Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Warhammer World Event Incentives

My two most recent posts have been about world event incentives in WoW - specifically Hallow's End and the Zombie Plague. Each case came up lacking. Well, Mythic has a counter-offensive of sorts. Via Book of Grudges:

Witching Night (Halloween)
Witching Night is live now and sounds like it includes about what you'd expect - costumes, some tome of knowledge unlocks, and some new public quests. The new PQ's are located in the open PVP areas of the game, and supposedly have a longer than normal reset timer to make the quests more competitive. This could end poorly with population balance being what it is. Still, the game's fanbase is crying out for something, anything, to encourage world RVR, so this may be just the ticket.

At any rate, it beats fishing for random spawns from WoW's trick or treat bags. I got lucky and obtained my squashling on my main the night the drop change went live. Since then, I have been trick or treating about 3-4 times per day on my six alts, and none of them have been fortunate enough to obtain a squash. (I also don't understand how they ever thought the mask achievement was a good idea, but at least they acknowedged that one). Even if the Warhammer PQ's devolve to a mob-tapping zerg that gets locked down by the dominant faction, they're probably going to be an improvement over logging into characters for 10 seconds each to loot a treat bag and log off.

Heavy Metal
Mythic's first major content update is going to introduce the two tanking classes to the game. They wear heavy armor, and Mythic apparently likes puns, so they're holding a world event called Heavy Metal. Har har har. :P

Obviously, details are scarce, and the content that eventually appears on the servers is more important than the content that the press release claims is going to happen. That said, the Mythic approach sounds promising. There will be daily tasks of some sort, and players will get event influence (kind of like rep) for completing them. The top reward being promised is early access to the new classes, though it's unclear how they're going to implement this.

In practice, the event might turn out to be similar to WoW's world event achievements, only you're given the goals one per day instead of all-at-once. Also, throwing the entire server at a single goal (even if it's something like "perform a /metal emote over a fallen enemy player" that can be done anywhere) may be good or bad - there will certainly be others to work with, but it will become more important that each day's event is actually balanced/doable (since a large chunk of the population will be attacking it on that day, and that day only), and that whatever spawns/etc are used be able to handle the number of players who show up.

That said, this event definitely sounds on paper like it has some great potential. An event specific faction is a great approach that could add a lot to future world events. If Mythic can pull this off, they certainly deserve a /tip of the hat.

Wait, MORE scenario rewards?
One thing that puzzles me, though, is that the Metal event will feature a special event scenario, which will offer greater than usual reknown. I find this decision puzzling. I personally loved scenarios, but there's no denying that the narrative of Warhammer's first month has been dominated by complaints that players discovered how scenarios offer the best rate of advancement and haven't done anything else since - see Keen blasting the community for doing so.

I don't see why Mythic would think it's in their best interest to add yet another scenario with rewards even better than the rewards that are already better than everything else in the game. Did the people who thought ahead to put the Witching Night PQ's in open RVR zones not talk to the Metal event design team? Was this simply an unused scenario that Mythic had already developed and then cut for fear of players spending all their time in scenarios? It seems curious.

What's in store for World Events?
I suspect that both companies (and their competitors) are going to be watching closely to see how the current batch of world events play out. It's an interesting time in MMORPG history to see so many events in multiple games over such a narrow window. (One presumes that Turbine may also have something planned for the launch of the expansion no one is going to hear about, due to their decision to launch it the weekend after the 11 million pound gorilla.) Hopefully the best new ideas will win and get broader acceptance, so that we can all have better events down the road.

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