New / Returning Player Experience and Chromie time

I’d like to ask a few questions regarding Chromie time leveling and the new / returning player experience.

First some set up:

A few months back, Blizzard enabled Shadowlands to be free for returning players. A friend of mine, who had quit WoW back in Cataclysm, decided to try WoW again due to this promotion. Upon logging on his level 30 Warrior, he was granted access to the New Player chat channel and was given a choice on where to level. He opted to continue leveling in Mists of Pandaria. He loved it and had a ton of fun and was very enthusiastic about how helpful the New Player channel was to all his questions, and not having to rely on me to help me out all the time.

As soon as he hit 50, he was ported out from Pandaria into Stormwind near Chromie, removed from the New Player chat channel, and his only option was to start leveling in Shadowlands. He didn’t want to go to Shadowlands as he wasn’t finished with Jade Forest and Mists of Pandaria, and he wanted to continue leveling and honing his skills but was disappointed when all the mobs were one shot because they were now level 30 and he lost his helpful channel, because Blizzard had dubbed level 50 players veteran status and no longer a new player.

He quit the game a day later because of that experience.

My question is, does Blizzard have any plans to address this moving forward into Dragonflight and beyond, where players can continue to level without having to be ported out for no reason? Also, can Blizzard rethink the new player experience and not remove them from the new player channel until they are good and ready?


Completely agree that the new/returning player experience is so messy and off-putting for many. I understand what they are going for with the current systems but the execution seems so far off the mark that it results in an unclear and disorientating experience for the most part for anyone who is new, or returning and not familiar with the game over the past 6+ years.

Another issue I’d like to add that I have with the new player experience is that of Exiles Reach. While the zone does a good enough job of teaching the fundamental gameplay mechanics, it does a far far worse job at the arguably more important job of engaging and immersing new players into the world. A job that the racial starting zones did absolutely wonderfully. I mean there is a reason that I have Mulgore as my PC wallpaper 17 years later and my friend who hasn’t played the game in a very long time still has a very visceral reaction to the Elwynn Forest music.

These zones did an incredible job and introducing you to the world and the race that you are playing, making it much more likely you will connect with your character and the game itself. Something that Exiles Reach in my opinion does not do at all.

The scale and immersion of the world are one of the things that made many new players fall in love with the game, and this aspect is entirely lost in my opinion with the current system in which you are teleported to your city upon completion and then dumped into BFA’s story with no context or time to adventure or explore the world.


I would like to quickly add:

With the Dragonflight Pre-Patch, or even the Expansion Launch, please roll BFA Pathfinder into the base kit.

One of the most common questions in the Newcomer Chat is “Why can’t I fly? I was flying in Stormwind just fine.”

If you’re going to force Newcomers into BFA content - they should have access to flight.

I’d like to see them revamp Newcomer Chat in a few ways, personally.

One being what you mentioned - introduce an NPC that allows you to enter/exit Newcomer Chat as a newcomer at any time. Some might say this is abuseable, but really, anyone who wants to troll Newcomer Chat will likely have the qualifications to enroll as a guide. And I think the help it gives to new players will outweight the potential trolls. In my experience, we shut down trolls in Newcomer Chat rather fast.

The second being - give us an option at the Guide NPC to opt all of our characters into being a Guide, not just the one we talk to them on. I enjoy being able to answer questions and help new players. But I play a lot of characters, and having to go to Stormwind to opt in on every single character is a pain and honestly, I just opt to not do it. I understand some people don’t want all their characters in it - that’s why I suggest giving us the option.


They had mentioned that they are in talks about creating updates and improvements to the New Player experience from the Live Chat with Developers – Quest Design from the other day.

It’s not going to be 10 launch for obvious reasons, but did mention that they are hoping for a 10.x time frame, but did not give any specific details.

The fact that they acknowledged, and personally have experienced similar issues that my friend (and others) have and were similarly disappointed by it, gives me hope for the future.

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In an unfortunate contrast to the hope in the above post, a notable problem was found in their blog post today that you can view here. Specifically, " Upon reaching level 20, new players will continue the journey ahead on their own and will no longer have access to the Newcomer Chat. "

I’ll say it outright, this is a terrible change. For anyone who has signed up to be an in-game guide, you will know that the channel is filled with people all the way up to level 60 who have questions about game mechanics. Kicking people out at level 20 before they even have access to the current expansion is just outright ridiculous. Please, revert this change, and in fact make some sort of requirement to LEAVE newbie chat like “Complete a mythic keystone at level 5” or “complete current raid on LFR” or ANYTHING that shows they have had the chance to learn the game at a decent level while still having a place to ask for help until they do. Or at least let them stay in until level cap.


One thing that I wanted to highlight was the glaring mistake of removing new players from the new player chat channel at level 20, instead of level 50 (currently).

Upon reaching level 20, new players will continue the journey ahead on their own and will no longer have access to the Newcomer Chat.

Maria Hamilton (@cerdith), the Lead Quest Designer, mentioned in the last talk that one of the first things that her and her team wanted to do with the new/returning player experience improvement effort, was trying to pull together all the problems and try to get the teams arms around all of the issues, and then start to figure out what the solutions can be and how to address them.

She even mentioned that she experienced first hand how frustrating it was to be yoinked out of the Chromie time leveling experience as soon as she hit the max level in the middle of a cool story beat.

I was, at the time, happy to hear that they were taking it seriously and planning for changes and improvements for it. Obviously not right away as 10.0 DF Proper was and should be the main focus of the dev resources, but all in all was generally excited that the Blizzard devs were aware and were already in talks about the issues.

I really hope that this can be looked at again because being removed from the channel as a brand new player at that level, is a huge mistake. We veteran players take the game for granted and pretty much know the basics of the game and why it is the way it is, but new players may not even know why a Warrior should not want to have intellect gear, or a number of other small things.

Having this channel be available for them longer should be reconsidered and I hope that Maria and her team, and whoever else may be in charge of this, were being serious when they wanted to improve it because removing new players at level 20, is not improving it.

It’s making it worse.


I don’t know if you can tie this to the questing experience alone.
One major problem of mentor chat is: It’s the first chat you are locked into baseline. And many (probably not most chat users since returning players know how chat works) really new players do not really develop a concept about how chat channels work and who is participating in which one.
It’s not just the /wave emote checkpoint. Also: Emotes should be introduced with more information on the list that is only 1 click away (yes, right next to the chat panel) putting more emphasis on the potential RP use and not turning it into a “check the box once” experience where it is not seen as a glimpse into a communication feature but just a thing to do once and forget about forever.
I have met players way past level 40 that did not know how channels outside of the mentor chat work. What group chat, whipser, say etc offer in terms of communication. They don’t know how to link quests or tooltips in chat which is basically a huge improvement to communicate anything on their journey.
Next thing: Binding your Hearthstone at the end of the tutorial is seen by some as a “thing to do” for the quest alone but not the basic introduction as to what this item is used for (rebinding it etc). Maybe the quest pacing and flow of information just pushes aside all those small moments of taking in crucial info.
A good tutorial shows you all the tools shows that there is much more use to them. This one - at least for some players - seems like a duty list to check off and no longer think about.

this video is a good recent summary from a returning player


It is an extremely withdrawn mindset to believe that a fresh level 20 is experienced or veteran, much like it is to think that a 20 year old has the knowledge to navigate life. The similarities end at the rate a character can level up, but that only lends to the point that we cannot quantify individual experience based on level, or even what they have done in the game (as someone suggested removing them from the new player chat after completing a M+ or LFR).

The new player chat should be one that the new player has the choice to leave.


One of the most common complaints I see about the game in Stormwind/Oribos General is that they got kicked out of Newcomer Chat at level 50 when they still have questions and concerns about the game.

Newcomers should never be kicked out - on the contrary - Newcomers should be able to leave whenever they want. Want being the operative word. If a newcomer doesn’t want to be in the chat at level 10, why should they be forced to? I have seen newcomers complain about being stuck in it. I have seen veteran accounts that came back that are stuck in it, etc.

On the opposite end - if a newcomer is max level and wants to be in it so they can ask questions, why should they not be allowed to?

Also, just a minor note regarding Chromie Time - please go back and tune some of the dungeons in Chromie Time. Some of them got really messed up in 10.0. My group almost wiped to Wailing Caverns’ first boss. Her thorns does like 10% of your HP in damage a tic and most groups won’t have a dispel at that level. (Especially since they’re opt-in talents now).

Our healer was a Newcomer and I feel like they were very very overwhelmed because we were an all melee group, so there was a lot of thorns damage, as it lasts a very long time and is only not up for a few seconds.


I think max level people totally lost about what they should do is a really common occurrence in WoW. I think the most people ive seen who need legit help but have no idea how to do certain things like search wowhead or even know the names of things they need are all max level. I think they should seriously consider adding a warning text box or popup to let people know they CAN leave newcomer chat or stay but it should strongly encourage staying.

I think most people really underestimate how new certain people can be and how most people have grown with the game while things are pretty obvious with time playing. I remember ganking people in Stormwind and a freshish level 60 Orc Hunter was trying to get to an NPC for Alliance only but kept getting killed and asked for help to reach the NPC only for me to tell him he couldn’t talk to that person because they were different factions. The player had read online about a vendor that had an item/quest he needed to turn in but couldn’t find it so he searched the quest and didn’t understand that he wasn’t Alliance and couldn’t turn it in with that NPC.

If I had not been in town PvPing this player would have probably kept getting murdered by other players and guards trying to turn in a quest to an opposite faction NPC and eventually given up and quit forever. This whole situation could have been avoided if he had asked in Newcomer chat what to do and been helped.


The level 20 listed is currently an error in our blogs, which we’re working to fix soon.

With the release of Shadowlands, we updated the graduation level to be level 50. With Dragonflight, that level will be updated to 60.

Please continue to share your feedback here.


Sorry to bring this topic up again, but General Discussion as well as Newcomer Chat has prompted me to ask again:

Is there a reason Battle For Azeroth Pathfinder was not removed with 10.0? On Beta/PTR, you could fly in BFA zones without Pathfinder, which led people to believe it was being removed, like how WoD and Legion were removed with Shadowlands.

One of the most common questions in Newcomer Chat is “Why can’t I fly here?” when they’re forced to level in BFA zones, but get a quest popup to go learn flying at level 30, and then they fly a little in SW/Orgrimmar, only to be grounded with no explanation when they enter BFA to continue questing.

It’s time to remove BFA Pathfinder like the two before it. And if for some reason, the dev team is dead set on not removing it - can you remove the “I Believe I Can Fly” quest pop up at level 30 and move it to level 60, so new players aren’t led to believe they can fly at level 30? Or have a pop-up explain after they train flying that they need an achievement to fly in BFA zones, or something.

Also, can you please look into some Chromie Time dungeon scaling? Razorfen Kraul is currently impossible to complete unless all 5 of your group members are the same (actual, not scaled) level.

Here’s a video of the issue. Spirit Link Totem (the mechanic of the fight) essentially one shots your entire group due to Chromie Time scaling, if any of your party members are much higher or lower level than your other party members. It seems to be equalizing the players actual health, rather than the Chromie Time Dungeon Health, so if you have a level 10 with level 30s, you’re being synced down to level 10 health and allowing the boss to one shot you with such low health. This is just an assumption of what’s happening based on reports, hopefully you guys can figure it out.

But there’s other dungeons with similar issues, for instance, all of the WoD dungeon bosses and trash take about 3x as long to kill as other Expansions. I think their health scaling borked. It’s reached the point I insta-leave a dungeon if I end up in WoD (when I expand the parameters) cause it’s not worth how long it takes.

Then one I remember was the first boss of Wailing Caverns - her Thorns does 10-20% of your health per hit, and it’s very overwhelming for new players trying to learn to heal. It never did remotely as much before.

I would also like to ask that you improve the Quality of Life for Chromie Time dungeons by adding this option: (It has popped up as an error for quite a few people, hence the image existing). Locking us to only the expansion we’re leveling in feels bad.

Chromie Time is designed for people with experience with the game, so having this many options will not be overwhelming. Having an option for “Random Dungeon from Any Expansion” (what happens after 5 minutes expend currently) would be amazing as well.

One last thing to add - could you guys possibly look into adding an NPC in Valdrakken to opt-in to being a Guide? Going to Stormwind/Orgrimmar is a pain, which I imagine is why you guys allowed us to toggle War Mode on in Valdrakken in 10.0.5. Could we get the same courtesy for a Guide NPC?


I’ve brought this up in my other thread here.


I 100% agree with this. The navigation of WoW interfaces and UIs completely rely on player exploration and feedback to the community via Wowhead, Discords, streams, guilds, and etc. A new player likely does not know about these communities (or is not a part of them). So, they are completely reliant on WoW interface to direct them to on what to do for their core content.

That being said, if the quest “I Believe I Can Fly” results in them not being able to fly where they are questing, then I would imagine that this would spark confusion and potentially frustration.

If I were given a vote, then I would vote to allow for players to skip the BFA Pathfinder for a new, smoother first play-through experience. For those familiar with my difficulty value preservation post, this may come across as counter intuitive, but this reduction of difficulty would result in better health in the game (especially for the new player experience). Link here: Discussion: Skill-Based Difficulty, Time-Based Difficulty, and Value Preservation

In other words, the experience of a new player in their core content (in this case, leveling) is critically more important than preserving the value of an achievement (of which, 80% was achieved by simply playing current content).


Having experienced this myself few months ago, I agree it is messy and disappointing.
Boralus is not easy to navigate for new players and in general Battle for Azeroth is not a favourite expansion. But without Chromie Time, no other expansion can get you to 60. I understand that Chromie Time should be reserved for more advanced players. But then why don’t you scale a different expansion to 60 for new players? Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria and Legion all seem suitable.
For returning players that have Chromie Time enabled I can suggest automatically getting a quest leading to the experience eliminator NPC at level 58 and/or 59. They can use it to continue questing until they finish the story they are interested in. Then the experience gain stop is done as a part of this quest, the price could be lower.
Exile’s Reach does not fit within the Warcraft lore depriving new players of awesome starting zones. How did all players learn before Exile’s Reach was released? It can be made as a optional tutorial instead. My suggestions are players either lose the character after completion or return to level 1 at the starting zone.

I whole hardly disagree to this. Exile’s reach is a perfect example of how WoW is in 2023 and a perfect way to bring new players into the game. The old starting zones were great for its time because gamers were very different back then. Most video game players today adhere to the game play style of Exiles Reach vs say Northshire or Valley of Trials.

This is irrelevant for a brand new player to the game and most of the issues with BFA was the end game system, not the leveling. I would say the same if BFA was the best expansion ever. Newer players have no reference as to why BFA was good or bad.

Again, BFA is an expansion that was built with modern gamers vs the prior expansions. It’s more narratively driven with a more connected zone layout that feels like an actual place vs the other zones you mentioned.

Cataclysm and Mists would be terrible choices for a new player especially. Catacylsm zones are all over the place and confusing which doesn’t have a direct path way to level. The story transition from Garrosh being Warchief to him being dead and you have a War Council all of a sudden would be a huge “wtf moment” for newer players. Likewise, Varien is the King, and once you are done with Cata leveling, you see Turalyon? Who the heck is this guy and where did my King go?

I’m confused by this statment. Are you suggesting that people who level in Exiles Reach from start to finish, lose the progression and there character, and start over in a new starting zone? I would just not continue and move on to another game if I were to start over my first character again.


BfA is a (now) good place to start from a mechanical standpoint, and it’s almost fitting from a narrative point of view for a new player too. BfA dungeons were originally designed with players completing them with certain skills in mind, as they would have been levels 110-120 by then, but that’s a problem that’s been handled a little better over time with changes to these dungeons.

Narratively, it follows Exile’s reach, which is itself a great place to start off a brand new player. It’s a small, somewhat contained romp through the basics of the game’s premise and mechanics (to some extent on the latter) and has the “humble beginnings” sort of vibe to it that fits a character just starting off.

Just as it ends, though, the player receives a summons directly from Anduin/Sylvanas and have suddenly become Champions of their factions. It was an acceptable follow-up to Legion, but feels like a big leap for a new character/player. This is more of an issue in the intro, as the storylines that BfA presents don’t suffer much from this for the most part (if I recall them correctly).

I agree with Abolita though that Cataclysm zones mainly have become a bit of a mishmash of different eras of the game, and that cohesion is important. Exile’s Reach does suffer from not really inserting the player anywhere in the world; racial starting zones introduced important plot beats relevant to the player’s choice, while this new experience is more structured as a tutorial, introducing them to the faction instead. Maybe a blend of the two is in order?

We can use exactly the same argument against BfA, where Anduin is the King and once you are done with BfA leveling you see Turalyon? Who the heck is this guy and where did my King go?

Pivoting a moment to bring up a major concern that is apparently happening on servers marked ‘New Players’

There are alllegedly bots spamming boost sales in Exiles Reach immediatly upon zoning onto the boat.

This needs to be delt with right away and prevented from happening in the future. If legit new players see this upon logging in, you will never keep that player as the first impression is that “WoW is ok with spamming for boosts or gold selling”