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Community Spotlight: Why Not Just Skip the Leveling Up Part?

Posted by MikeB Thursday April 1 2010 at 3:02PM
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This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on the thread “Why not just skip the leveling up part?” by Athecar. In the original post, Athecar compares the leveling up track to an “elongated tutorial,” but he feels it goes on too long, and wonders why we can’t just “skip the leveling up part.” Or at least reduce it to about a dozen levels, making the point that most of us have already done the leveling up bit countless times and it is getting a bit old:

“Leveling is like an elogated tutorial.  As you level up, you learn how the game works, and then get to the endgame.  A lot of people consider that endgame is the real meat of a game.  That's where you get into serious competitiion, big battles, storyline, and other goodies.  So why not change the dynamic a bit.  A dozen levels might be enough to allow someone to learn how to play a character, or some form of level-less system.  The point is, after so many different MMOs, levelling has gotten pretty boring.  So let's do away with it.  It might help the persistant worlds, too.  There's plenty of mid level areas that are never revisited once a character levels past them.  Suddenly, there's no more need for these areas, and the whole world can be relevant at max level play, which would then be the majority of the game.

In Dungeons and Dragons (tabletop, not online), levelling works just fine because there are always cutting edge challenges for you, scaled to your level.  That's the benefit of a human DM.  But MMOs don't have that.  So let's try and put people at the max level that much faster, and stop spending time, effort, and money on the mid-game that is really nothing more than a time sink.

My case in point is Aion.  Abyss PvP is really cool.  The questing and leveling in that game makes me want to hurl myself out of a sixty third story window.  Focus on the good parts, and just give the rest of it the axe.”

Of course, some people might argue with Athecar’s most basic point – that leveling is just a means to an end(game). Some people prefer the scenic route, the journey. So, what did the community have to say?

Acivim kicks things off by, you guessed it, disagreeing with Athecar’s basic point:

“Posted by Athcear on 3/29/10 at 9:50:24 PM

A lot of people consider that endgame is the real meat of a game. if you say so...

Honestly I really dont mind questing, I actually read the text and enjoy the storylines (crazy huh!?!) to me its about the journey and the destination.”

Kyleran offers a bit of a snarky response, watch out!

“I think they already have PVP combat games that do away with needless leveling, called first person shooters as I recall.

MMORPG's are all about character progression, its what defines the genre. Sandbox games don't suffer quite as severely as theme park games, but don't kid yourself, they have a progression system built into them that has to be climbed that lets the player enjoy more and more of the game.”

Gauge2k3 agrees with Athecar:

“'ve wondered this too.  If endgame is the only place to be then why have anything else?  I don't mind a journey if it is good, however the trend seems to be to put a journey in for the sake of having one.”

When looking at some games’ drawn out leveling grinds, I would definitely agree with you there Gauge2k3.

Cyphers would like to remind us that Guild Wars has essentially done what Athecar asked, and it has been successful, however, he agrees that the leveling experience has a purpose and a place in the world of MMOs:

“they tried to do without leveling in GuildWars, where you had only 20 levels to learn your character. You could reach L20 within a few full days if you wanted to, in fact you could already jump into the high end PvP with one of the available template characters right from the start. GuildWars had a number of pretty interesting game designs, like combat with a limited skillrange and skills that interacted with eachother a la Magic the Gathering, dowtimeless patching and NPC henchmen to fill out groups.

So it has been done. And it showed that such a system can be successful, because they delivered a few expansions that sold in the 100,000s to millions while there was still no level cap raise. But it also showed that many people actually liked to progress in leveling, because many were craving for  a level cap raise. There are other methods to measure progress and growth in a MMO than levels, and I'm glad that a number of upcoming MMO's are experimenting with that. But the level system hasn't been successful by luck: it's what many people like.

About the urgent haste  with which many players rush through the content, focused on reaching the level cap, I'm gonna say what I mentioned earlier on these forums: the way they do it resembles with sitting at a 5-course meal gobbling everything up just to know what the dessert is, while then being disappointed that it's just a dessert. 

The endgame content isn't the be all and end all, the content of a MMO throughout the levels isn't there to rush by, it's there to enjoy your ingame experience, just like all the courses of a 5-course meal are there for your dining pleasure, and not just the final course.”

I personally don’t have an issue with the concept of leveling in general, my main issue has been with games that artificially draw out the experience without the content to back it up. Let’s take Age of Conan for example, at launch the game had an 80 level trek, with major content gaps that forced players to resort to mind numbingly boring grinding. If a few months out to launch you realize you only have enough content to go 40-50 levels, lower the cap to 40-50, or jack up the experience to meet whatever you’ve got content for.

Now, not all games focus on quest-driven progression, Korean games often feature grinding as the main means to level up, and that is fine. You know what you’re getting into. But if you are playing a game for 30 or 35 levels that has progressed steadily through questing and then all of a sudden there are large gaps where you are forced to grind, that really isn’t cool with me. For people who are on the “enjoy the journey” side, this is one issue that can ruin that journey. For those looking to rush to the endgame, grinding should also be rewarded.

What I’ve noticed in some games is that when they are openly quest-driven they will also seriously punish you if you attempt to ignore that and grind instead. Sometimes you just don’t feel like doing a quest or want to just explore and tackle whatever challenges you encounter. Unfortunately, this can be discouraged in quest-driven games as you feel like it is not worth it due to the developers decision to lowerr mob experience in favor of quest completion experience. Heck, this is an issue even if you’re questing. If the quest complete experience is good enough, players will often avoid as many of the encounters the quest actually throws at you in order to speed things up. Anyone remember ghosting missions in City of Heroes/Villains? I rest my case.

Like many things in life, the concept itself isn’t flawed, it’s the execution that has been a problem for some games. Simply put: match the “grind” to your content. And by content, I mean actual content, not filler stuff like repeatable missions. Masked grind is still grind (I’m looking at you Aion).

What do you think about leveling up in MMOs? Toss it out altogether? Or do you actually enjoy it?

NetSage writes:

I don't say toss it out all together but don't make it insanely long either.  I like to enjoy the content of game as I go through it but I get quickly left behind by the people I've met who don't. Thus making me want to rush to catch up to lvl cap.  And, well then I get bored because i'm just doing every quest or grinding...  I'm sorry but I get tired of running from town to town and killing x mob over and over again.

Thu Apr 01 2010 7:35PM Report
darkspriggan writes:

As I read through the post, Guild Wars was the first game to come to mind. Personally, I'm a PvP-based player. I rush through the leveling process just to get to end-game pvp. There's mainly why I liked Guild Wars, in the time I played it. I had the option of not going through the (what I hear relatively short) leveling process and just go straight to the bread and butter.

However much I wish a lot of games were like that, I do realise that there are people who enjoy the Lore and journey aspect of MMORPG's.  But that's just not for me.

I wish there were some sort of median that MMO's could rely upon, but I assume that's not going to end up happening. So in the meantime... I can deal with questing if need be. Grinding does get pretty boring though.

Thu Apr 01 2010 8:19PM Report
Akrux writes:

You might want to check ou the upcoming game Earthrise as it does not have character levels. Progression is more about acquiring skills and gear. Players start out as above average humans but never become gods to other players. Sure playing longer will give a player more skills and hence an advantage in PvP but not a huge advantage. In games like WoW a level 50 player is a god to a level 40 player. In Earthrise skills are increased by doing similar things. Earthrise also will come with a smarter AI that has mobs behaving quite differently than other games. This should make the skill acquisition journey new and exciting.

Thu Apr 01 2010 8:43PM Report
Raithe-Nor writes:

This blog is amusing to me.  It's like asking the playerbase of Farmville if they think combat in MMOs should be converted to some sort of garden growing mechanic.

When will you people realize that we won't come to a consensus because we aren't like each other, at all?

I like all sorts of games, including First Person Shooters and Real-Time Strategies, but when I play an RPG game, I'm looking for immersive storytelling and character development.  It really is as simple as that.  If you want to take that out of whatever game you are designing, all I ask is that you don't market as an RPG.

The outright consumer fraud and exploitation that goes on in this genre (and particularly this website) is astounding.

Thu Apr 01 2010 8:51PM Report
SnarlingWolf writes:

You just need two types of games. Those for the truly casual so it takes a short time to level or has no levels. And those who like to dedicate more time to their gaming so that it takes much longer to reach max level. There is no middle ground, middle ground just leaves both groups unhappy.


Some MMOs (solid ones) I enjoy the leveling, and I do tend to sit down and play for 2-3 hours in a row so if it's a quick leveling process I'll get bored quickly. Other games that only have one feature I like (like WoW and it's battlegrounds, I hate the rest of the game entirely) I want to finish leveling as fast as I can so I can focus on the one feature I want in the game.

Thu Apr 01 2010 9:41PM Report
Derangedcowbrain writes:

As a paraphase that is often said of the Buddha, "It is the finger that points at the moon" in my book that makes the game. I find the journey the most important part, not the destination.

That  is the penultimate reason why SWG of old is, was, and perhaps will ever be my favorite game--I could toy around and change my destination constantly in order to enjoy the path, perhaps eternal, to the end itself.

Thu Apr 01 2010 11:15PM Report
Roman291 writes:

I agree with you 100% Deranged. Some spotlight in past I was talking about the same thing. I loved SWG for this. It was an almost perfect MMO to me anyways. I didn't get the chance to play pre-cu live, but I played a little bit of an emulator.  I too like the fact to choose my own destination for my character or goal for my character. And do it all over again with another one. To me it is that important  item, or skill, with the ability to customize my character to the fullest.

Fri Apr 02 2010 1:20AM Report
Renkov writes:

I see the point of leveling systems. It's progression, it's a little victory that makes people keep playing. Even FPS games no-days are incorporating some sort of leveling system, thought on a different mechanic. 

It's basically a goal to meet. Levels. You reach a  goal and you get a skillpoint, and a small boost in HP and power. Well done. But for me, this soon gets very, and I mean very, tiresome. 

I am all for the current aim towards more skill based MMO's. And in that I mean where you get better at something by doing that something. 

I personally feel, that with the current level of technology, devs could, in THEORY, come up with a more story based progression. Doing away with the statistical victory, instead giving us a new story to chase. Or at least letting us make our own stories. I believe the first game that would truly allow us to create our own missions and goals without bogging us down with needless leveling (especially when some areas are "X level only), our own factions with it's own beliefs, our own ranks and quests, will finally give the more organizing players the chance to rally others. 

Fri Apr 02 2010 4:29AM Report
Dendro writes:

I feel a sandbox linear style leveling is more realistic. Everyone is the same lvl but what skills you know and how well you can use those skills determins were you can be in the game. I know I can the screams now "I hate grinding" but what gets me is how would I know how use a +2 axe of uberness when I've never used it before, but since I hit lvl 10 I can.

Fri Apr 02 2010 6:40AM Report
madsdafe writes:

the leveling system isnt all that bad f done right. With that said, mindless grinding just to level up isnt fun -wat the point of a story if u just move from one mob to the next?- however, if mobs give ridiculous exp -bad- and u forced to be questing then thats not cool not cool at all -y design great looking monsters etc. if u just gonna brush right through them?-.

To me is all about the adventure grinding and questing -w/out hugh gaps missing- but when it becomes mindless grinding or strickily questing to level there it hits the bottom.

Fri Apr 02 2010 6:58AM Report
mCalvert writes:

I made this same argument against leveling in another thread. While a PVE journey may be fun, as it can be in Conan, I played the game for the PVP, territory control, big battle endgame. Leveling is just a time sink. The worse part is when you have a class system and you have to do the exact same thing again.

Solution, vets can skip the leveling, noobs go through it once, and can completely level up within a few hours. Make all the PVE content be at max level and be focused on fun and strategy, not just more HP and damage.

Fri Apr 02 2010 7:25AM Report
Ice_Hole writes:

The problem with eliminating grinding is that the character then means nothing.  A character becomes cheap, and doesn't feel like your own.


That being said, their are plenty of games these days that take grinding to a whole new level, and IMHO thoes are just rediculous.  The goal for any developer should be to balance content and leveling speed.  If you don't plan on putting content in for people, when don't worry about trying to make their be levels.  But if you are going to pile your game full of content, make the levels go slower so players are in that content longer.


The thing causeing most of the problems right now is "endgame".  Most MMO's put all their content in the end game.  They have very little up to that point.  Endgame is where the fun and challenges begin.  Honestly it does not have to be that way.  If you game was impossible to level up in quickly (Say it took a year or more to reach the max level) and you had the endgame quality content all the way through the game, I think people would become less inflatuated with trying to reach max level, and focus more on the content and enjoying the game.  everyone would be in the same boat, they would not be max level, but would be immersed in the world with plenty to do, gear to strive for (Since you will be useing it for a long time), and intereting content to explore.


The problem these days is just the quality of content in these MMO's.  To make up for lack of content they add grind, LOTS of grind.  Grind is important to an extent, but who says it has to be boring?  The goal should be to take a players mind off of the grind, and put it someplace else.  This is the goal of quests is it not?  TO take the players mind off of the grind they are doing, and focus on some little story, while giving the players a small reward for participating in the story.  Same goes for item drops, trying to get that new piece of gear can distract you from the fact that you are just mindlessly grinding trying to get it.  It splits your perception of the game up, instead of a singular focus you have a few things you are focusing on.


Overall, content if the real problem.  It only becomes a grind because their is not enough of it.


 - Ice_Hole

Fri Apr 02 2010 2:31PM Report
gordunk writes:

The problem with the current "journey" is that it offers very little variety.  Quests have devolved considerably, into kill 10 of this, fetch 5 of this.  Remember Runescape.  I remember a quest where I had to change my character's gender to solve a series of trials.  Now THAT is something I'd like to see more of.  A more involved storyline from the start, more inventive quests, and more reasons for quests rather than poor excuses to have an exclamation mark over that NPC's head.  And the original OP is right, I would like to see more validity to all the zones even after you've leveled out of them.

Can a level-less system work?  Probably not, because without levels or any sort of progression you would need TOO much fresh content to keep your players.  But can developers make leveling more fun?  Yes, and part of that comes down to players DEMANDING more of MMO developers.  Because as a playerbase we're too content to plunk our hard earned money down on any MMO that comes out.  The message needs to be sent, that we won't take the same tired old systems anymore.

Fri Apr 02 2010 3:38PM Report
fairbanks writes:

Leveling Up A Toon in any game is the best Part. At least when you get to level 60 Or What ever the top is you feel like you accomplished something.  If you do not want to level then just pay {This Is Illegal But A Ton Of People Do It Especially In Lord Of The Rings On-Line} company to Power Level You. We often see a whole herd of characters all following a very high character so they are being Power Leveled

If you do not like Leveling then maybe you are in the wrong type of game. That is what a MMORPG Is USUALLY all about.

There was a game I use to play that you could play another part of the game and you were automatically brought up to the Highest Level and fought things there.

I have played World Of Warcraft, City Of Heroes / Villains & Now Lord Of The Rings since it became on-line and I love the leveling part.  When I get my character to the highest level I will usually start another class {Or Actually start a few at 1 time but play 1 to the end} This way if a person in a Kin needs help I will have a character to help out with

This is only my opinion and I NEVER fault a person that wants to only play a high level character. Power Leveling Is Just Not For Me

Fri Apr 02 2010 4:14PM Report
wootin writes:

Leveling only matters if it's a substitute for accomplishment. Otherwise, it's just a number.

IMHO, gameplay which focuses you on levels is the sign of a game that doesn't really have anything rewarding for the players to actually do.

Fri Apr 02 2010 5:28PM Report
BadSpock writes:

I just don't like progression that is on rails.

If you have a level based game, give me more then a single zone or area to level up 1-10, 10-20, 20-30 etc. The idea of gating and having such clearly defined paths with NO room for divergence is what gets me.

Take for example Warhammer. You literally go from Chapter 1 to 2 to 3 on a very one-way road with no real room for divergence. From PQ to PQ and quest hub to quest hub.

Sure you can hop to a different racial pairing, but then you lose all continuity between the stories.

Now take a game like World of Warcraft back before Burning Crusade. You have more Alliance flavored zones and Horde flavored zones so when you leveled up you got a slightly different experience.

But I say take it even further.Imagine if they had the level cap at 40 instead, and restructured all the zones so that you had a lot more choices in terms of where to go and level up, rather then being guides on rails from zone to zone.

That's the big worry I have with Cataclysm is that when they revamp things, you are going to have a set path with no room for choice.

Burning Crusade and then WotLK made the questing process more enjoyable and content rich, yet at the same time had a lot less variety.

Changing scenery and doing different things helps to alleviate much of the tedium and boredom one can experience when on a guided path.

Throw in alternative advancement paths through PvP, crafting, even different types of PvE leveling from things like quests, PQs, and instances and you have a much broader and more varied experience.

WoW failed in that you can either dungeon queue with no end to level, or quest, but doing both and mixing them up just doesn't feel as right as it should.

WAR does it better with the mix of quests, PQs and PvP to level, but they failed because it is SO on rails and so linear that even though you have more things to do, more options, they all feel like alternate grinding paths rather then alternate leveling paths you can mix and match.

I instead feel as if I HAVE to grind my renown and grind my influence in PQs and compete all quests in a chapter before moving on.

Fri Apr 02 2010 5:38PM Report
Blazz writes:

If people feel that they want a journey, a defining part of their character, perhaps they should just damn well make one. Go out of their way to create a personality on their server, go into major trade hubs and /yell a "Hello everyone, I, Sausagewiener, will bake fresh Meat of the Wild Boar for level 70+ players! Come and get it, the BBQ is on!"

You can do things that you want, you can enjoy a journey, you can add a flavour to your character and roleplay if you want.

However, the topic being on the idea of "skipping the leveling up part" is part of the reason I'm not even really playing EVE much at the moment.

I'm training Astrogeology up to level V, it will take another 7 days from now to complete. Until then... I could grind for ISK by mining or running missions? Bleh.


I did enjoy Guild Wars quite heavily at first, but my old laptop would turn off from overheating (it was a piece of crap) when I played. I tried to get back into it about a year ago - you know the whole "no downtime updating" you were talking about Cyphers? Well, it doesn't work that way when EVERY ZONE YOU ENTER requires a TWO HUNDRED MEGABYTE DOWNLOAD.

So that's why I don't play Guild Wars anymore, even though I really enjoyed the short trek from start to end of the leveling process. But even then, you can complete quests that give "skill point" rewards that ultimately make your character super strong, which is sort of like the Gear grind that is WoW's main "max level advancement".


I would like to see a game... well... imagine if World of Warcraft's level cap was 10. It takes a few hours to get to level 10, maybe a full 24 hours for a slow first-time-player. But I really enjoyed leveling to level 10, it was good, I got abilties to use, and at level 10, every character class gets a defining ability. Hunters get their "train a pet!" quest. Paladins and Priests (and druids and shamans? I can't remember) get their ressurection quests. If I remember, warriors get defensive stance, I think shamans actually get the fire totem, and druids get bear form.

If WoW stopped at level 10, and from then on your "level" didn't overly matter for the rest of it, I think players could enjoy the MMO as a world where they play a role, rather than the arcade-like gameplay that they have now, of dungeon running and wintergrasp pvp (in some sort of hamster-wheel of gearscore and faction reputation increase)

I don't mean to knock on what WoW has done with itself too much - honestly, it is a far better game than it used to be. Much better. But it has dissolved from the wide world it used to be.

I propose it be renamed Game of Warcraft - "The most tolerant level grind in town!"

Fri Apr 02 2010 8:37PM Report
Kevscar writes:

If you eliminate leveling then you end up with STO. 80 hrs gameplay them you are at max and nothing to do. They added an upgrade patch last week 2 fleet actions no storyline missions.

You have a choice the same expolration missions, the same 5 fleet actions, the same 4 PVP maps over and over again. None of them advanced you in anyway. Everything including ship and BO's are completely maxed out.

Thats why players my self included are leaving in droves before having paid a single months subscription.

To keep players a game need to take 3 to 4 months of gameplay  to get to a high level not 6 1/2 days to give as sense of achievement

Sat Apr 03 2010 1:22AM Report
Liliane writes:

Basicly there is two different part, character progress content (leveling) and end game content.

What's end game content?

Mostly raids and PvP. Does most players like doing same raids over and over? Nope. So, what's really the end content? It's PvP.

Now what's the content  before end game content? It's basicly PvE gameplay. This is where player does most of the journey, story, character progression.

Do You starts to see why there is split?

It's not about leveling vs end game. It's PvE vs PvP. Different people like different style more than others. Most of us like both, but different amount. So, those who likes PvP more, often thinks endgame is the gameplay and those who likes PvE more thinks the character progression (journey/story) is the gameplay.

Leveling isn't really required for character progress, it's just indication that player is still in character progress. It's easyer to know that there is still journey left and character isn't ready.


Ask from you self, are you more PvE or PvP player. Then ask what's more enjoyable for you the "endgame" content or content before it.

Sat Apr 03 2010 3:43AM Report
Athcear writes:

Originally, I didn't plan to ever reply to this, but considering all the responses here and in the original thread, I'll expound a little on my original point.

The current state of the leveling system involves being dragged through the world by the nose, and solving various trivial problems that the NPCs who live there are having.  I mostly see this as a poor substitute for actual exploration.  Wherever you are, someone else has gotten there already and needs you to kill the local wildlife.  An actual, untouched wilderness is something that MMOs are greatly lacking.

To comment on the post directly above this one, it is not about endgame vs midgame, nor is it about pvp vs pve.  It's about good design and bad design.  It's about not having a midgame or an endgame, but rather just having a game.  Here you are, in the world, and you interact with it.  And yes, there is plenty of storyline in the world.  And you are welcome to go find it, and it will be interesting and you will fight cool monsters and solve cool puzzles (remember puzzles?  I miss those).

Leveling, as it stands now, really is a tutorial, unless you're playing your first MMO.  It's the same in EQ2, LotRO, WoW, CoH, Aion, Allods (curse you, item shop!)...  You do the same killing and fetching tasks over and over, you never affect the world, and once you hit the end of the leveling journey, very little that you did actually mattered.

Let's look at what a level is.  It's a point of progression.  A single, discrete unit, and often a large one.  A single level is usually a substantially larger boost in power than is a new pair of boots.  And yet this slower endgame progression is where some people feel the "real game" starts.  So why not throw out the less interesting part and start off with the smaller bits of progression?  Keep the journey, but make the whole game the journey.  There is no longer an endgame, just a single, continous game.  This is like the PvE version of a sandbox.  Somewhere between sandbox and themepark.  Let's call it playground.

The playground has lots of room to explore, but lots of set pieces to interact with, as well.  But no need to tell you to go to the next town, because you start off expecting to have to go and look for things.

Honestly, once you stop examining every idea in the contect of World of Warcraft, a lot of concepts that seem impossible look a lot better.

So no, my point was never to do away with exploring, travelling, missions, progression, or "the journey".  It's merely that we ought to be doing it better, and having a little number next to your name that has such a large bearing on your stats and abilities is a concept that no longer satisfies the direction that MMOs need to go in.

Sat Apr 03 2010 12:42PM Report
Murashu writes:

The end game is important in all MMOs, but skipping everything in the middle would be disastrous IMO. I loved my time raiding in EQ, but I have way more good memories from leveling in dungeons scattered across Norrath than I do at max level. Progressing from dungeon to dungeon was part of what kept us playing for so long.

I think starting everyone out at the end game would just overwhelm too many people and they would quickly leave. Character progression helps prepare players for the end game and the more difficult encounters. Just dumping a bunch of newbies with premade toons into an end game encounter will end with everyone being pissed and no one happy.

Sat Apr 03 2010 8:15PM Report
chefdiablo writes:

I believe that we could cut down the mindless grinds, finish up the quests without the large gaps and concentrated on creating truely individual characters. The ways to build characters that are not cookie cutter is to create lots of types of gear with many variations on skills and attributes and obviously skills. Far too often players build all of their gear and characters off of guides because they have success. At the end game almost everyone has the same build or there are excessively large numbers of the most powerful classes because they are found to be the best. Custom gear and crafting can create a great deal of variation but most games have such time involved crafting the average player just falls behind or can't afford to keep it up. We all know that the f2p games rely on IM sales making the grind a drawn out process that bores people into submission. I would love to see a game that forces players to build a character from hundreds of different skills with limitations that force us to be different from one another. Toss some minor random factors in to ensure that characters can't be built in identical ways and build a game where leveling is perpetuated making your character unusual. Instead of grinding for xp, you grind for skill points and gear points. Pvp could be based on how well people build characters and gear instead of picking the overpowerd classes and refine/enchanting to max with the same skills. Many games seem to flirt with these concepts but don't quite get to first base, most never get past first and I have yet to see a complete homerun. I just keep waiting for an mmorpg to start over and build a world that has character diversity that can't be copied.

Sun Apr 04 2010 3:09AM Report
Shinami writes:

Don't skip it, but reduce it.....

See...this is one reason why more people play Private Servers of Pay to Play MMOs....Not just the fact that they are Free (and illegal) vs the existing P2P servers out there, but the fact that they have a large Drop Rate + Experience Rate increase.

I've tried and played official servers and found the leveling in many games to be endless grinding. Then, to test the real length of a game...I would level a character to maximum level in a private server, and find that the actual game content of text-based quests that send you to do things...that these games are a lot shorter than Singleplayer Console/PC roleplaying games in their story arcs.

The sad part is that players will acquire more equipment and develop their characters further in one week playing in a private server than playing for three to six months in an official servers.

A lot of the MMORPGs I have seen fail miserably have been highly successful to players...Lineage 2 is an example of a game that is amazing in private servers, so is RYL 1 (RYL 2 sucked due to downgrade bug), but the official servers were extremely lame (even playing them for a long time myself)....

In those PvP games....players were all max level very fast and many things happened in those games that never will happen in Official versions because the characters in such servers don't have the equipment and the levels to make the targetted element of the game (PvP) work and be fun on a Massive level...

Without a Massive success in what makes a game "massive multiplayer online RPG",  we can say the game only ends in failure regardless the subscriber base..

I find the private server model to be a lot better. Sorry, but having a number that controls EXP and LITERALLY the time you will spend LEVELING to "Start playing" through the good part of the game...IS NOT THE ANSWER. It is a penalty and an abomination..

If an MMO truly is can balance itself for everyone, because if you will live in a huge game world where you can make a difference...something has to exist for characters on all levels of the game...and so far no one game has come through with that.

If you enjoy burning your years away due to a number saved in as a server-setting with the word "official" stamped on it, then by all means keep playing. If you value your time and wish to explore many games and cut the know what to do.

Sun Apr 04 2010 9:16PM Report
battleaxe writes:

The problem with levelling via questing these days is that the quests are all the same.  There are only 2 types of quests (with minor variations):

1) Go get this, bring it there. 

2) Kill X mobs.

Due to the fact that modern MMOs light up the quest locations on the map and provide the objectives on a cheat sheet in the UI, you don't even have to read the quests.  All sense of story or reasoning behind WHY I'm killing toothless wolves for teeth is lost.

Mon Apr 05 2010 11:04AM Report
dadown writes:

The journey through the levels is what I enjoy most. Once I hit the max level I usually loose interest in playing that character. Its the development and storyline quests along the way that make it interesting for me. Raids get too repeditive and I'm not interested in PvP.

Mon Apr 05 2010 3:17PM Report
Lizard_SF writes:

I feel the "Game begins at endgame" mindset is the bane of all modern MMORPGs. When you hit max level, your character should be retired, and a statue of him placed in the capital city, or something. The "Rush to 80 so we can START to play" concept pretty much destroys the idea of games as worlds and of players roleplaying characters who adventure through those worlds, growing in power and knowledge. The problem began when players consumed content faster than developers expected them to, and customer retention required putting in massive new content so that "max level" wasn't max level -- you had to raid Dungon 1 to have the gear to raid dungeon 2 which you needed to do to raid dungeon 3, all the while stuck at level 50 (or 60, or 80, or whatever the level cap was). I am not sure if there's any easy or obvious solution -- content creation is expensive, and can never be done as fast as players rip through it in their belief that they'll "Win" if they play the game as quickly as possible. Slowing the leveling curve leads to issues of the game feeling grindy. One solution could be ever-broadending spheres of play, so that you have multiple aspects to "level up" in, all of which must be kept relatively in-sync or you end up capped/locked. I dunno.

Thu Apr 08 2010 4:16PM Report
Ziboo writes:

Leveling via quest grind, can be a awful IF the only goal of the game is reaching 'endgame' raiding/pvp.  For those that don't need the first 20 levels to learn how to play the class/character - I'd love to see something in place that could smooth out the get to max level for them.  

I wouldn't choice that option ever.  I like a game that gives a variety of ways to level.  Crafting, pvp, pve (quests, grinding, instances), etc.  

Personally I find endlessly running the same instance for gear excessively boring and would rather have a huge selection of quests/zones to level thru and actually see the world the game designers made.

EQ2 if it had a more AoC/Wow type pvp server or rp/pvp server would be ideal.  EQ2 has housing, crafting, guild halls, variety of questlines from quickies to deity affiliation to heritage/signature quests that take grouping and effort to complete.  The betrayal questlines are fun.  There is so much to do in that game I've never felt the need to rush and don't.

Playing WoW or WAR, as soon as I get near or at max level, I tend to roll an alt.  Raiding is fun the first couple times, but once the pve boss is down, I could care less to do it again.

Fri Apr 30 2010 12:49AM Report writes:
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