I see this question floated around all the time and I think it's a great idea. Everything I enjoy about MMOs is contained solely within the endgame: mostly raiding, but also difficult dungeons, and endgame PVP. Character level is just an arbitrary barrier preventing me from enjoying those activities. Even if I have one character up to level, if I want to try a different class I'm back to leveling.
No other genre can really give me the feeling of taking down a boss with 10, 15, 20+ other people, but the level grind is such a barrier for playing other games.
I don't know if I'm looking for game suggestions. Certainly if a game like this exists, shoot it to me. I'm more looking for what your opinions on this matter are, and why there doesn't seem to be any game like this that exists.
I've seen plenty of arguments against this idea but they really don't make sense to me and can easily be refuted:
I like leveling/All I do is level
- That's fine, then this hypothetical game wouldn't be for you. PVP focused MMOs with no PVE aren't for me, so endgame focused MMOs with no leveling wouldn't be for you.
Without leveling there would be a lack of attachment to your character
- This may be true. And if that's something you value then this hypothetical game isn't the game for you. Personal anecdote: in the MMORPG I play, I have a main that I'm attached to and 4 max level alts. 3 of my 4 max level alts I leveled 1 to max the old fashioned way, my main was level boosted. Guess which one I'm most attached to? Other than my main I'm not attached to any of my characters whatsoever. Plus, in the min-max culture we have in high end MMOs, characters are generally seen as tools for a job, character attachment just isn't a concept for a lot of players.
There would be no character progression
- In any MMO once you stop leveling you don't stop progressing. The progression just changes. It becomes about gear progression, content progression, reputations, open world story content, etc. There will still be all the progression in the world, it just won't have an arbitrary level requirement to get started.
But then your gear level will just become your level, getting gear will be like leveling
- Sure your character will have a gear level that will give you, at a glance, a measure of your character's power. But the point is is that you'll be able to partake in dungeons, raids, and pvp from the moment you pick up the game. Sure, maybe some more difficult raids will require a higher gear level, but that's how any MMO endgame works. As I stated before, your character still progresses after you reach max level, why not just cut out the part of the game where you drool for 40-100+ hours.
The leveling process is like a tutorial to teach you how the game works and your classes mechanics
a) There's no reason for a "tutorial" to be 40-100+ hours long. In a level-less MMO the "tutorial" could be some optional solo open world content or some dungeons that have less/easier mechanics to deal with, but have mechanics nontheless.
b) The idea that leveling is a "tutorial" for the endgame is completely misleading. If this were the case, we wouldn't run into max level players in MMOs who don't know fundamental basic mechanics of the game and/or their class. And it's not an issue with MMOs offering level boosts, max level players who didn't know anything about the game they were playing existed long before level boosts existed. The fact of the matter is that leveling and leveling content in modern MMORPGs is so easy and braindead that the player learns literally nothing from it. A lot of times players only "get good" after hitting max level and experience content that offers a challenge.
Removing leveling would cut out a lot of content
a) Not necessarily. Traditional leveling content is frontloaded, you have to do it before you reach the endgame. If it were able to be done in addition to endgame content, you would lose nothing. And it would actually be beneficial since the questing content could reward reputation, currency, and other things relevant to your endgame progression.
b) If leveling content were outright removed I would also be fine with that, it's not like leveling content is all that engaging anyways. And developers could put their resources into making more/better instances for launch instead of leveling content. Yeah, if you just outright removed leveling content from a lot of MMORPGS, they'd be losing a substantial amount of content. But imagine if that development time were instead utilized to create real content.
Leveling is so quick in MMORPGs these days it doesn't matter
- Unless it's less than 20 hours, it's still a hell of a lot of time to invest in a game you may or may not enjoy in the endgame. Plus, low-level play in MMORPGs are extremely unrepresentative to how they play at max level. If I'm playing a game that I'm bored to tears of for tens of hours and hear people say "it gets better at level X" or "it gets better when you hit level cap", I don't know if it actually will get better according to my personal tastes or if the game just isn't for me. The only way to find out is to play a game that I'm not enjoying for tens more hours.
Leveling is a staple in MMOs
- So was challenging and engaging leveling content.
There would be no role playing
- Leveling != role playing
Just play MOBAs
- MOBAs lack persistent character progression, an open world, and any real PVE content.
Just play Monster Hunter
- MH is probably the closest thing to this that exists. But there's still no PVP and no real open world.
- It's not an MMORPG. If there's no persistent world then it doesn't apply. Yeah I could play Skyrim and have a great time, but I can never get the feeling of killing a boss with loads of other people that we've been wiping on for weeks in that game.
- Either stuff is locked behind level requirements regardless, or your character starts with little to no abilities and is completely un-viable for group play.
- There's little to no PVE content.
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