When I first started playing WOW, during Wrath of the Lich King, the previous expansions weren’t yet bundled. This meant that I had to purchase each expansion if I wanted to enjoy them. Because both myself and my husband were playing, this was a bit expensive as it meant buying each expansion pack twice.
So, we decided that our best course of action was to play each expansion to it’s fullest before purchasing the next one. It worked out great for us. Since we didn’t yet have Burning Crusade, our level was capped at 60 until we bought it. Once we hit level 60, rather than immediately purchasing the next expansion we continued to quest and do content available to us in order to fully experience things. Granted it wasn’t exactly a vanilla experience, but it gave us time to enjoy things before moving on and being inundated with new zones, crafting, and features. It was actually quite an enjoyable experience. We got to enjoy the storylines and dungeons without fear of quickly out leveling the content and we maxed out our characters as best we could before moving on.
I specifically remember have a blast in Burning crusade, the stories have stuck with me and the hours we spent exploring the various zones in outland were very memorable. We didn’t feel pressured to move on since our levels were capped at 70 anyway and we were able to take our time and really get a feel for that part of the game.
I don’t recall exactly when Blizzard began bundling previous expansions into the base game, however what I do know is that this bundling had the effect of removing an obvious solution to problem that some new players face, leveling too quickly & missing content.
While the option exists to go to Stormwind or Orgrimmar and disable experience gain, it is not at all obvious to new players and for players leveling alts its inconvenient. I can’t help but wonder if there shouldn’t be an easier way to disable/enable leveling built into the user interface.
Personally, I know I enjoy the leveling experience and I enjoy it most when it’s not a cake walk. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. Given the option the disable leveling in an easily accessible way I would most likely use it much more often to enjoy the available pve content before moving on to higher level content. Level scaling is great at giving you the option to level in a variety of more places, but it also compounds the issue of missing out on content because it’s no longer relevant to you. Recently while leveling an alt, I was able to skip the whole of cataclysm because I chose to spend that time in Pandaria. Had I been a new player I would have never really even known about those zone because they were made irrelevant to me.
I understand that a lot of players simply want to get to the most current content and that’s fantastic, however, I believe that some tools for those of us who enjoy the journey a bit more, should be made more easily accessible and explained it bit better.
Perhaps upon reaching level cap for a certain expansion you get a notification informing you that you can disable experience gain in order continue the zones with an easy to toggle option in the character panel.
WOW has a ton of content and seeing it now, even if it isn’t the most recent or current content, is still an amazing experience for new players as well as those of us who really enjoy journey, giving us the ability to disable experience gain in an easily accessible way would really go a long way to ensuring some of the content is enjoyed by at least some new players as well as those players who still really enjoy experiencing the content (even for the 50th time).