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.