Wow. This comment in a previous post deserves a second here in the spotlight:
Hatch said:This isn't anything new, and has been said a million times before, but Hatch gets the golden cookie, because as I was reading his comment it clicked, and made me think of a basic idea that could solve all this crap: What if you earned XP by the hour, and there was no 'best way to level'? I know it sounds stupid, but let's give it a rundown.
I just get annoyed when one ridiculously easy activity gives a good enough reward that it makes other fun activities not worth doing. For instance, I find raiding more fun that PvP in WoW, but since TBC there were many times where BGs or arena were by far the best reward for the time/effort investment. So tons of people ended up getting pushed into PvP when they didn't really enjoy it. Same with scenarios in WAR currently. With this system, I'd feel obligated to set up a deal with a friend, and I'm tired of having more obligations in the game due to reward imbalances. I'd rather everything reward roughly evenly, and then I can just choose the more fun activity for me.
I've always hated twinks in BGs for the simple reason that NOT earning XP in WSG at level 19 seemed to completely defeat the purpose of calling them Experience Points at all. How is swinging your sword while hitting another player less of an experience than swinging it to hit a boar outside the city? I could see that killing level 1 boars all the way to level 70 shouldn't be an efficient way to grind, and killing level 1 players at 70 shouldn't reward rampant gankage, so let's take that train of thought a step further. Taking the 'tier' system of zones found in WAR, where there are different areas broken into level ranges (tier 1 = 1-10, tier 2 = 11-20, etc), and different BGs associated with those level ranges too, why not just have XP tick as long as you physically reside in 'your current tier'? Go pick flowers, stir up some world PvP, quest or queue for scenarios / BGs. There's no best way to level faster, so people will go about doing whatever they enjoy doing.
Fun activities that aren't as efficient no longer get penalized, because every activity yields equal reward.
Let's look at possible downsides:
People who can spend more time online will level faster. Uhh... do I really need to point out that this is the case regardless?
People will just AFK in their current zone for free XP: Make an 'idle hands' debuff like Warhammer has in its BGs that stops the ticking if you're just standing there, or autorunning into a tree. You have to be active to get XP, but it works for whatever it is that you decide to do.
What about quests? Quests will still reward gold and gear, just not XP. There will still be incentive to participate in other parts of the game (honor/gear for Arena, gold/gear for quests, rep/gear for dungeons) but Actual Experience is rewarded by experiencing the game itself! Go out there and do... whatever!... it all counts, and no playstyle is superior to another.
People would gravitate towards activities that were actually fun to partake in, be they public quests, scenarios, Arena, or tradeskilling. As long as you were doing anything, the 'no XP' debuff is removed for another 5 minutes. That way sitting in town making bracers, or posting auctions isn't a huge 'waste of time', but you can't just sit in town doing nothing.
The ONE inescapable downside I can see to this is playing catchup with a friend. There would be no way to accelerate your leveling to 'catch him' unless he logged off and let you. But that problem exists anyway. If you're ten levels behind your friend and he continues to play, the gap remains. Then again, if he's in the next tier, he could voluntarily come back to your zone (cutting off his XP), and help you play there until you were both even levels again.
On the upsides, there are plenty: No one could powerlevel to the end cap in 37.2 hours of your game being released. Everyone thats playing is leveling up at the same pace, and only those who were capable of not logging off for 2 months would reach the level cap. WoW had these kooky timed events like the gathering of Runecloth Bandages for the An'Qiraji war effort, or the farming of Sunwell Rep to open the armor smith on Sunwell Isle, but events like these would happen naturally given static XP. People would be reaching level 40 at roughly the same time as each other, and it would naturally allow the first groups to finally venture into Scarlet Monastery. Hitting level 56 to 57 would mean you might as well run Scholomance, because you won't be hitting the Outlands tomorrow if you grind grind grind.
I mean, right?