Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How many level 70 characters do you have in World of Warcraft?

I have three level 70 characters in World of Warcraft. The latest, my mage, took only 9 days of /played time to get from level 1 to level 70. I wasn't trying to break any records, it was just a combination of Blizzard having sped up leveling to 60, and the mage being an alt, thus not being played all the time, and thus profiting from rest xp all the way. And of course twinking and knowing the game well also helped. I could imagine somebody on his first character taking more time, lets say 400 hours to reach the level cap. And I wonder if that isn't too short.

Now I play more than the average, but from all the data I have from the Daedalus project or PlayOn, it seems that the average WoW player spends 20 hours per week playing the game. So if you need 400 hours or less to reach the level cap, you need 20 weeks or less to get there. It is hard to say whether 20 weeks is too short or too long if you just look at the number in isolation. You need another number to compare it with. How about this one: The average number of weeks between expansions for World of Warcraft is 100. For all we know the second expansion Wrath of the Lich King will come out pretty close to the 4th anniversary of WoW, thus 2 years per expansion. If you play only one character, you'll spend less than 20% of your time leveling, and 80% in the so-called endgame. It you look just at people who were already level 60 when the Burning Crusade came out, the numbers look even worse. Getting from level 60 to 70 took these veterans less than 100 hours (one crazy guy did it in 28 hours non-stop). If considering only one character, we spent less than 10% of our time leveling from 60 to 70, and over 90% in the endgame.

If one likes the leveling game, and wants to spend more than 10% of one's time doing that, the only choice is making alts. This is why I have 3 level 70 characters, and I guess I'm not alone in having more than one. But even that doesn't solve all my problems. I blame WoW being so endgame-heavy for many of my current problems, be it burn-out, or the inability to still find groups for normal dungeons. By now everyone already did the normal dungeons to the point of exhaustion. And daily quests, heroics, raids, and PvP are beginning to get repetitive for most players, although Wrath of the Lich King is still months away. I think that the time to level up should take a bigger percentage of the time between expansions. That could be achieved by Blizzard making good of their promise to release one expansion per year, or by making leveling up less fast.

How many level 70 characters do you have in World of Warcraft? Do you think that leveling up takes too little time compared to the time spent in the endgame, waiting for the next expansion?

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