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Max Level Before Launch

Guild Wars 2 officially launches today, yet many players are already max level.  The first player to reach level 80 did so by crafting the last 20 levels with all of his guild’s materials.  Some players in GW2 used cash shop exp boosts and stacked them with the fresh kill exp boosts on zones that were untouched, and then likely added on to that another exp boost.  Fat stacking these exp boosts probably gave an inordinate bonus to their leveling ability, but the fact still remains that this was a legitimate form of leveling in every case, and players have reached the end before the game even launched.

What does that say about the game?  What does that say about the player?

People rushing to the end often do so for bragging rights.  I mean, what else are you trying to accomplish in GW2 by rushing to the end when you do the same things at level 80 that you did at level 5.  There isn’t raiding, PvP advantage is minimal at best, and you can’t do the dynamic events solo.  Even if a whole group gets to the end first and starts on the PvE content, it’s just to grind tokens for cosmetic gear or some upgrades.

If that’s how you like to play, I won’t knock you for it.  I respect that you like to race and rush to the end.  All I ask is that you respect everyone else, and don’t start complaining that GW2 has no content when you’ve skipped 95% of how the game was meant to be played — especially if you plan to play Mists of Pandaria in a month.

Then there’s the game side of this ability to rush to the end.  I wish game’s like this couldn’t be “beat” in 3 days.  I wish the journey was much longer.  Don’t get me wrong, there is *plenty* to do in GW2, but something is wrong if players are able to reach the end before it even launches.  I know the days of reaching the max level in 6 months are long behind us, and I won’t pine for the good ole days, but don’t you think we need a little bit more from every developer — a little bit of effort — to try and squash this slash and burn play-style?  Maybe it’s inevitable in themepark games.

I haven’t decided yet if ArenaNet meant for GW2 leveling to be this quick.  Even playing a lot less than most people, trying to 100% zones and smelling the roses, I’m in my mid 20’s.  Many in my guild are in their 30’s.  It’s not difficult to level at all.  Some content is challenging — very challenging — but exp gain is swift.  I would not be surprised at all to see it slowed down each patch by just a tad to make it slightly slower giving the cash shop exp boosts a means of making the exp back to this level.

What are your thoughts?  Are players reaching the max level before a game releases a poor reflection on the game or the people themselves?  I think I’ve made my case for how I believe it’s both, but I’m curious to know your thoughts.

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