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February 16, 2009



I'm still trying to find the right r/x combo. Tried both R/S (too squishy) and R/P (too hard to level the /P) and am now trying R/K.


I took each class to level 5-8 before really deciding which one I like. So far, I am enjoying the Knight/Priest and Rogue/Scout. Also have a Warrior/Priest and Mage/Priest. However, I like the first two combos the most and will pretty much stick with them when I get the opportunity to play. As you said, what else you gonna do after you stop raiding? I did not raid much in WOW as real life isn't really conducive to that type of gaming, so I rolled a lot of alts to see different content. I can't see that happening as much in ROM, because you are leveling two toons anyway.

Alysianah aka Saylah

@Maess - /P has windchill which basically kills things before they do much to me IF you're willing to pump that many TP into it. I had it maxed and loved it but had to respec because I need to buff my healing side more.

@Roma - I think the end-game will be a softer side of raiding. More PUG-like than original WOW and TBC. Guilds will be doing wars (PVP) so I think there's going to be some aspect of Warhammer Online's sieges or Keep defense.

For pure solo the Priest/Warrior is very nice. I can wear 3 pcs of the chain mail I'd been saving and Warrior/Priest is nice too for leveling. But it's the what will I do at the end that has me thinking now about a change.


@Saylah and @Maess: I think you mean Bone Chill as the DoT for Priest. Also, for the P/R combo the elite lvl 15 skill Snake Curse is an excellent offensive DoT to combine with Bone Chill. It starts off small, but cost to upgrade is low for the added damage.

When playing my P/R I start with Rising Tide, put a Snake Curse on them, followed by a Bone Chill. Depending on when the mob reaches me I put in a Blind Spot to decrease their hit rate.
For a lower to equal level mob that is pretty much all I have to do, the DoT:s will kill it in a couple of seconds. I can stay a bit and hit them with my staff, or try to move away some. For some mobs I might have to throw in an extra Rising Tide.

But if the P/ side is troublesome or less enjoyable, just use that to turn in quests instead and focus more of the fighting on the other side.


As for choosing classes I have traditionally been an altoholic, although tend to settle for some choice after a while.

Nowadays I do a bit more alt:ing between games than between characters in a game though. For me it is the journey that is important. End-game is a non-issue for me for the most part until I reach it, if I reach it at all. The most important part for me is to enjoy the journey. If that turns out that does not work for end-game, so be it. Then it is time for another character or another game, or do something that is not "end-game:ish". Just as long as it is enjoyable.


This divide between the "leveling" game and the "endgame" is something that really needs to be solved by MMO designers. Forcing someone to grind through the leveling content if all they want to do is raid isn't good PR, even though a devoted soloer can have fun without ever touching the endgame.

I'm not saying that the two "gears" of the game need to run at the same rate, just that they need to mesh better, and that players need to be able to rejigger their characters easily to make playing either with the same character a viable option.

To answer the question, though, I'm not interested in raiding at all, so I look for soloable classes/builds and enjoy the content. I'm sympathetic to those who would rather just jump to raiding... even though it's mind bogglingly dull to me.


This is indicative of one of the major design flaws in many MMORPG's - the levelling is done solo, and the end-game is done in large groups.

Games should be designed to play consistently all the way through, so that choices you make at the start of the game won't screw you over at the end of the game (without foresight from reading the forums, which only allows you to replace the time at which one must screw oneself over, anyway).


I love to raid though I dislike raiding, if you get my drift. I don't know specifically that "leveling solo but end-game is grouping" is the problem. If it is, what's the solution? Go back to an EQ/DDO/FFXI situation of forced grouping? That will dramatically limit your population from the start these days, the majority of modern players simply will not accept that. And I don't think even solo players want to have raids scale down to being soloable.

The "problem" in many players' eyes is the focus of the game changes... or at least, in WoW or raid-centric games. There's WAR which is allegedly RvR focused the entire time and you can PvE/craft on the side. End-game is what? A more intense, meaningful, whatever version of RvR. LOTRO seems to suit a lot of players in that you've been leveling from the start by questing. Some quests are group content, you can choose to skip them if you wish but they're by far the best for the story aspect. At level cap there are still so many quests (solo, small group, full group) that the only real "change" is that you're no longer earning character XP.

Which brings me back to levels. I've lost count how many times I've asked this on blogs and forums and have NEVER gotten an answer. I think I'll just revert to Psych 101 where we're taught that silence or a non-answer is an affirmative answer and just assume that YES it's all the fault of Levels (Eff You, EQ) that we have this idea of "end game" at all. I don't remember hearing that term in the original SWG, I've never read a UO player talking about end game nor have I ever read EVE players talking about end game. The common thread? None of those games had levels, so there was no defined "end" to that XP bar and advancement.

Alysianah aka Saylah

I typically am a player that focuses on the journey which is why my blog is full of pictures and little stories. But I like ROM and don't want it to be a journey just to max then time to hit the road. The end-game is a bit vague but there are certainly high level instances with legendary items to be farmed, so I'm assuming it's an end-game much like EQ2/WOW where raiding is a focus. There will also be organized PVP but who knows how that will turn out.

As most have mentioned this disconnect of how you progressed versus having to make a wholesale change at the end is jarring. Based on my experiences, WOW had the most profound difference in how you leveled versus the end game. Games that clone WOW's basic model are cloning in that same problem.

@Scott - While I understand your arguments against levels, I don't think EVE is a fair comparison. EVE is a sandbox game and very circular in nature. Besides which, everyone can learn every skill so you're never forced into a specific role that can't be altered without creating a new character. You can have levels and have the same thing - all skills trainable over time but you'd have to have the breadth and complexity of skills like you have in EVE for that to be effective.

Also end-game is just a synonym for raiding. If raiding happened at the beginning of the game you'd have the same problem only earlier. Organized, scripted content is designed for specific roles. Deviation is possible but most choose to adhere to the min/max method which is what forces cookie-cutter templates on each other. I don't think problem has anything to do with levels, it has everything to do with scripted encounters. This is why the problem is less of an issue in WAR - there are fewer scripted encounters which makes spec pretty much a free-for-all.

So I still can't agree that no levels being a silver bullet. I have no issues with levels and the content you encounter in sandbox games versus scripted is what causes the character spec issues not the fact that there are levels.


I have long believed that an MMO should have "endgame" content for solo players. Perhaps a long quest chain that provides fantastic rewards at the end (or even along the way), and a soloable boss or something. As I tend to solo quite a bit, I feel a little left out when I reach the level cap and am unable to see the remaining content because I don't have 40 hours a week to farm consumables and raid the same dungeons repeatedly. If people want to spend their time doing that, it is fine with me. However, I feel as a solo player that I am being forced to do things (battlegrounds, anyone?) that I may not necessarily want to do because I cannot participate in "endgame" content. As for levels, I don't see a problem with that model, although it would be nice to see something different, not sure what that would be though.

Alysianah aka Saylah

I can see both sides of the coin. It would take more development work to implement. I think Blizzard is the closest to getting there. With the dungeon scaling mechanic they are adding, I can see them more readily being able to scale it down to duo-enabled encounters. If I were still playing I'd enjoy that and would be fine if it didn't drop epics. Just for farming crafting materials getting blues and greens would be good. Instead of people at max level farming SM, we could have been running through content for our correct level and gotten some variety too.

One of the huge sugar rushes in W101 is soloing group encounters. Lots of adults are doing and soloing them intentionally. Some for convenience and others for the achievement and thrill of soloing group bosses. It's a feeling you don't soon forget. So yes, it would be nice to have a few quality solo scripted encounters (dungeons).


Think I remember some solo dungeons in EQ2, and duoing the others (with the exception of some bosses). Was fun.

As the MMO customer base continues to grow and age we should be seeing more variety. I've come to love Eve Online and the sandbox type of game. Others still love raiding, PvP, solo, etc. Incorporating all into one game is possible, but the more they try to add the more each piece could suffer. (I still remember when PvP was being expanded in WoW and skills/classes were being changed to fit in with it... and the whines on both sides of the PvE/PvP fence)

As for levels/no levels -- leveling is just a sign of character growth. It could be done with equipment (and is, WoW is a prime example, once you've finished leveling and start raiding), skills, even appearance (one I've always liked, I want to see my fighter-type get beefier, my mage shimmer with power...). In the end it's all just numbers.

Alysianah aka Saylah

@Nef - I believe that there are some solo and duo instances in EQ2 if you have the appropriate expansion packs. There's a whole thread in the forums for solo instances and I used it when I played.


Levels as such are not bad. It is rather how they are used together with advancement, fencing of content and player cooperation.

Aattaching leveling systems to advancement of player characters is a design element that works well in single player games and with PnP games, where there usually is a regular group of player playing together.

It becomes more challenging to get it to work well in MMOs. IMHO two games that have leveling system and actually had it work reasonably well in different ways are Guild Wars and City of Heroes/Villains.

Alysianah aka Saylah

@Sente - Agreed, its more how levels are used within content and where or not if fosters or divides players. In W101 I rarely knew my level. It wasn't displayed anywhere and mobs didn't have levels at all. All that mattered to me was when I could get new spells and that was tied to levels but in between getting new spell cards it didn't matter.

To follow your line of thought about how levels separate players, it doesn't in W101. I may not have personally unlocked an area myself but if someone needs help, I can port to them anyway. Helping someone even 10 levels above me is viable because it's the combat design where every little bit helps. It's more strategy than rapid fire combat and how much max health do I have available.

I know that EQ2 has mentoring system but never involved in its use. I've heard of the side-kick feature in COH/COV often given as a very good example of breaking thru the levels/grouping barrier.


The mentoring system in EQ2 is pretty nice. From what I remember the mentored character gets an experience boost, and the mentor will still gain XP/AA from the lower level content. (not as much as the real low level I think)

Never got to try it out in CoH/V but this should help: http://cityofheroes.wikia.com/wiki/Sidekick


I think it would be interesting to implement a leveling system where the level affected what skills a player could use but not their power relative to the world. A fireball from a level 1 mage and a fireball from a level 15 mage would be just as powerful. The difference is that the level 15 mage would have a bunch more skills than the level 1 mage.

Theoretically then, as soon as they enter the world, a level 1 character could make contributions to a group filled by any other levels. They'd have fewer skills at their disposal, but they could help out. A group of level 1s couldn't take down a raid boss (not enough requisite skills), but having a level 1 friend on a raid wouldn't necessarily be bad.

Levels would still be a means to indicate progression, but would mean less in deciding who players could play with.

Alysianah aka Saylah

@Kahn - hadn't thought about it that way but this is why it works in W101. I have more spells available to me but the spell itself hasn't changed since level 1. If I'm in better gear then my spells are enhanced by +damage modifiers and I have more powerful spells. however, the spells I received at level one remain exactly as they were at level one. So yes, I'd like to see other games take a shot at that model.

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