Wednesday, May 20, 2015

These Boots Are Made For Timewalking

Timewalking is a new feature coming in 6.2. This official Blizzard preview summarizes it pretty quickly, but if you haven't read about it and need an even quicker summary: you can queue up for some randomly selected old dungeons, where you will be scaled down to reasonable power, but you can still get rewards relevant to current content.

baby I'm coming home!

Oh, but only if the current weekend event is a timewalking event.

With timewalking and 6.2, they are introducing seven total weekend events, two of which are timewalking events - as in, the category of timewalking is split into two possibilities, TBC dungeons or WotLK dungeons. The events are from Friday at noon until the following Monday at noon. The seven event possibilities are, if you don't want to click on that link in the previous sentence: timewalking, draenor dungeons, battlegrounds, arena skirmishes, apexis, and pet battles.

During the appropriate weekend, participating in that specific activity grants additional rewards.

Timewalking, as a feature on its own, is a great feature. If you read the comments on that Blizzard preview, or any forums, or talk to pretty much anyone, the biggest problem people are finding with timewalking is its incorporation into the weekend events. Frankly, I agree. I also find a few other faults with it, though.

People have been asking to be able to revisit old dungeons forever. The first option Blizzard took was to redo older dungeons, usually removing aspects of them that people enjoyed, ruining the nostalgia factor the entire process was supposed to have in the first place. Just as an example, new Scholomance made my skin crawl. Running revamped Scholomance wasn't a time to reminisce about the joy and splendor of my youth, it was a blatant reminder that everything I've ever loved about the game will eventually be destroyed, replaced, or removed. Hopefully, this is a problem we won't see with timewalking.

excuse me what do you think you're doing here

But people also like new dungeons. The last expansion where new dungeons were included with each raid tier was Cataclysm, where they opted in Mists to simply add new scenarios - they were easier to make and put out. Adding new dungeons was "not worth it."

During the 2013 BlizzCon they said that scenarios were in their plans for Warlords, of course, they were one of a large number of things that got canned - though that's a different discussion entirely. We're seeing now that we will not be getting scenarios or dungeons - no new small group content. Instead, we get timewalking.

if I had to guess there will be some bronze dragonflighty stuff going on with it

Like I said, timewalking isn't an awful idea on its own, but the context of how it's being implemented and what we're not getting because of it affects the way we feel about it.

I love dungeons. I love raids, but I love dungeons. It is my opinion that the LFD tool is one of the greatest additions to the game. There are cons, trust me, I don't find LFD to be infallable, but I love dungeons so much that when LFD came out, there were days where I just ran heroics non-stop all day, sometimes on the same character for no reward.

things are a lot different around here these days, though

Not having new dungeons included with major content patches is a huge downer for me, and something that makes new content less appealing to me overall.

Timewalking, in its pure state, is something people have wanted for a long time. It only took them forever, but, it's great. Of course, I'm running off of the assumption that the layout and playstyles required of the timewalk dungeons will remain very similar to their original incarnations. If they don't, well, that's just another ruined picnic for me.

sorta like this was

Timewalking is a concept that we've wanted for awhile, but it's also being used as an excuse to continue to not add the kinds of content we've also always wanted. Tanaan Jungle is supposedly Timeless Isle 2.0, which is just fine and dandy and, if it's anything like Timeless Isle was, it will add a good chunk of semi-group content - if you consider dog piling rares and frog and turtle farming group content.

However, not only will timewalking allow Blizzard to continue to sneak past their lack of new dungeons with future content patches, but you can only access it at very specific points in time. Not only are these times always the same days of the week - so if you work or have any responsibilities those days, good luck - but it's not even every week. You get one Saturday off a month? Better hope it's timewalking weekend!

"yeah I can't come in I'm very sick... that noise? that's uh, my uh, dog. yeah."

I understand the concept of the weekend events. It's to encourage people to play and participate in content that they may not have incentive to participate in without simply buffing and trivializing them outright, forever. Pet battles, specifically, is something that stands out to me on this list. People who like pet battling like to do it, and people who hate pet battling will never do it. However, there is a fringe group of the community that would do pet battles, but it's actually kind of time consuming and involved to get into. One of the guides I wrote was about how to get into pet battles, since it really is just a bit too involved for the "casual" content that it supposedly is. The pet battle weekend provides triple experience from pet battles. Honestly, count me in.

The problem with making timewalking one of these events, though, is that it's not an activity that you can choose to do outside of the weekend event. Pet battles, battlegrounds, arena skirmishes - all of those other event things are content you can always choose to do whenever you want. Timewalking is the only one of these events that is limited to the appropriate weekend.

The long and short problem I see with timewalking is that it's a feature we've wanted for a long time, something we've received inadequate substitutes for, and it's being implemented in a restrictive way while being used as an excuse to avoid putting out regular content.

World of Warcraft has changed dramatically in its lifetime. Maybe it's unreasonable at this point for me to expect such a long-awaited feature to be implemented without the context of these issues. We stopped having five man dungeons regularly added with each major patch years ago, it's not a new problem. Blizzard is adding other stuff, like the selfie camera and twitter integration...

Maybe I just have to be patient. Once Blizzard gets all these new things integrated and gets back into a good content-releasing rhythm, maybe they will start adding new dungeons again, or hell even scenarios. Maybe timewalking will become an at-any-time feature somewhere down the line in the future.

Or maybe people like me are just not the audience that the new age of World of Warcraft is catering toward.

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