Levels 1 – 63 In 0.02 Seconds

Now that I'm level 63 I'll be able to impress everyone with my crap gear and clueless behaviour

Now that I'm level 63 I'll be able to impress everyone with my crap gear and clueless behaviour

I realised today that I hadn’t logged in Age of Conan in a while and that’s always a sign that my subscription is headed for termination. It’s not that I haven’t been enjoying AoC, rather it’s that I’ve been very busy in real life plus found myself getting sidetracked by WoW again somewhat. So, in an effort to try and not only rekindle my interest in Conan but also get the most out of my sub, I decided to try out the free level 50 character creation option plus use up several weeks worth of ‘offline’ levels. The result? My pubescent Asian Avenger has now matured into a full blown middle aged Dark Templar, only 17 levels away from the level cap (or about 4 weeks of doing nothing except maintaining my subscription).

The whole starting at level 50 and offline leveling thing is kinda weird and I have mixed feelings about it all. In many ways it genuinely feels like cheating as I created a new level 63 character in literally a matter of seconds. I had the bizarre experience of loading him up for the first time and trying to figure out which spells where my latest and highest ranking and also how I should spend my Feat points. I’m essentially going to have to learn how to play this character from scratch and figure out where to go and what to do (no doubt this will impress the unwitting few who are the first to group with me). The strangest thing of all though is that this toon is now my highest level character!

The positive side about this form of character creation though is that I’ve been able to renew my interest in the game and skip a lot of old the content I’ve already done several times before (levels 40-60). I would’ve preferred Funcom had added new areas for all levels from 1 to 80 with the new expansion instead of just a beginner’s zone and level 80 instances but at least this way I can get into the new, high level content sooner. I’m not entirely sure what Funcom’s motivation for allowing this form of non-leveling is but if it’s just to try and encourage flagging players to stick around by letting them bypass content at will then it definitely works.

I don’t know if I’ll get much of a chance to play AoC but I’m going to hold onto my subscription for at least another month just so I can hit level 80 one way or another (using the offline levels I’ll acquire over the next four weeks if necessary). It feels a little hollow and disingenuous but I’m very keen to see and experience the Khitan level 80 zones. At the end of the day though, I can’t help but wonder if it would’ve saved everyone a lot of trouble if Funcom were able to merely sell me a bare level 80 character directly.

-Gordon

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9 Comments

  1. One of the best things that Ultima Online ever did was introduce character templates that were 80% filled out and sold them for $25. I never partook of them because I had no need for new characters by the time the feature was introduced, but it was a fantastic way for new players to avoid the ridiculously boring low-level areas of the game (spending 5 hours whacking cows with a butcher knife for the first 40 points of Swordsman skill, for instance). If any game were to sell max-level characters and include the caveat of having a single max-level character on the account already, I’d be all over it. I hate leveling alts, though, so the AoC features sound like a Godsend to me.

    How does the “start at 50″ feature work, anyway?

    • Gordon says:

      In AoC you can create a single level 50 character if you’ve already hit 50 with another char. It’s a one-off thing though so we need to pick carefully.

      It’s not a bad idea and keeping it one-off means the low level community still exists. I remember when DAOC introduced a similar thing and allowed players at the level cap to start at level 40 and the low levels became a ghostland. Really killed it for newbies.

  2. Bronte says:

    The only game I can see myself doing that with is WoW.

    When I lost my first account, it was an incredible amount of pain and suffering to go through the starter content all over again. The level-up from 20-50 is especially boring because you have to travel far and wide to find leveling areas and hubs. 50-60 is still bearable because the bulk of the content is in the same virtual geographical area. I honestly contemplated using the Recruit-a-Buddy program to

    That being said this is only applicable to the Paladin and Mage classes, classes that I know like the back of my hand. So the RaB feature only applies to them as I would be comfortable using the 50 or so abilities they accumulate as you zip through levels by the time you are level 60. Sure you can read guides and pick the perfect leveling spec for a new class, and read up on which spell rotations to use, but it’s not the same as learning all the abilities bit by bit as you level up through all the starter content.

    I guess what i am trying to say is hat even though these are great tools for new players to quickly get into the game, not only do they take away the ability to learn your class from scratch, they also skip over some really stellar content (in a sea of admittedly cookie-cutter quests and mission). In my opinion it is more of a service for OLDER players, especially those intimately familiar with a class so they don’t have to trudge through the same old content over and over and over again…

    • Gordon says:

      I agree, it’s definitely something for older players and not new ones. I wouldn’t want to damage the new player base or low level community, rather just provide a way for old vets to skip the grind they’ve done a hundred times before. There could be a simple solution though by only allowing people who’ve, say, hit the level cap with 2 characters to access it.

  3. Pitrelli says:

    AoC is a strange one, I really wanted to love the game and invested heavily at launch but alas I left bitter and disappointed after a few months.

    This offline levelling does sound interesting but why would you include this as a design unless you thought it was tedious to level in the first place? I think perhaps heirloom items would be more suitable but hey that might just be me

    • Gordon says:

      Yeah, I know, it is a little strange isn’t it. I love to hear more of the developers thoughts behind it. Maybe they had metrics which showed that people weren’t making a lot of alts or maybe they just want to encourage more of a high level game? Hard to say. WoW is definitely looking to promote lower level gameplay although most other MMOs prefer to focus on the level cap, for instance.

      • Pitrelli says:

        It just screams out to me that they arent confident in their levelling content i.e. they think people won’t stomach doing it again which is surprising, specifically since they launched fresh lower level content.

        One thing which I think the game needs badly is either a new starting zone or an option to start at level 20 on alts. Now dont get me wrong I loved tortage (its probably my favourite starter zone ever) but it is too damn repetitive with tons of quests doubling back on each other which gets frustrating.

        • Gordon says:

          Yeah, Tortage is awesome but it does get very, very repetitive after a few times. As much as I love the zone, I’m definitely in favour of multiple and varied starting areas for characters in MMOs.

  4. WarlockMage says:

    Isn’t it sorta like creating a death knight in Wow just have one of your guys hit level 55 and then you can just make a death knight in just a couple of seconds. All suited up and everything.

    This free character stuff seems a bit weird though. You do nothing and get a free character around the same level.

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