[Rift] Event Ridden

Readers may or may not have noticed, but I have actually been avoiding comparing Rift’s dynamic event system with Guild Wars 2 dynamic event system. First, I have not yet played Guild Wars 2, which is an issue that will be rectified in two days, and two, it feels like Trion is just getting their feet wet.  I want to see what Trion Worlds does with their system, which they have said is going to be expanded greatly as they go along.

In a recent Rift post dealing with the risk of traveling time versus actual participation in an event, commentator Naum brought up a really good point on how in Guild Wars 2, the designers found that zone-wide announcements on events actually frustrated the players. They hated traveling to a place where an event was recently announced only to find the event wrapping up. So the developers made it so only nearby events were announced to players. I think this is fine for Guild Wars 2, where the whole world is events, but I would hate this change in Rift because then the game would go back to feeling like a meager quest-driven MMO.

Yet, the more I thought about this, the more I saw a critical difference that I would like in Rift. In Guild Wars 2, the events are designed to chain. Centaurs destroy a village. Players go in at Event A and kill the centaurs. Event B might be players defending the village while the villagers rebuild and resettle. Event C is the players attacking the centaur garrison just over the ridge. So, even if a player misses Events A or B, they can still join in the event chain.

By comparison, with the exception of invasion events, the dynamic events in Rift are solitary. Sure, the rift events have stages, but a group of players can easily collapse a major rift in less than 5 minutes. The rift closes, the world returns, and the public group disperses like dust in the wind. Same goes for the “kill the invaders” events. Invasion events currently are a mass of rift events and “kill the invaders” with a boss follow up. I will admit that this super event feels more like a chain because the stages are zone wide, but they don’t flow. I am fighting in north Silverwood, and the invasion boss warps in at south Silverwood. There is no contiguous progression of the events.

What I would like to see in Rift is events that chain together in a logical manner. A good example would be if a large questing area, such as Mirror of Ages, Highland Bypass, and the Untamed Copse filled with 4-5 minor rift events. Once all the minor rift events are dealt with a major rift event opens approximately in the middle of where the 4-5 minor rift events were. That way players can continue to coalesce together knowing that even if a single event is completed, there is still a reason to stick together.

Admittedly, the larger invasion events do achieve this goal to some degree. When the zone explodes with 10 rift events, players that band together for the closest rift event will usually find cause to stay together and travel to other rift events or wardstones to defeat “kill the invaders” events. However, this chain of events is zone wide. So even if the players on one end of the zone have done their due planar diligence, they need to make a judgment call on whether to stick with the raid group and travel for a few minutes to get to another event, or just quit.

I would like to see more event chains within a smaller, constrained area. This change is unlikely to come for awhile. Update 1 alpha notes give the impression that the event content in the first live content update for Rift will be focused on the 10-man raid rifts. Yet, Trion Worlds have been showing they are going to aggressively update the game, and I think that this change would be a fine advancement to Rift’s dynamic event system.


15 thoughts on “[Rift] Event Ridden”

  1. Good points.

    I have to admit, the Rift events are starting to get a little monotonous for me, to the point where I’m starting to skip them unless I happen to run into one or they are in the middle of a quest zone.

    I think a lot of it has to do with the broken contribution system and the frustrations I have with it. But there’s nothing that’s particularly.. well, dynamic about them, either. Once you’ve done one, you’ve done them all. They are dull and repetitive.
    I remember leveling my defiant and being excited cause I finally fought in something other than a life / fire rift…
    I feel like that defeats the purpose?

    Perhaps your chain idea may be be partially a cure, but I honestly think the system needs a bit more randomness to make it more interesting (as in, the actual rift progress. wave comes, defeat stage, wave comes, defeat stage, etc.)

    I have no idea how to go about that, but… it needs it.

    1. Yet more great points!

      I always liked the invasions more than the rifts, because they had (to sound like a broken record) some narrative and gave the invading forces a sense of intelligence and agency, rather than just feeling like a random PQ had spawned… Well, randomly.

      My favorite memory from beta is having a bunch of invasions hit an under-traveled area at the same time and set up footholds, from which they began to attack nearby quest hubs. To me, that’s where the real potential is.

      1. Hmm.
        Maybe then it’s just a population issue? With the newbie areas being so saturated, Rift events rarely have much time to become more, as they’re beaten back almost instantly.

        Then I suppose once that dies down or at higher levels they become more interesting cause of the footholds and such and NEED to be taken care of.

        I need to get out of Silverwood, is basically what I”m trying to say XD;

        1. Having gotten out of Freemarch ;) it’s a population issue, at least in part. If nobody jumps on that major rift (or people don’t jump on it quickly enough) it starts spawning its own little mini-invasions. If those invasions don’t get stopped before they overwhelm a hub and set up a foothold, the foothold starts spawning its own wave of mini-invasions.

          Since the invaders scale based on the number of people fighting them and the level ranges in post-Freemarch/Silverwood zones are tighter you can fight back effectively even if nobody else is around.

        2. It’s definitly a population density problem, there’s just too many people in the starting zones at most times for the system to work properly, every rift is pounced on and turns into raid sized zerg rush before it can do anything. They even turned down the XP on them as a temporary measure as the raids groups were downing them far quicker than anticipated. The upcoming patch changes that to give the original xp for rifts taken down by small groups and the current xp for rifts taken down by the raid sized groups.

          Rifts are much more fun at low-tide when you’re doing them with just a couple of others. If you’re tackling them like that you’ll notice that they’ll spawn invasion forces whilst you try and close them. You pretty much have to let those go, and chase them down later, when there’s only a few of you participating because you can’t really handle a mob that size on top of the rest of the rift.

          If you don’t chase down the invasions, they then set up footholds. What the stage after foothold is I’m not sure as by then on my server everybody has logged on again and it’s zerg rush time again :)

  2. Great post and ideas! I realize now, in hindsight, that this was one of the major problems I had in beta. I posted then that I felt like the rift/invasion system suffered, due to the fact that it was fundamentally a reactive exercise by the players – there was no real rhyme or reason to your activities, it was just whack-a-mole.

    I think the ideal solution would have been to design things differently from the ground up: Let the planar invasion forces have part of each zone that they “owned” by default – i.e. this little corner is actually lost entirely, and the world is ruined there. Rifts and invasions would spawn outwards from there in a logical fashion, lending a sense of narrative to the whole process. Give the invading “general” a bit of a strategy-game AI that he would use to choose attack targets and to move his forces around. It wouldn’t need to be very fancy.

    On the flip side, if the players in a zone were on a roll and had cleaned up all the rifts and invasions in the area, they weren’t just stuck with nothing to do – they could mount a counter attack and invade the “home turf” of the planar forces. This would also mean you’re never feel forced to quest if you don’t want to, which was one of my biggest turn-offs in the beta.

    Of course, it’s too late for such a grand design now, but your idea is much more practical and elegant, anyway. :) Hopefully Trion takes the advice and runs with it – the addition of this kind of structure would be a huge improvement to the otherwise random-feeling rift/invasion system.

  3. I am also excited about how Trion expands upon the Rift system – can’t wait!

    For those that find the Rift events repetitive – you’re probably still lingering around in Freemarch? I understand there is some scaling going on, but the difficulty goes from mundane to OMG RAID! when there’s not enough players in the area to make the event trivial. Getting swept up into a spontaneously formed raid group and trying to turn the worm feels exhilarating.

  4. The starter rifts are the same, kill these mobs, kill the boss, kill these mobs, kill the boss.

    As you level the rifts become more varried with different objectives (one in droughtlands has you rub a genie lamp, and you get 3 magic chests) etc.

    At level cap you’ll have minor, major, elite, and raid rifts all with different objectives. So yeah the beginer ones are kinda mundane, but the higher up ones, are not and the raid rifts have scripts and stories within them.

  5. Thanks for the kudos here. I must say, though, that chaining events are already beginning to raise some fears inside my misanthropic brain. If they chain too fast, the player might get sort of caught in an event circle, defending the village from the obligatory centaurs for ages.

    I thought of this for the first time when I watched Wartower Spotlight No. 7 (GC 2010) [1] where the player rescues an outpost and just 5 seconds later the Ogres start attacking again (from about 50:00 on). Not only did I wonder where those damn Ogres actually came from that fast, but I also realized that event circles should definitely have some sort of breakpoint where the player can have the good feeling of “Oh yeah, I’ve done it and this outpost is free now.” Though I’m pretty sure that ArenaNet’s masterminds have thought of this issue before I even saw my first Dynamic Event.

    From what I’ve read, this might be a major advantage of Rift’s invasions. To me as an outsider (can’t stress this enough in case I am writing nonsense here) it seems that they are singular enough to not become part of the daily grind but remain something special. And when they are defeated, they probably remain defeated for a while.

    [1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoICk5E9X7g&feature=player_embedded

  6. This is the very reason I didn’t buy Rift. At the moment the rifts are all too mundane and never change. If people say there are different rift events at higher levels then that is better but I don’t want to have to level up to be able to enjoy different rifts.

    Hopefully with Guild Wars 2 the events do not get too repetitive. “First, I have not yet played Guild Wars 2, which is an issue that will be rectified in two days…” Are you playing the PAX demo? If so I take it you will have a juicy blog post about it :D Can’t wait for that if you do. Should be better for someone with experience to actually play the game. Too many videos are amateur people showcasing the game terribly. It just makes it look terrible because they have bad timing and rolling. I would love just to get my hands on the demo. I was thinking of flying down to PAX but it is a little extreme for me. I love Guild Wars but spending that much money is out of my bodget (I live near Vancouver in Western Canada). Hopefully you can give us some insight about the game! Thanks :D

  7. I have a feeling, that I hope to confirm at PAX, that GW2 events are going to be PQs 1.5. Not as random and aggressive as rifts, but not nearly as static and on-repeat as WAR.

    Ultimately I still thing the major flaw is getting people to care. Saving a village sounds good the first time, especially if there is some reward tied to it, but are you really going to get hyped to save the village for the 5th time, even if the whole chain of events is interesting? Are you even going to bother heading over to the area of that chain once you have done it? How often are you going to do that if you show up and find no one else bothered to respond?

    Also, if the chain is, say, two hours start-to-finish, how many times are you really going to go through it? Closing a rift in 5 minutes or so is one thing, a two hour repeat event is another.

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