Re-reading page 394, or why character boosts in WoW are a good thing

I have a confession to make: I hate playing through the same game twice. It’s a real shame, though. While my gaming friends can enjoy a single-player epic like Mass Effect several times, my thirst is sated after seeing the end credits once and then never again. It’s no surprise, I’m also one of those persons who doesn’t get people who like reading the same book multiple times or watching the same movie over and over again (well, I have my exceptions when it comes to flicks, but that’s another story). Yeah, that even goes for awesome books and movies like Harry Potter. Come on, how often can you turn to page 394?

Anyway, playing through the same game several times just to experience another class or checking off some achievements is nothing but a chore to me, so I salute every effort the game makes to make replaying it look more attractive. Take for example World of Warcraft. A MMORPG like WoW thrives from its replay value, and many players suffer of “altoholism”, or the need to create new characters just to create a new character. However, considering that the number of paths to the game’s endgame are limited, you can imagine that after your second or third character, the world is not that interesting or thrilling anymore: you know where the big bad guys are, you know how to slay them with a few keystrokes, and you know that you will hate doing it all over again on your next character. Please, someone, take this repetition off my shoulders!

Well, developers have heard your cries, and are giving you the tools to speed up that levelling process. In WoW, heirloom gear and guild perks make sure that you can speed through a large part of the content, giving you that much more incentive to start yet another alt. No, these things are not implemented to make the game easier: they are made to make the game more enjoyable for veterans who have seen it all.

Cue the announcement of instant level 90 characters in Warlords of Draenor. No matter what everybody’s shouting, I think that this is one of the most interesting features of the upcoming expansion. For someone who has invested so much time in Azeroth as I have (and trust me, I haven’t spent half as much time in it as some of my friends have), this comes as a blessing. I would really love to have more endgame characters, but I just can’t stand seeing the same old scenery and enemies anymore. Yeah, from time to time, the bug bites me and I can force myself through the horror that is Outland or the yawnfest that is Cataclysm content (and I have only seen those zones twice), but that happens once in a blue moon. Knowing that I will be able to boost a character of my choice to the entry level of Warlords sounds so alluring, and I already have a hard time choosing a race-class combination for that toon.

As said, I don’t think game designers implement such tools to make the game easier. Surely they make them to make it more accessible, but I believe a major reason for things like heirlooms or boosted characters are the veteran players who have been through it all. You can play a game only so often before it becomes stale, you can read a book only so many times before you know exactly what happens on page 394. I’d rather skip past those parts and see what lies ahead. Sorry, Snape.

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5 comments

  1. I’ll probably have to write a giant rant about this soon, but the problem is that when leveling was a major point of playing a MMORPG, it was harder, required group effort, and was significantly more rewarding. As the genre has evolved, a lot of that gameplay was moved to the end of the game, which resulted in the leveling portion of the game largely being fun when there is a population to play with and then just filler when there isn’t.

    Instaleveled characters just provide a stopgap fix to a long-term problem. They aren’t a solution.

  2. I’m not big on MMORPG, but I did try it once and played it twice.. sort of. After that, I got bored. The only game franchise I’ve replayed over and over again is L4D… because its hard to say no to zombies and cheat codes.

  3. I can understand not wanting to do the same thing over and over again… but what exactly does one need another max level character for then? You’ll just be doing the same things at level cap that you’ve already done with your other characters…

    1. I guess that’s a whole topic on its own. It goes towards the very existential question of why you would even start playing such games, being the repetitive activities they are.

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