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Wednesday 10 July 2013

Community Blog Topic: Is Leveling Too Easy?

This weeks WoW Insider Community Blog Topic asked by Robin Torres is "Is leveling too easy?". To set the scene a little, former Blizzard developer Mark Kern has recently claimed that WoW is too easy (read more here). We've also seen an in-game store bought item that grants a 100% xp buff - Enduring Elixir of Wisdom - datamined. To me these give slightly conflicting messages - if the game were to easy why buff xp?

XP Buffs
The Enduring Elixir of Wisdom is by no means the only xp buff in game. Other buffs include potions (i.e. Elixir of Ancient Knowledge introduced in Patch 5.0.1), gear such as heirlooms and rewards (i.e Recruit-a-Friend).

Obviously these buffs make leveling quicker but there's no need to use them - it's up to the player.

One buff that's slightly trickier (but no impossible) to avoid benefiting from is the guild perks Fast Track, Rank 1 and Fast Track, Rank 2. Clearly you can avoid this by not being in a guild! Fairly simple and easy solution there. But what if you're in a guild, don't want to lose your guild reputation but want to level with no buffs for a few hours? Well, if you leave a guild and later return (assuming you haven't joined another guild inbetween) your reputation is left intact [or so I'm led to believe, please correct me if I'm wrong].

I had to ask in /g where to find the Heirlooms vendor!
The Elixir
Before we move on much further I'd just like to add something about the Enduring Elixir of Wisdom.
Since it was first datamined there has been a few Blizzard blue posts including one from CM Zarhym quite early on and more recently from Bashiok.

All in all this in-game store is going to introduced to the Asian region initally and who knows what might happen afterwards. Possibly reasons for starting with Asia could be there pay-per-hour system or even as a way to help prevent gaming related deaths. Now I am a bit on the fence regarding the sale of game-changing items. I have no issues with cosmetic/vanity items such as mounts and pets but this 100% xp buff is a little different. That said you don't need to purchase it, again it's up to the player. And if it makes people less likely to commit to a gaming marathon of stupid proportions and prevents a few deaths then I'm all for it!
Right, so back to the matter at hand - is leveling too easy? Well having addressed the topic of xp buffs I'm going to talk more about the various ways to level in-game and how I level.
XP how?
There is a variety of ways to gain experience in-game now. I'm led to believe that once upon a time this was not the case. Xp comes from simply wondering around and exploring new places, killing things, pet battles, questing, dungeons and PvP (yes you can get xp from raiding too but as most people raid at top level it's not as influencial, if you ask me).
What I love about this diversity in ways of getting xp is that if you simply want to mooch about battling pets here and there - you can. Similarly if you want to get stuck into PvP asap - you can. It gives the power to the player to level as you want. Why should anyone have to quest if they can't stand the run, kill, collect, return nature of it.
Most importantly it caters to the broad spectrum of players. From those able to commit 10 hours a day to those able to commit 10 hours a week or even a month. People who may have to quickly dash away from the computer as their kids just spilt red paint all over their cream carpets. Others who can commit to x amount of hours solid play time with no distractions.
Despite this amazing flexibility that we now have within the game there are some flaws and I'd be stupid not to mention them. I guess the most prominent is one that was discussed within my guild. That is people not knowing how to play their class. I do understand what people mean by this but I don't feel it's as massive a problem as some like to make out.
For example, you level from 1 to 90 by pet battles only. It would take you a heck of a long time and yes you wouldn't know a great deal about your class. But, if you've just spent all that time pet battling what are the chances of you being a keen raider who now wants to jump straight into top end raiding - I'd say pretty slim. And if you did there's a whole world of info about rotations etc on the net. You would just have a more intensive lesson at the end.
My Journey
Personally I am very casual about my play style. I have very little idea what I should be doing on the majority of my characters - from knowing my rotation inside out, to where to stand, if I have an amazing ability that I should use during boss fights etc. Even on my main, my hunter, I still don't know what certain abilities are or that some even exist. I like it simple!
When it comes to leveling I am slow (or so I'm told). I don't use heirlooms. I don't craft myself gear. I wear what I get from quest rewards. I quest with the odd dungeon. I don't sit in Stormwind in the queue. I get out there and explore. Since MoP I do pet battle as I'm going along. Most of all I have fun!
An example of Stam/Int Heirloom gear.
A few of my guildies scoff at the thought of leveling in this way. Perhaps you do to but I like it. If you're curious I had a look at most of the characters I'm currently leveling, what percentage I am through that level and the play time:
Boltzy (Warlock)           
Level 30       48%          34mins 49secs (normal play style)
Level 32       90%          15mins 20secs (constantly in dungeon queue) *
Tertami (Druid)              
Level 47       32%          19mins 50secs (normal)
Shaminglee (Shammy)   
Level 49       29%          15mins 35secs (normal)
Tizzling (DK)
Level 88       32%          3hrs 39mins 26secs (normal)
Level 89       39%          2hrs 17mins 58secs (normal) **
* I decided to test out constantly queueing for and doing dungeons and it certainly speeds up leveling!
** I was a bit concerned that the time played at level 88 was high so did some leveling. It was slightly higher than at level 89 but it shows that leveling still takes a while at top end.
Straight to End Game?
Now I know this post is primarily about leveling and if it's too easy but I feel this deserves a mention here. A guildie often comments on how gaining xp is so easy now. He's a moaner (see my post on Nostalgia for an idea about the guy). He thinks you should have to quest to learn your class and it should be slower yet he uses 'looms and has openly admitted to leveling via pet battles - contradictory much!?! He has also preached to us about how awesome it would be to have a character at max level straight away, similar to the wat DKs start. When I asked how you'd learn to play your class he had no answer. But aside from that he didn't seem to understand that the game isn't all about max level. He didn't appreciate the journey of leveling. Or that with other games, like GW2, where they've implemented such a system people got bored very quickly!
Personally I think leveling is fine as it is. In my experience it isn't a whirlwind tour through Azeroth where your feet barely touch the ground in each continent. But you can tailor your leveling experience to your style. If you want it to be as quick as possibly you use buffs and looms, if you want it slow and leisurely you don't. You can choose to stay in zone x and complete every quest there even when you out-level it or you can move on. And ironically, the ones who say it's too easy tend to be the ones sat in a full set of heirlooms in Stormwind waiting for the dungeon queue to pop!


  1. Elixir of Ancient Knowledge...never knew about this great little item.

    I feel like I will always be stuck with just one level 90. Three years of playing and I still only have one. I just hate leveling and there are so many other things to do to distract me.

    1. I'm currently working on my third 90. But I totally agree - there is so much to see and do. I spend most of my time on my main doing stuff, usually getting incredibly distracted from everything I'm 'meant' to be doing.