The types of people who play wow are as diverse as the races that populate our imaginary world. As with any population the goals of people can be vastly different. In order to keep this posting from rambling on I've condensed it to a few specific groups.
End Game PvPers and Raiders
When it comes to this group the words End Game sum it all up. For many people, myself inculded, the game doesn't really begin until level cap. The leveling experience is nice and the story is pretty cool but if given a button to press that would insta-level us we'd do it in a heartbeat. For most players in this category 85 is less of a destination and more of a checkpoint you have to go through to start your true journey.
The only real problem I see with this is that 5 levels don't really give you a chance to hone your skills, especially with all of the changes in game philosophy, before the level cap. This leaves some players who may be newer to the game at a disadvantge when it comes to heroics and battlegrounds. I see this as only a minor problem though since wow is a social game most people learn from their more experienced guild mates.
Before going any further I'd like to give a little mini-rant about "Casuals".
Just because someone doesn't spend a crapload of time playing wow doesn't entitle you to bash them, laugh at their skill or generally be an ass-tam o'shanter. Casual players pay their 15 a month just like everyone else and contribute more to the game than you think. For Example:
- Money - Blizzard has to make a profit for WoW to keep going. As long as there's a strong casual following WoW will never die
- Population - The world would feel pretty empty without people in it. Players make the world feel alive and I think that helps add to the immersive illusion.
- Gold - Who do you think buys all the crap you make/farm. Some goes to the hardcore crowd but the bulk of it goes to the casual players. They also make and sell many of the goods you find in the AH. Think how expensive flasks would be if only the hardcore made them.
- De-Stankify - Thanks to wow's huge casual following we've all been de-stankified a little. The social stigma that has attached itself to our culture is slowly starting to turn around and I believe that wow's popularity has had a huge impact on it.
In my opinion 5 levels isn't quite enough for the casual crowd. If you're not in a raiding or pvp guild then what do you do after the week or two it takes to get from 80-85? Dailies, farming, and crafting get old fast and if you don't have a good group for instances then heroics can be really difficult to pug. Leveling alts can be fun but going through the same quests over and over again gets monotonous. Hopefully blizz will come out with some more casual friendly content for the huge amount of casual players in the game.
For the RP'rs among us I see this a more neutral issue. People can roleplay regardless of level so I don't see how much this would impact the RP crowd. If someone with more experience wants to enlighten me please do so in the comments below as I'm really curious as to how the decrease in level cap affected this portion of the WoW community.
I consider most "Casual Raiders" to be in the same category as the endgame group. Most of us are busy people who love to raid and play the endgame but have limited time. For us the low level cap is all gravy. Less time spent leveling = More time to spend doing what we love... raiding!
For as limited as my time is in WoW I have a shaman who's raid ready, an 85 druid who's tanked his first few regs and an 83 DK who should cap out his archaeology soon. Thanks to the condensed leveling experience I've been able to not only get my main geared but have fun bringing up a couple of my favorite alts.
What's your opinion on the matter? Did 5 levels feel good to you? What would you have changed?