I've noticed over the last week or so that I seem to have run into the brick wall that is leveling past 20. I'm definitely a bit more than a casual player but not insanely hardcore, I have glad and sentinel to 33, 4 crafts and 2 DoL above 20, and the rest sitting at 10+.
What I've noticed is that in all 3 different leveling situations (DoW/DoM, DoL, and DoH) I've started to just hit that wall where I see such minimal progress for a LOT of work. I played off and on (mostly on) for about 9 hours yesterday. In all that time, here's what I gained: a HALF a level of glad/sent, 3/4 of a level on my armorer (22.5-23.75), and a few thousand SP on each of my other crafting jobs, and about 2-3k each on miner and bot. Is it just me or does that seem a little bit outrageous? Isn't this supposed to be a more casual friendly game?
Perhaps I'm just looking at this wrong, or DOING something wrong, but I feel like I'm just treading water in this game. I also feel like the grind here is even WORSE than the grind was in ffxi. I really wasn't looking for a game like this. While I don't want a WoW clone where levels come like water, I also don't want to feel like it will take me years just to GET my classes up to r50, and that's how I feel now.
Don't get me wrong, I really and truly enjoy this game for the most part. I like crafting, I like fighting, and I like gathering. I just don't like doing them for hours and seeing such minimal results. It's very disheartening when I can play all day and not gain a SINGLE level in gladiator, especially when I focus on it for 3-4 hours. It's not like I'm right near the cap where I'd expect levels to take longer. I'm at 33, slightly over 65% of the way to the cap. I've still got a full THIRD to level through.
I also really don't appreciate all the restrictions put in this game. I can level whatever I want whenever I want! Well, not really. If I level TOO much of one thing, I run into a wonderful "bonus". If I try and craft in 1 profession, I run into the fact there are only 1-2 leves that will give me SP since most of them are still r1-5. If I want to craft outside of leves, I run into lack of shards/crystals very quickly (it's not as bad now, but when a single rank takes 150-200 synths each of which use 15 or so shards, its still an issue). Or I can go mine and log, but oh wait, if I do THAT for more than an hour or 2, I seem to run into some invisible wall that nerfs the **** out of my ability to pull up ores and logs.
I guess I just really fail to see how this is a "casual game", other than the fact that it caters almost exclusively to solo play. I'm getting really frustrated with the grind and lack of being able to do what I want when I want. I'd really like someone to play devil's advocate here and make me see the other side, as I'm having a hard time doing it myself. =/