While brainstorming ideas for this blog, one that came to mind was a regular series tracking my progress through several MMOs as I work toward max level. Ever since I began wandering through multiple games I never really made it past the opening levels, generally stopping in the teens and twenties before moving on, always rerolling when returning to previously visited landscapes. That process has left me with quite a few unfinished characters across several MMOs but no opportunity for end game activities in any of them.
One to X is a chance for me to go back through and try to complete what I have started. I won’t be doing this for every MMO I have tried in the past, only for those I enjoyed. And while I may comment from time to time on my progress as I level, I’m mostly interested in writing down a few thoughts about each MMO as I complete the trek to level cap. To begin this series I want to talk about two games in which I recently finished leveling, Final Fantasy XIV and Marvel Heroes 2015.
My journey through Eorzea began back in August or September of last year. When I first purchased the game I created one character—a Thaumaturge—and leveled into the thirties in one go with one detour to earn the fifteen levels needed as an Archer to unlock the Black Mage job. Generally when I start a game I play into the teens on my first class, then try another, and so on. Playing one class into the thirties lead me to think that perhaps I would stick with it to the end for once. Unfortunately, that was not the case and after a couple of months my interest waned.
Since then I’ve returned a couple of times and every time I have started up a new class rather than completing a previously leveled one. The same can be said for this most recent return, however this time I made it all the way to 50 on the Ninja job. One of the reasons I often lose momentum in a game is due to the process of deciding on a class. Final Fantasy does this better than by allowing you to play all classes on one character meaning you do keep some of your progression even when you make a switch. However the initial run of levequests, dungeons, hunting logs, and guildleves needed to power level up to wherever you left off in the story can be grindy.
Nevertheless I pushed through and was able to pick up the main storyline where I had left off. Ultimately I still out-leveled the story and thus while I am technically at max level, I’m not really able to participate in the end game content because I am behind on the story. This is one of my biggest complaints with Final Fantasy XIV—content, systems, and progress in general is gated behind the story. It is clear that Square Enix still considers Final Fantasy XIV a traditional RPG first and an MMO second, and for some veteran players gating every branch of the game behind the storyline progression may be off-putting. At times it has been for me.
This brings up a good question as far as my goals in One to X; am I looking to simply reach max level or do I have a specific progression goal in mind? With Final Fantasy XIV I have decided that for now being level 50 is enough and going forward I will make that decision on a game by game basis. Perhaps once I have a few more characters at max across several MMOs, I’ll circle back through and work on progressing those characters into whatever the end game has to offer.
Which brings me to my other recently achieved max level character, X-23 in Marvel Heroes. I couldn’t tell you when I started playing Marvel Heroes, but I do know my first character was the Human Torch. At first I enjoyed both the game and the hero but quickly I grew tired of both. When X-23 was announced she looked interesting to me and when I discovered she was only going to cost 200 eternity splinters I quickly made the purchase and started anew. It was the best hero purchase I have made (and I’ve made too many).
I have been playing this game off and on in short bursts, but bit by bit I have made progress with X-23 and just this weekend I decided to make the push to 60. The thing I love about Marvel Heroes is that you can really level in several different ways. I’m sure someone somewhere has figured out the optimal way to level, but as for me once I had completed the storyline on normal mode I continued my leveling via legendary quests and grinding in Midtown. Both allow you to get right into the action, and with the amount of story and cutscenes in some of the other games I’m playing, I welcome the shoot first and never ask questions later approach of Marvel Heroes.
Once I reached level 60 I realized how little I knew about this OARPG. There are so many currencies you earn along the way, so many different types of gear (and ways to earn it) that I really wasn’t sure where to begin. After some research this morning I purchased a legendary weapon and began running some of the terminal quests on a higher difficulty level. I know there are raids as well but I’m not sure if that interests me. For now when I play X-23 I’m going to focus on a complete set of level 60 unique gear and leveling my legendary weapon.
But then again, why worry about end game at all? Instead of pursuing the best gear and maxing out every other form of progression as a level 60 hero you can start over with a new one. Another feature I love about Marvel Heroes is that it is possible to treat leveling alts as a kind of end game, and it is supported through several bonuses granted for having multiple high level characters. For me I think this “end game” path is the one I will focus on. Sure, I’ll do a little work on X-23 here and there, but for the most part I plan on leveling a second hero to 60.
Now that I’ve finished leveling in these two games (which were admittedly low hanging fruit) where to next? Well, currently I am playing SW:TOR and this game is an excellent example of one in which I have returned many times and started many classes and characters but never made it further than the teens on any of them. Therefore I think either Iron’weakness, my Jedi Sentinel or Lone’weakness, my soon to be healing Scoundrel will be the next contestant in this One to X project.