This is cross-posted from my guild’s blog, snarkside.com
Back when Cataclysm was relatively new and people were leveling to 85, WoW started to draw a lot of criticism from the blogging community for being too linear. Between the heavy use of phasing and the lack of multiple options for zones that were level appropriate, many players began to complain that they felt as though they had been put on a very rigid pathway and that there was no room for organic discovery or leveling.
I was one of those people. I’ve always been the sort of person who likes to take a break from the main by leveling an alt. But when it came to Cataclysm, I was only partway through leveling my second character to 85 when ennui set in. And while I did eventually get a few more characters to level cap, I was looking for ways to do so that didn’t involve questing.
Cut to today and I’m happily leveling a handful of characters in SWTOR. I don’t have a single one to the level cap as of yet, but I do have enough characters leveled far enough that I am already starting to become very familiar with many of the earlier quest lines. While they have in no way become tedious as of yet, I couldn’t help but note that SWTOR has a pretty rigid progression path. If you’re Republic, you can count on being sent to Coruscant somewhere around level 10. Once you’re there, you can count on fighting the same gangs, getting entangled in the same political wrangles and saving the same damsels in distress.
The good news is that you’ll still have the major thread of your class story line and, assuming you’re trying out a different class, it will be completely different from the last class story line you experienced. And thanks to having multiple options on how to talk to the NPCs you interact with, you can effect some change in how even the same old quest lines might end.
But if you’re like me and plan on trying out the Advanced Classes for every class, well, then you’re going to start to see some more redundancy. My own plan to combat the “been there, done that” sensation is to play one character towards the light side and the other character of the same class to the dark side. Since I am in absolutely no rush whatsoever to have eight level capped characters, I’ll undoubtedly be waiting for quite some time to make progress on the second set.
Will trying to make different choices on each character for the non-class quests be enough to defeat the overall problems of a linear path to level 50? I don’t know. I do wonder at there not being much in the way of overlap or parallel paths, but I suppose one could always break from questing by running flashpoints or taking on space combat missions.
In the meantime, I’m hoping class quests and the choices we do have will continue to be enough to keep the leveling game from growing too stale over time.