The huge Arelium defense event happened. It was huge.

I'm not going simply congratulate the wizzes or whine about the event. Instead, I'm going to write here about certain aspects of the events, not all of which are good, and any wizzes (or players) reading can take away what they will from my comments. Anything I don't mention, I either missed or was good.

First of all, I will say I was a bit dissappointed. However, this is not to say that the event was somewhat bad or unsatisfactory or that there weren't some pretty good things in the event. Let me explain.

I'll start with the "Ugly". There were a few problems. From my point of view, these were not exactly suprising and, while bugs or other problems caused some trouble, In my opinion, they did not really harm the event as a whole. However, it is possible that a few parts of the event had to be cut down/out due to various issues, I don't have any idea about this.

After our first battle, my little party lost the ability to properly engage in battles. The wizzes were natuarally a bit busy and although some dialog between wizzes and one of my party took place, we didn't get things fixed until towards the end of the event. This didn't really spoil things for us, we weren't really going to be killing anything significant. If anything, this little bug allowed us to wander about into various groups of monsters without getting attacked. So, we spent a lot of the event just wandering about looking at stuff, skilling a few small mobs to death and picking up and bit of loot (nothing very much though).

Now, onto the stuff that worked.

First of all, the concept and the build up. This was great. I have the suspicion that this event may have even been over-sold, but, I don't mean that we expected more, I mean that it may have been even more popular than expected. Does anyone know how many players were on?

The hordes of various different mob were pretty cool. I suspect that there are some limitations to what batmud can handle in terms of large numbers of hordes and/or invidual mobs. Therefore, while some aspects didn't seem to pan out very well, this could be due to the fact that this was about as good as was possible.

My dissapointment is the event was really due to one thing only. I think there was actually a lack of monsters and stuff to do. I can already hear some players crying with disbelief, but at least hear me out.

There were a huge number of mobs (which was very cool) and there were also non-combat things to do. There were also a lot of parties of various shapes and sizes.

I'll start with the non-combat. The rubble and fires were a very nice touch. Unfortunately, clearing rubble was a bit of an un-interactive pass time. Basically, all that seemed to be involved was a single syntax and some patience sitting in a room. This could probably be easily improved though, perhaps with some danger of building collapse and some priorization/tactics required. I didn't do any fire extinguishing, so I can't really comment on that. Overall, I think these were a very nice addition indeed, but they didn't really provide a lot to do. Maybe this was due to the fact that the repairs and fire fighting were actually performed quite quickly and less mobs actually reached Arelium to go on the rampage.

The hordes of mobs worked pretty nicely, despite some problems that appeared to be due to large numbers of mobs.

We engaged a group of orcs that turned out to be a bit big. It was great fun. However, I got the impression that the orc hordes had to be cut down/removed due to problems. I think we may have missed some nice stuff that the wizzes had prepared.

The thieves, vikings and zhents were also pretty cool. There are two reasons why I think these were great. Firstly: the hordes really did seem like hordes, with great areas of the map covered with mobs. Secondly: When there were truely large numbers of mobs, there were plenty to go around and have a go at.

I also saw fungus, mosquitos and rats. However, these didn't seem to last very long at all.

In fact, a lot of the time, the battle against hordes was more of a race to find mobs and wipe them out as quickly as possible rather than a desperate attempt to tackle many different attacks against Arelium. Most of the time when there were hordes, there seemed to be about as many parties as groups of mobs, often more parties and there was actually a bit of competition for mobs, even the smaller ones. We were killed once by a party using area spells (and we hadn't just walked in on them), I think this happened to other players as well.

It is my opinion that the defense should have been a hard struggle to take down as many mobs as possible and cover as much ground as possible with a relatively smaller number of defenders. I think this was also the intended flavour of the defense. However, it didn't seem to feel like this. The defense seemed to be more of a rush to take down entire sets of invaders in a fairly short period of time. Yeah, that aspect was important, but rather than struggling with numbers, it felt like a struggle against the speed at which the foe could cause damage. I think it would have been nicer if the invaders had been slightly slower and more tricky to manage, but not simply tougher. This, of course, may not have been possible due to the constraints of batmud.

The range of monsters was nice, but perhaps due to the abilities and number the defending parties, it was the main strongest parties, who killed most of everything. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, however, I would have liked to see a defense in which every available player (who wants to join the defense) is called to help because all players are busy tackling as much as they can. This is probably a tricky balance, but I think it would have been nice if the defenders needed to find folks to tackle the rats and small mobs while larger or more powerful parties took on the most dangerous invaders. As things stood, there were enough small mobs for everyone to have a go, but when ever smaller mobs actually threatened to be a problem, there were (mostly) tougher parties available to clear them up. I did notice that the robbers and also the vikings caused some difficulties though.

I'd like to know how long certain groups of mobs actually lasted. It seemed like only the toughest mobs were around for very long.

The larger mobs were too big for my small party, although, due to a bug we did manage to take a look at a big mob or two with relatively little risk.

I can't find fault in these. Even though I had nothing to do with battling them, it was entertaining to hear of their arrival, notice that players were being killed trying to battle these mobs and hear about their demise (the mobs that is). I'm not sure, but it certainly seemed like that various large mobs kept quite a few parties quite busy for a lot of the event.

I know that some players were not particularly happy about how loot from larger mobs got divided up. I don't really have a lot to say about that except perhaps that it is always going to be a bit contentious when special items are available only through unique or very rare events. Maybe someone else can comment.

Overall, my summary is that the event was a nice idea, was huge, had a lot of interesting things but seemed to offer a lot (other than loot) only for the strongest sets of parties. This is not necessarily a bad thing, a lot of great events work this way. For a big unique event that must have taken a great deal of work, I think it was a shame that it didn't quite escape the normal scenario that the main challenge is met by whoever can get their act together the quickest. It got pretty close though, so rather than dismissing the event as just another somewhat interesting event, I'm going to be keeping an eye out for what comes next.