Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Is The Leveling Model Dated?

I know there are many that disagree with me and in a way I disagree with myself on the matter but I think that leveling is really no longer of any use in the game.  While the fact remains true that I love leveling characters, always have and to some extent still do with the redesign of the old world even if it is not as much as I used to.

Outside of being a nice way to break the monotony of the end game grind, be it PvP, raids, dungeons, what have you, the end game is a series of repetitive tasks and while leveling can get repetitive as well it is not the same old same old.  This is why I still have fun leveling even if I do not like the redesigned questing and the super fast leveling speed.

The speed of the leveling however has taken a big chuck out of what I enjoyed about leveling alts.  If I made an alt and played in once in a while it would take months to level up.  Each day playing it was an adventure.  It was always faster once you knew what you where doing, where the good quests are, how to piggyback the quests to maximize experience gained for time spent, which quests had horrible drop rates or spawn rates so you knew to avoid doing them, etc. but it still took some time.  The time factor was the main reason I liked leveling alts.  As I said, it gave me something to do.

Just before 4.3 was released I decided to level another hunter.  I went through the leveling process at record speed.  Not such a bad thing for me.  I started it right before the release of 4.3 and wanted to get it done before it was released so it never occurred to me how wrong that was.

This weekend I decided to level yet another hunter.  Can you tell I love playing a hunter?  Working on hunter number 6 to make it to 85.  That hunter, the one I was hoping to just waste a little time with here and there, now that my valor grind is done on the majority of my characters, is already 62.  Yes, 62 in less then 1 day play time.  Much less then 1 day play time.

It seems the record time from my last hunter leveling, which was only a few weeks ago, is going to be shattered once again.  Entering BC content I was looking forward to the quests I normally knock out early for maximum experience gain.  There are plenty of elite quests there.  They give me a sense of challenge, a feeling of accomplishment, and a nice chuck of experience to boot.

It is with a sad heart I say that all those quests seem to be gone.  They where there only weeks ago when my last hunter went though there.  All those elite mobs are just normal mobs now.  One that I used to always have to wait until I was 62 or 63 I destroyed in seconds at 59 because the mob was no longer an elite.

Why did they do this?  I understand that the leveling process is only there to make your way to the end when, as some people say, the real game begins.  So I see why they want to make it faster but at what point does it make leveling useless?  Does leveling even serve a purpose any more?

If leveling does serve a purpose perhaps I am missing it.  As I have at least one of each class at max level I have at least a serviceable knowledge of every class.  While some I might not be very good at I know more than enough to make leveling any class easy.  Perhaps that is why I see no challenge in it.  I am tainted.  I've been there and done that.  I can not give an objective view that someone who is leveling for the first time would have.

It is from hearing everyone else around the net saying it and people in my own guild saying that makes me think it is not my tainted perspective that is saying leveling is too easy, it really is in fact that easy.

Being max level used to be a task in and of itself.  When you saw someone running around at max level you knew at the very least they put in some serious time and effort to get there.  Even in wrath that was the case.  Just that short time ago I would hear people say they did not want to level again because it was hard and took to long.

The most recent updates to leveling have removed the hard word, now people just say it takes too long.  Leveling is easy but it takes too long.  I hear it all the time and I disagree wholeheartedly.  I think leveling is way to quick.

Maybe if they made people actually work to get to max level people would not be rolling flavor of the month classes just for the hell of it.  I personally know of 11 people that leveled a rogue as soon as the rogue legendary was mentioned.  They leveled it in the spare time, no power leveling, and it still took them no time to level it.

If it were like it was even a short time ago in wrath I bet you not all of them would have.  If it where like it was back in BC I bet even fewer would have.  If it where like vanilla I can assure you that all 11 would have said, screw that, I am not spending months leveling a character I might not even like.  Not to mention, even with power leveling, there would have been no way to get to max level in less then 4 game days played.

If leveling does not mean anything, why is it there any more?

Every aspect of the game has its own level of progression.  Progression is not a word just meant for raiding alone.  You can make personal progression in many aspects in the game, the first we all come across is leveling.  That is our first gauge of personal progression.

People complain when raids are nerfed, when heroics are nerfed, when rep gains a nerfed, when they worked for something, they earned something, and everyone else gets the easy route but none of them can hold a candle to the nerf that leveling got.

No raid has ever been nerfed as badly as leveling has.  Even LK can still wipe some 85 groups in all 378 or better gear and it was both nerfed and now heavily outgeared.  So do not cry to me about raids being nerfed.  Raids can not hold a candle to the nerf that leveling has gotten and continues to get.

If leveling keeps being nerfed to make it easier and easier then I am left to wonder, why even have it at all?

I've got an idea for an alternate leveling model that would make it more attractive to most players and allow people the ultimate quick start if they do not want to actually level. 

In effect, the game starts at the end game in my model.  I will post it tomorrow.  It is leveling, but leveling in a different way, which would allow people that like to level, like myself, the ability to do so and people that they keep nerfing leveling for, so they can make it to end game faster, the ability to start a new character and be end game instantly.

As leveling is right now, I do not think it serves any purpose, other then to waste a little bit of time.


  1. I say split the two games. Raiding has never been the same as leveling. Soloing isn't the same as dungeoneering. Let players play whichever they want from day one.

    I, for one, love the leveling content and world to explore. Raiding does nothing for me. And yet, I'm not asked to raid before I can get to explore the world, while those with preferences opposite my own are asked to level before raiding.

    In fact, I'd make the leveling content F2P or even offline, and make dungeoneering and raiding the only online component that requires a sub (or just buying specific dungeons in a F2P/Sub hybrid like DDO's model). Let players play the part they want and ignore the stuff they don't care about.

  2. I am leaning more and more towards thinking that Titan might be an endgame place, while WoW will continue to be the casual place... who knows.

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