So a few weeks back Geoff Hanna from http://www.gamergeoff.com/ did a post about holding level 18 until your ready to take level 20. He ran down a good list of arguments and clear thinking as to why you might want to hold out. I left him a comment about now with epic levels your no longer cutting yourself off from some groups and there are a lot of builds out there that should take level 19 as they get a big power boost. But over all we both agreed that when to level was up to the player and they content/groups they want play with.
And then the emails and tweets start coming in, a trickle at first but more and more of late, enough that I will go ahead and do a write up myself.
So lets look at the advantages of taking level 19. The ddowiki lists 38 level 17 and higher quests. This does include some raids and some F Realm quests, which we save for epic hard BB to make epic leveling faster. So we really have around 28 quests. Other then the level 17s taking 20s with you wont break your streak (and really take 20s on the 17s wont either but they will suspend it) while opening up the number of people that can group with you.
Think about that. How many people do you know with level 14-18 level alts vs the number of people with level 20 – 21 level alts? I will bet there are a lot more level 20 alts hanging out then all the level 14-18 alts combined. It is just a matter of what do you want to do? Does the 5th or 6th vale quest repeat for 6k xp sound like fun or does a elite Gen point for 22k+ sound like the winner?
For me I don’t mind repeating some quests 4-10 times in a row. But they have to be quick quests with a good xp/min and some kind of for the fun of it feel, like New Ring Leader or the STK capstone quest. But after I walk down the vale quests I am done with them for the most part.
Okay so we looked at grouping so the next major factor is builds. Does your build get a huge boost at 19? There are lots of key levels in ddo builds. Tobril’s FvS build for example gets wings at level 19 (17/1/1). When doing a 18/2 wiz OR clr/ ??? build 19 is level 9 spell . There is no reason to not take a level if taking it will make the next few 100ks of xp faster/more fun. If there is no gain and you’re having a good time then…
Guess what I am saying is taking 19 or holding to 20 is a very build and personal decision, but with the addition of post 20 levels your not cutting off the potential content/people like you were pre epic levels. In fact you might be hurting yourself by not taking 19. But if you do take 19 then you need to be willing to do the kind of content that is around and you need to be disciplined enough to hold out on taking 19 until you have done all the content you want to do pre 19.
Hope that clears up my thoughts for you that wanted me to expand on my comments on Geoff’s blog.
I also want to add leveling can be a huge morale boost. Not to single out Geoff again, but he seems to be stuck in a place where he hasn’t leveled in a looooooog time. And it seems to be wearing on him. I have been there. When you’re holding and holding and it seems like it has been weeks and weeks with out any forward progress you can loose morale quickly. When grinding out the 6+ life on a massice TR train any pick me up can be welcome.