The current World of Warcraft leveling experience isn’t what it should be and needs to be improved further, Blizzard’s technical director Patrick Dawson has admitted.
With the level cap being raised in each expansion, new players are faced with a rather long and dated leveling experience until new level cap is reached. Blizzard already implemented stat squishes through the Battle for Azeroth 8.0 pre-patch last month, and has further lowered the amount of experience required to level, but even Blizzard believes that new players aren’t getting the leveling experience they deserve.
"I think [the levelling experience] is a pretty hotly debated topic internally, about how to handle that," Dawson said in a recent interview with Gamesindustry.biz. "I think we recognize that we're not giving new players as good an experience as we can, and we do want to focus on how to make that experience better. There's 15 years of content that people should have the option to do if they want to, but we also want the ability for players to play with their friends quickly. That's why we developed things like the boost [which automatically raises one character to an appropriate level for the current expansion], which you get if you purchase the game itself. The scaling tech was also a way to help us do that, and you can sort of choose your own path through expansions and story content.”
He added, “We've been addressing the problem over time. We're trying to find out what works and what our players enjoy, especially our new players, and learn from that until we get it right."
As said, the recent stat squishes and scaling measurements has helped the leveling experience, but the recent stat squishes also caused some major issues, and the game’s technical director also had something to say on this matter:
"The biggest struggle of overhauls like item scaling is being able to exhaustively test it," he said. "You can't expect any group of a few hundred people to go in and hit every piece of content that's ever been developed over the past 15 years of World of Warcraft. That is difficult and challenging to do. What we did was listen to a lot of feedback from the PTR, what those changes looked like there. "The community is a great resource for helping us understand what we missed, and we were able to develop technology to be agile about fixing the problems very quickly in a live environment when we did come across them. We did have a few hiccups when we launched the patch in terms of scaling issues, but a lot of those were addressed rather quickly and that's due to the technology we've developed to hot-fix our servers and almost anything in the game without down-time."
As covered earlier this week, Dawson also talked about the hardships of supporting legacy content in World of Warcraft.
World of Warcraft and its most recent expansion, Battle for Azeroth, is available now globally.