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En Masse somewhat recently had a “Levelup” event that allowed players to get a level-boosted character for free. For anyone who happened to miss it, essentially what it did is have you create a new character of any class and name it with the format “name.Levelup.” After, a script was run that instantly boosted the characters up to level 58, close to the level cap of 60. Prior to this happening, there were some fears about what effect the event would have on players, and as time has gone on after the event most of the fears have been proven right.

I want to start off by saying that I like the idea behind it. Allowing players to check out other classes without having to level them is a pretty neat thing, especially considering the leveling path is just repeated with each alternate character you create. With that said, this also has its problems. Unlike a lot of other games, TERA is based on skill-based combat. It is not based on gear (although we could argue that for PvP and some dungeons gear can be helpful), but rather how well you know your class and you understand the various mechanics of your enemies and the game itself.

Now, when you create a new character and it is automatically boosted, it doesn't really matter how well you already know the game (unless you already have a lot of experience with that class as well). For example, you could be fully decked out in awesome gear and be clearing content as an Archer, but if you are now being thrown in to the role of a healer or tank it is a very different world. The game is the same, and the mechanics are the same, but your play style is vastly different as a result of playing a different role or class.

While leveling up separate characters using the same path is a little annoying, it does help out more than most people realize. It offers:

  • A familiar path so you can skip story lines, you already know how mobs and bosses react, etc.
  • A way for you to transition in to a new class or role
  • A fresh start, so you can work your way up while gaining knowledge

Without the leveling path, while you do hit the maximum level faster, you simply do not properly learn the new class. There are many skills and builds for each, and they are largely based on how you play and your own specific play style. When you throw yourself in to the end-game areas and try to wing it, you are more or less trying to adapt your play style to the class, rather than the class to your play style. While this works, there are a couple big issues:

  • When you adapt the class to your play style instead of the other way around, you are going to be much more efficient and you will enjoy the play much more
  • In the majority of cases, you are dragging down others while you try to learn what you're doing and what your new job is (in the case of tanking or healing). At the end-game area, we assume that people leveled up on their own and have sufficient knowledge of what they're doing. With the automatic leveling up, that simply is not the case

This isn't to say that everyone will have issues, but the vast majority will and do. This makes matters even worse for those that do dungeons, because the notion that most people in lesser gear (not fully geared up) are worse players is abundant now, whereas the player could be highly skilled and just need to finish gearing up.

I think, if anything, the system should have been something more along the lines of having faster leveling for one character, rather than just flat out giving the experience away. This would allow you to progress quickly, while still getting to understand what your skills do and what your job is in different settings. It would, of course, take some time to level up still, but at least then we aren't dealing with level 60's that still have no idea what's going on.

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