One Week Later, Blizzard Still Doesn’t Know Why World Of Warcraft’s Levelling System Is Borked

One Week Later, Blizzard Still Doesn’t Know Why World Of Warcraft’s Levelling System Is Borked

World of Warcraft’s community is not exactly overflowing with happy campers (or wildlife punchers-and-looters, as it were) right now. Ever since last week’s Battle For Azeroth pre-patch, the game has been suffering from a slew of issues. Now Blizzard has admitted it doesn’t know exactly what’s causing them.

The biggest problem is the game’s levelling curve, which got thrown off by Blizzard’s decision to “squish” the game’s stats so that numbers wouldn’t be preposterously large any more.

This seemingly innocuous change, however, rippled through countless systems and features — some of which haven’t been touched in years — waking dormant bugs and turning enemies into masochistic damage sponges. Last week, WoW game director Ion Hazzikostas said he expected things to be significantly better in a few days’ time.

Unfortunately, some baddies continue to shrug off the slings and arrows of outrageously powerful video game characters. Yesterday, Hazzikostas said in a forum post that while the feel and pacing of levelling up is a “top priority” for the team, they haven’t been able to find the root of the problem yet.

“[We] genuinely don’t know where exactly the problem lies, and we don’t want to make a blind blanket change that actually misses the real source of the problem,” he wrote.

Initially, Hazzikostas and the rest of the team assumed they’d bungled some stat squish calculations, but after pouring over raw data, they couldn’t find “any clear anomalies”. They do, however, agree that combat feels too slow right now, especially when players are between levels 60 and 80. Levelling up is taking “15% longer per level, on average,” he wrote.

Right now, the team is running a series of targeted tests to answer a whole mess of questions.

“We want to understand why the numbers are off and fix the underlying cause,” Hazzikostas wrote. “Were stats on gear reduced too much? Some aspect of creature armour or other combat calculations? Are our baseline values accurate, but the shape of the scaling curve wrong such that it’s particularly far off the mark in the 60-80 range?”

“The current state is not the game experience we intended, and it’s something we will fix,” he wrote, promising “further updates as specific changes roll out… in the coming days.”


  • its broken because Activision wants them to sell character boosts. seems pretty simple to me.

    • Unfortunately it’s not just broken for levelling it’s dodgy at 110 too. There are mobs I was killing regularly for the world quests (Felhide and Infernal brimstone ones for example) that now take easily three or four times as long to kill.

      • That’s more due to the fact our artifact weapons are now essentially stat sticks. A lot of our power in legion came from our artifact weapons. Blizzard said it would be like this when the PTR for 8.0 was made available.

        8.0 is also designed around BFA stat levels. So right now our main stats are not designed around endgame legion but instead the beginning of BFA. So naturally, stuff feels slow. Same thing happened with Legion pre patch 7.0

        • Makes sense – intuitively – re: 110, but that doesn’t explain the wheel-clamp on pre-Legion character power while levelling.

          There’s something else at play that has nothing at all to do with artifacts.

        • That may be, but it’s horrible design. If I’m finding it annoying killing mobs in mythic raiding gear I hate to think what it’d be like for a casual player. Why the hell would you make life more difficult for people for the two weeks rather than going hey “nice little bonus your life will be easier for two weeks”. They could have removed the legion lego restrictions (or at least loosened them) or just nerfed us 70% instead of 90%.

          Doing the exact same content that a week before was a breeze has become such a chore that many people refuse to do it. My guild has become a ghost town. Everyone basically left a day or two after the patch and plans to come back once BFA actually releases. They stopped raiding (up to Mythic Agrammar), running Mythic dungeons, doing BGs, WQs everything.

          • As a casual player, its fine. Darkshore WQ gear is 210, if anything on some classes i feel OP. Had to get the 210 weapons form my melee classes first though, especially the rogue

          • I’m surprised at that. On my main that’s about 250 ilvl I find some of the mobs a grind now. And on the alts around 220 ilvl it’s downright painful.

        • I hate my rogue since Legion. It’s just not fun anymore. But that’s my experience, obviously some people like the changes.

          • Just curious, what spec are you/were you playing. Assassination is amazing in my opinion, fits the fantasy so good, and it does a but load of deeps and solid in PVP.

          • Assassination is OP in BFA, At least it has been in beta. You can easily one shot people off 1 or two stuns

          • I wouldn’t say ONE shot but you can quite easily drop someone in a single rotation that is for sure. All I know is that I am having quite a bit of fun in Battlegrounds at the moment.

          • I was combat, now called outlaw. I hate the whole “roll the dice” mechanic when it comes to DPS. And I miss shadowstep, killing spree and other abilities. Though it looks like killing spree is back now so that’s something.

            And I dislike the “gunslinger” approach they’ve taken to the character “story”.

          • Yeah I found Outlaw to be pretty trash. You should totally give Assassination or Subtlety a go. Both just so much fun.

          • I tried one of them (can’t remember which now) and the rotation was beyond ridiculous so I gave up 😛

            I’ll probably look into it again once BFA is actually active and we start getting to max level and decent gear.

          • @skrybe Yeah Subtlety was a nightmare for but still pretty fun, just too many buttons. I think I counted and I had like 14 buttons on my hot bar that I would be actively using, switched to assassination and that number dropped to about 8 lol.

          • @benredbeard: That’d probably be it then. I just remember thinking that it was way too many buttons to use and there was no way I’d get them in the “right order”. I’m not a fan of 3 or 4 button rotations, but it was just too many.

  • It reminded me of old school leveling rates… Which is probably why a friend and I didn’t realise how slow it was at first honestly, having spent an ungodly amount of time leveling characters in vanilla/BC, etc.

    • In fairness they re-did levelling (experience gained/required, mob scaling, etc) just recently, making it much slower than it was before.
      The “15% slower” is saying it’s (on average) 15% slower than the already slow as shit new levelling system.

      • Yeah, but the levelling speed was stupidly fast at that point, questing just felt broken, you’d out-level a zone about 1/4 into the zone’s story.

        This 15% thing is a storm in a teacup, imho.

        • Not really, it’s a change that was unintended so it shouldn’t have happened. If it was 1 or 2% you could write it off as nothing, but fifteen percent is a lot. And that’s if you have heirlooms. If you’re an unlucky bugger trying to level from scratch with no help it’s gonna be a slow, slow grind.

        • Not at all. Blizzard themselves have admitted the 60-80 levelling bracket is broken and they want to improve it. Just because it does not matter to you, Does not mean its not allowed to matter to others.

  • ah the fallacy of trying to edit decade old code base with millions of lines of code. I won’t be surprised if X months down the track they find another starter bag scenario. somebody somewhere hardcoded the resistance / strength of the mobs

    • Not to mention they make mobs scale against players (within a range) now so there could be some weird interactions there.

  • Guys the game is over a decade old let it rest. Put it out to pasture.
    There are better games out there

    • Better games in general? Sure. Better MMOs? There really, honestly aren’t. Every MMO I’ve tried in the last few years has caused me to re-sub to WoW within a few weeks of trying it.

      FF14, GW2, ESO, BDO, TERA, SWTOR, Skyforge, B&S, Neverwinter, Rift, EVE, Wildstar… they’re all lacking in critical areas, have introduced glaring drawbacks that offset their unique advantages, or they do almost as well at everything else… but with less polish and none of the history.

      The MMO gold rush is over, and out of the ashes, not a single WoW-killer MMO has emerged.

      • 100% agree I have literally tried em all (I feel like a Pokemon master for MMO’s). None have got that sweet spot for balancing between PVE content and PVP.

  • The key point of all this is that the mob health is the same at level 60 as it is at 110….or at least it was, haven’t seen if they’ve fixed that part of it at least.

    I played from start of Legion all the way through to about a month ago. Stopped 2 weeks before pre-patch to have a bit of a break, was intending to come back and go nuts with the pre-patch content, hoping for something like they had in Legion pre-patch.

    Instead it’s a huge letdown of time gated content so I haven’t bothered to log back in….I probably should this week though to do the quests on 1 toon and then wait for BFA release.

    I considered continuing to level my void elf warlock but with the leveling issues there’s no point. Warlocks were already slow to level, can’t imagine how bad it is now.

    • I agree with most of what you said except the levelling. Warlocks weren’t slow. I found it the second faster class (after a hunter) to level. Pet tank, solid DPS, high survivability. Win!

      • I’m going by feedback from a guildie. 5 of us all leveled an alt at the same time, warlock was the slowest to kill anything out of the entire group. Hunter was the fastest. I was on my rogue thinking that it was taking a bit too long to kill stuff, then I help the warlock for a bit and they were struggling to keep up. Couldn’t do much more than set up a couple dots before things died.

        • Ah I see, it depends on the spec you use too. If you’re using a dot type warlock (affliction probably) you should be dotting everything you can reach and killing ten mobs at a time rather than trying to nuke down one or two quickly. Destro I was nuking stuff quickly.

          It can also vary a lot depending on gear, if you started alts from zero there’s a huge difference between found/quest gear and heirloom gear. And depending on when you did it enchants could make a big difference too. At one point when I was leveling alts I worked out the best possible chants and gems and applied them to heirlooms. It was a ridiculous performance boost.

          • We’ve all been playing wow for years, so yes we were kitted out in full heirlooms. Not sure what spec she was running, possibly demonology. It was quite a drastic difference between her kill times and the rest of us. Before you say it – yes, she’s a competent player.

          • Fair enough I didn’t know whether that was the case so I figured I’d mention it. And I know a couple experienced players who actually prefer to level alts without heirlooms because they like the feeling of getting new gear which you miss out on with heirlooms. So it could have been like that too.

            I find destro to be the most “nuke a mob quickly” since you’re using big hitters more than dots. Demo was probably next fastest, and affliction was the slowest in my experience (but great when you had lots of mobs and/or mobs that last a long time).

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