World of Warcraft: Shadowlands to take a "less is more" approach by lowering the level cap

Luke Hardwick

1 year, 7 months ago

WoW Shadowkeep is lowering the level cap

When a new WoW expansion gets announced, fans - both new and old - generally have feelings about it. Current players might contemplate the reality that the past year's grind will soon be rendered obsolete, while former players ponder whether or not the next iteration of the 15-and-going-strong year old game will be the one that brings them back. Regardless of which camp you currently reside in, Shadowlands - WoW's upcoming expansion - is coming. With it, amongst other things, an overhaul to the game's leveling system.

I don't think I'm alone in having wondered how high the level count would climb before the creatives over at Blizzard realized that it had reached peak absurdity. Once the max level surpassed 100, it became almost comical. Currently at a staggering 120, the level cap is, in a way, representative of how bloated World of Warcraft has become over the past decade plus. The fact is, there are a lot of numbers in between 1 and 120, and thus a large portion of the game feels arbitrary. Considering that WoW's endgame is arguably the only thing that matters anymore, the whole process becomes more about the destination than the journey - and that's not great.

With Shadowlands, Blizzard is attempting to rectify an issue that would eventually give way to highly-polarized, purchasable level boosts. Much like how nature regulates itself in the event of overgrowth, so to is WoW purging itself by once again setting the level cap down to 60. This move will hopefully provide players with an opportunity to divulge some meaning from their leveling experience, rather than encouraging them to disassociate from their corporeal forms whilst grinding dungeon after dungeon to reach max level.

In this pursuit, the creative team is revamping the leveling process by bringing in a "whole new level one to ten experience" that will "showcase more of the best World of Warcraft has to offer." Additionally, players will be able to level from 10 to 50 by playing through any one of WoW's many expansions - dealers choice. This is in stark contrast to the previous way of doing things that essentially had players sampling content from each expansion as they progressed through levels. Though, admittedly, this did invite us to enjoy a brief trip down memory lane by revisiting old stomping grounds.

In any case, we've only been given a glimpse of what's to come with WoW's next expansion, so it will be interesting to see how Blizzard plans on reinvigorating their mega-MMO as its 15-year anniversary looms ahead.

Disclosure: While I am ethically opposed to and disagree with Blizzard's corporate-level business priorities, I believe it's my journalistic duty to continue covering their games for the benefit of our readers - regardless of their stance on the matter.