With the impending level cap increase in Warlords of Draenor, everybody is excited to get started on their journey to level 100. New skills, new gear tiers, and loads of other content are soon to be had by every WoW player that is eagerly awaiting the expansion to drop. Despite how excited we must all feel about it, one has to admit that every player is almost always just interested in the max level content. Most likely, those extra ten levels that Blizzard pads on us for extra content is dealt with in such haste that people would wonder why they were even there in the first place. Can’t they just give us all the skills and other neat things that come along with the level cap through a less grindy experience?
Get Me to Max!
Admit it; the majority of people that play MMOs want to get to max level the quickest way possible. Sure, there are those noteworthy exceptions that find more substance in an MMO through the accumulation of sets of imaginary numbers through various acts and deeds offered, but it’s safe to say that the former greatly outnumber the latter. There are many ways that WoW has made available to players in order to obtain the final sweet ding in your character’s earlier career, and many of us have taken advantage of that as much as we can. From RaF experience bonuses to the boosted 90 package, Blizzard has certainly made it easier to head right into the wonders of endgame grinding. I imagine that WoD will not be exempt.
“But this is the new xpac! We’re going to like leveling here and find all the new stuff!”
Yes, you could say that. I could also say that I’m a 50000 rated Glad. Only a handful of MMOs have managed to eliminate the need or want to head onto max level and simply enjoy the game for how it was intended to be explored. Oh, wait, I’m lying again. Sure, most players will take in the awe and wonder that WoD will offer us during the first day or two, but that desire for the world will quickly devolve into a nagging obligation coupled with the need to get to 100.
Leveling is the Real Game
Whether one chooses to believe me or not, a player’s journey from 1 to max is the best experience anyone could ever have in any game. Here, you learn the ropes of the game, how your character/class functions, meet a lot of people of varying personalities, and find out just what makes the game great for you. The misadventures you could have while leveling are near endless, almost always entertaining, and will definitely be a lesson to you concerning the game or in your own life. The time I had questing through the Hinterlands and fighting off even-leveled Allies with this great Tauren Pally I just grouped up with will be a memory I won’t soon forget. Oh, the laughs, lessons learned, and skulls crushed, if only our joy hadn’t gotten the best of us as we forgot to Real ID each other and never saw each other again, forgetting how cross-realm zones work.
Hearing stories, from videos or otherwise, about endgame awesomeness during one’s leveling journey will surely spur one to level faster. It’s in this journey where one learns to “cheat” the system by looking for ways that give more experience. It might seem to be the same attitude I purportedly touted about most players, an attitude a lot of people really attribute to an actual form of cheating, but this sort of rushing is also a rather unique experience entirely. Before the advent of faster leveling schemes, this mindset still gave you the chance to interact with the people and the greatness that was Azeroth, exploring every nook and cranny, attempting to find certain exploitable items of interest that could possibly lessen the grind, and most of all, as I’ve said earlier, the learning experiences whether it be applicable in WoW or in your own real life.
Now, in WoD, one can expect numerous amounts of attempts in being able to get from 90 to 100 in the fastest way possible, akin to the Pandaria methods like power-leveling on timeless isle, abusing certain pet battles, or just downright getting carried in instances. All this, despite being methods of rushing, is not at all actual cheating, but another way of playing the game. Players that go for these don’t bypass the way the game works in anyway, instead choosing only a different method, location, and playstyle to suit their needs. In this sense, it still becomes the game all in itself because players still go by its rules, albeit in a much more creative and streamlined fashion. So, we almost safely say that leveling, in this aspect, still is plenty relevant as it involves actually playing the game in whatever means or methods a player may have deemed acceptable.
With all this, the adventures you could ever possibly have at end-game raiding or pvp can never truly match the actual substance and uniqueness of your earlier levels. There is hardly a lack of things to be had and it will only be of a personal level where one is always unable to cope with going through what should shape you as a player.
X Game Did It! Why Can’t WoW?
True enough, certain MMOs like the first Guildwars have more than destroyed the reliance of leveling. Levels were treated merely as a method of introducing a class or character to you in the best pace possible so that its billions of skills and playstyles don’t overwhelm you all at once. It is also these games that allowed for the same feel of adventure, despite hitting the level cap long ago, as you trudge along their worlds and through their stories. Some of these even allowed the total bypassing of mid-level content by simply getting carried or ran through end game areas so that you can participate outright on endgame content. PvP is never an issue in these games due to level scaling in any arena entered or even have its own PvP only areas or content.
I would have to agree to the idea that WoD could still deliver the same type of content without actually needing a level cap increase, or perhaps just giving it in an easier manner. It really is just the adventure we’re more concerned about that is coupled along with the idea of progression via sets of numbers. But, true enough, the majority of the population playing MMOs in general, not just WoW, can get pretty bored pretty fast without the satisfying “ding!” every so often. Leveling is there to tell you that you’ve gotten better in some way, somehow, in whatever aspect, and I truly can’t imagine WoW being any different.
Older, Earlier Game
If this will happen to WoD, one can probably tell how leveling is before Pandaria in WoW these days. Though cross-realm zones and cross-realm queues have greatly helped, the environment in WoW’s earlier questing areas have been all but dead. Not many want to bother with the idea of questing in the Badlands again or suffer the submerged areas of Thousand Needles, all of which are useless other than the fact that it helps them get experience. People stay for the endgame or they don’t stay at all, perpetually stuck in mid-level limbo, quitting about half the way there.
Sometimes, leveling the vanilla way is so dead, that I often wonder if anybody even bothers anymore despite the many other ways of getting to 90. While it may be a wonderful adventure to level in a new expansion, it simply isn’t anymore when you have to play through ten decades of content just to get up to the current stage of development. For that, I feel that Blizzards decisions of putting in a bunch of alternatives is a good call as any. Inb4 faster leveling won’t bring bored players back. That’s a matter different all entirely and in no way am I touching that.
Circle of Life
Leveling is a big part of MMOs and it is certainly a big part of WoW. Don’t you remember the feeling you had when you finally reached level 46 as a Ret Pally and got that Exo spell? Wasn’t it great that you didn’t seem like a broken dps anymore? Levels can be meaningful as it improves not only your character but also yourself. In more ways than one, a fellow’s article is an interesting read that goes hand in hand with this idea of leveling and playing MMOs in general. Whatever Warlords of Draenor will offer us players, regardless of how we feel about those meager 10 levels of extra grinding before we get to the meat of endgame, I’m sure that it’ll open up many possibilities that will only enhance our game and give us a deeper appreciation for the expansion.
Will Blizzard make a move later on in WoD’s life to sell a boosted 100 package? Probably, but just enjoy what you have and what you will get in the meantime; WoW isn’t going anywhere for a while, so you’ve still got a lot on your plate.Related: Column, Fantasy, MMORPG, PvE, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday