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Shadowlands pre-patch on October 13, 2020 introduced many changes to World of Warcraft, including an adjustment to levels, items, and stats. These changes make reaching a new level feel more meaningful while simultaneously making the leveling experience faster than before! 

Characters at level 120 became level 50 characters, and the level cap was raised to 60 with the Shadowlands launch. More information on these level changes can be found here: Explore the Updates Arriving with the Shadowlands Pre-Expansion Patch.

Looking for additional information on all the changes? Visit the Shadowlands Pre-Expansion Patch Notes blog post.

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Did World of Warcraft need a level squish?

Back in March of 2019, based on statements by Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas, I predicted the level squish in Shadowlands even though we didn’t know it would be Shadowlands yet. I should point out this was no feat of prognostication, as Ion hinted heavily that they were considering a serious overhaul to leveling and even mentioned squishing levels several times. It’s like predicting that your dog wants to go for a walk based on the dog pawing at the door — it’s not exactly much of a display of acumen.

I mention it to point out that we’ve known we were going to end up here for almost two years now, and yet it’s still a huge change to World of Warcraft that we’re somehow still surprised by how different the game looks. Characters that are currently level 120 will end up level 50 as soon as the pre-expansion patch for Shadowlands drops. And for a few weeks, the highest level attainable in WoW will be level 50 — characters in WoW Classic will technically outlevel characters in the retail game.

So it feels fair to ask — was this necessary? Was leveling so broken that we needed such a drastic solution? When we talked about how a level squish could work, we didn’t imagine they’d scale all of WoW’s current content, but they did. You can now level from 10 to 50 in either the original game or any of the current expansions, letting you experience an expansion’s full story.

With these changes, is it fair to say that Ion and the World of Warcraft development team have solved that problem of leveling not feeling meaningful anymore?

Leveling was broken and had to change

I think we have to admit up front, even if we argue that a level squish wasn’t necessary, something was. It wasn’t just a few disgruntled players saying that leveling in WoW didn’t feel meaningful anymore, it was the Game Director. And it must be admitted the sheer elegance of the new leveling system far exceeds solutions proposed by armchair developers like myself — the system is simple, it brings all of WoW’s content back to relevance, and does away with many of the problems people anticipated with the process. In short, while a level squish itself might not have been necessary, something was that needed to do what this has done.

Moreover, the way this has been implemented, each new expansion can go into the leveling rotation — after Shadowlands is no longer max level content, it can go into the pool of 10 to max level expansions and the next expansion can become the 60 to whatever-max-level-ends-up-being content. This continues the modular design of the new leveling system and allows for a smooth transition to each subsequent expansion.

Was a level squish the right solution?

But it is fair to say that a level squish wasn’t strictly speaking the only way Blizzard could have fixed leveling in WoW.  For example, the rest of the system could have been implemented, with all expansions and original WoW content (or at least the Cataclysm revamp of it) now scaling to level 120, and Shadowlands going from 120 to 125 or 120 to 130. There’s nothing intrinsically bad about being a level 120 or 130 character — numbers aren’t actually scary, and honestly, if you’re arguing that being level 120 is really high then why have a game that levels to 60 at all? Dungeons and Dragons levels to 20, and even in its most ambitious version the max level was 36 before you literally could decide to become a god. World of Warcraft will still be asking players to absorb a fairly high level count after the squish, why do it at all?

Part of it feels like it’s a callback to the original game, of course. We’re going back to 60 in Shadowlands because it’s familiar, because it was max level back in the day. There’s absolutely no reason, mechanically, why it had to be 60 and not 40 or 80 or any other number you’d choose. But while it is an arbitrary number choice, it’s one that had to be made.

Blizzard took the opportunity to squish the levels now, alongside all of these other changes. Once they made the call to change the leveling system, there were a lot of compelling reasons to change the leveling system — albeit ones that aren’t at all mechanically based.

But I think the squish was the right call

Now, I’m not sitting in Irvine with all the data the WoW team has, so I can’t really say whether players are that put-off by high levels. But for a new player coming into WoW, starting at level 1 and looking up at 119 levels to go until they can start to play the game with my friends, or make friends to run the new content with, I can understand why people would find that daunting. The psychological impact of that many levels for new players has to be considered. We’re used to it because we’ve been playing over the years, we’ve been here as each expansion lay down a new stretch of levels like train tracks to the endgame. But for a new player? I think it’s very fair to say that’s daunting.

In the end, I’d argue that the level system in WoW definitely needed a major overhaul, that the system we’re getting in Shadowlands fixes almost all of the problems leveling had, and that while the level squish itself may not have been strictly speaking a necessary one it comes along with much that was and is absolutely needed by the game. If World of Warcraft is to continue, leveling needed to be more consistent, more important, and more fun. If we drop 70 levels to achieve that, well, it’s a reasonably cost.

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Filed Under: Level 60, Level Squish, Level System, Leveling, Shadowlands

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World of Warcraft - What Level Will My Character Be After The Squish?

World of Warcraft'spre-patch level squish may still not have an official release date, but a ton of new details were just revealed about the upcoming Shadowlands pre-expansion content changes. In addition to some other new intel, players can now get a better understanding of exactly how the level squish will impact each of their characters when it arrives in the coming weeks.

The next WoW expansion features two pre-patches and the first one will bring a massive level squish that reduces the game's max level to 50 (it will jump up to 60 when Shadowlands launches next month). Up until now, players have been making a lot of predictions about how each level would scale down when the squish happened. A lot of the predictions were pretty close to accurate and Blizzard has now officially confirmed a level by level comparison for World of Warcraft players.

RELATED: World of Warcraft Shadowlands Pre-Patch Is Available To Pre-Download Now

Shadowlands is bringing some massive changes to the iconic MMO, but the level squish is one new feature that has really stolen the spotlight in a lot of ways. Every prior expansion has increased the maximum level by 5 or 10, so this squish is new territory for the game that sets an interesting stage going forward. The change also massively impacts how new characters and alts will experience Azeroth thanks to the use of Chromie Time for leveling.

As players start to consider where their alts who haven't made it up to level 120 will be in a few weeks time, they can consult this table to see the Battle for Azeroth to Shadowlands level conversion...

Battle for Azeroth level converted to Shadowlands Level

120 becomes 50

118–119 becomes 49

116–117 becomes 48

114–115 becomes 47

112–113 becomes 46

110–111 becomes 45

108–109 becomes 44

106–107 becomes 43

104–105 becomes 42

102–103 becomes 41

100–101 becomes 40

98–99 becomes 39

96–97 becomes 38

94–95 becomes 37

92–93 becomes 36

90–91 becomes 35

88–89 becomes 34

86–87 becomes 33

84–85 becomes 32

82–83 becomes 31

80–81 becomes 30

76–79 becomes 29

72–75 becomes 28

68–71 becomes 27

64–67 becomes 26

60–63 becomes 25

57–59 becomes 24

54–56 becomes 23

51–53 becomes 22

48–50 becomes 21

45–47 becomes 20

43–44 becomes 19

41–42 becomes 18

39–40 becomes 17

37–38 becomes 16

35–36 becomes 15

32–34 becomes 14

29–30 becomes 13

26–28 becomes 12

23–25 becomes 11

20–22 becomes 10

18–19 becomes 9

16–17 becomes 8

14–15 becomes 7

12–13 becomes 6

10–11 becomes 5

8–9 becomes 4

5–7 becomes 3

2–4 becomes 2

1 becomes 1

This explanation has been a long time in the works and should give players an idea of what sort of work they want to do on their unleveled alts in the coming week. There is still no release date for the pre-patch and the level squish, but many players are predicting it will arrive one week from tomorrow. If that's the case, players are running short on time to take advantage of the current 100% experience boost that is available in the game until the Shadowlands release date.

Be sure to check back in the coming weeks as more details about Shadowlands emerge. Until then, For the Horde!

World of Warcraft is available now for PC. At this point, World of Warcraft Shadowlands releases on October 26 or 27 (depending on time zone) for PC.

MORE: World of Warcraft - What Is The Threads of Fate Leveling System?

Source: Blizzard


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How World of Warcraft: Shadowlands' Level Squish Works

The upcoming eighth expansion for World of Warcraft is Shadowlands, which comes with many new features and content. One of the biggest changes coming to the game is that Shadowlands will feature a level squish. This means current World of Warcraft players will have their levels lowered, but leveling up is faster for newcomers. Essentially, World of Warcraft's level squish translates the current level numbers into a new system. Here's everything to know about the level squish before Shadowlands releases.

After a delayed release, the pre-patch for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is now live. This means players can begin a number of steps to familiarize themselves with the changes and features of the latest expansion. One of these changes, of course, is the new level squish.

Related: World of Warcraft Shadowlands Delay: Why Fans Are So Happy

The level squish means that existing World of Warcraft players will have their character levels reduced to a new scale. For instance, characters currently maxed at level 120 will have their level reduced to 50. However, this won't change any of the characters' power or stats. Instead, it's simply a change to keep the player levels in the new Shadowlands expansion from growing too high.

How WoW's Level Squish Affects Shadowlands

The level squish eventually translates to about a 2:1 scale, but that's not the case for low and mid levels. Sometimes, the discrepancy between new and old levels are only 2-3 levels, while sometimes it's much greater. Alongside the level squish, there are are also level speed changes. This means players will level up in Shadowlands about 60-70% faster on average.

However, after level 50, the leveling speed will slow down. Additionally, players shouldn't expect to level up as quickly as they did withShadowlands beta characters. This is because levels 50-60 are new to the World of Warcraft expansion, and will add more power and new growth to characters in Shadowlands. Basically, all the level squish and speed changes mean that players can get to the current max more quickly, before then getting into new leveling territory at 50-60 (which would've been something like 120-140 using the old leveling system).

When World of Warcraft: Shadowlands releases, it will have several noticeable changes. Thankfully, the pre-patch has now released, so players can experiment with some of these changes already. The level squish is really just a way to simplify the current WoW leveling system before numbers grow too high. It's important to remember that while the character's level may change, their power won't.

Next: How Shadowlands Can Bring Back A Classic World Of Warcraft Hero


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Level squish wow

WoW: Shadowlands Pre-Patch Level Squish – What Will Your Level Be

With the upcoming WoW: Shadowlands expansion the level cap is getting halved with a level squish. That means the highest level for players to reach will no longer be level 120, but level 60. Because of this everyone will see their character levels dropped to fit the new paradigm, so many have wondered what exactly their level will be after the pre-patch lands in a couple weeks or so.

WoW: Shadowlands level squish breakdown.

Below is a full chart of what to expect come the WoW: Shadowlands pre-patch, which will usher in the level squish. All stats on your gear will also be squished down, but on the bright-side you’ll only need to clear one expansion to go from level 10 to level 50! If you’d like to see this table and the other updates coming in the Shadowlands pre-patch check out Blizzard’s official post here.

  • BfA: 120 -> SL: 50
  • BfA: 118-119 -> SL: 49
  • BfA: 116-117 -> SL: 48
  • BfA: 114-115 -> SL: 47
  • BfA: 112-113 -> SL: 46
  • BfA: 110-111 -> SL: 45
  • BfA: 108-109 -> SL: 44
  • BfA: 106-107 -> SL: 43
  • BfA: 104-105 -> SL: 42
  • BfA: 102-103 -> SL: 41
  • BfA: 100-101 -> SL: 40
  • BfA: 98-99 -> SL: 39
  • BfA: 96-97 -> SL: 38
  • BfA: 94-95 -> SL: 37
  • BfA: 92-93 -> SL: 36
  • BfA: 90-91 -> SL: 35
  • BfA: 88-89 -> SL: 34
  • BfA: 86-87 -> SL: 33
  • BfA: 84-85 -> SL: 32
  • BfA: 82-83 -> SL: 31
  • BfA: 80-81 -> SL: 30
  • BfA: 76-79 -> SL: 29
  • BfA: 72-75 -> SL: 28
  • BfA: 68-71 -> SL: 27
  • BfA: 64-67 -> SL: 26
  • BfA: 60-63 -> SL: 25
  • BfA: 57-59 -> SL: 24
  • BfA: 54-56 -> SL: 23
  • BfA: 51-53 -> SL: 22
  • BfA: 48-50 -> SL: 21
  • BfA: 45-47 -> SL: 20
  • BfA: 42-44 -> SL: 19
  • BfA: 41-42 -> SL: 18
  • BfA: 39-40 -> SL: 17
  • BfA: 37-38 -> SL: 16
  • BfA: 35-36 -> SL: 15
  • BfA: 32-34 -> SL: 14
  • BfA: 29-30 -> SL: 13
  • BfA: 26-28 -> SL: 12
  • BfA: 23-25 -> SL: 11
  • BfA: 20-22 -> SL: 10
  • BfA: 18-19 -> SL: 9
  • BfA: 16-17 -> SL: 8
  • BfA: 14-15 -> SL: 7
  • BfA: 12-13 -> SL: 6
  • BfA: 10-11  -> SL: 5
  • BfA: 8-9 -> SL: 4
  • BfA: 5-7 -> SL: 3
  • BfA: 2-4 -> SL: 2
  • BfA: 1 -> SL: 1
How Leveling 1-50 Works in Shadowlands - Chromie Time Guide!

Shadowlands Leveling Changes After Level Squish

Blizzard has reworked the leveling experience from the ground up in Shadowlands and this section highlights the main changes:

  • Levels will be squished down and the new maximum level cap will be 60.
  • Overall, leveling from Level 1 to 50 will be more than twice as fast as before, which is why Heirlooms no longer provide Experience bonuses in Shadowlands.
  • The vast majority of leveling potions is retiring, so do not forget to get rid of them before the new expansion hits.
  • A new starting zone called Exile's Reach has been added and is mandatory for new players. Veteran players can simply opt out of it and begin at Level 1 in the starting zone for their race.
  • Death Knights and Demon Hunters will start at lower levels.
  • A new feature called Timewalking Campaigns allows Veteran players to select a previous expansion for leveling in the Level 10-50 range before heading into the Shadowlands.

Icy Veins' Leveling Guides

For a complete set of leveling guides, please refer to our Leveling Hub.

Numbers will be tweaked down in Shadowlands and this includes levels. All characters that are currently at Level 120 will have Level 50 in the Shadowlands pre-patch. The new cap is Level 60. It is important to note that the squish will not impact your ability to solo old content and raids.

Death's Due

Exile's Reach (Level 1-10)

Exile's Reach is an all-new starting experience available to both veteran and new players.

The new experience is crafted to teach you a variety of skills needed to be successful in Azeroth and beyond. As you make your way through Exile's Reach, you will learn all about fundamentals of playing World of Warcraft, while also diving into some of the most important mechanics for your chosen class.

New Player Experience Shore

Hunters will learn how to tame and stable their pets, Warriors will learn the essentials of a good charge, and so on.

Exile's Reach culminates in an AI-controlled mini-dungeon designed for 1 to 5 players.

New Player Experience Dungeon

Leveling has been sped up, and will be more than twice as fast than before. The new Heirloom set that will replace all the previous Heirlooms is called Regalia of the Fabled Adventurers and consists of 7 items. Heirlooms will provide the following unique Heirloom set bonuses instead of Experience bonuses:

  • 2-Piece Set Bonus: Rested Experience consumed is reduced by 30%.
  • 3-Piece Set Bonus: Increases your out-of-combat regeneration in the outdoors, normal dungeons, and battlegrounds.
  • 4-Piece Set Bonus: Gaining a level triggers Burst of Knowledge, dealing Holy damage to nearby enemies and granting you 40% primary stat for 2 minutes. Defeating additional enemies extends this effect, up to 2 additional minutes.
  • 6-Piece Set Bonus: Rested Experience consumed is reduced by an additional 30%.

Elixir of Ancient Knowledge IconElixir of Ancient Knowledge, Elixir of the Rapid Mind IconElixir of the Rapid Mind, and Excess Potion of Accelerated Learning IconExcess Potion of Accelerated Learning will no longer work in Shadowlands.

Draught of Ten Lands IconDraught of Ten Lands added in Battle for Azeroth will continue to offer the 10% Experience bonus up to Level 50.

Monk's Peak of Serenity Enlightenment IconEnlightenment buff will be changed to granting rested Experience in Shadowlands.

Heirlooms Disabled

New Starting Levels for Select Classes

Demon Hunters will start at Level 8 in Shadowlands and go through their standard leveling experience in Mardum (down from Level 98).

Death Knights will start at Level 8 and 10 respectively (down from Level 55).

  • The new generation of Allied Race Death Knights starts at Level 10.
  • The old races that go through the Lich King intro start at Level 8.

Allied Races start at Level 10 and do not need to complete a starting zone.

Timewalking Campaigns are a new feature that lets you pick a previous expansion (campaign) that you would like to select for leveling in the 10-50 range. New players do not have access to Timewalking Campaigns and must play through Exile's Reach and Battle for Azeroth first to reach Level 50 with at least one character, before they classify as Veteran players and can seek out Chromie on subsequent alts.

Chromie Timeline Select

Chromie can be found near embassies in Stormwind and Orgrimmar.

Chromie Time Alliance Location
Chromie Time Horde Location

Talking to her lets you select a Timewalking Campaign (expansion) for leveling. Choosing an expansion will make your character receive all the accompanying quests. If you change your mind later, you can return to Chromie anytime to select a different Timewalking Campaign.


Campaigns Available from Chromie

Chromie offers the following campaigns (previous WoW expansions) for leveling:

  • The Cataclysm: Civilizations clashed across Azeroth as people from all walks of life fought to survive after Deathwing's destructive Shattering. Aid Azeroth's many denizens and learn the history of our great world, to ensure we do not repeat past mistakes!
  • Portal to Outland: We were not prepared for the Dark Portal to open a second time, but heroes answered the call and stepped bravely into the shattered world of Outland. Conquer the ancient and dying world to stop the Burning Legion from invading Azeroth!
  • Fall of the Lich King: When Arthas Menethil threatened our world as the Lich King, all of Azeroth's heroes united to destroy the undead forces growing restless in Northrend. Answer the Argent Crusade's call to disrupt Arthas's plans, and put his undead scourge on ice!
  • Wilds of Pandaria: Untouched by war for over 10,000 years, the Horde and Alliance fight to control Pandaria's peaceful shores, but a dark secret lives within the earth. The factions of Azeroth ignored the Pandaren's warnings that emotions manifest in dangerous ways in their mystic land. Pierce the mists and explore the beauty of Pandaria!
  • The Iron Horde: Traveling into the past to amass an orcish army was reckless, even for Garrosh Hellscream. The savage homeworld of orcs and draenei was not so easily conquered. Fight alongside the great orcs and draenei of lore!
  • The Legion Invasion: Repelling the Burning Legion's demonic invasion required great sacrifice and every vestige of power we could get our hands on. We did what we must to protect Azeroth's world soul. Claim a powerful artifact, establish your order's presence on the Broken Isles, and stop the demonic invasion!
  • 01 Sep. 2020: Fixed Veteran player level requirement after the squish.
  • 14 Aug. 2020: Renamed Timewalking Journeys into Campaigns.
  • 06 Aug. 2020: Updated with new Heirloom set bonuses, potion changes, and renamed Chromie Time.
  • 16 Jul. 2020: Added further information on the leveling squish and Chromie Time.
  • 02 Nov. 2019: Page added.

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