Posted Tue, Mar 15, 2011 by Sardu
Not only do dynamic event chains scale up in direct proportion to the number of players actively participating in the event, but they’ll also scale down as people leave the area as well. This is significant for a number of reasons, but perhaps the best part of the player tracking system for events is that it’s designed to prevent leeching.
So if a person wanders into an event, does a few basic attacks and then hides behind a building or object, the system will detect that they are no longer actively participating. As a result, the event will scale back down in difficulty to account for less active players in the area.
So not only will it be extremely difficult for someone to leech rewards through events, this also prevents exploiting the dynamic event system to grief other players by making it too difficult for them to survive.
Another important aspect of event scaling is that the more players there are actively participating in a given event, additional elements can be triggered that you might not normally experience. Bosses can become tougher, gain new abilities and even levels, and additional enemies might enter the battle. In other words, the dynamic content will always present a challenge for players no matter how many are actively participating, keeping the system from ever feeling trivial simply because another player showed up to help.
Lastly, even if there are no players in a given area to help prevent it being taken over by attackers, that doesn’t mean that events can spiral completely out of control. Sure, if you allow centaurs to take over a village they may eventually begin cutting down nearby trees to build siege weapons, or can even send out hunting parties to attack other villages in the surrounding area, but there is limit to how far these event chains will go.
While players might be pointed in the direction of areas or NPCs that can help advance their personal storyline as they progress through the game, that doesn’t mean you’ll ever be forced to pick up a journal full of meaningless quests as your primary means of advancement as has become the unfortunate, spoon fed nature of MMOGs over the past 6 or 7 years.
Instead, players will head out into the world and forge their own destiny. The events you choose to participate in, and even the ways you opt to progress your personal storyline are entirely up to you. This is the kind of non-linear gameplay that the industry has sorely needed, especially since the turning point back in 2004 when EverQuest II and World of Warcraft hit the scene and funneled you through the world by holding your hand and leading you from quest hub to quest hub, removing all sense of adventure from online RPGs.
That’s not to say Guild Wars 2 is a purely “sandbox” game, at least not in the traditional sense. Instead, think of it as a hybrid between sandbox and theme-park titles, only instead of having Quest NPCs serving as tour guides telling you which rides you can go on, when you can go on them, and for how long, all of that is left up to the player to decide.
There are over 1,000 dynamic events currently in Guild Wars 2, which is a staggering amount once you consider that these events can span entire areas of the map and can contain multiple stages each.
Taking that into account, as well as the greater emphasis on exploration and discovery noted above, there will no doubt be plenty of players that are so used to bread crumb questing that GW2 might initially feel slightly overwhelming. This is where the Scout System comes into play, and provides direction for those players who decide that they want it.
As you enter a new area, there will be NPCs that you can speak to that will highlight where nearby events can be found on the map and give you some indication as to what you might find there. That way you’ll never be left guessing where to go next, or feel as though you have no purpose as you move out into the larger world once the tutorial areas have been completed.
It’s also important to note that using the scout system is entirely optional. In other words, it’s there to use if you want some additional guidance or information as to what’s happening in the area, but if you’d prefer to simply forge your own path you can certainly opt to approach the game that way as well.
Another thing worth mentioning with the scout system is that these are not the same as your typical quest NPCs. In other words, they won’t ask you to go kill 10 moas or bring them 50 bear tongues. Instead, they alert you to locations of dynamic event content so that you can decide which direction to go based on the content that interests you the most.
Again, Guild Wars 2 is all about players being in control of how they choose to experience the game, rather than the game dictating how you have to consume the available content. Things like the scout system are in place to help those of you who aren’t quite ready to make that paradigm leap, or are so used to playing games on rails that the idea of forging your own destiny is a bit too overwhelming at first.