Why Do One Off Events Work? Why Don’t They? The Comprehensive Guide

Guild Wars 2’s ongoing experiment with one-off events has spawned a lot of praise, controversy and discussion. But I can safely say I’ve never seen a post as grounded in hard evidence and practise, or as thorough in dissecting why some people love one-off events, some people hate them, and some go better than others, than this one.

Spinks really knocks it out of the park as she discusses her experience of running a massively-multiplayer game which featured one-off events, and the conclusions she has come to from both running and playing in those events – if you’re interested in the ongoing “one-off” discussion, this is a must-read:

“Maybe it is all just about control and rewards.

The players who hate one off events dislike having their previous plans interrupted (especially if the interruption lasts for a few days.) They don’t want to ‘just go with it’ or ‘enjoy the experience’ or ‘just not log in or go to that location while the event is on.’ They want their controlled, predictable environment back. They prefer to be in control of their own events and not have world events dropped on their heads.

Another category of players will be frustrated if a one off event gives really good rewards or some kind of achievement and they aren’t able to attend (maybe like in the recent GW2 event, it just doesn’t last long enough). They don’t want to ‘just go with it’ or ‘not worry because there will be something else next month and they can go to that’, they just don’t like missing out on content.

Devs need to try to keep these two groups happy, particularly the first set as they are quite a large grouping.

But also there are players who ADORE world events, love seeing the game world disrupted, like being part of something memorable, enjoy running around with a bunch of other people who all want to go check out the new event, and really love being surprised by the game world and other players. For everyone else: one offs are for these guys. ”

What do you think of one-off events at this point? Can they work?