So let’s run down that original list again to wrap this up. Note that each entry links back to the article where I go into more in-depth analysis about each subject, so if you want to see my work, that’s where to go.
- Gold: Risky as a reward because of the threat of inflation, but a little is unavoidable.
- Experience: For the scaled character it’s not a reward, but for the player it could be a reward if tailored properly. It’s all you want until you don’t need it anymore.
- Endgame Gear: Too risky given power-creep at the time it’s introduced; making Timewalkers mandatory for progression supercedes current content too strongly.
- Gear Tokens a la Timeless Isle: Viable as a catch-up mechanism, especially if a content drought is coming.
- Cosmetic Gear: Risky because of the asset cost in creating new cosmetic gear.
- Loot Rolls: Dubious because it’s just a chance for gear, but also awesome because it’s a chance for gear.
Justice/Valor Points: Good night, sweet prince.
- Unique Currency: As good as whatever the currency buys.
- Reputation: As good as whatever it gates access to. Only good until you don’t need it.
- Achievements: Foregone conclusion; everything has achievements.
- Pets, Toys, and Mounts: Useful for collectors or for people who like the aesthetics, but otherwise useless.
All things considered, I think that the best solution is one that offers a unique gameplay experience, provides players a great deal of choice, but focuses principally on rewarding players by giving them a greater chance at getting rare drops from doing Timewalker dungeons. I think it would be simple to extend a gear strategy to this as well, but let’s cut to the chase and introduce the solution.
Introducing the Timewalkers Faction
Faction Background: Mortals of all races who’ve taken on the duty of aiding the Bronze Dragonflight in protecting the timeways.
The Timewalkers offer a daily Timewalker dungeon quest to max-level players, directing them to complete a Timewalker dungeon. Completing the quest rewards a [Satchel of Time-Lost Artifacts], which contains the chance to acquire rare drops like mounts, pets, and unique equipment that normally drop in that specific dungeon, but at a higher percentage. For example, completing a Timewalker daily for dead-side Stratholme would give you a satchel that has an increased chance of dropping Rivendare’s Deathcharger.
Completing a Timewalker dungeon always rewards a [Mote of Time] as currency, which are used as a currency with the Timewalkers reputation vendor. Bonus motes are also a consolation prize if you fail to get any rare drops from the satchel.
At Friendly, the Timewalkers reputation vendor Llore offers a [Time-Lost Bag of Treasures] in exchange for motes. Opening this bag grants a chance to acquire a dungeon-dropped mount or pet that you don’t have, similar to the satchel, but drawing from all dungeons. At each successive reputation level, a higher-level version of the Time-Lost Bag is offered at the same price, with an increased chance for you to acquire the most rare mounts. In the event that the Time-Lost bag doesn’t reward a mount or pet, or if you’ve somehow acquired ALL of those mounts/pets available, the Time-Lost bag might reward a Seal of Tempered Fate or a lump of gold.
Hence, motes can be used the following ways:
- Used to purchase Time-Lost Bags,
- Used to gain reputation with the Timewalkers,
- Used to buy unique mounts/pets,
- Used to buy a Timeless Knowledge token, which when used grants leveling alts across the Battle.net account a 10% increase to XP gain. The mote cost of the token decreases with reputation gains,
- Used to buy a Grand Commendation that increases reputation gains by 100% for all characters on the account.
This creates a number of interesting choices: you can either choose to gamble your motes on the possibility of getting stuff out of the Friendly-level bag, or use them to gain reputation so that your bag has a greater chance of getting rewards. Unique mounts and pets are there to provide a clear grinding objective (just like the Cloud Serpent mount did with Emperor Shaohao) while the account-wide tokens are there to help mitigate the grind for the reputation itself and for experience for the characters who need it.
Ultimately, at Exalted, characters will still have a use for the motes in the form of spending them exclusively on bags for rare drops. And since the list of rare drops is long enough that it’ll take an excessive string of luck for players to acquire everything, there’s a good incentive to keep running Timewalker dungeons to get motes even once all of the other rewards are exhausted.
I think that it would be easy to add gear into this reward structure by just making it cost motes (in the form of Timeless Isle-like armor tokens), or by making profession recipes that require mote-purchased crafting materials. However, I also think that gear as a reward (in any form aside from cosmetic gear or loot rolls) has the greatest chance of turning Timewalker dungeons from a fun side activity into part of the gear progression curve, which is not where it belongs.
Thanks for hanging out with me while I try to both make a suggestion and show my work while doing it. At the end of the day, this is really something of a hard thing to tackle on my own… it smacks of something that really requires multiple perspectives and a discussion between people to really nail down the best solution. And I have to imagine that boiling things down to a “rep faction with a unique currency that lets you get the mounts/pets from old content” doesn’t sound exciting on its own, but I’d like to think that after reading through all of this, my reasoning for that solution should be more evident.
Tell me what you think. ^_^