World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Interview

Instead of going the usual route and raising the game's level cap, the upcoming Shadowlands expansion for World of Warcraft will cut it in half. And if you'd like to know how exactly this so-called level squash will work and what it will mean for the MMORPG's leveling system and class design, you should check out this recent Eurogamer interview with the game's producer Michael Bybee and lead engineer Patrick Magruder. A few sample questions:

So players retain all of their talents and skills?

Michael Bybee: So, separately, we are making adjustments to the classes. This one isn't a big class revamp like we did for Legion but, instead, refocusing around the core fantasy of those classes.

So a talent revamp?

Michael Bybee: There will probably be updates to talents. We're still working through all of those particulars - we don't have a lot of the details to talk about here. But the key piece is: if I log on to the new expansion, day one, after I was playing Battle for Azeroth, I will still be able to do all of the same content, all of the same raid content. I'll still be able to go back and farm old raids for transmogs. I'll be able to do the same stuff.

But the builds may change a little bit.

Michael Bybee: Maybe a little bit.

Patrick Magruder: The buttons might change. As Michael Mentioned, we're specifically focusing on the class fantasy. It's more likely you're going to have some new buttons to play with. It'll be a lot of returning classics. Paladins are going to have auras again and shamans are going to have more totems to play with. Those are just some examples. Things might be pulled back out of the talent tree and put back into the mainline for the class, and then new talents may appear.

The talent system itself is not being changed but the contents [are].