In general, I’m fine with leveling speed. You can hit 90 very quickly if that is your goal. On the other hand, nothing is stopping you from taking your time and smelling the roses, so to speak. Nothing is stopping you from playing without heirlooms or a full set of bags, runspeed shoes, and a hundred gold or so sent over by your main, if you have one.
That said, it’s true that it’s really, really tough to die in a starting zone. They’ve even made all of those angry mobs yellow, so you have to be the one to start combat. It’s easier, sure, but that doesn’t make it more fun.
So, put those two together – what would I like to see changed about the leveling experience? I’d like to need to use my class or racial cooldowns to succeed. Not for everything, but maybe for the boss of the starting zones – maybe my Blood Elf silence is crucial for that fight. Maybe the Troll’s Berserk is really important for theirs. Later on, when we start getting more class abilities, make them important for specific points in leveling, as well. I thought that they started doing more of this at endgame, and I think they need a lot more of it woven into the leveling experience. It has the added pro of teaching us how and when to use those skills – a lot of the concern about speedy leveling seems to be that people don’t have a reason to really learn to play their class.
Blizzard is gunshy of spending too much dev time on leveling content due to the backlash they faced after Cataclysm, but I think they need to be very careful not to ignore it entirely. This is the very first experience people have when they start playing. Make it engaging, challenging without being impossible. Pay a little attention to it each patch or expansion to keep it well-cared for like a well-tended garden. You can’t pull all the weeds out once, after it’s grown wild, and expect it to produce anything worthwhile.