World of Warcraft Shadowlands will offer a new leveling experience to avoid what the current leveling experience in the game has become.
Instead of the traditional level cap increase, the Shadowlands expansion will lower player levels to level 50, whereas the level cap will be level 60. Through this squish, reaching endgame is said to be easier than with previous expansions. In addition, Blizzard has confirmed that a lot will be changed when leveling a new character - players will be able to pick an expansion to level up from level 10 to 50 after having initially leveled up to 10 in a completely new zone.
In a new interview conducted by Windows Central, World of Warcraft’s lead narrative designer, Steve Danuser, talked about this ‘new’ leveling experience in the upcoming eighth expansion for World of Warcraft.
According to Danuser, player characters will be mentioned as ‘Maw Walkers’ with a great potential going forward. “In Shadowlands, the player's character becomes known as a Maw Walker, though this is not a singular title; fictionally, a number heroes of Azeroth like yourself have demonstrated the ability to enter and leave the Maw”, the designer explained. “We want a sense that it will take many heroes working together and strengthening all four covenants if there is to be any hope of achieving victory over the Jailer.”
“Our new player experience, which will debut when Shadowlands is released, shows the beginning of the hero's journey through Azeroth. The player is not heralded as an all-powerful champion, but rather as someone with great potential who has an exciting adventure ahead of them.”
When asked about the current, rather disconnected leveling experience for new players, Danuser said that the Shadowlands’ new leveling experience will be a standalone moment in time.
“At the time of Cataclysm's development, it made sense to set the revamped Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor zones into the timeline of that expansion”, he said. “In hindsight, having a level-up experience that was more agnostic to the expansion timeline would have been a benefit down the road.”
“The new player experience coming with Shadowlands is intended to be just that— a standalone moment in time that easily flows into Battle for Azeroth, as well as other expansions to come in the future.”
World of Warcraft Shadowlands will release later this year. Blizzard has yet to announce a release date. Encrypted Shadowlands builds have already been rolled out on Blizzard's Vendor CDN, which might imply that a release on the PTR is imminent.