I'm of the firm belief that the speed of leveling is far more important than current games within the genre have led us to believe. When I first started playing EQ it took forever to level to cap, but I wont bore people with that game because there are like 6 of us still alive who played EQ and many of you have no idea of what it was about. Instead I'll use an example that most of you will be familiar with. In Warcraft during Vanilla leveling took a fair amount of time. There were elite group quests and dungeons that you wanted to complete because the xp and the items you got from them were worth something. I remember running SM Library 25 times to get my Hypnotic Blade on my Priest and the sheer joy of finally getting it to drop. I can also remember that I had that dagger for like 2 weeks until I finally managed to get high enough level to get the Charstone Dirk from Maraudon. The speed of leveling and the quality of upgrades that came from dungeons along with the XP made you want to actually do the content. Not to mention all those elite quests we didn't want to pass up because the XP and sometimes rewards were vital to our leveling. With the increased leveling speed and the move toward a completely solo experience it devalued the group. People didn't care so much about doing the few group quests because the effort required to complete them was greater than the rewards they gave. Dungeons suffered a similar fate because upgrades were kept for way shorter periods of time as you burned through levels at blistering speeds. With the release of heirlooms the majority of leveling dungeon items were now worthless. Who wanted to run a dungeon multiple times for an item they were going to replace within a few hours of actual gameplay. What need was there to group up with others when all it did was slow your XP per hour and make every gathering quest ten times more annoying and tedious. Another major factor the slower leveling speed had on community is that there were always new players reaching cap and starting those dungeon crawls for their blue set and there were guilds taking part in every single tier. With current Warcraft people rush through the already too fast leveling content and dive into the content. Those who come late or are generally trying to enjoy the new quests/areas get left in the dust. Who the hell wanted to grind heroic dungeons and naturally work through progression when you could just cheat through the content with crafted PVP gear or the cheater "welfare epic 5-mans" such as Frozen Halls or Hour of Twilight dungeons. People are so focused on immediate gratification and their I-level that they've forgotten why the items are as powerful as they are. What good is any lore within the raids if people are going to skip the tiers because they can get equivalent shinies for almost no effort. When people can fly through your leveling process the only real achievement within the game is your capped content. Getting to level 20 was a big deal in Warcraft. It likely meant that you were serious about a toon you were leveling. Let's not even go into detail about the trek to 40 and how we started getting real stingy with our gold as we approached that milestone. How many people complained of a lack of things to do in Vanilla Warcraft? There was always something to do and there were always people at your level working their way through the quests or dungeons that you wanted to do. This may come off like the ranting of an old man prattling off about walking ten miles in the snow uphill both ways to get to capped content and epics, but it's really something that the genre has lost. I think the genre is worse off because of how fast and easy the leveling process is. Just reading the Warcraft forums I'm reminded of a fantastic quote from the movie Hook... Thoughts?