The Pros and Cons of One Time Only

November 18, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, PvE | 24 Comments

The last time I commented on one time only events I was dismissive and ridiculed the idea. In truth there are both reasons to like the events and reasons to dislike them. So here’s a more thorough hashing out of the issue.



It brings a lot of people together at one time. Seeing a giant crowd around you, having your whole guild in one place to do the same event and talk about it to each other can be really fun. Certainly it can be a memorable occasion, some might consider it epic. And there is a great sense of working together, certainly when the zone was opened for the first time the zerg that rampaged through the events was a lot of fun.


There is no reason whatsoever that it can’t be arranged to occur more than once for people who can’t make it. Family obligations, work, time zones, friends and having a life.

Further, having everyone at one place at one time over the past few days has caused some epic lag issues. Both the first day in Lion’s Arch and today in Southsun it came to the point where I could not use skills, could not see enemies, could not see allies, could not see enemy skill effects, had a terrible frame rate and was disconnected twice. I think I must have been rolled over by an invisible mob 10 times, hit by invisible poison a half dozen times.

Even Further, massive populations meant half my guild was on one overflow server while the other half was on another. Neither group was on our home server with the rest of our community. Not exactly a great guild or community builder.



The rewards can be pretty good. You will find no one complaining about the rewards they recieved on Sunday. Two exotics, two rares, the accessory and bag. All generous and lifted my spirits and opinion of the event as a whole. I find myself wondering how much of the rewards are for the meta event and how much for the one time only event. I presume it’s all one time only, it’s rather generous for even a world boss kill.


I didn’t receive my reward from the Miyani scavenger hunt on the first day due to bugs. On the second day the event went away. On my server the quaggan was stuck in a post, the largos didn’t do anything, the sylvari bugged out, and the asura disappeared completely. Jumping around to overflow servers helped but at no time did the Kessex Hills zone need an overflow. If you plan a one time event, bugs are a surefire way to screw it up.



The cinematics have been pretty cool. A great way to be introduced to the new Mad King or the karka. I think the creatures themselves are a bit grindy but such is the nature of scaling when you pull everyone together for a one time only event. Certainly destroying something iconic like the lighthouse (fixture of Lion’s Arch in the original game) adds some weight. And I liked some aspects of the events, like toppling trees or causing landslides or flinging rocks using steam vents. The scavenger hunt events were fun as well if you could get them to work. I like how lore has been handled, the writing, the setup, all very good.


Okay aside from lag making events unplayable, and bugs making events unplayable, the only other complaints I would have would be length and grind. 2 and a half hours is a long time to be at the final event. I saw multitudes of people taking breaks, getting fed up, quitting. The population of my overflow shrank a bit towards the end. People quit due to length, sure, but I think the main reason would be the “reinforcement” rounds with the Ancient Karka. The frustration of having things spawn on top of you is one thing but the length of time it took to kill veteran after veteran after champion after champion was a little much. Way too grindy.


Personally I don’t think it’s worth it. Giving players something massive to do together is great, but Arenanets servers have not been up to the task and multitudes of people are left out.

I also feel horrible for the people who missed out on the excellent rewards at the end, two guildies of mine were disconnected, several more were at work. What’s worse is I have to mention to them what the rewards were when they log in. “Oh yeah you could have gotten a precursor, too bad you’re a responsible adult who can’t log in to an MMO on the whims of the studio.”

I’m actually quite concerned that the excellent rewards will placate people into not giving appropriate feedback. I feel like I’ve been bribed to like the final event when throughout it I wasn’t having much fun.

I don’t know what Arenanet is really thinking on this one. Big events like this cause a lot of hype and players to come back and money to be spent and create an atmosphere that makes it seem like the game is alive. But the number of people they’re aggravating with poor implementation and scheduling surely alienates as many people as it excites.



  1. I just posted on Lost Shores now it’s all over. On balance I enjoyed it and approve of it. I think the pros of one-time events clearly outweigh the cons. I like the fact that you have to be there to gain whatever rewards there are although if I was making the decisions, being there would be the only reward.

    They do need to test the content better. The amount of bugs in the “quest” content was unacceptable. They desperately need a proper Test server, although the downside of that is that a lot of the surprise will be lost. Still, other MMOs manage to test better and still come up with surprises.

    As for the length of the final event I have to disagree. I thought it was *way* too short. It was hyped as a “multi-hour event” and I was expecting five to six hours at least. It started at 8pm my time and I was psyched to stay up til 3 am if necessary. When it finished at 10.10 I was taken aback.

    Also, did the lighthouse get knocked down? I completely missed that.

    • Yeah, a giant karka fled by doing a Gamera right through it. o_O

      On the subject of Phase 1, that was actually extended because of the bugs, but yeah, one day events. That’s a lot of work for a lot of potential ballache on both ends. 😐

      • Only one part was extended as far as I know, miyani’s was not.

        • Ah, right. I thought it was the whole phase, my bad. x_X
          Baffles me, though, that they only kept each phase going for a day, after giving everyone the whole Halloween event to nab the Mad Memoires.
          That said, the first MM was necessary for get the Complete Edition, but still.

    • I don’t think the pros clearly outweigh anything. The only thing it’s got going for it is an added sense of importance, to the people that can actually go. Is that really worth the frustration, technical problems, alienation, and other problems? Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

      • Hunter, there is a catchrase we use here at Brazil: “fale mal, mas fale de mim!”. I think we can translate it as “say evil, but say something about me!” or something like that.
        People will discuss about GW2 “one time only” events for a long time, if it was good, if it was bad, the pros, the con, the lag, the “lag-free” (yes, some people really had no lag, when lag started at the overflow server I was, I just changed overflow and had no lag problem until the end). the rewards, the zerg…
        … just in time for the xmas “one time only” event be announced.
        Free marketing is good.

        • Publicity is fine but I think what is more important is everyone being satisfied with the event.

  2. I had a blast. Not being able to do the chain events was a bummer. I was looking forward to the lore story and having it unfold but I can hit a wiki and read it. It’s not the same but I can still get the lore. I enjoyed the retaking of the island. Numerous adventurers attacking large scary creatures. Good stuff. I also like how ANet is implementing stories in chapters or acts. It still needs some polish but for a game to be out only a few months and offering us all this for free, i.e. no subs, I’m impressed.

    • There were certainly good parts, I enjoyed the things you mentioned.

  3. One-time only events that you can watch on YouTube afterwards if you missed them – fine by me.

    One-time only events that give swag like multiple exotics, 20-slot bags (even legendary precursors for some lucky people, I hear!), that you can go pound sand if you missed them – well, surely that’s going to annoy people who miss out due to timezones, RL responsibilities, etc?

    I know it’s not a great feeling to know that I missed out on such a pile of loot just because in my timezone, I was at work when all this happened.

    • You and thousands of others all have a right to complain in my opinion.

    • Guess how many times Australia is going to get a live event… guess how many times I get to miss out on the final chapter of all the events (which is a Monday in Australia)? Every single one. It’s looking real great.
      Let me do the pros and cons above.
      All pros missed, all cons still mostly valid.
      Compounded by me getting even further behind the “optional” “vertical” “grind”.
      God if wow hadn’t gone and totally given up on content and gone for whole sale daily grind I’d consider just going back. If you’d been away for two days you would have missed all the live content, it’s not like its weekly. I assume December is the next bit of content I can get excited about missing completely. Sorry to be negative about it. Work hates me cause I cant do 12 hour days, wife hates me cause I have to go to work, and now a game disadvantages me cause I need to look after work and family. I don’t need that feeling, screw you Anet.
      Having said all that I am glad at least some people got to enjoy a great event.

      • @Melski , maybe try something like Rift where these “events” are a daily occurrence , per zone . Even though i suppose it’ll get old soon enough, at least you can do it at your own time (assuming you’re not the only player).

        Regardless , it is amusing to note that once-off and bugs and all, it’s not exactly a new thing. Take away the big loot, how many times will players do this ? So it begs the question, what happened to Arenanet’s motto of only making things that are inherently “fun” to do, not a means to and end?

        • I imagine there would be a lot more unhappy players if not for the excellent rewards.

      • Sunday may be their greatest concurrency but it’s still a monday for australia/new zealand.

  4. Hunter, IMHO the people that had no chance to participate of the event for real life reasons are much less than the people that participate. They choose noon pst because was the best time possible for get the most players (sorry Australia, wait some million years for continental drift move your isle closer to North America).

    I know that there are people that work at sunday, but sorry to say it, the majority not work at sunday. The people that work at sunday too lose any real life events that happens just when they are working, but they learnt to live with it.

    If watch football games at sunday TV or go to a rock concert is considered real life, maybe be time to consider that play MMO too is part of real life. Sooner or later MMO will be a “mainstream” form of entertainement, and I have a guess that it will be “mainstream” before 2020 (Tobold will say MMO hit a plateau and it will stay there because WoW is loosing players, I’d say that MMO genre will grow up because finally WoW is past).

    With relation to bugs, i agree that it is time for Anet think to create a test serve. The bugs happened because the NPC had too many people hammering them and it is obvious that the internal testers that Anet have cannot cause that problem.

    With relation to loot, sincerelly, only the 20 slot bag is unique. The accessory item can be bought for 1 k shells (well, certainly a lot grindy, but possible, that isle will have a lot of farm groups because there are rare level mats nodes there). Anyway, it is free content, right?

    The great thing and the great problem about ONE TIME events are both that, they are one time. Live with it. Anyway, GW2 will have more one time events and guess that, they are free like the halloween and the november events were. The xmas event is coming.

    But IMHO one time events create a community: like it or not, there are a lot of people that will make tales how they fought the Ancient Karka (aka, Karkazilla) and at the end it fells to be boiled at lava. And they have a nice 20 slot bag for prove it…

    And yes, I have my 20 slot bag. 😛

    • I’m sorry but your opinion on this is a bit narrow. If you have a job on a sunday that’s your fault? That’s screwed up man. Sunday may be their greatest concurrency but that doesn’t mean it’s the majority of players.

      • Hunter, who have a job at sunday too will lost “real life” events: concerts, basketball finals at tv, nascar races, guess what? Sorry but it is part of life…

        There are pro and con with relation to “one time events”, but that argument is not one of these, because that is part of life, to lose things because need work at sundays. If you don’t like it, maybe you can change reality for any other “one time event” that happens at real life (man on moon, fall of Berlin’s wall, Woodstock, end of Second World War) repeat themselves forever for everyone that work at sundays can participate… or learn to live with it, because that is part of life. Other one time events will happen, not only at GW2, but mostly at the real life.

        Sunday is the day that can have the most players participating of that events. If they repeat that events, they are not more “one time events”. Repeated events are no more special than any other repeatable event, repeatable events are watered down, like the eternal same immutable “kill ten rats” quests from any other MMO.

        My advice is that anyone that lost november monthly “one time event” ask for a refund of subscription money… or ask for a refund of life when lose a real life one time event…

        • Except that real life can’t be repeated, guild wars 2 is a digital product that can. Limited supply of a digital product is nonsense.

          • @Hunter

            “Limited supply of a digital product is nonsense.”

            Why you think it is nonsense? A lot of MMO games are trying to create something similar to “virtual reality”. But to make a “virtual” reality, they need create a world that have the same rules, including scarcity…

            If they repeat that unique events everyday, they are no more “unique”. an alternative is make that events at instances, but they tryed it at Guild Wars ONE and guess that… they failed to create a “live” world.

            After the halloween and the lost shores events, we can afirm that GW2 world have not only a story, but too have a HISTORY: a new player that log first time today can ask about what happened to the Lion Arch’s fountain and what is that petri-fried giant crab down the karka nest. That is a lot more effective at create a community, that will have players that can tell tales about the battles they saw.

            I saw a pleyr at Lost shores say “I helped to build that bridges”, that was an event I don’t participate it, but I see no problem with the fact I don’t saw that event – I think that is a not repeatable event – or with the fact until today I never get that boss at Queensdale swamp.

            That effect we will never see if they make a searing at an instance or if they repeat the searing every day. And as you palyed GW1, you know what is the searing… Now, just try imagine if we have a searing unique event at GW2… we know people will lose it, but who participates will ahve a lot of stories to tell and the world will have a history, because the players will see the effect of searing.

            Take note why I am using the searing, from GW1, as example. That is a world wide changing event and if they can destroy the LA’s fountain they can destroy anything…

            Let me see, what they can destroy or change at the world? I certainly can speculate: Divinity’s Reach have that earth slide, so they can maybe destroy more parts of that city or maybe the entire city… there is that wall protecting the tengu city, maybe an elder dragon champion can destroy it when they make the tengu a playable race… if the elder dragon is killed, maybe they can change Orr for a place with less undead and more green… and the ghost king at ascalon catacombs had said there is a worse evil just bellow them…

            Hunter, making that events a “limited supply of a digital product”, making them unique, it is not nonsense… it is create a changing world.

  5. […] Hunter’s Insight puts what I feel is the most important reason to have these one-time weekend events: putting a lot of people together is a lot of fun. There is something quite unique in knowing that this is it, this can’t be spoiled, when I see it it will be my first time and everybody else’s. The flow of reactions through the player mob compounds this feeling. I see comments of first impressions, which are sometimes the most honest comments available. Even bad content can be fun when played together. […]

  6. I’d agree with all your points 100%. I had fun with the event, but the first day was a complete fail, 90% of it I couldn’t use any skills and basically I’d just run around getting almost killed by unseen attacks. Most of the people I was chatting with quit after about 10 minutes of that. Then the bugged quests were a royal pain, although I did have fun hanging out with tons of people playing costume the 3 story house. I think they could have done a week or even two week run up to the event with more quests like that, as I sure many enjoy the lore we get in those as I do.
    The 2nd day was fun until the zerg dissipated and I couldn’t find the rest of the island clearing events that I assume I missed. The final event was fun but way way too long. My hands were about dead after 2 hours of near constant battle. While the end rewards may have been nice, I, like just about everyone else it seemed, can’t use any of them on my character. WTH is with MMO games in general, and GW2 in specific, NEVER giving out event rewards (armor/weapons) that can be used by the character class that does the event? I guess I’m supposed to sell them and buy something I can use?

    • After I finished the island clearing stuff, going around and finding little things, the jumping puzzles, the points of interest was pretty fun. Zerging is one way to have fun but there was other things to do.

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