Trending Games | WildStar | Star Wars: The Old Republic | Elder Scrolls Online | Neverwinter

  Network:  FPSguru RTSguru
Login:  Password:   Remember?  
Show Quick Gamelist Jump to Random Game
Members:2,639,385 Users Online:0
Games:678  Posts:6,073,994

Show Blog

Link to this blogs RSS feed

MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Old School Leveling Times

Posted by MikeB Sunday September 23 2012 at 8:22PM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

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!

Slampig writes:

I miss slower leveling. It took me upwards of 4 months to max at 50 back in EQ, now, well...

But I really think it is the players. The mentality of having to be the first and the most elite, it kind of sucks and really kills some of the fun in these games.

Sun Sep 23 2012 10:02PM Report
yaminsux writes:

Back then, players know it's all about the "journey" rather than the "destination".

IMO PvP destroys the journey part of MMO. People want to get to max level fast to be competitive (in PvP). This is where the problem truly lies.

Sun Sep 23 2012 10:07PM Report
gaeanprayer writes: I like how he calls quick leveling "missing the point" of MMOs then goes on to list a bunch of things you can do regardless of your level....which should be the point of MMOs. Stuff to do. Not an arbitrary number that limits the content you can explore. Sun Sep 23 2012 10:35PM Report
Hrimnir writes:

The point is people make the mistake of assuming that us old school EQ vets want EVERYTHING to return to the way it was.  Certainly thats not the case.  As the one guy said, sitting waiting for a boat for 20 minuted was ridiculous.  Does that mean you should get rid of the boat system of getting from on continent to another?  NO.  Just make it so a boat shows up every 3 minutes or something like that.  So, worst case scenario you wait 3 minutes.

As far as artificially lengethening the leveling process? It absolutely DOES force you to enjoy the journey.  If you know its going to take you 20 hours of hardcore griding to get 1 level, you're not gonna fret over spending an hour exploring a zone thats above your level.  Or spending 2 hours crafting, or spending 30 minutes working on your drinking skill which does nothing more than let you drink more alchohol before drunkenness sets in.

It amazes me that games even put in dungeons prior to max level anymore.  Leveling times are so quick there is literally NO point in wasting time going to those dungeons, its almost always faster XP, less trouble, etc to just keep on your questing path.  The better gear isnt an incentive either because you'll just outlevel it in 3-4 hours when you're getting green con equipment from solo quests thats better than the blues.

The other issue you're going to run into is that 80% or better of the current MMO playerbase aren't actually MMO players.  They're standard gamers who got drawn into a quasi MMO by blizzard with WOW.

Real MMO gamers are the ones who existed before hand, who liked the fact that you couldn't instaport to dungeons, and that leveling to max took 500 or 600 hours rather than 50 or 60, etc.

Was everything about the old MMOs great, no.  In EQ, corpses being able to rot was dumb.  Dying and being naked until you got back to your corpse (without a way to summon it for a fee or something) was dumb.

The problem is if you take EQ as being on the maximum left end of a pendulum swing, than current MMOs are not somewhere in the arc but near or at the top of the opposite end of the pendulum swing.

They've gone SO ultra casual that they're nothing more than glorified single player games.

GW2 is a fantastic example of it.  Its not an MMO.  Period.  You have no incentive to group up or socialize or coordinate anything.  Everything designed around just zerging "group" mobs, etc.  I actually tried to invite a guy to a group to do a cave troll event thing and the guy literally sent me a tell saying "whats the point of grouping".

So yea, there is the tokens for dungeon armor, which require grouping in the loosest sense of the word.  But, yea. whatever.  This horse has been beaten dead and we can just give it up.  MMOs will never return to even a hint of their former glory as long as the current playerbase are still paying customers, because their wants and desires will always trump that of the true MMORPG'er because they're the majority and the suits who control funding of games want to make money (nothing wrong with that) and are going to create the product that sells to the biggest group of people.

So, in summation, MMO's (real mmos) are dead.  And in my opinion Rift was the last vestige of a real MMO and its borderline.

Sun Sep 23 2012 10:55PM Report
mcrippins writes: I really enjoyed the skill system in ultima online. Some skills like Tactics (which complimented sword fighting, and other weapon skills) could be skilled up every quickly. Other skills like magic resist took a very long time. Mon Sep 24 2012 3:57AM Report
tawess writes:

Well i can only speak for my self and people i know, but we are all getting old now, and life put a lot more demand on us then it did back in school. University courses, full time work, commuting, managing a home and last but not least making time for family/children. We simply do not have the same time to iummerse our self in the grind, and we want to see roughly the same amount of proggression but with one fourth of the time to do it.  And that is what i think is ghappening. Don't blame the "kids" because they were not the ones dictating the movement. We were, we "then young now older" who had the capital but not the time.

 

Was it a much greater challenge to reach max level, sure was and i guess it felt like a much greater achivment when you did it in a time when you knew not everyone would make it there (or at least not any time soon) but that is just personal vanity, nothing wrong with it but it is a poor measuring stick for a game in my mind.

But what do i know, as i said i can only speak from a point of the people who i know and how they look at it. It is in no way a universal truth.

Mon Sep 24 2012 6:39AM Report
Kyleran writes:

I'm of mixed opinion on this.  Sure, longer leveling was better, but it is very player dependent on what is tolerable.  For example, I found the leveling curves of Lineage 1, DAOC to be acceptable, but Lineage 2's grind just wore me down and I couldn't stick with it. 

I estimate it would have taken me almost a year and a half to get to level 70, and then they went and moved the bar further out.

So as a developer I understand it's hard to figure where the sweet spot is for the greatest amount of gamers.

Even when I played Aion, I felt the game got very grindy at level 40 or so and I didn't really stick with it to the top.

Mon Sep 24 2012 6:40AM Report
StinkFoot writes:

Yes I do miss the days of Ultima Online and Shadow-Bane. It's too bad the more recent MMO's couldn't implement the things the older MMOs had that people recongnized and liked them for.

MMO's today have become more of a quick-instant hit to this end-game than the climax towards the end-game. Leveling to cap in 2 days max is absurd. It may work for the lazy or unskilled player for a time but eventually a player will become bored very quickly.

And that's another issue that has been recently happening in MMO's. Boredom.

Mon Sep 24 2012 7:59AM Report
Redrumickey writes:

I hit 80 last week in Gw2 and  been thinking the samething it went way to fast and I took my time and went everywhere but it seems I would lv. up for just walking around and now that Im at the so call  endgame there seems to be a bigger problem its all botted out . Know real players just people cheating for a buck !

That goes to show what players to day want - to not have to play at all but to buy someones else time and  be maxxed out without even playing . Seems Gw2 has big problems and most other MMO's to day.  Their not the only ones money off the their games .

There allways be cheaters but now its all about making money and if that takes 50 players botting per event . Oh well the one down the road only has 35 I go down there  .Ill take EQ or Uo anyday over this .

 

Mon Sep 24 2012 3:49PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
Login or Register to post a comment