GW2 hasn’t kept my attention and that’s mostly down to the rather earnest fantasy setting of the world. The gameplay, for the most part, is great and easily accessible but I spend a lot of time wondering how SWTOR might benefit from adopting some of the gameplay elements. One of the most obvious features to take on would be Dynamic Events and here are the three main reasons I think they’d be perfect for including in one form or another:
- Players can take part without needing to group
- Players complete events by fulfilling a variety of tasks that all contribute to the overall progress
- Events can change a landscape depending on whether they’re won or lost.
For me, the best thing about GW2s dynamic events was that feeling of all the players present working together. You didn’t have to pick up a quest and you didn’t have to form a group and, because of the lack of mob tagging, you were quite able to contribute to the group effort as long as you were nearby. I found the events extremely satisfying, even on the rare occasion that we lost.
So how would it work?
Consider Corellia, a (current) endgame planet that’s currently ravaged by conflict. Everywhere you go you can see small groups of Republic and Imperial NPCs in combat, fighting over important locations like the Shipyards, the Coronet Tram system and so on. But aside from pushing back enemy forces, there are other things going on; for example, one of the Trooper story quests involves preventing Imperial forces from firebombing a residential tower block which, while a class-based mission, ties in very well with the planetary story line. Corellia is also the location for the Black Hole daily missions.
Problem is that, while you can have a few players running around the planet or the dailies area, you don’t really feel that you’re working with them – even if you’re all doing the Black Hole dailies. I reckon this could change with Dynamic quests and make the world – and game – feel much more alive.
Take the Republic quest “Underground Invasion”: the overarching goal is to reclaim the rocket tram system for the Republic by defeating Imperial Shocktroopers and their leader, Captain Granta. There are also a couple of bonus quests that involve killing tunnel creatures and defeating a number of Imperial forces. If this was a dynamic quest then, you could have a group of players – working together – to achieve the goals by a) killing Imperials b) killing creatures and c) disarming bombs. Completing this might then start a second stage of the event where players need to a) kill Imperial Shocktroopers b) put out fires and c) repair damange until finally, the third stage sees players fighting Captain Granta (or anonymous Imperial officer) and his bodyguards.
If players successfully complete this event, this might lead to, for example, a new travel point (the tram) or vendor becoming available or perhaps lead to new set of dynamic quests that involve escorting supplies and reinforcements from the tram to another area. It also might mean that the next tram based event would involve defending the site from attacking Imperial forces (and losing that scenario would lose both the travel point and vendor until the site was regained).
In some ways, I find it a little surprising that these don’t already feature in SWTOR. Not only are there already bonus missions that are related to quests, some of which are a chain that automatically update and progress as you complete them, but there are also AREA quests that you automatically gain when wondering into an area. Additionally, given the similarity between Dynamic Events and Public Quests in Warhammer Online and considering that Mythic are now Bioware Mythic, it doesn’t take a huge leap to imagine how WARs technology could be leveraged by the SWTOR team.
Of course, there are potential issues; while I’m using Corellia as an example, I’m very aware that it might be next to impossible to retrofit these sort of events into the game as it is. The Black Hole dailies area would be a perfect place for a set of dynamic events for groups to complete – but seeing as how the area is self-contained in its own little subzone, the events wouldn’t be something you might stumble across in the course of questing. Additionally, the major criticism and design flaw of WAR’s public quests is that they were impossible to complete if there weren’t any other players around of the same level. GW2 avoids this by having level scaling for zones but in SWTOR, I’d suggest keeping the events at endgame level for the moment (although I wouldn’t be against some type of level scaling or Master/Padawan style sidekicking at some point in the future).
There are other GW2 features I’d like to see subsumed into SWTOR (in much the same way the GW2 “borrowed” the idea of crafting with materials in your bank) and I’ll discuss those in due course. But what do you think – would you like to see Dynamic Events in SWTOR and if not, why not? Are there other ideas you’d like to see borrowed by the developers?