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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: The Instant Leveling Debate

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  SBFord

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 13434

 
OP  11/20/13 7:25:44 PM#1

The title of the article says it most clearly: The old debate about instant leveling was reignited by Blizzard when it was announced that players would get an instant boost for a character when the World of Warcraft expansion goes live. We take a look at both sides of the argument. See what we think before leaving your own ideas in the comments.

Let’s all take a giant step back for a minute and remember why most of us started to play videogames in the first place. They are fun right? They help us relieve stress, they allow for a little escapism. Tired of being the bug hitting the windshield throughout the day? This is your chance to be the window, with a giant axe! We get to explore new worlds and conquer them, or explore new lands and save them from being conquered. It is also cool to see what the developers will throw at us next. 

Read more of Rob Lashley's The Instant Leveling Debate.

Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7733

Logic be damned!

11/21/13 10:10:47 AM#2

I think it is both well timed and a great idea.

1. New players (like anyone hasn't played WoW?) can skip ahead to the new stuff and experience the joy of a new expansion like an old vet - we all know how fun new game/new expansion time can be!

2. Returning players without 90's don't have to slog through now "old" content first to rejoin their friends - see #1

3. Existing players/90's get a free alt, like me I'm finally going to have a high level Alliance toon!

What WOULD be bad is asking new/returning players to slog through 90 levels of old content.

People say that MMO developers create artificially time sinks to keep you subscribed for longer:

Blizzard is going directly against that by giving away a free 90 to start playing WoD immediately.

It is a great move, very well timed as WoW has been in somewhat of a decline and is looking to really pull people back in with WoD after two lack-luster expansions.

It's not like leveling is hard, and it's not like any player couldn't "learn their class" in ten levels 90-100.

They are also doing a Death Knight - esque experience for WoD and new 90's - giving you new skills and talent points etc. as you progress through the story.

It worked great for DKs in Wrath.

Now Playing: Destiny

  Cymdai

Novice Member

Joined: 6/05/05
Posts: 1085

It's my job to be objective, it's my right to have an opinion.

11/21/13 10:13:29 AM#3

Worst idea in the history of gaming.

What makes most people rage in an MMORPG? Players not understanding how to play their class properly. This might as well be a guarantee. There's no way you can possibly go from 1-90 immediately and understand what situations warrant which skill use and what type of build to use, etc.

Essentially, Blizzard is admitting that there is so little skill required to play their game, that a new player can come in and immediately be equal to everyone else at 90. That's how irrelevant individual knowledge, timing, skill usage, etc, will come into effect. Decisions like these are why MMORPG's are so mediocre in the first place; because the focus is on making an already relatively easy genre even easier, and instead of designing new combat systems/innovative content, it's just re-hashes of more of the same, dumbed down to a point where a totally new player can thrive at even the highest level of the game.

Maybe if the content was fun, meaningful, immersive, challenging, or interesting for the journey, 1-100 wouldn't feel like such a stupid, miserable task. The problem that this shows is that the game, even to Blizzard, is boring and monotonous from 1-90, and that's a damn shame that they think people aren't interested in the past 5 years worth of their "content"

Waiting for something fresh to arrive on the MMO scene...

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10633

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

11/21/13 10:17:26 AM#4

Can't really speak on other games, but for WoW's content, instant leveling of at least one character to 90 would be the only reason I'd catch up on WoW's expansions. My characters are stuck at 80 because I cannot bring myself to play the level 80+ content.

I had a lot of fun playing WoW and I have a lot of fond memories of playing WoW, but that level 80 stuff is just, ugh. It's not the game. I played a priest from 1 to about level 35 or so when Cata released and it was fine. I hopped on my level 80 toons after the priest and just couldn't play.

Heck, I'd be tempted to play if I could add 5 levels to both of my level 80 characters just so I could skip the Cata stuff.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  immodium

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/03/07
Posts: 1289

11/21/13 10:21:21 AM#5
It's a great idea if developers keep on insisting the meaty group dungeons can't be part of the journey and only end game. I can by a high level toon and by pass the tutorial to the actual game. :)

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7733

Logic be damned!

11/21/13 10:22:00 AM#6
Originally posted by Cymdai

Worst idea in the history of gaming.

What makes most people rage in an MMORPG? Players not understanding how to play their class properly. This might as well be a guarantee. There's no way you can possibly go from 1-90 immediately and understand what situations warrant which skill use and what type of build to use, etc.

Essentially, Blizzard is admitting that there is so little skill required to play their game, that a new player can come in and immediately be equal to everyone else at 90. That's how irrelevant individual knowledge, timing, skill usage, etc, will come into effect. Decisions like these are why MMORPG's are so mediocre in the first place; because the focus is on making an already relatively easy genre even easier, and instead of designing new combat systems/innovative content, it's just re-hashes of more of the same, dumbed down to a point where a totally new player can thrive at even the highest level of the game.

Maybe if the content was fun, meaningful, immersive, challenging, or interesting for the journey, 1-100 wouldn't feel like such a stupid, miserable task. The problem that this shows is that the game, even to Blizzard, is boring and monotonous from 1-90, and that's a damn shame that they think people aren't interested in the past 5 years worth of their "content"

Swing and a miss...

Content has a shelf life. Things in MMORPGs change. With this kind of attitude, what is the point of putting out expansions? Because "well damn now all the level 60 raids are irrelevant and useless now that they raised the cap to 70!"

Your attitude is - "They should make everyone who is joining for TBC do all the dungeons at 60 and gear up and do the level 60 raids before they are ALLOWED to enter Outland and start leveling up to 70."

Umm no.

Now Playing: Destiny

  Grakulen

Staff Writer

Joined: 3/07/12
Posts: 431

11/21/13 10:45:35 AM#7
Originally posted by Cymdai

Worst idea in the history of gaming.

I fail to see why.

What makes most people rage in an MMORPG? Players not understanding how to play their class properly. This might as well be a guarantee. There's no way you can possibly go from 1-90 immediately and understand what situations warrant which skill use and what type of build to use, etc.

You're right. But I'd imagine that most of them will learn there role through playing the game those last 10 levels. I also don't believe that everyone that makes it to level cap on there own truly knows how to play their class to the best of its abilities. Have you been in a PUG lately?

Essentially, Blizzard is admitting that there is so little skill required to play their game, that a new player can come in and immediately be equal to everyone else at 90.

How much skill does it take to go from 1 to 90? Just follow the yellow !  It isn't tough. It's time consuming. 

 

That's how irrelevant individual knowledge, timing, skill usage, etc, will come into effect. Decisions like these are why MMORPG's are so mediocre in the first place; because the focus is on making an already relatively easy genre even easier, and instead of designing new combat systems/innovative content, it's just re-hashes of more of the same, dumbed down to a point where a totally new player can thrive at even the highest level of the game.

No one said they are thriving. They still aren't at the highest levels of the game. They (for this example) will be 90. The cap will be 100. 

Maybe if the content was fun, meaningful, immersive, challenging, or interesting for the journey, 1-100 wouldn't feel like such a stupid, miserable task.

Like Spock said. Things have a shelf life. Also if I'm new I want to play with my friends. Not spend the better part of a month getting to the point where I can level 90 to 100 with them and they shouldn't have to make a new character to play with me.

The problem that this shows is that the game, even to Blizzard, is boring and monotonous from 1-90, and that's a damn shame that they think people aren't interested in the past 5 years worth of their "content"

 

I'm sure there were some great TV shows from the 70s.  I doubt you want to watch them over and over again.

 

 

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17203

11/21/13 10:48:19 AM#8

Well, let's look at it this way (keep in mind I enjoyed my instant high level Tera Character but more on that ...).

 

If a game offers an instant high level it basically means that it is bypassing all the content that players have had to do.

 

If all that content can be so easily dismissed then what was  the point of the content in the first place? If anything, it can be looked at in a rather cynical fashions as "that content was there  to keep players playing".

 

My second thought is, as i have so often said, group games are about a shared experience. Everyone who plays monopoly and who comes around to those expensive properties with the hotels gets nervously excited. "Will they land? Will I land". Start giving exemptions to various people in that monopoly game "don't worry, YOU don't have to pay if you land on the properties with hotels" and the drama and tension (good  tension) is taken out of the game.

 

The rules start having less impact and meaning.

 

Now, having said that, if a game only has one track for leveling and players have already made it through that track, then I can acknowledge that repeating it yet "once again" might be considered tedious and allowing established players a higher level character could make sense.

 

My last thought is that a game should either have levels or not. If the content and the leveling is just to stall players and keep them subbing and that is the only purpose then don't have it.

 

For players who enjoy leveling (of which I am one) the leveling process is part of the experience.

edit: I really hate how sometimes one can't have paragraphs when posting to these things.

  severius

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/10/04
Posts: 1527

11/21/13 10:50:41 AM#9

If a game were truly enjoyable from beginning to end then those against free leveled toons are likely bemoaning the fact that the developers have decided that content is less important and that their fellow gamers will not have the opportunity to see some cool stuff.

 

Now, if the game blows and the mid levels are there more to keep you subscribed than to offer anything meaningful to the player then the gamers are rightly pissed that they had to trudge through all this nonsensical bullpucky and furthermore had to pay for the privilege of being taken advantage of then they have a good point.

 

Luckily for me I quit wow before Cataclysm, though I probably shouldve quit after burning crusade.


  MMOGamer71

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/12/07
Posts: 1528

11/21/13 10:50:45 AM#10

Nice write up.

It all comes down to people wanting the fast and easy route.  Don't believe me next time you sitting down for a night of TV get a pen and paper ready.  Mark down every commercial that says fast and easy or any combination meaning the same thing i.e. quick and simple.

 

We are in generation EZ.

 

 

  kabitoshin

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/16/12
Posts: 713

11/21/13 10:53:01 AM#11
Originally posted by BadSpock
Originally posted by Cymdai

Worst idea in the history of gaming.

What makes most people rage in an MMORPG? Players not understanding how to play their class properly. This might as well be a guarantee. There's no way you can possibly go from 1-90 immediately and understand what situations warrant which skill use and what type of build to use, etc.

Essentially, Blizzard is admitting that there is so little skill required to play their game, that a new player can come in and immediately be equal to everyone else at 90. That's how irrelevant individual knowledge, timing, skill usage, etc, will come into effect. Decisions like these are why MMORPG's are so mediocre in the first place; because the focus is on making an already relatively easy genre even easier, and instead of designing new combat systems/innovative content, it's just re-hashes of more of the same, dumbed down to a point where a totally new player can thrive at even the highest level of the game.

Maybe if the content was fun, meaningful, immersive, challenging, or interesting for the journey, 1-100 wouldn't feel like such a stupid, miserable task. The problem that this shows is that the game, even to Blizzard, is boring and monotonous from 1-90, and that's a damn shame that they think people aren't interested in the past 5 years worth of their "content"

Swing and a miss...

Content has a shelf life. Things in MMORPGs change. With this kind of attitude, what is the point of putting out expansions? Because "well damn now all the level 60 raids are irrelevant and useless now that they raised the cap to 70!"

Your attitude is - "They should make everyone who is joining for TBC do all the dungeons at 60 and gear up and do the level 60 raids before they are ALLOWED to enter Outland and start leveling up to 70."

Umm no.

Guild Wars did a really good job on their campaigns shelf life, people still do all the old content.

  sumo0

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/18/10
Posts: 122

11/21/13 10:56:32 AM#12
Originally posted by Cymdai

Worst idea in the history of gaming.

What makes most people rage in an MMORPG? Players not understanding how to play their class properly. This might as well be a guarantee. There's no way you can possibly go from 1-90 immediately and understand what situations warrant which skill use and what type of build to use, etc.

Essentially, Blizzard is admitting that there is so little skill required to play their game, that a new player can come in and immediately be equal to everyone else at 90. That's how irrelevant individual knowledge, timing, skill usage, etc, will come into effect. Decisions like these are why MMORPG's are so mediocre in the first place; because the focus is on making an already relatively easy genre even easier, and instead of designing new combat systems/innovative content, it's just re-hashes of more of the same, dumbed down to a point where a totally new player can thrive at even the highest level of the game.

Maybe if the content was fun, meaningful, immersive, challenging, or interesting for the journey, 1-100 wouldn't feel like such a stupid, miserable task. The problem that this shows is that the game, even to Blizzard, is boring and monotonous from 1-90, and that's a damn shame that they think people aren't interested in the past 5 years worth of their "content"

 

+1 I would happily play the re-imagination of UO if someone would make it in a working state. But all this content that is so boring it have to be skipped is proof to me that Blizzard like to waste time and money.
  Redemp

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/30/05
Posts: 1058

If I didn't respond to you, chances are you're a idiot.

11/21/13 10:57:20 AM#13

 So does this finally end the debate of : Is it the journey or the destination that matters? Well atleast in World of Warcraft it answers that question. Let's not explore the world that so many enjoyed before, the experience's of discovering what's over the next hill and getting your head smashed in by that Giant, vowing to return one day to exact revenge. No .. in World of Warcraft the journey no longer matters, the only thing that matters is end game. Why even have levels at all, why have gated content, why tier item drops ? Hurry up and get to end game, raid or pvp , consume the latest offering ... then swarm the next product.

/shrug - I don't like it, not for WoW,( A game I detest) and not for any other game.

 

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7733

Logic be damned!

11/21/13 11:01:20 AM#14
Originally posted by sumo0
Originally posted by Cymdai

Worst idea in the history of gaming.

Maybe if the content was fun, meaningful, immersive, challenging, or interesting for the journey, 1-100 wouldn't feel like such a stupid, miserable task. The problem that this shows is that the game, even to Blizzard, is boring and monotonous from 1-90, and that's a damn shame that they think people aren't interested in the past 5 years worth of their "content"

 +1 I would happily play the re-imagination of UO if someone would make it in a working state. But all this content that is so boring it have to be skipped is proof to me that Blizzard like to waste time and money.

Please, most people "leveled up" in UO using macro scripts while AFK, in power-hour grinding sessions, or fighting a self-summoned blade elemental at their house.

The fun of UO was what you could do in the world, which was a LOT, not the boring and actually quite quick grind to 700 skill cap.

Now Playing: Destiny

  Talmien

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/16/09
Posts: 76

11/21/13 11:01:31 AM#15
I think the fact thats its a good idea for WoW to have instant level to 90 points out a glaring problem in todays MMOs. Its all about the end game and not about the journey.

Lately I've been reminiscing playing D&D, you always made a new character and enjoyed a new journey. Text based muds had this as well, i can't remember how many characters i created in gemstone. I do know that i never once complained about not making it to a high level or got bored. Because instead my characters where created with the purpose of role playing. They had a personality, a backstory, that i would use to interact with the game world and other players. This has been completely lost in todays MMOs, which is why they are not called MMORPGs anymore.
  BadOrb

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/11/13
Posts: 746

11/21/13 11:01:49 AM#16
Originally posted by lizardbones

Can't really speak on other games, but for WoW's content, instant leveling of at least one character to 90 would be the only reason I'd catch up on WoW's expansions. My characters are stuck at 80 because I cannot bring myself to play the level 80+ content.

I had a lot of fun playing WoW and I have a lot of fond memories of playing WoW, but that level 80 stuff is just, ugh. It's not the game. I played a priest from 1 to about level 35 or so when Cata released and it was fine. I hopped on my level 80 toons after the priest and just couldn't play.

Heck, I'd be tempted to play if I could add 5 levels to both of my level 80 characters just so I could skip the Cata stuff.

What makes you think you would like the 90 - 100 content ? Also @ Robert Lashley , doesn't the fact you didn't play your insta level 80 warrior tell you one reason why it's a terrible idea ? Again would/will you play an insta level 90 in the next expansion of wow ? 

Another reason why it is bad is the fact some players would be a level 90 newb or even a noob , now would you wan't to play high level content with a player like that ? Someone who doesn't know how to play their character. The community will be segregated totally.

The insta high level gamers would possibly become very bored , possibly as in Mr. Robert's case to the point they don't even feel like playing on said character. Okay so the dev's feel it's an old game so what will make people come back or buy our expansion and TBH I can see a little where they are coming from , but these players will be burnt out very quickly.

Maybe it's the end-game mentality that players and developers have that has caused this and if you think about it if levelling up a character sounds boring or too much to do then why on earth are you playing an MMO ?

I will conclude by letting you into a secret in the final few weeks of PSO on the DC , I did test out an exploit ( bad badorb ) just to see what it was all about and it instantly made you max level 200 , now the character had no items for that level and also no actual need to play at all , it removed the sense of achievement for me on said character , it was the most boring thing I have  ever done in an MMO and I won't be repeating it. i deleted the character obviously. Wasn't all bad though as i bought the game in an other incarnation on the GC a few months later and enjoyed the whole game again , until they brought out the card battle version of the game , then I stopped soon after as it was weird.

Tl;Dr It brings no sense of achievement , thus boredom sets in , makes you feel like a high level newb/noob , it hurts the community , go play the full game people.

Just to add if it happens in an MMO I am playing I think it is 95% likely that I would insta leave.

Cheers,

BadOrb.

PSO 4 years , EQOA 4 months , PSU 7 years , SWTOR launch ongoing.
"SWG was not fun. Let it go buddy." quote from iiNoSkillzii 10/18/13
The original propoganda pixie dust villain :[]

  nerovipus32

Novice Member

Joined: 1/15/11
Posts: 2716

11/21/13 11:03:31 AM#17
Originally posted by BadSpock

I think it is both well timed and a great idea.

1. New players (like anyone hasn't played WoW?) can skip ahead to the new stuff and experience the joy of a new expansion like an old vet - we all know how fun new game/new expansion time can be!

2. Returning players without 90's don't have to slog through now "old" content first to rejoin their friends - see #1

3. Existing players/90's get a free alt, like me I'm finally going to have a high level Alliance toon!

What WOULD be bad is asking new/returning players to slog through 90 levels of old content.

People say that MMO developers create artificially time sinks to keep you subscribed for longer:

Blizzard is going directly against that by giving away a free 90 to start playing WoD immediately.

It is a great move, very well timed as WoW has been in somewhat of a decline and is looking to really pull people back in with WoD after two lack-luster expansions.

It's not like leveling is hard, and it's not like any player couldn't "learn their class" in ten levels 90-100.

They are also doing a Death Knight - esque experience for WoD and new 90's - giving you new skills and talent points etc. as you progress through the story.

It worked great for DKs in Wrath.

If i were a new player to wow and forked out money for 4 expansions i don't think i would be in too much hurry to skip all that content.

  Cymdai

Novice Member

Joined: 6/05/05
Posts: 1085

It's my job to be objective, it's my right to have an opinion.

11/21/13 11:04:04 AM#18

Content has a shelf life in MMO's because the content is poorly designed. People don't want to run TBC to gear up because the gear-grinding is the real grind.

Take older games you have, single player games. Let's look at a pseuo-MMO-that-isn't-an-MMO; Fallout New Vegas. Skyrim. You can start that game from scratch, run the same quests, play the game from start to finish, and love it. You can do this repeatedly, and you'll still have fun every time. Why is that?

1) Build variety. There's so many ways to play the game that there are options within options.

2) The content is fun, period. You're not bored playing it, whether you're leveling or questing.

3) What you do has some semblance of mattering in the game; you can see the results of what you're doing.

Why is it MMO's can't grasp this? People do not like running dungeons, or anything for that matter, 100x over. WoW, which is PvP and Raid-oriented, is one of the guiltiest gear-grinders ever produced. Spend X hours farming the same dungeon (because that is, actually, what you're doing after the first run; farming it) for Y pieces of gear to complete Tier 1 ---> rinse and repeat for Z number of tiers.

I can't be the only one who sees this as the epitome of laziness, can I? Are we at a point in this industry where people are too lazy to play through the game one time? We're condoning this? The whole purpose of games is to play them! Choosing to neglect 90% of the game because it's time consuming has to be the most asinine thing I have ever read in my life. Do you not eat because it takes time? Do you not shower because it takes time? Do you not play with your kids because it takes time?

You should be REQUIRED to play through the game once. If you have a character at 90, ok, then let this be an option. Saying "Hey, we want you to play our game and inflate our sub numbers... but if you don't wanna play it, we'll just sell you an end-game pass!" is outlandish.  Like you said, there are some great shows from the 70's, but if I've never seen them, I can't be mad if (for whatever reason) I'm required to watch it one time at least.

I want someone to tell me how this isn't just a stone's throw away from all those crumby F2P cashgrab MMO's. What next, are we going to make it legitimate to sell end-game runs (ala FFXIV) for cash, maybe have epics for sale too? It's a copout and a sham, and it just shows how far this industry has tanked that these sort of ideas are being applauded.

Waiting for something fresh to arrive on the MMO scene...

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7733

Logic be damned!

11/21/13 11:05:09 AM#19
Originally posted by Redemp

Hurry up and get to end game, raid or pvp

As opposed to.... ?

Socializing / crafting?

Can do that in any game at any point. Yes, even WoW!

People seem to think the "journey" in a game stops when you hit max level.

Most of the time, max level is when the journey really starts.

You can be a fan who enjoys the journey rather than the destination, and still want to hit max level as soon as you can.

Now Playing: Destiny

  Rylah

Elite Member

Joined: 2/25/09
Posts: 187

11/21/13 11:06:22 AM#20

If a game sucks so much at being an MMO. that you want nothing more than skip that part, go directly  to solo leveling, so that you can start the MOBA like lobby game waiting for the different "finders" to pop faster...  Why leveling and geargrinding at all? Make it into some LoL lookalike or do a card game.. Oh, wait...

 

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