Dynamic. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

A Fire RiftWhen I think of a themepark that represents the epitome of a quest-grind anti-dynamic world, I think of Rift.   Leveling from 1-46’ish (I never hit 50), I never once felt like I was doing anything dynamic.  Trion and other developers are continually pushing this idea that content like Rift’s zone invasions are dynamic, but I disagree so strongly that I felt the need to write a blog post; so here we go.

Scott Hartsman, Rift dev, was interviewed by PC Gamer magazine.  Scott talked about dynamic content and how Rift was originally all “100% dynamic 100% of the time” but it “lacked clarity” because, supposedly, the player could not feel attached to a “dependable” world — the player didn’t have those “touch points” of familiarity.  In a sense, the game didn’t feel enough like WoW — to be blunt — and Trion feared for their ability to attract their share of players.  To overcome this, Trion made Rift a very generic themepark and inserted a “layer” of dynamic content on top so that the two could “interact” with each other.

Life RiftIn my opinion, the reason why the “100% dynamic 100% of the time” internal version of Rift lacked clarity was because all you had were a ton of random scripted events firing off everywhere giving the player absolutely zero purpose for playing other than shutting them down.  I bet it was the most epic game of wack-a-mole ever.  Adding in the static/generic themepark elements only emphasized the dang scripted and anti-dynamic feel of the events.

Scott went on to say in the interview that a big problem players had with the content was that they wanted it to happen on their schedule.  I totally disagree with that statement: 1) That’s the opposite of dynamic, and 2) The players actually wanted something truly dynamic, which is why they had a problem with the scripted randomness in the first place.  The interview then takes things further away from the definition of dynamic by talking about a system where the player basically clicks a button to initiate an instant adventure.  The idea of a truly dynamic world is completely gone by this point.

The whole interview just reinforced my opinion that people don’t know what dynamic means, and they have no idea how to make content that is dynamic.  Know why? Because you don’t –MAKE– content that is dynamic!  You make a world that allows the players to create the dynamic feel.  Dynamic content creates itself when you facilitate the means through which players can interact.

You can put as much spin as you want on public quests, rifts, invasions, or whatever you want to call them, but at the end of the day they are only scripted events.  If you want a truly dynamic world, the player must be in control or your world must persistently change as the players interact with it.

  • @Scott Hartsman:
    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  • It’s true that a big problem players had was that they wanted to quest on their schedule–do the normal thing. More complaints about that than lack of real dynamic. “My quest hub is taken over and I can’t keep questing like for an entire hour–WTF?” Ironically adding the quest hubs somewhat killed the ability to make real persistent changes to the landscape. The Rift systems have the potential to do great things, and the devs will continue to innovate.

  • I remember in the early days of Rift when the starting zones were crowded with people : Rifts/Invasions were indeed spawning in absolutely all the time and it actually drove a friend of mine away because “I can’t ever get from A to B without a Rift getting in the way”.
    This was purlely because event frequency was tied to population or similar.

    Later on Rifts were far less common and I’d find myself “grinding” them alone or with a tiny group as most people just ignored them unless there was a Boss there.

  • “Know why? Because you don’t -MAKE- content that is dynamic! You make a world that allows the players to create the dynamic feel. Dynamic content creates itself when you facilitate the means through which players can interact.”

    Amen! Preach it!

    Seriously, can’t agree with this more. Great post.

  • When a game is really dynamic you feel like your character has a real impact on the world and there are no guides to tell you the correct sequence of steps to take. DAoC achieved this in the RvR aspect of their game with its relics and keep sieges.

    I’ve seen it done right in other games in more of a quest or event type of experience but it always involved a GM playing NPC’s and having the power to script lasting changes to the world. Now we just have to wait for the AI to be developed that could create this experience again in modern games.

  • Ironic, because I found DAoC to be completely non-dynamic and ultimately pointless: no matter how many times you captured a relic, eventually it would be recaptured at 4am PST by an unopposed group of Middies or Hibbies and you’d just have to do it all over again. There was absolutely no permanent, or even lasting, change to the world. If anything, the way DAoC RvR worked just emphasized how utterly pointless all the keeps and towers were….

    I think EVE or Shadowbane would provide a far better example of player-based dynamic content.

    And yes, player whining pretty much killed most of the NPC-based dynamic content in Rift. Sadly, players thought the quest hubs and such were the point of the game and the rifts were just a nuisance that got in the way of turning in quests and moving on to the next hub.

    I won’t be at all surprised if the same exact thing happens with GW2’s dynamic content….

  • @Vatec: I don’t think you’ll find anyone disagreeing that EVE is more dynamic than DAOC. However, just the fact that a relic could be taken at 4am, and all the other intricacies involved in the keep/relic sieging, made DAOC a step closer to feeling dynamic (as I said, a sense of dynamic), than themeparks or most other forms of PvP.

  • Keen, have you seen the Rift anniversary video? I wonder what they mean when they say they are moving away from 2 sided pvp to a truly open world.

  • @Jay P. I haven’t seen it yet. I can’t imagine how they would accomplish that without a complete overhaul of the game. I can already tell you I don’t believe it.

  • I lost all respect for Scott with Rift. The game was less dynamic feeling than any other MMO I have played and was not immersive at all. Perhaps the rather puny world was partially responsible, I am not sure. But the dynamic content was lame content. Kill some semi-retarded monsters roaming the landscape… if you don’t they just disappear. How is that dynamic content? Dynamic is immersive, changing, interesting… what the team at Rift created was hardly these things.

  • The supposed “dynamic content” in Rift has always been just a marketing ploy, nothing more. I totally agree with your article.

  • “player whining pretty much killed most of the NPC-based dynamic content in Rift. Sadly, players thought the quest hubs and such were the point of the game and the rifts were just a nuisance that got in the way of turning in quests and moving on to the next hub.”

    I do not believe this was the root of the problem. I felt that root problem was the linear and extremely non-dynamic quest progression structures of the zones in rift. Yes people whined a lot in situations you describe but it was only because most (if not all) zones were planned with a “tier”ed quest progression system. You had a strict starting quest and it all chained from there. There was no “moving on to the next hub” without turning in previous quests; that meant you were opting to skip half the quest lines in the next hubs. Go to another zone you say? Linear structure again; there was mostly a single zone that was perfect for your level (2 when you get close to end game), if you can’t do it that meant instead of questing in that particular node you were either go rift hunting, or pvp or go to another zone that is green/orange to you.

    In the end it was not the rifts that made me leave that game, it was the forced following that progression map.

  • I agree with Kirtil, Rift is even worse than SW:TOR, because it’s not only very linear, but also has a small cramped world and no real lore or story. There’s no class lore, no race lore, no class quests, only 1 very linear path through levels.

    And stop pretending rifts and invasion were dynamic. It’s total nonsense. Rifts themself are only another form of mob spawn point, just like your rats spawn in that field. They are just zone wide, nothing more. And invasions were another form of spawn point too, with the mobs following a path. Nothing new either. And NOTHING DYNAMIC here, since the world will be EXACTLY the same once the rift or the invasion is done. Dynamic also means changing. Nothing changes in Rift. Games with phasing like LOTRO or WoW are actually more dynamic than Rift.

  • I support parts of your post and I truely deeply disagree with Hartsmans assertions that Rift would of been worse off if they entire questing/leveling experience was set in a dynamic rift landscape.

    I still think that Rift invasions are a form of Dynamic content as is the questing model being used in GW2. One can not have a themepark without development roadblocks, if you will. Its as close as the themepark sub-genre will come to having a truely dynamic world.

    Speaking dynamic in the sense you think of Keen, I agree with you but then if you made a truely dynamic world free of development roadblocks then you would have a sandbox MMO. Still though having a WvW structure in place in a game like GW2 is as close to free form sandbox elements as you can get short of allowing players to build their own castles. A part of me hates that aspect of sandbox I am more of a fan of the GW2/DAoC style of persistant RvR/WvW themepark/sandbox hybrid. True sandbox even a PvE based sandbox is and always will be a relatively small niche because most MMO gamers are in the combat centered style of gameplay instead of the crafting centered or Build stuff style, I know I am as I detest most things that require me to build or craft as I would much rather find it or quest for it thru combat centered ideas.

    Mark (pun intended) my words that once DW2 comes out Hartsman and the rest of the Trion crew will be shooting themselves in the foot that they didnt try to innovate on the themepark model. I think his entire interview is nothing but damage control for when GW2 does finally come out and take away what meager subs Rift manages to still have, but thats my opinion.

  • @Zederok
    How can rifts be dynamic when nothing changes? The “world” before and after is exactly the same. Rifts are a spawn point just like the ten rats you killed in that field. A few minutes later, everything will be reset to exactly like it was before.

  • I loved Trion’s original vision for the game, back when it was still called “Heroes of Telara” – it was supposed to be “real” dynamic events, where servers could evolve differently. I see why they didnt do it, but I hope we have some devs some day who both have the balls and the financial backing to make a AAA MMO that way.

  • The concepts for dynamic content in Rift were good but the implementation was rather poor.

    TBH games do not need quests. They need interesting world content. 100 of the same mele mob in a spot on the map is hardly interesting.

  • For me Dynamic Content was the content that Turbine brought to Asheron’s Call every single month. From new mobs and dungeons to new areas of land and new quests for new more powerful items.

    Hell one of the most fun times in AC history is when they introduced the new islands to the south and the Sancturay with a quest to bring to into the world Beal’Zharon, Asheron’s evil counterpart. That was some of the most fun and memorable events I’ve ever played in an MMO.

    Dynamic content is an every changing world where the actual changes are brought about by it’s players. UO, AC and DAoC had some bit of this content early on, but I believe most developers didn’t want to go the route of dynamic content since many MMO’s were being simplified for their users. The devs do not trust their player base anymore to be able to do simple things like build a character, do you think they will their players to actually create content for themselves?

  • Dynamic content is hard to make on the PvE side. Players are just too unpredictable in certain ways. UO had a whole system where if you killed to many rabbits wolves would starve and what not. They had to scrap the whole thing because they could never adjust well enough to work it to the work.

    Tabula Rasa had dynamic content, but even that felt dry as hell. The best you can do from a PvE side is what GW2 did and hand craft a multistage quests with rather simple chains. But that is not really that dynamic.

    Or you could do what Keen suggested “make a world that allows the players to create the dynamic feel.”

    I really wish Rift built itself around rifts instead of bad copy of wow with rifts acting as mob spawns. if they did more stuff like the last zone they released instead I might actually be playing the game.

  • “For me Dynamic Content was the content that Turbine brought to Asheron’s Call every single month. From new mobs and dungeons to new areas of land and new quests for new more powerful items.”

    Not a bad example, but that was with technology from 10+ years ago. The dynamism wasn’t controlled by players though, but by the developers, and all servers where evolving exactly the same way at the end.

    Real dynamism would be a game were each server could end completely different from another because of its player actions. A game with a real ecosystem, like the one wufiavelli above mentioned for UO, where player acts have permanent consequences on the world. That would be a dynamic, evolving MMORPG world.

    But crap like Rift isn’t dynamic. It’s abusing the word “dynamic” for marketing purposes. They had to find something to pretend their WoW clone isn’t a WoW clone (you aren’t in Azeroth anymore… remember). At the end, personally, I’d play WoW anytime over Rift and its supposed “dynamism”. WoW is also a theme park, but it’s “phasing” system where the world really changes (at least for you) when you progress through the quests is 100x more dynamic than the random mob spawns called “rifts” in Rift. Yes I said it… WoW is more dynamic than Rift.

  • @The Merovingian – Actually that is what many of us were hoping would evolve for the next gen of MMO’s. In AC, when they had the Beal’Zharon patch update and introduced the quest to release him, even the server that decided not to release him, eventually had to because of how their servers were.

    What we were hoping would happen was that eventually we would play an MMO where player choices would actually make one server different than another.

    I still prefer the monthly content that Turbine added to AC than the “dynamic” content of say RIFT. Monthly added content with an actual continuing story makes you feel like you are actually playing in a world.

  • Keen,

    It just goes to show you that what’s profitable and what you want are on two separate sides of the spectrum.

    Trion’s marketing speak is what it is.

    But there’s no arguing that they’ve built themselves a nice little Themepark, that quite frankly, is head and shoulders above anyone else out there right now.

    Dynamic = Sandbox to you, based on this blog entry. Create a world for players to interact in, and allow that world to facilitate dynamic events that are player driven.

    While I might not disagree that we need another good successful sandbox offering other than EVE, I still believe the mass market isn’t ready for it.

    While you’re at it, you might want to take another stab @ Bioware after that outrageous Guild summit marketing BS that they spewed early this week.

    “Living and breathing world… ” was one of the quotes. 😛 You can’t make this shit up. 😀

  • Crackbone, rift is not really head and shoulders above anything in its league. Its among the leaders of the pack but thats about it. WoW, swtor, blow it away by miles.

    They had a decent year but not really much in terms of competition.

  • “I can’t help it I’m the biggest and the strongest. I don’t even exercise!”

  • While I agree with the common consensus that Rift is not actually dynamic, I recently resubscribed after a hiatus of about 6 months (after SWTOR became stale and boring, go figure) and I am having an absolute blast. Trion really does add content at a brisk pace, and those arrogant sh*ts at Blizzard and EA/Bioware could take a lesson from them on actually working for subscription dollars.

  • @Crackbone
    “But there’s no arguing that they’ve built themselves a nice little Themepark, that quite frankly, is head and shoulders above anyone else out there right now.”
    Opinions are like… you know what, everybody has one.
    As I said, I’d play WoW, LOTRO or even SW:TOR anytime of the day instead of Rift. Rift is one of the rare games I regret having wasted $50+ on. There was nothing in that game to keep my interest.

  • I’m going to have to join the small chorus of Rift fanbois and say Rift’s Ember Isle, especially when a pvp rift is open, is pretty dynamic content. That said it is just one zone. Rift 1-49 is fairly derivative until you hit endgame.

    Will GW3 push the genre forward? Let’s hope because TOR took it a step back. And let’s not forget Tabula Rasa when we talk about the evolution of dynamic content as well 🙂

  • I really think ember Isles is what Rift should of done with the entire game. I really want to play it just dont want to level from 1-50 to do it.

  • I subscribed to RIFT at launch (still do, although I don’t play it that much due to time constraints), and people complained a LOT about the limited dynamic qualities of rifts and invasions. “But I want to turn in my quest!”, “I was AFK and a monster showed up and killed me!”, and so on. I realize YOU probably wouldn’t complain about dynamic events not happening on your schedule, and neither would I, but I can assure you plenty of MMO players out there would.

    RIFT may be fundamentally a themepark game and therefore not able to be dynamic as you describe, but it sure is a heck of a lot more dynamic than WoW or SWTOR. The most “dynamic” WoW ever got was the zombie invasion, I think anyway, and if you recall people whined about that too to the point where Blizzard ended the event early and never tried anything like it ever again.

  • Dynamic does not mean stochastic. It does not mean random. It does not mean unpredictable.

    Dynamic from a computer systems perspective means essentially “adaptive”, which is what Rift sets out to be.

    Parties are dynamic in that members of the group can plug-and-play with their abilties to fit the entire team to a challenge presented to them. Parties dynamically assemble as Rift events take place: people riding around and auto-aggregating into raid-type groups as the event dynamically grows to accommodate and further challenge the players in the region (should they continue to succeed).

    It’s okay not to like the events in Rift, but not okay to criticize it for “not being dynamic” because it doesn’t meet conditions to be “stochastic”.

    Actually I’m pretty sure you would agree that a truly random gaming experience is anything but dynamic; it would in fact be remarkably frustrating as a truly random event would be about the most imbalanced “challenge” ever. It’s akin to drawing the Prismatic Dragon as your first Open a Door card in Munchkin (a game that is actually built of up random events). Sure, it’s funny…but that’s not Rift’s design doc.

    TL;DR: Dynamic does not mean stochastic.

  • @Thade: You’re calling Rift dynamic because people could form groups, and you’re attacking my argument based on the assumption that I assume dynamic to mean “random”. Your assumption is wrong. I never once even hinted at the idea of random being dynamic. In fact, three times in my post I highlight why I feel random is NOT dynamic.

    You’re in left field all by yourself on this one.

  • Rift in beta may not have been “dynamic” but it was hectic, chaotic and anarchic. I’d take any or all of those over “dynamic” any day.

    The frenzy of constant zone invasions overrunning everything was the whole point as far as I was concerned. The quieter it got, the more manageable it became to get, complete and hand in your quests, the less addictive and thrilling it became.

    I still like Rift a lot, but I’m not playing it more than once in a blue moon. If I could log in certain that all hell would be letting loose across the landscape within a few minutes, guaranteed, I’d be logging in a lot more often.

  • @ Liore

    WoW’s Zombie Invasion was some of the most crazy fun I’ve ever had playing an mmo. Utter chaos while it lasted, and I’d agree that it was about as dynamic as WoW could get. People either loved it or loathed it, I guess depending on what their playing goals were focused on at the time. Personally, I got swept up in it completely and I gleefully infected anyone I could with my scabby little zombie paws.

    That being said, I’m not sure I’d want to play an mmo where such dynamic content was around the clock, 24/7. I guess I just enjoy them more as events of limited engagement.

  • “Because you don’t -MAKE- content that is dynamic! You make a world that allows the players to create the dynamic feel. Dynamic content creates itself when you facilitate the means through which players can interact.”

    The one argument I have is that given a deep enough system, simulation can step in for the players, which has the double advantage over scripted events of being predictable (rather than random) as well as controllable. Now, I grant that technology is probably not at a point where this is feasible quite yet, but it’s getting there.

    But yes, for now, getting out of the player’s way and letting them run the world is the best route to dynamic content. GW2’s scripted event system is another notable offender in this regard… While they might be fun scripted event chains that encourage player interaction, dynamic they are certainly not.

  • @Brise Bonbons: Perhaps a deep enough system can be dynamic, but it’s hard to say it can be more dynamic than player input.

    Generally speaking, I want to correct any misconceptions some people may be having regarding my point. I’m not saying that Rift’s content is inherently bad because it is not dynamic, nor am I saying that only sandboxes can be dynamic. All that I am saying here is that Rift, like many other games, claims to be dynamic when in reality they are doing and saying things that contradict the idea of dynamism.

  • EDIT: I will add that by simulation I mean NPC controlled factions, with NPC towns and armies guided by a goal-driven AI. I.e. you might know roughly that when you cut down trees in the Forest-Elf lands, they will have a chance of learning about it (due to a scout taking the information home) and dispatching trackers to punish you.

    This creates an objective based structure similar to questing – I.e. “human village on Elf border wants wood (not because the designers scripted it, but because the mayor AI wants to build a new house): 0/5 trees cut down” leads to “kill the Elf scouts to avoid reprisal: Scouts killed 0/3” – but does so in a way that allows the world to respond intelligently to your actions, and enables unexpected emergent game states due to the interactions of systems in logical and understandable ways. Just the usual virtual world holy grail.

    Or, basically Dwarf Fortress in MMO form. But as I said, the tech is probably not there. Also most mainstream players are likely not willing to put up with the complexity of such a system. “Complexity” in this case meaning “using common sense to foresee the results of your actions”, rather than the escapist mantra “kill and take everything for yourself, you’re the hero”.

  • EDIT 2: (sorry for that)

    “Perhaps a deep enough system can be dynamic, but it’s hard to say it can be more dynamic than player input.”

    I certainly agree that player-driven systems are going to be unmatched for a long time. I’m just saying that an alternative (but less dynamic) option is to pursue sophisticated AI controlled actors. Not that they need to act like other players, just that they respond and act according to some set of goals and attitudes.

    I think the key is really the goals – planar invaders in RIFT just spawn and sit there, or run towards a random target. Even a very dumb goal-driven AI would be better than that… But I am not an AI coder by any stretch, so maybe I’m just dreaming here.

  • Oh, Keen.

    You said it was dynamic at first because of “random scripts firing off” and that adding “more static” elements detracted from this.

    You can have dynamic events on a schedule; these are not mutually exclusive. In particular, he references “[the player’s] schedule” which can’t be predicted by the developers. (Honestly the only near-stochastic elements in any game are the players from the design and system standpoint.)

    It’s not purely the ability to form groups that make it dynamic; it is the means by which the groups are formed that make it dynamic.

    You are waving away arguments without reading them.

    It definitely came across in this article that you believe dynamic and random to be synonyms (as I’ve highlighted here). I don’t see hints otherwise.

  • @Thade: No, I said it LACKED CLARITY because of the random scripts. I said absolutely nothing about dynamics in that statement. I was addresssing Scott Hartsman’s reasons for adding static themepark elements.

    You’ve misread or misunderstood me to the point that you’re absolutely mistaken. Reread it, please.

  • “was because all you had were a ton of random scripted events firing off everywhere giving the player”

    was worse than that, actually. what you had in Rift was the same three or four events (per zone) firing off at consistent intervals at pretty much the same spawn/anchor points. once you were familiar with a zone, you could tell which exactly rift event was happening by glancing at its location on the map. the only random element was which of the X spawn points would be a given rift script happening in.

    as to the rest of your blogpost, /signed,etc

  • I’m still convinced that a purely dynamic world, crafted by players just isn’t possible.

    You’re always going to be at the mercy of a hand full of extremists. In the real world, you have governments, police, laws, structure and order to keep things in line.

    In a virtual world, none of those structures exist. There’s a reason they exist in the real world.. because society requires them to function.

    Look at eve and the stuff that goes on there. Sure, it’s fun for a handful of hardcore players, but for everyone else (the people treating it like a *game* instead of a second life..) it’s simply not “fun”.

  • @Anon: I’m not sure I would want a world entirely dynamic, myself. I think it’s nice to have a framework to operate within. I simply like aspects of my game to be dynamic. I enjoy player driven economies — truly player driven. I like player housing in the open-world. I like PvP being territorial with reward and risk.

    Games like Xyson, for example, are even more dynamic than most. You can literally dig permanent holes in the ground or move earth. Sometimes a line is crossed where I feel uncomfortable with where the players are taking it, and that’s where I believe that you’re right about a handful of people having the most say in what goes on.

  • Dynamic World…….”Dark Age of Camelot” came to mind. A truly player driven game.

    Great article !

  • I enjoyed some of my time in Rift, but they kept adding grind to the game for the sake of adding something. Quest grinds, rep grinds, skill grinds, pvp grind, gear grinds… these are NOT content. After a while there was simply a lot of content I did not enjoy doing.

    I really like some of the things in GW2. It looks like you can play without grinding. I am also liking what they are doing with Dynamic Events. I still don’t consider them Dynamic but they are miles ahead of what Rift does.

  • @Keen – If the same sequence of events gets repeatedly regularly, it’s no longer “dynamic.” DAoC is actually the one MMO on which I utterly regret wasting my time and money. At least Rift fakes “dynamic” pretty well with a variety of somewhat unpredictable zone invasions. I =really= don’t understand the nostalgia people have for Dark Age of Camp-A-Lot, The Exciting Game About Riding Horses Between Boring Locations (TM). To my mind it’s roughly on par with nostalgia for Pong….

    @kirtil – If they didn’t like the linear quest progression, they could have simply skipped it. Rift has so many different ways to level that I have absolutely no sympathy for anyone who allowed themselves to get stuck in that fashion. Go run dungeons. Do some PvP. Maybe, I don’t know, actually try to fight against the invading creatures who are blocking access to your quest hubs? And people complain, “but the invaders just go away if you ignore them long enough.” Yeah. Because people whined about them =not= going away. You know, I think having a random invasion blocking access to quest hubs, forcing you to try something new and unexpected is pretty darned “dynamic.” But apparently players really didn’t =want= “dynamic.”

  • @The Merovingian: The PvP felt dynamic with relics, territories, and Darkness Falls. The PvE not at all.

    @Vatec: The PvE wasn’t what people, for the most part, loved. We all loved the PvP.

  • @Keen
    That wasn’t really dynamic. Everything was build by the developers (just like GW2), there was no player action modeling the world. The keeps, the territories, the dungeon, everything was pre-made and fixed, the world wasn’t really changing.

    Compare this to UO where players were actually building cities, changing the world on the long term…

    In my opinion – and only my opinion of course – a dynamic MMORPG is a world where when you enter, you never know what you’re gonna find. You go back to a village you visited a week ago, and it has changed, the needs (aka quests) of the villagers are different because the AI driven ecosystem changed in consequences to player actions and also mob reproduction schemes and migrations.
    In DAoC, you knew that castle would still be right there, that dungeon right there, with the same mobs inside. Actually, Darkfall is, despite all its flaws, more dynamic than DAoC – proof that making a MMO “dynamic” doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to be good.

  • @The Merovingian: I totally agree that DAOC is nowhere near as “dynamic” as UO. I’m only saying that because players took control of keeps, took control of how well their realm did against other realms, fought to maintain possession of relics that buffed their entire realm, and could control a three way struggle for dominance made DAOC’s pvp more dynamic than, say, WoW’s battlegrounds or Wintergrasp.

  • Well, DAOC PvE may have been static and eye gougingly slow at times but having a level 50 character was really something to be proud of…compared to more modern MMOs where if you dont have a 50 within the first 2 weeks…you feel like something is wrong with you.

    DAOC had also one pseudo dynamic moment and that was the ML10 trial where the other factions could have messed with you (and did) while completing the last trial (which did happen to me before and was actually fun).

    I do think that truly dynamic content would be something for actual Gamemasters in the game that initiate and have control over this content. UO had this back in the day on a small scale but that could be expanded. With MMOs being such big business…why wouldnt you set aside some employees to run dynamic events on each server? I dont think there is an excuse not to do that anymore.

  • @Argorius:
    If bring “proud” means having to endure an utterly bad, poorly designed and boring grind in what is actually just a video game, then I think I’m gonna pass on being proud and keep that for my “real life” achievements… 😉
    That’s also why a game designed like DAoC released today would utterly fail.

  • @The Merovingian: Well, I am not talking “proud” like putting a sticker on your car that says “My son has a level 50 character in DAOC” but I assume that even for you there is a certain feeling of accomplisment when you achieve a set goal with one of your characters. If not, why bother playing RPGs at all? We dont have to call it pride though. It is true though that there is a connection between the difficulty of gameplay and that feeling of accomplishment. In some games, where PvE may be tedious and boring, you may have a greater sense of accomplishment. In other ones, you just jump through exactly the same hoops as the next guy and after 5 days you both reach max level…awesome…either extreme may be a turn off to some. In DAOC, you could get away with it because leveling was only something you did in order to get to the real game – RVR where you spend the rest of your time.

    I agree that if you played DAOC for the PVE you probably didnt quite “get” the game. As long as the end game is worth it, the leveling game can be tough, boring, tedious, people will do it and it isnt a negative in my opinion. Modern games (with PVP elements) make the leveling game more fun but usually there is often no point to level because what you get to (rather easily) isnt worth it.

  • @Argorius

    “Well, I am not talking “proud” like putting a sticker on your car that says “My son has a level 50 character in DAOC””

    Funniest line I have read in a while.

  • Power Leveling other toons by the White Lights with my Necromancer did get tedious. But as soon as I hit Molvik and got to serve alongside Lilhalo, it was all worth it. Long Live Albion !!!

  • @Keen – And DAoC’s PvP, if anything, was worse than the PvE, hard though that may be to believe. Between the ludicrously unbalanced classes (Rangers being able to one-shot most cloth-wearing classes from stealth before cloth-wearers got their bubbles; Bards being able to mezlock an entire enemy group indefinitely), the mind-numbing standoffs at the border keeps, and the fact that “success” in PvP was best achieved by attacking the enemy’s keeps when no one was around to defend them, I =really= don’t understand how anyone enjoyed it. Pretty much the =only= thing they got right was having three factions, thereby allowing the two weaker factions to gang up on the stronger from time to time.

    Honestly, I understand that people remember it fondly. I just don’t understand why. Then again, I can’t understand how anyone can stand the cartoon graphics of WoW or why anyone enjoys the group content in LOTRO. I guess I’m just really, really picky or something….

  • Yeah well, this discussion kinda went off-topic (shock, horror). Nevertheless, the point (I think) of the original blog post was that in Keen’s opinion, Scott Hartsman was abusing rather than using the word “dynamic”.

    And, misc DAOC, WoW and RIFT side trips non-withstanding, Keen was spot on.

    All IMHO, bla bla

  • Rift’s success?
    In your mind only, then? Or how comes they did massive server merges?
    SW:TOR has actually more players than Rift ever had.

  • @The Merovingian

    “How successful is RIFT? That’s hard to say without knowing how much it cost, but it’s safe to assume that Trion executives are smiling after the game generated $100 million in revenue in only 10 months.

    CEO Lars Buttler told Reuters that the company is still considering an initial public stock offering, and it has also secured an additional $85 million in funding as it readies RIFT for the South Korean and Chinese gaming markets later this year.”

    If that’s not successful, than you’re delusional. You don’t have to have 12 million players to be successful.

  • In my opinion, the reason why the “100% dynamic 100% of the time” internal version of Rift lacked clarity was because all you had were a ton of random scripted events firing off everywhere giving the player absolutely zero purpose for playing other than shutting them down. I bet it was the most epic game of wack-a-mole ever.

    YES! That’s exactly how I felt. It was an incredibly good looking game. I liked the crafting. I like the races. I liked the combat.

    And I felt like a hamster in a wheel… Constantly running and getting nowhere…

  • @The Merovingian

    SW:TOR has actually more players than Rift ever had.

    Oh, God, another one… Look, nobody really cares anymore. SWTOR had its shot, it failed, it’s definately contracting at a high rate, with half the players it had early January despite selling another 600K units. It’s the next Wahammer, AoC, Rift, whatever… Move on and stop blathering about it already…