Lord Nagafen Raider
- 3d 19h 14m
You have played what MMO's up to this point?
There isn't really a single one, old or new, that doesn't "start" at the end.
Now let's work through the scenarios and see if you agree or disagree.
Levels are an indicator of game power and a mechanism to hand out abilities in a game. They are benchmarks for you to know a few things about where you are in the game. There can be limits where you aren't allowed into a zone unless you are a minimum level. There can be statistics that don't cap out unless you are a certain level. I am going to use Everquest to draw parallels from since that is probably what you have played that would be old school. The planes required level 46 and your stat caps and skill caps were dependent on level. Later on equipment was level dependent as well.
Now there is always two aspects to an MMO and that is the journey to the end and then the end. What you do on the path to max level is going to be pretty different from what you do at the end game. It's not a completely different game but there are different goals in mind. Leveling your goal is, well, levels. The end game there can be some variance but the game itself usually shows you what you might want to do. That might be raids, grinding faction, quest chains, or maybe grinding currency to buy better equipment. Some people then switch to a PvP aspect once they hit max level.
That level journey could be one year long or take one hour but the reason for it is usually one of these few options. To create a sense of accomplishment and so give you a stronger desire to keep that character because it took some effort. The other reason is to slow the influx of characters to the end game. There are other reasons of course but those are the two major ones. There is a balance to be had here deciding on how long you want the journey to be. You make it too long and people only make one character and then don't understand how other classes work because they never played them. You make it too long and people give it up because the stick is bigger than the carrot.
Now I see that they want a lot of horizontal movement along with the vertical. That is a lofty goal and I hope they acheive it but what is the difference if you reach level 100 in 4 weeks and then go get your horizontal skills and items for 6 weeks or if it takes 10 weeks to get to the end both horizontally and vertically? Well it really depends a lot on your end game and the culture of the market you are trying to reach. One game that did this well was Anarchy Online with the Shadowlands and also with their Clan/Neutral/Omni faction quests. You weren't just racing to max level even if you were focused on that but you were doing access quests at the same time for zones you needed and you were also getting some equipment upgrades through the process.
Why do I not want to do a 10 week grind? I have played every major MMO out there. I could list probably somewhere between 50 and 75 that I have played to max level at launch and also did every raid or piece of content (that isn't pvp) that they shipped with. I have seen gimmicks that hold people back and ones to take advantage of for speeding up to max. I have played games that had no real levels, unlimited levels, and ones where you could click create and max a character instantly. Games with zero end game and ones where the leveling was 5 minutes compared to the years of end game. I don't like leveling for leveling sake and making it take a long time just so that you can say it took a long time. This decision feels like that is the reason. It is artificial to me. There is a middle ground between buying a max character from a cash shop and taking 10 weeks of 4+ hours a night. I am too old and played too many games to go through that. I will play a game for 8 hours a day if it's the end game or even leveling other classes for alts. I won't play a game for more than 2-4 hours a day if it's just to grind out so that I can play the "real" game at the end. I just refuse to.
The journey should be the destination in longer leveling curve game.. Vanguard was an example of this but achieved it by having multiple areas to level. Not sure Pantheon would have enough content to support that or not..
Most people dont raid and I am one who has no desire to join the end game gear treadmil repeating same content ad nauseam. I want to experience a world that is fun to explore with others.. Vanguard nailed that . Hope Pantheon does too.