Power Leveling and LOTRO

So all this talk about the new Free to Play announcement for LOTRO has me thinking, which in certain cases can be a bad thing 🙂  I also listened to the All Things Geek podcast where they were quite unhappy with the announcement, check out the comments on my F2P forum wrap up post for the link and my thoughts on that.  However, one thing they harped on that got me thinking was the issue of power leveling and I wanted to expand on that a bit more.

Part of what got me on this topic was thinking about what kinds of things would I want to buy from a cash shop.  There are some nice ideas already posted (wardrobe, storage, char slots, etc.) but what if I run out of cool things to buy?  I’m not sure this is a logical thought but it is useful for discussion.  I also was trying to think of things to buy that wouldn’t cheapen in-game accomplishments.  While it might be nice to buy radiance or my uber legendary weapon, I don’t think that would be good for the game.

To back up a step or two, power leveling is the process where you leverage a higher level character to “pull” you through the content in a quicker fashion.  Sometimes this is a paid service (legality is quite questionable) and other times it is just a friend.  I will admit I used to do this quite frequently when I had 2 accounts back in the Dark Ages of Camelot days.  I used my second account to quickly level characters on my main account and vice versa.  In DAOC you could get someone to the cap pretty darn quickly depending on how dedicated you were to it.  This is a little tougher in LOTRO as so much of the experience gain is based on completing quests and they also have a pretty good system for splitting up mob experience.

But the other option that could become possible is allowing power leveling as purchasable from the cash shop.  When I first thought about it I was 100% against this idea as it could allow someone to zoom to the level cap and get there much easier then I did.  But as I thought more, I actually would like the concept to level up my alts, and only alts.  And even then, I’m not talking about an insta-65 I would just like something to shorten the road a bit, or increase the speed limit.

How could a system like this be implemented to help me out, but yet not ruin the game entirely?  I would propose a gated system such that you have to do certain things in the game before power leveling became an option.  For instance, you must have two characters at the level cap before the option even opens up – I’m using two as that’s what I currently have 😉  Then perhaps a tiered system where based on how much you do in game, you’re granted a certain number of power “levels.”  And maybe those levels scale as well such that it is cheaper and easier to jump from 10 to 20 then 55 to 65.

Another idea that came from my days in DAOC was the weekly free level you could get.  Essentially if you leveled at least once during the week you could auto-level up on the given day (Monday for example) but this system was disabled somewhere around level 47 (cap at the time was 50).  Perhaps an option to “buy” into this kind of leveling system that’s only available when you get a character to the level cap.  Or the ability to buy these level-ups individually from the store based on some limited availability based on in-game accomplishments.

The other service I’d love to see in this same manner is a deed “transfer” or maybe just the ability to unlock traits for your account and not just the individual character.  So once you complete the requirements to activate this system you can earn a certain number of deed transfers from your character to your account or transfer said deed to another character.  I know this concept has been proposed lots of times before, but maybe the cash shop will provide an option to not only implement it but gate it appropriately.

I don’t want to trivialize the game or the content but I’d like to make it such that I can maximize my enjoyment of the game.  I’d like to be able to tailor my experience in game to match what I like best such that I continue to play 🙂  Maybe deeds is a little less game-breaking but if done properly I could live with some manner of quickened leveling available through the cash shop.  I’d love to hear what you think and I’ll be very curious to see how the store looks and evolves in the future.

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8 responses to “Power Leveling and LOTRO

  1. I am definately against any buying levels or traits. I just feel that part of having an alt is leveling the alt. If you want to have all your virtues at ten, you will have to earn them all over again. If your not willing to put the work in then you should probably not roll any alts. The only exception I may consider would be an ability to purchase blue bar xp bonus. Which you can do using destiny points.

    The idea of a deed transfer, I could accept if it was truly a transfer, meaning if my LM wanted to transfer his Idealism to my Minnie, the LM would lose what he tranfered. I don’t know, but I would not miss having to repeat the crawler deed in TS.

    Mostly, I am against any quicker leveling options. I have 4 level 65s and I am working on 3 other alts, I enjoy the journey, to me that is where I find most of the enjoyment. Once my toons max out, I get kinda bored until there is a new content patch. The end game content while great, is too dependent on finding a group. Leveling an alt I am able to re-experience all the content, from a totally different aspect, I have to learn different techniques with different classes and races that is what I find enjoyable and the reason I roll alts. To quicken the pace would weaken the experience.

    I enjoy the journey, I am in no rush to get to the end.

    • I can certainly see your points and I do enjoy leveling, just not nearly as much as the end game stuff. But I do think starting to do something along these lines can lead to a slippery slope.

      As for your deed transfer, not a bad idea – would be nice if you decide to abandon a toon. And if it costs turbine points, there would be a built-in cap on how often you can do it.

  2. Hey Doc, we put a link/trackback to this post from our website (http://blog.allthingsgeek.info/2010/06/10/it-appears-we-caused-people-to-ponder-who-woulda-thunk-it.aspx), thanks again for the great commentary on Episode 52!


  3. I also wonder about this. Do you only have this feeling for alts or mains as well, that you don’t level fast enough? Because for LOTRO I never felt much like making an alt because I will probably never ever again be able to do some of the EXTREME kill deeds for virtues. And you cannot totally avoid some of the more grindier ones if you want to max certain virtues.

    But this does not seem like a SHOP question for me, but a question of game design.

    The other thing with item shops is, if the game does not rely on box sales for content like Guild Wars 1, you can expect the shop to sell stuff that is not so optional and pure fluff, to guarantee some cash for the company.

    BTW, not for you, but for everyone else: People should at least buy Angmar and Moria before the game goes F2P. This won’t cost them much and make them premium customers and unlock some areas. But everyone who reads this probably already has the expansions, so it is a bit for naught… 🙂

    • I don’t have this feeling for mains, it seems pretty good to me. However, after doing the content a number of times it just gets slow for me. And I agree this is more game design, but could potentially be helped with the new shop.

      The nice part for LOTRO is they’ll still have subscription money coming in, so that will bring in additional funds. But I’m sure there will be some “required” items.

      As for Moria and Mirkwood assuming that makes you premium (not 100% sure) then it is a good idea. There’s a bunch of good things those do unlock so it would be handy.

  4. I seem to remember someone on the forums saying something about purchasable pots that increase xp gain by X% for a time period. simmilar to the welcome back weekend boost. I belive it was a speculation post but still a fantastic idea. I would deffinately buy these for my alts if something of the sort is avaliable!

    This also seems to be along the lines of an item that they could get the people that are running only F2P to purchase with their earned points since they do not get the rest xp, and cannot spend destiny points.

    • yeah, I like pots or something like that – not sure I want insta levels, but something to make the grind a bit easier. Which I agree makes sense with the rested experience decision they’ve made.

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