Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, January 06, 2015
 
Level compression

I leveled my mage from 85 to 90 in a weekend, and that without playing excessively. Most of the speed clearly came from the changed math of Pandaria xp gain. But I also noted another interesting effect: The Mists of Pandaria expansion has only 5 levels, like Cataclysm, but unlike the 10 levels of Warlords of Draenor. But Draenor isn't twice as big as Pandaria, they just cut the same amount of content into bigger or smaller level chunks. And that makes a big difference on rest xp.

Rest xp are given in "bubbles", each being 5% of a level, with a maximum of 30 bubbles, or a level and a half. As rest xp apply only to monster kill xp, but not to quest xp, and you get about as many quest xp as kill xp, my overall Pandaria xp looked like this: I got from 85 to 86 by the math changes, which left me just 1 xp short of 86. And then I didn't even manage to use up all of my rest xp in Pandaria, as I got 1.5 levels worth of rest xp for my 1.5 levels worth of kill xp and 1.5 levels worth of quest xp.

In Warlords of Draenor your rest xp are worth less, as a level worth of rest xp is just 10% of the expansion, while in the previous two expansions it was 20%. On the other hand Draenor is handing out more xp in other ways: You can get character xp from follower missions, and you get xp for mining or collecting herbs in your garrison without even having those professions.

I understand that many people are interested in fast leveling. If you believe the game starts at the level cap, you might be in a hurry to get there. In the case of my mage I appreciated not having to spend much more time in old content before being able to enter Draenor. On the other hand I am more of a "the game ends at the level cap" guy, I'm likely to unsubscribe once my three chosen characters are at level 100. And in Draenor I feel like I'm already leveling too fast, I'm only half way through the second zone with my warrior and already level 96. I find it somewhat annoying that I'm outleveling the available quest content. Especially since some things like gaining followers are linked to the main story advancement and there is a disadvantage to skipping whole zones.

While World of Warcraft has an option to totally turn off xp gain, I would love an option to only slow down leveling, for example by turning off only the rested xp bonus. I don't think that is currently possible.

Comments:
I am surprised that rest xp is still a thing. Now that levelling has become so rapid anyway why is it still required?
 
I could live without it. But I would imagine that it makes a difference if you want to level a new character from 1 to 100.

Rest xp gives an advantage to players who play a few hours per day/week compared to those who play many hours every day. Imagine you need 100 hours to level a character, and one player plays 100 hours in a week, while another plays only 10 hours per week. Rest xp results in the slower player not taking 10 times as long as the faster player.
 
I'm not sure why outleveling the quest content is a problem.
I mean: if you aim for the fastest way to the level cap, you just don't care about completing zones, you can go back later to finish them (this is what I did with my main). If you want to follow the story for the zone you're in, you can just play through it ignoring your character level. Killing mobs will be easy both on-level and if you're one level too high....

 
I don't understand why Blizzard doesn't see this obvious opportunity: "Uphill in the snow" achievement that you can earn by leveling from 1 to 100 with a 50% XP penalty and being able to queue up for a dungeon only next to the dungeon stone.

Content for levellers, one more achievement for the collectors and affects no one else.
 
I would really like to see the "normal" leveling time increased again, with a corresponding increase in the effect of heirloom gear, and an even greater heirloom bonus in dungeons. That way players who enjoy questing won't constantly out-level every zone they start, and veterans with no interest can blow through the lower levels using the dungeon finder.

However, Blizzard has demonstrated pretty thoroughly that their top priority is getting every last player into raids, no matter how casual they are. I assume they have a good amount of data on raiders being the most loyal subscribers, along with a healthy misunderstanding of the relationship between correlation and causation.
 
Are you doing the vignettes Tobold? Those will have you out level zones very quickly.
 
Are you half way through by map revealed or achievement progress? After Frostfire/Shadowmoon bout a third of each levelling zone contains L100 content.

There are only four zones for levelling so you are not massively ahead. The vast majority of Nagrand quests are for new L100s.
I would rather have a game with some slack in levelling. I can skip areas that I do not like and I'm not forced into being a completionist. It also gives more flexibility when levelling subsequent characters.
 
I think you have hit on why I lost my will to keep playing when WoD came out....plowing through the Pandaria content felt rather hollow to me when I realized I had done exactly one and a half areas and realized there were a good four or five other regions I had not seen yet, but was already at cap and ready to move on to Draenor.

I may jump back in, but damned if I don't feel weird for thinking that the old days of "this leveling takes too long" are gone to be replaced by the idea that I want it to slow down....eerie.
 
Why not just "sleep under the stars" and not in an inn or city. I believe that would significantly decrease the amount of rested xp you are earning.
 
Helistar: "I'm not sure why outleveling the quest content is a problem.
I mean: if you aim for the fastest way to the level cap, you just don't care about completing zones, you can go back later to finish them (this is what I did with my main). If you want to follow the story for the zone you're in, you can just play through it ignoring your character level. Killing mobs will be easy both on-level and if you're one level too high...."


I'm seconding this. There's no practical difference between playing how you want to - hitting level cap doesn't end your questing experience. It seems to be a psychological thing.

I've actually jumped into some PuG raids to tank with my far-more-enthusiastic healer brother, done garrison invasions, received raid-level gear from follower missions, all without having finished Spires, Shadowmoon, or Nagrand yet. Loads more campaign yet to go, for me, I'm just sampling everything as it catches my eye, a la carte. Including soloing a bunch more old content I missed. Blitzing Cataclysm as a 100 is ridiculously fast. (And weirdly rewarding in terms of cash.)
 
@Cam & Helistar

I can't tell if you are serious or not. You really don't see any difference in a level 20 questing through a level 20 zone, and a level 100?
 
Except they're not discussing a level 100 versus a level 20 in a level 20 zone, are they? They're discussing being 96 for a 94 zone or a 100 for a 98 zone. Gear will make more of an impact than character level at that point.
 
I got through the first zone with minimal gear upgrades. My DPS at L93 was lower than L90 (and then stayed flat until I first hit L100). I figure it is because characters and spells no longer get a power boost each level, while power from gear decreases due to returns from calculations.

Net result, Gear makes stuff easier. Dinging a level makes it tougher.
 
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