Pros and Cons of WoW Powerlevelling, Part 3

wow_last.jpgIn case you missed them... Pros and Cons of WoW Powerlevelling, Part 1 Pros and Cons of WoW Powerlevelling, Part 2

Here it is, the last chunk of our epic powerlevelling story. I've been assured by the anonymous writer who sent this mammoth literary extravaganza in that everything is true.

Well, no need for me to waffle on about this one, you know the story - or should I say, you will know.

Ah, watch out - a disclaimer!

Disclaimer: Kotaku AU does not advocate the use of powerlevelling services, or the use of any service that violates the Terms of Use or End User License Agreements (EULA) of any game. If you decide to indulge in any such service, you do so at your own risk.




Before I continue, I should explain a few other practises powerlevelling services make use of in order to get their infamous work done.

The first is that they play 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get you to the level you want. This is accomplished by cycling the account between different players.

The second practise relates to the first, and is heavily dependent on the quality of the service. Essentially, they use bots when actual manpower isn't available, or the powerlevelling service is unwilling to cough up the paltry sums of money to employ warm bodies.

A bot, if you haven't heard the term before, is a program that runs in the background, interpreting information from the game and converting it into key and mouse presses to simulate a real player. Bots can be very effective, but like all software, they're not perfect. If a monster isn't where it's supposed to be, or the user interface is mis-configured, a bot will cheerfully run in circles, off cliffs or have its arse PvP'd into oblivion.

Obviously, this sort of behaviour does not go unnoticed by other players... or game masters. If you get reported, and the powerlevelling service doesn't pick up on it, you can kiss your account goodbye. Bye epics, bye hours of my life.

Bye hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of subscription fees.

I learnt all this wonderful, encouraging information as my character hit level 35. I trembled in the morning as I watched my progress. I shook in the afternoon as I sat at my PC, eying my character's advancement. Finally, I wiped sweat from my hands in the evening as the powerlevelling service continued to grind indefatigably away at creatures and quests.

Every minute of my day was consumed spying on my Paladin - wasted time in hindsight. I didn't care so much about what level it was any more. All I concerned myself with was getting my account back in one piece.

The smart thing to do at that point would have been to contact the powerlevelling service and ask them to stop immediately. But I was stupid. Plus, it looked like they couldn't even tell when an account was inaccessible or not, so I doubted they could halt a powerlevelling contract midway through.

So, after this D&M with myself, I decided to wait it out.

The Looming Threat My character stayed at level 35 for what seemed like an eternity, or at least the better part of a day. I think it sticks in my memory because it was when I noticed my character was in Scarlet Monastery.

SM? Isn't that a level 35-40 instance?

There's no way my low-level character was going to waltz into SM alone, on a PvP server. No, I rationalised, my character must be grouped. And there's no way a bot is going to get away being in a group doing Scarlet Monastery.

That left only one conclusion - my character was being controlled by a real person. A small consolation, yes, but it add a bit of sunshine to my hermit-like existence.

Level 36 arrived that day and, shortly after, 37. Before I logged off from my trial account that night, my character was doing whatever it did in the Badlands. I can say now that my character spent a lot of time in that zone. Ten levels, maybe more. My guess is that was using a Protection AoE grinding build.

When I woke up the next morning, I'd lost track of how many days it had been since I'd began powerlevelling. All I knew was that it was the beginning of a new month and, when I logged in, my character had surmounted two levels overnight.

By my fuzzy calculations, regardless of my characters monstrous levelling abilities, the service would have to grind 24/7 to get me to level 50 within the ten-day estimate.

It must have been a Tuesday, because scheduled maintenance interrupted the proceedings. I was sure that when the servers came up the next morning, I'd be greeted by a nice email explaining exactly how hard Blizzard had banned my arse.

That night, I dubbed Wednesday "The Day After".

The Day After I'd like to say Wednesday was the day. But it wasn't. Mixed emotions flooded me as I logged into the trial account to face the envitable.

The envitable, however, didn't look back. What did stare at me - in what I imagine was an accusatorial manner - was my character's /who.

A level 42 Blood Elf Paladin. I hadn't be banned. Was it some kind of cruel, vicious game that Blizzard was playing with me? Did they want to squeeze out as much misery as they could from this?

I was at the end of something. A tether. My sanity. Something had to break.

The evening wasn't exciting by the standards of the previous few days. My character climbed to level 44, and was still hanging around the Badlands. Probably running in automated circles around a GM.

It was about this time that things started to blur. My job lost importance and sleeping became optional. I still ate, used the toilet and breathed, but if my girlfriend had still been with me, I'd have been guilty of neglect in the first degree.

No, not even the thought of companionship could rouse me from my daily vigil. My character ascended to level 45, then 46. By the end of what I guessed to be the ninth day - it was about the fourth of the new month - my Paladin was swinging away at trolls in the sands of Tanaris.

I secretly hoped they'd picked up the flightpoint. Damned if I was going to walk there again.

That's when I caught myself doing something I shouldn't - planning ahead. Why was I constructing a future for a character that I was sure had none? It was because I had hope, and it was enough to convince myself that there was a tiny chance I wouldn't be banned.

The Big Five-O That night my character hit 50.

Through the trial account, I could see that my character was no longer logged in. I was using the Friends list now, so I had a record of the last state my character was in before the powerlevelling service cut its ties.

Fifty. I'd made it. All the horror stories I'd read of getting caught within a few levels of employing a powerlevelling service did not apply to me. Minus a bizarre hiccup via email, and my abuse of the account management system, my powerlevelling endeavour had hit 50 without incident.

Was I lucky? Had the stars aligned in a way to blind Blizzard from my activities? I didn't know.

All I could think about was what the hell I was going to do next.

I resisted the urge to log into my freshly-fifty character. The best course of action, going by everything I'd learned, would be to wait a minimum of 24 hours before logging in. Before that, I would change my password to make sure the powerlevelling service couldn't pay a return visit to pilfer my gold and gear.

I think it was after this thought that I went completely zen.

"Fuck it. Fuck it. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen," I said aloud.

I could wait a day.

Epilogue On the morning of the tenth day, I accessed my account management and changed my password. Shortly afterwards, I logged into the game.

That was eight months ago. For a few weeks, I played my powerlevelled character. As promised, I had a mount, a bit over 100 gold and a bunch of green and blue items on my person and in my bank. I'd been left in the neutral town of Tanaris, and my powerlevellers had specced Retribution.

I discovered that the powerlevelling service I'd used had a reputation for being the worst. They used bots, they powerlevelled 24/7, and did little hide what they doing. Somehow, I'd come out unscathed. I felt like Achilles.

Or God.

I quested and grinded in Azeroth until I pipped 58, and then I headed to the Outland. I managed to get to my mid-60s before I logged out for the last time.

During my final days playing, when I was convinced that I'd dodged a bullet the size of a small planet, I received a message in Chinese pinyin. Translated, it said:

"Do you remember me?"

It took less than a second for me to set up the /ignore. It was that last reminder I had of my powerlevelling experience.

It's been a couple of months since I played, and I can honestly say that I have no desire to go back. If my powerlevelling escapades taught me anything, it's that there were better things in my life than numbers in a database.

It also revealed my obsession with WoW for what it was - an addiction.

An addiction I can say I've kicked.

Other parts to this article:
Pros and Cons of WoW Powerlevelling, Part 1
Pros and Cons of WoW Powerlevelling, Part 2


Comments

    an addiction indeed and compelling reading, I still have no concept of how people get so addicted to WoW and your account of the worry it inspired in you is really quite alien to me... Do you think you'll actually "quit" playing now?

    What an anti-climax >.

    very good and well-written good ending too

    Hope you eventually get banned, you broke the rules and you must be punished.

    ...and that man was Logan Booker.
    Seriously, though. You certainly kept me reading, Masked Man. Nice descriptions of the paranoia involved in this sort of deal. But..ugh that ending. Too much pathos.

    WTF what a crappy ending. You were supposed to get caught! You were supposed to suffer a tragic fate!

    John, if you'd actually read this you'd realize that he stopped playing. Very interesting read and very well wrote. I originally saw the link to the first post and thought what the hell, you caught me hook line and sinker and I had to read more. I have a friend who also power leveled from mid 60s to 70 successfully and was interested in hearing another persons experience. If you can't do something yourself pay someone else to do it...it's the American way! Thanks for the great story!

    Ok, I read the whole thing expecting there to be some sort of Blizzard GM chasing the little hapless Paladin toon through out Outlands tracking his progress but no it just leaves off on some Chinese dude talks to you in pinyin "do you remember me?" And that was the last you seen of your toon. So you haven't said what the chinese guy's connection and how he lead you to getting busted for using a power leveling service or why it took Blizzard so long to ban you after you were already in your mid-60's. Other than that, I'd say your story was interesting (up until the detail shy ending). It just covered your anxiety over the whole ordeal. I could imagine myself in your shoes.

    Man, your a spaz.

    eeh i've tried powerleveling, botting, hacks, cheats you name it i've tried it, and (knock on wood) i havent been caught. i've reached a point in the game where if i were to be banned i would get another account or just simply quit.

    In a sense these things are like a new way of enjoying the game because I am constantly on edege, "When will i get banned. Today? Tomorrow???" To me it adds a whole new layer to the experience.

    To those who have lost interest in wow and contemplating quiting for good, I suggest you try this stuff out, it will be something worth while and a rush. The worst that can happen is that you get banned and have to face the cold reality that is life.

    Allen, it's the way of the world... not only Americans. Money wasn't invented in America, or is unintelligent thinking "European"?

    Either way, powerleveling is cheating, but it seems that you can't get anywhere if you don't cheat here and there. So as you (John, I'm looking at you now) complain that he is cheating, you can keep leveling your level 25 character as he has his level 50 Paladin. Complain as you want, but he has the upper hand.

    Exciting, doesn't inspire me to use a powerleveling service really...
    Never wanted to do it either, I want it to be MY accomplishments. Ta~

    I have had over 7 chars powerleveled and only the most recent was temp banned.

    They have a new way of catching powerlevelers. I took all precautions and was still banned, using the same service that I had used for all seven.

    Funny thing was that the e-mail from blizzard was the gold selling/exploiting the economy form letter.

    Loved the article, I identified with it.

    I would never be so presumptuous as to claim that for the entire world seeing as I've never been outside my own boarders.
    I agree with Thomas, I have thought of power leveling in the past but what good is a level 70 if you have no clue how to play. I know this is not the case for everyone but it most certainly was the case for me. As it is with alot of cases with great risks come great rewards. If you don't mind having a level 70 that you don't know how to play or risking time/money if you happen to get banned then by all means go on ahead. Personally I'd rather spend hours, days, even months of hell leveling a paladin (one can only take so much abuse in one sitting) than spend money to get power leveled. Maybe it's just the Jew in me but I'm not willing to risk it.
    He got power leveled and didn't get banned you may all commence your own private QQ session. Your lives and morals are now all completely rendered meaningless. Instead of shunning power leveling and gold selling blizzard should embrace it. Most of us have time but not alot of money some of us have alot of money but not much time. So why can't we all enjoy a level 70 that's filthy stinking rich in game? Just because you have a level 70 with alot of gold doesn't mean you'll be good, which gives the edge to the person who actually spent time in game as opposed to in the office. Of course I've left two important groups out, those with no time/money and those with an abundance of time/money. If you don't have time or money why are you playing World of Warcraft? If you have an abundance of time and money then I hate you and you deserve to burn in hell...I'm just playin. Whatever way you choose I wish you all luck in your endeavors and an enjoyable gaming experience. In the end that's all that really matters.

    It's a total Tell-tale Heart, and it shows you don't need a tragic ending. The suspense is still the same whether the man tears up the floorboards or not. Either way, he flirted with insanity from worry.

    Right now, you can get a Box set of WoW + WoW:BC for $40. I assume that's 1 month free game play. So if I were going to use a PL service, I'd buy a new copy, create a new account and get the first character on it PL'd. That way you lose very little if it's banned.

    Truly a great article. The story had a unique flare to it which captivated me, I enjoyed that the story was 'deep' enough to encompass what was being said, but "Shallow" enough so not to get distracted from the meat of the story.

    I can only comment one thing, here is the breakdown of the parts.

    Beginning - Great
    Middle - Great
    Conclusion - Left me feeling as though I had been violated, I actually said outloud "What the hell, was that the fluffing end? I'm disappointed."

    Greatly done! *applauds*

    This story was like one of those Indie films that you see where you're thinking, 'this is actually pretty good' and then... the inevitable trashy ending.

    Also, the only (barely corporeal) moral here is that if you actually play the game instead of hiring a powerleveling service, you'll figure out whether you truly want to play the game or not without spending nearly as much money.

    This was a good read. The only thing I don't understand is why he didn't just change his password the second he started freaking out about this. Would have saved him 10 days of insanity.

    With all the time you spent watching you account get PL'ed you could have just leveled it to 50 yourself.

    I'd pay that money just to get rid of my WoW addiction!

    Reading your text, I could hear the devil laughing!

    Me, I'm still laughing. Thank you, it was very amusing *wiping tear*. I can relate to the paranoia ordering stuff from ebay and waiting for the package to arrive.

    Nice read, thanks. I have friends who have powerlevelled and none of them have been banned. However, they can attest to the sleepless nights and waiting you endured.

    I played WoW for a long time, ended up with 140 days game time and 18 months of my life wasted. I'm glad i don't play anymore as now i've actually started doing something with my life!

    Cheers,

    CHINA RULES CHECK YOUR GD HOUSE ITS FULL OF Chinese Ingenuity.
    Blizz banned me after my account was hacked
    so I power leveled two rogues.
    (yes I had a rogue and know how to play a rogue )
    They banned me and told me to F#@# off so I laugh and bought two PL hahaha. I dont care just want to be back up to speed and a couple of hundred dollars isn't that much.

    hmmm.... my flatmate was into WoW and he always attempted to seduce me into it, but i resist as i knew it was th end of my life and my degree if i even sniffed near it.

    now that i'm out of education and rolling in money (not really) power levelling seems attractive. would love to see all the fun stuff, but skip all the pain.

    but then again, maybe i should just shut up and buy Team Fortress 2 and a nice gaming laptop?

    :)

    meh.

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