If you could name just one single thing about MMORPGs that you love -- and it had to be one -- what would it be?
Having a hard time figuring it out?
Think about the last MMORPG that you really, really enjoyed playing. What made it so special for you? And I'm talking REALLY enjoyed, not a passing 3 monther or fling. Not a sucky MMO. None of us have anything great to say about those.
I'm talkin' the MMORPG that almost brings tears of nostalgic joy to your eyesand makes your heart skip a beat. Those are the feelings we need to dig up!
My opinion on this has held true over the years:
I enjoy the leveling process more than anything else in MMORPGs!
So many people hate leveling up and consider it the worst part of MMOs. If you're talking most MMOâ€‹s, you're right. But the MMOs I enjoy, the ones I stick with, and the ones I opine about all have a fantastic leveling experience.
Why leveling? What makes leveling up so great that I would declare it my absolute single most favorite thing ever about MMOs?
Leveling Encompasses So Muchâ€‹
There are so many little good things that fall under leveling up.
I love upgrading gear and finding new things to use. I like collecting things from different zones and storing them in my bags or bank wondering if they'll be useful later.â€‹
Leveling Takes You To So Many Placesâ€‹
When leveling up, even in a large sandbox world or a pseudo-sandbox like EQ, you get to move around and see so much of the world.
I love progressing through a zone and having that feeling of 'moving on' and accomplishing a place. I like to see different landscapes and experience different types of monsters.
Dungeons While Leveling are Way More Fun
When leveling up, dungeons are more like a crawl for experience AND loot vs. just a grind for gear or a raid treadmill.â€‹
When leveling the dungeons feel so much more dangerous, and then when you progress past them you can still go through parts of those dungeons and have memories.
â€‹Leveling Has Better Story
There always seems to be way more story while leveling. Even in games with no true story (I'll lump EverQuest into this one again) it feels like I can at least make a story up in my head as to why I'm going through zones.
Leveling Has The Most Character Progression
The best MMORPGs -- the ones I can look back on and identify one thing I love so much -- have a leveling progress that captures fantastic character progression. Leveling up is a defined process, and each level is a significant improvement.â€‹
Every point in strength feels life changing. That's what stats are supposed to feel like.â€‹
I love planning out a character and working hard to achieve that next skill point because it will unlock a huge part of my character that will define me.â€‹
Gear Matters Much Less
In most MMOs, while leveling your gear matters less than your character progressing. Again, see above.
Compared to the end game where it's all gear grinds for micro-improvements, gear while leveling up can sometimes have a big impact when combined with the right stats and character builds.
â€‹Leveling is the Adventure -- Leveling is the GAME
In most ways I feel like like actual 'game' and 'adventure' happen while leveling. The "end-game" is the END. I hate the end of most things, and if I'm every looking for the end of something it usually means I wasn't having fun anyway.
When leveling ends, that usually means the work or the job begins. I have one of those. I prefer the adventure.
So what do you enjoy most about MMORPGs? Is it something small and particular, or wide and broad like my love of leveling? I would love to hear your answer.â€‹
This post is based on my blog from July 15, 2009 titled, "What is your favorite thing about MMORPGsï»¿?" Check it out to see if you posted a reply. Did your opinion change? A lot has changed in 8 years...