I just spent some time with WoW's 2.3 Patch. Zul'Aman, while very cool looking, I will never see. I'll likely never do a Heroic 5-Man as PUGs sicken me and I'm not part of any real organized guild. Season 1's Honor Rewards aren't in until the 27th, so my dwarf is still sitting on his arse waiting for that to happen. Guild banks, again not a necessity for my playing these days.
But there is one big feature in 2.3 that makes me very, very pleased. The super-charged 20-60 leveling experience. From 20-30 the amount of XP needed to level has been decreased by 15%. This, I'm not sure was needed, but I welcome it all the same. The real speed boost kicks in at 30 however, where every quest outside of "breadcrumb" quests have been given a 15% increase in XP awarded in tandem with the 15% decrease in XP needed to level. Essentially, they've decreased the time it takes to level from 30-60 by about 30%. Case in point? I just leveled from 35 to 36 in 1 hour and 45 minutes. I had rest experience, as any good altaholic will practice, and that makes 2 full levels in less than 3 hours.
I'm sure some folks will claim they're dumbing down WoW, or making it too easy, but I think Blizzard knows that when the next expansion hits in 2008, the daunting task of leveling to 80 will be too much for some. People will drop off who start the game and see all of Azeroth eons away from them. More than anything, this leveling change is about making that trip to 80 take about the same time it would take someone to reach 60. That's the way I see it.
Of course, they could just stop raising levels and it wouldn't be such a big deal, but who are we kidding. In a level based game with only the path of Gear-Grinding to make progress at the level cap is a disaster. Most people will get bored and leave. We all like to progress, and most can't/don't/won't raid or even PvP. My family that plays WoW play to level. When they hit the cap, they usually stop playing that character altogether and work on another, and they're not alone.
More people from my experience prefer the leveling game of WoW than they do the rep-grind/honor grind at the top level. Why? Because it's the most suited to the casual player. I don't mean those that say they're casual because they don't raid, but rather those that don't visit websites, don't check blogs, don't read forums, those that barely know when a patch is being implemented until the day it happens. These are your casual players, and they are many. Blizzard knows it. They know we hardcore players are the most vocal, but they know we're the minority as well.
And hell, I'll admit it, I'd even quit WoW if the game never offered me more adventuring and level-gaining to achieve. In a game that's progression is centered around 1 of 2 things, leveling or gear-gaining, I'll take leveling every time. Now if only, they'd close that 45-50 gap, though perhaps the new XP boost has done just that. My Druid Lobes will find out soon enough at this rate.
Oh, and Theramore finally has some merit as a place to quest, though from what I've seen it's more of a level 34-40 area, than 30-40. I wouldn't recommend heading there right at level 30, to be blunt. You'll likely get your butt handed to you at 1st. Oh, and when taking on Tethyr using the artillery cannons, do listen to the quest and move about between shots. You'll do much better than if you stand still.