1. #1
    Stood in the Fire Hardkorr's Avatar
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    Question Artifical leveling and the power gap

    Howdy!

    Aight, here is just some food for thought about WoW's leveling system. In WotLK, Blizz implemented heirlooms in order to speed up the leveling process for alts. In Cata, they devoted a ton of resources to redo the leveling experience from 1 - 60 which includes making questing & instances more compact/streamlined. In Cata (maybe WotLK) and definately MoP, Blizz reduced the amount of experience needed to level up overall. Now in WoD, Blizz plans to give all players who buy the expansion (Returning, new, and continuing) one free character boost to level 90. Basically recent expansions have made the leveling process as a whole a giant speed run. This, of course, shortens the longevity of the game. However, in order to keep players playing, Blizz only slightly increases the levels each expansion and implements, over time, gear of increasing power which artifically levels players.

    Now if you think back to vanilla WoW, one level hardly made a difference in power due to complex talent trees, broken classes, and whathaveyou. So even level 60 raiders and twinks would occasionally get roflstomped.

    Now if you think about MoP, the power gap between fresh 90's and an SoO geared 90 is vast due to sheer numbers (class balance be damned). It would seem that in order for players to level and gear up, Blizzard has foregone the old method of actually gaining levels in lieu of gaining item levels.

    From what I can see:

    Pros: Everyone is at max level which means the only thing people need in order to be competitive is gear. Everyone can play with their "friends."

    Cons: By speeding up the actual leveling process, the hours put into leveling content (Virtually everything from lvl 1 - 89 and thus the vast majority of the game itself) is sped through in order go through the artifical leveling process of getting gear. This makes the majority of the time players spend in the game on the same content over and over again for months instead of all the other actual content. The leveling process, which was a guaranteed thing with experience points, is now random, due to rng gear drops. BiS raiders can go on an unstoppable rampage whenever (Ex. My friend Daethite used Censer of Eternal Agony on Timless Isle. People formed a raid on him and he still killed them all for hours.).

    Same: The level grind is replaced with a gear grind from Raids or a rep grind to get gear.

    What do you guys think are the pros, cons, or what is the same?

  2. #2
    Mechagnome
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    Just my personal view on the WoW leveling progress... I think it's nowadays made useless, unimportant. It's there to just gate the new and old content so you can't do certain expansions and quest areas in "wrong order" so to speak.

    Leveling used to mean progression for the player character, while in these days only a few levels out of 90 even matter. There are no decisions to make out or anything, it's so seamless as playing some sort of action game tbh. Would be so nice to have constant leveling community in the game like in the hack and slash type of games (PoE comes into mind). To get that back there would have to be some choice during characters progression, and that's by making skill-tree decisions nearly permament (or at least time/money consuming if you would have to try altering it). Well obviously, with the current "talent tree" it wouldn't work with it due to complexity (or the lack of it if we're serious).

    As we now have boring choices only and prefixed talents, I can't see where the sheer amount of increase in levels even helps. Nothing to gain on going between 91 and 99, probably only difference is between talents at 90 and 100 (meaning the max level could as well be just 91).

    Maybe after 100 we won't have much to level for and Item levels could take it forward? Seeing as we cannot be granted infinite amount extra talents in the tree on every expansion without making our characters too complex to balance.
    Last edited by Kankipappa; 2013-12-02 at 01:49 AM.

  3. #3
    Herald of the Titans
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    Blizzard designs their game around max level content primarily nowadays so levelling is made into little more than a chore to do before you can get to the "actual game". Slower levelling might work better in another MMO where it can be made more engaging and there's less focus on rushing to max level.

  4. #4
    Stood in the Fire Hardkorr's Avatar
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    I agree with both of you that leveling is now just to gate content and a chore, but then why did Blizzard make WoD increase players levels by 10 rather than the 5 they have been doing? Do you think they plan to have players actually take their time with the leveling process? Do they just like even numbers better? Are they trying to recapture that old school feeling of going up 10 levels?
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Hardkorr View Post
    I agree with both of you that leveling is now just to gate content and a chore, but then why did Blizzard make WoD increase players levels by 10 rather than the 5 they have been doing? Do you think they plan to have players actually take their time with the leveling process? Do they just like even numbers better? Are they trying to recapture that old school feeling of going up 10 levels?
    They likely increased it by 10 because of the feedback given, leveling feels less rewarding if you get levels much slower than usual. With 10 levels, you feel like you're advancing much more often and it's just a more exciting concept overall.

  6. #6
    Levels are an arbitrary number, they aren't changing the time commitment required to get to the level cap.
    It could be 5, 10, 4, 20, 12 or 79 levels added in this expansion and it wouldn't change the number of quests or amount of levelling content

  7. #7
    I remember doing ZG as level 57. I also remember pulling in level 57 or 58s into AQ20. That's obviously nowhere near possible now, which is kind of a shame. But then again, leveling took longer back then, so IONO.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardkorr View Post
    I agree with both of you that leveling is now just to gate content and a chore, but then why did Blizzard make WoD increase players levels by 10 rather than the 5 they have been doing? Do you think they plan to have players actually take their time with the leveling process? Do they just like even numbers better? Are they trying to recapture that old school feeling of going up 10 levels?
    There's no actual difference between 5 and 10 levels aside from the number - they take the same amount of time (when the content is current and hasn't been experience nerfed, up until Mists). Now, that'll probably change with their philosophy of not making leveling a slow slog, but with 10 levels, they can do a couple things:
    1) more rewards for leveling; with 5 levels, they'd have to give you multiple rewards per level up to equal the same as giving you one reward per level with 10 levels. This way it also feels like you're becoming more powerful in less time, but in reality you're not. There's a bit of psychology going on there.
    2) less impact per level; with 5 levels, there's a larger impact to crit rating (etc.) per level than there is with 10 levels. For example, in the 5 level format, you might go from 30% crit to 25% by gaining a level; in the 10 level format, you go from 30% to 27.5% by gaining a level, and then 27.5% to 25% after the next level. Again, that whole psychological thing of spreading out the lowering of stats (from increased crit rating required, in this case) over multiple levels makes it feel like it's happening slower when it really isn't.
    3) they feel like 100 is a much more epic number than 95.
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  9. #9
    Whether you like it or not it's a role-playing game. If you take away leveling you take away the quintessential element of the role playing genre.

  10. #10
    Having recently made a new toon and having to live in the hell that is Cross Realm Zones......I'd pay to get boosted outta that to current content.
    Me thinks Chromie has a whole lot of splaining to do!

  11. #11
    Blademaster
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    just to add, they even increased amount of exp you get from vanilla quests and decreased the amount needed to get to 60 in BC (maybe even sooner), so it did not start with Wotlk. It's been here with us since beggining. Anyways, WoW is kinda Endgame based for most ppl.

  12. #12
    At least the gear grind is far, far more funnier and entertaining than collecting random pieces of animals...

    Leveling doesn't offer anything for me, the story is not interesting, places are rarely interesting, slow XP gain only adds more frustration in to a already boring progress. For years i only leveled alts for raiding and AH camping.
    Yeah, it was fun the first time, it was doable the second time but they really should add something to make it easier to have multiple characters. I still would do it the original way when new Xpack is released. The story isn't that boring.

    Leveling itself is useless when aim is to go to raid. Most of the you're playing alone, most of the time you use 1-3 abilities that does most damage so you don't learn much. For the first time it is useful for learning about the game, how to handle your character etc. After that it is just chore and a massive cockblock on your way to fun.
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  13. #13
    Stood in the Fire Hardkorr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazpy View Post
    just to add, they even increased amount of exp you get from vanilla quests and decreased the amount needed to get to 60 in BC (maybe even sooner), so it did not start with Wotlk. It's been here with us since beggining. Anyways, WoW is kinda Endgame based for most ppl.
    Thanks for the correction. I wasn't entirely sure my facts were up to date, so I'll look into that.

    So generally, what do you guys think about artificial leveling though? Would you rather gain character levels or item levels? Also, what are your general thoughts on the power gap between new max level characters and SoO geared max level characters?
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  14. #14
    Honestly I feel like this is just a natural ramification of your gaming getting to be pretty old, gaps need to continue increasing in size or they cease to feel "meaningful".

    Is there any gameplay benefit in level 88 and 90 characters being near equal in power? Not really. If anything that makes levelling even less meaningful than it is now, because you'll look back and think "I really haven't come very far have I?"
    It's the same with gear, although this one has more potential ramifications in that people don't like losing PvP games because of gear imbalances (though having to climb a gear ladder to get an alt ready to raid is rarely seen as such a problem, it's all we have left to simulate the tiered raid progression in older expansions).

    Gear is strong so that you can look back and say "It is meaningful that I got all these shiny items", gaining a measly 5% crit over an entire expansion would feel like a bit of a waste of time.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Hardkorr View Post
    Thanks for the correction. I wasn't entirely sure my facts were up to date, so I'll look into that.

    So generally, what do you guys think about artificial leveling though? Would you rather gain character levels or item levels? Also, what are your general thoughts on the power gap between new max level characters and SoO geared max level characters?
    Personally I prefer gaining character levels, unfortunately they seem to be only able to give us 10 levels every couple years

  16. #16
    It's been this way for a long time, friend. Leveling is a necessary evil, the real game is at max level.

    Although, while the catch up mechanics they have in place for gearing at max level is useful in a lot of ways... I do miss the days when you actually stepped up through the raiding content to get to current stuff. It did make it hell on getting a new character ready to raid though.

    Give & take, I suppose.

  17. #17
    imho - leveling has been aritificial since mid-TBC. That is about the time frame when a large portion of the playerbase had a max level toon, and no longer wanted to level. Leveling became much more difficult since there were less and less people to group with. In reaction, Blizz nerfed many leveling mobs (i.e made elites become non-elites so you could solo many group quests).

    My guess is that this happened because people actually enjoy playing at max level more than leveling. Even if Blizz made leveling take forever, you would still see the same thing you did back in TBC....and every expansion forward from there.

    As for the power gap at max level - I 100% agree that it is too much. Having some difference is ok. But the amount of difference currently is ridiculous. I would think a 10% difference per yier would be sufficient. But currently it is more like 50%.

  18. #18
    Blizzard screwed the pooch with leveling in this game years ago, starting with the decision to listen to a playerbase who couldn't fathom the notion of putting brain cells to work to get quests done. After that it was simply a downhill slide of 'ermagerd tedium' and a never ending list of changes meant to placate said portion of the playerbase.

    All of which, surprise surprise, were unsuccessful, and pretty much gutted the majority of the game's content in the process.

    At this point, they'd save themselves a lot of effort by simply not bothering creating any of it to begin with. Make the expansion after WoD nothing but a room with portals to new raids and instances, and scatter some 10 second cd chests around the floor that randomly hand epics and gold out. People will love it.
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  19. #19
    I really feel like Blizzard is making a huge mistake by devaluating leveling content. Leveling is probably what got most people into wow and made subs climb, while raiding was a distant dream.

    Now, leveling is fast, extremely easy, has no decision because the game holds your hands on where to go, theres little exploration, dungeons are pathetic easy to the point where people -yell- at you for not going fast enough and people have very little patience. The leveling experience is very poor, and blizzard catered to that, making it a chore to reach max level.

    THEN at max level, they invalidate their max level content by making reputations not require to get farmed, by making lfr allowing you to skip the previous tier, the only thing that matters while making a new character right now is timeless isle grinding and lfr/flex/normal siege. Mogushan, HoF, Terrace and ToT all went to the dump, and Heroic ToT is out of question because new players will never get in a heroic ToT due to lack of experience/gear even with the 20% zone debuff. I don't know about you, but back in WotLK, I really enjoyed making an alt, going to sarth/malygos/naxx runs, then making some ulduar runs, progressing into ToC and then ICC, all while pugging. This doesn't happen anymore, thanks to LFR, but also thanks to my server's low population... Re-doing all thos old tiers made my alt feel liek progression, I only needed one alt to enjoy it all, nowadays i need several.

    Subs are dropping, that's normal, the game is still incredibly healthy with an amazing 7-8million playerbase, but if Blizzards wants to renew the game, they have to think of new bloods. Make the leveling in the game interesting, a lot of people love leveling, they are the silent majority. Make dungeons interesting, make mobs hit harder, make healing more fun, so that you have to respect the dps/tank/healer traditional role, force people into a difficulty thatll make them have to play better and that they can enjoy a slight challenge.

    Easy leveling should only be something avaiable to players making alts who want to rush through the content, let new players enjoy the game, they don't need to get into a raid as soon as possible, raids will be a new thing to them once they reach max level, a breath of fresh air. Dedicated new players will always be able to rush it.

    This is my personal opinion, and some of my friends started playing wow for the first time lately, they all think the same: wow is too easy.
    Last edited by Dreyen; 2013-12-02 at 05:53 PM.

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