In a recent interview with Joystiq, World of Warcraft‘s lead producer J. Allen Brack talks about some of the design choices that went into WoW‘s upcoming Cataclysm expansion. Though we are already filled in on most of the new features, it’s nevertheless interesting to read why the developer made the decisions that they did. A particular design choice being questioned by rabid fans is why the level cap is only being raised 5 levels instead of the usual 10. As Brack says, “There is a huge amount of level up content, it is just not max level up.” Obviously the business tactic here is to cater toward the unenlightened newcomers to get the subscriptions rolling in. If you’re a dedicated player at max level, don’t expect to be catered to as much as newcomers are in this new expansion.
Another reflection of this beginner friendly model is the changes being made to the leveling system. “So we have actually made it easier for you to level as time goes on and made the leveling experience faster,” Brack says. Meaning it will take the same amount of time to get from level 1 to 85 as it did to get from 1 to 60.
Brack also touches on why exactly Blizzard wanted to bring hell down on Aseroth instead of adding on a new world or instance as per usual. Admitting that there “was a big debate” surrounding the idea, he says that his team “have definitely iterated on our quest process, our quest flow, with Burning Crusade and Lich King.” Instead they wanted to try “taking some of that learning back into the old world”. The result of which is opening up a few old areas previously inaccessible, such as Greymane Wall and the area south of Ahn’Qiraj. However, no matter whether you purchase the upcoming expansion you will still see the effects the Cataclysm has on Aseroth.