"Help! I level too fast. Much too fast!"

That is the title of a thread on the official European forums that's currently sitting at seventeen pages of replies. I'm grateful to Nils for casually referring to it in his last post, because otherwise I never would have looked for it. I didn't read the whole thing, as it basically devolves into a lot of uninteresting back and forth after a while, but the fact that so many people felt the need to comment on the subject at all really surprised me.

I have to admit, I'm an old-school leveller. I levelled my first character back in Vanilla and I didn't think that it was terribly grindy. In fact, WoW was praised for having the fastest and smoothest levelling of all MMOs back then. However, as Blizzard started to tack on more levels and players repeated the same content over and over while levelling alts, people started to feel that reaching the level cap took too long, so the experience needed to advance was reduced. And again. And again. I didn't really like it. I didn't ruin my own levelling experience or anything, but I didn't consider it a good development either. However, I was sure that my opinion was part of a minority that would only ever grow smaller as time went on. Apparently I was wrong.

I'm not claiming that the people who say that levelling goes too fast now are a majority because I honestly don't know that, but I think the fact that this subject is brought up on the forums at all and gets such a huge response says a lot. I believe that WoW's ever-increasing levelling speed has reached a breaking point where it's starting to bother more people than ever before. Everyone already knew that a game not having enough content to last you through the levels was a bad thing, but not having enough levels for all the content is a new experience.

I had to laugh when one of the people defending the current levelling speed as "fine" argued that if anyone thinks that they are levelling too fast they should just play less. Talk about missing the point. Levelling and consuming content should be in synergy with each other, and I'm clearly not the only one who thinks that things are somewhat out of whack right now.

I don't think anybody is pining for the days when you had to be half a Loremaster and run every instance at least once to reach the level cap at all, but this new system doesn't flow very well either. Blizzard used to encourage people to dabble in different aspects of the game, but right now doing so almost feels like a punishment. When you're halfway through a zone-wide story arc, you don't want to see that all the quests have turned grey after you "dared" to run an instance and a battleground. Doing grey quests isn't nearly as satisfying, and abandoning every other zone halfway through is completely at odds with the developers' new approach of telling overarching stories. People used to write guides for efficient levelling, do we now need guides on how to level as slowly as possible so you can do more quests on the way without them becoming completely trivial?

You do have the option to repeatedly turn XP gains off and then turn them on again to keep the content interesting, but that's a rather clunky way of gaining sixty levels. I liked a lot of the different suggestions on the forums, such as an option to simply reduce your own XP gains (by twenty, fifty percent, whatever) instead of constantly stopping and restarting them, or slashing overall experience across the board while buffing heirlooms so that those who want to level their alts quickly can still do so.

I do hope that Blizzard considers the issue, as this speed-levelling has really affected my own enjoyment of the new content already. I'm no longer looking forward to new levels, instead I feel as if they are chasing me. "Can I at least do a couple of quests without outlevelling yet another batch of content? Nope, I dinged again. Crap!" Since I started dungeoneering at level fifteen, I haven't been able to get any more of the new quests done, and my druid is nearly thirty now. I always think that I'll do just one more instance before getting started on a new zone, just to find that I've already outlevelled the area I wanted to go to. Then I find something else that's level-appropriate, do two quests, ding again and notice that a dungeon that I wanted to do will drop off my available dungeons list in another level, so I have to do it now or else.

I suppose that these feelings are at least partly based on the newness of the shattered world, because I want to see all of it and the thought of missing out on any of the content probably seems more awful right now than it really is. Given enough time and enough alts, I will be able to see all of it one way or another. But as much as I like rolling new alts, I don't like the thought of having to roll a new one for every single aspect of the game because the current levelling curve doesn't support anyone wanting to do more than a couple of quests each level.


  1. I think what happened was overcompensation and misinterpretation of the problem. First, leveling sped up too much. But why? The second thing: when we got to the tenth alt and were bored out of our minds, the problem wasn't the speed of leveling, but the fun of leveling. Why did I never whine about how slow my first character leveled? Because I had fun in the process. Of course there are those who are rerolling and whose goal and purpose is a max level character, but even for them, just making leveling more fun would be a positive change.

    Is it all because back then everything was new? Well yes, of course. And now we have new content, so does it need to be fast? Nope. If anything it would make sense for it to be slow, considering we've still got a few weeks before 80 becomes just another level.

    "I had to laugh when one of the people defending the current levelling speed as "fine" argued that if anyone thinks that they are levelling too fast they should just play less."
    That's not even a solution; it would make it even worse! Less play means more rested XP which means that for time played, leveling is even faster.

  2. I agree wholly, 100% absolutely, and this was really bothering me earlier on...however, now that my paladin is in his high 50s, I've modified my views a little.

    Really, the worst of it is 15-40. Those levels just shoot by. In that 25 level span I did what amounts to 3 zones (Finished westfall, duskwood, southern barrens, and half of western plaguelands). I did each dungeon once. And I skipped zones and abandoned quests, something I wasn't all too happy with.

    Before level 15 is fine, I enjoy leveling fast early on to unlock talents and dungeons and get a few skills. And after level 40 it started to even out and felt more or less right; It was speedy, but I wasn't just blowing through everything. The 50s have even gone by practically leisurely! Of course, the amount of time it took me to go 54-55 was most likely way less than, say, it took me to go 20-21 way back towards release, but I can't complain too much.

  3. Honestly, I like it fine. It's going to take me 3 or 4 toons to experience all the zones/new content and I'm fine with that [because that's going to take me a while to do... thus spreading the new-ness out]. I'm a leveling fiend [plus I want to eventually take my main back through].

    I don't care that I won't get to see everything this time around, because I'm going to have a worgen and a goblin to see parts of it with eventually. I don't need to see it all RIGHT NOW [which is the attitude several people have had that I've talked with].

    Right now the world is big again [like it was during vanilla for me]... and there's going to be new stuff to see for a while now. Did I skip zones with my nelf mage? Oh yeah, but like I said, I'll be back.

    But then, perhaps my perspective is different.

  4. When I find a level range that I really like, probably in the x6-x9 range, I will use the option to turn off XP a lot. I can then really catch up on dungeons, zones, and when I'm ready to move on, I'll usually queue up for some bgs and ding my way to the new bracket.

    (This was particularly true for levels 66-70ish, because I never did the BC dungeons the first time around. Everyone queues for Northrend dungeons as early as possible, but I wanted to do as many BC dungeons and heroics before I was too high level to queue for them.)

    It is a bit of a trip to go back and turn XP on and off, but really if it lets you experience the game as you want to, it isn't so bad.

  5. Oh, also adding: It almost feels wrong to stay in a zone after the quests turn green or gray, but it is ok! I stayed in Ghostlands waaaay longer than I needed to, because it was my first time experiencing it. (It was also at this point that I turned off XP so I could really learn the layouts of the dungeons as I Planned on tanking. I wanted to actually get to know them, rather than doing them once and moving on.)

  6. I'd take slower leveling with faster to no travel over current system any day. oh well, at least I can get that with single player games.

  7. I'll be honest; I've hardly done any of the new quests. (I know, I should turn in my Loremaster title or something.) However, I've been so focused on getting two of my toons through Outland and into Northrend that I've not had the time to go back and run all of the quests.

    I have touched on some of the quest lines here and there as I was wandering around, picking up flight paths, but to me that's just an addict getting a dime bag for an hour or two.

    I'm sure that once Cat drops and I pick up my Goblin whatever (and my Tauren Sunwalker), I'll be busy enough.

  8. Blizzard has heard you!


  9. @Lachlan: Yep, I saw that! It's a good first step, but I'll be surprised if that alone is enough to fix it...

  10. I'm another of those that doesn't mind the speed of leveling. Leveling is what I do, it's the thing I get the most enjoyment out of.

    I wouldn't mind if they cut back the experience gains in the 1-60 level range, I'd still be fine with that as long as it wasn't something ridiculous. At the same time I wouldn't mind if they further /increased/ the leveling speed of Northrend beyond the 20% they did in the recent patch. I don't like Northrend...but I'll leave it at that.

    But what's your real problem here? Is it that you're leveling so fast, or that you're not seeing all the content that you want to see?

    If it's honestly the leveling speed then the only way you can slow it down is to quest in lower level zones where your rewards are lower due to your level.

    If your problem is that you fell you need to move to the next zone then stop to really look at what's going on. Just because quests go grey and reward you small amounts of experience doesn't mean you have to abandon the quests and move on to another zone. There's nothing wrong with going into a new zone where all the quests are green for two levels and then grey for the rest of your stay there.

    If you don't like to out-level your quests then what's the real reason for that? Is it because you feel overpowered? Is it because you don't feel rewarded for your efforts because of the reduced experience from grey quests?

    The only way to not be overpowered with the way the game is set up right now is to ignore gear upgrades. Take the ones that are significant upgrades, but vendor all of the rest of them. If it's not 10+ points higher on your primary stat - vendor it.

    Or you can try questing in RP gear, things that look good together or make your character look cool in general, even if the stats on them really suck for you or are completely wrong for your class.

    If you want a challenge, then your only option is to push forward in content. If you want to become more powerful then your only option is to run dungeons and at-level to high-level quests for rewards. But which of those conflict with your actual desire for game play?

    There might be a way to address the root of your problem by taking other aspects of the game in moderation. If your problem is that the game doesn't play the same now as it did 5 years ago, then you're just kind of screwed as this isn't 2005 and this game isn't going to stop evolving any time soon.

    The reply here sounds kind of negative, but I'm really just trying to broaden your view here to help you find what might be the real cause of the problem to see if there's something that can either fix it or at least make it less of an issue.

  11. And holy crap was that reply even larger than I had expected... sorry about that.

  12. @Psynister: Hehe, no worries. :)

    I'm not entirely sure how to best respond to your comment since it includes so many (possibly partly rhetorical) questions, and I feel that you basically already answered them yourself.

    I'm not too bothered by how quickly my level on its own goes up, though it becomes less interesting if it happens too frequently. I just want to see as much of the new content as possible while also playing in a way that is somewhat involving, i.e. doesn't involve just one-shotting grey mobs. I want the content to last.

    Blizzard promised us this huge expansion full of new and fun low-level content, but now they are hurrying me along to the level cap, encouraging me to skip most of said content unless I'm willing to sacrifice some other part of my gameplay for it (by denying myself gear upgrades, locking myself out of dungeons, only doing grey quests etc.) That's not very fun when quests used to be something that everyone could do without having to worry about hurting the rest of their experience.

  13. I get the feeling that the entire low level game is not polished. Dungeons are way too .. let's say 'boring' as a healer, for example.
    Nobody takes any damage!

    Those bosses that claim to kill you? As a healer you see first hand that the tank could easily solo him!

    The exp gain in general is absurd and grey mobs make for terrible gameplay.

    Low level battlegrounds are perhaps even more unbalanced than ever before.

    The only thing that is ok (not great) right now is the new content. And if you played WoW for 6 years (with breaks) you will be interested in that.

    Still: The whole experience is lacking. Spamming Mangle 2-4x times per mob and then moving on ? Ghostcrawler can't be serious!

  14. Nobody takes any damage!

    Has this really been your experience since the patch?! Personally I've run oom a lot trying to keep people alive, and tanks without heirlooms can die from only a few hits. The heirloomed ones take less damage, but I still don't think that they could solo any bosses, considering that they've all had their health quintupled or something.

  15. It is my experience. not once, but repeatedly, Shintar.

    Level range 15-20 was ok. But level range 30-45 is terrible. So much I can say.
    Maybe it's those paladins. All tanks I get are Tauren Paladins, I think.

  16. Ah ok, I only just hit 30 on my druid and the low levels have been quite challenging. Will see how it goes from there I guess.