September 8, 2012

Talking Tyria: How dynamic should events be?

Talking Tyria is our editorial column that discusses the varying opinions around Guild Wars 2.

     One of the main draws of Guild Wars 2 is the dynamic event system. This was put in place to replace the more traditional talk to NPC quest mechanic. There has been a lot of previews before the game was released and the developers promised a system where in what you do or don't do affects the world around you. There has been quite some speculation and skepticism before and now that the game is finally here, it seems that there are two different points of view about the implementation of the system.

     Many people believe that the event system is not truly dynamic but rather, these are just temporary events that happen at random intervals. The reason for this is that the events in itself do not have a lasting effect in the environment. Let's take an event where bandits are poisoning the pipes. If the bandits are successful, it just means that the next part of the event is cleaning up the poisoned water. Then once that is clean, bandits will come again later to try and poison it again. Due to this fleeting nature of events, many argue that the events aren't truly dynamic and it really doesn't make a difference to the world whether you succeed or not. People then say that it's just the same old boring system without the clicking and talking to NPC's.

     However, I disagree with this point. I believe that Guild Wars 2 has actually implemented this system very well to complete the player experience. To my first point, this system, even if it is not exactly dynamic and permanent, is the best system implementation I have seen so far because it introduces a lot of variety. The chain of events make sense for the most part. If water gets poisoned, you get to see it in the world. If someone destroys the pipes, you get to see it in the world. This is in itself dynamic. Yes the developers included systems to actually cycle these events, but these are done in a very logical manner. If the pipes were bombed, you then have to protect the workers to finish the repairs. This makes so much sense game wise because this means that you don't actually run out of things to do. And this makes sure that there is still incentive for people to go back and do these events. This means the newer players will still have people to play with and keeps the world working.

The dynamic events make you feel the world around you is alive
     Another point is that these events actually make the world feel alive. Eventhough events aren't permanent, you get to see how the landscape changes based on your success and failure. Again, this just makes sense game wise. Let's say you want to make a system with a truly lasting impact. A windmill breaks down since you failed protecting it from bombers. You then find out it will take 5 real days to build the windmill back up again. We don't need this sense of realism in these types of games, for now at least. This is because the nature of an MMORPG is very fast paced and people would like to do a lot of things. It is usually alluded to a theme park and it does a wonderful job in placing things for people to enjoy all across the world. If you really liked a roller coaster, do you just ride it once and never come back again?

It is pretty clear that I agree with Arena Net in terms of their design choice for dynamic events. I really believe that it completes the whole experience and finds a good balance of repetitive gameplay mixed with dynamic elements. These two blended together truly makes a great experience.

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