One of the features that get often praised about FF14 is the clever social engineering that gets people running older dungeons over and over again. There’s roulettes to complete for tomes, pets, cards and Zodiac weapon drops to get just to name a few. The veterans get something out of the experience, the new players get to run stuff and it adds diversity to endgame content. One of the key elements of this feature is to sync levels and items to certain ranges just to make sure that you still have to pay attention to mechanics. It’s simply a great system.
Today I saw this post from Blizzard announcing Timewalk which will be Blizzard version of dungeon syncing. Your level and gear get scaled down to whatever is appropriate for the dungeon and off you go! At first I thought they were stealing FF14 system but then I realized it’s only a weekend event that will net you some cosmetic gear. I’m quite puzzled by this move.
New players not included
Right off the bat the first thing that strikes me is that in order to be eligible for Timewalk you have to be of a higher level than what the content was originally intended for. For BC content which was level 70 you have to be 71+. This means that new players coming up the levels won’t be included in the runs. Sure they can go at 71 and still benefit some but by that point they are in Wotlk content and might just want to continue leveling that way instead of running old dungeon for cosmetic rewards.
The strength of the FF sync systems is that it populates the lower levels with veterans who have multiple, meaningful incentives to run the old content. They might be grinding their legendary weapon, gearing tokens for high level gear. Being paired with newer players will even grant them a bonus which encourages the vets to take the newbies under their wing. Sure there’s also cosmetic incentives here too but I find that character progress remains the stronger motivator.
And on the new player side they get to have people to run dungeons with, to show them the rope and get integrated in the community before they reach max level.
WoW system on the hand feels made for players already at endgame who just want to get a few transmog items and maybe a token or two. The new player, which is the point of the whole system, gets left behind.
The other big surprise is that Timewalking will only be available certain weekends. Why would you allow access only during certain weekends and create pressure on the players to play at these specifics time. With only marginal incentives (cosmetic and a few tokens) I don’t think the pull will be strong enough to get players to subscribe only for that. I think that it might just become a source of frustration for people who might not have time to play during the specific time slots.
So why gate it that way? I really don’t get the reasoning here.
So really… why Blizzard? Why would you not take the opportunity of Timewalking to bring players of various levels together ? FF14 did it and it’s a resounding success so why not just steal that idea like you usually do? Nostalgia alone won’t revive the old dungeons so why?? What are you thinking?