Why Aren’t There More Live Events?

I’ve never really understood why live events in MMO’s are so few and far between. I’m sure many of you can recall most if not all of the live events that you’ve taken part of in different games, clearly making them some of our most memorable experiences in online games, so why is it that they usually only take place once or twice a year? And no, Blizzard, I don’t mean filling Moonglade with a festival and a dog that respawns for like three days, and I don’t mean adding Halloween and Christmas decorations to Ironforge. Those are neat and all, but they aren’t the same as one-time live events. I’ll never forget the time Gaerlan showed up in Dereth for the first time controlled by the dev’s and proceeded to slaughter any players who came near him. One server nearly took him out (though this wasn’t supposed to happen, hehe) but this was absolutely awesome to see. Many more events like this took place during my stay in Dereth, and while none of them were quite this memorable, I will remember them all for a good time to come.

That said, why aren’t there more live events in MMO’s? I realize this can be difficult for games like WoW with some 250 odd servers. This simply means that you can’t control what’s going on with dev’s, but they can certainly throw something in that captures the attention of the entire server and makes them take a break from their monotonous raiding schedule for an hour or two. All I’m really trying to say is that most MMO’s are missing out on awesome opportunities to get the players really involved in what’s going on around them, and make them believe (at least for a while) that it’s more than just another server of an artificial world.



8 comments so far

  1. lishian on

    Although they are great fun, in my software engineering world this is the equivalent to a oneshot deal. You only do those when it doesn’t cost much – or – the client is paying lots of extra cash. In an MMO, they probably put in months of work to make one of these oneshot deals. I don’t see any benefit to the company for doing this unless they really do help retain subscriptions. They could be spending their money fixing bugs or developing a new expansion.

  2. Alex on

    Right on Lishian, that was my exact reaction also. The amount of development work they have to spend doing something like this is the main reason we don’t have more. I agree, dynamic events are awesome to have. But when I learned of the amount of time that it takes to code something, I understand the lack of it.

  3. Lana on

    While live events are cool, I can clearly recall two live events in Everquest (on the Bristlebane server) that were ruined by other players. Two NPC’s showed up in the commonlands, they were giant Halflings or something, and started doing a pretty cool event where they were directing people to help them find a ‘missing artifact’ in the zone. Pretty soon a raid force from one of the top guilds showed and started to attempt to hack these giant Halflings to pieces. After a while it became such a headache for everyone in involved, the NPC’s depoped and that was the end of that.

    I am sure that in the current generation of games things like what I described couldn’t happen, but the fact that so many people just show up to ruin the fun makes it that much harder to direct a live event.

    Just a thought, or two.

  4. kanthalos on

    Way to rain on my parade guys! Just kidding 🙂 I realize they are extremely time and resource intensive, I just wish we could see them a little bit more. I don’t even remember one in WoW, and I’ve only been playing EQ2 for a little bit, so I don’t know about that, I just wish we could get something like once a year even.

    Wow Lana, while I can believe that that happened, it’s frustrating that a really powerful guild would try to ruin the fun for everyone else like that. Every live event that I’ve been a part of has had almost nothing but a positive reaction from the players. I think the situation like the one you described could actually end up becoming more common now than it used to, especially in a game like WoW (although like you said, they would probably take precautions so this couldn’t happen now,) but on the same hand, I would still love to see it tried.

  5. damianov on

    Live events are so expensive and rife with peril from a dev point of view that I’m shocked anyone does them at all.

    In ye olde UO, Lord British was slain once during an event because someone forgot to set the “invulnerability” flag.

    Live events in CoH/CoV, where the devs pop in and just try to say hi, maybe hand out a special title or two, usually end up being lag-filled zone-crashing mosh pits as everyone crowds in close and tries to get a word in edgewise.

    My personal feeling is that 1) it would have to be planned for from early development, and 2) it would have to be a far more common occurrence (i.e. daily, even hourly) in order to really make it work. That said, if it was done and the CM and support teams, and maybe the dev team on occasion, pitched in to support it… could be a very cool distinguishing feature.

  6. lishian on

    You could create your own live event…
    EQ2 has done live events before… there was one when the griffin towers in TS and Nek were added to the game. I’m sure there were more that my IT-ridden brain doesn’t remember anymore.

  7. kanthalos on

    Yeah, I actually wrote a post not too long ago about player-run events. They are a blast in my experience, and I would love to see more of them.

  8. Jason on

    Why not think a little outside the box and design quests and or events that will pull a group of players into an instance for part of it? Start the event by doing this, lay out the story, and make it a multi-day, progressive thing where the players have to drum up support from the community. Make parts of it live and parts of it scripted. Make these the points in which the players can have an impact on the story and world.

    It can be as simple as a certain popular dragon actually being slain and removed from the world only to find a new menace taking its place. Or better yet a once hostile zone has warmed up to a certain faction. Or a once friendly zone is overrun and the previous folks living there have retreated to a new area.

    Yes this would take some money, work, and skill to pull off; but these companies have the resources and talent to do so. Even given the arguments mentioned above, I still don’t understand why it is not done more.

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