So, as Sharon mentioned yesterday, we went ahead and got a third account to take advantage of the crazy triple xp bonus, among other things. We’ve played around with it a few days now(did it the day it came out, Wednesday), so I figured I would talk about what I think about it, so far.
It’s somewhat hard to tell who this incentive program is aimed at. I find it a little hard to believe that it is actually aimed at bringing in new players. There are some interesting issues that occur when leveling that fast that I think could actually cause some problems for brand new players to the game. As has been mentioned elsewhere, hunters who are gaining the triple xp bonus do not pass on triple xp to their pets, so keeping a pet leveled up with you would be nigh on impossible, and about the only recourse for this would be to abandon and tame a new pet every few levels.
Also, you outlevel gear extremely fast, and with the crazy leveling pace, at least so far, you actually end up skipping a lot of quests, missing out on gear upgrades. So far, my shaman and her warrior are now level 23, at around 11 hours played, and that includes a bit of screwing around with tradeskills. We hit level 8 before leaving the Valley of Trials, and did all of Sen’jin village and two, maybe three quests in Razor Hill before leaving Durotar. A handful of quests in the Barrens, perhaps 10, and we’ve now moved on to Hillsbrad Fields. Did a couple of quests in Hillsbrad, and that’s where we really noticed how badly our gear had fallen behind. Her warrior was not even remotely able to hold aggro with me using any kind of weapon buff, even without shocks, and my flametongue weapon buff was hitting damn near as hard as my weapon was. We actually came really close to dying a bunch of times, and she did die once(I got mind controlled by one of the jailors and started healing him). So, right before logging, we actually hit the AH and bought up a bunch of greens to kit ourselves out in. Played aorund with them for about ten minutes, and it really did make a big difference.
The problem with this scenario is that a brand new player isn’t going to have the cash to set themselves up in AH greens every 10-15 levels or so, especially if they’re blazing through the levels and not getting as many drops or as much cash from quests/kills. In theory, the Recruiter will be able to hook them up to some extent, but depending on the server economy and just how much cash the recruiter has kicking around, that could get pretty damn expensive, especially when characters make the jump to plate/mail. This is one of the main reasons it seems to me like it is aimed at multi-boxers and people in the market for a second account. That’s actually what happened to us, I was considering getting another account to have more room for alts and bankers, and the new incentive program sold me on it.
Another issue I see with the incentive program being directed at brand new players is, part of the leveling process is learning how to play your toon. You get time to learn how abilities work and what they do, before you are forced to dive in with 4/9/24 other people and show them how well(or how little) you know your class. Now, it is true that things change significantly from 60 to 70, and that you do a large amount of learning how to play your character at 70. However, you learn the basics from 1-60, and the faster you burn through those levels, the less you learn, and this is especially true when you are new to the game and not only have to learn the basics of your class, but also the basics of the game mechanics.
The tools you get are pretty cool, and fun. It makes it much easier for me to be able to level my shaman in Eastern Kingdoms, since I can just hearth over to Orgrimmar, train, and then have her summon me back, as long as I don’t need to go back and trian again within an hour(believe it or not, this could actually be an issue, at least until 30). Also, being able to grant free levels is just awesome. She has a low level pally kicking around, and the plan is for me to grant levels to it to give it a pretty solid boost, then she can start with a really nice headstart in getting it up to 70. Plus, Sharon is pretty stoked about getting a Zhevra. I would have liked to have been able to get one, but it just worked out better for us to have the secondary account going into my name and having me play it(what with me being 100% out of alt spots).
So, all in all I would say that this incentive program is great for existing players who want to expand to a second/third/thirtieth account that have a partner they could play with, and people who are looking to multi-box that have not gotten set up with it yet, however for new players, while making the leveling process quite a lot faster, I don’t think that it creates a good atmosphere in which to learn how to play the game, and creates issues such as the gearing and pet issues that could be potentially very frustrating.