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Reader Comments (84)

Posted: Mar 7th 2011 8:13AM Alph said

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Dynamic content will be the wave of the future if it can actually be done in a dynamic and persistent way. I'm sure this sounds like a 'duh' statement but if you look at a game like Rift, the 'dynamic content' is a bit lacking in depth and meaning. Now I'm not saying they did a bad job, it's definitely a step in the right direction.

I'm really looking forward to GW2 but I also fear the same problem could be possible. Even though it seems like they are taking it a step or two further, I think we're simply to early into this new wave of 'dynamic content' thinking to really have the awesome polished dynamic content that will truly grab the industry by the ta-tas and become the standard.

I have much hope for both games to succeed as the mmo genre really can't take that many more flops, furthermore it's about time we see developers being rewarded for taking these risks instead of dooming our genre to 'who can polish the game more'. After all, mythbusters showed us you can polish up a piece of poo quite nicely but after it's all shiny, it's still a piece of poo.

Posted: Mar 7th 2011 9:27AM Malagarr said

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@Alph

I understand where you're coming from with Rifts. The seemingly random appearance of Rifts from the various different elemental planes can seem haphazard and meaningless. However, if you read the lore you're given in game (all the books, quest descriptions, etc...), they are anything but "lacking in depth and meaningless". They actually do a really good job of putting together a complex fantasy world.

Just my two copper. =)
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Posted: Mar 7th 2011 9:54AM Integral said

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@Alph

I hear what you're saying. But the problem with fully dynamic content is it's not always fun to play. In fact, it's usually not fun to play at all. This probably (and hopefully) won't always be the case. But it will certainly be a long time before we see truly dynamic events unfold in a persistent MMO environment.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2011 10:37AM Lenn said

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@Alph Not to sound too Zen-ish here, but even the biggest wave can start with a small ripple. Babysteps are good. Too much of a change and I would wager most MMO players wouldn't know what to make of it. Rift and GW2 are laying the groundwork here and I look forward to what others can build upon it.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2011 1:11PM Revrant said

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@Alph This is exactly what I thought when Rift was the example, it's rather scripted and shallow, but a step in a solid direction.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2011 1:23PM Alph said

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@Alph
Sorry if I came off as against Rift or something, by no means am I against the game and would quickly recommend it to the appropriate folk... it just doesn't seem to be 'for me'.

@Malagarr
I understand and in no way am I knocking Rift or it's lore, I was actually talking about the overall/general playability. Rift is 'partially dynamic' at best and that's definitely not meant as an insult.

@Lenn
Oh, I totally agree. Large changes usually scare people, even if they're for the best. That's why I want both of these games to succeed, even if one of them 'isn't for me'.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2011 3:37PM DancingCow said

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@Alph

I think it's important to distinguish between "dynamic" and "random".

Rifts are both and the problems you cite are all on the random side.

But the server technology TRION developed also theoretically allows them to manually write and steer events - which is where I think the game can potentially amazing.

So I really hope that dynamic content is the proverbial wave of the future.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2011 8:14AM (Unverified) said

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Let's hope not, player-generated content should be the future. "Dynamic content" is just a fancy way of saying the mobs you have to grind are going to show up in random places, and you might even be moderately inconvenienced if the monsters won't let you enter a town to get another quest to go kill different monsters!

Posted: Mar 7th 2011 8:22AM Apakal said

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@(Unverified)
The only problem with player-generated content is that you need really sort of strict and attentive filters. Just look at Youtube. Its 100% user-generated and 95% of it is total and complete crap that shouldn't have been posted in the first place (except to eventually end up on Websoup and Tosh.O)

I very much encourage developers to give their players the tools and access to create content. I just don't want to have to wade through a thousand half-assed total crap creations to get that one amazing piece of new content that one user created who should probably have a job as an actual developer.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2011 9:05AM relgoth said

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I can say ive already been a part of player generated content. Its not that fun id rather see dynamic content in which i require no one to have fun.

Cause thats the one thing about player generated content, if you dont have alot of people to do it with you cant generate the content.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2011 9:33AM Malagarr said

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@(Unverified)

User generated content can be a double edged sword. It can be really good. Or it can suck so bad it makes your eyes bleed. I think UGC is better suited to MORPGs than MMORPGs. Very small groups of friend (2-10 or 12, max) will make much more use of UGC than an MMO community will, imho.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2011 10:00AM DevilSei said

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@(Unverified)

You'll also have to place some heavy restrictions on Player-Generated content as well. Remember that City of Heroes had to really hit their player-mission system with a nerf hammer hard because of all the exploits that popped up with it.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2011 11:55AM Addfwyn said

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@(Unverified) I'm not so sure I agree with that, EVE Online is almost entirely player-driven, and I find the game immensely dull, with a lack of any real structure that makes MMOs interesting to me. I much prefer a 'theme park' to a 'sandbox'.

I like the idea of dynamic content, but as Alph said, RIFT's implementation is a bit dull. Not that it doesn't fit the world very well, but as much as they try, it just doesn't seem to matter so much. Rifts themselves i don't do so much (especially as their XP is greatly nerfed now) and invasion I deal with as I have to, but it's usually easier to ignore and just reclaim the footholds later for me. For the most part, they are too frequent I feel, and they are always just 'deal with wave of smaller enemies > deal with big enemy > deal with wave of small enemies' etc.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2011 8:18AM Apakal said

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I think in the way Rift presents it, its an interesting distraction from the grind. But I think it also has the potential to just become the grind. This is largely because a rift is just another rift. Any particular individual rift doesn't necessarily add to the narrative.

I think GW2 is going to do a better job incorporating dynamic content into the story and making the actual events stories themselves, but again, they walk a fine line between it becoming something exciting and something grindy. You can even see in the GDC demo that they consciously try to funnel you to dynamic content areas, which to me, kills a little bit of the dynamic. I don't really want to open up my map and set a course for the next bit of dynamic content. I just want to wander across it while I'm out exploring the world. I want to be surprised, excited, and maybe even unprepared for it. I'm okay getting my ass handed to me if its in a manner that really immerses me in the world.

Posted: Mar 7th 2011 10:59AM GryphonStalker said

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@Apakal

"You can even see in the GDC demo that they consciously try to funnel you to dynamic content areas, which to me, kills a little bit of the dynamic."

Well of course it's a demo and they are attempting to show it off but if your referring to the Scout system, actually that is kind of a funny story. The scout system appears as hearts on the map and point you toward dynamic hot spots. On the bright side they only appear when you speak to in-game NPC's called scouts and they are really there for people who need that kind of direction.

ArenaNet found their in-house tester (people brought in to play the game blindly) would saunter right past say a village on fire with the residents screaming "please help us!" Watching as the majority of the tester seemed uncaring toward the poor NPCs plight; the developers asked why didn't you help? They replied "I don't have the quest!".

The very idea of doing the content without the games permission is very alien to many even though their are those of us who are very ready to embrace it. So it's certainly a learning tool gamers and an optional one at that.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2011 11:45AM Apakal said

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@GryphonStalker

Well that's rather interesting. I was indeed referring to the Scout system.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2011 12:13PM Irem said

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@Apakal
To add to what GryphonStalker said, the Scout system is also only just there to give players who want/need it some general idea of where to go to start major event chains--they don't actually show all of the available event locations, and from what I've heard they disappear from your map after a while. ANet's philosophy on it is that they want people to wander around and find events as they explore, but there are some players who won't have fun doing that because they want to be directed, and not having that direction available will just make them feel frustrated and aimless.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2011 4:05PM JoolaPrime said

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@Apakal The scouting map they show you is not the normal map I believe. Its a map designed for the people who aren't like you and want to know where the events are happening.

I think they understand the two different schools of thought and will try to keep both happy.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2011 8:20AM Tom in VA said

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I think dynamic content is pretty cool, although I like what I'm hearing of GW2's dynamic content, which seems a lot more creative and varied, than that in Rift.

I still think phasing is the real "wave of the future" in MMOs, though, if it is done well, since phasing opens up all kinds of possibilities for "world progression" and "story progression" in addition to the standard player progression.

Posted: Mar 7th 2011 8:39AM Yellowdancer said

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@Tom in VA

Ya know...back before Rift was called Rift, they used to have a dynamic system that would totally change the environment. They found that players would become frustrated when the place where there quest objective was suddenly vanished. They scaled it back to these little pocket rifts to interfere with players less. And still people get kind of frustrated when a rift is sitting right over their quest hub even though they know it expires on its own.

So I'm curious to see how GW2 will avoid the problem mentioned above. The gameplay looks awesome. I hope the dynamic world doesn't get in the way. And it might look a little silly watching heroes let pirates burn down the town just so they can get a certain achievement.

Little nugget...EQ1 talked about doing dynamic quests way back in the day when the game first launched. It never worked out but its amazing that its taken this long for a game to accomplish this.
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