I Love Low Level
Even though I like to sometimes get on my high horse about old school games and mechanics of yesteryear, I’m a big ol’ softie at heart and, deep down, I absolutely adore frolicking around newbies zones with the extra special alt I’ve just created. After all of the stresses of guild management, raiding and loot ladder climbing, there’s something quite blissful about the starting levels of games. A day in noob town is like a day on the farm. Every kill is epic, every loot drop a fortune, every ding a parade. I love low level.
Where “low level” ends and “high level” begins can be a bit of a blur but, end game raiding aside, I suppose I consider the first 1 to 20 or 30 levels “low”. It varies from game to game, of course, but usually most have a sort of newbie experience to help guide players into the game and teach them the mechanics. This is the time when no wrong can be done and almost everyone you encounter is chipper and friendly, eager to help or, more commonly, impress noobs with their twinked big glowing knobbly staff (pun utterly intended).
Low levels and newbie gardens also tend to be some of most polished experiences of a MMO, sometimes even being the best about them (*cough* Age of Conan *cough*… sorry, getting over a cold). Well done low level areas can be just as epic and breathtaking as any raid (well… maybe) and set the player up for the long haul drudge between boring middle age and endgame heaven. For me though, variety is the spice of life and the thing that keeps me rolling those endless alts is a strong selection of staring areas and races with solid, interesting back stories.
Not surprisingly some of my favourite games (Everquest, WoW, Everquest 2… hmm OK not so much the original EQ2 but I’ll forgive it anyway) offer great variety in the race and starting location areas. Aside from picking a new class, starting afresh in a howling tundra, tropic jungle or on a shattered moon can do wonders for the imagination. Besides, sometimes just taking a break from the hectic lifestyle of the level cap can be good for the soul.
So are you a low level lover like me? Or do you itch for the rewards of end game?