Tobold's Blog
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Horizontal content

Mists of Pandaria next week will add some new content level 1-20, and other new content level 85-90. Anyone wanting to do both on the same character will have to get from 20 to 85 using "old" content. Which isn't so bad until 60, due to the zones up to 60 having been renovated in Cataclysm. But Outland, Northrend, and the Cataclysm zones can easily get boring if you have already done them with several alts.

I don't know how Guild Wars 2 expansion will look like, but I don't see them having the same problem. As you can level in any zone up to your level, any expansion will feel more horizontal, compared to WoW's vertical expansions. Unless you already played everything repeatedly, you can always go to some new corner, or at least your favorite one if you've seen everything already. That makes leveling up yet another character less of a bore than in World of Warcraft.

I do hope the automatic downleveling, which effectively gives you a much wider choice on which zones to play in, will become the standard for future MMORPGs.

An option is to stick to one character per MMORPG. Might be hard for some people, but I honestly find the game plays a lot better if you only have one character.
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I am the only one that hate the new 1-60 content introduced in cataclysm? It is very linear. Yes the old quests had you to travel around the world but why this was so bad? It turned out that the only leveling content I am currently enjoy is TBC and WotlK leveling zones. TBC still have some group quests that are challenging.

Downleveling in GW2 isn't as I expected. If you chose a lower level zone

1. You get much less xp/Karma/Gold
2. You get low level crafting materials that does not help you progress your profession and craft gear on your level to use.
3. You are still overpowered and you can kill multiply mobs very easy

that's why people are in the last zone now and camp/farm specific events. I went to cursed shore and there was an event to defend a place. There were 50+ people there spamming aoe here and there. Even if I have lots of aoe with my warrior, it was a very stressed experience to run and actually try to land a single hit cause mobs were dying in 1-2 seconds max. Ended up with 5-6 loots, although I got gold rank in the event and got nice xp/karma/silver.

after that I see people stay there afk, waiting for the next. I stay there too. after 5-10 minutes same thing happens. I don't like it and leave from there. try to travel in the map but the map is too heavy on mobs and I am alone. It is a hell to reach those points of interest alone. I see some events on the road but I am alone, not even think to step in.

So I leave again in a low area to do missing objects to complete world map. I run across an event. some people happen to be around but not that AOE zerg fest I had in cursed shore. I complete the event with gold rank and get 1/3 of xp/karma/silver. and then I move out continue exploring and have some time before the I find the next event, not so fast as the event camped at max level.

I need 42k karma for a single piece and I am sort on gold. I feel that I hurt my character progress if I play the game normally and explore in low areas...So I don't think downleveling is that so great. people will stay at max level area and camp events and for a good reason
"Unless you already played everything repeatedly, you can always go to some new corner, ..."

...and find the same boring grind as in every other corner.

My issue with GW2 questing is that once the shiny "new" feeling wears off, the grind part jumps right into your face.
Since almost every heart works in the same way (kill mobs, click stuff) it lacks depth. You can go to almost any heart and fill it by killing whatever is around. It doesn't matter if it's bandits or wurms.

I'm stuck at level 49 with 46% map completion on my guardian because I lack the desire to log back in. I did every starting zone and I couldn't do any of them on an alt again. Well, I would if there was anything in GW2 that would spark my interest, but at the moment it looks like I won't even finish the guardian.
I enjoy crafting so would really dislike automatic downleveling. When my 85 goes to Silithus, it is not for challenging gameplay, it is for Essence of Air.

I think MMO have missed the mark with leveling. When some people think it is horrible, they think the current times are too long. The people who enjoy leveling think it is too short. We are where we are there may not be any fix.
The down-leveling sounds like a good idea and it was ok for a while but I'm finding that it makes it hard to understand my character. This is a level-based game rather than skill-based so my concept of the character is that he will become more powerful as he levels. In GW2 that isn't really true. Yes, the higher level character has traits that the lower level doesn't but they don't make that great a thematic difference. Once I'd unlocked all the weapon skills, around 10 including the underwater set, that was it, the character was set.

WoW leveling would be much better if it was more like Vanilla - zones get harder when the level goes up and everything isn't a railroad.
I don't understand why the unlocking of zones is connected to your character's level. It's very hard to feel your charcter getting more powerful this way. In fact, it's very hard to understand your character.

Why don't they make hard and not so hard zones - and easy ones - and then unlock them with story -explanations. (Or no explanations, immersion, wth?)

Everything would be better than automatic downleveling for me.
I think the downleveling is ridiculous. I mean really, you get more powerful but are also weaker?

If they had no levels then it would make sense, every place is a challenge, but as they did it i don't like it as it makes no sense. When in WoW i sometimes enjoyed going where i was powerful enough to knock fools on the head by myself. in gw2 that cannot happen so no thanks.

Also the way they promote 100% map explore, how can you not help but do the same thing again. All in all i feel they just do not compete with WoW
Simple solution: scalable characters where the downleveling is player-chosen.
Want to play with a lower-level friend? Set your level equal to his. Want to play a zone in serious challenge mode? Set your level to zone level - 5. Want to speed-farm some materials for an alt? Don't downlevel and zerg the entire area.
Honestly, as soon as you have the tech to allow character downleveling, implementing something like this would not be THAT hard.
I love the down-leveling. I still feel stronger than the mobs so it's easier than when I was leveling up, however, I can't take on 5 mobs at a time without some risk.

It's a nice blend.
like Giannis I didn't like changes to old zones in Cataclysm. it was actually a final nail in the coffin for me, the last push to stop playing WoW. its far too linear and inflexible.

I also dislike guild wars 2 downleveling. at first it sounded like great idea, but then I realized that essentially it removed my ability to control my difficulty of play. I'm a mediocre to bad gamer. so outleveling content was how I could allow myself to see it without feeling too frustrated. GW2 removed that ability. I cannot just relax and enjoy.
so, I kinda like Helistar's idea. combine it with optional phasing if necessary so that high level character doesn't end up taking away all the mobs from appropriate level players (I'm sure they can figure out something, after all they did figure out resource nodes being available to everyone at the same time) maybe it won't be in guild wars. maybe it will be in some other MMO. but that's what I would personally like to see.
2 accounts + RAF. Queue for dungeon. You will be level 80 in no time.

I've used /follow macro and got a priest, warlock on "opposite" site to level 80.

Aside from that, I will play my monk level 1-10 and level 80-90 due to RAF because I can grant so much. Since I rolled on a dead realm my chance of getting realm first monk is higher, but since I will first level up my main that chance is also decreased.
What a lot of people seem to miss is the dynamic events. I keep hearing the hearts are the same as the old boring kill 10 rats and collect 25 essences of unobtainium. First- I'm wondering what are people expecting? How many variations can you possibly think of? The premise of any 1st person shooter is to kill whatever comes around the next corner. Sure- some games introduced the concept of cover but it still is shoot stuff ad infinitum.
Anyway my point; the dynamic quests provide the variety what I think people are looking for. For example: there is a renown heart in the Charr start area that looked quite boring. Kill swamp Scale Drakes. But when you turn the items in, the Asura at the location begins to mix a potion. Then a new quest pops up: test the potion using a special designed weapon (a shotgun with lightning which is quite fun). If the test succeeds; another followup happens; you are to rescue prisoners with a host of tamed drakes.
All this spawns from that one renown heart and so far all people I asked in my guild just missed that. They all completed the heart and moved on to the next spot as quickly as possible.
The more I read the comments on this blog entry, I feel that GW2 is not the game for a lot of people. I find it immensely immersive and I really enjoy that every zone provides some challenge. Being able to oneshot a mob is just as rediculous as hacking 10 minutes at a "powerfull dragon"'s toe until it falls over. The lower level zones are still a lot of content to consume, if you look past the quick fix of XP, gold and karma there is a lot of game there.
I can recommend watching this video (shot in a beta weekend but it's still relevant) that shows what happens in the world. Most people just see a fraction of it because they do the event- gain XP and move on.


evidently downlevel need some tunning, but it is a better system than the old one. You too need take note that they make the xp/karma/gold rewards be lower because they do'nt want level 80 guys farming low elvel zones and destroying new players experience.

Anyway, there are good reasons for pleyrs level 80 be at the 3 Orr zones (not only Cursed Shore, but the other 2). The first one is that mobs and nodes there supply the mats for craft level 80 exotics (everyone have copper, we need oricharium...).

The second reason is that Arah dungeon opens only if the temples are conquered. You will find temples at all 3 zones and everyone need help the chain events that will make the alliance conquer that temples.

Anyway, it is not only Orr taht have a lot of level 80 players. The 3 dragons lieutnants that spawn each 3 hours too have a huge zerg attacking them. but they are at diferent 3 zones, out of Orr.

So, with relation to content, I can imagine they can try add to other zones more lieutnant dragons attacking. Anyway, they said will add more events to old zones.

With relation to expansions, we have clues to where GW2 is going. It is obvious that kodan, quaggan and tengu will be future player races (possibly skritt and hylekk too). Tengu have a zone for their starter city reserved for now, no one can enter the Dominium of Winds, so all players can see that walls but not enter the zone. Other races will need to have new zones for starter cities (however, IMHO they can use the sea near LA for create quaggan starter city).

If GW2 is bold, expansion will mantain the max level at 80 and not only add new zones but change old zones and the story "so far", because expansion will be about other elder dragon that need be killed.
I think the downleveling - as is - will prove to be a mistake long term as i think it will reduce replayability. Too early to say for sure yet though.

I think horizontal content would be better served by making zones themselves more multi-levelled i.e. creating them as a patchwork of segments of different level ranges.

The other way is to make levelling itself more horizontal e.g. you have a tree of skills and when you level instead of automatically increasing in raw power you pick a new skill some of which provide an increase in vertical power e.g. an upgraded fireball spell but many only increase horizontal power e.g. an iceball spell for mobs immune to fire damage.

Erm, how many of you people actually have level 80 characters and experienced downlevelling? It scales, but not perfectly down. You're not going to be experiencing the same level of challenge as you would have if you were actually that level. You have additional traits which make a huge difference, and your stats scale with the level of gear that you have. I can assure you that you probably didn't have a full set of exotics or even the right level of gear all the time while you were levelling.
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