World of Warcraft Shadowlands Level Squish Explained

WoW Classic Night Elf

BlizzCon 2019 has been full of exciting news for all of Blizzard's major IPs and there's a ton to digest. Whether it's the official Diablo 4 reveal or details about Overwatch 2, there's something for just about everybody. World of Warcraft players are no exception, with a ton of game-altering details coming out about the upcoming Shadowlands expansion.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is the next major installment in the epic MMO and it's going to bring with it a change that has been rumored for over a decade: The level squish. Squishing the levels in World of Warcraft will make for a much more manageable alt experience and is also going to give players a better path through expansion content. It's an exciting change that the community is generally positive about, but there are still a lot of questions on players' minds.

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RELATED: World of Warcraft: Shadowlands - Everything Revealed At BlizzCon 2019

Although the level squish is still many months away, it's never too early to start planning ahead and thinking about it will impact current characters and zones. With that in mind, here's a review of everything revealed about the level squish so far.

shadowlands level squish details

What is a Level Squish?

A level squish is when a video game reduces the maximum level in a game, instead of raising it. This means all players who are already max level end up getting their level squished down to a lower number.

What is the new Max Level in Shadowlands?

Shortly before Shadowlands arrives, all max level (120) players will have their level reduces to 50. Once Shadowlands goes live, the new level cap will be increased to 60. Players will level from 50 to 60 in the Shadowlands zones and content.

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What Does It Mean For My Max Level Characters?

For max level characters this is pretty simple. Any character that is 120 before the Shadowlands pre-path will be reduced to level 50, but remain exactly as powerful as they are now. We don't know exactly when this will happen yet, but it is likely going to take place in late summer 2020 or fall 2020.

world of warcraft shadowlands concept art

What Does it Mean For New Alts?

New alts, after the level squish, will level from 1-10 in a new leveling zone/experience. After that, the player decides which content they would like to select for the 11-50 leveling. If they select Wrath of the Lich King for example, then levels 11-50 will be played in Northrend.

What happens to existing non-max level characters during the Squish?

Characters who are not level 120 when the squish takes place will be scaled down to the 1-50 equivalent of their current level. Blizzard has not released any kind of scale or graph explaining the exact bands that each character will fall into for this experience. More details about that should arrive well in advance of the pre-expansion squish.

Should I use my 110 or 120 character boost or wait?

This is a very popular question right now and the short answer is - Hold off for some more details. Any character that is boosted or leveled to 120 before the level squish will be converted to a level 50, that is no mystery. The real question is what happens to these character boosts if they aren't redeemed before the level squish. Do they turn into level 40 or 50 boosts? Blizzard has yet to explain that. The company is sure to answer those questions now that they are arriving, so we recommend hanging onto the character boost a little longer and waiting for some more details.

shadowlands cinematic

When is the level squish?

This is the big question. Since Shadowlands is expected to arrive sometime in the fall of 2020, it seems likely that the squish will happen in late summer 2020 or early fall 2020. The BfA pre-expansion changes all took place over the summer a few months ahead of the expansion, so it makes sense to expect a similar timeline for the Shadowlands changes. It will be much easier to predict this timeline once Shadowlands has a firm release date.

What does the level squish mean for Death Knights and Demon Hunters?

This is a major changes for the game's only two hero classes. Starting after the level squish, new Demon Hunters and Death Knights (two of the most fun WoW classes to play) will begin at level 1. The original starting zones will still be an option for players who want to experience that lore, but no more jumping in halfway to max level with these alts.

We are definitely going to learn a lot more details about Shadowlands in the coming months, so expect a lot of updates as Blizzard moves into full promotion mode and eventually fires up test servers.

Be sure to check back for more WoW Classic strategy guides, news, and updates in the coming days. Until then, For The Horde!

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth and WoW: Classic are both available now on PC. Shadowlands does not have a release date yet.

MORE: World of Warcraft: What's the Lich King's Role in the Next Expansion?

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