The Daily Grind: What’s your ideal progression rate in an MMO?

    
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Same old story.

One of the things that I like about the original Guild Wars was that leveling was pretty much locked into the same speed from top to bottom, and it was almost incidental. The last new character I made and leveled hit Level 20 long before I’d finished any storylines, and I barely even noticed it until I realized that I could start getting her gear set up. I’m not saying it was ideal, but it was kind of nice that the game didn’t make half of the levels feel like a training film while making others feel like a slog.

Then again, games like World of Warcraft throw the early levels at you with almost no impact because the game is balanced around the current level band of the expansion; you’re not supposed to linger there. As it stands now, 1-90 takes only a bit longer than 90-100 by design. But that means that those first 90 levels may as well be removed, functionally – if you made the earlier levels slower, the higher levels faster, and tuned everything to have a smaller level curve, it would take the same amount of time with a smoother sense of progression.

I realize that this is something not everyone cares about. Some people like that you get all of your workhorse abilities early and lots of situational tools later; others prefer that early levels feel fast and trivial while later levels feel more impactful. What about you? What’s your ideal progression rate in an MMO?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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DrowNoble
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DrowNoble

Early levels should be quicker, so you can get some improvements and feel you’re progressing.  Endgame progression should be horizontal, something to further progress once you hit a game’s level cap.  Planar Attunement in Rift or Alternate Advance in EQ2 are good examples.

DrowNoble
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DrowNoble

Early levels should be quicker, so you can get some improvements and feel you’re progressing.  Endgame progression should be horizontal, something to further progress once you hit a game’s level cap.  Planar Attunement in Rift or Alternate Advance in EQ2 are good examples.

Xvim
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Xvim

Restark  I had quit after WotLK and returned for WoD (the main reason I gave it a second look was the stat crunch). I was quite disappointed when I returned. Duo leveling was dreadfully boring, requiring Starfall pulls on a minimum of 3 elites to be a potential challenge. I miss the days of strategic pulls and required CC.

Ket_Viliano
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Ket_Viliano

Theo454  Hear hear, I was not going to comment, but… Steve Jackson Games for the win!
I still have the contents of some original pocket-box games from way back when. Mr. Jackson invented mobile gaming before the mobile phone even existed! That man is my game dev hero.

Theo454
Guest
Theo454

The ideal progression rate that I’ve seen in an MMO so far, was in Rubies of Eventide. In the years the game existed, no one ever reached the maximum level of 100(the highest level anyone ever got was in the 70’s). In this day and age of gamers reaching maximum level within a week or less or a month at most, that was a refreshing and welcome change. But personally, I prefer skill based systems such as GURPS. Hoping someday someone will make a GURPS Online mmo(and not one where pvp is unavoidable or I will avoid it like the plague).

Xvim
Guest
Xvim

ThatLanteshGuy  Honestly, one of the things that I enjoyed most about WAR was that the gameplay was enough to keep me enthralled (in part due to the use of terrain and tactics). The only time I felt I *needed* to level was if I capped my RR or if I really wanted one specific ability within one level of me.

schmidtcapela
Guest
schmidtcapela

For single player games I don’t care about power progression. It’s an illusion anyway, completely meaningless (because, if power progression isn’t just an illusion, the game has serious issues with the early parts being harder than the later parts).

For multiplayer games, including MMOs, though, I prefer when power progression doesn’t exist; differences in power, from my point of view, serve only to prevent players from enjoying the game together, as they tend to make the player with the less powerful character in a group feel as if he is worthless. And, while I’m fine with horizontal progression, I would want that too to be quickly done with.

What I would like, instead, is for progression to be story and completion based, but with multiple ways to unlock each piece of content, and for rewards to be a mix of horizontal progression (more options without increasing the power level) and cosmetic.

DugFromTheEarth
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DugFromTheEarth

Not what FF14 uses, thars for darn sure.

seemsthatway98
Guest
seemsthatway98

Line with more hugs Yup. That’s why I loved FFXI before they raised the level cap. They kept almost all content viable even if it was several years old. I always felt that was the right way to do an MMO. I haven’t been as invested in another digital world since.

fangGWJ
Guest
fangGWJ

I think it takes roughly 8-9 hours to hit cap in Diablo 3. (from scratch with nothing in the shared stash: gems, gold, equipment, no kanai cube passives)  That seems about right to me because then you can get into the end game with greater rift, torment, sets, and ancients progression that occupies the players for weeks.
I also like that while it seemed like a big complaint against D3 that there is no reason to play an alt of the same class because you get all the skills and don’t have to specialize.  The truth is that they just migrated the journey to gear instead of crafting your build and saved the build crafting for post cap paragon levels.  you absolutely can make alts of the same class because the journey will be different based on the drops you get and when you get them.  So you will never have to scrap a build before the cap and start over but you do get all the post cap build goodness with the kanai cube and sets.