One of the great things about well-designed MMOs is the abundance of variety. In a game like World of Warcraft, players have the option to leisurely stroll through Azeroth collecting battle pets and stopping to fish at every tranquil pond they find, or they can race across the war-filled zones gathering XP at record speed and move on from leveling to end game content; like raiding or competitive player versus player battles. Less than a day after the launch of Warlords of Draenor, a quick '/who 100' command reveals that at least some players have already mastered the speed grind to the new level cap.
The millions of WoW players can argue on the forums all they'd like about whether the game is more about the journey or the destination, but during that time a handful of power levelers breezed right by the rest of us on their way to level 100. Less than twelve hours after the European launch yesterday afternoon, Eurogamer reported than a few dozen level 100s were already dancing on the mailboxes of Orgrimmar... Not literally, but that's how we imagine they would celebrate.
Although the expansion content and new levels have only been available since midnight, a subset of no nonsense players have already conquered the ten new levels thanks to a few carefully planned strategies. A '/who 100' search on both the servers we play on returned over 20 level 100s each, so there seem to already be hundreds of level 100 toons. At this point, there appear to be two strategies for speed leveling through the new levels. The first strategy is built around turning in Mists quests that have been saved up and then tackling new quests and dungeons to earn bonus experience and treasure. There's also a less honest route to level 100, that can get you there in about an hour, but will also likely get you in some trouble with Blizzard...
Some players reached max level by exploiting quests that allow them to turn in stockpiled items, which they likely saved up over the last few months or maybe bought in bulk from the auction house. After about an hour of standing in front of an NPC and turning in these quests, the players hit 100 and raced to the forums to claim "First!" Unfortunately for them, Blizzard considers this route an exploit and quickly rolled those players back to level 90 to try again.
Despite the exploit's one hour run time, the less risky route to max level is still very impressive. Many of the players who dinged 100 in the ten hour ballpark had spent a substantial amount of time in the Warlords beta perfecting their leveling strategy. The month-long preview (for many Blizzard users) offered serious players plenty of time to experiment with different leveling strategies.
Some might argue that rushing up to level 100 ruins the experience of the new zones and story, but WoW has thrived on its goal to offer different rewards for different kinds of players. For many players, the game doesn't even really begin until max level is reached and time can be spent in heroic dungeons and raids or competitive PvP matches. Other players get more out of the Warcraft lore and can spend the next year or two completing every quest in all of the new zones and soaking in the nuances of the stories. The game may not draw in the 12 million subs that it did back at its peak, but there is still enough variety in Azeroth to keep millions of players on the hook for $15 per month.
Do you plan to speed level up to 100 or will you be taking your time with the grind? Let us know in the comments.
World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is now available on PC.
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