My last post stated that leveling content in WoW was too easy to be fun. A commenter called nonsense on this idea, arguing that part of being a soloist includes seeking out challenges. I agree, but I argue that this point actually proves mine.
(I would attribute this comment, but it is missing from the post, and I don't know whether the author removed it intentionally for some reason, or whether it was eaten by the Blogger outage this week.)
The new leveling game
The revised leveling content in WoW is highly linear. The intent is for players to do the quests of each zone (50-100 typically) one after another, using the gear awarded from previously completed quests. The problem is that, even without twinking or heirlooms or anything else, the exp curve makes it nigh impossible to complete a zone without over-leveling it, trivializing its content. You can try abandoning quests as you outlevel them, but this means missing out on the new storylines that, for me at least, are the reason why I was interested in leveling new alts in the first place.
I am not saying that there is no challenge to be found soloing in WoW. I am saying that playing the solo leveling content in the way it was designed and intended no longer produces a satisfactory level of challenge, which is a problem in an expansion that created so much of this content.
When intentionally sub-optimal becomes uninteresting
Late in the Wrath era, I spent about a thousand gold on BOE's and gems to assemble a melee set for my mage, because daily quests were so trivial at a 5000 Gearscore that I figured an autoattacking mage who did not use any damage spells could beat them. I was correct, and my choices did succeed in increasing the challenge of the quests, which took about 10 times longer as a result. I would argue, though, that the content no longer functions as intended when the only way to make it interesting is to have a caster who doesn't cast spells.
It is indeed always possible to make life more challenging for your character by making sub-optimal choices in game. You could argue that the entire existence of soloing in MMO's was originally based in part on skilled players choosing to see whether they could push their limits and defeat content intended for full parties. (Soloing old instances in WoW remains some of the most fun that I've had in MMO's.)
However, while we've always had naked warriors and melee hunters and characters who did not complete a single quest or kill a single mob, once upon a time you did not need to do these sorts of things to enjoy the leveling experience. At some point, you're no longer making interesting choices to challenge yourself. Instead, you're making bad choices to try and remedy a design issue in the game's difficulty. If you are the kind of player who enjoys making intelligent choices and being rewarded with greater success, this removes a huge part of the fun from the game experience.