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My New Levelling Technique Is Unstoppable

Brandon Reinhart thinks about death knights too much. (And that’s just part one.)

Brandon hates alts. I’m an altaholic. Brandon is a hardcore raider. I saw Blackwing Lair once. So. Our perspectives differ somewhat. Brandon comes from that wacky “knows what he’s talking about” school of design. Hah! We altaholics laugh at the thought of actually experiencing things ourselves. Instead we carp from the sidelines. So, from someone who actually hasn’t gotten a character past level 60 yet (except for, um, all the ones my wife levelled so she could farm Outland), my commentary.

I kind of understand where Brandon is coming from; even agree with most of his logic. Mainly, from his perspective, since a player’s primary character is his investment, any time spent with an alt is a wasted investment – it’s not assisting him in moving towards his goals, but simply serves as a distraction. Making an achievement that acts, not in concert with this, but encouraging that distraction, is seen as, well, distracting. Unlocking a Death Knight won’t make your Rogue better. It won’t help your guild, because you’re going to have ramp up time in getting your new toy up to speed. It won’t help in raiding, because lord only knows the rivers will run red with the blood of fallen gnome Death Knights. There’s gonna be a bit of DPS Tank surplus for a while (hey, howabout them belfadins!) If an alt is seen as a waste, than an end game goal of alt unlocking is not only a waste of time, but a waste of achievement as well.

But that all is predicated on one assumption – you don’t enjoy the journey, but merely the reward.

I also play City of Villains. And one common feature of that game is that few players get past level 30. Well, you can, but the level grind past that point is ridiculously prohibitive, and for little gain. There really isn’t an end game with City of Heroes/Villains – you simply reroll. And there’s no reason really, *not* to reroll once you get to where the game gets tough. So most do. The new player areas in City of X are among the most populated and alive areas in any MMO, despite the game’s age, simply because the players of those games that still play, play to reroll.

Now, the players looking for the end game get frustrated and leave – because, as I said, there is none, and the journey to find that out quickly becomes prohibitive. But is that really an issue for those players who actually enjoy the journey – the experience of taking some superpowered entity into caves and beating the snot out of random enemies?

So, then, the Death Knight hero class, which is unlocked at some undetermined high level after some quest of undetermined difficulty, which lets you, presumably, play WoW again. Yet skipping the, as I with no little biterness labelled “level 21 to 57” in the Stephen Colbert Notice Board, part of the game, which even Blizzard admits, in the Burning Crusade era, is fairly weak.

Does this help one’s main? No. Does this probably hurt the raiding game as everyone runs off to make their little gnome death knights? Probably.  Does it depopulate the newbie zones, similar to DAOC’s /level command? Probably.

Is it a good idea? Sure. And why is that? Because it helps people have fun. Which is sort of the point of the exercise, after all. It allows people to skip to the newer content in the game, without skipping ahead to the “endgame” directly so that there is still some assurance that said level 80 Death Knight actually knows what the keys on his hotbar do.

It’s perfect for, well, alt-a-holics like me. Assuming I can ever get a character to level 80. I’m pretty sure I can by the time the Nightmares of the Emerald Dream expansion ships, anyway.

Unless I get tempted to play my Warlock.