There you have it: the answer to the question asked over and over since the Guild Wars 2 dynamic event system was announced a little over a week ago. Guild Wars players have always enjoyed loot distribution that's different from the need vs. greed or free loot systems that are standard in so many MMOs. Pre-assigned items and equally divided gold skirted the entire issue of arguing over who gets what.
Players have been very concerned about the distribution of loot, gold, and XP in Guild Wars 2, but the only hint we received was from Lead Designer Eric Flannum: "[...] each event has its own criteria for determining participation that gauges who actually made a decent effort at participating. It's designed to give no credit or lower credit to players who were AFK during an event or just did a fly-by, using only a few skills and moved on. [...] The intention of the system is to encourage players to participate in fights. We don't define participation as either idling and doing nothing, or using one skill and simply tagging a monster."
That was definitely reassuring, but as with most of the Guild Wars 2 news it raises even more questions. Colin Johanson addressed them briefly yesterday when he introduced the concept of karma as a way of acquiring the things you need, promising that Eric Flannum would explain further tomorrow.
Tomorrow is here and Eric does tell us more about karma, but he's got much more to say. Follow along after the jump for the next round of questions about dynamic events!
Realism seems to be the ultimate goal of the dynamic events system, beginning with karma and continuing through the entire setup of Guild Wars 2. "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." This sounds like the karma system could be treated as a very realistic way of allowing the merchants and crafters of Tyria to express their appreciation for your efforts in keeping their home safe. If you earn a fair amount of karma, it indicates that you've been working hard saving villages and whatnot. The merchants certainly will have heard of your exploits and would like to return the favor in the form of some gear, for example.
The karma system sounds great, but what about those players who aren't as interested in saving helpless villagers as they are in giving you a hard time? Griefers are a fact of life, so what happens if you need to tiptoe past a pack of guards without waking them? Can another player come charging in to kick the guards awake and cause you to fail? Eric says no: "Events never encourage player conflict, and never have fail conditions that can be actively triggered by players. [...] 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."
Dynamic events seem to bring the danger of conflicting outcomes if two players make different decisions. This possibility concerned many people within the community, but again, it's all about looking at things from a realistic point of view: "Events react to the world, not to individual players. If you and your friends wipe out an enemy camp, that's it -- the camp is gone for the world, not just for your party. Just as in real life: if you do something that has an effect on your surroundings such as picking up a wallet dropped on the sidewalk, that wallet is now in your possession. The next guy who comes along won't see another wallet waiting to be picked up.
Eric dropped another interesting piece of information along with this description of choices and outcomes, explaining that while your actions affect the entire world in Guild Wars 2, instancing will be used to follow your personal storyline. Individual instances will be affected by your actions, but only for you. These won't be in the form of instanced quests, however. In fact, "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," says Eric.
The elimination of traditional quests make room for three main types of content in Guild Wars 2: the large dynamic content, personal story events, and organized dungeons. This last piece of information is especially exciting, and Eric promised more on that in the future -- something we look forward to.
Moving back to the current focus of dynamic events, what happens in a big world if there are no set quests and nobody happens to be around? Do you just wander around an empty map with nothing to do? ArenaNet, of course, knows better than to let something like that happen, according to 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." Remember Colin's starving lion analogy from yesterday? The cage doors are always open in Guild Wars 2.
Check out the full story in the latest edition of ArenaNet's blog.