Is levelling pointless now?

It’s interesting to read the enthusiasm that a lot of players have for SWTOR’s levelling game – myself included. It’s actually challenging, they say. It teaches me game mechanics. It’s fun!

All those things are interesting to read mostly because they are said in contrast to WoW – or at least current WoW, which seems focussed on raiding and the end-game as, well, the game as a whole.

So much so, in fact, that I’m unsurprised but interested to read The Grumpy Elf’s post today as he wonders if it’s time to retire the levelling concept in WoW altogether

“Every aspect of the game has its own level of progression. Progression is not a word just meant for raiding alone. You can make personal progression in many aspects in the game, the first we all come across is leveling. That is our first gauge of personal progression.

People complain when raids are nerfed, when heroics are nerfed, when rep gains a nerfed, when they worked for something, they earned something, and everyone else gets the easy route but none of them can hold a candle to the nerf that leveling got.

No raid has ever been nerfed as badly as leveling has. Even LK can still wipe some 85 groups in all 378 or better gear and it was both nerfed and now heavily outgeared. So do not cry to me about raids being nerfed. Raids can not hold a candle to the nerf that leveling has gotten and continues to get.

If leveling keeps being nerfed to make it easier and easier then I am left to wonder, why even have it at all?”

Grumpy’s post is something between a personal cry of frustration and a considered argument, and it works fairly well on both levels. I was particularly startled at some of the statistics he quotes – huge numbers of players rolling rogue just for the Legendary, and in particular, his experience levelling a Hunter to over level 60 in less than a day.

I’ve been wondering about the validity of levelling myself, and not just in WoW. It seems to me that there’s a gap in the market for a lobby-based raiding game, similar to League of Legends or the new Warhammer game, but focussed on large-scale PvE rather than PvP. And I do wonder if that’s where WoW is headed now. I know I’ve occasionally referred to Stormwind as the “WoW lobby” whilst waiting for LFD to pop once again.

Certainly, it would be a pity to lose the storytelling of WoW’s quest areas, and there’s an argument for levelling as training too. But if it’s been trivialised to the point of irrelevance, is it time to consider amputating the remaining vestigial stump of XP-based gameplay?

Do you think that there’s still a place for levelling in WoW? Or is it time to admit we’re all end-game now?