Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chevin Acquisition Event

The Old Republic is conducting it's second live event: the Chevin Grand Acquisition Race. It's an interesting study in multiple completion paths in an MMO.

Essentially, it's a scavenger hunt. You go to the Chevin representative, and they give you a list of nine artifacts hidden on two of the early planets. Then there's effectively four paths you can take:
  1. You can just go out and explore the planets and try to find the artifacts on your own. Each of the artifacts has a little puzzle or mini-event/quest associated with it. For example, one artifact is broken up and the pieces are in smuggler's crates you have to find. There's nothing preventing you from getting all the artifacts on the very first day.

  2. You can look up guides online written by other players and follow the instructions. Pretty much like exploring, only someone else has done the work for you.

  3. There is a secondary questline running alongside. Your faction's intelligence service is suspicious of the Chevin and have tasked you with investigating. They will send you leads, small quests that will push you in the direction of the artifacts. There are two important elements here. First, the leads are entirely optional. You don't have to do them to get the artifact. Second, the leads unlock at what looks like a rate of one per day. So if you follow this route, you have to wait, and do each piece of the event a bit at a time.

  4. Finally, there's a space mission you can do which gives you artifacts. I don't know too much about this method.
The interesting thing is that the event is not formally gated. If you want,  you can blitz the event in a single evening. But it is softly-gated. The gated questline is entirely optional.

The most hardcore people will search themselves or look things up online. They're also the people who would complain the most about a hard restriction that forced you to slow down. More casual players will be okay with doing one optional questline a day (or catching up to all the unlocked questlines so far) and picking up one or two artifacts each play session. In the end, both sides will get to the same point.

Personally, I'm following the optional quest line. The optional quests are pretty interesting in and of themselves, and I'm enjoying going through it slowly.

Still, I think this event is an interesting experiment in providing multiple paths for completion, rather than just having one path that everyone does. In particular, I find that to slow down the hardcore, you have to make that one path excessively grindy or annoying. Unlocking the Fireland dailies in WoW was a classic example of this.

The Chevin event is taking the opposite tack, and letting the hardcore do the event as fast as possible, while providing an interesting, slower path for those who don't feel the need to rush.

Edit: I think I misunderstood how this event works. Six of the nine artifacts are available in the world, and can be picked up anytime. The other three are unlocked via the secondary questline, and unlock at the rate of one per day. I guess the point is to stretch it out a little bit, but not gate everything. Not quite as cool a setup as I thought it was.


  1. While the lead quests are not necessary, what they point to is, in fact, required for those items. You can stumble onto those triggers on your own, but you still need to wait until Friday to get the last of the 9 items.

    The thing with the space mission reeks of unintended exploit, especially since it also bypasses a bunch of the mini-quests. And in general just feels like it's a bug. It makes no sense to just suddenly get ALL the items just because you did a space mission. Not to mention that the treasure hunt quest text specifically states that they're all on the homeworld and on Nar Shaddaa.

  2. I didn't play yesterday, but on the first day the general agreement seemed to be that three items were hard-gated behind the quest, and you had to wait for it to unlock.

    And the space mission is definitely a bug as it just auto-completes the entire quest for you.

  3. I'm taking the slower approach. Randomly wandering around zones or planets has never appealed to me.

    I really like the event, but there are a couple of things that don't seem all that well thought out.

    I would suggest to BW that if travel isn't a strong point of your game, designing an event where you have to travel from NS to Cor several times is only highlighting the issue.

    Also, when you get to the mini puzzle, it's another Black Hole with multiple toons standing around hoping to get the click when the box respawns.

    Last, there seems to be very little in the way of reward for some classes (Knights, Consolers, Guardians,etc.)

    I love the event, and I hope BW does more of them. I just hope they also learn from this one and make the next one even better.

  4. As expected, last night's patch fixed the exploit with the space mission.

    Ted - Well, every class at least has ONE companion that can use Rifles or Sniper Rifles.

  5. Plus all the rifles are Bind-to-Legacy, so you can purchase them for alts.

  6. My first impressions: there's a lot of queueing, and I'm not finding this one very interesting.

    Disappointing after the rakghouls. And a shame, because this is where Bioware really do need to convince people that they have some oomph to put into new content. I'm not convinced.