Several MMOs have public events or quests that offer casual group content to players who happen to be in the area. Rift’s invasions are a high profile version of this, tightly integrated as a core game mechanic. But other games have similar events as well. With Guild Wars 2 looming on the horizon this mechanic is of particular interest to me.
I was surprised to find public events available in Eden Eternal (called Monster Invasions). The attack is prewarned by a zone-wide announcement. It is then up to the players currently in the zone to decide whether to go repulse the attack. If the monsters aren’t defeated they can temporarily camp a base so it is unusable to players until they take it back.
The first one I played was in the capital city of Aven, pirates were about to storm the port, so I decided to go have a look. I rounded the corner on the quays only to see a scrum of players wildly attacking a small cohort of pirate scouts. Joining the fray I was thrown a party invite by one group and thus went into healing mode to make best use of my cleric’s abilities. The first wave was followed by others in different parts of the city, so we followed the calls for support as we ran/rode around. The fights became bigger as more players joined, it felt very like a Rift invasion – though perhaps without the distinct phases that those have. It ended with a pretty tough boss, I was healing pretty frantically by that point, as was the bard who was helping too.
I’m not aware of any auto-scaling of player abilities, there were plenty of characters a lot higher level than me (50s compared to my level 25) but my heals were still effective. I tried some other public events in other zones, also good fun though with a lot fewer players joining in. Still in each case the difficulty was balanced ok, so I guess the system knows how many players are involved.