This weeks topic is a really good one. Definitely near and dear to my heart. As an altoholic, I am constantly leveling new characters on various servers. Sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. More often than not–starting over from scratch.
There are a lot of factors to take into consideration. From experience of the player to heirlooms. Let’s take a look shall we?
Experience of the player: If you are new to WoW or any MMOs, you have a lot to digest. The basic UI has been widely criticized as being rough on newer players. I still use it, mostly because I jump toons so often and partially because I am too lazy to change it. I also get easily frustrated with addons and all that jazz. So there is one hurdle. For basic questing and leveling, I think the UI is OK. Setting up your action bars goes a long way in helping you play your class. While there isn’t a lot to deal with in the first 5-10 levels, it’s still nice to know that you can shift click spells into place!
Heirlooms and XP buffs: For a lot of classes, a good weapon makes all the difference. Think I’m wrong? Try leveling a fresh toon with just the white gear you get in the starter zone. It’s not impossible, but it’s not that fun either. I just leveled a hunter from 1-14 just using the gun he started with. Since it’s on a trial account, I couldn’t buy one and didn’t get one to drop. Now hunters kind of have it pretty good, but I went from pressing 4-5 buttons to pressing 2-3 when I got the rare crossbow from westfall.
Knowing where to quest: Knowing where to go to get nice upgrades is key. I know finishing Westfall will net me a rare weapon in all but a few specs (I believe protection warrior/paladin and enhance shaman get bupkis). If you are someone who likes to do a zone cover to cover, then you will probably be well equipped to move onto the next zone. If you zip around, you could very well end up at level 20 or so with some crappy gear. Which is why I am a big fan of heirlooms. Having a a weapon, chest and shoulders that upgrade as you go makes it so much easier to concentrate on the quests and not trying to chase down upgrades.
Grouping: If you like grouping up or have a leveling buddy, then you are in for a treat. Depending on who I am with we will fly through zones, feeling quite invincible. We end up pulling a lot and really pushing the envelope at times, there even may be a death or two. If you have a steady partner, you can switch things up by playing a different spec or role then you are used to. The game will definitely be easier for pairs than it is alone.
Class: Depending on your class/specialization will make a huge difference. Trying to level holy/resto on most classes? It can be fun. It can also be very tedious and sometimes downright difficult. Think back to when you first started–did you know what you were doing with your class? Did you put talent points all over? Talent points were a lot different back then and made a huge difference, especially as you advanced. Blizzard has done a lot to make things easier on new players over the last 2-3 years. Classes with heals/pets definitely have an edge on survivability.
I do think the game is easier today in many aspects. It’s quicker. There are more options, buffs and heirlooms. I don’t think making mobs arbitrarily harder or making it take longer to level by artificial means (more XP required, more quests, no flying until level cap) is the answer.
Since it is an MMO, I don’t think they can make a mode where everything is more difficult like you can in many solo RPGs. People need to consider though, WoW has changed a lot. It’s 90 levels now. We go sometimes 3, 4, 5 levels without getting a spell or talent point. We probably get too much too soon, but it’s a difficult balance.
There are also many things you can do to challenge yourself, if that really is the be all end all for you. From the “Iron Man challenge” to leveling without questing or killing anything to making up your own mini-game. Blizzard can only do so much for us, the rest is our job to make things more difficult or more fun.