First off let me say that after reading about the leveling changes yesterday both here and on reddit, I was up-in-arms and as ready to hate it as most other people seem to be. But, I decided to wait to play it before I judged. I’m glad I did.
I would consider myself a “veteran” player. I have played since beta, and have four level 80’s. I know how to dodge, I’m not an idiot, etc. So I have good reasons to be angry about level-gating and hand-holding. But after playing a new character from levels 1-8 (and will be doing 8-15 tonight), I have discovered a few things:
1. There is a TON of misinformation about what was changed, what is level-gated, etc.
2. Low levels go a lot faster. Leveling from 1-7 took me about 30 minutes, so even the stuff that is level-gated I hardly noticed.
3. There are definitely some things that still need to be changed/fixed.
4. The new leveling system works. I play all melee/ranged classes. Historically I have a mental block for casters for some reason. I made a caster class last night and the slower skill unlocks allowed me to get comfortable with what I had before I was introduced to something new.
Good things the leveling system does:
1. The “Information Rewards” when you level up. This is where a lot of the misinformation about level-gating has come from. Many of the features aren’t actually gated, you can still use them, the game just introduces you to them one at a time. This prevents information overload on new players while not hindering people who are willing to tinker around the world and the UI and find things themselves.
2. The compass (when it works). I have had friends come from WoW or similar MMOs and been unable to cope with how differently you level. They couldn’t grasp that exploration rewards you and that aside from the few hearts on each map there aren’t quests. I can see how the compass could help those players get acclimated to doing events, POIs, etc.
3. The skill unlocks. While I really liked the idea of using a weapon to unlock the skills, unlocking each skill at a certain level gives new players time to learn how to use them (And because each low level takes about 5 minutes, it isn’t that bad).
4. Personal story unlocks. This is just speculation, but I think I will like this a lot more. It always seemed weird to me that something climactic would happen in a PS chapter but then we would have to go feed some cows before going to save someone’s life. With each chapter unlocking all at once, I think it will feel more cohesive.
What needs to be changed/fixed:
1. Skill challenges. I don’t see any reason to lock players out of activating these. They should be like the POIs and Vistas, accessible but not shown on the map until X level.
2. The compass (when it doesn’t work). There were certain areas where the compass would freak out and switch objectives every 10 steps or so. Obviously this creates confusion. There is also the problem of it sending players to places above their level.
3. Veteran player options. It would be nice if you have a level 80 already that some features come already unlocked (POIs, Vistas, gear rarities, offhands, etc.). In addition, it would be nice to be able to get rid of the compass if you don’t want it.
Overall, just give it an hour of your time and try it out. An informed opinion is going to be taken a lot more seriously than an uninformed opinion.