So in case you missed it, Blizzard announced they are lowering the requirements of mounts. The standard 60% speed mount will be available at lvl 20, the 100% epic mount will be available at lvl 40 and your standard flying mount will be available at level 60. The speed increase for the standard flyer is being increased from 60 to 150%. Epic flying and cold weather flying remain the same but this still has a huge impact on the leveling game.
While being bored at work I decided to assault my brain with some mindless dribble that is comments on wow.com posts. I was not disappointed.
Everything from demanding gold back, to blizzard is making the game too easy, to charging that the next step is giving mounts to level 1 characters or simply starting everyone at 80. Mmm drama. So what is my take on all of this? Well as an altaholic I should be thrilled right? Well to an extent I am... but since I only have one character that will fully benefit from these changes (and likely will be at least 30 by the time the change goes through) . Even though I have paid for epic ground training on all but one character, flying on 6 characters, and epic flying on 2, I don't feel slighted in the least.
There has been a lot of talk on blogs about how WoW is in decline and people are quitting WoW because it is too easy or because they don't want to level another alt. Well people don't think about all of the new players coming into the game. WoW's subscription numbers have been rising and you don't honestly think they are all level 80 now do you? I recently got my wife into playing and deleted my 22 warlock to create a druid to play with her. After leveling her to 48 I deleted the druid and remade a warlock.
The reason I mention this is because I noticed there were a lot of low characters running around. What I noticed was that there were a large number of characters in the low level zones. Sure maybe not as many as you would see in icecrown but still a decent amount. Also I'd say about 1/3 of the players we ran into were actually leveling their first characters. Indeed this trend followed into outlands where the instance groups typically only had one or two death knights.
These changes that Blizzard made help not only the new players progress faster but also get people leveling alts more. Ideally this mix will help train new players so that when they get to 80 they aren't entirely useless. Overall though this change doesn't affect the difficulty in the game. This change is purely in decreasing the time it takes to level by reducing travel time. There were a lot of complaints when the mount requirement was reduced from level 40 to 30. This turned out to be an awesome change because it made getting groups for instances like Scarlet monastery for alliance viable.
I remember the long hauls on foot to get all the way to scarlet monastery while the rest of the party sat around in battlegrounds or stormwind, because they didn't even have the flight plan for southshore, and it would take them too long to get there. Lowering the mount requirement made it easier to get people to make the journey to the stone. Now this change may make other instances more viable as well such as wailing caverns or shadowfang keep. Additionally I can relate recently to having to make the barrens run on my baby warlock for the succubus quest. On a mount that run would have taken half the time!
Does that decrease the difficulty of the quest? Because it took less time to run? Was it hard for me to auto run to the barrens for 20 minutes? NO! Having a mount at a lower level doesn't suddenly make the quests easier to actually do. The mobs are the same level, have the same abilities, and the same drop rate. This just makes it easier to get back to turn them in.
The faster new players can level through the content the sooner they will be there to heal/dps or tank for you. This is another reason why when you are in a group with a new player you should take a little time to explain what they are doing wrong in a way that doesn't cause them to quit. You don't want that noob dpsing in a heroic? Well maybe he wouldn't be a noob if you had showed him to use aspect of the hawk instead of aspect of the viper when you were with him on an alt.