I see a lot of ranting about this new leveling system that came up with the update, and I coudlnt agree more with you, the principle of restraining things from players that could feel a bit more advanturous (or just considering people are lemmings) is quite sad and plain stupid. But Id like to remind you that most of the things you think are locked arent really.
The only things you unlock slower than before are the skills (utilities, downed, or underwater), weapon slots, and the access to personnal story. This is hurting the in-game immersion, but leveling up is now so fast you wont even notice it. Everything else is actually here, or not needed yet. The game is simply not showing it to you, and points out every aspect step by step, level after level. You can access to guild panel at level two, or unlock vistas/PoI, the game is just waiting for you to acknowledge about other stuff before pointing this up to you.
All the rest of the main mechanics are actually coming smoothly, right at the time youd need it. Lets check a few of those:
level 6 - able to equip fine rarity equipment : would you really have dropped blue gear before that anyway? Ive gotten to level 6 after doing 4 heart quests, and the starter ones dont even need to fight.
level 7 - PoI : "Points of interests are now shown on your map"
level 8 - Underwater combat : it turns out you couldnt even access a lake before level 8, the mobs would have wrecked you before you get there.
and so on
TL; DR: I advise you guys to go and try it. Even if adding restrictions to a game where youre supposed to be free is kinda breaking the immersion, everything comes pretty fast and you wouldnt have needed it before. The new interface is actually really nice and guides you through every aspect of the game smoothly.
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