This past year I've noticed that I am hitting that meh feeling in games around level 20 instead of level 30. Is that because I moved to the sandbox called Eve Online and have less tolerance? Given that PvE in Eve is pretty much of a grind I don't think so. I think the reason is that game developers have decided they only need to spend the first 20 levels hooking a player and have to devote more resources to producing end game content (i.e. raids) before launch. Without that end game content, the players who race through the game start complaining that they have nothing to do and then a negative word-of-mouth campaign begins.
I think the trend began with Age Of Conan and its infamous Tortage experience where the game changed completely at level 20 and leaving Tortage Island. I can't tell for sure because I played the other major MMO to come out at that time, Warhammer Online, and never made it past level 13.
For me, the two major MMO titles published in 2011 were RIFT and Star Wars: The Old Republic. I enjoyed RIFT up until about level 18 but the game just became a log for me around level 21 and so I left the game. Currently I'm playing SWTOR and I've hit a wall at level 23. Do I really want to go on?
The wall I've hit is partially my fault, I think. Having played Eve Online for 2 1/2 years I'm used to a universe I can just wander around in at will. The only limits are the skills I've learned and the amount of isk I've earned. SWTOR is a very theme park game and not following the way the developers wants you to play can lead to difficulties. Take for example space combat. My character is a smuggler. Why in the world would I put my ship at risk in combat, especially for a corrupt Republic? And believe me, the Republic is corrupt. The same goes for ground combat. I am only in it for the money and I have a stealth belt. Why do I want to leave a huge body count behind me when I don't have to. And to tell the truth, I haven't seen very many groups looking for healers. On the last two planets I've been on, the count in
I'm going to fight through the pain to get my legacy by finishing the class story on Alderaan. I'm just hoping that the experience gets better and that 30 is the new 40.