Having just finished my goal to see how fast I could level a character in CO, I wanted to comment about it.
It took roughly about 70 hours of leveling time. I took a few breaks with the character online to roleplay, so add about six to 12 hours to count that. No experience points were gained during RP, and it usually was done at the end of leveling for the night. The 70 hours included selling stuff and other maintenance tasks. All of it was done solo, except for group open missions like Mega-Destroid.
There were a lot of things I didn’t do:
Serpent Lantern: The former adventure pack. The reason why I didn’t mostly was because it is dull, and I could get better exp normally. SL is mostly designed to be run on elite difficulty to farm drops. As a leveling tool it is meh.
Crafting: I didn’t craft except item bags. I broke down items quite a bit just to clear my inventory, but I never needed to craft a single thing. 2 bags dropped at level 30ish giving me more than enough space.
Crafted items in CO generally are useless. The game showers you with drops, and you level much faster than you level up your craft. Especially at level 30+. Even consumed items like healing stims can be bought cheaper via resources.
PvP: I did a couple matches for variety. My character also was designed to PvP, with a crippling challenge advantage and more of a defensive nature. However I didn’t. PvP gives very poor experience points over time, and the acclaim rewards aren’t so hot until you get to level 40 and farm 250k or more acclaim.
Worry about my gear: I didn’t at all. In CO the only thing to farm for is the materials for crafted travel powers, costume piece unlocks, and resources for retcons. Just playing normally gives you quested gear for your level, and a lot of it. I have one full bank tab full of gear I saved for later.
The tutorial: Levels 1-5 are a tutorial of how to play the game, and for a vet its only point is the few perks you can get in it. It’s very dull once you’ve done it because it’s just using things like the energy builder to fight with until you unlock very basic abilities. It takes about 2 hours, and its a good intro to the game, but unnecessary once you level one character past it.
Perk/costume hunting: You can unlock costume pieces in the game by hunting down perks or buying from the C-Store. Many of the pieces require killing around 5,ooo enemies. This is a LOT of enemies: in normal leveling I didn’t kill 1000 of any type. You can also spend time chasing perks for things like finding secret enemies (billy goat gruff is if you kill the grondling hiding under a bridge in millennium city) killing named enemies, or doing and taking specific damage types.
There were some surprising things I did do however. Here’s a second list:
Ended the game with a decent amount of resources: At the end I had roughly 400 Global with about 80 globals worth of items in the auction house. Most of that was just from vendoring drops: the only things I sold to players were some of the crafted power ingredients. That’s more than enough to do a full retcon at level 40 in addition to the free one I have, and It’s plenty to redesign costumes. However it’s not to buy a crafted travel power straight out, and some things have crazy AH prices due to rarity, like costume unlocks.
Played it hard: I actually broke one of my rules. From Vibora Bay on, every instance I did was at Elite level.
This started at first because of boredom, but I kept it because it motivated me. Elite in normal lairs is tough but was doable with my build. It did give more experience, but I’m not sure the added time to kill each mob balanced it out. The drops didn’t seem to change radically from choosing it.
Beat a world boss: Remember Mega-Terak, the cyborg dinosaur I fought alongside in the Monster Island crisis? Well at 33 a final quest in a quest chain was to beat him. For fun, I started to fight him, and another player joined in. The two of us beat him down. A world boss is defined by a Cosmic difficulty, which he was.
Got crafting to 310/400: Without focusing on it, or crafting much, or gathering a lot of resources. Just by breaking items down.
Crafting only gets grindy at 400, where you need Great Profundity items from a perfect experiment to buy blueprints for costume and rare unlocks.
Some Final Thoughts:
70 hours isn’t a lot. That’s comparable to the length of a deep offline roleplaying game. If I remember right, my first character to 40 took about 3 months, mostly because I was slowpoking and rolling a lot of RP alts.
It also is very build dependent. One of the secrets to me surviving was using a dex-based toon with lightning reflexes, bountiful chi resurgence/resurgent reiki, and masterful dodge. This I learned from PvP. BCR with the advantage gives you tics of healing over time, and additional tics when you dodge an attack. MD drastically ups your dodge chance and avoidance for 15 seconds, and LR with the high dex gives a high base dodge to start. This makes you invulnerable for 15 seconds while refilling your health bar, in practice.
Most of the game’s content is optional as well. I didn’t max out the quests in any one area, and I leveled to cap without doing possibly half of the quests in the game. There is some variety in leveling based on the quest areas you choose, and all areas can be leveled in: the desert, MC, and canada to mid thirties, to 40 in VB, Monster Island, and Lemuria.
This is also showing CO’s largest problem: people consume content much faster than they designed it for. That content also competes with the past content, so it’s mostly unneeded. I’ve capped 3 characters so far in months: heck the game hasn’t even been out one year yet, and I have played maybe 6 months total. When people gripe about no content, this is what they gripe over. There isn’t much that’s necessary to do once you level a toon to cap, and the gameplay at endgame doesn’t change enough to keep you going. Most endgame lairs are the same as the lairs I played in game.
This also gives the lie to Cryptic’s “build them fast” idea. It’s because they rushed it that they suddenly find they have no content. They made a decent experience leveling up, especially for the first time. It’s great, but they never planned on how fast people could beat it, and what after.
I had a lot of fun doing this. Keeping time focused actually helped me. The longest I took to level a single level was 5+ hours at 40, and most on average were 2-3 hours. The times I recorded were from logging on till I reached a target level or got tired of the grind. Whenever I stopped, I did nothing that could be counted as leveling, instead parking myself in the social area Club Caprice and roleplaying/talking with people on some days. This is the fasted I’ve leveled any character to cap: the next fastest was leveling Corsair to 75 in FFXI, which took about a month. This was because COR is a very popular group class.
I’ll go through my screenshots and post some later.