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.