A few weeks ago, we started a new 'tradition': During the weekend, we'll have a No Drops Day (you don't lose your stuff when you die, monsters don't drop anything). During the NDD, there is a general invasion for everyone, with monsters ranging from Spiders to Giants and sometimes Dragons, and this invasion is free style, pure hack and slash fun, almost no rules (although we encourage players to fight monsters their own levels, and not kill the monsters designed for the newbies).
The second part of the day is a big invasion on one single map, where we start with 520 giants, 60 red dragons and 20 black dragons (the numbers can vary a little).
The objective is to clear the map in a given time period (around 4 hours). If the players manage to do that, then the next weekend they get a similar event. If they fail, then the next weekend they will get a weaker invasion, and no No Drops Day. However, if they do kill all the monsters in the allocated time, they get another NDD next week.
Until now, we had the final invasions in Bethel, a small desert map which is mostly.. deserted. Being a small map, 600 monsters are allover the place, and it is very hard to kill the first 100 or so (you basically die within the first 1 to 10 seconds in the map). However, after the monster density decreases, it's relatively easy (ie. not insanely difficult) to kill the other monsters.
Given the fact that most of the fighers enjoy No Drop Days, they work together as a team, regardless of their alliances or wars. Lower level players that normally can not kill giants also participate in the invasion, either by acting as cannon fodder, and/or mages, harming and poisoning the monsters.
After the last invasion, one of our players, Conavar, came up with an idea
on how to spice up the invasions.
He suggested that there should be some secondary objectives to an invasion, that would give the players some bonus such as extending the deadline, removing some monsters from the map, give the players access to some hidden supplies, and so on.
The secondary objectives could be escorting a player to safety, having to kill a player, etc.
I immediately fell in love with this idea, mainly because it reminded me of one of my favorite childhood games, Tie Fighter, which is a futuristic combat flight simulator. I am not sure how many played that game, but the idea behind it is that you pilot various ships and you need to accomplish some well defined goals. Goals like destroy a certain ship, protect/escort another ship, disable one ship and then protect it, and variations on this theme. Those missions were very well constructed, and made the game really fun. Most of them had a primary goal that had to be completed, and secondary, or bonus goals, which were optional.
Because Bethel is such a small map, it was impractical to run any side missions there, since the monster density won't allow it. So instead we used Idaloran, which is a BIG map. There were two announced secondary objectives, one of them being that in 1 hour the city must be clear from any monsters, and the other one was to find and escort Gicu (the character I run invasions with) to safety. The first secondary goal failed, but the second one was completed. Near the end of the invasion, I added a 3rd secondary goal, where two black dragons in another map had to be killed in 30 minutes. Players completed that goal as well.
Overall, it was a very nice invasion, and pretty much everyone who participated enjoyed it. A lot of good items degraded during the fights, which contributes to the economy and our pocket :D Many health essences and rings and mana potions were also used, which contributes to the economy alone (not to our pocket).
I'm looking forward to the next weekend, and have to come up with some new ideas about secondary missions.