In the opening ceremony for BlizzCon 2019, Blizzard unveiled Shadowlands, World of Warcraft’s eight expansion in 15 years. In a deep dive panel after the ceremony, game director Ion Hazzikostas revealed some serious changes to the way players level in World of Warcraft — as well as a shift in the numbered level players display under their name.
Once Shadowlands arrives next year, all max level players will transform from level 120 back to 50. In Shadowlands, players will level from 50 to 60; the old level cap in vanilla World of Warcraft.
The goal is to streamline the leveling process, making it easier for players to actually get into World of Warcraft, and also help them feel rewarded for each level they gain. Blizzard will also launch a new-player-only zone that teaches players how to play World of Warcraft, and introduces them to the world of Azeroth.
After the new-player zone, players can choose to level wherever or however they want. Hazzikostas gave the example of playing through the Mists of Pandaria story. With the new system, a player could go from levels 1 to 50 by playing through the Pandaren story alone. This is a pretty stark contrast from the game’s current leveling system, which is a multi-hour slog through all sorts of different content from Classic to Legion.
It’s all a bit unclear how exactly this will work, how it’ll relate to character boosts, or how this new leveling system will bump up against other systems like leveling heirlooms and mounts. But we do know that players will level faster in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands than they do on live servers.
And for some reason, level 60 sounds a lot less silly than level 120. Don’t you think?