Thursday, July 10, 2008

Player Event Tips: Competitions

These sorts of events are where you will find your preparation for the event to be most important. I've attended my fair share of un-organized competitions and some of them even turned out to be good fun but the best way to ensure a good time is to think everything out before hand. It’s hard to give you specific guidelines on how to run this type event as they can vary so greatly.

For me, planning these events is very much a process. I have a template I use when planning a player event (yes, I’m this anal). This template will then be what is used to post my event details to the public to let them know about it. Some of the general rules listed in the Scripted Events post hold here. Timing, macroing the rule text, etc. These types of events though can take a little more imagination as you are requiring your audience to participate in your creation. It can feel at times a bit like herding cats. You have been warned.

Examples of Competition Events:

Think of how you’d like the event to work and then spend some time thinking on how people could ruin your event. Yes, you have to think like a less-than-smart teenager whose only concern is winning and is willing to cheat to do it. I actually spend a lot of time, sometimes a whole work day (shhhhh…) trying to figure out ways the event could tank and solutions to prevent it. Best piece of advice I can give is to bounce ideas of other players who know the system and how it could be manipulated.

Perhaps the best way to explain a the process I use is to show you. Here is the event plan I created for an old Fishing Tournament I hosted. Fishing tournaments are pretty easy to host but here are some things you may not have thought about before.

  • One problem I saw with hosting a fishing event was the potential for people to fish up a ton and a half of the required fish before-hand giving them a huge lead before the event even started. Therefore I kept both the location and the desired fish a secret. We were simply meeting up in Theramore. I actually moved them all to the Barrens and instructed them to catch deviate fish. Anyone spending time fishing in Theramore before the event probably didn't hurt their fishing skill but it didn't give them an advantage in the event.
  • Another problem would be others calling people cheaters for having lures or +fishing gear. To prevent that I put in rules that they would be allowed. I purchased and carried several lures on my character to hand out at the event on a first come first served basis. Anyone still whining at this point would be directed to read the rules and tell them that it was stated before hand they are allowed. If they didn't bring any, it was their oversight.

These are just two simple things that in a group of friends probably wouldn't matter but when you open it up to a larger group will surface and probably give you a headache. If hosting a very large competitive event be prepared to spend your entire evening fielding whispers. At one point in my event career I actually hired a person to be my event assistant and I had a DND message up to direct all questions to her. Yes. I am crazy about player events.

Do you need to put in all this time and effort to have a great event? Certainly not. A small group of friends having a fishing tournament could probably do without all these rules as you will still be friends afterwards. I do recommend this method if you are hosting for more than a small group, even if just your guild whom you consider friends. You want to make your event clear and easy to participate in. You want your event to run smoothly and have people walking away saying, “Wow that was fun, can’t wait for the next event”. Preparing to this degree isn't a guarantee that will happen but in my experience does give you a much higher change of success.

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