Thursday, December 9, 2010

Should The Cataclysm Exp Curve Be Steeper?

The zone of Vashj'ir is designed to get players from level 80 to level 82.  I'm at approximately the 75% mark through the zone judging from the achievement tracker (slightly below that, but I did a few quests in Hyjal too), and I'm a third of the way through level 82 already, as I sign off for the third day of the expansion. 

There's no one culprit for my ending up ahead of the curve.  I took the time to do a fly-by exploration tour of all the new zones on my flying mount, with exp awards from 2.5K to nearly 7K per discovery.  I've tried a bit of archeology, which also coughs up exp.  I haven't even tried PVP (awards exp these days, though I don't know how much) or 5-man content yet.

I'm also burning through content at accelerated new expansion rush rates, having carefully stockpiled (real world) food to eat this week so I could get home, walk the dog, and sign in without the need for pesky cooking chores.  This ironically means that I'm running out of rested exp, which significant slows down the rate of leveling - with full exp, or actual gathering professions (which also award exp), I might be even further along.

One of WoW's strengths is that Blizzard actually has the production values to do all of the major forms of gameplay, including solo, group, raid, PVP, crafting.  WoW may or may not be the best at any one of these, but they do an above average job with all of them, which can be a major selling point when trying to convince friends to stick around instead of moving on to a game that will only support some of your playstyles.

In that context, it's a little bit strange that the exp curve breaks if you do anything else other than solo quests without rested exp, and that players can't skip ahead in the storyline within a zone if they do gain some exp somewhere else along the way.  The stated intent was for players to do either Hyjal or Vashj'ir, but I've never heard that you're supposed to skip all of Deepholm too.

At the end of the day, I suppose it literally pays off to do the other stuff first - quest reward exp is the only type of exp that converts into gold when you reach the level cap.  Then again, if it's possible and even likely for players to hit the new level cap solo using just half of the content, Blizzard probably could have gone with a steeper exp curve.

6 comments:

Klepsacovic said...

Maybe what they need is to add another layer to the xp gain from kills and quests. Make it so a person 50% into 80 gets less xp than a person just starting, the idea being that if you're getting lots of outside xp, the curve will auto-correct to get you back on. It wouldn't be exact, so you can still get ahead if you're trying, but a bit of instancing or in my case, archaeology, won't push you too far ahead.

hound said...

I know that everyone has an opinion on what it means to "play the game", but it seems to me that allowing gold farmers and auction house bots (or actual players for either) to level up through professions sort of breaks the spirit of play.

If I choose to level up quickly and then hit the raids, I don't get much progression in my professions. Also, I don't get pvp points.

I thought the idea was that you have a choice which playstyle is best for you, with the understanding that the other styles are closed to you unless you change your game-play.

But now it seems that no matter what you do, you level up, unless you turn off leveling, but the point is, this is just one more example of "no detours" (or rails if you prefer) direction that Blizzard has taken the game.

One way to play the game, and you need to get to the end quickly.

I really thought I was open-minded enough to get past the developer's decisions, it's their game after all. But more and more, I seem to not care if I continue subscribing or not.

Chris said...

I've been wondering this myself the past couple days. I've done about three dungeon runs, am about halfway through Mt. Hyjal (I think, anyways), and am nearly 82. Just about everything gives experience and it just seems so much easier to move that XP bar than it has in past expansions. Granted, I don't know how much steeper it will get, but I'm kind of hoping it slows down a little bit. On one hand, it's nice, but on the other, I'm a little disheartened by the fact that this part of the game will be over all the sooner.

To be honest, the last thing I want is to be right back in the Wrath mindset of "grind X heroic for X item and X points; do the weekly; rinse, repeat." I'm slower than the average player but it seems like 84s and 85s are popping up all over. Is that all it took, what they expect to keep players satisfied for the next six months? Raiding is a solid form of endgame but I'm of the belief that the non-hardcore, casual, and average raider enjoys that respite where they just get to level and enjoy the journey before being "back at it" again. It seems like a recipe towards quicker burn out than past expansions.

What I know is this, Cataclysm is a fun and very polished expansion. My favorite part of WoW yet, to be honest, and I want it to last a good long time. I want this sense of youthful, carefree enjoyment in the blogosphere to last with it. But, the quicker people get to the level cap, the quicker all of those nice sentiments disappear under a tide of item progression. For my part, I'll be taking it slow. For the time time, I might even try to complete every zone. There are some real gems of quests in there.

GA, if you go through an do Hyjal, make sure to do the optional mounted jousting quests in the seared portion of the zone (the main quest giver sends you there when her main line is done). It's a new take on flight and jousting both and a lot of fun. I enjoyed it so much I had to take a video :-)

Chris said...

Er, main quest giver at the World Tree that is.

Naithin said...

I'm a little ambivalent on the question whether or not the XP curve should be steeper.

I certainly see your points, you're not at all wrong and I'm going through the same thing. I was 83 before really doing anything in Deepholme (this is with some dungeoning too, but perhaps 5-6 runs tops, nothing too heavy) and now worry if I might end up missing Uldum or much of Uldum before dinging 85...

Yet at the same time, I worry that while for right now, our first time through it all, a steeper xp curve might well be welcome... It would be markedly less welcome come 2nd, 3rd, nth alt when you have little to no choice to your progression path and simply have to do it all.

One option might be to perhaps have increased XP required over their 'desired' levels (what it is now) by 30% or so, but only for the first 2-3 months of the expansion and then take it back to present day levels.

Then at the end of the expansions life cycle they can do another 30-20% reduction as seems to be the norm.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you people really should wait until you've finished before commenting on the xp curve. L82 is very quick to get, after that it slows down.

82-83 is 4 million xp, double what 81-82 takes.

83-84 is 5.5m

84-85 is 9m

I have completed all quests in Hyjal, Deepholm, and Uldum, did about a third of Vash'jir, and am now in Twilight Highlands about 2/3 of the way into L84. That curve is just fine.