That is the title of a thread on the official European forums that's currently sitting at seventeen pages of replies. I'm grateful to Nils for casually referring to it in his last post, because otherwise I never would have looked for it. I didn't read the whole thing, as it basically devolves into a lot of uninteresting back and forth after a while, but the fact that so many people felt the need to comment on the subject at all really surprised me.
I have to admit, I'm an old-school leveller. I levelled my first character back in Vanilla and I didn't think that it was terribly grindy. In fact, WoW was praised for having the fastest and smoothest levelling of all MMOs back then. However, as Blizzard started to tack on more levels and players repeated the same content over and over while levelling alts, people started to feel that reaching the level cap took too long, so the experience needed to advance was reduced. And again. And again. I didn't really like it. I didn't ruin my own levelling experience or anything, but I didn't consider it a good development either. However, I was sure that my opinion was part of a minority that would only ever grow smaller as time went on. Apparently I was wrong.
I'm not claiming that the people who say that levelling goes too fast now are a majority because I honestly don't know that, but I think the fact that this subject is brought up on the forums at all and gets such a huge response says a lot. I believe that WoW's ever-increasing levelling speed has reached a breaking point where it's starting to bother more people than ever before. Everyone already knew that a game not having enough content to last you through the levels was a bad thing, but not having enough levels for all the content is a new experience.
I had to laugh when one of the people defending the current levelling speed as "fine" argued that if anyone thinks that they are levelling too fast they should just play less. Talk about missing the point. Levelling and consuming content should be in synergy with each other, and I'm clearly not the only one who thinks that things are somewhat out of whack right now.
I don't think anybody is pining for the days when you had to be half a Loremaster and run every instance at least once to reach the level cap at all, but this new system doesn't flow very well either. Blizzard used to encourage people to dabble in different aspects of the game, but right now doing so almost feels like a punishment. When you're halfway through a zone-wide story arc, you don't want to see that all the quests have turned grey after you "dared" to run an instance and a battleground. Doing grey quests isn't nearly as satisfying, and abandoning every other zone halfway through is completely at odds with the developers' new approach of telling overarching stories. People used to write guides for efficient levelling, do we now need guides on how to level as slowly as possible so you can do more quests on the way without them becoming completely trivial?
You do have the option to repeatedly turn XP gains off and then turn them on again to keep the content interesting, but that's a rather clunky way of gaining sixty levels. I liked a lot of the different suggestions on the forums, such as an option to simply reduce your own XP gains (by twenty, fifty percent, whatever) instead of constantly stopping and restarting them, or slashing overall experience across the board while buffing heirlooms so that those who want to level their alts quickly can still do so.
I do hope that Blizzard considers the issue, as this speed-levelling has really affected my own enjoyment of the new content already. I'm no longer looking forward to new levels, instead I feel as if they are chasing me. "Can I at least do a couple of quests without outlevelling yet another batch of content? Nope, I dinged again. Crap!" Since I started dungeoneering at level fifteen, I haven't been able to get any more of the new quests done, and my druid is nearly thirty now. I always think that I'll do just one more instance before getting started on a new zone, just to find that I've already outlevelled the area I wanted to go to. Then I find something else that's level-appropriate, do two quests, ding again and notice that a dungeon that I wanted to do will drop off my available dungeons list in another level, so I have to do it now or else.
I suppose that these feelings are at least partly based on the newness of the shattered world, because I want to see all of it and the thought of missing out on any of the content probably seems more awful right now than it really is. Given enough time and enough alts, I will be able to see all of it one way or another. But as much as I like rolling new alts, I don't like the thought of having to roll a new one for every single aspect of the game because the current levelling curve doesn't support anyone wanting to do more than a couple of quests each level.
Charting Some Progress
13 hours ago