Fast..faster..faaaaaaster.. still to slow…   1 comment


Looks like the topic I’m going to write about today is some sort of torch relay.
Gamespy started it and Syp took it up… handing it over to Spinks and now I want to add a bit…

Leveling.. Leveling-speed is something that can cause frustration. The normal progression curve looks more or less like this:

graph2

This leveling curve assures that you gain level fast at the start and it gets harder the more levels you have. So at the beginning of the game (btw. it doesn’t matter if you take some level-based pen&paper RPG or MMO) you gain new skill and powers rather fast. You get exited because you always see new stuff and your character evolves at a fast pace. The level curve has to flatten, because you gain powerful spells at higher levels and so it’s important that at higher levels you don’t get so much levels and new abilities, otherwise stuff would get out of proportion.

Now things get a little bit different if you compare for example WoW with a pen&paper RPG. To be honest, leveling in WoW means nothing. WoW established the “The Game starts at level-cap” … “End-Game”.. mentality. So the very casual players may still enjoy the journey to max-level, but many so called hardcore-players want to pass this levels as fast as possible. It doesn’t matter if quests are entertaining, it’s just “give me the exp and shut up”. WoW adapted to this mentality by giving the players possibilities to nearly skip this content.

But I don’t want to talk too much about WoW. This is a Warhammer-focused blog and I didn’t check WoW for over a year. So.. what’s the situation like in WAR? The leveling curve is something like this:

graph1

I’m not sure if you get the right impression I want to deliver, but in WAR this general leveling-speed-curve is applied on all tiers, with a factor to stretch/compress it. If you look closely at how your character in WAR progressed it was always the same. After rank x6 (x= 0,1,2,3) the leveling speed decreased. This can hardly be noticed in T1. In T2 I’ve noticed this with my first character, but not so hard with alts. In T3 most people notice it and feel burned-out. I don’t want to go into too much detail about T4, because my main char is just rank 38 and in T4 things look a bit different.

The leveling speed experienced by the players may look like this:

graph3

Maybe I should have made the drop in T3 more negative with slower recovery. ;) The red box should mark the end of T4, because I can’t say too much about it.

So.. why do you get slowed down at the end of the tier and get this feeling of non-progression, hitting a wall?

Anyone remembers “In WAR endgame starts at rank1!”? It’s common knowledge that you are just fodder if you are at the low ranked end of the tier, e.g. rank 12 in T2, rank 22 in T3,… and that you are quiet powerful when you are on the high ranked end. So it’s obvious that players should get relatively fast out of the low end area, resulting in a faster leveling speed. This should keep the time of frustration because of being inferior just short-termed. To experience enough of the content one tier has to offer the progression slows down, leaving you in a powerful position as you are at the “end of the food-chain”. You could debate if this is good or bad.. Those “the game starts at level-cap” might argue that they just want to get past that content. Others might enjoy it being somewhat powerful.

Mythic noticed that their leveling curve is not received well and tweaked it a bit. Again you could argue if this is good or bad. I’ve noticed that I outlevel the tiers 2 and 3 faster than I can get max influence in ORvR (but that is another story as destruction on Huss seems to boycott ORvR in T2 and T3 most of the time). One has to note here, that I play on a server with exp bonus for order and destruction.. meaning low pop on both sides, but as said before the 20% makes leveling speed pleasant.

Playing multiple alts also changed my view on leveling speed in WAR. With my first character it seemed rather slow, but with my alts it feels really fast. One thing that helps me in enjoying the trip to 40… I don’t set the rank 40 as a finish line I want to reach asap. I can besides questing/scenarios/ORvR also enjoy running around and exploring stuff, helping a guildmate, i.e. stuff that doesn’t earn exp, renown, gear, etc… The second point is that you don’t have to get used to the game mechanics, only career-specific stuff.

So does WAR have a good leveling-speed? Depends on your point of view.

For the “We need to get to max-rank to enjoy a game”-part of the players, most likely not. For those who enjoy the trip..probably, but not for sure. I think this is stuff where you can’t satisfy everyone and the dev has to find a compromise that doesn’t turn off too many players.

On the player-side I’m always amazed how people tend to focus on non-fun parts of the game and ignore everything else (even if it’s fun). Of course getting good gear is some sort of fun, but that’s not everything a game has to offer. Good fights are not defined by huge amount of renown, gear, whatsoever … Good fights are imo defined by having fun and a challenging fight. This is something WAR can deliver right from rank1 on, but you have to be willing to do something and not expect to get handled everything on a silver plate. Having the possibilities you have in WAR makes rank somewhat irrelevant.

It’s a nice contrast between WoW and WAR. In WoW you skip leveling, because the game starts at max-level. In WAR you can have that end-game in some form right from rank 1 on. This end-game just evolves as you gain ranks. Two ways of making leveling-speed irrelevant.

Last note: The approach of WAR leads to frustration, because people who expect the game to start at R40 are disappointed because the game actually started at rank 1. Frustration is caused by a difference in expectation and reality.

Posted February 20, 2009 by Karic in General

One response to “Fast..faster..faaaaaaster.. still to slow…

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  1. Pingback: Da Bloody Twenty - Feb 26 | Scheming House

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