This post from Keen asked a question which I desperately clutched upon as a topic for a post.
When a new MMO launches do you ever feel pressed to keep playing to stay at or ahead of the curve? Maybe you have friends playing who all seem to have more time than you do — does that bother you?
I know it shouldn’t bother me and I’d be a much happier person if it didn’t, but unfortunately it does bother me to see other people in my circle of friends leveling faster than I am. I fall victim to thinking that one’s level is a measure of one’s gaming skill, when it is actually just a measure of one’s time investment. (Wouldn’t it be cool if your “level” was derived from the number of hours you’ve played a character? But it wouldn’t represent your character’s “power” level, just your character’s “age.” Of course, then a separate measurement would be required for power.)
Once I start falling “behind” I feel an overwhelming urge to catch up, so I start pushing for maximum experience gain in the shortest possible time, and that usually means skipping quest text and never stopping to look at anything.
So if there’s a game that I want to explore and enjoy the leveling experience, like for example WildStar right now and previously ESO, I tend to stay away from groups and guilds until I have a max level character. Even if I don’t even play with anyone else in the guild, it still irks me to look at the guild roster and see a list of people at a higher level than I am. Curse my natural competitiveness!