I enjoy my MMORPGs, but I notice that with some modern ones, as the game gets older, one incentive besides character boost tokens that shoot you to max level, is additional exp bonuses. So, you can get 100% (or double exp) when progressing through the levelling process.
That's sort of fine, if you want to run to end-game, and is, I suppose, an alternative to the character boost token.
But I think it absolutely destroys pacing and structure for any new player coming in for the experience, or anyone who isn't an alt-a-holic and wants to experience the journey to wherever end game is.
There's two MMOs out there at the moment that do this exp boost the wrong way:
- Final Fantasy XIV: ARR
I love FFXIV, I think it's a great story-based MMORPG that has a long levelling curve. There's character boosts out there for the game now, but on select servers you can get a road to 60 buff which gives you super amounts of exp.
In one week of gaming, I hit level 30 on my main battle class and managed to get to level 50 in one of the gathering classes.
The thing for me though, is FFXIV is gated by its story quests and dungeon progression through the story. My story quests are level 15, I'm actually level 30, so I'm now thirty levels ahead of the story content. This is whilst deliberately avoiding side-quests to limit exp gain.
The result is, I'm now sort of poor, because I'm not hitting many quests, but I'm also undergeared as I'm not hitting the level 30 quests to provide gear, and by the time I do, I'll probably be level 45. I notice this problem when gearing for the gathering classes as well, because even vendor gear gets pricey, expecting that you've made some money via progression thus far.
There's level sync for FFXIV in dungeons, so this area isn't affected, but it does feel off that you're shooting away so fast in terms of levels that, frankly, nothing is going to be much of a threat in the areas that you operate in, your money may be lower than usual and your motivation for exploring the world might also be impacted.
The other game that does this is;
- Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Now, SWTOR is in my opinion, faceroll easy, and was for large stretches back when they made companions basically super-man and one shot everything in the levelling process. Not enjoyable.
They reined that in a bit now, so fights aren't just basically you face-rolling, and they've level synced the planets as far as I understand, so your level ends up being somewhat irrelevant.
But, I still think it impacts the progression. I went back a few days ago and there was no exp buff being handed out. My character out levelled content somewhat, but it was a steady progression and I received skills at a steady rate, which was handy for figuring out the rotations and where to put them on the bar. (I think SWTOR has too much skill bloat imo, but that's me.)
Today, new patch, new server-wide exp buff. I went on a new character and shot from level 1 to 10 before even reaching the first new area (i.e. the Jedi Temple on Tython). Enemies are around level 3-4, I'm now way over the level range but also I'm now swamped with new skills and no time to actually practice them in the rotation etc before I end up with more skills.
I don't see the point of the exp boost either. If you're not boosting the character to max level at the very start of character creation, and you're new and learning about the game, this is just whizzballing through the levelling process. Why though? You're still going to go through the same planetary order for the storyline, sure they level sync it, but do new players really need to boom through the process so rapidly that you lose the sense of pacing, progression and the time to get comfortable with the rotations etc.
The sucky thing for me though is:
- Both games exp boosts are not optional.
Because, I recognise that some people are going through the game again on alts, maybe they do want to switch off and get to max immediately but without using the booster tokens. However, the exp boost itself is mandatory, so if you want to slow things down? Tough shit.
That's disappointing I think, but also I think the exp boost comically misses the point of the game itself, by boosting the levelling it implies a rush to the end game, but yet both games are squarely about their story experiences, and I think these boosts somewhat undermines that, on top of undermining whatever challenge there was and by compressing the time to learn on the skills etc.
What do you think? Do these exp-boosts have a place in the MMO scene when games grow old? Should they be optional?
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