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.