T1 carrot, T2-3-4 stick

Lots of people are writing about how Tier 2 PvE questing seems tooo sloooow dooooown after the lickety-split “crap I’m going to miss quests I’m levelling so fast!” Tier 1 experience. It seems to happen around 15 or 16, though it might be earlier for some and later for others, depending on the player and the career.

Now, I don’t think the slow levelling would bother me at all under normal circumstances; on the contrary, I love PvE and think much of WAR’s PvE content is very nicely crafted. I haven’t played WoW in several years, so the speed of its levelling is pretty much irrelevant to me personally, though I do think it affects the perceptions of those who came to WAR from WoW. I have a lot of WoW-playing friends who also think WAR doesn’t begin until you hit R40, and thus can’t wait to get over the artificial obstacle that is levels 1-39.

Rants about that term aside, if you’re used to a certain pace in a game, changes in that pace will be particularly evident in other games. Interestingly enough Vanguard was somewhat similar. There were level patches that went by really quickly, and others that… didn’t. Same in EQ2 back when I played it, which was a good 2-3 years ago now.

One of the things most games feel they have to do nowadays is streamline your experience through the first few levels. The introductory experience has to hook the player, so starting areas tend to get a lot of love and attention — quests galore, everything within easy spitting distance, xp coming out your ears, enough items to keep you happily upgrading or even more happily comparing/swapping if you’re item-inclined, and so on.

The next thing most games seem to do, these days, is throw a brick wall at you not too far out of that first, introductory level range. WAR is no exception.

Like I said, under normal circumstances I would welcome slower levelling (slow, not glacier-slow). In WAR, however, there are 2 tracks. One is PvE levelling, where you slam into that brick wall over and over and spend all your bloody time between 14 and 20 running around like a loon. The other is RvR levelling, aka scenarios, where you stand around at the warcamp, don’t run at all, and just chain scenarios one after the other. (Assuming you’re on a server with a population that will let you do this — but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.) From what I’m reading elsewhere, you spend a lot of 22-31 ALSO running around, except now you get to do it on a mount instead of on foot, so it’s marginally quicker. No less boring though.

What’s bothering me about this, among other things, is that this is leading to a no-brainer for scenario-popping servers (all scenarios all the time) and frustration for the non-popping servers. Not to mention frustration among the players who like a little PvE with their RvR. There are only so many times I can run Mourkain Temple back to back before I want to throw myself out of my office window.

Choice:

1. Slow-ass levelling on PvE quests that, for many careers, are just a hair too high or too low and take ages, not to mention have you cross the zone, pick your nose, cross it to go back to the quest giver who says “Well done, brave hero! Now go fetcheth me the Hanky of Snotination! … which is exactly where you just were 20 minutes ago. Off you go, you have a lot of running to do, don’t you?” At which point you giggle insanely and log out after unsuccessfully trying to kill the quest-giver.

2. All scenarios all the time. Get xp! Get renown! Get money! Kill the dude, the dude with the thing! Get items too, especially now that punk-ass loot-whores can’t need-roll everything in sight. And abso-fricken-lutely NO running. (The barrenness of the open RvR areas because of scenarios is also another kettle of fish, though it’s one Mythic said they need to address. Yes, yes they do.)

I understand that WAR is about RvR. But giving people a choice that isn’t a choice… is no choice at all.

And it’s irritating. I want to quest now and then. I actually like slower levelling, too — but when my questing leads me to be constantly running around DOING NOTHING but running around, and thus being constantly behind all of my friends and guildies who do more scenarios than I do — that just sucks.

Yes, it’s more about the journey than the destination. But if you’re watching your friends vanish over the horizon on their bullet-train while you’re running, on foot, to stick to your principles, it just sucks to have principles.