The Littlest Ding

There has been a lot of discussion over the years about levels, levelling, and the issues around it.

On one hand, it is an artificial metric.  It has no reflection in reality.  It is a hold over from table top gaming.  It acts as a barrier between players keeping them from being able to play together.

On the other hand, levels are at least some way of measuring progress and skill.  They give people a series of goals.  They help you decide where you should be adventuring.  And they give people milestones to celebrate.

Ding!  Right?

I have seen more than a few blog entries posted in celebration of the Ding.

So it is my feeling that, if a game is going to go with the concept of levels, they should embrace it fully.

Which brings me to one of my small disappointments with Lord of the Rings Online.  They went with a level based system, and then decided to be very discreet when you levelled.  This is all the message that you get:


Your level has changed to 25.

That is it.  Not even an exclamation point.  You could very easily imagine somebody saying, “Your level has changed to 25. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

It is so unobtrusive that the most common way people in our group learn that they have levelled is somebody saying, “Oh, hey, did you level back there?”

Compare this to EverQuest II.  There is a game that knows how to let you, and everybody around you, know that you have levelled.  See here for an example.  Even a trade skill level gets the full effect.

Now, in the grand scheme of things, at least things MMO, this is trivia.  Nobody is going to cancel their account because their levels do not generate sufficient attention.  But I still feel that, if you have chose levels as your paradigm of character advancement, you should call attention to those advancements.

Getting a level can be a big deal.  I don’t want to miss it.

(I wanted to get that level screen shot from LOTRO for a while, but I kept missing it.  You have to love irony that makes your point.)

7 thoughts on “The Littlest Ding

  1. Godlesswanderer

    I was watching my brother play WoW yesterday and I saw him level up, it made me realise that I miss hearing the level up sound and seeing effect that appears around your character. It’s weird that out of everything in WoW, it’s only the *DING* sound that I miss.


  2. KevinC

    “Your level has changed to 25.

    That is it. Not even an exclamation point. You could very easily imagine somebody saying, “Your level has changed to 25. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

    LOL! That cracked me up. I agree though, that if we’re going to experience a “ding” when we level up, let’s do it with style! I don’t want something garish, but I do like to feel that it’s this special moment with a nice sound/music and at least a little bit of flash. It’s always nice to hear your raid or group mates start the “Grats” train as well.


  3. Pvthudson

    That is a very Tolkien like ding, maybe they did it on purpose? Everything in that game is kinda toned down to reflect a very emo Middle Earth. I think it matches the setting.


  4. Yoman

    The real purpose of leveling is so MMOs work
    – balances populations in zones
    – allows for almost endless eq upgrades


  5. talyn328

    I agree, I think it is toned down purposefully. Not to sound like Richard Garriott, but “in most MMOs” leveling makes quite an impact on your character. LOTRO, slightly less so, and the somewhat underwhelming “ding” goes along with that. It was quite aggravating in WoW to have someone level right in the middle of questing and they’d run back to town to train up. In LOTRO, sure you might get a new skill or few, but it’s not as immediately critical that you need to dump your group to go get them. I find it a nice change of pace when the group starts saying “grats!” then you’re like “oh, I leveled? I didn’t even notice.”


  6. yunk

    There is a swishing sound and a little cloud graphic that appear over you. But… maybe you need high settings to see it? I can’t remember if I saw it when I was playing on my old computer.

    This whole topic reminds of of the Seinfeld episode where she broke up with that writer because he didn’t use exclamation points. “I would put an exclamation point here! and here! and here!”


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