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A Discussion on Level Sync – WoW/FFXIV/GW2/ESO/irl

Given the impending destruction of the world and the continuous apocalypse, I've had a lot of time to get back into MMOs and play through some content I never have before. This has led me to have various thoughts on different games, but I find most of what my thoughts connect to is how different games handle their level sync.

As a long time mmo player (particularly WoW from 2004-2012, some ESO in 2018, GW2 in 2019, FFXIV from January 2020 to present), I find the different ways that games handle their level sync to be my favorite aspect to discuss. For background, my preferred content is PvE and especially group dungeons.

WoW – I have not played since level sync has become a thing, but have been following Shadowlands information, and it looks like the level squish is an even more prominent form of sync. Others can speak on how they feel the sync works (short googling reveals it's very similar to ffxiv with abilities removed and such).

GW2 – For me, the level sync in GW2 is perhaps the best of these four. With dynamic level adjustment, you get to not only feel powerful at max level in level 80 zones, you get to keep your abilities when you drop down to lower level zones which keeps you feeling strong and doesn't gut your character or toolset. Because the sync is mostly only a downlevel, you still get the original linear progression from start to max level and never feel like you're missing a part of your class.

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ESO – I put the most of my recent game advancement into ESO (I had maxed a healplar and cleared the trials that were available in Summerset) even though my playtime is still lower than it was in WoW. And while I do enjoy ESO's level sync and can give it the benefit that I gave gw2, that is you don't lose skills or powers, it also hampers itself because you don't get to feel the vertical progression of leveling nearly as much. You get cp points and skill points but the numbers feel very samey and nothing ever feels exponentially higher. This is what One Tamriel wanted, and they accomplished that, so it's my fault for wanting what they didn't intend to provide, not the other way around.

FFXIV – XIV is actually the reason I wanted to make this thread. The level sync in xiv is killing me. I'm just now passing level 70 and Stormblood, and I'm already worried that once I get to 80 the only thing I'm ever going to want to do is expert roulette because they're the only FIVE dungeons that don't remove skills or tools from my kit. I feel incredibly powerful when my character isn't synced, which is great, but queueing in a roulette and getting Copperbell Mines and only hitting two buttons for twenty minutes feels terrible. When your character is synced down for content, you lose access to your abilities above that level.

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The sync in ffxiv is making me miss eso more and more. When I queued for a dungeon in eso, there's dozens of possible instances to get, not to mention the hard mode and normal mode dungeons (now dungeon I and II) being different which only adds to the variety. When I queue in ffxiv, I either get lucky and get something where my character is functional or I take a nap for thirty minutes.

What do you think of level sync? What are you playing right now, and has it helped your game or hindered your game? Let's chat!


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