In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "Am I the only one that misses leveling over years?" by Gravarg. In the thread, Gravarg laments the new school pace of leveling in MMOs and yearns for a time when leveling would end up being a six month process (or longer!):
I guess you could call me old school, or a grumpy old man, but I truly miss the old days when it took at least 6 months to level to max level. In today's games it takes maybe a week, if you're slow, to get to max level. I truly believe that in MMOs, unlike other games, the "end" should never be there. Yes, today's developers add in content for capped characters to do, but it's just not the same as leveling up. Take Guild Wars 2 for instance, I heard that a player leveled from level 1-80 in 2 days...really? That couldn't be fun at all, and it misses the whole point of MMOs. I think alot of developers (and players) have forgotten that in MMOs the "endgame" isn't what MMOs are about. It's about exploration, discovery, learning new things, and yes killing. Old MMOs had more to do with learning than today's MMOs. Today's MMOs you can log in day one, and never have to go find some spreadsheet telling you which weapon is best for your level. Today's MMOs you never have to go to a wiki, or heaven-forbid, buy an actual book with a map and how-tos, just so you don't get lost.
I know there will probably never be a game like old EQ or old DAoC or old Ultima Online or really old Neverwinter Nights, back when it took a minimum of 6 months to get to the end. Heck, in the original DAoC it took longer to get the last 2 levels than it does to get to cap in today's games. Alas, there is no real reason for developers to make games like this anymore. The majority of players aren't like me. They want thier rewards upfront and as soon as possible. They don't want to spend hours on end killing things or doing quests just to get a single level. They want 20 levels in that time.
Just my two cents from an old dinosaur lol.
How's the MMORPG.com community feel about this subject? Read on to find out!
Acidon is certainly in agreement:
Remember when they added the little blue line to the experience bar in EQ? So that you could almost see your XP move, representing a fraction of one bubble? =) That was back when there were still "hell levels".
Yes I miss those days. It was about the *journey*. It was about friends, huge guilds, player-made events, contests, weddings.
During the days of respect. Of being responsible for yourself and your name. With progression being as it was, if you created a bad name for yourself you had to live with it.
Yeah I'll stop, I'm already going off on tangents.
Yes, I miss that type of progression.
And no, you can't go back. Those games are just a shell of their former selves. Leveling has been sped up considerably and you get free great gear that's amazing for your level. No more loot rotting on corpses. etc etc. Blah.
EDIT: Yes I'm old. But i've also changed with the times and currently enjoy two great MMORPGs. Rift and TSW.
Starpower takes off the rose-tinted glasses:
I don't miss having to sit for an hour to get my mana back so I could get back in the saddle again, or waiting 20 minutes on a boat so I can get to an xp spot that is available and good, nor do I miss sitting on one spot while some puller pulls the same 5 mobs for 5 - 6 hours, or having to buy a second account so I can heal my warrior to keep downtime at a minimum..
All those timesinks and more I don't bother to mention, to slow levelling down to a crawl. I don't miss those. If a game can stretch out the leveling pace without throwing tons of stupid timesinks at me then I'm with the OP all the way.
Leogham offers a different take on the subject:
I don't miss leveling over years for leveling sake. What I miss is that journey actually meaning something. Even in games like EQ people could do nothing but play and hit level caps much faster than anyone else, but EQ wasn't originally desiged for that to mean anything but give people bigger epeens. End game wasn't the focus of the first few iterations of EQ. Now all games are designed so that 90% of the time and content is dedicated to end game, the journey to end game is ignored.
For me, it all depends. I'll use two examples: Star Wars Galaxies and City of Heroes. Arguably, my most fun adventuring in an MMO was in Star Wars Galaxies. While one didn't level in the basic sense of the word, there certainly was a grind to be had, but that grind wasn't the game itself. Options for progression went in many different directions, so while it did take a bit to get through any particular track, the gameplay experience didn't really suffer as a result. This is the "journey" argument that Leogham essentially brought up. For some people, an artificially long leveling experience forces them to 'enjoy the journey', but I disagree with this approach. If the gameplay naturally encourages you to enjoy the journey without hitting you with a brick wall of grind, that's probably the ideal solution.
In City of Heroes, it took quite a while to level a single character and trick it out such that it really felt super powered. This was especially frustrating to me because that game was all about having multiple characters and it was hard to really get a feel for how awesome a character concept was until you had really gotten through a good chunk of the leveling process. This ended up making the game really grindy and it really wasn't enjoyable when you wanted to work on more than one character at a time or found yourself with a neat new character concept.
So, as I said earlier, it all depends. In a game where you really only have one character, such as Star Wars Galaxies, and the core of the game itself is really about that journey, the long progression doesn't really bother me. However, in games that encourage you to make multiple characters with all the cool classes or races on offer, it's a huge turn off for me. I'm often excited for new character concepts and the long drawn out leveling process has been a huge block for me in pursuing them. If it's already going to take me six months or longer on one character, I'm much less likely to consider rolling up a second character afterwards.
How do you feel about today's MMO pacing? Do you yearn for the old school MMO experience? Let us know in the comments below!