I’ve heard it from a number of sources, people saying that Blizzard should have stuck to the normal 10 levels per expansion. They set their own precedent with Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, why change it now? My thought: because they could. As well, I believe that they made the right choice.
For one thing, space is at a premium. At this point in the game, it’d be pretty hard to pull out another continent to quest in. I know it’s not really a requirement, as we found out in Cataclysm – just put the zones around the world in some of the “dead spaces” that had existed before. I don’t think that they could have fit 10 levels worth of stuff into the zones that we got. Yes, the experience could have been adjusted accordingly, but after what we had in BC and WotLK and having a whole continent full of zones, I think it would have been a mistake. I like the fact that the Cataclysm zones only gave one or two levels at most, and didn’t seem rushed or too long either.
Whether it was five or ten levels, for a majority of people the game begins once you reach the cap. In most cases, people blow by everything just to get to the top and start gearing for heroics and raids. I’ve seen it where people don’t even start questing at all until they reach the level cap, and level through dungeons so they can make money by completing quests later. For a fair amount of people I’ve spoken to, the game doesn’t really start until they’re raiding.
I remember hearing an interview prior to Cataclysm coming out, and one of the reasons that Blizzard decided to only do five levels was just so it didn’t seem so big. If you have to get to level 100 in a future expansion, it’ll be a bit daunting to start out at level one. If they can get the same amount of game, the same amount of sheer awesomeness into fewer levels, I’m all for it. Fortunately with the amount of options available for leveling, you can do something different with every alt you level.
Currently, I’m leveling my Shaman alt through Outland. Going back, I wish that it was a five level expansion, but at the time I know I was fighting to catch up to the rest of the guild who had already gone on and reached level 70 already. There is a lot of great things in the old zones, but it was just lots of the same thing over and over again.
In the end, I believe that Blizzard didn’t give us just five levels. They gave us 65 levels with the redesign of the Old World on Azeroth. I’ve said before how much I enjoy the new leveling zones, and I just can’t say it enough. I’m perfectly fine with only five “new” levels, because of all the work that was put in to the rest of the game.