The Daily Grind: What in-game leveling methods do you dislike in MMOs?

    
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I really like the Deep Dungeon content in Final Fantasy XIV, but I kind of dislike people who spam it relentlessly to level up. It’s not like this is a wrong way to level, mind you; it’s a perfectly valid way to play, the game supports it, it’s fast and efficient. But it feels just a little bit cheap to me, like just chaining up levels in content that’s never going to cause you any particular danger as you work your way through it. It’s a silly distinction, but it’s there for me.

Of course, the fun thing about leveling in any game that people will tell you that there are right and wrong ways to do it no matter what approach you use. I’ve seen people argue that leveling in World of Warcraft should always be primarily via dungeon runs or you’re not learning to play your class; I’ve seen others argue that leveling should be entirely through chaining exploits because who cares about levels. So what about you? What in-game leveling methods do you dislike in MMOs?

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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Nephele
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Nephele

I don’t mind it when games reward people for achieving things with progression, but in so many games, the most efficient way to level is to simply avoid risk as much as possible. Whether that’s bottom-feeding on things that you can mass pull and kill quickly, or running the same instance over, and over, and over, and over, and over… or buying quest items to turn in, or whatever.

I always thought that the point of an MMORPG should be actually doing things in the world, and not just leveling as fast as possible. Shouldn’t it?

It’s maybe not something that’s perfect but one of the aspects of EVE’s skill advancement system that I really liked is that it broke the link between gameplay and leveling. Your skills trained whether you were online or not, and your only real concern was choosing which one to train next, and making sure you could buy the skill books for new skills you wanted. So your gameplay became about other goals instead – usually about getting money for shinier ships, or even just going out and fighting for FUN.

When’s the last time we logged into any other MMO and just did something for fun or relaxation, and not to finish a quest or get a level or get a drop or something like that? Crazy, right?

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Jiminy Smegit

Level scaling. Hate it in WoW, hate it in ESO, hate it everywhere! It reduces and removes all real elements of danger and makes the point of having levels in a level based game completely meaningless.

I actually like the feel of danger in MMOs and I think it is something we are losing as game companies try to make things easy enough to hook the people who are just looking for some easy dopamine.

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

All of them, at this point. It’s busywork that delays me from discovering the true sticky bits. I’ll stick around if I can build and share things and be helpful.

Fighting is exciting, but it’s meaningless without something worth defending. I consider myself retired from PVP unless someone pisses me off (or gets in my way, or pays me… Now I sound like Jayne) Questing from one cutscene to another is anathema to me.

I wish that more of that time spent building an elaborate set piece world full of quest lines was instead put into building more open systems of engagement and cooperation and storytelling.

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Chosenxeno .

Everyone should Copy ESO for questing.

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Bruno Brito

Linear leveling. Mob grinding. But nothing is worse than old MMO pservers that have a specific Powerleveling way of achieving top level because the devs forgot how to design a leveling experience worth a damn.

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Sarah Cushaway

Linear and forced story content via FFXIV and modern WoW the past few expansions.

Questing in general. I’m sick of having a “chore list”.

But also mindless mob grinding ala EQ and FFXI and BDO because that’s not much fun either after doing it a million times.

I think ESO -kinda- has a decent idea except it’s still a themepark with that quest chore list. HOWEVER, not forcing you through the main story and gating other content behind it, in addition to letting you go to whatever zone you want to progress, is at least a step in the right direction. I’d say GW2 but that game is just…I dunno. It’s a hot mess.

Really, I’m tired of levels in general I guess. I’d rather see a game where you can level skills– combat, magic, or crafting– by what you DO in game. A mix of non-forced quests with may some non-linear outcomes (soooorta like Swtor but with more depth, I suppose), a bit of mob grinding if that’s your thing, PVP if that’s your thing (but NEVER forced), just stick to crafting if that’s your thing… y’know. OPTIONS.

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Chosenxeno .

I always say ESO is the best Leveling Experience in MMORPGs period. You can start anywhere. Even sidequests are voiced. It has great variety in the quests. I play FFXIV so I’m not fanboying ESO when I say that. For Story FFXIV is the best but I’d love if it had ESO questing lol It just never felt tedious. I even considered clearing Zones of quests when I reached the cap just because Zone stories felt weighty.

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Sarah Cushaway

ESO had better quests but it still suffered from the “quest or die” “chore list” problem and I’m just over that approach.

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

I’m pretty tired of extremely linear story based questing as primary means of leveling; however I’m also not a fan of the Guild Wars 2 “walk around like a dumb shit until you get enough levels for another thimble full of story” thing either. That was something I enjoyed in ESO: you were given this primary quest line that pointed you in a general direction, but you could do whatever you wanted once you were “on the road”. I like the idea of being able to roam freely instead of being chained some story that’s going to drag through the leveling process, but still provides just enough direction to save me from meaningless wandering when I get tired of finding my own way.

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Crowe

I’m not sure if it changed but those little quests in FFXIV that you had to run over and over just to grind XP were pretty bad. And then repeat for a different job/profession. /shudder
I’d much rather run dungeons over and over.

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Utakata

I don’t really care how they do the leveling, just make it engaging, interesting and rewarding already.

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Utakata

You know, I was reading this isekai manga about this pest exterminator summoned to an RPG fantasy world…to get rid of pests. NPC’s in WoW, FF XIV, ESO, et al should really take note…that is, instead of bothering players, hire a *Bleep!*ing exterminator! Just saying. >.<