Hmm - sure, seems I need to replay Queensdale lol. Still, doing all of that does not means that it makes sense for that bandit to stand there.
Correct, it does not make sense for a level 2 mob to drop level 80 loot... unless he does it even when only a level 2 PC kills him. Yes, I said that players with level 80 characters have no reason to play in low leveled areas because of the poor loot, but that is a complaint against levels. If there were no levels (or rather, if the power cap was low), most mobs would drop decent loot.
Uh, yes, not being able to pick locks would mean that it would not feel strange to not be able to pick this particular lock. It is not an invisible wall, it is a very visible wall, and it looks like a door.
Yes absolutely, Columbus could have obtained a ship in some other way, or he could have built a raft. But in a game you can only simulate so much of the constructed reality: even though there are ships in a game, you might not be able to become a captain on one of them. You are complaining about the limits of the simulation, limits that exist regardless of levels.
(on the other hand, Columbus really didn't have any other way of doing it realistically, since he could not finance the expedition himself, nor would anyone but the queen of Spain do it).
And yes, level gating is immersion-breaking; narrative gating is not. This is how our brains work; things like that we can't open a door until we find the key is intuitive to us. That said, not being able to beat a number 8 as long as we have the number 2 is intuitive as well, however, that reduces the problem to be one of numbers instead of being about the world, and that is what breaks immersion.
No, an ocean is not an invisible barrier. It is a visible barrier. It looks like a lot of water. The word "invisible" means something that you can't see. And the barrier would be there regardless of whether the game had levels or not. GW2 has levels, as well as lots of "invisible" barriers that you can see.
No, it is not ridiculous that the in-game rules are different from real-world rules, after all, it would be boring if they were not. But it is ridiculous that the in-game rules do not have logical consequences.
Basically, under my suggestion, on the GW2 map, any area outside of, say, Queensdale, would be "max level". Of course, there would be areas that would have varying degrees of difficulty and varying degrees of reward. So when you say "rushing to the max level area", what you are actually saying is dispersing throughout the world, playing the content that they like. Of course, players would aggregate to farming spots, since they would be able to find some areas in the world where they could maximize profit. That will happen no matter what, it happened in WoW, it happened in GW1, it happened in GW2, it happened in any game ever. So forcing them to level for two weeks first is meaningless.
The world would still be thoroughly explored (partially because people like that, partially because people would look for farming spots lol).
Other than that, if someone "rush to the most rewarding area", what does it matter to you?
I really don't see how dynamic events are that unique. Most of them can be placed in a small number of categories.
- Kill this enemy/s
- Defend this thing/s
- Defend/capture this area
- Collect X number of Y items
- Escort this NPC/s
I might have forgotten some category. And there are a couple of unique events as well. But most fall into these categories. That's not even to mention the hearts, which are very repetitive.
I see plenty of Double standards in this post. You say that a locked door is logical because we know from real life experience that we need a key to open a door which is true but have no problem with all the other things we know we can do in the real world but aren't possible in the game such as lock-picking, bashing the door, blowing it to smithereens, disassembling it, hacking it to bits etc.. Face it in both cases we have to realize this is a game and doesnt work like real life. Be it a door that cannot be open in any way until you finish a mission or a monster that cannot be beaten until my character becomes more powerful makes absolutely not difference. They're both in game realities that dont map exactly to the real world.
Once again an ocean is an invisible barrier because it is no barrier at all it is just a representation of a barrier. The barrier itself is completely invisible. When you get to the shore and cant move any more its not because there is an ocean in the way, that will not impede your progress in any way. Its because there is an invisible barrier which in our case is a story gate. Like wise with the door. The door will not stop anyone much less a hero that can bring down mighty beasts. The door is not barrier its a representation of the barrier which in your case is once again a story gate. Like wise with leveling. You level is just a representation of your characters level of development. They're all a visual representation of something else intended to give context to the player. Like you said seeing the ocean a player might realize I need to find a way across it which should ideally drive him back to the narrative though this doesnt always work that way. Just like the higher level will drive the player in growing his/her character more.
Like you said it is impossible not to have some content be more rewarding that other content. As long as that exist people who all they care about is the best rewards will flock to those locations. People will most definitely not explore the areas just because they're the same level as anywhere else. Sure at the start a few will wonder around finding the farm spots, then these will become public knowledge and "everyone" will just head there. If people will explore just because they like it like you said why would levels matter to anyone? you will never run out of places to explore while leveling up.
It matters to me because it is important for the game as a whole on a variety of levels. It doesnt address the real problem which is having people play all over the map and not at specific spots. What you're suggesting will make the real problem worst because new players can bypass it all. It damages the longevity of the game because I am quite sure while farming these rewarding spots is what some people want, they dont enjoy it at all and end up quiting because of it. leveling up might open the eyes to at least some of these, helping them realize there is more to the game. If they're free to simply skip everything they will never know there is a lot more to the game.
I took the liberty to spoiler the obligatory worthless-rant-and-bunch-of-ad-hominem portion of your post. And no, levels doesn't allow you to choose your challenge, rather, they remove that option: to do challenge X at difficulty Y you need to do it at exactly the right time, otherwise you'll be leveled too high or too low. This has been established time and time again, but if you want, we can have the discussion once again.
To answer your questions:
- Why would no or fewer levels be better? Well, one could say that the number of levels doesn't really matter. For example, I have suggested infinite leveling. What matters is the power cap and the speed at which one approaches it - if it is high (as in GW1 or as in my suggestion), then a stable, level playing field is quickly obtained across the entire playerbase. This will mean that players learn faster and better (players are less likely to get stuck in local optima when learning the game), as well as that players of different capabilities and different amounts of actual play experience and play time will be more likely to play with each other, which even further increases the speed and quality of learning the game. This, in turn, allows designers to create a deeper game experience.
A quickly reachable power cap enables a deeper game experience.
- What would the progression in the game look like, what types of progression, how long does it last, and so on? Well, there are several ways this could be done. The below all also contain hidden, narrative progression, just like GW2 does.
- GW1 had a very good model IMO; completing somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of the storyline would usually mean that you hit max level. Most first-time players would max out their gear after that. The downside was that a significant part of the world was not max-level (and thus well-balanced) content, especially since most of the world had a team size other than 8 (the number around which skills were balanced). This was corrected in the expansions.
- Another model would be my own suggestion of having infinite levels with a quick power ascension (that also flattens out quickly, on the shape of 1-[1/(x+1)], where x is the level). Apart from a small tutorial-like area, most of the world would be suitable for characters who have reached the vicinity of the power cap (levels 10 and up). I think leveling up once per 20 minutes or so would be good to start with, maybe taking longer as time goes on and levels mean less.
- No levels would be a decent model as well; progression could be based entirely on gear. That gear could confer significant statistics, or merely variation of such (e.g. choice between fire damage and slashing damage).
- How would gating work in the game? This is obvious: there should only ever be narrative gating. The sole exception would be if tutorial levels exist, as they did in GW1: in that case, merely walking to areas with higher level enemies should mean so much resistance that if you make it you will have obtained so much xp that you already are at the correct level.
Narrative gating should be the main method of "making sure that players don't kill the final boss in 7 minutes". Simply put, just like in GW2, all storyline missions are set inside instances, and each mission will only be accessible once you have done the one before it. This would mean that the world at large would not be gated, but that the missions, the storyline events, etc., would be.
- How much content would there be and how would the content pacing be structured? The same amount of content as is found in GW2 could exist, and pacing could be handled by the storyline missions. The nice thing with an open-world game is that the content can to a large degree pace itself: one can fiddle around with mob respawn timers and the cycles of events appearing (whether that is the appearance of some NPC for an escort quest in WoW, or the sort of dynamic events we see in GW2).
I am not future teller but doing what you're suggesting I bet will still result in the people finishing the game in 7 minutes because they'll simply skip all the story in favor of the highest rewarding content. For what you're suggesting to work people need to care about the story more then rewards. The fact you're saying levels are an issue is pretty clear story isnt that important to people because there is plenty of story to be had while leveling up if that would be what they seek. Making the main story entirely optional is not going to change that, its going to make it worst because it would be safe to ignore unlike now.