Well, it’s been a long time since Ion Hazzikostas once more placed the idea of a “level squish” for World of Warcraft. At this juncture, it’s been said several times that it looks like an inevitable thing and it’ll happen for sure.
In my opinion the level squish is actually a fine solution as a beginning of fixing some of the game’s remained leveling and ability questions, and while there are some arguments against it the general idea looks good. Yet It still doesn’t feel right for me because a level squish in and of itself doesn’t help to solve the problem. It’s only a start. And the experience tells us, that we probably won’t go further than that.
And before we begin to consider this idea in details, I want to talk about why leveling in WoW is a messy thing now. There are a few main issues that are making people to dislike leveling, but I think that in the end there are two main points:
- Too many levels. When you’re a level 1 player and look at 120th one you may feel as there’s a tremendous amount of work to reach to the top, and even though the first several levels easy thing to do it’s still pretty frightening for a new unit. It’s even worser by the fact that a lot of the older locations are still not so populated, making you feeling as if you’ve got ages of leveling and exploring all these empty areas made for people who don’t live here anymore.
- Levels don’t do anything. With scaling across the world, you could expect that levels for sure will give you special abilities to thus guarantee that you’re still gaining the power; but, you stop getting new bonuses and even just boring +x% damage increase traits pretty early. Long stretches with no abilities means that those levels have no sense.
The level squish feels like it can rid us of both those issues. On the one hand, you can squash the levels down it doesn’t feel like an impossible thing to reach to the top. You also won’t have unnecessary empty levels, so things space out more evenly along the rest number of levels. Isn’t it good? Feels like it is for me.
Except if we do so that isn’t going to really solve the problem by itself. As it’s been said earlier, it’s only a start, but not the whole solution. And you see the problem just if you ask what happened with the item squish.
But again, this is still a good idea. Stats had gotten dreadfully inflated when Mists of Pandaria ended to the point where the ultimate fight with Garrosh had to falsely fill up his health a couple of times. So as the squish happened, items were placed to a more relevant level, and then… Warlords of Draenor was added in the same ever-escalating vertical climb to items, which is only growing with the addition of Mythic difficulties.
And now we have required another item squish to use two expansions later, and while you may dispute that this one seems more accurate for things that have been done in the first place (and you’re right in that case), the issue becomes clear. Squishing everything down but adding the very same set of numbers won’t just change anything.
There’s no need in making another update with wildly escalating power rewards. Also, It’s better to find what caused the problem, it might help to figure out a solution.
Of course the level squish will solve the problem for today. But the developers even went dumber saying that with the upcoming expansion it’ll bump the levels up by 10 again and we’ll be back in the same spot. Or if the level squish happens in the next update, there’s the one after that. The issue still remains.
More than that, if you just decrease the level numbers, but keep the time required for them same, you will just replace one problem with another. So, you’re getting the same amount of dawdling in levels with half of your abilities and it takes more time to level up. Definitely won’t help the situation.
As I said we need to find the root of where the problem has begun. Why are people unsatisfied with how the leveling goes? What’s making this a point of dispute? How can the game make it feel worthy of all time spent on leveling up, so you actually have fun and gain with all the new abilities and gifts, instead of making it as a chore that you have to do to level up?
So, how the designers could fix the problem? Well, a lot of ways will need making more complex classes and specs; considering that most of them need a grand total of three buttons and there’s built-in support for having more than 24 buttons at easy hotbar access, I think this is a feature rather than a bug.
Okay, if they wanted to get that creative they could even split up leveling per update. Keep the common level cap at a pliable level, level 80 for example, but also with a chance to gain a special item for leveling through a given update’s content.
The right solution is just making sure that the levels we have make any sense and players are rewarded instead of punished for getting through it. Not that difficult, right?
And yes, I like the idea of a level decreasing; this is a good thing for the game as a whole, by my opinion. The ratio of the levels and the things we can do with those levels is unbalanced. And this part should be fixed firstly, still we should remember, that this is short term solution and the short term becomes the long term pretty quickly.