The Levelling dilemma

Leafshine just made an interesting comment on our in-guild mailing list that to all intents a levelling schism was emerging (again, as it happened during Burning Crusade) within the Ravens.

Into the woodsA difference in levelling speeds is a fact of life in MMOs; some people level multiple characters to the cap in the same time it takes others to do one. I got two characters to the BC level cap in the 3 3/4 years of vanilla WOW and BC, wheras Martyn has more than half a dozen (yet I'm not a slow leveller - I was 3rd or 4th in the guild to 70 and, last night at least, am the highest level in the Ravens). Given different play styles and and available time to play (for example, I was on holiday last week and thus could put in more hours than I usually would) this is pretty much unavoidable I think, though I acknowledge the very real divide it causes (in fact he guild has a deliberate no-spoilers policy in place at present to try and preserve people's individual play experiences).

For reference, I came to Lich King with a plan (and a fair degree of foreknowledge from exploring the Howling Fjord, Borean Tundra and even the Dragonblight in Beta) that roughly falls out as follows:

  1. Get to level 71 (and thus be able to teleport to Dalaran) on the first day
  2. Get to level 74 (and thus be able to port to people to Dalaran) in the first week
  3. Get to level 77 (and be able to fly again) in the first 2-3 weeks
  4. Get to level 80 by the end of the first month.

Objective (1) I did fine, Andro dinging 71 while exploring out second instance, the Nexus. (2) I managed a day early, dinging 74 on Tuesday evening (though I could've done so Monday had I not had real-life stuff to do). (3) is achievable, though I may (atypically) backburner Andromache and advance Buliwyf to the same level depending on where others in the guild are at; if there's a group of others around the same level there might not be a break, but I certainly don't want to go racing off on my own. As it happens, there's a chunk of Real Life stuff coming up so WOW will naturally be backburnered but well see what impact that actually has. (4) is rather dependent on (3) but at the moment looks quite doable.

As an aside, Leafy had a WOW player personality profile up about six months back and I showed up as an EASK (Explorer, Achiever, Socializer, Killer, though I could equally be an ESAK) which was summed up as

"EASK players often live by the phrase 'The journey is often more enjoyable than the destination.' They are motivated by meeting the challenges of the world, but they are usually in no rush--because seeing the creatures and places of the world is even more fun".

wheras ESAK is

"ESAK players often see the game world as a great stage, full of things to see and people to meet. They love teaming up with people to get to the hard-to-see places, and they relish unique experiences."

I won't disagree with either of those - save the "in no rush" part as I tend towards "and whats next") -  as by my very nature I want to explore the world and see things. Hell, I studied archaeology and physical geography at university. Exploring worlds (and indeed creating them in my fiction and game writing) has been central to my life for as long as I can recall.

That being said, I'm well aware I occasionally miss little details in-game. For example, one quest in Valgarde has a little multi-character vignette after it that I was only peripherally aware of as I'd turned round and headed off to the next hand-in. I'm sure there are plenty of nuances missed in quest texts too: I grab the quests and set of to achieve the objectives without always reading through the lore. Hasty? Perhaps, but hopefully without losing sight of the big picture.

On a related note, while attemping to finish the Azeroth Loremaster quests and exploring the Fjords (where I spent most of my time in Beta) I used an addon called Quest helper that points you in the right direction for quests. I have no great problem with using such a thing as an aide-memoire to things I'd already seen and done, but once I hit "fresh content" (the Borean Tundra beyond a few hundred yards of the keep and all of Dragonblight) I disabled the mod, preferring to experience the content without hints. I may well go back to using it with later characters and in the old worlds, but from near the end of level 72 or so my adventures have been (mostly) spoiler free. I do have a general idea of what's coming (as a result of being in Beta, but also from Blizzard's own publicity material), but hopefullt the details will still surprise!

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It's happening. I knew it would, and I've been waiting for it to happen for about 48 hours. And it's begun.The guild is beginning to separate into the fast levellers and the slow levellers. People I ran Utgarde Keep with... Read More

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