Friday, 4 February 2011

Is levelling still necessary?

In this ultra-streamlined era of WOW, is the 1-85 levelling grind still necessary for experienced players?
On the surface, this might seem like quite an extreme question, brought on by my well established loathing of questing (and levelling in general). And you may be a little bit right. But I do have a point to make…
I have recently taken the plunge and started a new character. Apart from my old warlock main and my current main DK tank, I have no characters over level 40. I usually get bored long before then. But I needed something to do outside of raids, so away I went.
The speed of levelling these days is insane. With heirloom items and the 10% guild xp bonus, the levels do fly by. As an example, a guildmate levelled a new paladin from 0-60 in under 24 hours and I do not doubt that it has been done far quicker than this. This is without the 300% refer-a-friend bonus out there!
In addition, your brand new character seems massively overpowered right from level 1. Heirloom weapons help with this. Dungeons are a joke. With 5 characters of the correct level, they are a faceroll of the highest order.

In Blackfathom Deeps last night, out tank and healer went afk for 10 minutes. Us three DPS carried on without any problems. I healed the last two bosses, despite not being resto spec, even though I had never tried healing before. The tank didn’t drop below 75% and nor did anyone else. This really was far easier than any Wrath heroic was even at the very end of the expansion. It took maybe 30-40 minutes and I went up by 2 complete levels. I remember it being a challenge first time around.
But my question is this: Given that the levelling process is such a joke, with no challenge, what is the point? Why not allow players to skip to 85?
For new players on their first toon it is obviously an essential experience and you would have to get at least one character to max level . But for existing players, who have already got a few high level characters, what does it achieve? If Blizzard are going to make it this easy, why not go all the way and allow players to skip straight to 85? (For the record, I am delighted that levelling is such a breeze – the quicker I can get to the endgame the better.)
I have always felt that the game does not begin until the level cap – and now that I have experienced the new levelling process, I agree with this even more. There is zero challenge to levelling. Maybe it will toughen up in Outland, but I doubt it. And when the game is this easy, I don’t think that you are truly learning your character at all. I have used maybe 50% of my available abilities because the others just aren’t needed.

What would happen if you could click a button and skip to 85?
There would clearly be impacts on the game. The possibility of even more clueless level 85’s running around and clogging up LFD isn’t appealing, I’ll give you that. But they would get to 85 eventually anyway. And people would still be using the levelling content, as there are people who just love levelling alts, and when they get to 85 they just start again. These people would not use the service.
Financially I think it would benefit Blizzard also. I think there are many players who have tired of their main and quit the game, rather than grind a new character up to 85. (Even though the ‘grind’ is quick now, it is the daunting prospect of it which puts people off as they are perhaps expecting levelling as it was in the old days.) These players may stick around for a few months, or longer, if they got a free 85 character to play. Similarly, it would bring back a lot of players who have already quit for the above reason. It would help alleviate the tank and healer shortage at the level cap, as experience dpsers could just roll up a new tank or healer. Sure, they would have to learn it from scratch, but how much tanking are you actually learning during levelling?
Are there F2P games out there that already offer this as a paid service? I would be surprised if that was not the case. I wouldn’t be surprised if, sometime in the future, it is used as a paid service along the lines of realm transfers. I, for one, would use it occasionally.
What are your thoughts? Would you use this service if it was available, paid or not?


  1. There are a lot of potential problems with a 'straight to 85' system. Perhaps instead an account with 'x' amount of 80-85 characters could be able to pick an alt to start at 65 (a little like the DK system). Deathknoobs were a little bit of an issue but not too bad and, really, no players with level-capped characters should have to have their hand held through hitting a boar with a stick for 10 levels...

    Additionally there does seem to be a disconnect between levelling quests and dungeons vs end-game heroics and raids, especially in Cata. I think, as you pointed out, this is why many are not heroic/raid-ready even after 85 levels of play.


  2. i quit wow because I got bored with my one top-level char. straight to 85 wouldnt help much as by then I was also bored with dungeons too. Anyways wow was a rep for when i got annoyed with ffxi. but thats a lot better now so i doubt I'll quit that again.

  3. Dungeons & Dragons Online is f2p, if you are a veteran (ie paying customer) you can start your characters at level 4 to skip the entire beginner area. Level cap is 20, you can reincarnate and start a character over at level 1 but with 32 instead of 28 stat points. A second reincarnation gives you even 36 stat points. And you can use all your highend gear once you gain the required level to wear it again.

    For WoW I would like the option to start level 80 characters. I only have melee tanks/DD characters and hunter but I'd like to try a caster/healer. BUT... I do not want to level casters, the farthest I got was 36 with a mage.

    Starting warlock, mage, priest at 80; questing a bit, running some dungeons etc would be nice. Then just delete if I don't like the char.