World of Warcraft Classic’s Burning Crusade is out in the wild now, and that means players are once again heading through the Dark Portal to experience the MMORPG’s first expansion as it once was. There have been some nods to modernity, however, and those include a boost that can bring characters up to level 58. It’s a controversial move, but it’s one that lead software engineer Brian Birmingham says was ultimately made in order to make sure everyone who wants to play the new expansion can do so.
“We decided that it was more important to make sure that people have the opportunity to experience Burning Crusade if they wanted to, especially at this moment,” Birmingham tells us. “Levelling up from one to 60 is a long journey, and so some players are going to see that and say, ‘Well, I was really gonna play Burning Crusade with my friends who were already level 60, but if I can’t boost I won’t. And we felt really bad about that.”
It’s a reflection of the gradual softening of Blizzard’s initial ‘no changes’ approach to WoW Classic, which has seen some modern fixes applied to old issues as they’ve cropped up. However, boosting presents problems, as some players have been quick to point out – specifically, it helps bots.
“We knew that there were some people who were going to see this as something of a negative,” Birmingham allows. But on balance, he says, making sure more players didn’t feel left behind or abandoned if they hadn’t organically levelled their classic character was a bigger priority.
He also points out that the boost only takes characters up to level 58, rather than level 60, and that you’ll only have starter gear if you aren’t going out to actually play the game.
“We recognised that some players would see this as a way to skip the whole experience and feel like it was negating what they had done,” Birmingham says. “So we wanted to make sure that this was a really constrained experience and something that made sure that you still were putting some effort in.”
Players who take advantage of the boost will still need to raid for high-tier gear, they’ll still need to train up their professions, and they’ll still need to make their own way from level 58 to 60.
“I don’t want to diminish this, it’s still a huge boon for someone who does want to go through the Dark Portal,” Birmingham says. “Really where it came from was making sure players could play together on what felt like a fair playing field, even if they had to come at it from different approaches.”
If you’d prefer to go at it the long way, our WoW Classic leveling guide can provide you with the knowledge you need to make your way through the process.