I don’t do too much ranting on this blog. I’m usually a mediator, the voice of reason between two divergent opinions. I’m going to rant today, though, with one caveat. This isn’t directed at anyone in particular. It’s a complaint I’ve heard in various places (mostly through my RSS feed), and I couldn’t point to one specific post or person that I’m ranting about.
My rant is about leveling speed in WAR. After two months of the game being live, I’ve leveled an Archmage to level 30, a Shadow Warrior to 18, and a Witch Hunter to 14. If I spent all my time on the Archmage, I’d probably be 35+.
How the hell can you say that leveling is slow in WAR? How long should it take to hit a level cap? Do we really need to hit MMO level caps in two months or less for the leveling speed to be acceptable? If that’s true, is it time to just get rid of levels entirely, and make your advancement and achievement skill-based somehow?
In no other MMO that I’ve ever played have I reached 75% of the level cap two months after release, and I’m playing WAR much more casually than I ever played EQ, DAoC, SWG, or WoW. I level in WAR accidentally, rarely glancing at my experience bar. When I do notice the xp bar, I’m usually surprised how much I’ve gained. I don’t just grind scenarios, either. My archmage has done a lot of PvE content in the last couple levels, and a lot of open RvR. There’s never been a time where I think “Jesus, this is going to take forever.” In fact, I’m pretty damn surprised how little time it’s going to take me to hit 40 with the archmage.
I’ve got three ways to advance my character, and I enjoy all of them wholeheartedly. If the zone is buzzing about open RvR, I can get involved and my character advances while I’m having fun. If I feel the need for organized RvR more immediately than oRvR is providing, I can hit scenarios (my sympathies to those who weren’t on servers with scenarios popping regularly, that’s a valid response to my rant…but that’s still only one way to level). If I’m in a PvE state of mind, I can knock out quests, or organize a Public Quest group.
Almost everything you do in WAR gives you experience. If you sit back and enjoy what you’re doing, you’re going to advance without having to watch your experience bar like a hawk. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, then it’s not WAR’s leveling curve that’s at fault. You have every right not to enjoy the tasks you’re doing to advance, and there are plenty of valid reasons why you might not be able to advance doing what you enjoy (can’t find PvE or PQ groups due to low population, or population dispersed through too many pairings and tiers, scenarios aren’t popping regularly, not enough oRvR action), but when those things are working, leveling is easy.
I think it would be a mistake to increase leveling speed. Instead of making leveling faster, I think Mythic is smart to try and merge server populations and provide a critical mass of players for PvE, scenarios, and oRvR. That way, no matter how you choose to play on a given evening, you’ll be able to find players and make progress toward the level cap.
We’re not there yet, not for every server. But we’re only two months in, and I suspect leveling will seem much easier in a couple months when server populations have stabilized.