I've read about level locking on several websites (e.g. WoWWiki), however, they focus on how instead of why. What is the purpose? If I level a character straight to 90 do I miss something that is impossible to make up?
People may want to lock a character into a specific PvP group. The PvP groups go from x0 - x4 or x5 - x9 (eg 10 - 14) so by locking to 10, 11, 12, 13, or 14 you stick in a particular group.
It's mostly done by people who are engaging in twinking, which is kitting a low level character out in the best, most expensive PvP gear available at that level and just playing a lot of PvP.
Taken from Nick Bayley's comment: Another reason why people level lock, although not as popular, is to do old dungeons/raids at the level they were meant to be done at. However, with the talent changes, glyphs and inflation of gear, they don't pose the same challenge as they did when they were current content.
|show 6 more comments|
Certain quests are impossible or prohibitively difficult to complete once you reach a certain level. An example of this is the Raptor Captor quest found in Dustwallow Marsh. In that particular quest you need to do some damage to the raptors before capturing them, if you try it with a max level character you are almost certainly bound to one shot the creature, and if you somehow manage to bring your damage down (with Resurrection Sickness) to not kill it with one hit, the second hit almost certainly will, I've tried to do it myself with a level 88 character.
Also the queue system doesn't allow you to sign up for random groups that are below your level, so if you want to get a specific item or get an achievement while in a group you could freeze your level so that you can do it. I've found this useful for doing burning crusade and lich king heroics. You could argue that most of those are solo-able, but some just aren't and even those that are solo-able would require really high stats. Also, playing in a group can be more fun than playing alone.
Once upon a time it was quite common for people to freeze their experience so that they could get the best gear for their level and then dominate in random pvp battlegrounds when fighting against people who were just levelling up (often for the first time) and who had not frozen their xp. At some point an alteration was included in a patch that caused all characters who had their xp frozen to get grouped together in a seperate random battleground queue, this is known to have killed off the practice known as twinking. You can read more about this in the following threads on the wow us forums