Let us fast forward a few months (I’m being generous with the estimates here) to the launch of Blizzard’s funky new WoW panda-themed expansion, Mists of Pandaria. There will be plenty of new stuff for old, new and returning players alike to do. A new race (pandas!), a new class (monk!), pet battles (pokemon!) and an entire new continent of zones (pandaria!).
So how many people will really want to roll a character with the new race and/or class and level from 1-80 through Kalimdor/Other Continent, Outland, Northrend, and Cataclysm before being able to check out Pandaria?
In previous expansions, this has also been an issue but not to the same extent that it will for MoP. In TBC, players were still generally expected to be hardcore enough to not mind powering through the older levels with a new blood elf or draenei, plus the races had their own new fancy starting zones. In Wrath, Death Knights started at level 55 so only had to level through Outland before they could join the Northrend party. In Cataclysm, the vanilla WoW continents had been streamlined and updated so there was plenty of new low level content to see, plus xp in Outland and Northrend was boosted.
But this time, even if Blizzard provide a new 1-20 zone for pandas, there is a lot of content to get through before people can explore the rest of a level 85+ Pandaria. So I wonder whether, as with death knights, they will provide a higher level starting option. Perhaps the best solution would be to let players choose if they want to start their new pandas or monks at level 1 or level 80, but that might require two different sets of starting zones for the pandas, and it isn’t clear what sort of starting zone the non-panda monks might get — whether they’ll stick with their current racial zones or provide a new class based sequence as per death knights.
Would you want to level a new panda or new monk from 1-80 before taking it to Pandaria?