World of Warcraft’s free-to-level-20 edition is about to get a ton more content

    
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Sometimes it just makes sense.

With next week’s World of Warcraft: Shadowlands pre-patch, the overall value of the game is about to take a jump up. As we noted yesterday, Blizzard running a sale on certain character services right now and rolling Battle for Azeroth into the base subscription (meaning that you don’t have to buy it if you have already).

But there’s more good news: If you haven’t paid for the game at all, the whole game will be level squishing itself down and the free starter edition accounts can still level up to 20. This means that those accounts will get access to more content and character progression than before, as this would be roughly equal to level 45 right now.

Speaking of the pre-patch, fan site Icy Veins did some fun nerdy analysis of the recent patch notes to see which class is getting the most attention in terms of patch word count. According to this piece, Shadow Priests, Enhancement Shamans, Balance Druids, and Unholy Death Knights are due to receive the most attention, with Frost Mages and Survival Hunters at the bottom of the chart.

Source: Icy Veins, #2
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Ben Stone

For Balance druid its unwanted attention. They just need to delete what they have done and roll back.

EvasiveDice
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EvasiveDice

So their just trying to keep up with ffxiv now. Let’s note ffxiv’ s model now goes to level 60 and heavensward. For free. With no time limits etc. Warcraft is going to have to step it’s game up a little and stop surving off it’s IP from years past when it was popular. I’m kinda sad Warcraft wasn’t offering more honestly. We have alot of alternatives for free. This isn’t big headlines their offering a portion of there game for free. Current wow is good for a romp around at max level and some raids, pvp for maybe 3 weeks tops before it’s stale. No real side activities. (Zandalari shaman here) but if them offering a “meh” end game and then saying the first chunk is free. Is making headlines then I’m super safe because there is ALOT in terms of free right now and content that are bigger jumps ahead of Warcraft “free”.

Apridise
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Apridise

I totally agree with this, as someone who used to play ffxiv and didn’t want to sub anymore, the f2p to level 60 got me to create a character for playing every once in a while when I have the time!

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Bruno Brito

I’m a huge F2P twinker, and this news makes me so happy, actually. Level 10 twinks are really limited. Level 20 will be wild.

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styopa

“Survival hunters at the bottom of the chart”

This surprises no Survival Hunters, ever.

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Giggilybits

At level 100 they should have had sideway levels. New subclass, Heroclass or something along those lines. I guess you have to use your imagination on why you went from a level 120 to a level 60.

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Raidervc

Word count does not translate to impact though does it? The content of the words could be incremental passive differences for one class and robust mechanic changes for another and a “word count analysis” does nothing to differentiate these.

I know Icy Veins is basically a video game fan site, but uh…these seems like kind of an intuitive thing.

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styopa

I don’t think anyone is claiming this is conclusive or definitive, but I think most people would reasonably intuit that more words = more explanation = more stuff changing.

To be clear, though, this just means the QUANTITY of the changes, not the impact.
I mean “(X class/spec) gets +1000% to all damage” is few words, but certainly more impactful on gameplay than “(X class) gets some a tweak that means when they take damage they get an inconsequential buff and oh by the way it also means their eye color changes for a variable amount of time proportional to the damage”
The latter is clearly more words, the former more impactful.
Each represents one “change”.

latorn
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Kickstarter Donor
latorn

For a second I thought this was going to be big news like when FFXIV recently increased their unlimited trial to level 60, and included the first expansion for free. But then I remembered: its Activision-Blizzard lol.

EvasiveDice
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EvasiveDice

Ha! I deff mentioned this in a comment and then read down and seen this. Like right? Warcraft’s “generous” free content expansion deff pales into comparison to ffxiv. I’m really sad reading some comments get exited over warcraft’s free expansion of their content. I’m like….uhhh. y’all obviously don’t play alot of other games or something lmao. Just….no. guys. Look at what’s going on in the gaming scene right now and you’ll see this isn’t big news. This is sad news for this topic.

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PanagiotisLial1

I feel weird of these level squishes and stat squishes in the past. I mean they should have had designed the leveling the way they wanted from start – why change stats and level caps so much? I dont think any other game done this so much.

By the way, curious, what will be the level DKs start at now?

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Aluminum Man

Designed the levelling the way they wanted from the start? You mean in 2004 they should have known exactly how they would want the game to work in 2020?

I mean, honestly, they did – the level progression has been “Add more levels on the top” since launch, right? It’s just now, 16 years and many expansions later, that they have decided they need to revamp the whole system. It seems like a smart move to me.

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styopa

PanagiotisLial1 still had has a point.

Granted, nobody knew in vanilla what a monster WoW was going to become, so they can (maybe) given a pass at not ‘future proofing’ their product. (I say maybe, because WoW was very MUCH not the first RPG, nor even MMO…that these things could last a decade or more, have expansions, and be prepared for things like item/power scaling and character growth beyond the current iteration was NOT something that should have surprised anyone…)

But by TBC, the expansion track was already being laid out for at least one, if not 2 more after. And THAT EXPANSIONS WERE A THING was absolutely clear.

Blizzard’s colossally short-sighted inability to ever future-proof ANY expansion subsequently is frankly and repeatedly idiotic.

Let’s remember this isn’t the first stat squish, either. They did it at least once (twice?) already, and we’re still at stupid huge numbers, and a power-scaling curve that is practically asymptotic within an expansion….hell, even BLIZZARD doesn’t understand their own math (https://www.wowhead.com/news=317487.4/rextroy-explains-how-sockets-in-pvp-make-you-weaker-due-to-scaling)

It’s an obvious strawman for you to assert he/she meant “they should have known exactly how they would want the game to work in 2020”. Nobody’s saying they should have known exactly. I’d even venture to say that EVEN IF they had planned – like nearly any pen and paper RPG had since the 1970s – planned for long-duration scaling and character growth, by 2020 even such a system probably would have needed revamping. In fact, I’d say it’s almost certain.

But the fact that we’ve had this EXACT problem repeatedly? That’s incompetence, no other excuse.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I think they definitely should’ve known how badly the leveling curve could go wrong. We sure knew: EverQuest by itself had launched eight expansions on top of its base game by the time WoW came out. Blizz just stuck its head in the sand like usual.

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styopa

Holy crap, I didn’t realize EQ had 8 out by then. Nice factoid.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

It was wild times! SOE was relentless with content. And I only saw the first few – left for DAOC at first op. But even then the powercreep was a problem.

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styopa

Ha ha, honestly, they still are.
EQ2 has TWENTY ONE expansions (https://eq2.fandom.com/wiki/Category:Expansions_and_Adventure_Packs) and AFAIK still adding them.
EQ1 has 26, one released as as recently as 2019. I think that’s still going as well. LOL

Compare that to WoW’s 7 (soon 8?)….over the same timeframe, basically.

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Axetwin .

By this point, the base should be level 50 (actual level 50, not the converted after adjusting for inflation) and the core game, MAYBE TBC or even Wrath.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Was bracing myself for something like this. Its a little weird of a placement, and really I don’t see a major problem with just pressing the button for ‘lv 50′ (leaving any ’60’ in the future to require current expansion purchases, but it ain’t nothing.

I’m reading that it might be the case that instead of say, a human starting in human lands only being able to do Elwynn Forest, Westfall, and some of Redridge before hitting their Lv 20 wall, they could do ‘all Classic (Cata)’ zones but scaled to Lv 20 so limited rewards, and other regions either aren’t available (later Cata; its being designed to slot ‘after’ the base zones) or have limited zones you can push into (the other expansions).

So in a way they might be giving away the ‘base’ game for free, but still greatly limiting, while greatly opening up the experience otherwise. Again, kind of wishing they just went for it and Lv 50ed. A nice one-up on FFXIV if they did. Maybe later as they more fully transition to the new model (as ‘Lv 50’ might suggest giving away BFA technically during its cycle).