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Location: Oslo, Norway

I am Andreas. Day time programmer and technical consultant. Night time musician and game developer.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Level 30 syndrome

I play World of warcraft when i'm bored.
So does my girlfriend.
Earlier i have played Anarchy online, Everquest and Starwars galaxies. Also tried my hand at EVE.

With every single one of these games, the point of saturation at which i realise i'm bored with almost every single game mechanic aside from actually gaining levels occurs around level 30 (or in the case of swg, the equivalent to level 30). I stopped levelling at 30 in AO to purely socialise and roleplay. My roommate reached level 200 multiple times, i never went past 30. (Who cares about killing monsters when you can run a sex club at the reet retreat for high level players?)

There is a fundamental problem with mmorpgs, and that is less a problem with the games themselves than there is a problem with the foundation on which they are built. Levelling is only fun when you get marked differences from level to level. In AD&D the difference between a level 1 warrior and a level 10 is like the moon put next to the sun. In a mmorpg the difference is more like the moon put next to a slightly larger moon. You set goals in tens. You try to reach 10, then 20 then 30. Every level is just another slow meandering step on the road, and god what a boring road it is when you have to spend 6 hours of constant work to gain one measly level.

WoW was total fun up to level 30. Now i don't feel like there's any more for me to do. I've seen every quest type, i've seen the types of combat i can engage in, i've seen the extent of the tradeskills. What else is there? Exploration? Even that gets old.

I'm not holding my breath, but i think Guild wars is doing something right. Its scope is smaller, but i think it'll suit my brand of gamer better. Until this concept is reinvented, i'm going to save my monthly buckazoids and get insane killer experiences like Oddworld Stranger, or even reinstall Fallout 2 for another jaunt. It is infinitely more rewarding in a far shorter timespan, and it doesnt attempt to give me the illusion that i am part of a social circle.

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