World of War Craft : Levelling up and Grinding Down

Posted by rikkusarah On February - 15 - 2010

wowBlizzard have recently released stats for WOW that show that 70% off users have never reached  past level 10, this does not come as a huge surprise. Blizzard have aimed all of their marketing at getting users to sign up for the 10 day trial, from glitzy celeb endorsements to heavy online advertising.

The result of this has been a flurry of users signing up but with no real conversion to full subscriptions, having played WOW for over a year it is abundantly clear why. To reach level 10, regardless of your class is a relatively easy task with dozens of easy fetching quests fighting low level enemies and simply traveling from one town to another. However once you hit level 10 you hit a ‘grind wall’ from this point on the game seems to throw an endless stream of higher level enemies and even more fetching quests.

There is an acceptance that all MMORPGS have a level of grind, and even console RPGS. The key difference between an mmo and console rpg is that a user is often tied in to long periods of subscriptions and have expectations of the game providing entertainment and engaging content.The grind aspect of WOW is unavoidable and the 70% drop off rate is certainly a reflection of that, I only reached level 20 in the game before hitting the point where it became too hard for me to level up any further.

This is a sign of a greater problem with the current breed of MMOs, the level of time it takes a user to reach the top levels is no longer feasible as more and more users are working and do not have the hours to put in.This new audience are simply not the ideal players to keep consistent worlds going and are causing the ’servers’ or ‘gameworlds’ to have a greater % of casual players who are causing the more hardcore players problems with guilds and group quests.

The lesson to be learnt here is the management of in game communities and to find a better way to integrate new players into them, that way they have the needed in game support to reach the higher levels and from a company perspective convert to full paid subscriptions.

2 Responses so far
  1. CJay Said,

    I have to say I disagree here. WoW is hardly difficult at the level 20 stage – even less so now with recent changes.
    I wouldn’t refer to it as a grind, there’s more than enough quests and content to avoid the need to ‘grind’ to level up.
    The game does change considerably at level 20 but it’s at that point where it gets more interesting with new skills,and mounts to lessen travelling times.
    Don’t forget the sheer number of gold seller/trading accounts filled with level 1 toons that will add towards that 70%

    Posted on February 15th, 2010 at 5:47 pm

  2. Roboutik Said,

    I would love to know, if they are differentiating between users, or toons. I am sure that gold sellers etc. Account for a lot of the instances of WoW not being played past level 10, but also i have trial accounts if I want to do something like figure out if I can use the Refer a friend system for a new mount.
    I think there are more than enough quests, and little things to do for it not to feel like a grind, but to pretend it will be seen in this light by everybody, is a little narrow-minded. I can be happy I have 7 level 80’s but I must profess it took a while to get everyone of them to 80. I work 10 hour days, it doesn’t allow much time to level throguh the boring bits, instead of raiding, and doing things other high level characters are supposed to be doing.
    I am a firm believer it will be much harder for players to come into the game now as the new lvl cap will be 85 and think it will eb easy. It is true blizz has reduced the amount of XP required exponentially, and they seem to be very inclusive in the fact they are striving to allow all players to see end-game content. Although game developers like blizzard have to keep that balance, at the hope they can still attract new players in years to come…. or until a few years time til their next MMO bounds to our PC’s.

    Posted on May 27th, 2010 at 3:06 pm

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