Here's a little poll to follow up on something I thought of over in the comments at Unwize's post on WoW and LOTRO's old content revamp policies.
Which of the Following Would You Like Added To Your Favorite MMORPG?
-Repeatable max-level content for your main?
-One-time leveling content for new players and alts?
Polling will be open in the sidebar at http://playervsdeveloper.blogspot.com/ for approximately a month.
Devs Defending Their $15
During the TBC era, Blizzard chose to focus four of the expansion's eleven new outdoor adventuring zones, and two of the expansion's three new cities, on level 1-20 content for the new races. Pre-60 content was also a major focus of one of the three major content patches of the TBC era. By contrast, the only new content for characters below level 68 in the Wrath era through two of its three planned content patches (barring some 11th hour pre-PTR unveil of old-world revamp content for patch 3.2) is the brief starting quest area for new Death Knights.
My guess is that this is no more an accident than easier raid difficulty or the addition of the Death Knight class. But why would Blizzard reverse course so dramatically on pre-60 content? Gevlon describes the changes to raid difficulty as Blizzard doing "the goblin thing, defending their $15". My suspicion is that Blizzard's internal metrics showed that spending time on the pre-60 world was not an efficient way of defending their $15.
Blizzard did not add any additional content for level-capped solo and small group players (or 25-man raiders for that matter) for nearly a year that passed between patch 2.1 and 2.4. Given the chance to add new quest hubs to the game in patch 2.3, they chose to focus on a low level zone instead of new content for level 70 players. The thing is that level 70 repeatable content, provided players are willing to take part in it, can last a level-capped player with nothing else to do for months. The new Dustwallow quest lines provide several hours of additional content for players who have other alternatives for their leveling needs.
I'm sure players used the content once it was available. The real question is how many chose to make new characters specifically because of the new content (as distinct from exp curve changes that also went in with that patch)? How many chose to stick with those new characters once they'd used up the new content and got deposited back in the old world content that they weren't interested in repeating before patch 2.3? Collectively, how much additional time did players, new or old, spend in pre-60 Azeroth because of these changes? How does this number compare to the amount of additional time - and subscription fees - that would have been spent on new level 70 daily quests?
Given Blizzard's actions since that time, I think we can guess what answer they arrived at, based on their internal numbers.
However much we complain about the state of pre-58 Azeroth, it was good enough to get millions of players through to level 58, and, as Saylah discovered, more players are still signing up over four years later. Low-hanging fruit like adjusted level curves or lowered mount requirements are a very good investment in the task of helping new players catch up. More time-intensive revamps, when they come at the expense of content for players who are out of things to do, may not be.
Then again, perhaps you feel that it isn't worth doing repeatable content grinds that will be reset in the next expansion. That's why I'm curious to hear what all of you think. Happy voting! :)