I usually like the levelling process in MMOs. The amount of alts I have is proof enough! But it does get tedious at some point – both in MMOs with vertical as well as horizontal progression. While levelling per se is fun in Guild Wars 2, having to recollect enough Hero Points to unlock the elite specializations for each character over and over again isn’t my idea of fun, for example. So basically, having a main character at max level that’s basically ready to do everything the game has to over is great. Levelling alts once in a while is fun. But all of this for me depends on having a main character that has left the levelling process behind (and this counts in levels as well as unlocking abilities or things like elite specializations).
When Lotro’s progression servers started, I absolutely wanted to have a hobbit as my main. But I also knew I didn’t want to play the warden anymore, because I didn’t want to relearn all the skill combinations essential for playing this class well. So, I went with a guardian. And this was a mistake! I don’t like the class at all. It’s boring. I would have preferred champion or runekeeper, but both aren’t available for hobbits. I realized it before hitting the then-max level, but decided to stick with the guardian because she had the highest level of my characters already. In hindsight, this was a big mistake. I quit playing as a result, because I really do not want to go through Moria a second time!
And one would think that I learn from such mistakes, but I did it again with WoW Classic: : I chose the warlock because I did like it back in vanilla and it’s compatible with my chronic hand pain, being a pet class. However, playing as warlock gets too monotonous. Yes, she can do a lot that others can’t thanks to fear and drain life, but still, it gets boring. I should have chosen shaman or at least, mage. But back when WoW Classic started, my hand pain was at a stage where playing a frost mage wasn’t possible. Still, the shaman was. So, instead of quitting the game (I am paying for a subscription, after all) I am now levelling my mage and my shaman while my warlock’s collecting dust.
In Guild Wars 2, I just never settled on one main and played both my mesmer and my warrior depending on my current mood. This, of course, means that neither even has all elite specializations maxed out. Focusing on one class may have been a better idea, but then again, I can play them with the builds that I want without unlocking everything, so it’s not a big deal.
Elder Scrolls Online is a game where I don’t yet (!) feel any negative effects. I am still levelling my main, my templar. I started out with the dragon knight, but realized fast that I don’t want her as my main. The templar is not yet level 50. After that, there’s collecting Champion Points instead of more levels, but that’s basically all I know about the system. But ESO is different than the other games: I can go everywhere and my level is adjusted. So, if there was a Mines of Moria-like zone, I could just avoid it and go somewhere else! With all zones being open, I also don’t really notice the lack of levels with any of my smaller characters. They do feel weaker than my templar, but they still manage and get through the content just fine. But again, this may only be because I have no idea about the Champion Points and what awaits me at endgame (not doing any group content, though, like trials).
In conclusion, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the progression in MMOs, just that some games are more lenient towards changing your main character without having you feel thrown back to being a complete newbie. That is, some are more “alt-friendly” than others. This gets doubled when you look at character-bound vs. account-bound unlocks for things like costumes, mounts, pets and so on!
I regularly have rants and ramblings in my mind, but never really know if I should post them, so “Paeroka’s Ponderings” is where I will try to give these rants a place. Sometimes they will make sense, sometimes they won’t.