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[Column] General: MMO’s New Buzzwords: Dynamic Events

BillMurphyBillMurphy Managing EditorBerea, OHPosts: 2,357MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Buzzwords seem to attract a lot of attention to topics of interest. Showcasing his unique inside perspective, Mark Kern takes a look at the power of buzzwords. Keep reading before heading to the comments to discuss the article.

MMOs after World of Warcraft have long tried to imitate its success.This meant creating Themepark worlds, where quest hubs and fixed attractions dominated the content and gameplay. While many publishers tried for a decade to capture the WoW audience, none of them ever came close and many actually failed. As gamers hopped on MMO after MMO hoping for that next “spark”, we became disappointed and jaded as nothing was ever quite as captivating as our first experience in World of Warcraft or other early MMOs.

Read more of Mark Kern's MMO’s New Buzzwords: Dynamic Events.

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Comments

  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,273Member Uncommon

    Next weeks we tackle another buzz word, "Living World."

     

    On the opposite end of the spectrum you have Wushu pvp "dynamic events" such as Script stealing/protection, guild cart escorts/robbing, guild wars, school wars etc. These events happen all over the game world and are driven by players. It's the closest thing I've seen to a "dynamic events". Yet and still there could be more.

     

    I'm not sure mmorpg tech is advanced enough to make pve events as dynamic. Maybe EQN with story bricks can make truly dynamic pve events, idk.

     

     

     
  • VorchVorch Somewhere, FLPosts: 800Member

    I do hope that more developers look at creating dynamic worlds and also add content that can occur SPECIFICALLY based on a particular player's choices.

     

    This actually happens in GW2, but not NEARLY enough. For instance, let's say you chose to kill some higher ups in the ministry rather than simply spy on them. Hired killers from the ministry may pop up in Krytan areas and say they were sent to kill you, triggering an event in the open world.

    Along with dynamic events, these sorts of events that bringe a player's instanced story with the open world should be looked into much more fervently.

     

    I would also like to see more player generated content. The Foundry from Neverwinter proved that it's not easy, but it IS possible.

    "As you read these words, a release is seven days or less away or has just happened within the last seven days— those are now the only two states you’ll find the world of Tyria."...Guild Wars 2

  • ZieglerZiegler nashville, TNPosts: 159Member
    Firefall was heading in the right direction when I beta tested it early last year with dynamic event, as was RIFT when I played it.  Those are nice but still not sandboxy enough. Let's face it, SIMs is raging success just because people can design their own.  Throw in some PVP fights, and  scarce resources and the ability to build that house on your own and now you have some staying power.  Theme parks are self defeating for a long time now. We want to provide you everything to do, and you want to do it as fast as possible.......then 3 months into the game, people are leaving in droves because they have topped out. MMO's havent been building with the long term in mind.  sandboxes and randomness...and rarity are going to need to make a comeback for longevity of a MMO now.  Devs...after we have been screaming it for  years...are starting to see the light.
  • mCalvertmCalvert Tallahassee, FLPosts: 1,283Member

    The new problem is that dynamic events are not dynamic enough. Once you've seen one Rift you've seen them all. Once you've killed Jormag every 4 hours for 6 months, it feels pretty static. Truly dynamic events need to actually change each time you play them.

    Firefall for example will have you do an event to defend some area. If you lose, you have an event to retake the area. Then an event to defend the area, then an event to retake the area. Rinse repeat forever. Is that dynamic?

  • sirphobossirphobos Ames, IAPosts: 614Member Common

    The problem with dynamic events is that they aren't really dynamic, they're really just quests that are only available at certain times, and eventually they become stale just like any regular old quest does.

    The closest thing to true dynamic events that I've ever seen in an MMO were the GM run events that you used to see in the first few years of Everquest.  I wish that another MMO would do something like that again as they were usually a pretty fun distraction from the normal grind.

  • ButeoRegalisButeoRegalis Tijeras, NMPosts: 504Member Uncommon

    On the opposite end of the spectrum you have Wushu pvp "dynamic events" such as Script stealing/protection, guild cart escorts/robbing, guild wars, school wars etc. These events happen all over the game world and are driven by players. It's the closest thing I've seen to a "dynamic events". Yet and still there could be more.

    A challenge here is balance. If you escort/attack a caravan in an open PvP arrangement you find the caravan attacked/defended by 5 times your numbers, the event is crappy.

    Emergent gameplay is awesome when it works, but a frustrating waste of time if it doesn't. Few people are willing to put up money or time to gamble on this.

     

    image

  • CrazKanukCrazKanuk Elmira, ONPosts: 2,499Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by mCalvert

    The new problem is that dynamic events are not dynamic enough. Once you've seen one Rift you've seen them all. Once you've killed Jormag every 4 hours for 6 months, it feels pretty static. Truly dynamic events need to actually change each time you play them.

    Firefall for example will have you do an event to defend some area. If you lose, you have an event to retake the area. Then an event to defend the area, then an event to retake the area. Rinse repeat forever. Is that dynamic?

    Yes, I tend to agree. I think that the advancement that Firefall makes with regards to this subject is "dynamic". I mean whether you like it or not, Firefall is based around an invasion, so "The Chosen" are always taking over your stuff, or trying to. I would consider it dynamic in the dictionary sense of the word. I don't ever see one attack on an outpost that's the same as the last.

     

    This is an improvement over GW2 where it's like "Escort this merchant to the next city" then complete that and walk back to the starting point and you're able to do the same escort all over again, same path, same obstacles. Again, this may still be dynamic in the dictionary sense of the world in that the event is triggered dynamically by someone, whoever that may be. However, it's still programmed. 

     

    Both can be tedious at times, but I wouldn't slam either of them. These are progressions in the concept and also in AI. In Firefall, for instance, I've watched Chosen forces headed for one outpost actually change direction and, literally, move towards an easier target. So then you've got to actually go and chase them down. Sure, there is still logic behind that, but it's an improvement. For as shallow as Firefall might seem, initially, I actually find myself more invested in that world, at times, than I do in other games. It provides some sense of urgency. I will actually stop what I'm doing in order to go and help to stop an Incursion because I know it's simply not something that someone can do on their own. 

     

    So it's all about the progression of the experience and I think that we've seen some huge improvements in both Firefall and GW2. Unfortunately, the inherent problem with games is that we don't get to see lessons learned until after they release, so it could be another 5 years before we see substantial updates to those ideas. So it's definitely something that's slow to improve :(

    Crazkanuk

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  • PAL-18PAL-18 AnachronoxPosts: 802Member

    New?

    Anarchy Online had dynamic content like 10 years ago but its mmorpg tho.

     

    So, did ESO have a successful launch? Yes, yes it did.
    By Ryan Getchell on April 02, 2014.
    **On the radar:http://cyberpunk.net/**

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member

    What's sad is that this was the direction MMOs were headed back in the 90s, getting bigger, more advanced, more impressive, and more innovative. Then there was that whole 9 year dead stop followed by regression, thanks to publishers.

     

    Imagine how amazing MMOs would be today without their interference?

  • botrytisbotrytis In Flux, MIPosts: 2,567Member
    Originally posted by PAL-18

    New?

    Anarchy Online had dynamic content like 10 years ago but its mmorpg tho.

     

    Anarchy online was very scripted and not as dynamic as you think it was. Dynamic scripting takes alot of coding and horsepower to do. We are just getting into the time where that is possible.

    image

    "In 50 years, when I talk to my grandchildren about these days, I'll make sure to mention what an accomplished MMO player I was. They are going to be so proud ..."
    by Naqaj - 7/17/2013 MMORPG.com forum

  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,273Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by sirphobos

    The problem with dynamic events is that they aren't really dynamic, they're really just quests that are only available at certain times, and eventually they become stale just like any regular old quest does.

    The closest thing to true dynamic events that I've ever seen in an MMO were the GM run events that you used to see in the first few years of Everquest.  I wish that another MMO would do something like that again as they were usually a pretty fun distraction from the normal grind.

    GM's in Wushu do this. Last night at 9pm cst, they hosted a "come challenge the GMs" event.

     

    I'n the past they've placed bounties on themselves (behind a cool lil story). If you catch them you get the bounty. They then told the server the scene they would spawn in. This cause EVERYONE to grab constable status and go hunt them. They just pop up from time to time here and there, ask questions and show off stuff not yet in the game.

     

    I see where you're coming from here. Man if someone could get pve right though. ?I might start to enjoy it again.

  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,273Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by ButeoRegalis

    On the opposite end of the spectrum you have Wushu pvp "dynamic events" such as Script stealing/protection, guild cart escorts/robbing, guild wars, school wars etc. These events happen all over the game world and are driven by players. It's the closest thing I've seen to a "dynamic events". Yet and still there could be more.

    A challenge here is balance. If you escort/attack a caravan in an open PvP arrangement you find the caravan attacked/defended by 5 times your numbers, the event is crappy.

    Emergent gameplay is awesome when it works, but a frustrating waste of time if it doesn't. Few people are willing to put up money or time to gamble on this.

     

    you exactly right about this one. The rewards just aren't enough for vets to go attack when the alert pops, so you end up with a bunch of newbs who run out and get slaughtered. The last few nights I've been trying to solo these event carts, 1-6. I haven't gotten one yet, but I've attacked one from emei to chengdu. I got it to about 25%, and died 3 times in the process. 

  • HedeonHedeon GraestedPosts: 954Member Uncommon
    dynamic events is so last year, not to say Id personally dislike them yet...
  • Mr_MechanicalMr_Mechanical RIVERSIDE, CAPosts: 88Member

    I agree with a lot of the responses here.   After playing WAR, GW2, Rift, Firefall, FFXIV: ARR, I'm just sick to death of "Dynamic Events" being the new hotness, because they really aren't impressive.   

    They get really dull really fast and building a game around it just makes the game feel shallow and repetitive.  The problem truly is that they aren't actually as dynamic as the publishers ever promise.   They are scripted events that are on Timers, or triggered by player interactions just the same as a normal quest is triggered by hitting the 'accept' button.    It's actually quite insulting that we've been tricked into thinking big things about a game just because they boast a crap dynamic system that's supposed to entertain us for 'years" (yeah right.)

      FFXIV: ARR is at least a real MMORPG with adventure, exploration, story, and staying power built right in, and only uses F.A.T.E.S. as sort of an 'extra' for those that got too used to grinding dynamic events for the last 6 years.      You can completely ignore them and still have a full mmorpg experience without feeling forced to go sprinting after every dynamic event that pops up.

    I can see the wires, though.    Dynamic Events in their current state is nothing more than a scam to get people to buy a game that, yet again, can't figure out how to "beat wow" and is too scared to provide a player-driven world.

     
  • Nemesis7884Nemesis7884 ZurichPosts: 880Member Uncommon
    Dynamic events are so yesterday
  • Lord.BachusLord.Bachus Den HelderPosts: 9,064Member Uncommon
    Dynamic events is just a first step towards dynamic zone design, where the things that are happening (events) truely influence eachother.   

    Best MMO experiences : EQ(PvE), DAoC(PvP), WoW(total package) LOTRO (worldfeel) GW2 (Artstyle and animations and worlddesign) SWTOR (Story immersion) TSW (story) ESO (character advancement)

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,183Member Uncommon

    UO had tons of dynamic events, put on by Seers.  Some actually effected the shards they were on if a GM took the time to get involved.

    So none of these current MMO's invented it, it was done in UO a long time ago......

  • FoomerangFoomerang Portland, ORPosts: 5,565Member Uncommon

    Dynamic Events as a buzzword has lost its impact thanks to Anet. Some dev could come along and make a truly dynamic event system and poeple will roll their eyes because of the over promising Anet did with theirs.

  • achesomaachesoma Portland, ORPosts: 1,000Member Uncommon
    For starters, dynamic events need to be more than just leveling fodder. To me, something that is dynamic means it should change regularly and be unpredictable. Something that can't be studied in a guide or YouTube video. GW2 and others dynamic events are anything but. They make great leveling fodder IMO but lack depth and end game replayability.

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  • VolkonVolkon Sterling, VAPosts: 3,788Member

    What I like with regards to GW2 events are the success and fail states and the fact that each state can kick off subsequent events into some fairly lengthy chains. Considering GW2 is the first (that I'm aware of) MMO to toss the quest-bang and have their primary PvE content DE's I'd say they've done a really great job so far. If GW2 continues to improve upon them and newer games like Firefall take the idea and run with them adding their own flair it really holds a lot of promise for MMOs of the future. I know I'll be in Tyria for years to come, but I wish Firefall great success as well!

     

    Just remember... GW2 had to add "hearts" to the game, kind of "tasks" marked on the map, because the average player would bypass an event that was in progress completely because they "didn't have the quest for that". Make sure you put in the effort into a tutorial to educate the quest-bang trained crowd to recognize that when something is happening it's a good idea to check it out. Forget "quest logs", get your arse in there and help!

    Oderint, dum metuant.
    image

  • orbitxoorbitxo fort lauderdale, FLPosts: 1,405Member Uncommon
    CCP, Trion, Red5, and Anet  have been sorta the pioneers on this trend, lets hope it sticks an gets better.
     
  • CyclopsSlayerCyclopsSlayer Minneapolis, MNPosts: 532Member

    re: GW2/Warhammer when an event has a fixed location, fixed script, fixed triggers, and a repeating chain cycle, then by NO stretch of the words can they be called Dynamic. Sure, you can succeed at the event, or fail, but that is the only remotely dynamic part.

    Some games have filled in the "Dynamic changes" part by giving chained quests in a different order, you get them 1>2>3, I get them 1>3>2.... Ooooo Ahhhhh.....

    It soon became apparent with Rift that the 'rifts' had limited possible spawn locations. And while you could never be entirely sure how often an event occurred, or what event would occur. When they did occur there was little if anything 'Dynamic' about it.

     

    So, "Dynamic" is just another of the meaningless buzzwords thrown around these days with no fixed or proper definition. Joining the crowd of "Level-less", "Trinity-less", "Sandbox", "Freedom", etc... People and Devs especially use the words, but NEVER define them. Sure you can call your game anything you want, and as long as you remain vague players will build up false hopes and false hype based on what that player thinks the Dev meant, meanwhile they use an entirely different definition.

    Take "Level-less", if you change the name from level into Skill Ranks that is technically level-less right? So now rather than a player earning Experience points on a quest, they earn Skill points. A big difference, right?  Not so much...

  • FourplayFourplay Dallas, TXPosts: 172Member Uncommon

    State is the keyword here. State has a cause and effect, it is the filter or prism that while subtle, makes an interaction feel different. State is an emotional and physical value, usually governed by your perception. When it becomes personal is when the state is most vulnerable. Dynamic events must learn to affect us on the personal level.

     

     

    Emotional State:

    Personal emotion: Your wife of twenty years cheats on you after what you thought was a good marriage. Your state will probably be one of sorrow, heartache, unworthy, or hatred.

    Non personal emotion: The neighbors wife cheats on him after twenty years of a so called good marriage. Your state will probably be one of empathy, slightly uncaring, or unaffected.

     

    What kind of dynamic events would make it feel personal to you in a videogame? 

     

     

    Physical State:

    Personal physical state: An attack from another country is made on your homeland which has been safe and secure. Everyone you knew growing up has just died, your home city is in ashes and you are facing death or captivity.

    Non personal physical state: Some country just attacked another country not your own. Everyone they knew has just died, their city is in ashes, and they are facing death or captivity.

     

    What kind of dynamic events would make it feel personal to you in a videogame?

     

    To be truly dynamic, this must apply to weather, resources, npcs, emotions, the world. Take a city, it's rather different from season to season, different weather, different laws, natural disasters, financial security, acts of violence. In a game if all that is just a skin or text and doesn't actually affect stuff. Then these events are no different than quests.

     

    Dynamic events, sandbox, and emergent gameplay have yet to be fully explored. And I hope designers look for ways to make games rich and dynamic. Start creating systems with more than just 2-3 variables to determine dynamic so it never feels repetitive.

     

     

     
     
  • GeezerGamerGeezerGamer ChairPosts: 5,587Member Uncommon

    Dynamic events: One of Anets largest accomplishments in GW2. They were a lot of fun. But there are a few down sides. They became just a repetitive as mob kills. Instead of killing 10 mobs a thousand times, you just repeat the same DEs over and over. After it's all said and done, the impact of DEs has been whittled away.

    But that's not the biggest drawback to DE's Along with ANET's greatest contribution, comes their worst. The Personal Story. Problem is, you can't have DEs without this. Or you have to have quest hubs inter-spaced between DEs. DE's are event oriented. not story oreineted. They portray a situation at hand. What's going on right then and there. But they cannot convey a story, they cannot paint the history of that world, You cannot advance the game's Lore in DEs. Also, because of their repetitive nature, it becomes very difficult to tie your character's personal advancement in the game to them. With specific quests, you can reward characters at specific points in the game to keep them going. Obviously from a gear standpoint, there are other ways to overcome this, but in general, it's very difficult to tie any kind of specific advancement to an individual DE.

    The Personal Story was supposed to be a side story that characters can solo in when alone. I'm not against having things for players to do while playing alone, but tying the entire lore of the game to a single player activity was a mistake.

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    The problem with any buzzword is people try and use them before they really know what they mean.

    Sandbox has got to be the worst of these. Sandbox was always about building and changing the world, how pvp got involved I don't know.

    Dynamic events were about the outcome of the event not that it could be done more than once.

    I guess the other issue with them is, they're not solutions to a problem. A sandbox isn't a fix for a bad themepark. It's just a different way to make a game. If it's still a crappy game, being a sandbox wont make it popular.

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