Flashback Friday: Do You Recall When Leveling Took Forever?

I leveled my first character to max before any of the many assorted nerfs to leveling that inevitably followed.  Do you know how long it took?  Well, let’s just say that I started playing that character in May and I hit the then level-cap of 70 in December.  That’s uh… that’s seven months.  And I was playing quite a bit.

These days, however, leveling is astoundingly easy.  Not only have there been multiple nerfs to the leveling process, but heirlooms and various other things exist to make your grind as quick and painless as possible.  As someone who has been playing this game for years, I’ve gotta say, it’s pretty good.  But sometimes I look back on spending a month just to gain ten levels and I… oh no, who am I kidding, there is basically nothing I miss about that.

"You... you mean I have to spend HOW LONG in Stranglethorn Vale?  And on a PvP server??"
“You… you mean I have to spend HOW LONG in Stranglethorn Vale? And on a PvP server??”

BONUS NOSTALGIA: Remembering the days after Blizzard started to nerf player leveling requirements but didn’t re-tune pet leveling so if you wanted to level more than one pet at once as a hunter you had to sleep outside and forego rested experience.  …what, I can’t possibly be the only person who did that, right?

So yeah.  Old school leveling.  How long did it take YOU to do it?

7 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Do You Recall When Leveling Took Forever?”

  1. Accelerated levelling seems to be a common theme these days. In my first MMO, Lotro, it took me the best part of a year to reach the then level cap of 65. Now I could probably do it in a week or two of equally focused playing.

  2. If I recall correctly it took me around a month to do level 59 alone in Everquest back around 2002. That was the worst of the so-called Hell Levels, where the algorithm threw a fit and the amount of xp required increased disproportionately. I think I must have been playing EQ for the best part of three years before I finally had a max-level character (60 was the cap at the time) but I did have a lot of characters and I took the best part of a year out to play DAOC. Come to think of it I never hit max level in DAOC and I played 30+ hours a week for at least six months there…

  3. I remember when I first started playing MMOs – the first ones for me being FFXI and City of Heroes before I got around to WoW – leveling was pretty darn daunting. FFXI wasn’t too awful on an “XP needed” basis as such, but because there were so many classes, and because most content after the first few levels ALWAYS required partying up, it quickly became a slog.

    CoH was on the faster side of the old school, but still took a good long time when I played it (RIP). I remember one of the most heated debates was weather the death penalty was too lenient. Older MMOs tended to just tear XP away from you, and you could delevel from that. CoH instead applied an XP penalty so you earned it at half speed for awhile, until the penalty had been paid off.

    The bumhurt was tremendous, this marked the death of MMOs and the final, fatal casualization of video games.

    And then there’s EVE Online, which I don’t believe it is technically possible to finish leveling in yet, even if you started on release day, because it’s timed rather than by what you do.

    Compared to those WoW was always very generous, of course, not just in the amount needed but the absence of penalty, the presence of rested XP, and the fact you could always solo somewhere at any given level. Even so, it was quite the chore. I prefer today’s for sure, though I wouldn’t mind the ability to “throttle” your gain and slow it by, say, 20% for example, so you could finish zones up without overleveling them.

  4. I honestly miss lengthier leveling, but once MMOs begin to get expansions, things tend to expand too far out. Leveling in vanilla and TBC took a while, but it was nice since my server was fairly active too. I made friends!

  5. Started WoW in BC, never played in vanilla. Levelling was never quick. My first character was all quests and grind to 60 as I was totally ignorant about dungeons but after I clued into them I levelled nearly all my alts in LFG and only travelled to zones to level up professions. So basically lazy as it gets . . .

  6. How long it took? Don’t remember really, but it was a big deal since I took a screen shot every time I dinged. Remember saying “ding ” in guild chat? I haven’t seen that in a long time.

  7. I actually miss leveling taking time. My first character, back in the days of Vanilla WoW, took me a few months to get to 60. IIRC, it was around 3 or 4 weeks total /played. Same goes for FFXI; when I started playing that getting to the level cap could take even longer.

    That’s actually why I’m not a huge fan of an expansion always meaning a level cap increase. I feel like in a lot of cases, expansions should just mean more content, rather than more levels.

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