After talking games with AB the last few days, I'm getting the feeling his decidely non-powergamer. I being a powergamer, have to disagree with him.
I don't think hell levels are a good thing and they actually affect the casual gamer a lot more than a powergamer.
Oh, I apologize, I didn't mean to imply that I thought hell levels in general were in any way good. Especially in EQ, those hell levels every 5 levels beginning with 30 through 45 were terrible. What I actually meant was that I think it's a great design they have to keep people playing for months and still not be able to reach the highest plateau and I think they did a great job at designing something that was both quick to implement and a bonus to players with what they did in Ruins of Kunark.
They raised the level cap to 60 for the gamers. If they raised it any higher the Ruins of Kunark wouldn't have come out for much longer as it would have taken a long time to balance and create everything. And due to the higher cap, they wanted to prolong the gaming experience to reach the new one... it all makes sense and I totally agree with what they did. Yes, each level was a "hell level" after 50... but that's only relative to what you were used to. At level 50 you were already 83% at maximum power.
They gave new abilities and spells every level after 50 and raised the cap more for the expansion pack. And yes, they wanted to extend the time it took to get to 60. I see nothing at all wrong with that. When the casual gamer reaches 50 they really are not much of a casual gamer you know. Perhaps not a powerleveler but not a casual gamer either. Just a consistent and probably smarter gamer.
And you are partly correct Equis, but partly incorrect. I'm a total powergamer sometimes. But often I'm not... I don't believe that anyone has to be one or the other exclusively. There were times when I went through levels as fast as the best of them... such as level 24 through 29 in Highkeep as a wizard. Before that I was into exploring lots and hanging out, and it was like that afterwards as well for a long while, and again in the mid 40's. It just goes in spurts and I think it's that way with a lot of people.
In summary, I think they did an excellent job with leveling from 50 to 60, but I think they should never have put "Hell levels" in from 30 through 50... and I am both a powergamer and not... depends on my friends, my time, my mood, my goals and a lot of factors.
I am though, a power-trader-! I LOVE to trade... buy things for cheap, sell them for more, pay attention to the player market, know what everything is worth and take advantage of it. I do love that and spend hours doing it. Had the SMR at level 40 back when you only saw level 47+'s with it and Ruins wasn't out, and I didn't even camp it.... thank goodness, because I spent hours with others who were down there and it was letdown after letdown more often than not.
By the way, the exp loss from 50 to 60 should have been less to compensate for the time to level... but the time to gain exp was perfect. And I agree with pretty much everything else they did during those levels... save specific arguments about certain abilities, spells, etc.
Make YOUR Gaming Scream!