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I'm one of the older MMOers- started with UO back in 97, though I skipped EQ almost entirely. Level grinds are not a foreign thing to me, for sure, but it's for that reason that I find myself... struggling to enjoy them.
When I think back to all of my best MMO memories, none of them involve leveling. Not a single one. All of them involve endgame content which was either PvP, dungeon grinding or something else. For me, MMOs have 2 draws: the social aspects, and the persistent worlds. The latter exists regardless, but when questing it is extremely rare to find many opportunities to be social.
Sure sure, every couple of levels you might find someone who needs help with a superior quality NPC or something, but at the end of the day, leveling is a very solitary act. Some games have tried in recent years to enforce a group based leveling, where leveling alone is nearly impossible, but that doesn't work well due to an eventual lack of players at the different level ranges. It's all fun and games until you simply can't find a group.
That said, I don't mind endgame grinds. The games I stick with are the ones I hit max level in, at least until they raise level cap. Example- I played Rift from the day it launched until the day it launched its expansion. I LOVED that game, I really did. I had a great static raid group, a ton of folks I played with every night, and a pretty awesome overall social dynamic. But there was a huge issue- thanks to work, I was a casual, and my fellow raiders were hardcores. For raiding, this wasn't an issue at all. Takes what...a couple hours a night tops to raid? I could do that. We all played together and it was great. The problem, however, came when Rift upped the level cap. Because of our playstyle differences, my raid group hit max level within a few days... while a week later I wasn't even halfway there. The end result is that my raid group had to continue progressing without me, as I leveled in a completely solitary fashion attempting to catch up just do what I wanted, and get back the dynamic I had before they upped the cap.
Anyhow, I dunno... maybe it's burn out on leveling, but I'd love to see an MMO with all the other endgame aspects, and a little less of the solo level experience.
Players of Balmung- a compilation of different characters I've come across during my adventures in FFXIV ARR.