In this week's Scrying Pool, we talk about last weekend's Mordrem Invasion event.
The Scrying Pool is a Guild Wars 2 column where I simply ask what if? Nothing is off the table as I dive into possible features and future content, looking at what currently exists in Guild Wars 2 before I answer my own what if question with how I think the feature and content could be implemented.
Last weekend hosted one of the rare events that ArenaNet has created for Guild Wars 2. The Mordrem Invasion saw enemies from the upcoming expansion Heart of Thorns swarm three of the lower level maps as a sign of Mordremoth’s expanding influence. Players needed to rally to fight off these invasions to keep the Mordrem at bay.
Overall I think the event was good. New events would pop up across an active map complete with their own icon that served as a beacon for players across the map to know where to go to tackle their next event. These map events came in three different flavors: catapults, bombs, and shields. Each of these were well done and the variety alleviated much of the grind involved in repeating them throughout the weekend.
Out of the three, I felt that the catapults event was the least impressive. The uniqueness of this event was three catapults that needed to be built at the start of the event—or again if the Mordrem destroyed them—and used to fire rocks at a Mordrem vine spawner located at the top of an otherwise inaccessible hill. While this was a good event, having only three catapults left many of the players at this event stuck to just killing Mordrem and not participating in what really made the event special.
This gets into the first big thing that I didn’t like about the event. There were too many people on a map which had the effect of making some of the events feel less impressive. The most notable of these were the catapult events and most not being able to get on a catapult, but even the bombs and shield would become a zergy flood crashing against the rocks once too many players participated in a single event. What was worse was how some events such as the shields could complete much more quickly when limited to five or fewer players participating and would take much more effort as more players got involved.
If this event happens again, I’d like to see them limit the number of players that could get into a single map for these event hosting maps. Having the limited players would make these zergy events occur less often and would also mean that some more coordination would be needed to complete events as players would be spread thin across the map. This would also lend itself more to participating in groups and guilds like ArenaNet originally announced they wanted for this event with their guild drive initiative.
The other thing I would have liked to see different was the scheduling of the invasions. Invasions came in sets of three maps starting with Brisban Wildlands, then Kessex Hills and finishing up with Diessa Plateau. The scheduling for last weekend’s event had the event up for 30 minutes on the first map then down for 30 minutes, 30 minutes on map 2 and down again for another 30 minutes, and 30 minutes for the last map before going on an hour and a half break before starting the rotation over again. This meant that a single rotation would take a substantial amount of time. Going from the start of the first map to the end of the third map was 2.5 hours. Waiting until the next rotation pushes this time up to 4 hours!
Not only is the total time of a single rotation too long, but having a 30 minute break right after a 30 minute event meant you were only playing the event half the time—which again gets worse once you factor in the break between rotations. These invasions should have felt like there was danger. The urgency to get as many events done for the rewards helped this, but the downtime definitely gave this a more casual swatting at an annoying fly than an “OMG THE MORDREM ARE ATTACKING AND WE ARE ALL DHUUMED”.
A schedule that would be more fitting is 20 minutes per map—increasing the urgency within a single map—with only 5 minutes between each map. This five minute break would give some time for players to collect the reward and jump into the next map before things kick off once again. After the third map, there could be a 50 minute break for players to stretch, food, bio or whatever kind of break they need before the rotation starts up again. With this schedule a rotation including the break is 2 hours—half of what last weekend’s rotations lasted—and had players playing the event half of the duration even after the break is factored in. The 1 hour 10 minute duration from the start of the first map to the finish of the last map would make this event more approachable to casual players, easier to finish multiple rotations for gaining higher rewards and leads more into the chaotic urgency that an invasion should create.