30 August 2013

SW:TOR // World Events

World Events are a common aspect found in many modern MMOs and Star Wars: The Old Republic is no exception. In addition to the Life Day festival, four world events (officially named In-Game Events) have taken place over the course of the game so far: the Rakghoul Pandemic Dynamic Event, the Chevin Grand Acquisitions Race, the Relics of the Gree Event and most recently the Bounty Contract Week. Each world event in SW:TOR may look good in theory and I am sure that a lot of players have greatly enjoyed all of them, but I for one felt that they were all rather boring and poorly implemented – some with very distinct drawbacks.

At the moment the Relics of the Gree and the Bounty Contract Week are considered recurring events, meaning players will be able to participate on a regular basis. It seems that the first week of every month will be a Bounty Contract Week while the Relics of the Gree Event will become available again every other month or so. One can assume that the Chevin Grand Acquisitions Race and the Rakghoul Pandemic Dynamic Event were one time occurrences, even though there is some discussion about whether or not the latter will return. This is one of the reasons why I generally dislike world events: players who are not online when the event takes place are going to miss the experience altogether. A problem that is somewhat mitigated by SW:TOR's recurring events. Another reason is that world events distract from the usual business, the everyday routine so to speak. I value structure and order and dependability extremely high, both in the real world as well as in virtual worlds and therefore do not appreciate distractions very much. I can, of course, fully understand why many people feel the need to mix things up now and then.

It was only after reading Shintar's description of the first Bounty Contract Week that I eventually decided to give it a try. I actually did everything exactly as she described it on my Chiss Bounty Hunter, but alas, I found the experience very unfulfilling, if not to say boring. Suffice to say I have no plans to repeat this event at all, let alone being sucked into the associated reputation grind.

Shintar has already beautifully covered the Relics of the Gree Event and its various iterations. I would like to point out that the major flaw here is inclusion of a PvP component which is also the primary complaint voiced on the official forums. The missions themselves only serve as another reputation and token grind and are not intrinsically fun. Therefore it should not be surprising that many people are only interested in reaching the desired reputation level or token count as soon as possible, thereby feeling forced to complete the two additional missions in the PvP area as well. Bringing two groups with very different tastes (PvE versus PvP) together in the same environment is a surefire recipe for disaster. Apparently the same situation has also happened in another game – with the same results.

Interestingly, even many players actually interested in PvP are ignoring this opportunity and behave in an orderly fashion just to complete their mission without delay rendering the whole “let’s add some PvEers as cannon fodder for the whining PvPers”-point moot. This does, however, not happen everywhere and/or not all the time, so that the individual player may still be faced with the typical PvP ganking.

In a similar vein, the Rakghoul Pandemic Dynamic Event was horribly designed because it consisted of several staged missions that only became available the following day (gated content). This meant that it was not possible to complete the entire event in one playing session. Maybe the developers felt the need to entice players to keep on p(l)aying. One may suggest that if this was the case, the experience could not have been so good to begin with. Moreover, the final reward for completing all related missions was a set of Medium Armor gear and hence only usable for certain classes (Adaptive Armor and Legacy gear were not yet implemented back then). Receiving all related Codex Entries required the defeat of three world bosses (two of them level 50), one of which was conveniently located in the open PvP area on Tatooine – again forcing the two different groups into the same environment.

Generally, I find the world events in SW:TOR to be utterly boring and badly designed and implemented. It is never a good idea to combine PvE and PvP aspects and, in fact, one should never, ever listen to PvP players in a PvE game in the first place. Make no mistake here: most theme park MMOs like SW:TOR, WoW, RIFT are actually PvE games first and foremost, with a poorly designed PvP component added on top. If someone truly desires an awesome PvP experience, then maybe, just maybe games like EVE Online or Darkfall Unholy Wars match their profile better.


  1. I love world events... in moderation. Generally I'm quite fond of being able to follow my usual routine upon logging in, but once every couple of months it's nice to see things getting shaken up a bit. :) I'm actually a bit worried about the addition of more recurring events causing "event bloat", where you've got one going on almost every other week and they just end up losing all meaning.

    For me the rakghoul event is actually still the gold standard as for how these things should be done. From the way it came seemingly out of nowhere and completely surprised the majority of the playerbase, to how many different things there were to do, to how it made the world come alive and people interact with each other, it was just an amazing amount of fun for me. I don't disagree with your criticism of the artificial gating of the dailies, but all things considered that was a very minor issue, for me personally at least.

    I also don't think that luring people into mixing PvE/PvP a bit is a bad thing. It can be done in better or worse ways, sure, but I don't think that there's anything inherently wrong with encouraging players to dip their toes into waters they might not have experienced before.

    Since you find SWTOR's events so unsatisfying, I'm curious what kind of world events you would like? Have you played any other MMOs that had them in a format that you enjoyed?

  2. I'm not a huge world event guy, probably because I cannot find the motivation to do dailies which is what I see these events as. With the exception of the Rakgoul Event. I loved this one and would like to see more 1 time, out of nowhere events. But the recurring ones are to much like work and I would rather just level an alt or pvp instead of run them over and over again.

  3. @ Hunaiam:

    I cannot find the motivation to do dailies which is what I see these events as.

    I’d say that this is primary reason I dislike how worlds events are done in SW:TOR – at least the recurring ones (a hat tip to Shintar’s very astute remark on “event bloat”). I FUCKING HATE DAILY QUESTS! – always have, probably always will. Please excuse this little outburst, but this is one of the design decisions that I feel does the very best to ruin MMOs all together and should be abandoned sooner than later.


    @ Shintar:

    I agree with you about the way the Rakghoul Pandemic event first appeared on the servers totally out of the blue and how it had some surprising repercussions even after it officially ended. Nevertheless, the gated nature of the event was a total deal-breaker for me because (a) it presented an artificial barrier and (b) it forced players to jump through the same hoops every time (see my rant against daily quests above).

    The notion to force players outside their comfort zone in order to broaden their horizon surely has some (academic) merit. It ends, however, when a certain level of frustration is reached. This depends, of course, greatly on the individual. Generally, I’d say that the amount of PvP incorporated into a PvE game should essentially be close to zero. PvE players (care bears) are cannon fodder (sheep) for disturbed individuals (killers) who strive to improve their self-esteem by feeding on the tears of others. I greatly exaggerated here of course! I think I will have to write a detailed post on PvP in general.

    As to what kind of world events I would like, I can only say that they should not be gated and/or quest driven and offer a real motivation to explore the world and discover something new. Additionally, there should be no PvP involved whatsoever. This would also provide the opportunity to create a world event focused entirely on PvP – maybe in the form of a (fighting) tournament where contesters would sign up and then enter an arena and fight until the last man is standing, who is then declared the day’s winner. This is just a rough idea that allows all sorts of variation. Thinking back to WoW I may have enjoyed the original Lunar Festival, if I remember correctly.

    Most of my criticism of modern MMOs comes down to the reduction of a simulated, virtual world in favour of smoothing over the edges to make things more “gamey”.