After spending an awesome weekend running massive events in the various zones of Rift, I started to wonder about an issue. Several of us in the community (of bloggers) and, of course, the infamous "forums for haters" have had an ongoing discussion about Dynamics.
Does Rift really have dynamics?
I think mostly people are expecting something different from the actual word, and are not using it in proper context. Lets take a look at the word itself, and see where THAT leads us. If we head to Dictionary.com, I find this little bit of information.
"pertaining to or characterized by energy or effective action; vigorously active or forceful"
This is interesting. When we look upon the complaints of most, dynamics is suppose to harbor change. Nothing is indicating that "change" must take place. The actual meaning of the word describes Rift more readily, and shows just how dynamic the game can feel.
So, for something to be "dynamic" it is not that it has to change, or be UNIQUE or DIFFERENT...it must be an effective action. When an EVENT takes place zone wide, this is "forceful" and needs "effective action" to take care of or else it causes issues in the zone. When invasions happen a player must become "vigorously active" to take care of it. I could go on and on (for example, thanks to mob density in Rift compared to most MMO's, there is more vigorous activity than most games).
The facts remain. Rift is a more dynamic MMO than we have normally dealt with.
So, how did the concept of dynamics come down to something affecting the world we play in and must equal change to happen? When we look upon the descriptions for Guild Wars 2, a game being touted for it's changing world dynamics, we see...
"Dynamic events evolve and cascade across the world in response to how you, the player, interact with them,"
So, somehow, Arenanets description looks to "evolving", but not "changing".
Yet, Guild Wars 2 is one of the games most people look to for "Dynamic" events, because somehow it can "change" how the world works. But, GW2 does not really say major or even minor change is the key. It is the ripple effect. Something happens that leads to another...thus causing the dynamic gameplay.
Rift does have the same effect. The "ripple" from an event leads to hubs being shut down, roads overrun, specific quest areas being inaccessible due to rifts. These may happen regularly and may even be the same event from yesterday...but, is still "dynamic" enough to cause the "ripple" effect.
So, what about "scipting". This was one argument I read that really led me here...
"Yeah, really? DYNAMIC.....where is the dynamism? Is it those mushrooms that randomly pops here and there spewing out scripted npcs? "
Can a movie not be dynamic? Is it because a movie has a script that it is not dynamic? I would beg to differ on this and would see how a movie can be vigorously active. One sequence may be a car chase....but another may appear later on that has a different aspect to it (example: Bourne Movies - thanks Matt!). Is this not dynamic because it is the same thing; a car chase?
We need to look over all of the MMO's released to this day and see...How dynamic have they been? And just how dynamic is Rift compared to them?
When a game makes me drop everything and run to defend a hub, take down a major colossi or forces me to make a decision about the area I am questing in due to being blocked by a rift or foothold...this feels dynamic, to me. If I must do something that is NOT scheduled, how can that not be dynamic?
So, maybe the next time you wonder what is dynamic about Rift, lets look to what "dynamic" really means....and then we can see that Rift is truly (and hopefully) the first in a line of dynamic MMO's.