Many players went directly from Diablo 2 to World of Warcraft back in 2004. This transition sent them from an easy hack and slash linear progression game into one of the more challenging MMOs created in the 21st century. Players had to fight through 60 levels before being able to explore end-game content. This took months for most casual players, required cooperation within your group and the accomplishment of maxing your level was huge. At level 60 most players only scratched the surface of the available content. Players struggled to find competent groups with proper group composition to do challenging 5 man dungeons. Many didn’t visit Molten Core for months or even a year.
The vast majority of players never saw the inside of Naxxramas until Wrath of the Lich King 2 and a half years after the raid was introduced. The simple observation is that World of Warcraft was a pretty challenging game with a huge difference between beginners, casuals and pros. Diablo 2 on the other hand… almost everyone beat the game in a few days and most players were able to eventually beat it on Hell difficulty.
In the coming Diablo 3 this new style of progression is being resurrected. Players will overcome the Diablo in just a day or so on Normal difficulty, then they will repeat the game over and over on different difficulties. Similarly we’re seeing a dramatic change to World of Warcraft, where end-game raids were once exclusive territory for the serious gamer, they are now accessible to just about anyone, just at an easier difficulty.
Today in World of Warcraft anyone can hack and slash their way through heroic dungeons in order to meet the minimum gear requirement to take on the final boss of the game, Deathwing. No skill required, you don’t even need to know how to play your class. As long as you stay connected and click ready during the ready check you’ll get your kill blind folded.
I can’t help but see the resemblance between Diablo 3’s all-inclusive progression on Normal difficulty and World of Warcraft’s level 1 to Deathwing.
Tip: Have you ever wondered how players have so many level 85s or how they can level an 85 so quickly? I use and strongy recommend Zygor's in-game leveling addon which will enable you to level in 5 days of played time. You can find a free version of it here.