[GW2] Core Event Density

Game Director Colin Johanson recently stated that this year they are going to make their core game as strong as possible. He was specifically talking about bosses and creatures, but it made me wonder. Here was the game director saying that he wanted to refine the base. Colin could have just plugged all the wonderful new features and content. The big brass only have so many dev hours a day, and to send even a lone dev (the one that didn’t refill the coffee) at creatures that could be “working as intended” gives me pause. Perhaps I am too jaded from Guild Wars 1 as I expect what we got at launch to be it.

I love doing my daily achievement, but the one I always hate is sadly events. Hang on here, these are the hallmark of Guild Wars 2 PvE. I only need to do five events. Compared to 15 unique kills which is sometimes a puzzling pain or the grind of 60 kills this seems easy. Yet it seems like unless I am in a high event density area (Orr, dragon timers, or starting areas) it takes substantially longer to fill that bar than any other.

My go to for daily events are the starting zones. Those little areas meant to corral levels 1-5 players are packed with repeating events. In my opinion, the human starting area between the western dam and the Bandithaunt Caverns is nearly perfect. Each little area, like Farmer Diah’s wurm and bandit plagued farm or Foreman Flannum’s dam has multiple stories to tell. It could be harpies or an ancient elemental. It could be moas stolen to bandits or an unhappy bull. This same care and attention feels rarely found outside in the big open world. I feel the core game could really be strengthened in this respect.

Core PvE is likely going to be critical for new blood. A player getting Guild Wars 2 for the holidays or an upcoming birthday is going to find a very different game from the one last year. I still see a handful of players here and there on Sanctum of Rall for the mid-level zones. So there is health, but even I am succumbing to relying on renown activities for much of my alt-leveling fun. Don’t even get me started on finding an event only to see that a champion alt-grinder is just waiting on the other side of that orange circle.

There are three major types of content in Guild wars 2 PvE: (1) events, (2) renown activities, and (3) other players. Unlike a conventional MMO built around quests first, the only certain PvE content in Guild Wars 2 involves one-time renown activities. Other players are never going to be a certainty. This places all the reliance of repeatable content on hoping an event pops.

I hate avoiding areas because there is a dearth of events. I love roaming around to fill out my daily on alts or my main, but I hate feeling like I am in a desert of events. Perhaps, looking at Southsun Cove, my understanding of Guild Wars 2 PvE has been always fatally flawed. Perhaps events are meant to be too special. My gut feeling is that the starting areas were supposed to be the norm.

I do want to buy in to ArenaNet’s vision that if I make an alt 6 months from now the journey might be wholly different. With my two alt’s journeys to get the other two order banners, I am more surprised at how much I recognize. How many events have I memorized? I’ll keep killing that Alpha Drake just south of Lion’s Arch though. That fisherman will always want some water for his pack bull. That’s pretty much certain.


19 thoughts on “[GW2] Core Event Density”

  1. I’m finding myself less and less in need of filler events, but when I do want to finish that up quickly, I head over to Feritas WP in the Plains of Ascalon. It’s great: Every like stupidly small amount of minutes, the Flame Legion Shaman will 1) infest the lake with tar elementals, 2) set up braziers that need destroying, and 3) need destroying himself. If I’m still in need of events after that, I’m just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the salvage yard, where there are almost always Flame Legion attacks — and after I fend *those* off, I get to pursue the Legion scumbags back to their cave. Boom.

    1. Right, starting area. I don’t want “filler” events either, but it seems like each little sub-region has only one story to be told through events…. if that. Hellion Forest in Iron Marches has a fantastic event with Bria. It is one of the must sees, but that whole spooky area only supports 1 event (with 1 follow up if failed) and the renown heart. What about the story of the headless woodsmen or the scaredy cat logger? Etc.

  2. I have to admit, I can’t remember much good stories from events. I love the one about the Norn-children who get a bear-problem though.

  3. I’d say the vast majority of my completions of the daily event achievement is in WvW. Even just capping a camp near your spawn, and getting lucky with two dolyaks spawning is 3/5 of the way there for a few minutes work.

    In PvE land I’ve a few other favourite areas to return to find some more events to make up a particular dry spell. I really like the jumping puzzle in Dredgehaunt Cliff, it is a few events long and the last boss is quite challenging on level. I like ‘meatoberfest’ too, it is lighthearted and there is several events happening around that area.

    On the whole if I’m in a zone for about an hour of activity I’ll usually meet the quota, it is fairly rare to not find any events in that length of time.

  4. To some extent, Southsun Cove was built for the Ancient Karka fight and the initial road-clearing events. (Sometimes when I’m exploring I come upon a spot and say “This looks suspiciously like a boss arena,” but I didn’t do that in Southsun Cove because half the zone was the boss arena.) Among the hazards of one-time content is that when the event’s done, you don’t have that content any more.

    If I were really hurting for events, I’d probably try the Jungle Wurm or Fire Elemental chains- the last few times I was by those areas, they were in the “waiting for someone to talk to the NPC and start it” state. Still starting region, but you get 3-5 events and a scaling chest if enough people show up to beat the boss. I’m also an Alpha Drake fan, though.

    1. Well fundamentally I just want more. It’s not optimization as much as unavailability of content. LIke in WoW, you get dailies. There you go. In Guild Wars 2 a lot of time is spent searching for any active dailies.

      1. I know what you’re asking for, I just find it interesting how quickly the change happened. Remember when WoW came out with their directed questing and how everyone said it was the end of grinding? Now people see that as the horrible grind to avoid and there was a lot of talk about GW2’s dynamic events being a different approach.

        Ultimately, you are optimizing by targeting specific events you know will appear in order to get your achievement. And, content has always been a problem for MMOs, so ultimately this means that the dynamic events will have the same problems every other “solution to the grind” has had. Again, this has happened in a much shorter time frame than all the other “solutions”, though, which doesn’t bode well.

    2. I’m still convinced that this design decision does change the nature of how a player connects with an MMO, an experience reinforced by going back to a game with the older quest model and being utterly disinterested in pretty much everything, despite the shiny appearance.
      Arenanets problem now is a quantitative one: there aren’t enough (meta) events in the game to provide a sufficient level of variety, and variety within events is also running thin. It remains to be seen if Arenanets business model allows them to produce enough new, diversified content to add to the old one in a pace that can keep up with the players rate of consumption.
      They have the advantage that old content remains reusable, but they still need to infuse the game with fresh experiences.

  5. I really don’t know where to start with this. I wish it wasn’t 1 a.m. so I could really do the topic justice.

    Briefly, then:

    1. Events and Dailies

    There are many possibilities here. If you are leveling a character and playing normally, you will do five events in a normal play session unless you actively avoid them. I spent this afternoon leveling my Elementalist from 62 to 64 by traveling from Lornar’s Pass to Mount Maelstrom and I’d done five events before I was half-way through Dredgehaunt Cliffs.

    If you are doing WvW, events fall like autumn leaves. A camp-capping group will get three events done in 30 seconds (two Yaks and a camp cap) plus a fourth if they hit the sentry on the way. If I go to WvW as soon as I log in I generally have the event part of the Daily done within ten minutes, tops.

    Failing either of these organic methods, if you just want to knock the events out to get the daily done, go to either Wayfarer Foothills or Plains of Ashford and you can get five events in five to ten minutes, guaranteed.

    I have two accounts. I often play one all day then remember at about 11.30 that I haven’t done the Daily on the other. If I decide I want to do it, it will be done by ten to midnight. I prefer not to do it that way, but it it very easy indeed to do it if necessary.

    2. Events as the Population Ages/Spreads Out

    As I said, I spent today doing PvE. I roamed south from Lornar’s and it was intoxicating. If anything the experience was better than back when these maps were teeming with players. I did a number of Hearts and Events including some favorites such as rezzing the Hylek in their village as the Krait try to take over and clearing the Dredge out of the Skritt caves. The scaling was very good. Mostly I soloed these. It took some thought and effort but felt both immersive and satisfying.

    The maps are fascinating now that the NPCs have reign. Much more interesting, in my opinion, than they were when players swarmed over them. The Dredge hold almost all of Dredgehaunt Cliffs now, but I was able to help a Priory team retake one dig site. They’ll lose it again now I’ve left but that’s how it goes.

    If I was a new player starting now, frankly I think I’d have a better experience than I had back in the summer. Then, many events in those maps were badly bugged and those that worked were regularly zerged. Yes, it’s a different experience, but it’s a deeper and more intriguing one. It makes GW2 more of an RPG than an MMO, perhaps, but I have no problem with that.

    3. Repetitive Events

    This is true. The hype about dynamic event chains that players would rarely see play out in full turned out to be just that – hype. I know plenty of events by heart. Mostly they seem to have a Win/Lose binary, occasionally it’s a little more, not often. And you know what? That’s fine. Really it is. Those events are like tracks on an album. They bear hearing over and over again because nuances and subtleties appear anew out of the mix on every play.

    It’s late. I could go on but I mustn’t. I could mention that , on Yak’s Bend at least, even though I often play in what is the middle of the night for the bulk of players on the server, it’s rare for me to be alone on even the most out-of-the-way map. I could comment that if I fail an event solo, it’s odds-on that someone will turn up and rez me before I waypoint back and we’ll finish the event up together. I could comment that every single day in the half-hour I might spend in Plains of Ashford or Wayfarer Foothills there are half a dozen new players asking new player questions in map chat and gosh-wowing about all the events they never saw before. But it’s late, so I won’t.

  6. I’m now level 60. I think I have seen that I completed a daily less than 10 times. I don’t care. I don’t look at anything like that as a goal. I don’t see the fun in forcing myself to run around trying to fill up some bars in the menu.

    I wander the land, looking for people that need my help and I help them. That is more than enough to keep me satisfied.

  7. What I got from Colin Johanson’s post was that part of what they were wanting to do was just add more events, across the board, so that things would (in time) feel a bit more spontaneous and varied and a bit less routine for players who had been there before. I really think that would help, and it should be easy enough to do with time. Right now it’s quite unusual for me to run through a familiar area and find an unfamiliar event, but increase the number of possible events and you can decrease the frequency of each one. It would also mean that in the areas where people might be inclined to camp out for meta-events, there can be more going on in the meantime – sub-stories in the area, which happen while “the ____ is quiet/dormant/defeated.”

    And personally, I find Wayfarer Foothills is the absolute king of zones for daily events. There are so many events everywhere in that zone, they cycle frequently, and many of them are part of large chains. The zone’s also always busy on my server, I don’t know why, people seem to like doing the Maw event.

  8. Sparkfly is a great place for events but in general, events are easy to find…except when you haven’t been on and have 30 minutes before the turnover. Then even Queensdale is a dead zone. It’s almost like they know, and all the bandits and wyrms just go into hiding to troll me.

    There’s always that 2fer arena event in GFields if you’re pressed for time and/or can’t figure out what you haven’t killed yet – great for those days your character is otherwise frequenting Orr.

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