The last post was about WoW's leveling speed being much too high. There are many, many ways to speed up your leveling. But even if you don't use any of them (which is not easy), you will still face enemies eventually that are way below your level. That assumes that you run through the linear story, of course. But since the latest expansion was about the introduction of it, we have to assume that Blizzard expects a lot of players to play through these linear quest lines.
The question I want to answer in this post is "WHY?".
But first things first: This is a deliberate decision by Blizzard. It is not impossible to properly adjust the leveling speed. Earlier expansions are proof.
Why is it bad?
1) because fighting low-lvl mobs makes it impossible for you to use more than one to three skills of your character. The mobs just die too fast. This is not about challenge, but about interesting gameplay!
2) because people like to strife for the next level. That doesn't mean they want to suffer. It just means that they want to look at that experience bar every now and then, and wish it went up faster. This was the driving motivation behind Everquest's success. It is a powerful factor.
So, why? Why did they do this? This is speculation, of course.
You remember the Loremaster achievement? It was about doing every one of the thousands of quests in WoW for a Ding! and a text message. Lots of people did it or tried to do it. And they did it at maxlvl. So, one day someone at Blizzard thought: "Hey, if people like to do low-lvl quests for this!, then they certainly would do the more refined Cataclysm quests this way to reach maxlvl!"
That's not a statement about fun. That guy knew that a lot of players would have less fun. But the leveling game was widely popular, as well as the loremaster achievement. People don't need to have the best time of their life while playing WoW. It is enough if they have just enough fun to p(l)ay.
This is a very important thing to understand. It is the reason behind the lowest common denominator! A game that is loved by 200k people and not liked enough to be played by another 300k, makes much less profit than one that is just fun enough to be played by 500k. This is much more important than that people love your game (or movie). At least when immediate profit is your goal.
Once the guy had assured himself of the fact that a lot of players would still have fun enough to p(l)ay (he sent a request to the metrics team), he imagined all the benefits of the change:
1) (Dumb) Players would feel like they play especially well and the out-leveling of the content is the result of this.
2) A lot of players that stopped playing WoW, because spamming just one button during leveling got them occasionally killed, would not stop playing anymore. (This is not supposed to be ironic. Apparently, there are quite some players like this, believe it or not).
3) The change allows players to reach max-level even faster if they don't care about the quest lines.
4) The change makes it easier for players to reach maxlvl by alternative means, like chain-queuing in the LFD or even the BGs.
Now, unfortunately Blizzard wasn't certain that this would work. That's why they didn't depart from traditional leveling altogether. Yeah, you read correctly: Although Blizzard doesn't care one bit about you leveling together with your friends, they really want you to play together with them at maxlvl. And they want you to reach maxlvl really fast.
One way to make more players reach maxlvl is to allow alternative methods of leveling. Game-changing heirlooms were a first step, but it would be much easier to just award a player a level whenever he did a LFD-dungeon. A lot of players already chain-queue the LFD to reach maxlvl and Blizzard saw this and thought: "Hey, shouldn't we support these players more?". It would make much more sense to award a level after the completion of each LFD dungeon. And once you did 85 dungeons, you're lvl85.
Similarly, Blizzard could give you a level after every one of the linear quest chains.
The experience-mechanism is outdated when it comes to streamlined games like WoW. It was created for games that allowed players to stray off the path. But this is not encouraged in WoW, anyway. And you can still encourage it with achievements and pets and the like.
Awarding levels at specific points in the life of a character gives the developers and the player much more control over the character's progression.
But the time wasn't right eight months ago. Thus, we have a hybrid model right now that seems to be "fun enough" for enough players to p(l)ay. Sure, they moan and complain, but apparently, they don't quit. And some players even seem to have fun one-shooting grey mobs or jumping quest-lines. Well, done Blizzard.
(But not done well enough for me).