Updated Mon, Nov 14, 2011 by Mem
A new World of Warcraftlevel cap is almost an inevitability when a new expansion is forthcoming. So as soon as the announcement was made at BlizzCon 2011 that there would be a new expansion released in the not so distant future, myself and thousands of players just like me knew exactly what was coming next; the dreaded raise in the leveling cap. This new leveling cap will successfully bring players from level 85 to level 90, and while this increase is significantly less than the 10 level additions seen in the first few WoW expansions, we can’t help but wonder if these extra five levels are just way to much.
The answer to this question is not an easy one, and will probably vary depending on what portion of the current player base you are talking to. Some players love dinging a new level and take personal pride in reaching the new WoW leveling cap, in this case level 90. Others aren’t so fond of the WoW leveling process, in fact they might even hate everything about it from the constant grind, to the replacement of hard earned gear by crappy quest greens. Whatever the case may be WoW leveling just doesn‘t appeal to everybody.
As for me, I’m somewhere in the middle, while I do get some satisfaction out of the leveling process I really don’t feel like continuously raising the WoW leveling cap adds any real value to the game and as such is not a necessity. That’s right I said it, Blizzard doesn’t *need* to raise the leveling cap with every expansion. In fact constantly raising the leveling cap seems to me to be a desperate attempt to do one of two things; increase the length of time it takes players to get through the current expansion or satisfy those who need the illusion of “clear progression” through leveling. Sadly neither one of these reasons, in my mind at least, are good arguments for raising the current WoW leveling cap.
Now, now, put out those torches and set down the pitchforks, there is no reason to form an angry mob before I explain myself. Raising the WoW leveling cap simply to lengthen the amount of time players spend on an expansion is folly. Because of Blizzard’s fear of the dreaded grind, they have made leveling so easy most toddlers could probably perform the feat. So its safe to say that casual players can easily complete the feat in a few weeks at most, while hardcore players can finish leveling within a few days. With this in mind raising the WoW leveling cap to increase longevity of an expansion seems silly indeed.
Could WoW do without the increase in level cap Mists of Pandaria will bring?
The second reason given for a WoW leveling cap increase is a little harder to write off. Its true that increasing the leveling cap will not only give add a clear progression path to the game but also allows Blizzard developers to do things like raise monster difficulty, add new spells, and inflate gear, but all of these things can also be achieved by taking alternate routes of advancement with no leveling cap increase needed, such as fleshing out the things we already have in the game.
Besides these reasons listed above I also see increasing the WoW leveling cap as a rather negative method of progression, especially when constantly done, as it has been in every WoW expansion, and Blizzard should too as it tends to be detrimental to Blizzard’s ultimate goal; gaining and keeping players. What player wants to join a game where the max level is nearing 100 and knowing that number is only going to go up? While WoW leveling has been trivialized thus far, as a new player looking in there may be a feeling of hopelessness, that it will never be possible to catch up, and if you do you will be so far behind on gear that no one will want you anyhow.
Adding additional levels to the game also tends to create a huge level disparity. Slower leveling players will be separated from their faster leveling counterparts and while this may seem like a small problem, it can hit hard especially in a guild setting. Inside a guild the faster leveling players will be forced to wait around for their slower leveling guild mates, or replace them which can lead to many hard feelings. In fact if the tension created is enough it may very well rip the guild apart which as we all know is no bueno.
I say enough is enough Blizzard, sit back and let us enjoy the current content and spice it up by adding to what we already have instead of overloading us with brand new content that almost immediately makes the old content, some of which players never get to experience, obsolete. With no big boss lurking in wait to destroy Azoeroth there is no better time to do this. So lets see some new content, spells, and maybe some more revamping of old content without forcing us to level up all over again.
How do you feel about increasing the WoW leveling cap? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!