Grinding has existed as long as we’ve had MMOs. In the earliest days of my time in the genre, grinding was the game; I would seek a party in Final Fantasy XI (which took an hour at best as a DRG or four seconds as a WHM) and then sit at camp and grind in the hopes of possibly gaining a level before bed.
We’ve moved on from that as a mandatory thing in every game for every activity. We have not, however, moved on from grinding. Frankly, that’s all right with me. If I’m having fun in a game, I don’t mind grinding as a repeated activity that I’m doing just to keep my wits alive, so to speak. It’s fun for me.
Of course, group size matters. Eureka in Final Fantasy XIV has reminded me of the fun of grinding in small groups with friends, but that’s inefficient compared to a full eight-person group… which feels like too many to me. I like grinding most when it’s two or three people grouping up and hitting stuff as a team. It’s a bit worse when it’s just me on my lonesome in World of Warcraft grinding away at rep or something similar. But what about you, readers? What’s your favorite group size for MMO grinding?
Why should you stop advancing your character in Allods Online just because you’ve hit the level cap? The game’s next major update is going to let you keep advancing with the introduction of new Spark Talents. Your Spark Level is unlimited, increasing steadily as you earn more Spark Experience; each level requires an escalating amount of experience, but the rate of acquisition is also slowly improving over time.
So how do you get this experience? By doing stuff, naturally. Daily adventures, winning rated combat, completing daily quests, and several other repeatable activities earn you more experience. You can also assign rubies to talents as your level increases, unlocking bonuses to item acquisition, special toys, and of course various bonuses to stats and special abilities. Check out the full rundown if you can’t wait to level up your character, only even more now that you finished the first round of leveling.
Ah, another day and another thing to enrage people in World of Warcraft. Last time, it was that the Allied Race unlocks might (will) require you to actually play the endgame a bit. This time, it’s that the refer-a-friend service no longer allows you to gain huge chunks of experience just for turning in a breadcrumb quest to arrive at a new zone. Or, alternatively, it’s that Blizzard has just noticed that a decade-old service could be used for some unscrupulously fast leveling roundabouts, and now that it’s sort of proud of the 1-100 leveling experience again, we can’t have that.
Much like the bit ages ago with Star Wars: The Old Republic and the pointless controversy over a cash shop lightsaber, this is one of those situations where everyone involved is being either willfully or unintentionally dim. It’s not that the players grousing about this are right, and it’s not that it was the right decision to make. So, just as I did for that, it’s time to sit both sides down and explain why this is dumb across the board.
If you’ve decided to hold off on buying the Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris DLC, good news! The game’s endgame is now locked away from you completely! Looking back, it’s unclear why we prefaced that by calling it good news.
Yes, the first DLC for the game is out now, and that means an increase to both the Power level cap and the addition of new endgame antics. However, if you don’t own the DLC, your Power level is capped lower than the required minimum… for activities that were present in the game at launch. The Heroic strike list also locks you out even though it has a Power level you can reach.
Obviously, the endgame activities for the game are meant to rely upon the most recent DLC, a common situation in more or less every MMO ever. That doesn’t make it feel less irritating when content that has been in the game since launch is suddenly inaccessible to you as a result.
I do a lot of leveling in Final Fantasy XIV
. This is, in part, because I am stupid; for several dumb reasons I have my main character and six alts, which is not seven only because Balmung is currently locked. (As soon as that changes? Seven.) I also have a spreadsheet tracking my progress across every character that currently has me finishing up – as in, bringing a single job for each alt and every class for my main – in early November. So I spend a lot of time thinking about leveling. And I think the game is better than it’s ever been in Stormblood
, in leveling as well as other departments.
Of course, there are people who aren’t as happy about it, for understandable reasons. There are dead spaces for every job in the current leveling setup, levels where you get either nothing or no impactful additions. (A trait boosting your primary stat is definitely important, but it doesn’t really change what you’re doing.) It’s even prompted some people complaining about how late certain jobs get their core mechanics and how the level sync works.
So let’s talk about all of this. And more to the point, let’s start by explaining why a lot of the staggering of abilities amounts to, in fact, a good thing.
It’s time to get better than you ever thought possible in the latest Revelation Online
patch. Heck, better than it was
possible to get, even; the patch raises the game’s level cap to 79
, allowing you to reach new heights of power even as you push your way through a new dungeon floor in the Mech Citadel on its Scour Dungeon version. There’s also the new Altar of Swords dungeon, the new Azure Dragon Guild tournament, easier soul grid unlocks… lots of nifty stuff, in short.
The patch also contains some fun flying sword mounts for being among the first to clear this new content, so if you’ve got a crew ready to take on these challenges you could be richly rewarded. (If you’d rather fly under your own power, we do still have dragon wings.) Combine that with a 24-hour sale in the game’s store, and you should be able to get at least a few nice rewards for yourself with the patch launch.
Artifact Power is the big power mechanism behind making your Artifact weapon more powerful in World of Warcraft. That seems pretty straightforward; it’s called “Artifact Power,” after all. It also has a complex relationship with Artifact Knowledge, as the cost of each new ability increases as your artifact grows in power. Eventually, you need your artifact to offer a several million percentage increase to each bit of Artifact Power so that it won’t take you years to get a quarter of the way toward your next trait. And actual Artifact Knowledge might be getting some big changes in the game’s next major patch.
Right now, you research Artifact Knowledge at a slow pace with order resources, while also being able to buy catch-up tomes for your alts. However, the current test realm has all of the research projects deprecated and an automatic increase to your knowledge as time goes by, thus ensuring that you catch up without any input. It also brings the knowledge cap back to 50 after it was unceremoniously rolled down to 40. How many of these changes will make it to live remains to be seen, but it would make for a very different leveling experience for your artifacts.
If you talked to Final Fantasy XI players, the Valkurm Dunes were the most dangerous place to be in the game. Really, it was just where everyone went to level from 10-20 or so… but that level band was where you’d find yourself with players who still knew little to nothing about the game, bored people just putting in their time, no option to Raise dead party members… lots of bad things, in short.
That is not, however, the only dreadful experience band in MMO history. I always dreaded bringing alts through the 80-85 band in World of Warcraft, simply because it meant some decently designed zones that were all part of a very disappointing expansion. (And they never really linked up or flowed nicely.) For that matter, I hate bringing classes through the 40-50 band in Final Fantasy XIV, and 10-20 in City of Heroes always struck me as kind of dreadful.
But that’s just a small sampling, and I have no doubt you have your own examples. What leveling experiences do you dread in MMOs? When do you feel you really have to steel yourself to get through the blander portions of the leveling process?
The second expansion for Final Fantasy XIV
is bringing more than just new abilities; it’s also bringing an extensive set of changes for existing abilities and classes. Yesterday’s live letter
covered the changes in brief, including the various job gauges for each job and the new role-specific actions for tanks, healers, and all three types of DPS. But perhaps you’d prefer to see these things in action? You can do exactly that with the latest job ability trailer and screenshots of the same just below.
The letter also revealed that PvP will be changed to have specific job layouts for PvP, with a small selection of traits and abilities replacing the existing system of PvP ranks and improvements. Players will also have access to jumping potions starting on June 16th, with one potion allowing you to level a specific job to 60 instantly and another allowing you to flag all of the MSQ as cleared up through Heavensward. Both will cost $25, so you can use them to speed your way to being ready for all of the new tricks shown below in Stormblood.
You can log in to WildStar today and get yourself a free level 50 character to celebrate the Power of the Primal Matrix update. Will that mean you’re done with leveling? Not even a little bit! No, the whole centerpiece of this update is the eponymous Primal Matrix, and that means getting in and leveling your max-level character with more levels and nodes and all that comes with it. So you get a free level 50, but it’s more like another step on the same path.
Lucky for you, you’ll have plenty to do at 50, since you’ll also have two new dungeons to explore, the new Primal difficulty, quality of life improvements, bug fixes, ability adjustments… you get the idea. Peruse the patch notes to get a sense of what you’re jumping in to, just for your own edification. And if you already have a level 50 character, so much the better.
There is, really, no need to have a single alt in Final Fantasy XIV
. This makes it a point of open curiosity for me about how I managed to wind up with six
of them — plus my main character.
It’s not exactly a secret that FFXIV is not an alt-friendly game, and it never has been. Leveling alts is, by and large, a thankless and uncomfortable prospect mixed with the fact that a lot of the stuff you have to do on alts is a repetition of things that you have already done. The game doesn’t offer you any alternatives to the MSQ in the long run; you’re going to have to level through it, one way or another.
And yet people still play alts in the game; I know for a fact that I’m not the only person with more than one character at reasonable levels. And while there are things that could be done to make the game more alt-friendly, I suspect some of the obvious options would actually lead to a worse game overall, which makes “how can the game be more alt-friendly?” an interesting question.
You’ll earn experience by doing a lot of things in Revelation Online
, but don’t you wish that you could earn more
experience for doing the same
things? That’s where Aptitude comes in
. Aptitude is a constantly renewing resource, with characters receiving a certain amount of Aptitude on a daily basis, allowing for additional experience gains so long as there’s more Aptitude in reserve to be used.
What if you can’t log in for a bit? Well, your Aptitude continues to accumulate, and any “overflow” accumulated is stored by an NPC who will sell you that banked Aptitude, up to a daily limit. You can also purchase even more beyond the daily limit, but that will cost you. So you can catch up if you’re unable to log in for a little while or you can just enjoy the daily fruits of your login labor. (For a very generous definition of “labor” here.)
The DC Universe Online
anniversary celebration is happening now, and as part of the celebration, you don’t need to play DC Universe Online
. Not all
of it, anyhow. During the anniversary, players can log in to the game and pick a character to get advanced to CR 100
, ready to jump in to tier 5 and 6 content, at absolutely no charge whatsoever. And that’s just for free
players; paying members can advance two
characters to CR 100 right out of the gate.
You can, of course, pick one of your existing characters to bump up to CR 100 from the character select screen. You can also create a new character and skip straight to CR 100 following the character creation process. Of course, it’s worth noting that once the free episode event ends, those CR 100 characters will pretty much require content that’s only available via membership or separate purchase… but hey, no matter how you slice it, you get a free enormous upgrade. That’s pretty cool. Check out MJ’s latest look through the anniversary event just below!