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Reader Comments (18)

Posted: Aug 7th 2008 2:42PM Nadril said

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I have to disagree with you. Certainly, there are games in which they emphasize the leveling content more then the end game. However in a game such as WoW or WAR or a lot of the newer MMORPG's, this isn't the case.

Leveling up these days is a means of slowly learning your class and getting ready for the game at max level. Learning what skills to use, learning what your roll is in a group, all of this stuff is done while leveling up. The reason why an MMO that would plop you down at max level wouldn't work is that players would be running around clueless.


I was that person in WoW that just said "www.wowhead.com". The fact is if you're going to be looking for someone to help you with a quest you may as well look it up for yourself. Trying to give a location to someone without coordinates is a tricky afair at times, especially when you don't remember where the hell the damned thing is at. Especially in WoW some places in a zone look the same, and people aren't the best at reading directions.


Obviously the leveling experience should be FUN but I don't see the point in it being this really long journey. It only hurts players in the long run because, as a game ages, the player base gets higher and higher level leaving the lower players in the dust (because there aren't as many of them).

Also I don't know how it is for you, but at least for when I played World of Warcraft most of my time was spent at 70 then 1-69. I probably spent 3 or 4 times the amount of time at the level cap then I did leveling up.


I enjoy leveling in MMOs, but I don't want to be stuck leveling with this carrot-on-a-stick max level in front of me either.

Posted: Aug 7th 2008 2:54PM (Unverified) said

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I've left groups before now, and also been kicked from them, as I disagreed with groups using guides and help sites. What's the point, you may as well not play and just read through Thotbot. I've always preferred finding my own way, where is the fun in looking it up?

Posted: Aug 7th 2008 3:22PM (Unverified) said

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The reason leveling is so boring is because it affects nothing except some numbers on your character sheet. Nothing really changes. The monsters you fight become more powerful, but so do you, and some number - gold, xp, health, mana increase. And that in almost every MMO you pick.

If those quests would really affect the environment your character is in, and affect the game world, then people may actually care less about the levels and xp but about the impact they can have on the world and the characters around them. You would play because you know your actions mean something and not just to amass points, xp, gold, stats, etc. You would play to shape the world, not just your character. And that sounds like much more reward to me than any xp or levels you can get.

But I fear due to complexity of such an approach and the mainstream level based game mechanics we won't see anything new or fresh in terms of MMO design anytime soon.

Posted: Aug 7th 2008 3:44PM Nadril said

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The problem with your idea is that it is almost impossible from a game design perspective to allow individual players to make a lasting effect on the game world simply by doing quests. WAR is going the right way, with RvR even at level 1 effecting what happens higher up, but it's still a difficult challenge.
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Posted: Aug 7th 2008 3:24PM (Unverified) said

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Well, imo most people, at least in WoW, don't talk in the forums, and dont chat period. at least not in general chat. therefore, the ones that feel the way you're describing are a vocal minority, i like the journey, as long as it isnt as nadril put it "carrot-on-a-stick max level in front of me".

I believe, imo again, this is the general consensus of the majority. and the ppl that whine and complain and want things all easy represent a fraction of the opinions of the whole.

Wow for example, 10m subscribers...how many of them are really on the forums and chatting in general? not even a million i bet. (not that i have any facts to support this claim) :P

Posted: Aug 7th 2008 4:15PM (Unverified) said

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You wanna know how "the grind" breaks down in WoW?
Just imagine an office somewhere in Blizzard HQ filled with pie charts and graphs. All of which track various parts of your gamer mentality and are including but not limited to:

+ Chasing Carrots
+ Chasing Carrots
+ and Chasing Carrots

Somewhere within all of this they have completely lost the idea that games were fun because of how they're played. Not why.

The day someone makes a good platforming avatar based MMO is the day you'll see the "next-gen" of our genre.

Everything else is just a classy MUD.

Posted: Aug 7th 2008 11:32PM (Unverified) said

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While I totally agree that the leveling process is something that should not be ignored. It outlives its usefulness after the first time. Just as you mentioned that the end-game means different things for different people starting a new character does the same. You should not assume everyone should like the leveling process. Some do and they have the 10+ alts to prove it. Being able to create a max level toon in all trash gear or even naked would be absolute bliss for me. I have made one alt and that was purely out of necessity to my guild. We needed a healer so I leveled a healer, in 5 days /played... as healing spec. It was not enjoyable and was the most drudgiest thing I have done in game. It was absolutely boring. There was not even any nostalgia just me listening to the same quest givers killing 10 of something and marching back over and over. I never made any of my lasting friendships or had any of my big laughs until end game. So even on my main character the end was by far the greater so for you you may be correct but for the other half of us you are by far very wrong. The correct solution would be to give a player a choice of creating a character "mid-game" or starting fresh and only allow that after they have reached the maximum.

Posted: Aug 7th 2008 4:35PM Greeen said

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I believe very often it is a peer-pressure effect. If you start "later" than others, or are slower, you see in chat/forums/website like tentonhammer and others, discussion on raid this, group in area that, etc. and one realizes one isn't part of that, but it sounds great and you want to be part of it as well. Alternatively, you might even get pressured to hurry up and level so you can take part in the raids or pvps.
So, first you need to get there, so you rush, and ignore everything just to get there, which "everyone"(? really??) is talking about.
Blizzard is feeding that feeling by lowering the XP curve, making quest items obsolete once in Outland, etc.

The other "problem" is the huuuge variety of MMOs nowadays, and one might want to play some/many/all. So you need to rush through EQ2 expansion to play AoC, rush through that, because WAR is coming, soon followed by Lich King, etc. etc.

Posted: Aug 7th 2008 4:52PM (Unverified) said

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FRODO THROWS THE RING IN TO MOUNT DOOM!?!?!

Man...thanks for ruining it for me.

Posted: Aug 7th 2008 5:18PM Scopique said

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Spot on, Colin, spot on.

I don't know if it's laziness, or that some people just don't have the mental facilities to handle figuring things out on their own, but I've never been a fan of database sites or UI enhancements that have pointed the way from place to place for players who employ them.

I consider MMOs to have three phases: the shiney newness of a new game, where you learn the ropes, discover the world and are excited about what's ahead; the tedious expanse of middle levels, where you're railroaded from place to place with nothing to occupy your time but "go here, get that" jobs who's sole purpose, as kwramm stated, is to jack your numbers; and the final "endgame", which I suppose is meant to be the "goal" of playing this in this open ended, virtual world (I have no love for "endgames" in MMOs).

Players may begin on their own, but might quickly resort to UI add-ons because they don't have the time to hack through it themselves, or because they're trying to catch up to friends/guildies, or just because they're lazy. In the great grinding expanse, these tools become a shortcut, like if you really COULD fold a map of the US when driving from NY to LA, and skip Middle America entirely.

Of course, once these folks reach the "endgame" content, they bitch and whine about it: it's lame, there should be more/better content, etc. Well, no one forced them to rocket through the world in the first place.

I feel bad for MMO developers -- even Blizzard, who are very, very good at crafting their worlds -- who have labored for YEARS to create these expansive virtual environments, only to have lazy players zip through them just for the numbers. Quite frankly, that would turn me off from developing an MMO had I the opportunity, unless I had a plan to, say, remove levels and linearity.

Posted: Aug 7th 2008 6:27PM ElJefeDelDiablo said

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Where is Mankrik's wife?

Posted: Aug 8th 2008 1:10AM (Unverified) said

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The problem with WoW is that it has an "endgame" itself. Although it is very limited it is the only real compelling thing to do. The grind is really nothing more then a barrier to the real fun of the game and thats how many players feel.
Rather then a virtual world, WoW is about compartmentalized endgame. (Battlegrounds and raids)
There really isn't anything else to it. (In a nutshell, IMHO) I liked WoW, it was a lot of fun for a little while but it didn't provide any way for the player to have any sort of dynamic impact whatso ever. Its more akin to a persistent CS or BF2 match at the end (unless you are grinding faction then its more like Lineage 2) I haven't played WoW in over a year but I can't imaging it's changed all that much.

Posted: Aug 8th 2008 6:29AM (Unverified) said

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I'm not sure how you think this will be different in WAR besides that you want it to be, but kudos for finding another excuse to make a comparison.

As for the topic.. I raid quite a lot and I actually crave the few times I can just mess around on alts and explore the world and it's stories. If I could I would currently give up quite a lot of endgame to just play more of the game, but I suspect it'll be the other way around if I did as well. It's all about balance.

Posted: Aug 8th 2008 8:59AM (Unverified) said

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I personally hate it when people reply on mods, especially ones like QuestHelper and so forth. I aggreed with the article, and personally I say if you are not going to play the game, then why bother? Some of yous have said leveling is so you can learn your chars - fine - but mods like QuestHelper really do not help with the learning, and with recent changes Blizzard is dumbing their game down even more, making it even easier to progress in the game with even less skills and effort.

Now whatever happened to roleplaying? Immersing yourself in the world, the lore, the environments, into the boots of a novice adventuer, working his way to riches and glory?

I personally enjoy leveling up, travelling, exploring, and learning the classes, the lore, the world, the stories... I grew up on games like the Ultima games, where I had lots of fun chatting to the NPCs, learning the backstories, interacting with the world, the environments, et cetera... WoW has decent lore, interesting NPCs, quests, and content - a lot of which I quite enjoyed. Leveling my alt post TBC I was quite annoyed because with the increased XP gain he quickly overleveled the areas, meaning I was unable to experience a lot of the content. And indeed nowadays it is next to impossible to enjoy many of the pre-endgame content nowadays, as most people are too concerned with levels, endgame gear, raiding and so forth, ignoring A LOT of interesting content behind untouched, which is quite a shame.

Posted: Aug 8th 2008 12:07PM (Unverified) said

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Another thing I'd like to add is that the more effort I put into something, the more worthwhile - the more "epic" it feels. Making it easy to get levels - and nowadays on WoW fancy loot - just cheapens the whole experience for me, making me feel like just another sucker paying to grind, as supposed to a hardened adventuering hero out to rescue the lands...

Posted: Aug 8th 2008 12:17PM (Unverified) said

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When i first started playing WoW (ca. 1 year ago) i read every quest, did all quest in all areas i leveled in, and generally had a blast.
My fav passtime was getting hold of new cooking skills and get my gear to match up to each other.
I still remember the glorious moment when i got my first mount.

now, to the point.
i stopped playing WoW about a month ago.
why you ask? I'll tell you.
Around lvl 65, in my eager to get to lvl 70, i got a ton of addons (had noone before), questhelper was one of them.
from that point on i never read a quest again.
not once.
I was raiding kara/gruul/za every week with my guild (btw, prot warr ftw!), and in the end i found it dreadfully boring.
I tried lvling an alt, but was bored by lvl 15.
i tried taking a break, but was bored the second i went back.
point is, i ruined the game for myself.
I can pinpoint the exact moment it happened too; when the grind became more important than the story.
when the strive for higher lvls/gear was more important than actually playing the game.

I have ruined WoW for myself, and i don't see it coming back either.
Which makes me sad, because I really loved WoW.
The passion is no longer there.

Posted: Sep 8th 2008 2:02PM (Unverified) said

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Just take into account that everything above and below this reply is IMO. Everyone has one.

WoW os an awesome game, and yes, there is much that isn't played when the level cap is raised. Having played since open beta, I played a long time at level 60 - we did the 40-man raids - I had all my MC gear, we beat the snot outta Onyxia as soon as the cooldown was up, and had 2 full MC groups in my guild. Along came Outland and I don't think I've been in BRD since. Onyxia just sleeps, Never really got into Naxx much, but I'm glad it is returning so I'll get to.

So End Game has changed and when WOTLK comes, we'll stop going to Outland except to Pass through on our way to lvl 80.

It would be nice to be able to scale up some of the lesser seen/experienced dungeons to end-game levels/loot so they are still viable. When was the last time you heard of someone doing the extremely long Onyxia chain at 60? - No - they are in Outland. But why not boost the loot value. and the difficulty, like in upcoming Naxx, and make it worth going in again? New players since BC have seen little of 60-level-cap instances, so maybe it would help end-game be a little broader and have more to do and really add a lot to the game.

If you get a little bored with end-game, roll another class. They all play sooooo differently it is like playing a new game - well, sorta. Still, it will give you months of game-play and you may enjoy healing instead of tanking like you've been doing for a year.

I have temporarily cancelled my WoW account (until Wrath comes out) to play WAR - and I am in Beta now. Though not as polished as WoW, it is a helluva lot of fun, and very WoW-like in many ways, but in many ways it has many differences anyone who likes WoW would enjoy. They have some glitches to fix, but is has awesome graphics and RvR is quite different and fun! It has a new story line, but yes, there is all the get 3 of these on the other side of the zone, kill 25 wolves, etc. quests - but it is all new stuff!

Wow is still fun - I have 5 lvl 70's and will have more eventually, but they might have to wait when Wrath comes out as I level my main to 80 and start a death knight.

Posted: Sep 12th 2008 1:01PM (Unverified) said

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Having done the 1-70 grind in WoW twice now I just can't bring myself to do it again. I've tried once or twice, but in the end playing a different way isn't rewarding because I'm in the same zones doing the same quests over and over again.

I know once I'm done in this zone that I've got to head to this other zone next, and then there's this zone after that - not to mention the time sink that is actually gearing up a fresh 70 and polishing off the professions.

It's just lost the glitter for me. Now, lots of people enjoy the gameplay, and that's cool - the game has 10 mil subs for a reason after all. I've just grown tired of the "carrot on a stick" approach to endgame content. It started feeling like I was running on a treadmill for the sake of running on a treadmill.

I really wish that, instead of vertical progression game developers would concentrate on horizontal progression (similar to how Guild Wars was - at least for the first couple expansions, I dunno haven't played that game in awhile since I got sucked into WoW a few years back). When BC hit, once my wife and I got our main characters to 70 we rolled two alts and went through the BE lands (tauren alts no less) just to see the new content.

Not all new content has to be at the high end of gameplay. I think a lot of people enjoy the leveling process (not all, but a lot) as long as there's something new to be seen and to do.

Personally, I plan on playing WAR for awhile. I enjoy being able to jump into PvP while questing to break things up right from the start, I enjoy the PQ's - at times there seems to almost be too much to do in the game (which is a good thing IMO). I also want to level up 3 characters, because there are 3 completely different stories to go through in totally different lands.

I love the idea posted above about taking old raid content and raising it up to the level cap - if Blizz had done that I think you'd see a lot less burnout. Give players choices, don't force them down a very specific path of "Raid this, then you can start raiding this, then you can start raiding this... " - make it more open and people wouldn't get nearly as bored as fast. Add in a reason for people to play through the game again by giving them entirely new content to level through (past level 20) and you've got a winner.

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