How MMOs Should Emulate Guild Wars 2's Super Adventure Box

By Jeff Francis
How mmos can emulate the Guild Wars 2 Super Adventure Box event

One of the highlights of playing online games is partaking in mmo events. Such instances serve as a welcome change of pace from the normal grind associated with most games. However, not all mmo events are created equal. Quite a few are fun and offer a happy diversion while others are just slapdash affairs that offer little joy. Then there are those mmo events that seem to rise far above the others, as is the case with the Super Adventure Box event in Guild Wars 2. This mmorpg event is an homage to the 8-bit platform games that many players enjoyed as children, and the game recently brought it back. It's time to ready our characters for a jumping marathon as we discuss how mmos should emulate the Guild Wars 2 Super Adventure Box event.

Before we begin, let's go over the basics of the Guild Wars 2 Super Adventure Box event for those who have never played it. This event was originally released as an April Fools' Day event way back in 2013. The Super Adventure Box is based upon the platform games of yesteryear and features glorious 8-bit graphics and music. The release of this event also featured a fake commercial set to resemble a video game commercial from the 1980s, complete with VHS visual glitches to represent wear and tear on the tape. The Super Adventure Box (SAB) features multiple worlds filled with lots of enemies and boasts some serious jumping puzzles to complete. The player earns baubles while playing, which are then used to buy various rewards like weapon skins.

So how should other mmo games emulate the GW2 Super Adventure Box event? Well, there are some specific considerations that can be derived from the SAB to create some memorable mmo events. One facet of the Super Adventure Box that should be recognized is that it is just plain fun to play. One would think that any developer would consider fun and enjoyment to be prime considerations when crafting mmo events (or mmo games in general), but such is often not the case as developers can get bogged down in the layers of system minutiae that permeate every online game. The premise of the Guild Wars 2 Super Adventure Box is that it is a simple platform game that pays respect to the genre as a whole. There are no deep mechanics or intricate features introduced with the SAB. The player essentially jumps around and takes on the various enemies in combat. There's no need to remake the wheel when it comes to making mmo events. Games that were fun twenty to thirty years ago are still enjoyable today, such as Donkey Kong, Frogger, and the original Mario games.

Another way in how mmo games can emulate the success of the Guild Wars 2 Super Adventure Box event is to notice the fact that it is not connected to any lore of the game itself. A lot of mmo events work feverishly to tie themselves into the lore that has been painstakingly created for the game, which can serve as a distraction. The point of the SAB is that it is just a fun and whimsical way for players to enjoy something different from the usual gameplay associated with Guild Wars 2. One of the aspects I enjoy about the Super Adventure Box is that I can kind of turn my mind off about the game's setting and just focus on jumping around in an incredibly colorful environment. Taking a break from the usual gameplay can mean more than just having something new to do, activity wise. It can also mean taking a break from the ongoing narrative that the game has been telling. The GW2 Super Adventure Box event doesn't give a hoot about what's happening in the Living World storyline. Such a break is beneficial for players as they can temporarily tune out of an epic story to just relax and have some fun.

There is another way in how mmo games can emulate the success of the Guild Wars 2 Super Adventure Box event, which is having different difficulty levels. There are three difficulty levels for the Super Adventure Box: infantile, normal, and tribulation. Those mmo players who thrive on the jumping puzzles found in GW2 can enjoy the challenge of taking on the SAB in tribulation mode, while most players can test their mettle in normal mode. For those players who really suck at platform games and jumping puzzles, the infantile mode offers a way to enjoy the event although they do lose the chance at gaining most baubles. Still, offering different levels of difficulty allows players of all skill levels to enjoy the event. A lot of mmo events don't have such scalability, which can limit the enjoyment of some players. Examples of such mmo events could include instances of a massive boss fight, requiring a full party (or more) to complete. If a player has lousy gear, or is still figuring out how to best use their class, then they might be cut out of ever being part of such a group. Having an easy mode (which will offer far fewer rewards) is a smart idea as it allows everyone to have a crack at the event content. I do wish a lot of mmo events would offer some range of options when it comes to difficulty.

As you can see, the Guild Wars 2 Super Adventure Box event has some specific characteristics that other mmo games can use in creating their own events. A focus on being fun, offering multiple levels of difficulty, and not worrying about tying mmo events to the ongoing lore or narrative are all great ways that the Super Adventure Box can inspire other online events. Plus, there's that sweet 8-bit music to be enjoyed as well!

Apr062017

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