The Waiting Game

Back when raids reset weekly, we had time gates.  When Lich King patched in daily quests, we really started to feel it.  MoP really took it to the limit, with dailies everyone and in everything.  The thing about these time gates is that they were expiration windows.  You had to do X content in Y time, or you simply missed out.  That still exists today mind you, but the timers are more relaxed – usually around 2-3 days.  The feeling of “got to do it all now” isn’t as present.  This certainly maps to the more casual gamer demographic.

What WoD brought to the table was progress windows.  The garrison missions provided items and gear if you waited long enough.  It took all of 2 weeks for someone to develop a mod to quickly sort and assign those missions for the best returns.  Unless my math is wrong, I was making something around 1.5k per day, for 15 minutes of effort.

The issue with this type of time gate is that the reward is not tied to the effort, or at least, not tied psychologically.  It’s a set-it-and-forget-it type of event, where riches fall from the sky.  You only really notice that the gear faucet isn’t working when the stuff stops flowing.  As compared to actual events that culminate with rewards, like killing a boss and getting a drop, the timed missions separate you from the effort.

Which is odd, because life is about waiting for things to come about.  I put a turkey in the oven, I plant vegetables in the garden, my wife was pregnant and saw the child grow.  We are used to waiting for good things.  But we are invested in these because we are active in their growth.

I need to pay attention to that turkey so it doesn’t burn.  I need to feed/water/weed my garden to have it grow.  We needed to keep the baby healthy and secure.  These are active events that force me to pay attention to what’s going on, where I am further investing for success.

Legion cut a lot of the WoD stuff out.  Today, there is no real reason to run any champion missions.  There will be for 7.1, as you will need an ilvl 850 champion to unlock Karazhan, but for today… there’s nothing really to be gained that cannot be gained through other means – faster and more direct means as well.

The exception here is Artifact Research.  At 5 days per rank, and 24 ranks, that’s 3 months of waiting.  Each rank increases by a non-linear amount, so you get a lot more value from going from rank 14 to 15, than you do 3 to 4.  I understand that there is a catchup mechanism, my DH is using it as he’s maybe 2 days behind my Monk.  Still, it’s an odd structure.  You’re not directly rewarded from the event, it simply impacts other rewards.  Where an item might be worth 20 artifact points now, eventually it will be worth 4800 points later on.  That is a massive difference.

It would certainly be nice if we could have more of the “I built this” feeling when time gates are applied.  I don’t see how that would possible work with WoW, given the various tools, as the closest we’ve come was the garden in MoP.  Player Housing comes close, and Wildstar sort of scratched that itch for me.  Archeage likely is the most obvious candidate on that front, though EvE certainly has a big foot in the game.  The feeling of a time gate as being an investment, rather than a hurdle… that’s where the gold pot is found.

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