The skill-up issue is a smokescreen. The only skills that will suffer in a party with a PL are Healing, and various defensive skills (of those, evasion is a non-issue to cap even with a PL, and parry/shield/guard are impossible to cap in XP even without one). Healing is possible to cap outside of XP, either spamming at a MH or casting on undead (which is very fast). In truth, having a PL gives people an opportunity to cap skills that they normally would have difficulty doing, like various weapons, Divine for WHMs, Elemental/Dark for RDMs, etc.
1)(a)PLing enables a lazy person to reach higher levels...
(a)It's a case of he-said, she-said. The truth of the matter is this - if you are a lazy player, there is nothing about having ... or not having ... a PL that is going to change this. Granted, some new players simply don't know any better, and the more experienced players in a party will attempt to correct them. I maintain that these players will be corrected -regardless- of whether or not they are in a PL'd pt. That's how I learned - that, and reading the sticky topics posted here. The majority of the 'horror stories' you read on these forums are exceptional, extreme cases - from the vocal minority of the Vana'diel population.
The time to learn how to tank, nuke, pull, heal, conserve MP and absorb general party dynamics is in the "noob pits", not at level 40-50+. A PL prevents you from learning these basics. This is not "he-said she-said": the presence of a PL eliminates the consequences of failure, and thus the impetus to learn from your mistakes
. Yes, it's true that there are a certain segment of players that will be terrible no matter what you do, but they are in the minority.
Now, this doesn't have anything to do with PLing, but it illustrates my point about knowledge: Dual Wield. It's widely believed that the first Dual Wield trait does nothing but allow you to wield two weapons at once, and that the weapon delay reduction doesn't come until DW II. This is patently false, DWI reduces weapon delay by 10%, and I can give you a test to prove it that will take you 10 minutes, tops. But the erroneous information persists, despite the best efforts of people like myself.
That's kind of a roundabout way for me to explain to you why I don't buy into the "these players will be corrected" theory, because it's been this player's experience that -- for the most part -- they will not. Being power-levelled is worse than just buying your account and being a newbie at level 30, because in addition to needing to absorb the "right way" to play, you have bad habits that need to be un-learned.
Take a look at the Echo Chamber of Idiocy, also known as the "Main FFXI Forum". Scan some of the threads in there about game mechanics, and see first-hand how much people learn when their peers are just as ignorant as they are themselves.
(b)keeps people from learning the skills they need in order to function well at higher levels.
(b)A -bad PL- will keep a party from getting the necessary skillups. A -good PL- will not. It's been my experience that good players do not change their play style when a PL is involved - especially tanks and mages.
First a quick note: Skill-ups are completely different from intangible "party skills" like how to tank, how to heal, etc. In-game skills are not an issue with a PL, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Anyway.
It's been MY experience that good players DO change their playstyle when they have a PL, ESPECIALLY tanks and mages. How you haven't noticed this, I can't even begin to fathom. Sure, the tanks might still try to keep aggro, but they will never face the consequence of having a party members die because they made a mistake: this turns out reactionary vokers, people who only try to grab aggro when they lose it. Sure, the mages might continue to enfeeble for skillups, but they won't fully appreciate the value of enfeebles for extending chains. The WHM might still heal, but they won't ever have their nose mashed to the grindstone and be forced to make tough decisions about how to spend their MP, they aren't going to learn the finer points of conservation. The puller doesn't even need to pay attention to the status of the party, they can just grab mobs willy-nilly with no downtime whatsoever. This leads to high-level pullers who don't understand why everyone wants them to wait between chains 0-2, and just grab mobs until the party is exausted and think they are doing well. The obvious point about the DDs is that they don't learn that tanking is a group effort, and won't hold back (I'm looking at you, Souleater + Berserk + Last Resort + Guillotine).
This is only scratching the surface. By PLing, you are delaying when players learn these skills, and by delaying, you are allowing them to learn bad habits that are extremely difficult to break when the time comes. I can't ram this point home enough: if you remove the consequences of failure, people will not learn from their mistakes
, period, end of story, that's all she wrote.
I understand your concept of a "good" PLer and a "bad" one, but in eyes, you've only described "bad" and "less bad". The only good PLer is one that doesn't PL at all, imo.
EDIT: This post is missing a story, so I'll include one. The point where I decided for certain that I hated power-levelling was when I was levelling up my Ranger.
We were in the Dunes, had a pretty decent party (tank, two mages, rest DDs, the usual), and we were doing pretty well for a Dunes party (chain 2-3). We had some close calls, but everyone was more or less doing their jobs. Then the PL showed up, a friend of one of the members.
The party changed dramatically. The efficiency from before was replaced by artifical PL-efficiency. I had a parser running at the time, and I just said "#$@# it" and started going all out, typically doing 40-50% of the damage in every fight, basically becoming the de-facto tank. We started hitting Chain #6, straight up (I was pulling). There was no incentive whatsoever for me to stop machine-gunning the mobs, there was no other way to hit C6, and that's what everyone wanted so that they could get XP.
The end result was a party that gained 3-4 levels quickly, and next to zero knowledge about their respective classes. Now granted, with me it didn't matter: I know how to play a RNG. But the tank eventually stopped even trying to take aggro from me, the RDM ran up into melee, etc etc. After that party was over, I decided that I was never going to PL another group of players again. Edited, Fri Aug 26 11:10:47 2005 by MargavineLiselle