15 days to level 70

If you have listened to the Channel Massive podcast then you have, no doubt, heard my incessant whining about my unending quest to reach level 70 with my Night Elf warrior.  It was a very deliberate goal that I set for myself. 

I have always had a tendency to play these MMOs with several alternate characters.  In WOW, for instance, I have played to level 40 with at least six characters now and have always suffered from “the grass is always greener” syndrome, as far as coveting some other race or class above and beyond my own.  Eventually whatever character I was playing seemed boring and I’d roll a new character of whatever flavor seemed appealing at the time.  In fact I’d never actually achieved end-game level with any MMO.   I’m more of a self proclaimed “King of the Alts” than an end-game participant.

So I really wanted to make sure I actually achieved max level just this once.  With this goal in mind I really had to constantly fight my tendencies to want to switch to a character I felt more suited for levelling quickly or soloing or whatever.  I was constantly taunted by the sweet siren song of my twinked ”alts” calling to me to play some battlegrounds.  But at long last, I finally achieved my goal last week and am still a bit stunned. 

After I hit level 70 (see screenshot below) I immediately and foolishly typed /played.  I think the greatest shock to me was the realization that it took me a little over 15 days of game play to get to this level.  If you consider that I started playing this character nine months ago, obviously casually, that’s still a lot of time dedicated to one character in one game of one hobby.  That’s about one full 40 hour work week per month.

Putting the time sink into perspective is difficult.  Did I enjoy the time I squandered away playing this one game to reach a goal that is really just the beginning of a seemingly even longer series of time sinks?  I enjoyed some of it.  Certainly there were highs and lows.  When I think back on my slow, deliberate climb to level 70 it seems that some levels seemed to just fly by because of back to back consecutive play, while others just took forever.  Level 67-68, for instance was interrupted by several breaks do to real life, while levels 30-40 seemed to go by in an instant.

Some of my fondest memories were failed ganking attempts by horde players in STV, running through The Barrens for some quest or another while trying to provoke players to attack me and thus, flag themselves for PVP, and of course my first time actually successfully main tanking an instance.  Those were good times for me and made for fond memories.  I even met up with some old friends on-line and we did some quests together even though they were both already way into the end-game content. 

Not so fun were my first few minutes in Outland as I was repeatedly killed by both Horde players and mobs.  I can’t say I really enjoyed the grind from level fifty to sixty, nor the constant flying around from zone to zone or slow mount travel prior to purchasing my epic land mount.  Even following every quest that I possibly could to avoid grinding mobs for XP, the slow kill rate per minute of a warrior of any spec, compared to say a hunter or warlock, led to the “slow grind” feeling that I didn’t miss from other games like DAOC. 

Still my 40 hours a month or so of play was rewarding, I’d have to say in retrospect, if not completely fulfilling.  When I think of other things I could have been doing I shudder a bit.  I have several single-player RPGs piled up that I’ve never finished.  Averaging 40 hours each for completion, I’d estimate I could have completed around nine of them.  I could finally have finished Baldurs Gate II for god’s sake! 

I could have spent the time working out or working on some other real life achievement like a getting some more IT certifications or working on my guitar skills or I could even have  taken the time to restring my Oud and learn to play it ,though the Turkish language instructional VCDs continue to intimidate me.  Basically, I could have achieved some levels in real life, as opposed to this game which demands your time as payment for the enjoyment that it randomly doles out sometimes in high, and other times in low doses.

But what’s done is done.  I’ve squandered fifteen days of my life in a nine month period to play a game and achieve a very specific goal.  Maybe “squandered” is too harsh of a word; maybe ”sacrificed” is the right term for it.  It was spare time that wasn’t allocated to anything else and I put it towards this goal.  Now I have to decide whether to keep playing this game and this character or move on to something else with my spare time.  

With the delays of AOC and the far off ship date of Warhammer Online there isn’t some obvious choice for me as far as the new frontier of fantasy based MMOs go.  I’d hoped that AOC would be coming out just about now which would basically make my decision for me.  Well, in any case, I guess it’s time to either take Helrik to the next level (PVP and/or Raid content) or find something else with which to squander my casual gaming time allocation. 

One thing is for sure, this time around I think I’m going to try not to think in terms of a goal but instead I’m going to try to just enjoy the game.  I think that’s what it’s all about anyway, especially when you’ve transitioned from a power game to a casual gamer and only have so much time.  Instead of thinking “goal, goal, gooooooooooooooooooooal” I should have spent a lot more time just smelling the roses. 


15 days to level 70

3 Comments to 15 days to level 70

  1. August 13, 2007 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Can I have your stuff?

  2. August 13, 2007 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Wow, that was depressing to read. Talk about bashing the reason to be a gamer! Then again, I think that desire for a goal comes from a desire that entertainment in most forms– whether it’s a movie, book or even song– HAS an ENDING. Flippin’ WoW doesn’t have an ending let alone a genuine storyline. That’s true for pretty much any MMO.

    And, after this rousing cry to justify playing WoW, I think I’ll never make it to level 70. It just doesn’t sound fun. I’ll go for the near, soon-upcoming milestones such as the succubus and some PVP, but after that– I think I’ll need something else. Or not. At least with City of Heroes, the gameplay was arcadey enough to justify playing in spurts regardless of any end-game achievement: it was just fun and that’s all it needed. Maybe that’s what we’ll play again.

    I’ll have an interesting story about grinds and console games for my blog entry coming up in a couple days…

  3. Donovan's Gravatar Donovan
    August 13, 2007 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Hey Now!

    That sounds like Post Max Level Realization. All the effort for that empty feeling that there was supposed to be some fulfillment at the end?

    If thats storys not working for you change the story too you finally have a that max level character built and now you can finally “drive once in awhile” without the 40 days to complete. If it makes you feel better my WoW toon is 69days old. 43 of which was spent below level 70. That means you actually have gained 3 more days in your (non wow) life then I. Alot can happen in those 3 days my friend…Marriage, Children, hell even a Artistic hobby like a band or playing musical instruments.

    Please don’t be hard on yourself old friend and gaming pal cause you actually found that all that time you spent getting to that “max” level, you might have been doing other things that are more fullfilling. It could be even more disturbing…let me explain…more disturbing indeed…

    My character on WoW ( http://armory.worldofwarcraft.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Warsong&n=Drquest ) has played another 29 days than yours, most of which have been chasing around items and raids and PvP and other end game content which doesnt even get me one more level. I have left more than one relationship (they get too clingy) in order to achieve this mere feat and in the end all I have to show for it is that one link to my character. I have finally gotten to the point playing WoW where there are only 5-10 rare items that will make my character any better and those will take me another 2-3 months of playing at about 10-15 hours a week to get.

    ..most disturbing indeed cause I know all this and I still juggle my work or dating schedule just to be on at a certain time to meet others like myself that want these same items and achievements.

    …Here is the most disturbing part. If I had it all do again? I wouldnt change a thing. Why?

    Its not because I can direct most other players to my link and watch them piss themselves while they “ooo” and “aaah” over my character. Most of my online buddies I have never even met nor will in real life so whats the point. Its not because I dont have enything else to do with my time, cause I am continually have oppotunities ( my apologies for any of the plans i’ve broken with you friend ) to get away form this online, time sink, goal achieving madness they call “WoW” or even MMOs in general.

    Its because of this.

    Its because I CHOOSE too and I embrace that choice….gotta love that Neo.

    P.S. Wanna buy my Bronco Seaon Tickets this year?? (NOT) LOL


  1. By on August 24, 2007 at 1:15 pm

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