Of all the gaming genres I’ve dabbled in, there’s always been a special place in my heart for the classic MMORPG nerd. I’ve certainly dedicated far too much time to them. One thing I have noticed, though, is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to deal with the typical process of becoming top-tier which 9.9/10 times means hitting some sort of max level first. But while this is a standard, I have found it to be one I’m growing tired of quickly.
I question if the idea of leveling is becoming old or if it’s just me.
I’ve always hated leveling, from day one. I’ve only ever maxed out characters in two MMOs, despite having played many; Guild Wars and WoW. It usually took me months to get it done for each character. The common denominator is that I did so during my early years of college or during summer / winter breaks when I had a lot of time.
Since then, I’ve grown up a bit. Yeah, yeah, I’ve become that guy with the 9-5 job, bills to pay, rent to take care of, etc. I find that if I’m not already tired from my fan-dangled commute, I’d rather spend my precious few hours / free days of waking life doing something else. Writing, coding, drawing, reading, seeing the outside world (the sun!? what?!), or maybe just sleeping. Lets face it – we all end up spending too much time gaming anyway.
It isn’t a bad thing or a knock to those who do the whole 9-5, raising septuplets spiel on top of hardcore gaming at all. I just think my priorities have shifted of late and I’m hitting that “mmo-burnout” that lots of people are talking about.
While my own factors may play a huge role in this changing mentality, I can’t help but wonder how other people feel. One big problem is that every MMO feels the same these days, and with more and more coming out to try and vie for a top-spot, you have to wonder how many times are gamers going to be willing to do the same grind over and over again before they really just stop. Maybe that’s why so many new MMOs are failing. It’s not necessarily that they are bad or boring, but it’s like starting over from scratch with each new game. At some point, one just gets weary of it.
Gamers want an alternative to WoW. They’ve been screaming for one for years now. The problem is every MMO seems to try the emulate the core aspects of WoW that have been absurdly successful and that drives gamers nuts. We can’t deny that it’s been a standardizing title for years. And yet on the same token, anything truly novel and unique from WoW’s model has to be so far outside the comfort zone of said gamers that they find the transition difficult and give up. It’s like the same demographic of people complaining about quality TV being on the decline, but then go and torrent their favorite shows while indulging in horrid reality TV. And they wonder why gems like Firefly get the boot while yet another Housewives spinoff gets the green light.
When I game, I want content, not grind. I don’t have time to sit through hours of kill-ten-rats anymore. If I had to start over in WoW or GW, I’d probably pass. I’ve tried Rift and Aion, haven’t gotten past level 23 or 12 in either, respectively. And it’s difficult to talk about the subject with other gamers because most often it’s the trollish “leveling isn’t hard, you’re just bad.”
Well, leveling isn’t hard, but if it’s boring and grindy, what’s the point? You learn your class while leveling, sure, but I find it hard to believe that there’s no other way to go about the learning process.
I’ve vowed not to play any new MMO until GW2 comes out. Knowing that a large 1-80 grind is in store for me when it does, I decided that it’d be best not to force myself to avoid another burn-out before it releases.
What do you guys think? Is the concept of leveling antiquated? Is there any way to make an alternative system or to make the leveling experience better?