Beyond the boost for players who do not want to purchase the epic flying mount training (apologies for those of you who have done so recently), this change is leveled squarely at low level alts. Blizzard is increasingly hinting that they do not want to raise the game’s starting level to 55 to skip players past old-world Azeroth.
Herr Armadillo is correct that these changes do imply this. And if true, I think it would be a good thing. There’s a lot of game to play in the sub-58 levels of WoW, and it’s a shame that more people aren’t playing it. There’s also reason that Blizzard should want to keep veteran players operating alts at those levels, so that incoming brand-new players have people to encounter and group with, and occasionally tangle with for spawns. All this keeps the game lively, especially as we near the deeper parts of the between-expansions valley of enthusiasm.
At the same time, it’s an issue of WoW’s own making. Or maybe we should say that it’s an issue of EQ’s making, since the basic play and leveling structure of WoW is essentially similar to that of its older cousin. Players congregate at the level cap, and the easier it is to get there, the more true this will be. When an expansion hits there’s a wagonload of new content, but even so, even casual players will hit the increased cap in a month or two.
This is okay so long as players also have a reason to make alts and play through the lower levels again. City of Heroes seems to incentivize this much better than WoW does, and I’m not sure how – due surely to my relative lack of hands-on time with CoH (a situation due to be remedied.) EVE Online, and maybe Darkfall, tackle the issue from a different angle entirely, providing a player-driven ‘endgame’ that’s wilder, more varied and has more longevity than anything a limited team of developers would be able to program.
One suspects that Blizzard does see the issue. And one hopes that we will, with the next expansion, start to see something in the latter direction. Wintergrasp was a start, but only that.