I find myself irrevocably drawn to the Dragon Timers used to countdown when big, repeatable world events will start in Guild Wars 2. My favorite is on the weekends when I can leave the website up and do chores and play with my kids until the appointed time. Two hours until Claw of Jormag’s window opens; plenty of time to go outside and deal with more leaves. Most dragons are even nice enough to give me a bit of a notice before swooping down to get bashed good.
It’s silly in a way for there to be a timer. It takes some of the fun out of it seeing behind the curtain, and yet like a migratory tribe of cudgel-bearing Irish we form up every few hours to kill some dragon dead. A few of us bring munchies. Some of the rich lads bring wee banners to share in their good fortune. There is good natured chatter before the big oaf lands, and all together there is a comfortable community surrounding the clockwork.
I feel this is a remaking of old ground in a new light. Remember Hogger of ages past, says one blogger, that’s all this is. I agree in spirit that it feels not much different than boss camping. Except the Hogger dragons of Guild Wars 2 feel more like happy hour than a locked gate.
Hogger was one of the first World of Warcraft bosses for many players. The boss gnoll in Elwynn Forest was pretty much not soloable, and with the way World of Warcraft’s grouping and quests worked, players needed to wait and group up to take him down. Then that was it. Turn in the quest, and Hogger is now as relevant as the some grapes that were stolen back in the day.
The three world dragons in Guild Wars 2 keep my max-level character returning to lower level zones. I try and tell my guild every time a fatty drops because it is a nice time to break away, get some decent loot, and beat down a dragon. It’s not meant to be difficult. It’s just a fun, crazy gathering.
This is so unlike Orr where it is war. It is a slog. Failed events feel like failures. Bugged events are even worse, and good luck getting together enough people interested in dealing with that Balthazar boy. With more god statues puppeted by Zhaitan nowadays I just see crossed swords spread rampant on Orr’s map. The place is very contested. Would it be different if every few hours players knew that a war would rage across Malchior’s Leap? What if the Straits of Devastation became a race on three fronts instead of some unworthy commander herding cats in the vain hopes of getting legendary materials.
Then players would also lose control. A few guildies would have a field day rampaging across Orr now and opening everything up. That’s better than them waiting on some timer, isn’t it? Ironically, they would be cut off from communication save from their guilds and the helpful map unplugging waypoints. Would it be different if players knew that steam was building in the Pact offensive? This leads me back to the Dragon Timer.
All it does is tell people when it would be good to gather. There’s a decent reward for turning up too beyond the camaraderie. Yet it works. I’ve been on at 7 AM, and it works. I’ve seen the Dragon Timers stumble over each other, which brought more communication through the gypsy tribe. Where would we go next? 51% of the herd’s heads turned towards the next target, and it was always thus.
I would like to see more of these tribal happy hours. I think it is a great feature in Guild Wars 2. I think Southsun Cove or Orr would be my first targets just to keep the high-level players moving. I would also consider making it “across the zone” so that people are not just milling about some waypoint or cannon. Make the tribe work a bit more for it to hunt out that thing. I feel there’s a lot of design space available, but the main thing would be to key to the players to get their butts to the upcoming event. It’s Tequatl time!