I have been playing Pokemon Go for a while now as my new phone supports it. It has been getting slightly stale to no fault of its own—I don’t normally play mobile games. However, since late October I have been playing more as things within the event have grabbed my attention.This triggered today’s article, so here are ways we can incorporate events into games. Make sure to read until the very end as I give some examples of my own using what we discuss.
Turn Your Game into Dress Up
This is easily one of the most rewarding thing to create from the perspective of your players. Any time your players get new content to customize or simply new customizations to old assets, they will be happy. Another easy pleaser are achievement rewards—things like titles, or player icons are subtler things to add for your players. Halloween in mind, make Halloween costumes pieces for player character, or for MOBA games like Overwatch, re-skin heroes for Halloween. Collectables do tend to take more time than other things for events, but they are also, as mentioned, appreciated more. Plan beforehand and be ready for the production time required for this method.
Take Time to Smell the Roses
Sometimes our games can become mundane and chore-like outside of how well it is or isn’t received. By nobody’s fault, no matter the title, when players can identify patterns within games they lose parts of the experience. Events can break that monotonous gameplay for a bit, give them an event story or event mini-game to experience. There might be more work if you switch up mechanics for an event mini-game, but the payoff is worth it. If you’re wanting to make a separate storyline for the event, consider where the event storyline fits within your game. Potentially, you could create multiple storylines or minigames for your players and implement them in different locations dependent on levels or geography.
There’s No Time Like the Present
Not only should we think about events based on our mainstream holidays, but what about holidays within your game world? MMO titles are easy to create other holidays around as they typically have expansive lore to explore. Have a calendar system: implement a birthday system and give your players an item that doubles experience for the day. Maybe it’s the anniversary of your game’s launch day; whatever it is, celebrate it with your players as an event. Be creative, there are several reasons to have events that aren’t holiday related. The following is a short sample of reasons to throw an event and an example of what you could do:
- Gaming Convention – Exclusives based on the event; Blizzcon is a great example of this.
- Expansion Packs – To build excitement for your game you could begin to release some of the new storyline into the game world.
- Release of Partnered Games – Releasing another game could have cross-play event items for both your current game as well as the releasing one.
- Initial Release or Termination Dates – Respectively, this could be a happy or sad event, but a storyline event might be the best option for this.
A New Challenger Approaches
Next, I would like to touch on something I discussed about a year and a half ago. I wrote an article about the augmented reality game event for Overwatch’s hacker character, Sombra. This was a great concept for an event and drew a lot of attention—whether that attention was good or bad is irrelevant. This is a prime example of how to use events that aren’t tied to holidays or other release dates. Blizzard created an event for a new character and invested in the event long before Sombra was released.
Don’t be limited to only characters, it is possible to slowly leak potential patch updates or new level information. Any of these traits be used to build an interesting event for your community and build anticipation for your games.
Here are two examples of this concept, one for a character and another for a new arena.
Character: (Original) Chronus, our “Hero” with time-altering abilities
A week before, release a tower defense mini game. The trick would be that the game is incredibly difficult for my current “heroes” to defend successfully. This mini game would utilize audio from characters saying, “It’d be easier if they could be in two places at once.” When the new character is released, their abilities address all the issues the characters were complaining about. It would also be a great method to showcase the “ideal” method to using this new character in the actual game.
Arena: (Original) Meadow in the mountains from a character’s childhood memories
From the beginning I would have a character with a heavy bond to their childhood camping trips. This might include several audio lines from them stating how they miss camping for example. Every patch update would come with a comicbook sequence based in a character’s perspective. Eventually, we get to our camping character and a flashback of why camping is important to them. Shortly after, I would release the new arena concept art or the arena level itself. Follow this up with a new outfit for our character based on camping gear and improve the collectables as well.
Tying It All Together
Let’s pretend we’ll be attending the premier video game con in Hypotheticalville called Not-a-Con, and we all work at Best Games Studio. Convert an area into a meadow with mountains in the background. One of the staff members will dress up as our character who talks about camping. Anytime our staff-character talks with people they mimic voice lines from the game. Our staff-character is also recalling stories they told around the campfire at night about a two-faced god of time and fate. Next, a station is devoted to a game: participants physically run between picnic tables and “defend” a cabin. Anyone who plays this game at Not-a-Con gets an exclusive backpack in the shape of some camping gear. This game reflects the new mini game event placed in our game. Release the new arena and outfit at Not-a-Con a week later the new character.
We should now have a better idea of how to use events to their full potential. If you agree or disagree with anything I have stated here, please let me know in the comments below.
Let’s get a growing dialogue down there!