Torrid Leveling and the End of Twink PvP

Well, the weekend was productive. If by productive I mean “accomplished little except for playing truckloads of WoW.”

At some point around the 17th, I was at level 25. On Friday the 19th, I was level 32. As of last night, the 21st, I was level 38. This is an absurd pace, enabled via Tour Guide, a lot of time, and an absolutely minimal amount of stuff done on the side. The only tradeskill I’m doing is skinning, which doesn’t generally require me to go out of my way. (My skinning is now at 285, which is higher than Vaktor’s mining was at 70. Leatherworking hasn’t seen much action, but I’m stockpiling mats in the bank for future use.)

I’m pushing 60 hours on the character as is, which is a fair bit faster progress than I’d made on Vaktor. On the other hand, If I were getting more rest XP the leveling would take longer, but require fewer hours played. I figure hitting level 70 some time around 100 hours is pretty likely, and I may be able to beat that by ten hours or so.

Tobold’s post today reminds me to mention what will possibly be the biggest game-impacting change in update 3.2 – the addition of XP to Battlegrounds. Yes, that’s right, you’ll actually get experience for doing PvP in WoW, a change that is long, long overdue. I’d like to see it extended to world PvP and Arenas as well, but this is a start, and most (effectively all, as far as I can tell, really,) of the Arena action happens at the level cap anyway.

As Tobold points out, this means that twinks will eventually level out of their brackets, flushing all their hard-twinked work away. In response to the inevitable whining from those quarters, there’s going to be a feature which lets you lock XP for a pittance of 10 gold, but those who do so will find that they can only do Battlegrounds with other level-locked characters.

The one thing Tobold doesn’t mention is that you will also be able to unlock XP, for the same 10 gold. He wonders if this change will mean the end of twinking, or if twinking will develop into a subsculture within WoW. I don’t think we have enough information to predict that yet; will the XP gained by a BG run be a substantial amount? If you can effectively sit for months at level 19, the effect on twinkery might be very minor. However, that would be dumber than I expect Blizzard to be – I expect that a BG win, at least, will be worth an amount of XP comparable to a quest at that level, which means that you could maybe get 20 or 30 runs out of that last level in the bracket, if that.

If this develops as I expect, I forsee at the very least a lessening of the preponderance of twinks in the Battlegrounds, especially in the 10-19 Warsong Gulch bracket, which will be the easiest one to level out of, and which is, right now, the cheesiest bracket. More importantly, I think it’ll be easy to underestimate the importance of this addition – being able to level by PvP is a gameshaking change, especially since WoW already has quite a lot of infrastructure in-game to support PvP activity. The biggest remaining issue with WoW PvP is the fact that one-shotting an opponent is too easy, and this should go at least a little ways toward addressing that – but (I’m sure) not enough.

One of the best points about WAR PvP is that characters have higher survivability. It may not seem like it at times, but they do. One-shots are rare if not totally absent (chances are that if you think you were taken down in one hit, if you check your combat log you’ll find that wasn’t the case.) WoW needs some of that. If WoW also added XP for achievements and some kind of meaningful world PvP, there’d be no reason for me to ever touch WAR again.

Right now update 3.2 is looking very substantial. There’s a new dungeon/raid/whatever which isn’t important to me right now, but there’s also huge mount change which will be very important to my army of alts, cosmetic changes to Druid cat and bear forms (recall that I do also have a mid-level Druid,) the huge Battleground XP change, and probably some other stuff yet to be announced. It can’t get here soon enough.

2 responses to “Torrid Leveling and the End of Twink PvP

  1. I was quite surprised at the levelling speeds you quote. I’ve never played WoW but it comes up over and over as the benchmark for fast, easy levelling. However, those level jumps look quite comparable, indeed if anything a little slower, than the current EQ1 levelling pace for the same level ranges. I’d gotten the impression from listening to people talk about WoW levelling that it took no more than a few minutes to do a level!

    Even without using xp potions, which are extremely easy to get, if you take a level 25 EQ character to a well-chosen Hot Zone it isn’t going to take you two days of play to get to level 32. Probably take you one evening. If you use Veteran’s AA for double xp, and an xp potion, in a Hot Zone (all the bonuses stack), you’d reckon to do about a level every 10-15 minutes for the first half hour and no less than a level every 30-60 minutes thereafter.

    Doesn’t slow down much after that either.Mrs Bhagpuss and I douoed for one evening in Tower of Frozen Shadows last time it was a Hot Zone and took our characters from the low to the high 30s in about three hours. EQ2 is a bit slower than that at the same levels, but not much.

  2. I actually have a post on this subject that I’ve shelved for being overply pissy.

    XP gain buffs are actually harder to get in WoW than in EQ or EQ2, actually; although there are equivalents in the refer-a-friend program or for two-boxers, or in heirloom gear. Thee require somebody to have a second account or for you to already have a character at cap with access to the heirloom gear. For a cold newbie, the rapidity of WoW’s leveling is often grossly exaggerated; on top of the above, it goes a lot slower the first time, I’d estimate at least double the time. This is my third time through some (but not all) of this content, and I’m moving as fast as I can, and it’s still going to take me (I figure) about 120 hours to hit the cap, maybe more depending on how much things slow down after the first Northrend zone. (The first zone, whichever one you pick, goes pretty fast, and it slows down after that.)