It’s a really good idea, actually. Seeing how it works in action now, the whole concept is well thought out and can give newer players a huge boost to catch up with long-time existing players. And the benefit isn’t just one way, as I mentioned in my other post. Just grouping means each of us gets 200% experience bonus. Now, on top of the double experience from having vitality, I’m thinking that works out to something like 300% XP total without using potions.
But that can lead to problems really, especially outleveling content too quickly. Right now, the friend that I’m grouping with is level 67 and he’s done almost no quests at all. He’s not a complete newb to EQ2; we played on Nagafen back in 2006 when HoS made a chapter there. He couldn’t remember his old account information and started a new one instead, which is why we’re both benefitting here. So he’s familiar with the older questlines and such, but he’s passing it over at the moment in a drive to reach 80 before the friend bonus runs out after 90 days. Considering that we aren’t even 30 days in yet (he’s still in the free month portion of his sub) we’ve got plenty of time.
I’m not knocking the bonus at all, don’t get me wrong! It helped me reach level 80 finally, after over a year of playing this character (Darema was “born” in November 2007). I took some time off for a while to briefly play AoC and WAR but neither of those lasted very long and I was still logging into EQ2 at the same time. Still, just because I took my time leveling doesn’t mean my friend has to. He’s got the type of personality that wants something done yesterday if possible. He’s much more of a meta-gamer than I’ll ever be, which is cool.
I just wonder the merits of a mechanic that allows a player to level past content at a very accelerated pace just so they can catch up more quickly. Sure, the already playing friend might not want to do the lower level content YET AGAIN! especially not if they have multiple alts, but they still have to be grouped with the new player in order for the bonus to apply. My initial impression was that the goal was to use your highest level character mentored down to help the newbie, but that’s turned out to be wrong. That stable of alts (hopefully not all max level as well) come in handy here. It’s just plain grouping that gives the most benefit and using some of my alts has been more helpful than just me mentoring down on my dirge. The 43 monk and 37 fury have gotten a lot more playtime lately and I’m enjoying the break from the dirge, to be honest.
But using those characters brings me right back to the “outlevels content too quickly” dilemma. Sure grouping with my friend is awesome, but right now, my fury has a quest log full of grey quests. Okay, I’ll admit some are from before he started playing, but it’s gotten much worse since I’ve been playing her more. Now almost all my quest log is grey and since I’m the type of person who almost refuses to delete a quest, I’ll be working a long time to clean these up. It’s something I can do on my own when I don’t want to think about what I’m doing online.
Another reason this quick leveling bothers me a bit is my friend’s impression that he needs to be level 80 before he’ll be worth something or be useful. It’s the idea that the game doesn’t start until your character is max level, which I’ve so far found to not be true in EQ2. Oh, I always felt a bit left out when the rest of the max level characters in the guild were going off to do a raid of some sort, or were working on a questline that I was too low for, but it gave me something to aim for down the line. It’s not as if I lacked for content at the level I was at then. And I really have no one to complain to about how slowly I leveled considering my own attitudes about grouping (I rarely group on my own, and tend to stick to guild groups if anything, although PUGs in EQ2 can be great). But the idea that rushing through the content to reach max level so that you can turn around and mentor down to go through all the content you missed at level is just strange to me. But if that’s what he wants to do, more power to him. And as I said, the grouping bonus benefits me as well.
Besides, I’m turning him into a true blue carebear now. The two of us stood around in his one room house discussing different ways of decorating it and what kind of rugs and furniture he wanted. Muwahahahaha!
On an even more exciting note – two members of Safe Haven got their mythical weapons yesterday! /cheers for them! The epic weapon questlines are long, involve lots of grouping and raids and multiple steps to do and upgrading that weapon is another big raid step. It took them both a while to accomplish this so a big congrats is in order!