Streamlined Leveling

I’ve leveled a monk to 61 now and there’s something to be said about the entire leveling experience being streamlined. Cataclysm updated the old world quest system and that’s still pretty solid.  Outland is a shock once you get back to it.  I rather enjoyed the hand holding for quests in the old world, some sections being phased, and the cross-realm zones allowing you to seemingly always have a few other people in the zone with you.  The experience itself is great.  There’s no real challenge in it mind you, which is quite a bit different than the game 60+, but still.  For a new person to the game and genre, it’s a solid game.

The concern I have is in the actual levels and rewards.  Cata had streamlined a lot but MoP further does so by completely removing skill ranks and trainers.  You ding 10, you automatically get new skills, talent choices and unlocked dungeons.  That’s all fine and dandy but there’s no real choice anymore.  At level 60, I have 4 talents chosen.  Those 4 choices are the only thing separating me from every other monk out there, playing a Windwalker.  That just feels weird.

Second, there are levels where you don’t get anything new.  A solid 3/4 of them from what I can tell.  This kind of makes the levels feel arbitrary.  You don’t really get stronger from any direct choice, the system simply says “here’s a couple points for you”.  I rather enjoyed the skill increases, it made each level meaningful.  Now you can go from 60-90 and only unlock 5 skills.  Odd.

I do understand they want to make it as simple as possible for people to be able to jump in but who a) hasn’t already played WoW and will start now and b) who hasn’t already played an MMO that will start WoW now?  I am thinking they have a saturated market presence, where there are simply no new customers possible.  Even the bitterest of MMO players, or the hardest of the hardcore PvP have played WoW at some point.  The entire push to casualize (and essentially trivialize) their game makes me scratch my head.

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