WoW's Warlords of Draenor expansion is introducing a few features to tempt back longtime fans, like its one-time-use instant level 90. Blizzard senior game designer Steve Burke recently explained how that function is engineered to help people get their friends back into the game.
"As the game has gone on and we’ve created more content, the delta between the player who’s been playing for a long time and someone who’s coming back into the game is becoming bigger and bigger," Burke told GameSpot. "It just felt that this was the right time to bring people back to the same point.
"Expansions are big events, people come back to the game for expansions because they want to play with their friends. And people who are still playing want their friends to come back. But there’s always this problem of 'well, I'm still level 85, or 80.' Some people just take an expansion off. (But now) everybody is at the same point, everybody is at the same content, so let's just started."
On the other hand, this could lead to the drawback of bringing players up to the full level before they know how to allocate and use their skills ideally. PvP designer Brian Holinka added that to make sure more skilled players can find others of their approximate skill level without being thrown off by the level numbers, Heroic-level dungeon raids will be roped behind Silver rankings in the Proving Grounds.
"You’ll still be able to get into dungeons with others, it’s not going to be a stiff arm to the content," he said, "but it’s going to make it so that those veteran players aren’t inundated with people they feel they have to retrain, and it’s not going to dumb down the game too much for them. But also for the new players they’re not going to be intimidated by these veteran players who’ll just be shouting at them the whole time."
Blizzard hasn't set a date for the expansion yet, but we know it will hit by December 20. In the meantime pre-orders are open, and that will let you boost to level 90 to practice your skills before the expansion raises the new cap to 100.