Money wise it's not a problem. It costs £35 for the Battle Chest, Cata and MoP - which seems reasonable. It's also worth noting that new players are not obliged to buy Cata or MoP so they do not have to spend lots of money to begin with. WoW also goes on sale relatively often which is worth bearing in mind.
So no I don't see pricing being a problem at all. A person can spend £10 and get 1-80 content and a months subscription and thus aren't pigeon holed into dishing out large amounts of money to try out the game. Additionally if I'm not mistaken they removed all playable races limitations with MoP, so a new player has the option to play Worgen, Goblin or Pandaren as well. Also WoW has a very easy to understand trial version.
The other thing that came to my mind was the idea that levelling from 1-90 would be a challenge. However experience need to get from one bracket to another is always reduce by a significant margin with each new expansion. Then there's recruit a friend to help them as well.
If blizzard stays on it's trip of totally outdating almost all relevant content when a new expansion hits, they really need to roll back all old expansions into being free. You essentially pay for cata to level for some hours now.
If I had it my way, I'd just make it so buying the current expansion gives you all the past expansions and base game, and a free month if you're new. That'd make more people more interested in the game, I feel.
I'd say dealing with the game itself, the wonky and outdated game design that doesn't teach you anything, really, for endgame play (the focus of the game), and the horrible community are the big things holding this game back towards new people.
How can it not? Aside the extra monetary costs of having access to all the content, there is no way that it isn't a least a little off putting to think I'm X levels behind, X years behind and if I buy the basic game I don't even come within 10 levels of the max doesn't cause quite a few people to just put the box down and forget it.
New expansions past 1 or 2 just make the game seem a lot more out of reach and reliant on personal recruiting or returning players than a game that is new enough people feel like they can start on a reasonably even footing.
I don't see why, Battle Chest includes both TBC and WOTLK, as for the leveling...well that's the major part of every MMO, if you hate leveling you shouldn't play an MMO.
There's a difference between levelling in an MMO and levelling when the bulk of the people around you are max level because the game is on its Xth expansion and is 5 plus years old. Even after adding WOTLK to the battle chest, the average person picking up Mists in the store - sees a $39 to $49 price tag and the need to purchase 2 other items in order to even load it. That's just can't be a plus on picking up brand new players.
It doesn't only put new players off - the game is unrecognisable from release and from its WC2/3 roots. Too much change is a bad thing
I Agree with the post above you, its imposible to start wow as a newbie now, you have more than 180 bucks a month to pay, and 40 bucks per expansion and must buy wrath cata and panda to even begin at the same level as players who already have better gear than you and a head start in pvp.
That plus the game is 8 years old, (someone said 5 earlier) and its dated combat engine graphics engine and gameplay design teams who over nerf and over buff.
After that its the lack of content take a look at rift and how rapid its content patches are, can we honestly forgive blizzard for being so slow when its getting more money from us?
Its not getting new players, its losing them after 20.
A new player has no idea what 'The Burning Crusade" or "Cataclysm" was, all they know is that it's just that many more levels they need to get, including professions, to play catch-up. It's a long, boring grind with a disjointed storyline filled with once-high end content that they won't experience. Add in the cost of starting up an account and, yeah, I would say new players are only sticking to it for the sake of their investments.