Tobold's Blog
Thursday, May 03, 2007
 
Does World of Warcraft need a /level command?

It is very likely that World of Warcraft will further raise the level cap in future expansions. Maybe not in all of them, but I doubt that level 70 will remain the cap forever. Raising the level cap is usually popular, because it allows everyone who is stuck at the current cap to easily increase the power of his existing character. But the disadvantage is that if you ever want to change character, getting back up to the level cap gets longer and longer. Ask the people that for some reason made a new blood elf or draenei, for example to play a Horde paladin or Alliance shaman, and you'll see that most of them leveled to 70 in a hurry, not enjoying the process very much. Shouldn't there be a shortcut?

Some time ago Dark Age of Camelot introduced a /level command to their game, with which somebody who had already leveled at least one character to the level cap could simply skip to level 20 or even 30 with an alt. In World of Warcraft you could think of a /level command that brings you up to level 50, thus skipping the most boring levels you would otherwise have to spend in Stranglethorn Vale, but still gives you character 10 levels to play in the old world and 10 in the new Outland, to get used to his new character before starting to raid.

The advantage of opening up a quicker route to level 70 would be that the more level 70 alts a players have, the easier it is to form a group with the right class mix. Instead of the current situation with far too many hunters in the game, just because these are most pleasant to solo level, people could more easily make a character of one of the classes that is more needed for a group or raid. Of course that would be completely optional, so if somebody likes to level up, or for example first play the first 20 levels in the new starting zones, he is free to do so. But for somebody who has already seen certain zones far too often and doesn't want to do the same quests again, skipping the part he doesn't want to play should be a possibility.

On the other hand that would a rather cheap shortcut. I would rather have that Blizzard in the next expansion introduced new zones for all levels, so that anyone who wants to level up an alt can do so with completely new quests and zones. That would be more fun for people who aren't particularly keen on the end-game too. But of course that would require a lot more work from Blizzard, and right now I'm a bit pessimistic about whether they are ever going to create more low-level content. So at least a /level command would help.
Comments:
What a rotten idea.

Might as well call the game World of Raidcraft, which is basically true, anyway.

If TBC had actually contained new content for ALL level ranges, this wouldn't even be an issue.
 
A good idea overall. There would still be the issue of the required keys at 70 though. That, imho, is the biggest block for alts in BC.

Getting to 70 is easy enough and most people have 60 alts so 60-70 is fast. Getting your herioc keys, kara key, etc, etc is the real pain. Playing 4-5 hours a day I still find myself failing behind over 1/2 of my 'casual' guild when it comes to keys. This is while devoting myself to one character. I couldn't imagine trying to balance two or three characters and the keys.

Have I mentioned I hate keys?
 
That's an amazing idea actually... not right away in a game do I think it should be offered. But say 3 years in when low level content is no longer the focus of an MMO, but raising the cap and high level stuff is.

For instance, as someone that was in the the beta of LotRO since August of 2006, I'd be lying if I said I was actually looking forward to leveling an ALT.

There's even less diversity in the leveling process in LotRO than there was in wow. The ability to say skip from level 1 to 30 even, essentially 1/2 the way to the level cap, given that my guy will have bare minimum in skills and deeds and gear... I'd still do it.

Chances are I'd have the money to send him to buy some stuff to help him on his way. The only problem I see with this for LotRO would be deeds... you'd miss them all unless they gave you a token few that were dependent on race. So the idea probably wouldn't be best suited there.

In WoW though... yeah, I'd like the option.

I have a druid, warrior, and mage I'd like to see the Outlands... but I'm too tired of leveling to take them there myself.
 
Ive always been a supporter of ideas like this. Could also have a rested bonus multiplier for every max level character you already have.
 
Regarding the actual leveling, I think this idea has its merits and also its dangers. To the person who said, this is detrimental to the game and focuses on raids - well, you are basically right but people play the style they want to nevertheless. Our guild had 3 people who wanted to restart with a Draenei main char. They took ages to level up and now need to hurry up even more to close the reputation/key/attunement gap. Basically, they were out of the game/social contacts for about 2 months. They would have loved to /level 60 after bringing their Draenei to 20. I think (having 1 Char on 70, 1 on 64 and 1 on 54) that the most boring time is the 30 - 50 area in the game. Quests are not that interesting, instances too well-known. I would really love to skip that area. I think a /level +20 every 10 levels would be ok (10 -> 30, 40 -> 60). Play the new area to 20, play to, say, 25 or 30 with other fast quest areas and skip to 50.

Next to the actual character, there is another char that suffers from the leveling requirement: The Hunter class.

All other classes with pets or minions (Warlock - demons, Mage/Shaman/Priest with their summonable helpers) have their pets at the same level as they have. For the hunter, the only pet that manages to level with him is his main pet. The other two, well, they take ages to level! I would really love to tame a new pet and /petlevel it up to my own hunters level.
 
In DAoC, levelling took a ridiculously long time. But skipping the first 30 levels didn't help much.

In WoW, you can get to 70 in 4-5 days played. I suspect a /level command would help truly casual gamers... but many of those don't have a level 70 yet. It would alleviate a bit of the boredom, though.
 
Let me add that my revulsion to this suggestion stems from my opinion that it essentially let's the developers off the hook, and gives them an excuse to ignore low and medium level content.
 
As long as you could use the command at any point in leveling, I'd be in favor of it. My primary reason for creating a Bloodelf was to see the new BE zone. I enjoyed it a lot. Then I ended up seeing the same old stuff and rapidly lost interest again. Once I got out of the new content, I'd love a level +20 or +30 to skip ahead to get to the end quicker.

On the flip side, I think I'd love new low level content even more, but the /level thing would work for me too.
 
To be honest, that might 'kill' the game. Don't get me wrong. I am one of those people who have been playing so long, and have enough alts to have become bored with the low-level content. So bored I can't bring myself to level my shadow priest past level 15, even though I'd love to have a lvl 70 one.

The thing is - I used to play DAoC, and what happened was that people who, like myself, didn't have a lvl 50 character there, but knew the game well enough, were left mostly stuck with people who were either newbies (and that's okay as long as it's the 'I want to learn' kind of newbie), or complete idiots. I lost interest in DAoC after being sick of my Infiltrator and restarting as a Paladin and finding myself stuck with what seemed like every bad player in existence. This because almost everyone who knew the game well had used the /level command.

The ideal would be for Blizzard to add new lowbie zones so people like me, who have 3+ high-level characters) aren't completely bored of the whole leveling process, but at the same time, cross paths with newbies.

As things are I imagine my priest will still be below level 50 six months from now, but time will tell.

Sophia the Healadin
 
Let me add that my revulsion to this suggestion stems from my opinion that it essentially let's the developers off the hook, and gives them an excuse to ignore low and medium level content.

Now as I said, that is certainly something I agree with. It's a cheap and dirty shortcut not only for the players, but also for the developers. But being a realist I'd prefer that shortcut than waiting for Godot to come and program in more low- and mid-level content.
 
the /level command is a bit silly,

however, why is there only rep-weekend for pvp-factions, and not rep-weekends for other factions ;)

i mean, thinking rp-ing here.
we got all sorts of festivals of the "normal" kind, why can't you have more festivals.

"We love Thrall" memorial-day
"Pirate day" to get more rep with buccaneers ;)
 
For those that want instant gratification, i.e. the maximum level immediately, try Guild Wars. Or a private server.

WoW isn't Guild Wars.

Because I have one level 68 character, I should have all my other characters be level 68 too?

I could level up a Hunter real fast to 70 then play every other class at level 70? "Need a Priest, Rogue, Warrior, Druid, Shaman, Warlock, or Paladin to raid Heroic Karazhan with? No problem. Be right there." Yeah, heh, that sure would make grouping easy.

But the game isn't 100% about the Heroic Endgame, is it?

"I would rather have that Blizzard in the next expansion introduced new zones for all levels, so that anyone who wants to level up an alt can do so with completely new quests and zones."

Hear, hear! That's my hope too.

HOWEVER, for those that must be 80 immediately, and in whatever race/class that suits their fancy, that will be unacceptable too.

Those should just go to a private server and go ahead and be level eleventy right from the get-go. Get their GM powers and really have fun.
 
Having a /level command is no more detrimental to the game than having people mindlessly grinding characters through low levels crowding and stealing content from the people who actually want to be there.
 
I'm not sure I would agree with a /50 command because that would be skipping the majority of the leveling process which I think is all part of learning your class. Having that command would also make places like Uldaman, Zulfarak, The Stockaids, hell even Deadmines empty. All of those areas are needed IMO for players to get used to grouping.

I would like to see a 10 level skip feature with a one month cool down. At least then I would be able to skip levels 30-40 (to me by bar the worst levels in WOW) and get straight to Tanaris where things become fun again.

With WOW being so popular, I doubt Blizzard would ever contemplate adding such a feature. Maybe 6 years from now when the cap is 100, and players have a Chariot mount with 16 horses-all bought seperately- Blizzard would allow players to skip 20 levels. Maybe...
 
I always thought that the majority of the WoW player base enjoyed the game for its level 1-70 content, not the raiding part. Only hard core gamers enjoy raiding, mainly because casual gamers do not have the time to invest in it. So I think a /level command will kill the game for that reason.

People will use it because everyone wants to get to level 70 fast but once they get there they will realize that they can't really do the level 70 content, be unhappy and leave.

Another point: assuming that they DO get to raid once they get there, most of them will be noobs at their new class, not having spent any time getting to know the class. For seasoned gamers, this may not be a problem but for the most part, you don't want instant level 70s in your raiding group. I consider myself a smart gamer, but during LOTRO closed beta, I was given access to a "skip to 50" quest to help test PvMP. I found myself so bewildered with my new level 50 that I decided to just go back and level up a character from scratch.
 
Having that command would also make places like Uldaman, Zulfarak, The Stockaids, hell even Deadmines empty. All of those areas are needed IMO for players to get used to grouping.

Grouping... the usual playing methong for leveling up an alt the fast way is: Grind mobs for XP, utilize the blue bar to the most (start with grinding up to normal then hand in all the quests. Regarding instances: A lvl 70 hunter/warlock friend can pull you up to Black rock depths through any instances (with the exception of Uldaman endboss who requires three people to open the door).

Main driver for Blizzard to not introduce this /level command is simply commercial. Anyone who plays for even a month longer, pays longer. And nowadays, with raid instances being quite challenging for the casual player and grouping becoming harder and harder ('tank and healer wanted for ...') as many core classes are locked up in Karazhan, twinking (playing alt chars) is a very favorable option.
 
Another point: assuming that they DO get to raid once they get there, most of them will be noobs at their new class, not having spent any time getting to know the class.

Yeah, that's why I proposed the /level command to get you only to 50, not to 70. Most people should be intelligent enough to understand a class after playing it for 20 levels. And only if you already have one level 70 character, so people have to do the leveling at least once. But frankly there are levels in WoW right now where doing them once is enough, especially in the 40 to 50 range.

But the game isn't 100% about the Heroic Endgame, is it?

Not for me, not for you, but for some people it is. If a player is only interested in the heroic endgame, why should he be forced to level up? You mentioned Guild Wars, and I always thought that the basic idea of having the possibility to get an insta-levelcap character isn't bad, although I would have implemented it differently.
 
BTW; if you skip levels, how does faction work?
 
Sony fixed the re-level / backflag problem years ago:

Copy EQs "hotzone" concept to WoW. Give certain zones bonus XP. Change those zones with patches.

Keyed zones: Allow 10% of the raid to enter without a key. Make bosses drop finished keys for those people.

See working solutions already exist.
 
The /level command is a great idea. After having 2 60s, I created an alt of each class and most of them stuck in the 30s because it is so boring to revisit the same old areas again and again.

A /level 50 command may even bring me back to WoW. Either that or new leveling zones. Desolace, Tanaris, Felwood, instances, etc, they all suck royal eggs after leveling the 4th character.
 
Your post has reminded me how much I hate the abuses that alts give rise to. I have to say I oppose the suggestion because anything that makes it easier to level an alt will only encourage these abuses. You have riled me sufficiently to make me go and write a piece about it.
 
Everyone would love more 20-50 content. The real problem is, there is a low population of toons at any given level in that range on at any time. Also, we all know PuGing sucks, and teaming up with those mid-level toons is 100% PuGing.

Such a tool should be implemented selectively. The last thing you want on a server with 2:1 Alliance-to-Horde ratio is the ability to create even more Alliance toons (or vice-versa). This might facilitate a balancing effect on individual server populations.

I started with human pally and played him for about a year. The I created an undead mage to see the Horde content, and ended up switching to the mage as a primary, with my pally long-since retired.

If an Alliance player on my server can create either an Alliance toon and have to go through every level, or a Horde toon and skip 20-50, they would probably pick the Horde toon (moving money via neutral AH is easy). If some of those players switch mains to the horde, they help balance out the ridiculous imbalance on Norgannon.
 
I play to have fun playing, to enjoy the content, and to see myself progress.
If you remove that, you will throw most of the lower-level content out (who would still do level 10 group quests?).
Focus would shift to the higher-level content, which would kill population distribution.
Guilds would be completely full of 70ies. Servers would overflow, BC would be way too crowded, with the same amount of players.
Buying the original would mean a pointless extra expense, as you won't play it anyway.
With a whole bunch of 70 players, we would run out of end-game content pretty fast as well, and we'd quickly need a new expansion.

I really see no point at all for this /level thing. Part of being 70 is you having to have worked for it, even with 3-4 days played. It's an accomplishment, which you can put to use in new exciting ways in endgame raiding. Adding /played removes the fun, the challenge, and the whole social scene about levelling with others. Bad Idea.
 
After some thought, I have to agree with the first poster that a /level command in WoW is a terrible, lazy solution that would kill the game.
But if we do it, while we're at it add a /GM command too so I can force people to change their names.
:P

Some problems with a /level command:
Everyone could have alts covering every profession.
Everyone could have alts covering every class.
Everyone could have a rogue alt for lockboxes.
Everyone could have a rogue or druid alt (stealth) for gathering and for instance stealth-to-boss runs (enchanters).

And if you thought Outland killed the "old" endgame content, what do you think would happen to the 20-60 content if there was a /level command?
Any poor soul who didn't happen to have a 60+ main would have a mighty lonely grind to 58 -- except for the level 60+ farmer / gatherers dominating the resources that they needed for their professions.

IMO, a much better solution would be an in-game tracker that would direct a lower-level alt to quests that your main did not complete. Because I've found that many people complain about lack of 30-50 content, but in reality there is some content -- admittedly not a lot, but some -- available that they've never done for whatever reason.
Frankly, if Blizz did something as easy as (being familiar with Horde-side) adding an inn and mailbox in places that don't have them, like Zoram'Gar-Ashenvale, Aszhara, Brackenwall-Duskwallow Marsh, the Tauren village in the middle of Desolace, etc., then people might be more willing to hang around and try the quests in those areas -- especially if they added just a few messenger-boy quests to get people to move between zones a bit more in the 30-50 range (though no more Un-garo - Wintersping - Un-garo - Wintersping ... stuff is necessary :P).

Doeg
 
After some thought, I have to agree with the first poster that a /level command in WoW is a terrible, lazy solution that would kill the game.
But if we do it, while we're at it add a /GM command too so I can force people to change their names.
:P

Some problems with a /level command:
Everyone could have alts covering every profession.
Everyone could have alts covering every class.
Everyone could have a rogue alt for lockboxes.
Everyone could have a rogue or druid alt (stealth) for gathering and for instance stealth-to-boss runs (enchanters).

And if you thought Outland killed the "old" endgame content, what do you think would happen to the 20-60 content if there was a /level command?
Any poor soul who didn't happen to have a 60+ main would have a mighty lonely grind to 58 -- except for the level 60+ farmer / gatherers dominating the resources that they needed for their professions.

IMO, a much better solution would be an in-game tracker that would direct a lower-level alt to quests that your main did not complete. Because I've found that many people complain about lack of 30-50 content, but in reality there is some content -- admittedly not a lot, but some -- available that they've never done for whatever reason.
Frankly, if Blizz did something as easy as (being familiar with Horde-side) adding an inn and mailbox in places that don't have them, like Zoram'Gar-Ashenvale, Aszhara, Brackenwall-Duskwallow Marsh, the Tauren village in the middle of Desolace, etc., then people might be more willing to hang around and try the quests in those areas -- especially if they added just a few messenger-boy quests to get people to move between zones a bit more in the 30-50 range (though no more Un-garo - Wintersping - Un-garo - Wintersping ... stuff is necessary :P).

Doeg
 
Saying people need to use leveling to "get used to grouping" is misguided. the /level command would only be available to people who had already leveled to the max once. They already know how to group, or by your own standards should know how to group, since you learn that leveling.

And yes, plenty of people would have alts to keep from relying on others... but most people would still only want to run a main character and not have to grind the tradeskills.

As for faction... grind it. but then, most people wanting a /level command probably have little use for anything but a few specific factions.
 
Nice idea, but i think twinking will die in the next few years. With more great easy-to-learn MMORPGs out there people will start "twinking" on different games.
 
/level helped kill DAoC (it's dead, it just doesn't know it yet).

Adding /level to the game basically says, "I give up on new players." If everyone with a 70 gets to bypass the early game, then the only people who play the early game are newbies, and they don't get the knowledge transfer from veterans necessary to succeed in later parts of the game. You do not want people learning how to group properly when they're 50, because they have no one else to group with until then.
 
Paradoxically, I'd prefer Blizzard to make leveling voluntary. And don't anyone argue against that based on it making it too easy to twink a character. It's not that hard to twink one alrdy.
 
there already is a /level command. it's called www.google.com and type in the word powerlevel warcraft, or you can try www.ebay.com and look for "70 warcraft". hahahaha :)
 
I would be against it. However, I would like to see more quests implemented in the 25-60 category so you would not have to run around all over the place. It'd be like the Outlands now, where you can likely level up by just sticking around in one area, instead of jumping continents and going back and forth. - dave
 
utilize the blue bar to the most ... start with grinding up to normal then hand in all the quests

Quest XP does not use up rested XP. Any XP gained not from killing mobs pushes the blue bar marker further out.

Only XP gained from killing mobs uses up the rested bonus.
 
It's a good idea, not a new one but still good. I heard about this on 1UP Yours podcast about a month or so back (or maybe it was Legendary Thread?) where Luke Smith discussed the idea of people who had a L70 being able to buy other L70s as a product - sort of legitimising the buy-an-account phenominon.

Other games have already played with parts of this idea - as you noted DAoC had this, and Guild Wars provides the option of hopping into the game with a L20 PvP character. Neither of those systems broke the game or the social structure as some of your comment responders have suggested.

My personal belief is that Blizzard will never do it. The grind and the attraction of shinies is what keeps their player base playing and you lose some of that by not requiring people to level. Additionally, it would make a mockery of their class balance issues, bringing them boldly to the fore because after every patch you would see everyone /level a (e.g.) Warlock to 70.

I'm personally interested in seeing them balance the game more around items and weapons - Guild Wars is a game that uses skill over gear so that PvP is always balanced, and implementing such a system in WoW may go a long way towards stopping the "WTF mate 3k white damage?! ZOMG!" comments from over-geared raiders in PvP.

Having said that, I think that if Blizzard provided a /level command, it would see much use. But like I said - it'll never happen :)
 
dave said:

"so you would not have to run around all over the place. It'd be like the Outlands now, where you can likely level up by just sticking around in one area, instead of jumping continents and going back and forth."

Just if you don't be aware of it:

With the help of a Mage with at least level 65, you can bring your Twink to Shattrath, and therefore store there your Soulstone, and use it's portals in all continents.

Also a Warlock can help to bring you there.

I think Blizzard didn't prevent low-level's to use this route, because they knew, it will be a great help, for people who twink and need to play thru the old zones again.

At least the transport is faster. I was always hopeing for a 2nd Soulstone, but Shattrath with it's Portal's has kinda made it not necessary anymore.

As for the Idea: I would also to prefer a new Continent with level 1-70 content added in the next expansion, incl. 2 new classes.

So there would be double fun to level up to 70 again. First the new classes, and second the new Areas/Quests.

I for myself, ain't really sick of the "old" content, just a few annoyances could be fixed too:

- Waiting for Ships to sail over (kinda solved with Shattrath)
- Long Flight's (Ungoro<->Winterspring)
- Slow Walk for some Classes (especially Warrior) up to level 40.

With a bit of fine-tuning you could make the whole twinking even more enjoyable, without adding a great amount of content, and without breaking the experience for newbies as well.
 
It is a fallacy that people learn how to play in groups, by doing the low-level instances.
I went to Maraudon recently with some newbies, and they were hopeless. They had no idea about threat generation, killing mobs off one by one, and crowd control.

The newbie solution to wiping in instances is to level up, and come back a few levels later, when the mobs are no longer such a problem.
All this falls to pieces when they get to Shattered Halls or Arcatraz, because they can no longer out-level the mobs.
Pre-BC there were a lot of players running alts through instances, and you learnt how to play from them. The LFG tool killed off a lot of PUG play, making it even harder for newbies to learn from more experienced players.
My friend is a WOW newbie, and I just can't convince him that his play style simply won't work at end-game.
 
I think the fundamental problem is that the game is actually not fun enough. Don't get me wrong, it is a great game, but even the first time leveling a character can be extremely tedious at times.

A /level command "solves" this, but I agree with others that it could have some very bad unintended consequences.
 
perfect!!!! being a wow addict myself.(put it this way i was level 1 6days ago and im level 44 now) with my undead warrior. but i agree with this idea. i play an avredg of ............7-8 hours a day.
 
If Blizzard added a /levelcommand to WoW then the game would be boring. The hole point in the game is to challange you anyway. Making a /levelcommand would just defeat the purpose of the game.
 
It would not make any sense, the game be nothing but a bunch of lv 70's walking around 1 shotting everything they see.
 
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