Now we are 65January 27, 2010 at 10:56 am | Posted in General | Leave a comment
Tags: game design, level cap, lord of the rings online
Yes, I’ve finally made it to level 65 with Minstrel Hawley. It’s meant the end of a frenzied couple of days where real life conspired to get in the way of levelling that last few boxes of xp, but hey, my real life is great right now, so there are no complaints from me.
The big question is what next for me in Lord of the Rings Online?
Of course, this ties in to me pondering about the nature of hitting maximum level, or “end game” as most people rational people call it.
I’ve not had a character at maximum level in Lord of the Rings Online for an appreciable length of time. Due to various issues Hawley was level 60 for about a fortnight before Siege of Mirkwood came out, and that wasn’t really enough time to start working on radiance gear, and what-have-you.
But there should be some time now before the next level raise, so that leaves me with… what?
I have an ambivalent attitude to levelling. Because we all play at differing speeds, it’s rare that I get to group up with friends at any other level than maximum. So I want to get the levelling out of the way as fast as possible, so I can get to the hot group action (oo-er Missus!).
Yet I also miss it when it’s not there. It’s one of the reasons why levelling is so prevalent in MMO gaming; collecting levels is something that keeps us coming back to play. Just as there’s a holy trinity of class design in most MMOs, there’s the holy trinity of MMO Gaming; cash, skills and experience points. Anything we do whilst levelling feeds one or more of that trinity.
Cash builds up, as a sort of score for how well we’re doing at a particular level. Skills are all the cool things our characters get to do, that make us glad we chose the class we did. And experience points are a way of seeing our progression through the game, a way of showing distance travelled.
But once we’re at maximum level, one third of the trilogy waves a cheery farewell, and it’s gone. What do we do to replace that?
I suppose that’s why there is so much palaver about this whole “endgame” concept.
Well, thankfully there’s plenty for me to do to keep me occupied, and off the streets.
Despite my dreams of the “Spoil the fun; Make me maximum level” big red button for alts, I do enjoy playing alts, and look forward to levelling them. Thanks to the power of micro-transactions, I’ve got those extra two character slots, and that means I’ve got one character of each class. Okay, the Burglar is a lowly level 7 and the Champion is only slightly further along, but that’s a lot of characters I can be levelling.
Poor Herewerd had been at level 52 for what seemed like forever, so I’ve been giving most of the love to him; Eregion’s quests should mean only a short few levels before I have to take him into Moria’s dark and twisty maze, and skirmishes will help alleviate the perma-lost feelings.
But that’s not to say that Hawley will be ignored; Minstrels are still more than useful to a group, whether that’s for skirmishes, instances or raiding. I might not be the sort that runs daily quests, or completes the quests within a zone, but there’s still the Books that need sorting. Sometimes I hate those Books…
Beyond that, there are the skirmishes, of which I think I’m slowly beginning to get the hang of. I love the way that I can log on to an alt and jump into a solo skirmish when I fancy a change, without having to remember what quests I’m supposed to be doing, or where I should be going. Yes, it’s casual, but sometimes that’s how I want my alts to be. And I’m not bored of any of them yet, which is nice.
I’m also seeing about getting some radiance gear. I currently have enough to get Minstrel Hawley in to see The Watcher, and after that there’s Dol Guldur, and finding out if it really is as challenging as Turbine claims it is.