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Reader Comments (32)

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 8:12AM (Unverified) said

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So far, I've liked the first 16 levels of Allods Online more than the first 36 levels of WoW. I dunno what it'll be at the levelcap, since in neither Allods nor WoW have I ever hit that cap.

Guild Wars, on the other hand, starts to become interesting at the level cap of 20 first, but that's partially because you hit that levelcap so early. The majority of the game is end-game content, especially with Hard Mode, and that's largely because in Guild Wars, the storyline missions are the most important part of the game. You'll usually hit lvl 20 halfway the storyline of the campaign in which you created a character. A low levelcap has its disadvantages, sure, but it also has some very great advantages; as stated before, the majority of the game becomes "end-game" content.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 8:33AM (Unverified) said

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is there a such a thing as a good leveling not sure i've found it yet

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 8:37AM (Unverified) said

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To go along with the picture, I have to say STO has an enjoyable story to guide you to Admiral rank. (There are boring grind quests, but the story driven mission path is worth reading especially if you're a Trek fan)

There are two major groups of people who feel speed is the best way to get through a game, console gamers are in a race to finish every game that comes out a lot of the time, weather its because they want to beat their friends or some other reason, I find most console gamers seek any shortcut they can in getting to the end of the game.

Then there are MMO power levellers, (Not the paid kind) They want to be among the first to look down on the masses as the first or best in their class. I blame traditional game grind for making most people skip past all of the great content to get to the end. And the assumption that the end game is where the fun is at is not a good one.

If the levelling is only there to keep you from getting to the good stuff so quickly, I say get rid of it and start everyone at max level.

In some games exploration throughout levelling was fun (SWG), in others the story line was fun (STO) and in some, the gameplay throughout the levels was fun (STO, WAR).

IMO too many people skip through the breadth of a game expecting that the endgame is the best part. They are robbing themselves of what makes MMOs so great!

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 8:42AM (Unverified) said

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I enjoy EVE Online's leveling as it allows me to improve my character without having to spend time in the game. While this can be harder on new players, due to the fact there is little direction as to what to do or train for. But I find it let's you focus on making the most out of the game as a-posed to grinding for a few XP.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 10:07AM Kalex716 said

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Agreed. EVE's is my favorite because its goal driven, and low maintenance. You can set longer term goals, reach them and feel like you gained a milestone level, or set short term goals and feel like you've gained many levels fast if you choose all throughout your career.

You are in control.
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Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 4:17PM Sean D said

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Agreed as well. EVE has so many different ways to measure progression that skill training (even the longer trains), which is the backbone of character progression for the game, goes by without much thought or concern. You can turn away from anticipating the completion of your latest skill level to focusing on generating more income, or increasing faction, or researching BPs, or exploring WH space, and so on. Unfortunately, I think many people think of skill-training as the only measure of character progression in the game and have a very hard time seeing the other aspects of character development, especially in the beginning. I think this will change drastically with the introduction of Incarna and Dust 514, which will both create even more options for players to consider in regards to character progression. As a result, 'the grind' will be even harder to see, even when you're looking for it.
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Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 8:43AM hmmdar said

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EverQuest (1, pre port-books). The grind it self was not necessarily fun, but the social groups that would form because of the grind were. I remember two places that were always great to find people to group with. Kunark(sp) had several very nice places for both full and small groups could use to hunt. Velious(sp) would be the other with several different levels of difficulty both in and out doors.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 8:54AM elocke said

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Lord of the Rings Online. First level based MMORPG to make me actually enjoy the journey and not "rush" to endgame. So much exploration and attention to detail through the game's various zones is what makes this game shine.

Before WoW got stale from lack of horizontal growth and long periods between content patches, I actually really enjoyed leveling in WoW as well, although at times I did feel "rushed" to get to endgame. It was just plain fun.

Recently, I've tried a few sandbox games, like Eve and Darkfall. Eve to me is a great setting, but I don't think I like the "leveling" process. Not enough emphasis on my character and progression and more emphasis on things I don't usually look for in a game, like economics, and resource gathering and pvp.

Darkfall, while tedious was actually somewhat enjoyable. I like having all skill available to my character any time I want and that usage of them will make them better over time. To bad again, that pvp is such a massive emphasis.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 9:26AM (Unverified) said

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Got to agree with you there on LotRO. I actually find endgame a little grindy and competitive. This in itself is not a bad thing whatsoever; it's just not my thing.

I guess I just like to take my time; I have a stressful job which is sometimes stupidly busy therefore sometimes I can only squeeze in an hour or two of an evening - perhaps enough for a minor quest ot two or some crafting. I also don;t want additional stress from a game (I have seen this!) - for me it's a place I go to relax and amble idly through the wilderness.

Of course this laid-back, casual levelling has drawbacks. My friends have a great deal more time to play and reach endgame with multiple characters as I continue to trundle along with my main still only two toons in their 60's and none at 65 after 2 years :o. I am unable to tag along in some of the higher level stuff due to being either to low level or not having the required radiance gear.

This affected how I played the game. I switched from a group orientated hunter to a more well-rounded fully-soloable warden.

I suppose I am saying that for me the journey, regardless of how lonely it can be sometimes, is the most important aspect of the game; watching and developing my characters.

Would be nice to have SOME radiance gear, mind :(

/epicfail
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Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 9:02AM Renko said

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Guild Wars and Star Trek Online.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 9:17AM (Unverified) said

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Guild Wars was easily one of the more enjoyable games to level up in. The constant unlocking of numerous skills through quests and buying them at the trader kept everything fresh and interesting.
And did I mention that you only had 20 levels?

Yeah, I'm still playing GW a lot.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 9:29AM Askgar said

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I'll agree on Guild Wars BUT only prophecies, both factions and nightfall rush you through the leveling but in phophecies you spend 2/3rds + of the story below level 20 and the main storyline is designed to gradually introduce new concepts and more challenges.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 9:39AM (Unverified) said

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Only one for me. Asheron's Call in the early days. No real leveling to speak of just some skill going up all the time. For its day, it had no equal in my opinion and is still the game my group of friends enjoyed the most. Nothing like the Mountain Rats which would chase you from one end of the world to the other until you died and they would agro from nearly off the radar. Monthly patches that added real content and constant revolving high tier items in those patches that would come and go.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 10:27AM Budukahn said

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Neocron for myself. The first MMO where I reached something approaching a level cap. Then again, it wasn't as on rails as most modern MMO's are. I went out hunting, did what I wanted to and quit when I was bored.

Post WoW though, I feel myself compelled to reach max level as soon as possible, and ironically, enjoy the process far far less. Indeed, looking up at the peak of the leveling mountain from the bottom with many subsequent games as been enough to put me off them, if the game was not exceptional in some way.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 11:27AM (Unverified) said

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I'd have to say I'm having the most fun levelling in STO, especially when playing their 1 hour 'questisodes'.

When you are having so much fun following the game story that you don't even realise you are levelling up and look up at the xp bar and note "wow, I levelled again?" then to me that's a good hint. hehe

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 11:21AM Faryon said

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First time I "leveled" up a char in SWG because my friends and guildies actually wanted me to come along for stuff they were doing even though I was pretty much useless against the stuff they were fighting.. this was pre-CU ofc.

I also liked CO because of the sidekick system that allowed me to come to some guild activities even though I was 10-20 levels too low for the content... never reached levelcap before I quit though.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 11:30AM Randomessa said

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Guild Wars - all three chapters - was my favorite "levelling" game, bar none, because I never felt like I was just levelling - I was moving around the game world, furthering the plot and interacting with key characters. I still enjoy the levelling process the most while playing the various MMOs I've played (rather than rushing to endgame), but only as long as it's incidental to my pursuit of the plot or storyline. In contrast, the second I start to feel as though I'm playing to level rather than playing to see what happens next in the story is the second I lose interest in whatever game I'm playing (AoC, LotR).

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 11:37AM CaseyTheBrash said

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To be fair the grind is really the only way companies have figured out how they can dangle the carrot. Then again, to be honest, I usually rush through the lower levels (dear god we all know how to move our toons at this point and click on crap while we guide you by the hand is getting to be too much, enough super simple tutorials) and dive right into the end game.

This is where companies get hard up and have to carrot-on-a-stick really like mad to retain players. But I fall for it every time because I really don't enjoy the lower level content in a game after I played through once or maybe even twice. It's a chore in every sense of the word. Bad news is, I'm an altaholic, so I end up without ever reaching the "pinnacle" of the game because I'm too busy leveling alts.

Make sure someone pokes me with something sharp when they make a game that doesn't require so much hoop jumping and gets down to fun. Well, and is an MMO.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 11:53AM (Unverified) said

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Any of the older generation of MMOs that were designed off grouping. If I had to name one, it'd probably be Anarchy Online. While old game mechanics were not mass market friendly, as virtually everything required the now dreaded grouping, I miss the days when obnoxious strangers were the exception rather than the norm in today's single player, mass-market MMOs, where the ability to solo seems to have instilled the majority of today's players with no concern for social niceties. I guess that's what happens when you remove consequences from action for the first half of a game.

Now, I can still group with friends, but what I miss is randomly grouping with strangers, many of whom I became friends with. There was a time when strangers weren't, by default, obnoxious brats who don't care how their actions were perceived. There's no doubt that the shift to a single player model has greatly expanded the MMO market, but since I'm not a shareholder in any gaming companies, I would much prefer the much smaller market of old where community actually meant something.

If I had to pick one game out of those older, forced multi-player MMOs, I'd go with Anarchy Online. 200 levels, with level 185 being the halfwaypoint xp wise. I still have fond memories of my groups hunting and leveling in the open world, and the many friends I made along the way. Most MMOs these days would be better served as single player games with a multi-player component that lets you play with your friends over a service like battle.net, as that is essentially what they are anyways.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 2:46PM myr said

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This, except replace Anarchy Online with FFXI for me.

Many of those people that I made friends with in the early days are still my friends today, 5-6 years later.
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