Author Topic: Level squish survey?  (Read 197 times)

**andius

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Level squish survey?
« on: June 17, 2019, 08:05:26 AM »
Did anyone get it and do people think it is a good idea?
From the wording it seems they are going to do it rather than ask if people think it is a good idea to do it.

Andius(Ht 120), Belandius(Pr 120), Dalandius(War 113), Drandius(Sh 120), Elandius(R 120), Vandius(M 111), Deandius(DK 113), Delandius(Drd 120), Jinandius(P 114), Shandius(Wk120), Kamandius(Mk 119), Ishandius(DH 120) Liandius(LF Pr (85) Venadius (Mk 42), Klandius(Ht 20), Diandius(R 20)

ghoselle

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Re: Level squish survey?
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2019, 08:38:26 AM »
I guess at the moment, the level says 120, but we really only have like 8-12 levels, depending how you want to look at it.  You have the 8 levels you receive talents at.  And then since abilities unlock over level ranges, you basically have pre-80 skills which seem to unlock in a couple chunks, most of which are close to when you receive talents.

In this expansion, leveling actually felt bad.  Each time you ding'd up a level you got less powerful, your foes got more powerful, and you gained nothing new. 

So if they made vanilla content be 4 levels, and then each expansion be 1 level, I'd be okay with that.  It'd probably be a better play experience.

Marco

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Re: Level squish survey?
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2019, 01:21:52 PM »
They've talked about this in a Q+A, and are now feeling out whether people would react terribly to it.  Most likely the reduction would be from 120 to 60, so there would be half as many level-up events from character creation to the end of BfA, and therefore twice as much stuff (on average) happening per level-up event.  Kind of a nothing-burger really.

It's possible that other things might happen alongside a level squish, such as a broader range of level scaling in the zones (particularly the expansion zones like BC and Wrath), a faster or slower total leveling time, or something even further outside the box.  Apparently if you buy Elder Scrolls Online and its most recent expansion (Elsewyr?) and start a new character, they put you in the new content rather than have you go through the old stuff.  But all of these things would make the same amount of sense with or without a level squish, and I don't think the devs have talked about any of them.

Likewise, I don't think this has any direct impact on the experience of leveling in the next expansion.  They could make it ten levels or five (I doubt it will be just one, although that's an interesting idea); it doesn't really matter whether the starting point is 120 or 60.

Snique

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Re: Level squish survey?
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2019, 03:41:52 PM »
I feel like this discussion highlights exactly my feelings - who cares? I mean, I don't care if there's 1, 20, or 120 levels - what I care about is what things are meaningful. Leveling should be a fun thing to look forward to, not a punishment or a tease. Tell me how meaningful your levels are and I can tell you how many of them there ought to be.

Like too many surveys, it lacks the IDGAF option.

Winston

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Re: Level squish survey?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2019, 10:49:42 PM »
I'll chime in from the perspective of what's probably a niche group: Someone who decided to quit WoW.

Part of the reason I left is that leveling a character from scratch was interesting at first, up through about level 65. Then after that I kept pushing through to 75, winding up in the middle of Dragonblight. The thrill of advancing and getting "new stuff" had waned as leveling slowed down. It wasn't enough to hold my interest.

As Ghoselle suggests, if leveling up were faster and there was more of a feeling of character advancement, I might have stuck around longer. Or maybe not.
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Fernia

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Re: Level squish survey?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2019, 05:18:18 AM »
Right now levels 1 - 110 are an obstacle, not an achievement.  If I was able to actually feel like there was some momentum to leveling, and maybe I could choose an interesting route through the levels, then that might make alts fun again.  Alt wranglers will be pissed because they will see it as their investment being diluted, but I don't think that represents everyone.

Not like Blizzard cares about the order that content is done in ...

**andius

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Re: Level squish survey?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2019, 06:37:46 AM »
They could fix that by just making leveling need less XP which would equal to less time to do it. This would also mean they would not have to mess about with the dungeons and raids.
Blizzard being Blizzard I feel would cut the levels in half then double the xp needed for each level, which would make the whole thing pointless.

As for the idea the only thing you get from leveling up is weaker maybe they need to scale the mobs less.
I feel with a level squish they are fixing a "problem" in a way that is going to make more problems.

The base game comes with everything but the current expansion? When you buy the current expansion it comes with a 110 level boost so you can start in the current expansion without leveling 1-110 on one character and with trails you can try out each class before you apply the boost.
Andius(Ht 120), Belandius(Pr 120), Dalandius(War 113), Drandius(Sh 120), Elandius(R 120), Vandius(M 111), Deandius(DK 113), Delandius(Drd 120), Jinandius(P 114), Shandius(Wk120), Kamandius(Mk 119), Ishandius(DH 120) Liandius(LF Pr (85) Venadius (Mk 42), Klandius(Ht 20), Diandius(R 20)

Snique

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Re: Level squish survey?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2019, 10:43:43 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwnntGp3WXU

On this weekly reset, Taliesin has what I think is the most interesting idea for what to do with this level squish - restore story coherence. Imagine if you do 1-20 as you do now, then 20-60 could be done in any expansion's zones and (a) the zones would properly scale for those levels; plus (b) you'd get the same sort of perks (dungeon queues, flying, etc) regardless of which story you played; plus (c) the amount of XP in that expansion was guaranteed to be enough to get you to max level.

So if you like Northrend content you go to Northrend at 21 and play through those zones instead of having to hop through MOP and Broken Isles and so on. There'd be a kind of weird narrative discontinuity you'd need to manage (while you were off slaying ... err replacing the Lich King, Deathwing kind of ravaged the world and we found an island of pandas and the Legion came and got its ass kicked and...) but at least the leveling story would be a coherent whole instead of this weird pastiche.

This is mostly a benefit to new players, but it wouldn't suck for people like me that have abandoned alts below max level. I've kind of not been motivated to touch them for years, but if I could finish leveling them through one coherent story that'd be more enticing.

Fernia

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Re: Level squish survey?
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2019, 10:49:59 AM »
Yeah, I like the idea of being able to focus on a particular expansion --> when the XP granted is cranked up, then the leveling toons miss out on the story.  It would be nice to settle into the story of an expansion, and then be done leveling to max-10 level when you are done.

Marco

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Re: Level squish survey?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2019, 10:25:04 PM »
As long as we're talking about off-the-wall proposals to revamp leveling, Pat Krane (of Convert to Raid) wrote up a piece on his vision: https://bit.ly/paragonleveling

His idea is basically that each expansion would be a self-contained game branching off of the end of classic, with no expectation that you take any power gains with you from one expansion to another.  Top-of-the-line Legion gear would be no more powerful than scrub end-of-classic gear once you step into any other expansion content.  If you earned any class abilities during your time leveling in Mists, they would only work in Mists.

I think this is a sustainable vision for a long-lived MMO, in a way that the WoW model isn't (we see the consequences of that unsustainability in squishes, prunings, and frequent class overhauls).  But I also think it's too different from the WoW we know to have any chance of happening.  Pat acknowledges a bunch of these differences at the end of his article.  In particular, I think a lot of players are invested in being able to solo old content by virtue of being 20+ levels higher.  Also, if each expansion remains playable (because it is not trivialized) forever, changes to the core class kits become harder and harder to make, because they would have ripple effects across all expansions.

Fernia

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Re: Level squish survey?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2019, 10:05:19 AM »
I like his ideas.  In general Blizzard has done a bad job of realizing the potential of all of the world(s) that they have created over the years.  Being able to progress in a meaningful way within different releases would make leveling much more rewarding.  From a practical point of view it would make their burden of sustaining engineering larger ... but maybe they land up with something that is worth a subscription for without actually being max level in the most recent expansion.

Piralyn

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Re: Level squish survey?
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2019, 08:56:27 AM »
His idea is basically that each expansion would be a self-contained game branching off of the end of classic, with no expectation that you take any power gains with you from one expansion to another.  Top-of-the-line Legion gear would be no more powerful than scrub end-of-classic gear once you step into any other expansion content.  If you earned any class abilities during your time leveling in Mists, they would only work in Mists.

Isn't this more or less what they did with Legion -> BFA and it sucked? The Artifacts gave interesting abilities and traits and progress, but then as soon as BFA rolled around it got wiped out and you got shit-all to replace it? I think there's merit to that approach as a way of making legacy content interesting for new/returning folks, but as a long-term sustainability thing, it seems like it's just going to exacerbate the existing problem of "Leveling ultimately doesn't matter. Nothing changes. Anything cool we do get will be removed anyway." Might work better if this opens the doors to more significant and frequent power gains within each slice, but I'm not sure that necessarily outweighs the more frequent "I lost all my new cool shit." I feel like I've played some games that had areas where there was a separate progression tree that only affected that zone/area, but those games were substantially less linear than WoW where you hit Raid 1 to be able to clear Raid 2 to be able to clear Raid 3 et cetera. Maybe this would work better if it was immediately replaced by an equivalent system. Would the abrupt loss of all the Legion artifact stuff felt less shitty if we got a new artifact weapon right off the bat in BFA?

I actually think the perk system from Warlords was a potentially good idea for making leveling up matter, minus the random order part. Back in the days of yore, a lot of the "stuff" you got from leveling was just new, more powerful ranks of spells--but at least it felt like something. It does eventually run into the same issue of only being able to layer so many advancements before it becomes unsustainable--You can't have Sinister Strike do damage, cause self-healing, cause a debuff, increase dodge, reduce energy costs, and generate bonus combo points without having tooltips take up an entire screen--but it gives a way to have continued minor progression that rewards leveling without potentially dramatically altering class rotations by introducing ten new buttons.

The past few expansions have seemed to try to reinvent the wheel with a brand new design each time, and it hasn't been a great transition most of the time. I wouldn't trust them to do a more extreme version of that any better.

Marco

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Re: Level squish survey?
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2019, 10:19:17 AM »
His idea is basically that each expansion would be a self-contained game branching off of the end of classic, with no expectation that you take any power gains with you from one expansion to another.  Top-of-the-line Legion gear would be no more powerful than scrub end-of-classic gear once you step into any other expansion content.  If you earned any class abilities during your time leveling in Mists, they would only work in Mists.
Isn't this more or less what they did with Legion -> BFA and it sucked? The Artifacts gave interesting abilities and traits and progress, but then as soon as BFA rolled around it got wiped out and you got shit-all to replace it?
No.  If you picked up good gear in Legion endgame, in BfA you start out pretty godlike and get less and less powerful (relative to the scaling outdoor or dungeon mobs you interact with) each time you gain a level, with a marked decrease at 116 when you lose your legendary effects.  If you instead exited Legion with scrub 110 gear, you gain a little bit of power from Azerite armor as you level in BfA.  Starting in scrub gear is of course slower overall, but feels more like a traditional RPG leveling experience.

It's true that artifact powers got wiped, but most of their raw power was folded into the class.  The activated ability went away, sometimes still available as a talent pick.  In some cases ancillary powers went away, but they usually didn't contribute much to the speed of killing outdoor mobs.

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I think there's merit to that approach as a way of making legacy content interesting for new/returning folks, but as a long-term sustainability thing, it seems like it's just going to exacerbate the existing problem of "Leveling ultimately doesn't matter. Nothing changes. Anything cool we do get will be removed anyway."
It's a different mindset--progress by breadth rather than depth.  In the current model, the best gear in Legion allows you to level faster in BfA for a bit, and then it carries no power advantage anywhere (aside from legendary effects in timewalking dungeons).  In the proposed model, the best gear in Legion gives you no advantage in BfA, but it retains its power advantage when you go back to the broken isles.

To me the problem isn't so much that "I lost all my shit" is a deal-breaker--the same thing happens when I stop playing one RPG and start playing another, after all.  The problem is that we're not used to thinking of expansions as having separate progression, and the players who would appreciate the proposed model aren't the same body of players who are still playing after N expansions of progress by depth.

Piralyn

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Re: Level squish survey?
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2019, 12:07:01 PM »
Fair. I was thinking primarily on abilities/skills/traits as opposed to items, since gear is constantly replaced throughout the course of an expansion anyway, but you're right that it does make an appreciable difference in early leveling power and I don't think that an immediate dropoff would be a bad thing. That's how it was for BC since they drastically changed itemization budgets with stamina and other things, and it felt fine to me all the way back then. It would sometimes be tough if you had a super important/crucial set bonus, but that's not a problem at least in this expansion.

 I do disagree with the traits/active abilities being mostly folded in, but I think that depends on the class. While many of those didn't change Time To Kill, they did impact survivability/utility/play for the classes I was playing at the time. It wasn't an insignificant interruption to rotation/play for my two classes. Something like the Warlord of Draenor perks getting wiped out wasn't really that noticeable, though.

Something like changing powers/skills/items works great in a circular gameplay loop like Diablo's seasons, but yeah, it's a hard sell in a game that has been consistently built as a linear progression like WoW.