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Community Blog Topic Results: The ease and speed of leveling

Gnome running through snow
Last week, we asked if leveling in WoW is too easy and too fast. Answers varied widely.

Leveling is too fast

bryanjturner says,
It's too fast, as long as your willing to stick it oth for the story your fine but most people skip whole swaths of content and it cheapens the lore. I thought Wrath had the best pace, this is so fast you miss out even with out heirlooms.

Leveling is too linear

ThunderBluffer says,
IMO, the problem isn't that leveling is too easy, its that its too linear. It doesn't matter what race or class you pick, the story is the same. There are only two narratives to follow, the horde one or the alliance one.

In Vanilla, it felt more like you were a scrub who had to find your own way in the wide world, and you could navigate your own path through it. Now it feels like you are placed at the center of the same story on each character. Which feels weird to me.

Leveling is boring, but...

Leveling is boring, but good for new players, says nerisella at Neri Approves.
It is easy and boring, but better for new players to get through to 90 as well as alts of veterans The other factor that us seasoned veterans may forget is that while we may find World of Warcraft combat and questing a snooze fest, not everyone has been playing for as long as us. There are the younger players, the people new to computer games and indeed MMO's in general who will naturally take longer to level as they learn how to play. Not to mention that there are 90 freakin' levels for a newbie to get through. That must be a daunting prospect enough as it is for a new player, so imagine how off-putting it would be if suddenly Blizzard ramped up the difficulty and you were faced with a leveling experience similar to Vanilla? Gross.

Camojan agrees about new players.
So someone who never had any exposure to MMOs may find it rather difficult to level. Not because the leveling itself is difficult, but because there are so many other things you have to learn at the same time and upfront.

Leveling is what you make of it

Admiring Azeroth had this to say about personalizing your own leveling experience:
Personally I think leveling is fine as it is. In my experience it isn't a whirlwind tour through Azeroth where your feet barely touch the ground in each continent. But you can tailor your leveling experience to your style. If you want it to be as quick as possibly you use buffs and looms, if you want it slow and leisurely you don't. You can choose to stay in zone x and complete every quest there even when you out-level it or you can move on.
HerrKlokbok at The Exodar Sisters agrees.
Take your time or rush your time. It doesn't matter. Life is more than the latest shoulders or the best cloak. Sometimes, life is riding through Terrokar at dawn. It might not be effective – but it's beautiful. What would our world look like if everyone was effective? Shadowmoon Valley.
Leveling is just right

alykii at Dead Gnomes Society thinks leveling is great for both veterans and new players.
So to answer the question, is leveling really too easy? For alts, it's great. For new players, it's still great. I don't really think it's too easy. Leveling pre-Wrath sucked. With a capital suck. With all the conveniences added to the leveling game, bringing up alts, as well as new players is a much more enjoyable experience.

xsinthis2 at The Golden Crusade concurs.
Honestly, I don't think things have to be hard to be fun. I think having an easy levelling process in a game like World of Warcraft is perfectly fine, I mean, if you're looking for difficult content, isn't that what end game content is for?
How should leveling be changed?

JeffLaBowski at Sportsbard says,
I do think the game is easier today in many aspects. It's quicker. There are more options, buffs and heirlooms. I don't think making mobs arbitrarily harder or making it take longer to level by artificial means (more XP required, more quests, no flying until level cap) is the answer.
In the comments, dwhyld suggests,
Why not have an option to slow down XP gains if people want them? Say knock 50% off all gains via an option in the UI? That way, people who think leveling is too fast and easy could enable the option and slow things down and level up at their own face. People who want to hit endgame as soon as possible just leave the option disabled. Everyone's a winner.
Adam at Clever Musings has written an excellent history of expansions and patches, describing where and when new content was added. He concludes,
It doesn't matter if it's too easy to level or not. The problem is that Blizzard is only adding new content at max level.
Adding new content to leveling as they did in Cataclysm would make leveling more interesting to veterans.

Leveling should prepare you for the endgame, but doesn't

hstein31 at Halbert's Cubicle says that leveling is easy and fun, but doesn't prepare you for the endgame.
[...] end-game content for WoW generally hinges on dungeons and raids, group content. This content is often wildly different from the leveling game, as the mechanics found in the dungeons and raids are very different from what you'd do out in the world killing quest monsters.
ErinysVictoria from The Harpy's Nest also thinks leveling should prepare you for the endgame and laments the lack of mobs like Stitches.
I can't help thinking that a few simple changes would help. For example we now have mobs whose health pool increases depending on how many people are in combat with them. How about taking that and increasing quest mobs in relation to the item level/health of the person engaging them as well as party size. The AI especially for named mobs should be more exotic too. We have kicks, slows and cc for a reason. Things would be far more fun and challenging if just like the Monk quests, we actually had to use them whilst leveling. Or alternatively if all classes had access to dailies like the Monk ones which require you to use certain abilities because no one should get to end-game without understanding all their spells.
And WordGardener says at Deletrix's World of Warcraft Blog,
I'd like to need to use my class or racial cooldowns to succeed. Not for everything, but maybe for the boss of the starting zones – maybe my Blood Elf silence is crucial for that fight. Maybe the Troll's Berserk is really important for theirs. Later on, when we start getting more class abilities, make them important for specific points in leveling, as well. I thought that they started doing more of this at endgame, and I think they need a lot more of it woven into the leveling experience. It has the added pro of teaching us how and when to use those skills – a lot of the concern about speedy leveling seems to be that people don't have a reason to really learn to play their class.
In conclusion, most believe that the leveling should be kept easy for new players and should remain fast for veterans, but that something more interesting should be done to make leveling alts more entertaining. Stay tuned for the next Community Blog Topic.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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