SynCain and Ravious have some interesting points about the nature of dynamic events on their blogs. One of SynCain’s last statements reminded me about a concern I have with the Guild Wars Dos zoning system.
In GW2 each zone is quite large but it is bounded on all sides with impassable terrain. To move between zones you must pass through a portal. This system is one of the reasons
that Anet can unequivocally say there will be no flying in game as you would regularly run into invisible walls at zone borders. The real problem birthed by this is that it suggests that each zone will be an island of dynamic events. For example; what if you failed to push back Tequatl the Sunless and his zombies take over Sparkfly Fen? In the current system players in Lions arch don’t care because he can never threaten them. I agree with SynCain when he says;
The ‘real’ solution is to make the world an actual world rather than a collection of zones…
There are ways around this zone segregation such as allowing events to bleed through portals. I could be minding my own business when a horde of NPCs spawn at a portal and start running across the zone screaming bloody murder. Following the NPCs could be an army of Zhaitan’s undead minions perhaps with a general striding amongst them. With characters able to scale to events Anet would not need to make the enemies level appropriate for the zone. Instead they could sidekick players up, perhaps with a “defend your homeland” buff. These events could be massive, possibly resulting in low population servers needing to ask other servers for help. Breaking a two week siege of lions arch could be an epic affair.
A reason Anet may avoid such events can be seen in the rift invasion system. In rift if a zone is captured by enemies the result is that quest vending machines become unavailable. Reestablishing control of a zone becomes a tired affair of Po-going from one enemy foothold to the next till they are all defeated or until he server makes them disappear. As you out level zones you stop caring that the pretty forest zone is being invaded by fire elementals because is is just too much of a time investment to clear it all out and you want to do something else. This in turn frustrates new players as they cannot efficiently progress because very few rifts can be efficiently soloed. I remember logging off several times because the level [x] character I was on could not progress past a level [x]+5 foothold in the middle of my quest hub. A way to encourage high level players to return to zones that have been invaded would be to add command posts to the area.
Command hubs would be a central point of an invasion perhaps around a portal or at a major town. These hubs would gain buffs as the faction captured more territory. Imagine Zhaitan’s minions spreading from the tarnished coast towards Rata Sum. They conquer a town and then the event forks and they assault three other towns. From current descriptions even if you return to the first town and free it you must still deal with the undead armies assaulting the other towns. With a command post system the undead would fortify the one town and if it gets retaken it would force the undead armies on the maps to retreat freeing not just one town but entire swaths of the map. As the command posts gain buffs dependent on the size of the area controlled the difficulty of freeing an entire map in one fell swoop would be exponentially harder than freeing three villages in a far flung corner of a map. Lore wise it would be like destinies edge defeating the dragon spawn as opposed to simply defending Hoelbrak.
This system I think would make Tyria in GW2 feel like a much more open world and bring greater stakes into the actions of a server as a whole.