Back into Levelandia


Oooo the POWAH

Because I am in the strange yet wonderful position of studying online video games for a living, I have had the “job” recently of leveling some new characters in WoW with folks involved in the research I’m doing. Thank you government grant, and click YES to Recruit-a-Friend (RAF).

I’m playing regularly again (finally!) with two people using RAF, which means we get triple points for everything we do. So two weeks ago we were level 1, now we’re over 30. Fun! No, really, really, REALLY fun.

There’s always been something particularly satisfying to me about leveling. I love those new spells or moves you get each level, the gradual but oh-so-exciting increases in power and strength, the new eligibility for weapons, gear, quests, and zones. Leveling comes with a consistent stream of little thrills (oh! I can wear that belt!) and big ones (a mount!!! I can ride!)  as well as new places to explore and baddies to demolish.

One of my favorite side activities while leveling is going back to areas I was in at a lower level and wiping them clean with a single blow. BAM! Take that, you damn murloc who killed me 17 times in a row. WHACK! No more bowing to you, naga! Usually I only have cause to do that when helping someone else, but woo-ee it is sure is satisfying.

Leveling makes you feel powerful, accomplished, and, for me, superior to my last-week self. Who could ask for more from a video game? In a lot of ways, this is the core reason these things are so much fun in the first place.

And RAF, with its triple speed, is like those thrills on steroids. Especially because I remember so well dragging through level 27, or begging for more quests so I could finally reach 20 (or the first time, 40) and get that damn mount, zipping through levels as we are is a brand new set of thrills. Four, count ’em, FOUR levels in a single evening’s play! Yes, okay, so that was 4.5 hours that evening, but come on! At 29?! COOOOOOOL.

Some people are leveling junkies. They start new toons in WoW and acutally bring them to high levels, even 80, over and over  again. It’s a sign of status to have more than one level 80 character, because moving from that 40 to 80 is a pretty intense commitment. I do, myself, have lots of low level alts, one at 50, the rest between 15 and 36 or so. I enjoy checking out the other races, seeing their starting areas (which are different for pretty much each race), and seeing how mages, or warriors, or warlocks do things.

But I’ve never really been interested in getting a second toon to 80…. until now.

The thrill of this triple speed is going to my head.

I think I’m going to be in the “how many 80s do you have” club by the end of the summer. Woot!


2 responses to “Back into Levelandia

  1. Yeah… I actually have 4 Druids at 80 now because I enjoy leveling for the same reasons as you do. (Well I have other 80’s but that’s more for Endgame) WoW is so big that you can take different zones to level too.

    Their next expansion is a big over make of the low level zones and I think it’s a good decision. Usually content is mostly added at the end so people can grow more with their “main” character / Endgame, but when it’s done too often the old zones /content are hardly used. Single player style zones kind of defeat the purpose of a mmorpg.

    Anyway I’m interested in finding out if the adjustment will actually get more endgame players to level something else and if it would have an increase in the population of zones.

  2. I wonder that, as well. Those early zone are certainly quite empty, and rather lonely, really.

    I remember with such fondness those first few weeks after WOTLK came out leveling amidst crowds of players, literally waiting in line to kill a named mob for a quest, and constantly having brief but fun little conversations and interactions with strangers.

    I had my friends to level with, but doing so in such a lively context made things all the more exciting.

    Ahhhh new content. I eagerly await you.

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