Adventurer Historian and MMO Gamer Chick have both alerted me and/or opined on Funcom's recent implementation of offline leveling. Here's my perspective as a brand new inhabitant of Hyboria.
*For other Players: Max level players who have no clue how to play their role.
*For Funcom: Players who are "easily bored" getting to the max level, becoming bored and not playing, canceling subscription, etc.
*For Funcom: Players disgusted with the new policy canceling their subscriptions out of spite.
*For the Player: The chance to more quickly level an alt, bypassing certain grinds, if you're already a veteran player with at least one max level main character.
*The chance to catch up with your friends if you're a newcomer to the game or a more "casual" player.
*The chance to gain a little advantage and kill that mob or finish that quest sooner, because you picked a low DPS but otherwise valuable class (tanks and healers).
*The chance to enjoy more content because this is the third online game you are subscribing to. (Because let's face it, otherwise Funcom might not even get those potential subscribers, or retain them for long.)
*The chance to level and keep up with friends even if you are not a pimply faced fourteen-year-old kid (what are you doing playing this rated-M-for-mature game anyway, where are your parents?) and actually have a job and a life, and therefore limited time to play any game. (see above)
OK, I rag on teenagers a lot because I find that they (and some immature college kids) don't understand that adults may also be interested playing in the game, but do not have time, nor interest, to be "hardcore" PvPers, raiders, etc. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that most hardcore players, the ones that look down on so-called casual players, fit that demographic. I personally consider myself a hardcore casual player. I am online a lot, but certainly not as much as some, given my RL responsibilities. On the other hand, I am a hardcore "loremaster." I know much more than the average player about the backstory in WoW and Star Trek, and I nerd-rage over people who refer to Malygos as female or Onyxia as male. But I do not care if I have the greatest gear score, nor would I spend hundreds of gold to get a couple more points of spell-power.
Hopefully, Dear Reader, you have read enough of my blog entries to know that Content and Story are of paramount importance to me. The journey to the max level is as important, if not more so, as end-game content. I have repeatedly said to fellow players that if they are bypassing content/quests and grinding/racing to the top, they are playing the wrong game, and wasting their money every month. I had a friend who was a hardcore raider on WoW prior to the the release of the Burning Crusade. He told me the game didn't even start until you hit the end-game content. I disagree. Of course, he quit the day TBC came out. The thing is, he also described the experience of hardcore 40-man raids as long bouts of boredom punctuated by minutes of adrenaline. Even though I am now running Ice Crown Citadel (the current end-game raid dungeon in WOW) with my guild, I hardly consider it more enjoyable than having the game story unfold as I explored Azeroth and Outland. Other than logging on in order to raid and do the occasional daily, I honestly hardly play. There is no story left. I like going through the storyline on STO and AoC. When I hit the max level, I may either curtail my playtime or (more likely) start an alt.
Having said all that, I understand that there are times when the content is thin at certain levels and it may be better to "skip" a level or two in order to properly enjoy the story Funcom has prepared for me. This actually reminds me of my own thoughts of a few days ago and the discussion started by Tipa. What is more important, experiencing the story of Hyboria or killing a few extra mobs in order to level?