The Daily Grind: What leveling experiences do you dread in MMOs?

I'm a jerk!

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?

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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Brown Jenkin

Everything about vertical progression in BDO is impressively awful (funny as the game is otherwise so fun!) but in particular I hate working through the awakening quests.


WoW Outland and Northrend. Oddly, I like Cataclysm zones and beyond.


I dread most leveling experiences in MMOs to be honest, but generally anything that is primarily quest based. I find the stories bland and unengaging and the quest designs, from a mechanics point of view, pretty dull too. The progression is mostly artificial and the combat depth is usually missing until you reach the end of the leveling experience.

I did enjoying leveling in SWG pre-cu. The reason being that it was just mob grinding, so I was totally in control. A lot of the time I chose to join leveling groups, so it was a very social experience. Other times I’d get buffed up and head out solo and grind mobs in a location of my choosing. Other times I’d get buffed and join a solo group to get higher level missions for more money. Point being, I was in control and could really focus on what I actually enjoyed – the combat and being social.

I also enjoyed LotRO 1-50 before it all got nerfed. The combat depth was better than most games, the quests better written, and there was also a lot of content for groups. The first 6 months of lotro were really great specifically because so many people were leveling that groups were so easy to form and a lot of fun.

Absolute worst experience was SW:TOR, apart from the pvp I was just utterly bored throughout the whole journey.


Hmm nobody has mentioned Albion Online its easily the worst I have ever experienced its really painful… Thats just it if its bland then Its a grind imo. I honestly dont mind fetch quests cause they require so little thought they’re easy.

You would think mmo’s would of made the switch to ephemeral levelling but nope it hasn’t happened yet. At least GW2 kinda did it with HoT.


In WoW I hated 51-60, the dreaded burning crusade. I thought the levels were bland and too wide open. I like the hunting aspects but not enough to make me love the zone. I do whatever I can to get to 58 so I can move on to Wrath.

In EQ, I hated levels 63-85. And EQ (today) gets you good. You get super fast leveling for the like the first 40 levels, mercs are valid and can tank or heal. But around the mid 50s everything dies off. Your merc can barely kill anything or heal you. Mobs hit harder and it takes longer to kill them. It has nearly made me quit several times. But I have endured. Around 85 it becomes fun again, but damn those hell levels.

But I’m actually LIKE levelling in ESO. It feels more open and I feel like I can actually go somewhere and do something, finding random quests (if I want them) or keep exploring. I get bored? I go to a different zone or I continue my guild progression with the thieves or the dark brotherhood.


I think the grind to guru20 gathering is going to be epic.


Hitting the old featured episode series in Star Trek Online is usually unpleasant while leveling up a new character. They used to be some of the best content in the game, but now the game’s overall quality of the leveling experience has improved past them, and they feel… over-long and under-interesting.

Oleg Chebeneev

LoTRO. Quests and leveling are cancer in this game

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Ryan Allgood

I hate solo questing style leveling in general. I absolutely hate leveling in WoW, for instance. I prefer group content over solo content for almost everything. If I want something to do solo, I’ll craft or gather or play a single player game.

The only games I don’t mind it in are ones with strong stories, like FFXIV, although even then the actual questing becomes a chore at some point.

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I hate leveling more or less in every MMO. Either you are max level or you can’t do things with your friends or guildies. All this stress when you just want to play a new character / class and you can’t do things because you are too low.
On the other hand leveling just by clicking a stack of and *tada* within 10s you are max level are also not my kind of leveling.
Yeah sure I enjoy leveling but I don’t want to be blocked or left out just because I’m level 62 instead of 85 or some other arbitrary number.