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Reinvigorating Community Events

William Murphy Posted:
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I know it’s a bit old news now, seeing as Robert “Robeardo” Land has left Carbine for something outside the industry, and seeing how the update we’re going to talk about is from November, but Wildstar’s community team recently had an open discussion with its growing legion of fans about community run events in their forthcoming game, and there were quite a few nuggets of info that got me thinking.  Namely, as it seems to be the case with all things WildStar, Carbine is focusing on taking what has been good about MMOs of the past but not necessarily well-explored and retooling those things for their own version of “The Deepest MMORPG Ever.”  Community events, whether seasonal or random, are a big part of keeping the world feeling alive and it seems that Carbine understands this.

Seasonal Events of a Different Color

While there are plenty of people who might think seasonal events are passé and done to death, I’ll be the first to admit that I’d miss them in my MMOs if they weren’t there.  To this end, the recent developer chat was rife with info on what kinds of things we can expect.  Copied directly from the back and forth:

thtgynmdfsh: I'd like to see seasonal events that make sense in the context of the game world and happen in certain areas of the world. CRB_Aether: So imagine we have unique seasonal events that match up with our standard holidays. Is that alright? thtgynmdfsh: As long as you guys can find a fun way to twist them in with the game's context and make it feel like they belong there. zaprobo: Make events about the season, not holiday - planting, harvesting, and the customs WS races have for that CRB_Aether: Agreed, on all counts. Re-imagined seasonal events set in our world. That makes the list. thtgynmdfsh: It would be interesting to have some events be faction exclusive, because of differing lore between the two. CRB_Aether: Faction exclusive events are now on the list for exploration by the Social Systems team. ^5

I don’t think I’d be alone in stating that just putting “Christmas” into every game is a cheap way out.  Oh look, Santa Klaus wants us to collect ten reindeer pelts!  Yay.  So it’s nice to see that this is the kind of thing Carbine is already planning to avoid before their game even hits the beta stage. 

Events that Play on the “Paths”

One of WildStar’s most intriguing ideas is its Path system, which allows players to choose what kind of hero their character will be: an explorer, a warrior, etc.  On the topic of community events, the players and Carbine got to talking about the Paths and how events should play into it all:

siegaplays: Given paths, maybe live events for specific paths, other paths can help, but focused on the path talents of the day CRB_Aether: Ooh, that's an interesting idea. Imagine that anything is possible: What kind of Path events sound interesting? siegaplays: example would be an public event to build something big for settler, while other paths fend off native lifeforms/pvp. thtgynmdfsh: I think it would be interesting to give Settlers a way to begin smaller, more localized events in towns and such. CRB_Aether: I like that sound of that. Settlers are a natural Path for storytellers and social event fans to get involved with.

I love this idea.  When your game is already going to have this sort of different content built in from the ground up, why wouldn’t you make sure that seasonal and community events took the same things into context?  Perhaps an entire event would play different for each path.  Settlers have to work to rebuild something that’s been torn down, soldiers have to fend off the on-rushers, and maybe scientists have to discover some sort of weakness in the enemy’s defenses.  This is the kind of thought and care every event should have put into it.  Let’s not just give players a bunch of “fluff” without meaning… it should be a part of the world inherently.

Players Should Be Able to Suggest Events

This last detail was perhaps the most interesting and maybe the most daunting if you’re on the development staff at Carbine. 

KatharineUrtem: Anyone can propose their event to the WS crew, & if it's doable, they get the crew's help to organize it KatharineUrtem: ...And those who successfully submit their event win a little something like an object or a title CRB_Aether: Now that's a great idea. I'm writing that one down.

While Mr. Aether didn’t exactly say, “This will happen!” the response to the idea was a pretty enthusiastic, “We’d love to, if we can!”  I’m sure a lot of events would be utter rubbish, but talk about a way to include the community: have them design their own event from the ground up, guided by the yeses and nos of the dev team.  I hope it becomes a reality.  Even if we can only every pitch in, vote, propose ideas, and create an event once a year, it’s the kind of thing that many would love to take part in no doubt just to say, “We built this!”

What are your thoughts on the info gleaned from this community chat?  Do you even care about community events?  Let us know in the comments.


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.