Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Pain of Levelling

For Cataclysm we're promised a whole new way of leveling. I've leveled 4 characters to 80, and I have another two in between 70 and 80. Not too many compared to some, but a lot compared to others.

The first ever character you level you have no idea what you're doing. And depending on how fast you pick it up, or not, you'll have a good time levelling or you absolutely hate it. For me it was rather neutral. This was the first MMO I played like this, and I didn't level on my own, I levelled together with Thror. He played a pallie, I played a lock, he healed, and I pewpewed. It went fine together, not too slow, not too seemed.

We were also lucky enough to already have a friend on the server, who had an epiced out warrior. He ran us through Stocks a couple of times, and boy was it fun to see him whirl around and have everything drop dead at your feet. I was even lucky enough to have a blue drop in there, which sold nicely so I wasn't even out of money.

Every character that comes after your first is basically spoiled though. You can give them bags, some money to buy spells with, and you sort of know where to go already. And with the heirloom items in the game this has only become more true.

One of my more interesting experiences was levelling a priest on the EU servers from scratch though. She had no bigger sister to supply her with items or gear, and couldn't even afford a wand. I can tell ya...levelling a priest like that is like watching paint dry. I can't really say that I can advice anybody without experience to start out with levelling a priest. Try a hunter or so first, and if you like the game enough, level a priest after.

There are however many things that Blizzard could do to make the first couple of levels a lot easier on the newbie player, without making it profitable for the slimes out there to create alt upon alt, upon alt.

The Basics.

  • Drinks & Food
I could barely afford drinks or food. I've had numerous times where I just had to sit and wait for my mana to regen. Not enormously painful at that level, but still pretty annoying to have to wait for your mana to come back up, just staring at the lush green of Teldrassil.

Though supposedly regen is going up for low level characters, all they give you to start with are 2 meagre drinks and food items. Just supply us with a stack of each already!

  • Spellpowerrrrr
Most classes get only 1 spell to work with. But somehow that 1 spell does more dps for one class then it does for others. In fact, for the priest, until you get mindflay in shadow, you might as well wand stuff down since it's the fastest way to kill stuff...surely there's a beter way?

  • Money
While I can imagine that they don't want to stick money on a new character straight out (10.000 alts times 5 gold is also gold farming) I do think that it could be slightly less hard on a newnew character. I had to skip spells till a later level, since I just couldn't afford to buy all of them. At least not until I was level 15 or so and had made some money on the AH. And that is with someone who knows what to do with the AH. Just making the spells at low levels a bit cheaper would help though.

  • Bags.
DKs get bags. I don't see it as game breaking, just give them to every starting character. There is nothing as annoying as having to run from vendor to vendor. Yes, even those first 20 levels till riding.

  • Explanation
All those handy tips you get through the loading screen? Make a guide Blizz, newbies really come with questions that could easily be handled through in game quests or tips. I remember trying to explain over the phone to my dad how to equip a bag. That's so basic, it should not be a problem.

And when I give out websites to new players, or even to more experienced players, it's hardly ever the Blizzard site. A beginner's guide is something that would be incredibly handy. Especially as I don't believe that this game is done yet in winning (devouring?!) new souls.


Besides the basics Blizzard really has done a lot to make levelling easier. Riding skill has been made available earlier, and made cheaper. Getting experience has become a lot easier, especially if you level an alt. But there are still steps that can be made.

One of the things that's probably very important is that there isn't an endless amount of things to do for your main. I find myself almost feeling guilty when I step on an alt because there is so much left to do on my main. And what makes it even worse is dailies. People are all hopping around doing the dailies, over and over and over...but alts are disappearing more and more to the background. 

This not only causes people to only have 1 character that they play anymore, it also causes the skill of people to get less and less. If you have experienced several roles in a dungeon/raid environment, you will become better at playing your own role because you understand the different positions.

What I have seen from the announcements on Cataclysm my hopes are up for this expansion. I hope there will be less dailies, and more interesting quest lines. Stories that develop themselves as you step along the quests. Fun things to do, not 100 times like chillmaw (god that daily has its own abbreviation like dungeons), but just 4 or 5 times, each time on a different character.


  1. I agree, I dislike the feeling that if I play an alt, I am harming my main.

    Recent blog:=- History gets muddled

  2. Yup. I love alts, but every time I step on an alt I'm thinking 'But I should be doing this and this on my main'.

    Recent blog:=- The Pain of Levelling

  3. Meant to say, love your new look.

    Other than that, I agree with pretty much everything you've said here. Scratting around for bags, not being to afford either water or your first level of training until you've farmed for coppers by killing passing mobs - not a lot of fun. Also easing it up a bit would make people more inclined to try other servers - currently the idea of levelling again without the resources of my main makes me shudder.

    Recent blog:=- sunday links

  4. Thanks, I'm pretty chuffed with the new look too. Though I was scared that with a new look I might lose interest in blogging (I've seen so many blogs update their look and then stop writing).

    And yes, when I levelled on EU without the support of my USA mains it hurt. Wow, it hurt, and I am someone who loves levelling even.

    Recent blog:=- Weekly Raid Quests

  5. Bags: starting with four 4-slot bags would go a long way in helping newcomers stay in the questing area instead of having to visist a NPC vendor every 20 kills.

    Money: Better use of tips? "Cloth, ore, herbs, and leather usually sell well in the auction house" to raise the player's curiosity about the auction house, and "Gathering professions such as mining, herbalism, and skinning provide extra opportunities to make gold while questing" to encourage new players to pick up a gathering profession. In my opinion,newcomers can make more than enough gold to support their first character as long as they pick up a gathering profession and sell their items in the Auction House.

    Drinks and food. I believe solving teh bag space and money issues would render this one obsolete.

    Spellpower. I believe ths system is fine. You want to impress the typical charcater roles onto newcomers as early as possible. Giving a potent spell to level 1 priest may, for example, create the impression priiests, regardless of specs, are viable damage dealers.

  6. Hmm...disagreed on the spellpower part. I have levelled a priest and druid till 80, a shaman till 71, and a pallie till about 20 (though I have played Thror's pallie) and of the 4 healer classes priest is the only one that stays very difficult to level up.

    Until you get shadowform, wanding is the fastest way to level. This is not at all true for shaman (which I found the fastest character to level of the classes I levelled), not true for druids (cat form at 20), and even pallies can do decent damage now. Just priests that are lacking.

    Recent blog:=- Weekly Raid Quests