Boosting XP gain, why?

Mythic recently increased the overall leveling rate in WAR, and most players/blogs have openly called this a much needed change. I’m somewhat neutral about it concerning WAR in particular, as on the one hand the pace never bothered me, but on the other I have some Annihilator set pieces sitting in my bags that I would love to put on asap. Overall however I wonder why we cheer and support the increase of leveling rates?

Almost all RMT (my definition) shops sell xp potions, and one has to conclude that they offer such items because there is a demand. With each expansion of WoW, the leveling rate also increases, to the ‘sneeze and your 60’ rate that it’s at now. WAR gets criticized for the leveling being too slow, despite it being basically what WoW was 1-60 pre-TBC. It’s not that the games get less content, they just push players through it faster, either with patches that reduce the amount of xp needed, or by potions/books that increase xp gain.

This is somewhat confusing to me, as one of the major complaints from MMO players is a lack of content, and WoW in 2004 was a great improvement because it offered multiple options in terms of what zone to level in. WAR takes this a step further and basically offers six different PvE paths of leveling, one per race. Yet we cheer an increase in leveling asap through all that…

Granted, I understand everyone likes to feel like they are progressing, and I’m not saying bring back hell levels or go the way of the free-to-play anime games and just make the grind endless. It just makes we wonder why we are so quick to jump on an increase to how we quickly we absorb content, and at the same time want MORE content. Sure saying ‘we want better content’ is easy, but lets face it, a developer only has so many resources, and constantly asking for more, at higher quality delivered yesterday is rather impossible. Don’t we also complain that all MMOs are basically beta? So which is it, less content that’s better tested, more content sooner, or more content that’s better tested… eventually?

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in MMO design, Rant, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Boosting XP gain, why?

  1. Tesh says:

    I think that there’s a sense that $15/month is a lot more money than would pay for the content that we’re getting. There’s that aspect to the “we want more content” complaint.

    Regarding the other element, that of accelerated leveling, perhaps WAR is doing it in a sort of back door admission that their core game design functions best when everyone is at the level cap. I don’t see anything wrong with that, and I’d rather they go the GW route and let players play out of the gates with a level capped character. That’s what the game is best at, why bury it and make tier discrepancies (and all the grumbling that comes with them) with PvE leveling?

  2. sente says:

    The problem with leveling in general (without sidekick or similar features) is that the game developers tell the players what content to consume in what order and how much. This works well in many single player RPGs where there is a fairly well-defined story path adapted to fit that single player.

    Expanding the same general game design to the massively multiplayer and with the idea to keep players for longer time than they might spend on a signle player RPG does not necessarily work out well.

    As tesh said, the Guild Wars approach with pretty much having the leveling part as en extended newbie experience and then open up the the rest of the available content is a more feasible approach. Let the players themselves do what they like – if they want to follow some story arcs that is cool. If they want to do something else that is cool to. PvP or PvE, either is cool to do and pretty much everyone and team up and do stuff, while still have other elements of progression in place.

  3. Thallian says:

    The comparison is the problem. Of course I think WoW was fun to level in, even if it was slower. And it was more fun to level in via PVE at launch than any other game has been at launch. WAR however is more fun to level in via PVP than wow, though wow can be fun to do that with crazy Arathi Basin/Warsong action and stuff.

  4. Lars says:

    Most (not all, I’m sure, but most) people want to play MMOs with other people, and as a game ages, most of those other people are at or close to the level cap. So the early content isn’t as fun and an obstacle to attracting new players who might get bored wandering around devoid wastelands for two months before they get to a level range where there are lots of people around. It’s also good for people raising alts, who may have already experienced the content. That’s why accelerating leveling is a good idea as a game ages, which is what they did in WOW and EQ2.

    For Mythic, on the other hand, the game is only a few months old, I don’t see this is as a “good thing,” but a sign that there were some serious design flaws in the game. The servers can’t seem to handle the number of people that are required to fill up all its content, so a lot of the PVE chapter content are already empty wastelands, and wherever there are people, its lag-ridden.

  5. Tesh says:

    Lars, I see it as a good thing in the sense that they are focusing on their “core competency”. Get people playing together, since that’s the point of WAR’s RvR and PvP-heavy design. Level-based PvE tends to segregate players, as noted, so I see WAR’s XP shift as a concession to the idea that yes, there are some serious design flaws in the game… but more importantly, that they are trying to fix them.

    I choose to see that in an optimistic light, since at least they are making changes for the better. It may wind up being too little, too late, and they may have chosen their audience poorly way back in the concept phase, but at least they are going in the right direction. That’s better than charging on through with a dogged determination to try to steal WoW’s lunch, only to grind their business into the ground.

    It’s a different game. It should focus on what is good about that difference, not try to be the latecomer who can say “me too!” to the marketing wonks.

  6. Orion says:

    Here’s one slant on it:
    1) The game is new and has had, and still has, some pretty problematic stability bugs (Eatine lagged out on our server after a solid destro zerg in the zone)

    2) The stability issues with regards to CTDs have affected more people more heavily than others, and affected some people at more times that others. There have been a few occasions were I’ve sat down and said to myself, “Two CTDs and I’ll call it a night”, some people would have spent more time playing and levelling but couldn’t due to instability frustration

    3) ORvR is being pushed heavily now and it’s great for influence and, to a lesser extent, renown but it’s still not a great way to gain XP because of how it’s split amongst a warband and diminishing returns. This well help out to an extent till they work out what to do (maybe).

    4) Lots of people should hopefully be playing over the break and people have some time to put into a more stable game, *let them make the most of it*. People who’ve had friends hit 40 but haven’t been able to keep up because of the above issues will be able to get there a bit faster.

    I don’t view it as a bad thing, I’ve signed up for my next renewal for 6 months because I’m really happy with the game and 99% of the time when I log on I have fun.

  7. Beau says:

    I think the issue is simply that players will play for several hours (We are talking 6-8 hours! ) a night.

    While many would claim that is normal and healthy, and it might be, it is a very very very easy way to make content magically disappear.

    The new WoW expansion is fantastic because it tells people “Yeh, burn through it. Go ahead. Guess what? You will be doing quests that you have never done before, and there are things done in this expansion that serve one purpose: to be fun. Burn through it, knucklehead.”

    I am glad that they are taking a stand. (It seems.) With the “easier” raiding, and the ease of getting from 70-80, they are not hiding from the fact that the game is supposed to be FUN, period.

    If you took the time to read all the text quest, played without mods that help with everything from healing to quests, and didn’t play 6 or 8 hours a night, you would see that actually, the content lasts quite a while. (speaking here to anyone that does not do those things.)

    The funniest part? Some players think that building a fun quest is worthless if it doesn’t do anything but be fun.


  8. null says:

    They are making the problem of people not having people to group with at lower levels worse. The problem is that the game levels way too fast already. WoW is to fast, EQ2 is too fast, and so is War. If people stayed longer in a level range this wouldn’t be a problem.

    These MMO’s are not thinking long term at all. They are devaluing their low-level game and giving new players a poorer experience.

  9. Bonedead says:

    I approve of fast leveling because PvP is endless content, screw killing dragons imo. (See: Counter-Strike)

  10. Tesh says:

    Trouble there, Bone, is that CS is free. PvE is the excuse for the subscription.

  11. syncaine says:

    Naw, the full dev team working on the game is the justification of the sub. It allows players to determine when they think the team is slacking. Not enough updates, or not the right ones, cancel. Harder to send that message with a free game, since you playing or not has no impact on the dev team, they already got your money up front.

    And we need to stop bringing up FPS when talking MMOs, beyond apples and oranges.

  12. Tesh says:

    Hey, sync, did you know about the legacy shoulderpads in WoW that give an EXP boost?

  13. Graktar says:

    It’s pretty simple really — WAR is designed such that the more you level the more features you get access too. In T1 you can do scenarios, PQs, battle objectives, or quests. In T2 you can do scenarios, PQs, battle objectives, baby keeps, baby dungeons, or quests. In T3 you can do scenarios, PQs, battle objectives, bigger keeps, better dungeons, or quests. In T4 you can do all of that, the best dungeons, plus the fortresses and someday maybe even the capital city. Your character also reaches something close to ‘maturity’ in the late 20s, early 30s.

    Tier 4 is the place to be for the most interesting content, the biggest battles, and the most usefulness of your character. Plus, at this point in the game, the largest portion of players are in T4. If you’ve been left behind (like me!) it can get kind of lonely sometimes.

    Finally, WAR is a pvp game, not a pve game. That means when you reach rank 40 you can focus fully on pvp and never have to worry about being weaker than other players due to your level. You’ll have access to the best gear (same as everyone else, no raiding!) and be fully competitive. For many (most?) people, that makes the endgame more fun. Getting there faster is a good thing. Getting there faster for your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th character is a very good thing.

  14. Melf_Himself says:

    What I’d like is less content that’s better tested, followed up with extra content each month in exchange for my monthly fee. If the only thing I’m getting for my monthly fee is the ‘privilege’ of playing on their servers, I’ll pass.

    Yes, developers can’t make enough content to satisfy some people. For those of us who are into PvP, we are lucky because that gives us an endless source of ‘content’. For those only into PvE, I think the solution is to spend most of your development time making a really good player content creation system.

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