Guild Wars 2 is providing very healthy chunks of joyous gameplay at the moment. Despite me being well behind the launch zerg mass, I still find plenty of players in the asuran starter area.
The dynamic events are fun, in the same way I always loved doing the well populated Rift zone events. With a good number of players the group can survive downed characters pretty well. During an escort event we were fighting one very tough group of slug like things and suddenly half the group was downed by a massive AoE attack. The others kept fighting and managed to finish off the rest of the critters and within seconds we were ressed and charging off to catch-up.
It is this dynamic that I love, and hopefully that will keep the events entertaining after I have seen them a few times. Certainly it was the case in Rift that the variety of random group make-up keeps invasions feeling like a different experience even if you’ve played them dozens of times before. Sandbox proponents state that ‘players provide content’. Well that’s partially true even in a theme park also if you have dynamic events that scale.
With Rift the game did suffer if there were few actively involved characters in a zone, so it remains to be seen how GW2 will handle this. I’m mostly playing in a static of three so I won’t always be solo anyway, but having other random players joining in is always a bonus. I’m hoping that the auto-mentoring will be the necessary fix that Rift lacked when I played that at launch. This feature is the attraction for higher players to return to lower areas – whether to explore uncompleted areas, to gather certain items for appearance, to level a new craft or to simply to help friends or strangers. The big difference of course is that high level characters won’t overpower the events as they did so often in Rift, in fact they cannot as it’s an auto-mentor (and Rift’s new mentor mechanic is manually activated). That I think will prove to be a pretty clever design decision on ArenaNet’s part since a lot of players seem rather focused on time-efficiency and racing to the next goal rather than fun or challenge, and over-leveling content is a very effective means to spoiling other people’s fun.