If you haven’t been following my updates on Guild Wars 2, then you’ve been missing out on some great new ideas from ArenaNet. Their MMO is lining up to a big hit in 2011, and I count it among my top games to look forward to. Why? It’s because of great new original features like the Dynamic Event system, which they outlined in an overview from Lead Content Designer Colin Johanson.
After studying MMOs of the past, ArenaNet decided that there were inherent flaws in the prototypical MMO quest system. Walls of quest text purport a narrative that is neither interesting nor immersive, and on top of that quests are misleading or downright dishonest. Their example references a quest to search out a group of ogres that are planning to attack a village, yet not matter how long you wait your group of ogres will never reach that village. They’ll simply meander about looking quite menacing.
ArenaNet’s solution for these problems is the Dynamic Event system, a questing system that relies on player interaction and an evolving progression of events. A single player’s decision can cascade across an entire zone, causing new adventures to arise for all players to experience.
Here’s an example from Guild Wars 2:
If an enemy dredge army is marching out of their main base, players will be asked to mobilize with their allies and help destroy the army. If the dredge army is defeated, other events will cascade out from there. Players will be able battle their way inside the dredge base, face off against their commander, rescue captured friendly troops being held in the dredge prisons, and even hold the captured base while fighting waves of dredge, who arrive from deep underground to try and take back their home.
And if you fail to stop the dredge army, a multitude of events occur from there that are much less likely to make the local town-folk very happy.
At first, this system seems like a similar idea to Warhammer Online‘s public quest system, but on a much grander scale. Warhammer‘s system allows a number of player to join an event in a small, or sometimes large area, and depending on what they contributed to the quest they would be rewarded appropriately. Guild Wars 2 doesn’t seem to have any inherent reward associated with its events, other than the reward of saving the local village. Rather than a system that’s about the system, Guild Wars 2‘s dynamic events seem much more consequential, and deeply immerive as well.
The other half of ArenaNet’s Dynamic Events is their goal of creating a more social experience. By creating a system that fosters community, ArenaNet is hoping Guild Wars 2 will make players feel driven to participate.
A Warhammer public quest ends, you acquire your loot, and then you have another quest that you gallop off to. In Guild Wars 2, you’ll defeat the scouting party of an army, then realize the army is not far behind, then what of the commander leading the army, and the fortress they came from? Rather than quest markers and text that push a player in different directions, each individual might find it comforting that they must only go where they please.
There is still a reward though, yes, and ArenaNet is promising that every participant in an event will be rewarded equally. There is no kill-stealing, or boss camping, there is simply the task at hand and the thrill of the fight. With reward comes risk though, because Guild Wars 2 will have a scaling difficulty level for its events. So if a friend joins a fight you can expect more monsters to arrive in a similar fashion.
It’s all a part of Guild Wars 2‘s goal to create a dynamic, breathing world. They hope that what you experience with one character will change when you return to that area on an alternate character. It all sounds very promising, but such a complicated system must surely be difficult to build.
I’m looking forward to hearing more about Guild Wars 2 and its work to create a better quest system. At the end of the article Colin talks about how soon they’ll be discussing another portion of their new questing system, which revolves around your personal character’s story. So here’s looking forward to that! Make sure and visit the Guild Wars 2 Dynamic Event document for even more information.
Guild Wars 2 is set for release in 2011 for your personal computer.
Source: Guild Wars 2