Levelling in World of Warcraft is about to undergo its biggest change in a decade – maybe ever

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands will be released on October 27th, and we have 150 keys to the current beta test to give away.

Massively multiplayer games like World of Warcraft don’t get sequels. That was tried once and it turned out to be a bad idea. EverQuest 2, the 2004 follow-up to the enormously influential 1999 game, just ended up dividing the audience of a game that had been doing just fine before it came along. Most players were far too invested in the characters they already had, the systems they could feel in their bones and their muscle memory, to start again. It flopped, and OG EverQuest never quite recovered from this filial blow, although it soldiers on to this day.

So MMO developers just keep releasing expansions (apparently, EverQuest has 26 of them), edging up the level cap each time, layering on vast shelves of content like the segments of an increasingly precarious and indigestible cake. This isn’t a big issue if you just take an existing, max-level character through the new content each time, but for new players – or serial fresh-starters like yours truly – the path to the top, and to the latest stuff, looks increasingly daunting as the game gets older. That, and the bottom layers of the cake, made all those years ago, start to go stale. It’s a problem.

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