Along with a new playable class and a bunch of new zones, Blizzard is changing the structure of how leveling plays out in the upcoming World of Warcraft: Legion expansion. The news was revealed by lead designer Ion Hazzikostas during a panel at BlizzCon today.
The biggest change in Legion is that rather than sending players along a direct path from zone to zone, this expansion's leveling zones will scale based on the character's level. Hazzikostas refers to this as a "true open world."
Players will be able to move between any of the four leveling zones — Azsuna, Val'Sharah, Highmountain and Stormheim — in any order. Whatever their level from 100 to 109, the enemies, quests and gear rewards will scale to the player. When players hit the new level cap of 110, they'll be able to unlock access to Suaramar, the expansion's climactic zone and the one that will not have level scaling.
Hazzikostas notes that this addition will make it easier than ever for friends who are playing through expansion content to team up, even if they're not at the exact same level.
Once players have hit level 110 and worked through the quests in Suramar, Blizzard also has a freshly redesigned endgame waiting. The developer has decided to move away from the daily quests that have defined the endgame until now. Instead, every time players log in they will be able to choose between a large variety of quests from multiple zones that rotate in and out. Some of these quests will only be available for a few hours, some will last for a week or longer; either way, Hazzikostas says they want these open-world quests to provide a sense of structure but not compulsion.
He also mentioned that the scaling system means these endgame quests can really take you to any part of any zone, rather than forcing level-capped players into small pockets as in previous expansions. Endgame missions can feature a variety of objectives, including player-versus-player, world raid bosses, crafting and minigames.
World of Warcraft: Legion will be released during the summer of 2016. We'll update with more news on it from BlizzCon as it hits.