The not-so-dynamic events in GW2

My original idea for today’s post was to take a pre-release description of Warhammer’s Public Quests, replace mentions of WAR with Guild Wars 2 and PQs with Dynamic Events. Then laziness kicked in, so you are just going to have to pretend that actually happened and you got totally fooled. Got you.

Point being, they would sound very, very similar. Which is not to say that DE will be exactly like PQs, my guess is they will be a bit more involved and progressive, but they won’t really leave an impact on the game world like I think some are imagining right now, nor will they be quite as ‘dynamic’ as they sound on paper.

Here is the root problem with DE leaving an impact: the setup is players vs AI, and so if the AI is ‘winning’, the players feel bad and the AI does not care. It’s the AI not caring that makes it perfect for raid bosses, because no matter how many times you kill a boss, he will never ragequit and take his toys with him. Kill a player even once and he might up and leave, and while that is also likely in a player vs player setup, at least in that situation the joy of victory is experienced by a paying customer rather than an emotionless script.

That’s why ogres smashing a village and disabling some player-functionality (trainers, flight point, shops, whatever) is not nearly as cool as it sounds, especially if the majority of the players around have no motivation to reclaim it and those who do can’t do it alone. I know the events will scale and all that, but are you really going to have an epic adventure if you alone can push back an invasion and ‘save’ a town? (The correct answer here is no. If you believe the answer is yes, gtfo of the MMO genre, please).

Another problem with DE that has been hinted at but not directly expressed is that they won’t be unique or have their outcomes be truly dynamic. They will ebb and flow between pre-set stages, and are built to repeat once certain conditions are met. This is ok initially, but once the min/maxers get done with things they will figure out the optimal DE cycle for maximum reward, and even if that cycle includes silly things like letting the ogres destroy a town so that the big town boss spawns so he can be killed to get the ‘good epics’, the players will go along with this. Anyone remember keep trading in WAR? Exactly. And once the cycle is figured out and the best rewards are being dished out, the time it will take for players to ‘max out’ on the event cycle will be far shorter than the devs originally intended it to be.

To prevent the above, the system would instead have to be a bunch of variables (number of ogres that spawn, their strength, their goal, ect) that are then let loose on the world, and however things play out is how they play out. If the ogres are not handled, they not only burn the closest town, they then move on to burn the next, and the next, until they are knocking on the door of the capital. Or they stay put and build a truly massive fortress to launch ever-increasing raids on everyone. Problem with this of course is that uncontrolled, the NPC ogres are in effect griefing the world, disables large sections of content and making a true mess of things. For some (myself included) that sounds like a lot of fun, for most (WoW players) that sounds terribly inconvenient and a good reason to go back to grinding daily quests in isolation. I don’t think ArenaNet is looking to attract my style of gaming, and so DE won’t have nearly the impact or free flow nature that some are already drooling about.

Not that having better-working PQs is a bad thing, and they will most likely be entertaining content in their own right. I just don’t think they are going to live up to the hype coming with them, nor the elevated expectations that that hype has created.

10 Responses to The not-so-dynamic events in GW2

  1. Mala says:

    Well, to me the thing about this isn’t so much that its going to make GW2 the game I play for the next 10 years or something, but more that it at least represents (hopefully) a step in the right direction, and a small bit of progress in a genre than has been mired in WoW clones with rare exceptions for the last 5+ years. Long story short, if GW2 is popular, and this feature at least works a little, hopefully others will try to emulate and expand upon it.

    So, while I’m not getting super worked up GW2 or anything, it at least makes me hope that things are moving in the right direction.

  2. Bhagpuss says:

    The problem, if there is one, isn’t with the design itself. I thought it was pretty well explained in the recent interview and sounded pretty solid.

    The problem, as usual, is with the insanely unrealistic expectations of the players, or in this case the would-be players. This happens again and again and again. Players seem to think, despite universal evidence to the contrary, that one day some game is going to come out which works just like one of their daydreams. Only it’s going to be even better than that, because not only will everything be perfect, it will always be new, forever!

    What everyone seems to forget is that it’s our own imagination that does all the heavy lifting. We are not now, nor are we likely to be any time soon, at the stage where a game can convince us it is real. No matter how amazing the graphics or how absorbing the gameplay, no matter how well-hidden are the mechanisms, we will still always know that it’s not actually happening. Only our willing suspension of disbelief allows us to participate at all.

    Personally, I find it easier to immerse myself when the designers are doing as little as possible to try and trick me into feeling the “reality” of what they’ve served up. It’s like the pictures being better on radio. I’m looking forward to GW2 and slightly slicker Public Quests will be fine by me.

  3. Hunter says:

    nothing ever lives up to hype, but the way you put it they may as well not even make a game. DEs will suck because they won’t change the world, or DEs will suck because they will.

    The idea has a lot of potential so I’m willing to see it in action at least. they quoted having 1500-1600 DEs. That seems like a lot of variety to me.

  4. coppertopper says:

    The amount of false enthusiasm from the dev when explaining these game events is a bit much. Reminds me a little too much of the producer letters from the WAR team that always!used!lots!of!exclamation!points! to show us just how excited were supposed to be over their upcoming ideas.

  5. Professer says:

    I share similar thoughts as you on this subject. I fear that GW2 won’t really pull the dynamic events off as well as people are hoping it will.

    By the way, I think that min/maxers have a bad outlook on gaming. Most of the time that mentality takes the fun out of playing just to maximize efficiency. They can really ruin a good game experience for themselves and others.

    • SynCaine says:

      Min/maxers are bad for others, but they themselves enjoy that style of gaming. It’s only when others get pulled into their way of doing things, without really enjoying the meta-game they play (chasing tiny power increases and such), that it tends to ‘ruin’ things for others.

      But like it or not, min/maxers can be found in every MMO, and often are difficult to fully ignore.

      • Professer says:

        This is true. Do min/maxers ever ‘ruin’ things for you?

        I have found that they might not directly effect me, but they can indirectly effect the meta-game for others. This usually isnt too much of a problem, but if it gets too out of hand it can become a real problem for plenty of others.

  6. Kyff says:

    Caveat: I neither ever played WAR nor GW.

    But I still fondly remember the event for the fifth anniversary of EQ. Hordes of skeletons did rise every night (gametime) and attacked all NPC cities. The city guards were able to fend them off pretty easily, but the skeletons dropped very good gear relative to their level and gave great xp. There were skeletons of different sizes at different places. So almost every level was catered. I spent an entire real time weekend fending off skeletons at night (gametime) and happily chatting during the day (gametime).

    Another event that I was told was especially great was the coming of the Frogloks driving the Trolls out of Grobb.

    So there are basically two ways to make these sort of things great.
    – Giving out special rewards.
    – Fitting the event into the lore.

    • Bhagpuss says:

      I have to endorse this. The skellie uprisings became a cliche eventually, but the first one I encountered, back in 2000, remains one of the highlights of my MMO “career”.

      EQ live events had a terrible reputation for a long time because people tended to die in them a LOT and back in the day that was a serious deal, menaing hours or even days of progress lost. Nevertheless, as soon as an event kicked off, whether it was a GM ad-hoc event or a big weekend-long scripted thing, people piled in.

      The other thing back then was, SoE never announced these things. They’d just start and the first you’d know would be someone in your guild saying “Um, are there usually 50-foot tall skeletons in Qeynos Hills?”. The element of surprise counted for a lot.

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