolls were no longer elite. Though I have to admit, I miss the challenges a bit. Stealthing through Pyrewood on my druid just made those quests seem a little too easy even then!
Cataclysm nerfed content a bit more – all but eliminating group quests – especially those big guys in Dragonblight. Forming groups to kill elite mobs gave questing an epic feel to it that we no longer have, and new players will never get to experience. The expansion also gave us heirloom items for our alts. This of course made leveling much more convenient for those of us that just wanted to get more toons to max level.
Looking at it from a newbie standpoint, a player brand new to WoW wouldn’t have access to heirlooms. They may not even have access to a guild right away. As they’re learning the game, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for the starting zones to have passive mobs. It definitely takes the panic out of figuring out what the foo your buttons do as you’re being chased by a trogg.
Some other conveniences added to the leveling experience are pets. All pet classes now have pets at level 1. Hunters no longer feel the pain of having to wait until level 10 to learn how to tame a pet, while pretending to be a rogue as mobs got too close for you to shoot them. Of course, as a hunter you are designed to shoot so your stabbing skills weren’t necessarily any good. You almost had to dual wield as a hunter before level 10, since whacking mobs with a stick just didn’t do any good. Yes, leveling a hunter without a pet was painful back in the day.
Another convenience was mounts. Prior to Wrath of the Lich King, we had to huffpuff our way to level 40. Then, if we were rich, we could plop down ALL our gold for our first ground mount. If we were really lucky, our guild would front the money for that first mount. At leavel 60 we were able to train the fast ground mount, but that was an expensive luxury. Allowing mounts at level 20 definitely made life a lot easier, as it was much more convenient to get around. And finding a group for the Paladin or Warlock epic mount quest was an exercise in futility if you did not have a good supportive guild. But at the same time, it was a shame those quests have been removed. Again, it felt really epic to have accomplished those quest lines.
The biggest convenience to the leveling experience was the introduction of the Dungeon finder. Spamming trade for a tank for Zul’Farrak WITH the mallet was just not an efficient use of time. My paladin tanked and healed (without a dual spec) those places, sometimes simultaneously, because tanks and healers just didn’t exist. That brings me to dual spec – another huge convenience. Healers around Azeroth rejoiced. We no longer had to run back to our trainer, respec to dps to quest, then respec again to run a dungeon, then respec again to quest. That got expensive, and really really annoying. There’s a reason why I leveled 30-80 as holy. It sucked, but I couldn’t afford not to.
So to answer the question, is leveling really too easy? For alts, it’s great. For new players, it’s still great. I don’t really think it’s too easy. Leveling pre-Wrath sucked. With a capital suck. With all the conveniences added to the leveling game, bringing up alts, as well as new players is a much more enjoyable experience.
As for end game difficulty, well that’s another post!