Every Moment is a One-Time Event

Is something you never experience special to you?

Is something you experience only special when few other people experience it?

I have seen a lot of praise for ArenaNet’s one-time Halloween event. I cannot be sure whether said praise is coming from the same individuals that lament the obsolescence of last year’s raids, but nevermind. ArenaNet’s tortured logic is pretty well deconstructed elsewhere, so let us set that aside as well. What I am curious about is this fanciful notion that it is a good use of designer manpower to specifically construct one-off events.

To me, it’s redundant.

When I think about one-off content, I remember back to the plague event that lead into Wrath’s release. Players could get infected, eventually turn into zombies, and the go infect other players. The griefing in Shat was immense. As paladins, a friend and I decided to roleplay/grief the players actually trying to infect themselves and/or start those zombie raids against Stormwind. Never before has someone raged so hard at being targeted with Cleanse. “The power of the Light compels you!” Turn Evil was also liberally applied. Around this same time, there was a special boss in Kara that dropped the Arcanite Ripper, and I believe there was only the one reset where it was available. In any case, I was the only person to get it in my guild. I busted it out pretty regularly all the way up until I unsubbed.

Here’s the thing though: how different was any of that from, say, completing Ulduar when it was current?

The Wrath lead-up event was fun because it was fun, not because it was never going to happen again. Similarly, it would not bother me one iota if the Arcanite Ripper was mailed to every player that logged in once in the last four years – nor, incidentally, does it bother me that the Arcanite Ripper is now on the Black Market AH. In many ways, I consider Ulduar (or any raid) to be more “rare,” because while these places still exist, it will never been the same as when it was newly released. Even if Ulduar was still relevant to current endgame progression somehow, it would not be the same as it was when it was new.

It is not the item or the event that matters, it is the zeitgeist. And the people. ArenaNet could have looped the Mad King event like they loop everything else and it still would have been exactly as meaningful for those first players as it is now. Every moment is a one-time event. Ergo, I see little reason to layer artificial scarcity on top of temporal scarcity. The devs could have safely shared their work with a wider audience with no lack of impact to anyone worth caring about.

But, whatever. If you consider content you never see as content, then GW2 has enough content to keep you busy for quite some time.

Posted on October 31, 2012, in Guild Wars 2 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. That confuses me…are you arguing the halloween event per se is a waste of time or is this only about seeing that silly video? If the later, I dont think there was much of any wasted developer time…the same (at least Im pretty sure) animation you see in that video, happens “normally” time and time again if you wait long enough at that plaza.


    • Shhhh, don’t let the actual information disrupt a perfectly crafted bitching. The fact that they DO loop the event periodically should in no way stop one from complaining that they SHOULD do what they are actually doing!


      • Ah. So, whatever it was ArenaNet was talking about in that post is totally irrelevant because they did exactly what they said they weren’t going to do?

        Duly noted.


      • Please, don’t inform Azuriel that Mad King mini-dungeon get closed today at 9 am pst, when act IV started. And that act IV will end tomorrow, when a new patch will come, possibly with the pre-events for the event at 15th november. And that the event at 15th november will stay for only 3 days. And that after that event at 15th november a new zone will open. And evidently say anything about the xmas event at december…

        Azuriel can start to bitch a lot more after the news about Anet trying make a dynamic world…


      • …so you’re saying the world is only dynamic when content is removed? Repeatable content, i.e. Dynamic Events, are NOT dynamic? Or less dynamic somehow? Or… what?

        Having seasonal events is fine. Suggesting that something occurring only once ever, is the best/only way to create something epic, however, is asinine. It will already be completely unique because it was the first time it happened; it happening again an hour later diminishes nothing.


      • No Azuriel, that is YOUR argument. You wrote that DE are not dynamic because they repeat themselves. But now you want make us believe that events that not repeat themselves are bad.

        Sincerelly, or one thing or another. See, there is some reason at say you are just bitching…


      • Right, because dynamism should be about change through addition. Not adding something and then removing it. Or adding it and turning it off every 15 minutes. It should be created, published, and be made dynamic by the players’ interactions with it.


      • But Azuriel, AFTER the first player interact with the event, if it not repeat later, no other player will interact with that event, because the first player compelted it. For example, if the first player defeat and kill the centraur, if they not return later (the DE repeats), no other player will have that experience.

        It is YOUR logic, but it is sane to point your logic is not rational… and that you are bitching.


      • I am going to need you to exercise some reading comprehension.

        Neither repeating, timed events nor one-off events are dynamic. The world is exactly the same as it always was, especially to the people that weren’t there. Given the choice between the two though, the repeating events are better because is at least adds content to the world instead of wasting development resources trying to induce a feeling that would have happened anyway (i.e. the “I was there the first time”).


      • Azuriel, the LA’s fountain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPwrYF8YUco) is gone. No sure if it will return today after 1st november patch. They can make it return “magically” or make an event or quest for the fountain be rebuilt. I just hope they make the later, it is a good oportunity for Anet that cannot be lost. But until the today’s patch, the fountain is gone and there is a giant plug coverering the Mad King dungeon’s gate.

        But if the fountain not returns, that will fit your concept of “dynamic” world?


  2. The Halloween content would be very “lacking” if it would be real content. The PvP mini games aren’t balanced, the dungeon is quite boring (Trial of the Champion anyone?) and the jumping puzzle has it’s issues. That could very well be content they scrapped during the 5 years developing the game because it didn’t work.

    But it does work if you only open it up for a few days per year. Because nobody cares if the PvP games are balanced if they are only there for a few days. The same way that nobody cared that the WoW zombie event wasn’t “balanced”.

    Temporary content is much cheaper to produce because you don’t have to polish and maintain it.

    And that’s why the event is awesome. And why the WoW TOC patch was crap.


  3. On the other hand, I can easily tell you that the AQ gate opening in vanilla would never have its status today, the ‘legendary stories’ told around it, had it been happening over and over and over each year. there was one hammer, one title and one mount to go with it only.

    I think it’s a no-brainer that the more you get of the same, the more you use up and kick a concept to death, the less special it feels. to everybody. quality is one way to make something special, yes – but rarity is another. they’re equally worth implementing for certain things. it depends on what you want from your gaming world and the sandboxier it gets, the less you can ask for everything to time perfectly around you. to me personally, that is for offline games, not virtual worlds. there’s an upside to missing events or never knowing if you’ve seen them all (maybe because you can’t see them all), too: less burnout, less feeling of ‘I am done’ and no point in rushing what you cannot ever finish. popular concerns with current games, if I remember correctly. ;)


    • I wonder if anyone ever had a Skyrim burnout lol.


    • Are the “legendary” stories about the AQ opening any different than any story about an Ulduar clear? Or on a server-first raid-kill notification? Or when you finally win the Fishing Tournament in Booty Bay? I am arguing that the first AQ event would be just as legendary as it is currently, even if it happened every year. Or was even available continuously (although the gate opening multiple times makes less sense). There would likely only ever be that server-destroying press of people there that first time regardless.

      Neil Armstrong stepping onto the moon is undiminished by the other 11 people who stepped onto the moon. That we no longer have a space program capable/willing to put more people on the moon does not make Armstrong’s accomplishment more or less impressive and noteworthy – it is exactly as impressive as it ever was.


      • Hmm. I’m no fan of GW2, but I feel like your logic isn’t quite tracking here. That server-destroying press of people that we agree would likely only be there the first time IS what makes the event legendary. It’s a shared group experience on a gigantic scale, where everyone knows this is the first and probably only time you’ll see the event. I recall when the AQ gates opened on my server we had more guildies online at the same time than ever before, and even folks in Australia who we rarely saw due to time zones made an effort to log on and participate.

        The gates certainly would not have felt as significant to me if it was just John Q Elf and his buddy banging a gong once a year.

        Or, to put it another way: can you name the other 11 people to step on the moon? I sure can’t. Their subsequent moon walks were much less legendary for the average person.


      • It’s a shared group experience on a gigantic scale, where everyone knows this is the first and probably only time you’ll see the event.

        So you are suggesting that those same people wouldn’t have showed up (or cared less about showing up) had they known the gong could be sounded again sometime later?

        No, I could not name the other ten guys who walked on the moon. But my point is that Armstrong’s steps are not diminished in the least because other people walked on the moon. He was the first; there is only ever one first-time event. And so I question anyone who says the AQ event (etc) would be any less epic because it was possible to do again later. You were either there at the beginning or you weren’t. That belf alt banging the gong four years later subtracts nothing from that initial event.


      • “So you are suggesting that those same people wouldn’t have showed up (or cared less about showing up) had they known the gong could be sounded again sometime later?”

        – yes. of course less would show up.

        “Are the “legendary” stories about the AQ opening any different than any story about an Ulduar clear? Or on a server-first raid-kill notification? Or when you finally win the Fishing Tournament in Booty Bay?”

        – my answer to all of this would be: absolutely.
        none of these events are the same to me; in some cases they are actually about ‘being first’ more than content access. in other cases they have collective, social meaning, or then they are a purely individual challenge.

        I don’t think all events in an MMO need to be handled the same way. sure, as an individual you can always attribute worth to an event for yourself; but some events are there to expand that level of meaning. if a developer wants to introduce more world changing events in the narrative of an MMO for example, if he wants to keep in line with a certain chronology and make a longlasting impact, he has the right to do so. AQ or the Shattering are very big examples, but there’s no reason why smaller events cannot follow a certain narrative and chronology, rather than being an endless groundhog’s day.

        if you want an event to have a certain impact, serve as caesura with long lasting effect, it would be rather ‘doh’ to have it reset every single morning. would that make it less special? yes it would…it would make it just like everything else. that’s also why we have rare drops and rare spawns in MMOs, so certain items stand out more than others. it’s not exactly a new concept?


  4. Just for my own clarification, I think there is excess misunderstanding about WHAT the one-time event actually entailed.

    So far as I can tell, the only thing that was one-time was the brief video involving the king popping out of the ground. Everything else has been taking place in 1-3 day phases. I would imagine this will recur next year (though I can’t confirm that and can’t find a Dev answer, but it’s the precedent WoW sets…repeat with a few modifications).

    I do agree that having it only play one-time PERIOD was a little silly, I am a proponent of them having it play for people upon entering Lion’s Arch if they weren’t there initially but that’s a debate for ANet’s forums.


  5. I agree with Syl and …well, all the others. Your logic isn’t tracking here. Everyone’s not attacking you, it’s just that you’re not making sense :) Try to step back and really organize all the statements here and see if your arguments are sound.

    You’re arguing that there’s no such thing as a special event, that all events are equally special. I’m sure you can see the absurdity of this. Unique and special events do, in fact, occur. There are personal ones, public ones, intimate ones (amongst friends/family), and even universal ones (such as watching a lunar/solar eclipse). People recognize them and enjoy them.

    ArenaNet could not have made the event more special by infinitely looping it; the very definition of special implies uniqueness, which in turn implies rarity.

    What exactly is your point? I don’t see your argument here.


  6. Well said.

    I suspect the reason events are “one time” is to develop momentum, so people come back or play that content.

    I also believe people will make their own memory and define their own “events”. For me, MoP launch was an event. I remember loads of details until I was 90, and the people I leveled with I also remember. It is same for previous expansion launch events, new patches, the first time you kill a HC raid boss, etcetera.

    The difference is that some of these events are time-based (launch events, new patch dates) while other events are driven on a personal timeline (when you kill say Will of the Emperor HC).


  7. All this fuss confuses me, since I cannot stand Minecraft. I do not understand the attraction.


  8. Gah, wrong thread.


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