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What games have abandoned the level grind?

syntax42syntax42 Member UncommonPosts: 1,378
I am tired of playing MMOs which force you to level just to get to end-game.  Leveling shouldn't be an obstacle.  It should be fun and rewarding.  If you can't make leveling interesting, don't make it a part of your game.  

I played WildStar and ESO when they both released.  Both games used the same boring leveling formula with promise of an exciting end-game.  Repeating a slight variation on less than six quest types gets boring fast.  I don't care how much lore or story you have if the majority of my time is spent gathering <random animal part> that every animal has but only a few allow me to take it.  I'm done tolerating annoying leveling grinds just to reach a supposedly exciting end-game.

Trove and Guild Wars 1 have such a fast leveling speed to reach the cap that it almost feels like they skipped leveling entirely.  There might be other MMOs in which people can level fast, but please don't suggest them if a first-time player is not likely to achieve the fast speeds you think are possible.  For example, I've heard of people leveling in a day or a week in Guild Wars 2, but it takes much longer than that if you're leveling for your first time.
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Comments

  • AlbatroesAlbatroes Member LegendaryPosts: 7,271
    edited October 2015
    Honestly, people were leveling faster than that before GW2 had its crafting exp nerfed a little. Better question is what game still has a decent leveling grind? Mostly the older titles like EQ/2, Lineage II, Aion? Maybe not EQ2 cause I think you can buy high levels, but quite a few games are going the buy level boost route as well, such as WoW/Rift. Blame competition. TSW doesn't really have levels per say but you still need to get exp in order to unlock skills. Might want to give that a go. Sorta same with Skyforge, but I guess you could count Prestige as a level?
  • syntax42syntax42 Member UncommonPosts: 1,378
    Albatroes said:
    TSW doesn't really have levels per say but you still need to get exp in order to unlock skills. 
    From what I remember, TSW had equipment grades that required XP to increase your ability to use better ones.  It was equivalent to a leveling system, as the gear determined the content you could handle.  TSW had one of the better stories, so it was a good distraction from the grind.  It was still a grind, though.

    I have no idea how people could level faster than a week in Guild Wars 2.  It took me a couple months to get my first 80 in that game due to all of the things they had to do.  If crafting is the way to do it fast, then that requires a lot of resources or currency to buy those resources.  A new player wouldn't have access to either, so that's not what I'm looking for.
  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,209
    edited October 2015
    Yep, most of them have the levels, either for the character or for skills / perks (like Defiance, or other shooters).

    TSW is maybe the best candidate, it has only "soft" levels (affecting the gear you can wear, from 1 to 10), and it's fairly quick to get there, after that it's all about unlocking the new abilities - and grinding the gears of course.

    An another could maybe CO's Freeform (lol, I tend to suggest games I currently play :wink: ), it has levels and level progression but you can finish that in a couple days, without any hassle with the old-fashioned "leveling formulae". Just standing in MC (the main hub), jumping in and out of the Alert queues and you'll find yourself at 40 in no time - with gear and mods and money dropping along the way. Not to mention the Alerts are level-scaled, so your actual level is not important. (but of course that way you skip the whole story... which is quite frequent as I've heard, lots of 40s doesn't even know what's outside the City :lol: )

    And at the cap you can re-shuffle your skills to your liking, testing out new builds etc. just like in TSW, only difference is that in CO that costs you money (or grind) while in TSW it's free but you have to grind out the skills first.
    But it's only good, if you like the theory-crafting, character building fun. Otherwise CO endgame is the same old grind, for gears and cosmetics. Plus the Nemesis system.
  • syntax42syntax42 Member UncommonPosts: 1,378
    I'm not necessarily looking for games that abandon levels. I'm just looking for games that abandoned the grind. TSW still has quite a grind to unlock all of the skills and a fairly decent grind to get to end-game.
  • YashaXYashaX Member EpicPosts: 2,640
    Not really sure where you get the idea that ESO follows the "same boring leveling formula with promise of an exciting end-game".  It seems to be the exact opposite of that.
    Apele
    ....
  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,209
    syntax42 said:
    I'm not necessarily looking for games that abandon levels. I'm just looking for games that abandoned the grind. TSW still has quite a grind to unlock all of the skills and a fairly decent grind to get to end-game.
    That's why I dropped CO in there, if you don't want to run around and doing quests around the zones, you can skip that entirely - actually it's much faster if you skip that and go with the Alerts... which is kinda sad, because CO's quests are often funny in writing.

    So, if you don't mind the superhero theme, CO leveling through Alerts looks like:
    tutorial, you end up as lvl6.
    a couple quests in Westside (doing the Westside story :lol: ) until you reach lvl10 (or maybe 11? not sure when the Alert system kicks in)
    Then, standing near the bank / AH (for the less walking and inventory management) and doing Alerts until you reach the cap.

    Alerts are short dungeons, you teleport in with a group (pre-formed or pug through the queue), beat the bad guy, profit. Nets you large chunks of xp, cash, and mods (for the "crafting" system). Maybe doing just for those is a bit boring (especially after a few hours, when you saw all of them), but it's very effective for quickly reaching the cap.
  • syntax42syntax42 Member UncommonPosts: 1,378
    YashaX said:
    Not really sure where you get the idea that ESO follows the "same boring leveling formula with promise of an exciting end-game".  It seems to be the exact opposite of that.
    I played ESO on release.  With the exception of the story quests every 5 levels, the quests in that game were exactly the same as every other MMO.  Kill 5 boars.  Collect 4 wolf tails.  Took me over a month to get to 30 with my limited play time and everyone else in my guild was already doing end-game dungeons.
  • d_20d_20 Member RarePosts: 1,878
    I think it's just an mmorpg thing.

    In my case, I've realized that I'm not interested in gear level, which is another type of level grind. I don't mind leveling up at all. But I don't like doing instances over and over to get gear to enable me to get to new instances to get new gear, etc. The so-called gear treadmill. But that's just another form of leveling up. That's what just about all "endgames" are about in one form or another. But I found inner peace ;) when I realized that blaming games for that, or blaming the genre wouldn't do me any good.

    Now I play games like War Thunder where I have fun leveling up my planes. I also get better at the game. So it doesn't feel like a grind. The second I start to feel like that, I just quit and go play Skyrim or another game.

    MMOs and MMORPGs seem to be all about levels of some kind. That's what keeps a certain type of player interested and engaged. It's a form a progression.


  • GdemamiGdemami Member EpicPosts: 12,175
    edited October 2015
    syntax42 said:
    I played ESO on release.  With the exception of the story quests every 5 levels, the quests in that game were exactly the same as every other MMO.  Kill 5 boars.  Collect 4 wolf tails.  Took me over a month to get to 30 with my limited play time and everyone else in my guild was already doing end-game dungeons.
    SWTOR and ESO have much above average questing, yet you cannot enjoy ESO.

    Thus, contrary to what you say, your problem seems to be indeed levels in general and time it takes to get to end-game rather than the process of leveling.


    Post edited by Gdemami on
  • syntax42syntax42 Member UncommonPosts: 1,378
    d_20 said:
    MMOs and MMORPGs seem to be all about levels of some kind. That's what keeps a certain type of player interested and engaged. It's a form a progression.
    I get bored with games that are just gear treadmills at end-game.  I get bored with long level grinds that are repetitive.  Progression needs to be done better than just having a linear experience at end-game or a repetitive level grind.

    I think MMOs could take some hints from other games.  The Zelda series is one of the better RPGs, yet it doesn't use levels.  Instead, additional items and abilities are unlocked which allow the player to progress.  Many other single-player RPGs use a similar system of unlocking content through acquisition of key items or abilities.  

    MMOs need to give players the feeling of being on an adventure again.  Just leveling so I can get to end-game where the content focus is - that isn't an adventure.  That is a tedious grind.  I want to feel like my character is going to do something truly important, like throw the ring into the lava.  Getting to Mordor should be the adventure.  
  • ManestreamManestream Member UncommonPosts: 941
    syntax42 said:
    Albatroes said:
    TSW doesn't really have levels per say but you still need to get exp in order to unlock skills. 
    From what I remember, TSW had equipment grades that required XP to increase your ability to use better ones.  It was equivalent to a leveling system, as the gear determined the content you could handle.  TSW had one of the better stories, so it was a good distraction from the grind.  It was still a grind, though.

    I have no idea how people could level faster than a week in Guild Wars 2.  It took me a couple months to get my first 80 in that game due to all of the things they had to do.  If crafting is the way to do it fast, then that requires a lot of resources or currency to buy those resources.  A new player wouldn't have access to either, so that's not what I'm looking for.
    Correct me if i am wrong here, but everywhere i have read about TSW (The Secret World), it was a complete flop and failure. You can even buy the game for next to nothing thesedays.
    After reading the reports and seeing that the game has dropped in price alot (like £3-4 i think) to buy it signifies that all the reports about it were correct. Alias i have stayed well clear of what is just another failure.
  • GdemamiGdemami Member EpicPosts: 12,175
    syntax42 said:
    I get bored with games that are just gear treadmills at end-game.  I get bored with long level grinds that are repetitive.  Progression needs to be done better than just having a linear experience at end-game or a repetitive level grind.

    I think MMOs could take some hints from other games.  The Zelda series is one of the better RPGs, yet it doesn't use levels.  Instead, additional items and abilities are unlocked which allow the player to progress.  Many other single-player RPGs use a similar system of unlocking content through acquisition of key items or abilities.  

    MMOs need to give players the feeling of being on an adventure again.  Just leveling so I can get to end-game where the content focus is - that isn't an adventure.  That is a tedious grind.  I want to feel like my character is going to do something truly important, like throw the ring into the lava.  Getting to Mordor should be the adventure.  
    I am sorry to inform you but MMOs don't need to do any of that. MMO developers are in no obligation to satisfy your personal fancies...
  • YashaXYashaX Member EpicPosts: 2,640
    syntax42 said:
    YashaX said:
    Not really sure where you get the idea that ESO follows the "same boring leveling formula with promise of an exciting end-game".  It seems to be the exact opposite of that.
    I played ESO on release.  With the exception of the story quests every 5 levels, the quests in that game were exactly the same as every other MMO.  Kill 5 boars.  Collect 4 wolf tails.  Took me over a month to get to 30 with my limited play time and everyone else in my guild was already doing end-game dungeons.
    Its a slow game that throws a lot of conventional mmo mechanics out the window, but its definitely not a level grinder with all the fun at endgame.

     Looking at one of the games you said you enjoyed (Trove) it appears that you are more interested in the gear/leveling quickly than in the journey/adventure. Not saying Trove is bad, but you can pretty much turn off the brain and just go and kill stuff.

    ESO is all about story, world exploration, and deep character development. A lot of even non-main story quests are pretty amazing and set up in a way that I haven't seen done in other mmos. Often some seemingly insignificant fetch quest turns into a deep story chain that npcs will comment about later in the game depending on your choices. You never know what's around the corner, or in some unexplored nook and cranny. Its not Witcher 3, but its about as far from a "boring leveling formula with promise of an exciting end-game" as you can get in an mmo. Especially considering the end game basically consists of pvp or leveling all over again in the other two factions. 
    ....
  • goboygogoboygo Member RarePosts: 2,140
    Which games skip the "boring leveling formula".  That's easy the boring ones do.
  • coretex666coretex666 Member EpicPosts: 3,838
    Wrong site, you are obviously looking for a non-rpg.
  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 36,355
    MMOs might not all have levels, but almost all have progression mechanics.

    Try PS2 or EVE for a different experience.

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  • Minuszer0Minuszer0 Member UncommonPosts: 54
    syntax42 said:
    d_20 said:
    MMOs and MMORPGs seem to be all about levels of some kind. That's what keeps a certain type of player interested and engaged. It's a form a progression.
    I get bored with games that are just gear treadmills at end-game.  I get bored with long level grinds that are repetitive.  Progression needs to be done better than just having a linear experience at end-game or a repetitive level grind.

    Problematically, there's still a sizable percentage of the market that really enjoys the false sense of achievement provided by grinding, and it's the easiest design paradigm to adhere to.
  • BladestromBladestrom Member UncommonPosts: 5,001
    If you want to play games without progression don't play games that are designed for character progression.  If you buy a game that offers a levelling experience don't complain that you get what you paid for- many people love the levelling experience and don't try to rush past content they just paid for.
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  • MardukkMardukk Member RarePosts: 2,221
    I feel like OP may be confused.  Maybe you don't like questing and being told what to do and where to go.  I know that is my problem with linear quest hub themeparks.  I love grinding in say EQ1 or Darkfall as they don't tell you where you can hunt and what you need to do.  If get bored in one spot I go see if I can solo a dungeon or farm a specific mob.

    I'm attempting to play Wildstar and it has some well done features but the required linear questing is mind numbing.
  • syntax42syntax42 Member UncommonPosts: 1,378
    If you want to play games without progression don't play games that are designed for character progression.  If you buy a game that offers a levelling experience don't complain that you get what you paid for- many people love the levelling experience and don't try to rush past content they just paid for.
    That's not even close to what I was discussing in this thread.


    I picked up Ark: Survival Evolved a couple weeks ago.  That game has progression, but it is less based on a grind for levels and more based on what the human player can learn about the game.  I didn't get very far into it, but I didn't see the character level making a major difference in the content I could access.

    I suppose there may not be any MMOs that abandon the grind and deliver progression with a different style.  The MMO market has been stagnant for the past five years with every game developer being afraid to deviate from the "WoW standard".
  • AlbatroesAlbatroes Member LegendaryPosts: 7,271
    Well experience to progress a character has existed long before WoW was even developed. You could go back to Diablo days. But the main thing that WoW did is the whole questing to level stuff. Diablo II only put out meaningful quests and you would go grind it out while completing quest objectives for certain things. FFXI was another game before wow's time and even during wow's time that didn't cave into the whole questing to level non-sense. But its natural to want something that doesn't regurgitate what's been done for 20+ years in gaming. Stuff like mario and megaman where you would progress and get strong through skill and finding stuff, not having a leveling system. Maybe you could blame SE for final fantasies having leveling systems. For some reason I want to mention Planetside 2 but maybe it has an experience to progress system? I'm sure someone knows their system more than myself. Anyway, best bet is to probably find a game that doesn't have many levels but still has decent progression like DCUO? or just stick to single player games.
  • filmoretfilmoret Member EpicPosts: 4,906
    If you cant play GW2 and enjoy the variety of ways to gain exp then there is no hope for you at all.  The secret to GW2 is just do everything on the map before moving to the next map.  Find all the points and all the vista's all the heart things.  Anyone who just does the maps can get max level in 40 hours easy.
    Are you onto something or just on something?
  • Sid_ViciousSid_Vicious Member UncommonPosts: 2,155
    Have you checked out Darkfall?? They have a prowess system that doesn't really feel like leveling.. its much more group oriented than the games you mentioned so get active with other people and its a lot of fun.

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  • AoriAori Member EpicPosts: 4,180
    I don't believe in endgame. I think max level should be near unobtainable. I hate grinding gear for the sake of grinding gear.

    I grind gear for the sake of a better leveling and PvP experience. Current MMOs don't really work for me when 1-50+ is a giant tutorial with no meaning whatsoever on character development. 
  • waynejr2waynejr2 Member EpicPosts: 7,768
    Kyleran said:
    MMOs might not all have levels, but almost all have progression mechanics.

    Try PS2 or EVE for a different experience.

    Perhaps the OP really doesn't like RPGs but some other type of game.
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