Power Leveling in MMORPGs

I’ve decide to write about this controversial topic, because I do not believe that powerleveling is as bad as may MMORPG gamers say. In fact, I bet that almost every single MMO player has powerleveled to some extent at one time or another. So why are so many people up in arms about it? Lets find out.

To start of, lets answer the most obvious question. Why do gamers power level? The short answer is that the player wants to get his character to the max level ASAP. But why? I mean, isn’t the main part of the game and fun playing your character to reach that max level (if the game has one)? Yes and no. For me when ever I’m playing a new MMORPG I want to explore everything and do everything, but there comes a time when I want to start a new character and I do not want to play the whole game over, however this depends on the game. There are games where I don’t mind playing through 2 or 3 times to try out different characters, however there are other games where I would rather stop playing than have to go though again, most recent example is LOTRO.

Not all gamers consider starting from scratch fun, in fact there are so many gamers that consider it not fun that there are million dollar business setup to help players get through the boring parts of the game. Before you start steaming at how power levelers ruin the game, lets take a step back. Consider this, a gamer has been playing a MMORPG for a full year now. They have played through the game twice with 2 separate characters however they have yet to find one they really enjoy or they just want to try them all. Now the gamer has gone through the entire story line twice, has done all the quests at LEAST twice and grinded there way to 2 maxed out characters. Are you saying this user has to completely go through the game again, from scratch? Why? So that there aren’t a ton of maxed out characters flooding the server? So that your maxed out character is that much more important? I don’t think either is a valid argument.

Many gamers will tell you that the real game doesn’t start until you reach that top level. You can participate in tough raids, battle it out in PvP or go after those epic items. Having more top level characters would only enhance the game in my option. Why does a user have to go through the mind numbing, repetitive grind of leveling up, again and again? Would it be such a bad idea if developers added a feature where once you have reached the top level, you get an option to start another character and have them maxed out instantly? I don’t think so. This gives the player an opportunity to try out all the characters without spending another 100 hrs leveling up each one.

The fact is that many players actively power level regardless of what deterrents developers add in the game. Whether they have friends, guild mates or use a service to do it for them, power leveling has been around since the first MMORPG. What needs to change is that developers need to stop fighting it and embrace it. I’d be still playing LOTRO if I could start a new character without having to play the game again. The sad fact about some MMORPGs is that if you take away the level grinding there is no game. If you reach that top level and find there isn’t much to do in the game, you might start a new character. However if you allow gamers to create maxed out character instantly after playing through once, developers might find themselves with huge problems. Whoops, we forgot to add a game after the level grind.

I think developers really need to concentrate on game play and less on how long they can keep you grinding.


  1. Why make them reach the max level first? Let people create other characters that can start at the maximum level they’ve achieved with any of their characters.

    This way, if you start out with one class but want to try another you don’t need to start from the very beginning again.

  2. @Steve – It’s always interesting to invite a level 70 priest into your high level raid group in WoW only to find out he bought it on eBay a few days earlier and has NO concept of what it takes to play his character. ;)

    I am totally sympathetic to the casual gamer who doesn’t have the time to create new characters at a whim because I’m a casual gamer. However, it does take a bit of a toll on the gaming environment when you have a bunch of clueless top level people and a barren wasteland in all the newbie zones.

    @Author – Very thought-provoking topic! So much so that I cited you in my very own blog entry about it! http://www.thegreenskin.com/2007/11/instantpower-leveling-and-warhammer.html Let me know what you think? :)

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