ARE YOU KIDDING ME, SQUARE ENIX?
Today during the Live Letter from the Producer XXVI they announced the inclusion of a Mentor System. I don’t know the dirty details yet, but I just had to share this! This a post I’ve been working on for a couple of months now! Since now it has become irrelevant (it was actually written before 3.1 came out) I’ll share what I had. It’s not a complete post, but I think I came up with a few good ideas here and there… or so I like to think. So, enjoy!
Previously I wrote some more on November, but it was a draft earlier than that:
The post’s tentative title was: “Playing Dev: The Mentor System“. It’s a rough draft (no bolds/ems, and may had errors here and there.
Hello, adventurers! Driving to work today I was thinking about our current Roulette’s lack of variety and, through a long and complicated thought process that amounted to me staring of in the horizon, I came up with a fun idea* that I share with you today.
* It’s always fun to think of ways to improve the games we love, even if it’s just a blog idea!
The idea has the (very not special, probably 0% original) name of…
The Mentor System
The Mentor System would be comprised primarily of a new kind of roulette: The Mentor Roulette. This roulette can put you in any dungeon or trial the game has at that moment in time – save for raids or extreme primals – which means that it’ll automatically include those that come out with each patch, and reward a decent amount of top tomes (currently Esoterics). The immediate benefit is that top level players looking for tomes will have more variety when farming them, avoiding a two dungeon rotation like the one we have now (and will seemingly have in 3.1).
There’s a catch, though: the Duty Finder (DF) will attempt to fill the dungeon with a split between capped/experienced players and players new to the random content. The experienced players (those who have already done the content) will be marked with a new status symbol indicating that they are the Mentors, and can provide help or guidance in doing the content at hand.
Let’s do an example: new players Jake and Mary need to do Brayflox’s Longstop for the first time so they use the DF to queue for it. Experienced players Chad and Rick want to do a roulette for their daily tomes and join the Mentor Roulette. The system will see two “lowbie” players trying to do an low level dungeon (which could end up having a very long queue) and attempts to fill it with two level-capped Mentors. Queue pops. All four players join Brayflox’, with Chad and Rick having Mentor status. Jake and Mary know they can depend on the Mentors to have a good run, be it via information or simply knowing they are good people that are willing to have patience; Chad and Rick know the dungeon and will surely help the new players
As mentioned before, the benefits are clear: faster queues for all players and more dungeon variety for the level-capped ones. But I know it’s sometimes not enough and one may ask: “Why would I risk a low level dungeon with new players? I’d much rather run a boring Neverreap… at least I know that’ll be over quickly!”
Remember when SE developed a lot of nice-looking gear that could only be obtained with Hunt tokens? And when nobody bought that because they made upgrade items purchasable with said tokens, which resulted in the infamous Hunt Trains done just to upgrade gear? Yeah. So I figure SE could develop a set of items (gear, minions, furniture, mounts, etc) that can only be purchased with a special currency: Mentor Tokens.
Completing Mentor roulettes grants Mentor Tokens, most likely based on the difficulty of the run. A low level dungeon run could give 5 tokens, a level 45-50 dungeon could give 10 tokens, a HM Primal/Relic boss could give 15 tokens, and Story Trials could give 20 tokens (hello, Steps of Faith). These could be used to buy all sorts of items: glamour gear, minions, mounts, assorted stuff, whatever SE decides to tempt players with – exclusive stuff that would mark players as Mentors, further improving the community.
“What could stop mean or trolling players from screwing the Mentor Roulette?”
Nothing, really. But if such a system existed there would have to be safeguards. Perhaps a rating systems for Mentors – akin to today’s commendations, but with a negative option; should a Mentor be rude or mean to new players they could get “voted down” and that could eventually restrict (or even ban) them from using the system. They’d automatically get a “down vote” if they leave the dungeon early.
“What if a player doesn’t rate a Mentor?”
Like commendations, it could end up with players not rating their Mentors at the end of a dungeon. But what if we tempt the new players into becoming Mentors in the future? Give new players Mentor Tokens for voting a Mentor – it would be a much smaller amount (1 or 2 tokens per vote) but enough to make them grow a small pool of tokens early on in their career. When they get to level cap, they’d have a decent amount of tokens and could be interested in becoming Mentors themselves to complete whatever they need for an item they desire.
So, unless I’ve been lied to my whole life, I am not Square Enix and don’t make millions a year, so this is just an armchair idea. But even then I came up with possible scenarios and questions about this system, and this is where I have fun with them.
“So would Mentors need to explain fights?”
Not necessarily. Perhaps the low level player knows the dungeon (alt, previous failed attempts, etc) and just needs to do it. It would be perfectly fine if everyone just does their job. Remember, the idea is to improve variety and queue times – if everyone knows the dungeon things can go smoothly without the need for exposition.
“I could try to trick the system! Join a Mentor Roulette at the same time a low level FC mate or friend joins a specific dungeon, and he’ll give me an upvote FO SHO!”
Well, it’s not like being up-voted gives you extra tokens! You get a token for finishing the Duty, not because you’re up-voted. If you go this far to trick the system all you’ll get is assurance you won’t be down-voted.
“So what’s the point of being up-voted?”
Good question. Earlier I said voters could get a few tokens for their trouble, as a way to incentivize participation.
“Could mentors have any power benefit, helping the odds of finishing the dungeon?”
You know, it could be! How about mentors have a “buff” that allows them to “cross” the maximum sync level by, say, up to five levels. This would make it so Mentors can bring experience and power. New players being amazed is always a good thing – just keeping in mind that too much power should not be given; the dungeon should be a fun run, not a total cakewalk.
Hahahaha! Had I posted this earlier… 😄