Tobold's Blog
Monday, April 14, 2008
Absolute power versus speed of advancement

After being somewhat frustrated with the level 70 endgame of World of Warcraft for different reasons, both me and my wife ended up making new level 1 alts. She hadn't played a draenei yet, and had never played a shaman, so that is what she made. I decided for once to play on the same server and side as her, and made a gnome rogue. This being the server where she already has a level 68 and level 70, we had access to lots of gold. Well, "lots" is a relative term. But with the new dailies a level 70 can easily make 200 gold in a day, and for a level 1 character 200 gold is more than he needs, even after buying a full set of 16-slot bags and the best possible twink equipment available on the AH for the first 10 levels (there isn't all that much).

I played my new rogue only a few hours, but got up to level 10 already. I bribed a mage to portal me to Shattrath, and took the teleport to Exodar from there, so I'm in the same newbie zone as my wife's shaman. I had done that newbie zone only once, during the TBC beta, and so it is still relatively fresh and lots of fun. But the most interesting was the huge contrast between playing my low-level rogue and playing my mage, who just reached the level cap.

The mage is far more powerful, of course. A single frostbolt of mine does around 1,600 points of damage now, while my rogue is fighting monsters that only have 100 points of health. My mage has 5 hotkey bars full of spells, abilities, and items, while my rogue has just a handful. My mage can easily teleport to any city, rides on an epic ground mount, or on a normal flying mount in Outlands, and there is no place he can't go. My rogue has to walk, and can't set a foot into most zones, because he'd get killed in one hit. Only by setting his hearthstone to Shattrath did he get a limited form of teleportation travel.

But while he is weak, my rogue is a lot more fun to play, because he advances so fast. Every two levels I get brand new abilities and more options to try out. And I level so extremely fast, making several levels per hour at the start. My mage can't level any more before the expansion comes out. And while the mage can still get stronger by getting better gear, the speed of advancement is very slow. It takes many days to earn one epic PvP piece, or to farm the materials for an epic crafted item. And then I don't gain any new options or abilities from my new gear, they just increase lets say my spell damage by a few percent.

So in the end it is a question of whether you prefer to be at the top of the game, with very slow advancement, or whether you prefer to advance fast, but from a very low level. I find World of Warcraft concentrates a bit too much on the endgame. I don't believe it was the endgame that attracted so many million players, but rather the leveling game, and that part of the game feels a bit neglected right now.
I think it's a shame that all of the classes still haven't been given some sort of access to something that lets them port or hearthstone back more than once an hour. It makes leveling some classes so much easier, like a Mage who can port wherever they need to go.

Sure, there is Shattrath, but that does not solve the 1 hour cooldown on hearthing.

It has just always bugged me as I've leveled my alts, especially my warrior. No speed, no porting, and no hearthing faster than an hour. warrior is 70, prot specced and in pretty decent Raid gear. I only really play him now to take part in Raids and I don't really help the LFG channel.So, like you I rolled a rogue on Friday just gone, just to feed my need for new skills and new crafting dings....I had a lot of fun just doing my first 10 levels too!
Your situation is similar to mine.
I'm having a lot of fun advancing with my wife (we're level 45 atm); I'm playing an undead rogue, she a troll shaman. Mad DPS!
We have essentially unlimited access to gold, crafters, and enchants.
We're experiencing the fun of rapid (almost too rapid) advancement.
We're trying new-to-us quests, and questing in new-to-us (or it's-been-a-long-time) zones.
Loads of fun!

A huge change from the level-70 endgame grind, where it can take a weekend, or even a couple of weeks or more, to see a single gear upgrade. It's becoming less and less appealing to add to the stack of gold with 'those' dailies, again...

Get into a party, enter any instance, leave party = forces a hearth, even on cooldown (but resets the hearthstone cooldown to 60 minutes again).
Crude, but effective in a pinch.

My priest and warrior were in the same boat that you're describing. But the priest is an engineer, and now has both transporters so I can get to Gadgetzan or Toshley's Station in addition to the Shattrath hearth.
I started a new toon with a friend after he took a long absence. We've been duoing since the teen's and now in our 30's we're still having great fun. The same can't be said of my 67 Druid (my main since launch that I can't find the patience to level).

The speed of progression is great. What patch 2.3 is make rolling alts viable for someone like me. I love the new skills, the dings!, etc.

When I got to the end game pre-TBC I experience the same issue. I didn't want to raid initially, there we no BG's, and everything basically needed a large group and you just got incrementally stronger. Eventually I raided got my Tier2 gear and before we got to Nax TBC came out. The progression was just too slow for me. I leveled to 63 and quit the game for a year, just coming back a few months ago. All I want to do with my Druid is get to 68 so I can start fresh in Wrath.

I think one of my issues though was weapons not really making a difference so I really got no new anything. I have a 52 mage in the same boat. Once at the level cap there's nothing but stat increases. I chose a warrior for this alt so at least I could progress with procs. Having something that procs is like getting a new spell. I really like that. So If I ever get to 80 with my Warrior at least I can get something new by getting a weapon that procs and just doesn't give me 20 more str.

If more gear proc'ed or was useable and had cooldowns that did something other than grant stats I think that would help with the feeling of progression halting a lot of people don't like about the end game. A chest piece that can do X, an armband that can do Y, and a helm that can do Z - all those things would be much cooler than just having stats.
It's the carrot on the stick that makes WoW fun.

You lose that feeling with endgame.

If you don't raid, you have a even bigger gap between upgrades.

I've heard EQ2 had AAs that gave you that feeling of getting new spells at least.
Tobold, I'm curious to know, as a Gnome questing in the Dranei area, did you experience the same prejudice from your own faction as I encountered with both my Gnome in the Dranei area several months ago, and even now just recently with my newly rolled Orc in the Blood Elf area.

I would get people /spit /slap and /rude my toon...this is people of my own faction.

Even shortly after BC came out, when my low teens Dranei entered the NElf area, I experienced the same prejudice from a NElf player who felt compelled to /YELL Boo! Go back to Dranei area!

Just wondering if these were isolated incidents, or occurring across the board.
And you know what is best with playing the next alt? When you buy the addon and start leveling all the alts from 70 to 80 guess what - you will enjoy the quest & instance rewards much, much more compared to the poor souls who only have one char and max him out in full Tier 6 + Sunwell. The additional gain for people who only focus on one char is much smaller than for the people who play at a more relaxed rate.

One more comment: When a Rogue reaches 70 you will want to pair up with a healing char. Otherwise he is no fun (except in raids maybe). Also, I strongly encourage to build up honor points with these two chars while leveling. That way, when you reach 70, you have alle the BG badges & honor to deck out the rogue in nice gladiator weapons that *really* make a difference. Best Lvl 70 blue BoE / instance (non-heroic) weapons are 71.7 DPS, the Arena 1 BG weapons are at 91 DPS, a significant increase!
Tobold, I'm curious to know, as a Gnome questing in the Dranei area, did you experience the same prejudice from your own faction as I encountered with both my Gnome in the Dranei area several months ago, and even now just recently with my newly rolled Orc in the Blood Elf area.

I would get people /spit /slap and /rude my toon...this is people of my own faction.

Never experienced anything like that. Maybe at the time the Draenei starting area was overcrowded due to being new and people didn't like other races adding to the crowd?

I only got a couple of tells and says when my low-level gnome hearthstones to Shattrath and people wonder what he is doing theree. But as there is no rogue trainer in Exodar, I need to travel to another Alliance city every two levels.
Well generally I like being at the cap, but that's because I almost always enjoy PvP'ing in any game, and level difference does not make PvP fun. In WoW however there's too much gear difference for PvP to be (really) fun so I'm not so sure that it wouldn't have been better with a soft cap or something.
LOL TEM.....I used to have rogues all the time wanting to group with my Resto druid when he hit endgame. Problem was none of them wanted to group with him prior to that. So I politely turned them down and kept playing with my friends.

Its a really big problem with rogues and hunters. While leveling they need no one. At end game they suck alone.
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