Editorial: A Sickness Of Levelling Proportions

Rebecca’s got the Hideous Lurgy Of Deth right now, but rose from her mass of cushions and duvets long enough to write this editorial.

I have a terrible affliction. It’s the urge to level a character as fast as their little rocket propelled booties will get them to the level cap, gear them up to heroics or raid standard depending on whether they have a raid spot. Yes, I have some kind of masochistic pleasure in doing dungeons. I like acquiring shiny new blue or purple pixels for my characters. Don’t judge me.

Anyway, when that’s done I think well, erm, what now?

I know, there’s loads of other stuff to do. I level professions if I fancy it for that specific toon, so a couple of my characters have maxed professions and the others languish with a level of professionalism that should only be associated with the Felwood Tree Surgeons’ Guild (seriously, go look, it’s awful). And archaeology – don’t even talk to me about that. I do two digsites before I start looking for a reason to stop, like nailing my hand to the wall. Achievements go hot and cold for me in an instant. PvP takes my fancy once ever other solar eclipse. Questing… let’s just say I don’t see eye to eye with what the Shattering’s done to questing?

Wow, that’s a lot of symptoms. Can you tell me what’s wrong with me, doctor? I’ve got an ultimately pointless urge to get to PvE endgame baked into my brain? It’s a common affliction among WoW players, you say?

Well, who’d a thunk. There’s a lot we could say about playing mentalities and why we play and how pointless or otherwise it is. But I’m not here to talk about them – what crossed my fried and extremely tired brain earlier was the memory that I’ve started doing the same thing in other games I play.

That’s right. Brand new games where I don’t know a thing, lots to explore, lots to find out, and I go into prepare for endgame mode. I start min maxing and working out the most efficient playstyle.

Oooh, this place is pretty… kinda… anyway, what were the quests in this area all bunched together? Oh yeah, I just got a new ability and if I put my talent points here and… no wait, what about there? No, let’s go with this other option, here and here, that’ll do, that gives me another new ability and a pet. Right, what order do I use all these to make things turn into shreds of red mist fast, and is it more effective to have my pet biting peoples’ lips off or showering me with wholesome fairy dust while I deal with the lips? Oh look, I’ll be level 5 soon, NOT FAST ENOUGH! *froths*

I honestly don’t think this is the best way to play a new game. I mean, it’s what some folks want and that’s fine – but it shouldn’t be ‘the’ way to do it. In a game you’ve never played before there is a tonne of stuff to do and explore, even if it’s just brilliant new vistas rendered in a new style.

So. With the way I’m feeling tonight I’m guessing tomorrow might be another sick day for me. And by sick I don’t mean “ooh, got a bit of a jippy tummy” I mean I’ve felt like death for the past few days. Not even warmed up. Still cold and surprised to be moving.

If that happens I wondered about having a play in something new. Maybe LoTRO. I just don’t know if it’s worth it if I’m going to go all crazily-efficient-lady-who-seems-to-answer-the-phone-at-every-office-in-the-world (you know there is one). I guess the best way to disaffect oneself of this mindset is to not play an MMO for a while but hey, I’m going to be bored tomorrow. Unless I’m better.

What about you? What playstyles do you get afflicted by and can’t shake, and do you think it transfers with you to other games?