[GW2] Crowd Control

You are the crowd in this context, and Guild Wars 2 uses events to collect groups of players and channel them between theme park rides. In the early days, when everyone is the same level, this creates massive zergs that are fun although not necessarily optimal. This will really pay off in the coming years as a solution to the common problem of finding groups after the population center is at the level cap.

First, we collect the players. You do this by creating an incentive to visit a spot and keeping that incentive there for several minutes. This funnels players together from whatever they are doing in the area. Have you noticed how every third town has an event where waves of enemies attack it? That is what is going on there. Everyone in the area gets an alert to the event, so they rush to town to defend. The incoming content is just short of continuous, so your natural impulse is to stay, keep fighting, and finish. Four to seven waves and/or one big boss is enough time for people to accumulate.

The tutorials have a more blatant example: keep fighting minions until the door to the boss opens. Humans fight centaurs at the bridge and asura fight robots at the gate. This lets players pile up in waves and face the boss together. This is a quiet tutorial in “work together with whoever is around.”

Second, we channel the players. Now that you have a group, you keep it together. Those big defense events are immediately followed by another event. Win or lose, you chase the enemy back to its base, either to press your advantage or to recover whatever the enemy took. Your pickup group moves together following the NPC, trail of crumbs, or just the crowd. Who needs forced grouping when the game makes it the natural choice? Who even needs the “group” mechanic half the time?

As I said, this is neat and/or silly now, when you have an entire legion of charr descending upon the centaur camp or smashing the Flame Legion. Fast forward a few years. Think about how empty the low-level areas seem in most games, especially in off hours. GW2 will have the same population density shift, but the event design will naturally bring people together. You will not be stuck soloing because grouping is inconvenient or suboptimal. You do not even need to want to group; the content brings you together, and you can address or ignore these people as you please.

: Zubon

14 thoughts on “[GW2] Crowd Control

  1. Curuniel

    I’m curious as to how people find this. My personal experience has been that an awful lot of players feel that a) gameplay is better and more fun in groups, but b) finding a group or dealing with a PUG is too much trouble, so just do it solo. I think GW2 has a nice compromise, and I love the random encounters I have with people in events :D

  2. Azuriel

    Err… those Events will try to bring people together in a place, but what makes you think there will be any players in those zones months from now?

    I would hesitate to suggest this is a “better” design. It is clearly better for a group-focused game, and better than games that have group-content without such a funneling feature. However… how many Events have you done solo? Getting downleveled to level 8 and then having me try and defend two NPCs from waves of eight level 8 mobs is ridiculous (Sylvari Event in the SW of starting zone). Maybe if I was a different class it would have been better, I dunno.

    My experience has been Events suck by yourself, worse than leveling alone, and they “take up” questing space in terms of expected XP and rewards. They are good now, but so were Warhammer’s PQs.

    1. SKapusniak

      Yes, ‘No players in low level zones’ is what we all expect to happen a couple months in, in an MMO…

      …but, I’m finding myself bit wobbly on whether its going turn like that in GW2.

      The downleveling to the zone cap, combined with the upleveling of rewards to the player level, makes we wonder what the incentive for a capped player is to keep them in the high level zones, rather than spreading themselves out across all level ranges, visting the places with the events chains or art style they particular liked during leveling.

      Instead of doing daily quests at cap in the top level zones people do the events they like spread out across the whole world.

      Now, I really *really* don’t know whether the scaling, or the crafting design (high level items needing low level mats, would also to spread people out) is robust enough to make that happen, but I think it is a possibility.

    2. GLN7

      I did – a lot of them. And I had no problem doing events solo. I even managed some events described as group content. Of course it’s less interesting this way than with five others, you get less loot and XP from enemies as well, as fewer of them spawn. But it’s definitely feasible.

  3. darkeye

    They have a few options, even the community could decide on one or few worlds for players to guest to in order to find a healthy population for dynamic events in the future. Introducing new races, the tengu seem most likely at the moment, so a new zone in the dominion of the winds, then they will likely continue on into the asura/sylvari/human lands. It will be interesting to see if they will keep with their promise to add new events in all zones as time goes on.

  4. The Ogre

    “You will not be stuck soloing because grouping is inconvenient or suboptimal.”

    Depends on your definitions, I suppose.

    I find the grouping suboptimal because the more people that are around, the tougher the monsters become and the less meaning your individual contribution becomes, especially on boss monsters.

    I find the grouping inconvenient because when there’s a zerg, I become reduced to spamming my AOEs (if I have any) in a vain attempt to tag as many enemies as possible just enough to get credit before they die – with regular enemies dying in seconds, that means not many for me to get my attacks in on, especially if the event is at all spread out and I’ve drifted out of the giant ball of fireworks that’s preventing me from seeing what’s going on… [really pisses me off that they couldn’t be arsed to add in an option to suppress other peoples’ effects. If they get around to adding the option, here’s hoping it’s not in the game’s last year of life like it was for City of Heroes]

  5. Reggie

    My guild was looking at some promotions then discovered that Commander books (necessary to command large raid squads set objectives etc) cost 100 gold each.

    Once ppl can afford those I think the zerg will become organized. Now the fun question: what do you need 50 coordinated players for?

    1. GLN7

      You’ve never seen 80ppl on each side battle for stonemist, while the third party gets into the back of the attacker with their 50ppl, right? ^_^
      That’s what you need it for.

      Actually, I think making the commander rank 100g was a really stupid idea of ArenaNet. Only players with dedication towards WvW should be able to become commanders, not players with a ton of money that comes from wherever.
      I’d have made the commanders book cost a ton of badges of honor, and no gold. They are account bound.

    2. Jeromai

      A sneak attack into a keep via underwater gates that can be broken.

      I doubt anyone is defending against those yet until the ambush forces make a regular habit of popping up from them.

      1. GLN7

        Except that it takes ages to take down the doors underwater, since there is no siege equipment you can use, and you still only get into the outer court where another gate will be left to break.

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