Instant Leveling: Instant way to ruin the fun?

You’ve leveled a character the real way from start to finish or at least somewhere close. A new patch has come out offering the ability to instantly level characters from 1-30 or somewhere near halfway. Do you do it? I had this random thought today, not an uncommon occurrence on a boring Sunday afternoon, and I started thinking about how in DAOC Mythic added the ability to skip the “newbie” levels and instantly take a character to the 20’s/30’s. I remember at the time I had mixed feelings.  Leveling wasn’t easy if you did it legit.  It could take some time to get to the mid levels but for me that was one of the most fun aspects to DAOC.  I really enjoyed levels 1-20 and felt that the game had outstanding class balance and mechanics as well as great public dungeons.  Why would I instantly level a character and deprive myself of the fun?

Later in the DAOC playing I did eventually level characters instantly to play them in battlegrounds.  It got to the point where I had leveled characters the real way multiple times and I simply wanted to kick some Albion butt in Thidranki or Caledonia.  I must admit though that there came a time when I actually felt like I had sapped a little soul out of the game for myself.  From then on out I decided that if I wanted a character to be level 30 then I would level him myself.  It restored much of the game’s spirit for me and I felt whole again.  What are your thoughts on instant leveling systems implemented in MMORPGs to “get you into the action faster” or to “skip the stuff you’ve done already a dozen times”?

I’m not going to be as bold as to say that this doesn’t belong in MMORPGs.  If this system is being provided then obviously enough players want it and who am I to stand in the way of what others want to enhance their fun?  For me however I have chosen to, from that point on, abstain from the use of instant leveling.  One of the main reasons I bring up this topic is that in Warhammer Online the pvp is broken up into tiers.  There are 40 levels and 4 tiers of RvR regions.  I do not see it as being completely ruled out that sometime in the future Mythic may allow for instant leveling so that you can perhaps skip the earlier tiers and get right into the fight at higher levels.  Would you skip lower levels tiers?  Personally I feel it would ghost-town the lower levels.  I take some comfort in knowing that, at least in WAR, the early level tiers play a key role in the taking of Main Cities.  In order to capture a city you must have control of all the tiers in an area – so there is an added purpose to the lower levels.  This also ensures that even those who pick up the game later in its life will still be able to contribute to the war effort.

Ultimately what are your thoughts on instant leveling?  Does skipping lowbie levels appeal to you?  Does it diminish your fun or do you see it from the other side that it enhances your fun?

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heartless_ - October 21, 2007

If WAR works out like the way DAoC plays right now, I would not skip the lower levels at all. The lower level BGs have been great fun for a couple of years now in DAoC.

The only situation where I would skip content is if I was part of a well organized guild moving to a lower population server/realm to help out in the war and everyone in the guild was starting with a /leveled toon.

Aaron - October 22, 2007

I would never do it, but I can see why it would appeal to many. Most MMOs are designed so that the beginning and end are fun, but the mid levels are dry and empty.

A system like this only has appeal, though, if the late content is so separate and inaccessible from newbies. I prefer games like SWG’s original release, where newbs can adventure with veterans and join any content. I’ve got no problem with veterans having a definite edge over newbs, but I don’t like games where the endgame is fundamentally different from earlier content.

Sente - October 22, 2007

It depends on the reason for choosing the “instant leveling” and the game.

I would not choose that to skip content in order to get to some level cap faster – in fact I don’t really care if I ever reach the level cap or not with a character.

If it means skipping some content which I have played a number of times before with a couple of alts, then I would use it if there is limited enjoyable replayability of that content.

Also, if allows character customisation of abilities, but limited options to redo or change those choices, I’d consider it as well – although I’d rather see that it was solved differently in that case. Same thing for lack of flexibility in terms of character names, appearances etc.

KevinC - October 22, 2007

The only reason I can see using it is if I had played through the 1-20 or 1-30 content on a few characters, and was just needing to insta-level a new alt for raiding purposes or some such. Would save a bit of time getting that character up with the rest of the group.

Otherwise I can’t see a reason why you’d want to skip content.

Two Hours or Bust « pΘtshΘt - October 28, 2007

[…] Two Hours or Bust 28 10 2007 Been catching up on bloggage this weekend and a couple of interesting posts (as well as our recent WoW group adventures) got me thinking a bit.  The posts were Keen and Graev’s Instant Leveling: Instant way to ruin the fun? and Tobold’s Read any good books lately? While playing? […]

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