By Regina Buenaobra May 20th, 2010 Yesterday Lead Content Designer Colin Johanson answered many of your questions about the event system in Guild Wars 2. Today it’s Lead Designer Eric Flannum’s turn to field some more commonly asked questions. Here we go! Will guilds or large, organized groups of players be able to manipulate, control, or grief the dynamic events system? For example, once they know all the outcomes of an event, could they force a particular outcome? What exactly is being done to minimize griefing? Eric: A few things need to be said about the event system here. One of the primary goals when we design each and every event is ensuring that the event is not griefable. The entire point of the event system is that players work together to succeed at events, therefore the only way to manipulate the system in a negative way would be to cause an event to fail. Events never encourage player conflict, and never have fail conditions that can be actively triggered by players. For example, you won’t see any events that require players to be “stealthy” by say, sneaking by some sleeping guards. A player in this situation could quite easily choose to wake the guards up and ruin the fun for everyone. In the case where a player or group of players have figured out how to cause an event to fail, we have been very careful to not make any one particular event more desirable than another. As Colin mentioned, events are rewarded with experience, gold, and karma. Karma is basically a non-tradable resource that is used for a variety of things in the game. For example, certain merchants only accept karma in exchange for their goods and services. Because of this, players can get some pretty cool rewards by doing events, but it doesn’t matter which exact event they’ve done. Achievements can be earned by doing events, but not by doing any one specific event. We’ve taken this approach with any system that interacts with events. Events also occur frequently and all over the map. If someone is causing problems at a particular event, it isn’t difficult to find another one to participate in. Remember also that events often occur in chains. If a player or group of players were to figure out a way to cause an event to fail, it would often just cause another different event to pop up. In the end, stopping griefing is one of our highest priorities. Through our playtesting we’ve already found a few ways in which some of our events could be griefed, and in every case we’ve made changes to stop it. At this point we think we’ve addressed most of these issues, but we’ll continue to be vigilant as we develop the game and will of course take whatever measures are needed to stop griefing after the game is released. Does event scaling adapt to group size only or will it also adapt to character levels? Eric: Event scaling only adapts to group size, not to character level. If you have a group of players participating in an event and they are a bit higher in level than the event calls for, they will find it easier than a similarly sized group of lower level players. Will you ensure that event chains are consistent with regard to the story they tell? Will it be possible for two players to make different choices, leading to one experience events inconsistent with her choices? For example, two characters choosing two different paths for the same event, and the event “forcing” one player to align with an opposing faction, which is inconsistent with the decisions she made up to that point? Eric: Players never make individual choices in an event. They either choose to participate in the event or they don’t. If ogres are ransacking a charr town, an individual player can choose to try and stop them, they or can choose to just keep walking and ignore the situation. The ogres are going to do their best to pillage the town, and any players participating will do their best to stop them. If the ogres succeed, then that town is lost to all players, not just those that tried to help. Events react to the world, not to individual players. Think of events as shared player experiences where the world acts as a real world (or at least a real fantasy world) might act. Individual player choices are made in each player’s personal storyline which leverage the use of instances to reflect that different players can make different choices. In each character’s personal story, they will get to make decisions that will change their instanced version of the world, but in non-instanced areas, player choice will have an impact on the greater environment and therefore on all other players in that world. Is the term “quest” reserved for the personal story? Will we have traditional quests in addition to events? Eric: We’ve actually gone away from using the term “quest” to describe any of our content. The feeling is that the word has a lot of baggage associated with it. It brings certain expectations and preconceptions that we don’t want players to have in mind when they play our game. That being said, there are no traditional quests in Guild Wars 2. We have three main types of content in the game. First, we have events which we’ve started talking about in some detail. Next we have the personal storyline, which is probably closest to being what players usually think of as a “quest” and yet it’s very different at the same time. We’ll be talking about the personal storyline very soon. Then we have dungeons, which are organized group content, but again with ArenaNet’s own particular twist. We’ll talk about dungeons a little further down the road. Can a zone be empty of events and, if so, will it stop the player’s progress? Would there be a danger that a player might need to reroll a character if her progress is hampered by a lack of events? Eric: A zone or map (which is how we refer to what I think players tend to regard as a zone) is never empty of events. Events occur pretty frequently so an empty map wouldn’t stay that way for very long. Even in a theoretical situation where a map was to be empty for an extended period of time, it would have no real effect on a player’s progress. A player has many ways of progressing in Guild Wars 2 and events are only one of the many ways he or she has of experiencing the world. A player who doesn’t have an event occurring near them has many choices of things to do (including exploring a little and probably finding an event fairly quickly) such as following their personal storyline, earning achievements, discovering and earning traits, or completing collections. There is no end to the variety and amount of content available to players.