It would appear that Blizzard is planning to implement a “Level-Squish” — as it puts it — for World of Warcraft. The suggestion of this reduction in the level cap comes from a player survey carried out by Blizzard.
The language in the survey seems designed to gauge the backlash. Unsurprisingly, the initial reaction from players has been bad.
A vocal minority is already shouting about how Blizzard is evil and they are quitting the game. I’ve been thinking about what a reduction in the level cap in World of Warcraft could mean.
I’m actually pretty hyped for it.
World of Warcraft Level Cap
I was chatting about the state of the game before this news whilst farming battlegrounds with my trusty ally Deezm0. She agrees that faction identity is starting to feel lost.
Allied races, although cool, don’t make sense when you level them through old content. Why is this Kul Tiran Druid fighting the Scourge in Northrend? In their timeline, Arthas is still the Lich King, but they didn’t join the fight until eleven years after he was defeated (in real-world time).
A reduction in the World of Warcraft level-cap would allow players to level in more applicable zones. Much in the same way that Cataclysm revamped Azeroth as we knew it, a Level-Squish could breathe life into new zones.
This could lead to an update of Northrend or other old content. Throw in optional wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff thanks to Chromie and her homies.
Now you’ve got a levelling experience and evolving world that fits the modern World of Warcraft.
Fewer Levels, More Choices
A Level-Squish could mean a lot for class development as well. In Mists of Pandaria, prior to the first Stat-Squish, there were talents trees with more options.
Obtaining a new talent point every level was exciting as you customised your character’s build.
The current state of World of Warcraft talents only features seven choices. Every fifteen levels you unlock a choice about your build. It’s kind of boring and unimaginative.
I understand that optimised players will all use the same builds and that balancing three talent trees across twelves classes is difficult. Especially when players have over a hundred talent points to spend.
A reduction in the level cap could see us return to a more ‘classic’ orientated talent system.
On top of the talents and race benefits, new classes can be more readily added to the game. In Legion, we saw the Demon Hunters added to the line-up.
The expansion focused heavily on class identity, through our class halls we fought the Burning Legion. Enhanced by our artefact weapons, powerful tools handed to us by gods and characters of immense power. Adding a new class to the game would feel awkward whilst levelling through Legion content.
Imagine your heroes disappointment when they arrive on the Broken Shore. Legendary swords, infamous bows and potent staffs are handed out en masse. Except for you, you just keep your crappy Warlords of Draenor weapon for the next ten levels.
All Good In My Books
I’m struggling to see a downside to this rumoured Level-Squish. It could create a space within the current world to still feel heroic, whilst exploring new frontiers.
It would allow the developers to update the world without killing new characters and older content becomes forgotten as new threats arise from old locations.
I think the only real question to ask is when. If this World of Warcraft level cap reduction goes ahead it will likely be announced this year.
Blizzard will reveal a new expansion in early November at Blizzcon 2019 and while it’s purely speculation at this stage, I think we could see another Cataclysm style change to the world.
Magni is desperately trying to save Azeroth as the world bleeds from a thousand open wounds. Undercity lays barren, a toxic wasteland after the early days of the war.
Darnassus is equally uninhabitable.
The face of Azeroth has changed and it’s time that the game world reflects that. A Level-Squish is step one in making the world seem dangerous again. With a Level-Squish, the journey to the maximum level is as important and engaging as when you get there.
This is, of course, all one fanboy’s opinion, I’m keen to see what you guys think. Hit us up on Twitter with your spin on Blizzard’s plans for World of Warcraft.