Monday, August 27, 2007

WoW introduces speedleveling

I would have nearly forgotten to write about it, until = # # = reminded me of it in a comment to my previous post: There have been some semi-official announcements that with the Wrath of the Lich King Blizzard is going to speed up the leveling process from 1 to 60. This is done by giving more xp for quests, and by lowering the amount of xp needed per level.

The original World of Warcraft had a level cap of 60, the first expansion increased that to 70, and the second expansion will increase it to 80. Your guess is as good as mine about whether the third expansion will raise the cap to 90, and the tenth expansion to 160. Fact is that WoW is getting longer and longer. That is good for people who enjoy leveling up, because now there is more of it. But it's bad for people who just want to reach the top as fast as possible, to play the end-game, be it in PvP or raiding.

For the same problem Dark Age of Camelot introduced a /level command, which allowed you to skip levels if you had already played through them with another character. World of Warcraft's new solution is less visible, and less flexible. If you happen to be on your first WoW character after the change, leveling will seem awfully fast, with you constantly outgrowing quests. But then, you'll probably have to ditch elite and dungeon quests anyway, because there are too few people of your level around to form groups.

Nevertheless I feel that this change is somewhat strange. I always considered leveling up in World of Warcraft as "the game". But Blizzard now tells me that leveling up is "the obstacle before the game", and kindly offers to help me get past it faster. Which for me doesn't make sense. It's like paying somebody else to play the game for me (and yes, I know there are people that do that). I think I'll develop a new MMORPG in which for paying me $50 you'll get sent a screenshot saying "Congratulations, you won!", and nothing else. If that is what people are after ...

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