Back when I was still playing LOTRO & I failed a quest my immediate thought was more often than not “Damn! Now I have to do this snaserfrassing thing again!” Now contrast that with my time in Guild Wars 2 where the failure of a dynamic event led me to think “Uh oh… things are about to get very interesting!” and that, I’m sure you’ll agree is a big difference.
Now you readers who don’t play MMOs or aren’t following the development of Guild Wars 2 may be wondering what the buggeration a “Dynamic Event” is. Well, let me fill you in on the basics and then point you to some people on YouTube who are far better placed than I to actually show you how these rather wonderful things work.
To start with you need to understand a little about how other (older) MMOs handle their quests. They offer you a simple mechanic whereby you interact with an NPC or in-game object to receive your orders which you then carry out before returning to the ‘giver’ to receive your reward. If you failed you’d have to start again & if you succeeded you moved on to the next quest or to the next quest giver. All well & good but oh so very functional & flat. The storytelling is linear, boring & unsatisfactory.
So Arenanet has decided to do away with this system and instead employs a dynamic mechanism whereby events just happen in the world & it is up to the player to get involved. This time failure doesn’t mean starting again but rather seeing the quest event dynamically evolve into another narratively linked event. Bandits suddenly attack the city’s water supply and if you stop them then the event changes on the fly from having you protect the pipes to having you hunt down the bandits all the way back to their hideout. But if you fail and the bandits destroy the pipes before you can drive them back then the event morphs into a desperate struggle to protect the repair crews sent out from the city to restore the supply. And this is just two steps of several along two branches of many in one dynamic event of hundreds in the world where the developers can add new ones quickly & easily. It’s an amazingly flexible, powerful & immersive system that’s also a huge heap of fun to experience in action, I’m sure you’ll agree
But the beauty of dynamic events, like that of HDTV or Jen from Milkshake, has to be seen to be believed so I have lined up a few choice clips from fellow beta players.Take a look & let me know what you think of the system. I hope they help some of you who might be wavering about pre-purchasing the game to make up your mind and come adventuring with me in Tyria
CaraEmm explains the branching, escalating nature of dynamic events in Guild Wars 2:
CaraEmm explores the consequences of failure in dynamic events:
MMOHut explains how dynamic events unravel:
Way back in the press-only betas TotalBiscuit explored how one dynamic event snowballed as he played: