For years, World of Warcraft players used the game’s Recruit-A-Friend program to level characters quickly. In addition to unlocking special mounts and pets, the system provides both the recruiter and the recruited a temporary bonus to experience. Essentially, players would use the system to RaF themselves by creating a new account and playing both their existing account and the new one simultaneously. Until this week, the program offered players 200 percent bonus experience, which stacked with heirloom gear.
Blizzard Entertainment announced earlier this week that the Recruit-A-Friend system will no longer offer that bonus. Instead, the program will offer both accounts only 50 percent bonus experience while leveling. Additionally, the bonus experience offered by wearing World of Warcraft heirlooms will not combine with the RaF bonus, according to the official site. It is stated that these changes are put in place so players will not become overwhelmed with skills and abilities if they level quickly.
A Blizzard Entertainment community manager goes on to say that the experience bonus was originally a way to get a new player caught up with their friends. Now, each World of Warcraft expansion comes with a leveling boost, making that the premiere way to allow players to play together. The community manager mentions on the official forums that Blizzard Entertainment is aware that many players used the RaF program to level alternate characters, but states that doing so was “messy.”
The quick leveling was an attractive option for thousands of players, and multiboxing (playing several characters at the same time) was not a violation, according to a Blizzard Entertainment developer in 2012. However, these changes to the Recruit-A-Friend program effectively make the system obsolete for those looking to level faster. The only real option for leveling an alternate character quickly is now purchasing an instant character level boost for $60.
Using the old RaF system, players could level several characters over a 90-day period for the cost of a new World of Warcraft license and two months of game time; as low as $35 if the client is on sale. Not to mention, using this method also rewards the recruiter with their choice of a special pet or mount.
Observant fans of World of Warcraft on Reddit note that the changes to RaF come just days after leveling was slowed due to the zone scaling patch. As the Inquisitr reported, the 7.3.5 patch deployed earlier this month on January 15. The update altered the leveling experience in two major ways. First, zones have larger leveling ranges, giving players longer to complete narratives without out-leveling them. Secondly, due to the change, more experience is required to level. According to MMO-Champion, up to 60 percent more experience is required for some levels.
Although the Recruit-A-Friend system was a complicated way to level alternate characters quickly, the option to do so for a smaller fee will likely be missed. Paying the larger $60 fee for one character near max level is a harder pill to swallow for many players who do not mind leveling but want the process to be faster. After all, there are 12 classes, 14 races between two factions, 36 specializations, and several crafting professions in the MMORPG. Another six variant races are coming to the game when new Allied Races are added to World of Warcraft with the release of Battle for Azeroth.