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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Carrots

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"What percent to level?" and "How close are you?" is what passes for "How are you today?" in most MMO's. There is a strong drive amongst players to get to that top level. But what makes level 60, say, different from level 59? Is it purely status? Acceptance into raids?

Part of the carrot for me as a wizard to hit 50 was Ice Comet. Ice Comet is a real class-defining spell that every wizard wants and loves. It is single-target DPS in it's purest form.

A few days ago, I was in a pickup group with a Swashbuckler friend of mine. I always watch other wizards closely and I noticed this one wasn't casting Ice Comet. I sent a tell to my friend.

"I don't think this guy is casting Ice Comet."

"Are you kidding me? If I had Ice Comet I'd be casting it constantly. Hello, mob, Ice Comet. How are you? Ice Comet. I couldn't not cast it."

And that's just how I feel. If my Ice Comet is up, I want to cast it on something. And yeah, I know, I have to watch my aggro. Tell me about it.

Okay, this post isn't about my torrid love affair with Ice Comet. My point is that Ice Comet was a big part of my motivation to get to 50. And now, believe me, I'm definitely hungry for 60. But the spell motivation is not there. The level 60 spell for wizzies is a weird little proc that really doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

And that got me thinking. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I mean, do you need the extra motivation to get to 60? There's enough motivation from other sources anyway.

Might this encourage people to slow down and smell the roses a little more, rather than obsessing over one ultimate spell they need? Or do you want people to feel that with the final level, they achieve something really special? Which is more important and which is better game design?

I'm not sure, I just like to think about this stuff while I'm waiting for the recast timer on Ice Comet.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a valid point, part of my drive to level my main (a Guardian) through levels 20-50 was the skills Id get as I leveled up. That desire just isnt there anymore to level 51 through 60. The skills you get post 50 are uninspiring to say the least.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Quylein said...

I don't know My carrorts were just quests.. I got lvl 40 just chasing all the Heritage's.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Karnatos said...

Aggro Me said: "I'm not sure, I just like to think about this stuff while I'm waiting for the recast timer on Ice Comet."

Well, I guess that's where I'm different, Agrro Me - see, I slap the spell button silly instead of waiting... just like I do with the elevator button in order to make it arrive quicker. Don't believe me it works? It does!

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Teh Chunt said...

I feel like I'm in the minority on this issue, since I'd rather try to experience all the content I can instead of mindlessly levelling. I've stayed at L28 for a little while now, just so I won't grey out some quests I'm finishing. (Yeah, I know I can level up and mentor down later, but I'd rather do it all in order) I'm a questaholic with my main, and often get suprised when I level, since it happens while I'm doing quests. I definitely don't watch the XP bar.

Still, I can't lie, Levelling is awesome. The roar, the flash, the sound of new spells being added to the hotbar... I remember when my Illusionist got his first prismatic proc spell. I had so much fun casting it on my pet and watching the mob's life go down a huge chunk every time it hit... Or when I finally got Breeze, and everyone wanted to be my friend. Certain spells and abilities do define classes, and that's fine, but I don't rush through levels just to get them.

That said, My alt is going to be a level-grinding machiene. Since my main did all the quests, I don't feel guilty Levelling like a fiend with my alt. I think most of the perception that you have to get to L60 has to do with raids, going to high level zones, and the fact that so many players have a L50-60 character, that if you don't have one, you feel left out.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Rotacidare said...

Agree totally with you on this issue. As an illusionist nearing 50, a lot of our spells are very appealing. However 50+ we get very few cool spells...including at lvl 60. I wish they had made more unique and cool spells post 50 - at least for my class.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think part of the problem is that they've established a pattern of "replacment spells every 14 levels, with only the very occasional new one here and there. When they initially did the game and capped it at 50, they deliberately set up level 50 wit a "new spell" that also happens to be "class defining." But since they are locked in to the "replace every 14" pattern, well. . . what exlse can they really do to spice up those spells? And can they really afford to start giving a "new class-defining spell" every 10th level with each new expansion? Especially when there were no such spells at 10, 20, 30, and 40? (and no -- "fun spells" don't count)

Beyond that, will these spells then *also* start being replaced after 14 levels? Or will they simply fade out over time, replaced by the new "class definers?"

I can certainly understand the desire to have something "special" for hitting the current cap, but in the long-run scheme of things, can SOE afford to really do that? What about in 3 years when the level cap is 120 or whatever? What kind of problems would be introduced by adding a new "special spell" with each expansion?

My main is currently a 42nd level Warlock. When I hit 50, I know I'll just love Devastation. But I won't expect anything special at 60, though I will certainly hope for a replacement at level 64 in the next expansion.

7:39 PM  

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