A recent article on Kotaku tells the author’s tale of being powerleveled by a friend through Diablo III. “You might think that there’s no ‘wrong’ way to play a game like Diablo III,” Jason Schreier wrote. “This is incorrect. Somehow, I figured out how to pull it off.” Being mindlessly powerleveled through the game, gear spewing from every mob faster than he could loot it and levels zipping by faster than he could respec, basically sapped the fun out of the game, he argued, and he didn’t begin to enjoy himself until his well-meaning, all-powerful buddy logged out and left him to roll a new toon and play by himself at his own noobish pace.
Power-leveling or powergaming has long been seen as a serious sin in some gaming circles and the height of enlightenment in others, and I can’t say it’s ever ruined my enjoyment of a multiplayer ARPG like Diablo III — in fact, sometimes I seek it out. But an MMORPG is a different beast altogether, especially if the point of the MMORPG is exploration, character development, or economy. Rushing can ruin a game, but it can also get you past the boring part of a game and into the good stuff.
What do you guys think? Does powergaming ruin the MMORPG experience?