You're probably right... I just wish it didn't HAVE to come down to exploits and powerleveling to make the first 20 levels enjoyable for me... =/
As someone mentioned earlier, they are setting up the first 10 levels to be quested through.
From the sound of it, you approached the first 10 levels in a way they did not fully anticipate.
Keep in mind there has been a huge outcry for quests and information for people starting the game. The first 10 levels are quests and tutorial leves. Once you get through those, you should be R10. Now the next question would be, what is an acceptable speed to get to R10.
Would you be looking for a level every minute, every hour, some range in between?
These are things they are going to have to address. They are still trying to determine what works best for the playing community, and they did say there was going to be breakage and there was going to be problems. For the full scope of what they changed (and they changed a lot we don't see directly), this should be expected on some level.
Please understand, their goal was not to break starting players. It was to make it easier to understand. But, you are running into a conflict of making the start understandable was not your goal, so, you wanted to just skip over the items they added because people had been stating that there wasn't enough information to get new players up and going.
Now, from their perspective, a new player who wants to quickly level as fast as possible is doing this for a few assorted reasons.
1, they are new and just want to see the end game (Not my cup of tea, but more power to them)
Typically this type of player will seek out like minded people and work to grow their character as fast as possible. While this is the most likely character to powerlevel, you have pointed out that they may choose not to, or not have the option available to them. The current design of the game will not work
2, they are new and want to see what the game has to offer. The current design is with the intent that they will spend their first day running through quests. As pointed out, you can get pretty close to R10 (fortunately, I don't have the time, energy, or iota of caring to even try this) on the first day. Now mind you, there are many places to go, and they don't all include running outside and killing something. However, there again, will be the player that just wants to get out of town and kill something. This patch will be problematic for them.
3, the existing player that is just creating a new character. While most of us have no idea what it's like to level a new character again, there is a large group of us that would complete the fastest quests for starting exp, there are others who would flag down a friend to PL them. And other still that would use their existing character to PL them. Then there would be the ones who would have their friends pt w/ them from the start. Either way, 99.9999999% of the people would not go out solo and just try and level (ok a few might try, get spanked then ask for help).
I guess what I am trying to say here is that you have found what SE was asking for. An over-sight, something that is outside the norm or expectation of design. These are the types of things that QA is most likely to miss, or Project managers are likely to mis-judge the priority of. The common statement would be "We have all these options, why would people do this?" It is a logical question, and a sensible question, and when calculating risk an important question. The greatest fear from a PM standpoint is the single most simple and likely response to that... "Because I can."