The Shadowlands expansion has been delayed, but the pre-patch is still arriving today.
The pre-patch comes with a lot of stuff. The patch notes for the pre-patch are long and detailed and touch aspects of the game from character customization to class updates. Every new expansion means relearning you class. Blizzard even put up a video to help players with the changes.
But, in my opinion, the biggest thing in the pre-patch, and perhaps one of the most ambitious changes Blizzard has ever made to the game, is the level squish.
After some rumblings, the WoW team came out in March of last year with the statement that leveling in WoW needed help.
120 levels is a lot, the time it takes to get through them and into the current content felt like too much, and levels themselves were no longer all that special. Gone were the days when you would get a talent point to spend every level, or even a new skill or a skill upgrade every other level. (Unless, like me, you were back playing WoW Classic.)
So Blizz decided to put the level cap back to 60. There will now be a new level 1-10 starter area, after which veteran players will be able to play through levels 10-50 via any one of the past expansions, though new accounts will apparently be forced to level through Battle for Azeroth. And, at the top of the pyramid, for now at least, will be the Shadowlands expansion, taking players from level 50-60.
Back at BlizzCon this was all summed up this way:
The basics of the squish are pretty simple. There is the new leveling path above. If you have a level 120 character before the squish, you will have a level 50 character afterwards. If your character is under level 50, there is a chart.
I stole that chart (and modified it a bit) from the article about the big squish over at WoWHead. That covers a lot of the details, but also brings up some of the unknowns. I haven’t seen a clear answer about when a new character will unlock flying, for example. And how the new 10-50 path will play with the Shadowlands classes is still up in the air. There are a lot of questions to be answered.
In preparation for the squeeze I finally spent some time in retail WoW over the past weekend. As predicted, I do in fact regret squandering the 100% xp boost that Blizz has had running there for months now. I ran through Darkmoon Faire and grabbed a few levels with various characters, just to get them a little further along. But I could have easily had eight or more level 120 characters if I had put in a couple week’s worth of effort rather than the three I do have.
I also went through and noted down the names, levels, and percentage into their current level, for all of my characters. I am curious as to whether or not that chart above will hold true and what happens with the excess xp hanging around.
But the patch is here. Everything is going to change. We’ll have to see how it looks once the smoke clears and the servers are up again. There was some talk in the instance group about maybe rolling some fresh alts for a run through WotLK, just to see how it plays. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Amusingly, I just noticed that the chart is missing BfA level 50. (The original Wowhead article has the mistake.)
@Pallais – I missed that, and I don’t have anybody at exactly 50 to see where it falls, but I am going to guess that it will be level 21.
The downtime seems short. They only estimated it would take a hour, 7am to 8am Pacific time. [edit: updated to 3pm Pacific]
@Wilhelm Arcturus Based on the Blizzard post, level 50 will go to level 21.
And for a brief moment in time, the highest leveled toons in WoW are those in Classic….
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@Redbeard – We hope it is a short time. What I hope is a shorter time is the addons getting fixed. It is double xp for pet battles and my teams addon is kaput.
Edit: Rematch, the pet battle addon got updated. I’m good!
Also, having peeked in, the cake is a lie. The various expansions do not appear to have been scaled from 10-50, only BFA has. Legion is only to 45, Warlords of Draenor 40, and so on down the list.
You have to activate Chromie time to get the level scaling from 10 to 50. If you don’t activate that, you can still level in those zones but they won’t scale. For example, vanilla will be 10 to 30 then.
The expansions scale from 10-50 if you are levelling an alt in Chromie Time, otherwise they’re in their old level bands (as adjusted for the squish).
That seems needlessly complicated. But this is Blizzard we’re speaking of I suppose.
So does that mean each expansion now covers only five levels if you don’t activate “chromie time”? Wonder whether that means if not activated, you’ll do about one and a half zones in each expansion before outleveling the whole expansion, or whether the XP received would be so low you can do the whole expansion before hitting that expansion’s “cap”. The latter would actually make sense for people electing to level the long way: might as well then give them. The full experience, if there’s a fast track now for the rest. But my bets are on the former.
@Flosch – I have not really explored this, and won’t have time until this weekend, but my first blush look seemed to indicate that, with the fast new xp curve for 10-50, playing without going via Chromie will end up with you going gray in zones and expansions very quickly.
Ambitious? They literally rolled back characters some of us have worked on for years so they can regurgitate old material and re-skin it.You need to loosen up that bun on top of your head.
@Ken Bradford – Rolled back? Are you so stuck on levels that being max level one day and max level the next but having that max level number change made a meaningful difference in your life? You were going to have to do 10 more levels in Shadowlands before the change and you’ll still have 10 more levels after the change. Whether that was 121-130 or 51-60 seems immaterial to me.
Seriously, what did you lose when they changed your level number from 120 to 50? Name what you lost.
Anyway, maybe you should go look up what ambitious means before you start throwing insults like a random internet troll.
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