The Old Republic is conducting it's second live event: the Chevin Grand Acquisition Race. It's an interesting study in multiple completion paths in an MMO.
Essentially, it's a scavenger hunt. You go to the Chevin representative, and they give you a list of nine artifacts hidden on two of the early planets. Then there's effectively four paths you can take:
- You can just go out and explore the planets and try to find the artifacts on your own. Each of the artifacts has a little puzzle or mini-event/quest associated with it. For example, one artifact is broken up and the pieces are in smuggler's crates you have to find. There's nothing preventing you from getting all the artifacts on the very first day.
- You can look up guides online written by other players and follow the instructions. Pretty much like exploring, only someone else has done the work for you.
- There is a secondary questline running alongside. Your faction's intelligence service is suspicious of the Chevin and have tasked you with investigating. They will send you leads, small quests that will push you in the direction of the artifacts. There are two important elements here. First, the leads are entirely optional. You don't have to do them to get the artifact. Second, the leads unlock at what looks like a rate of one per day. So if you follow this route, you have to wait, and do each piece of the event a bit at a time.
- Finally, there's a space mission you can do which gives you artifacts. I don't know too much about this method.
The most hardcore people will search themselves or look things up online. They're also the people who would complain the most about a hard restriction that forced you to slow down. More casual players will be okay with doing one optional questline a day (or catching up to all the unlocked questlines so far) and picking up one or two artifacts each play session. In the end, both sides will get to the same point.
Personally, I'm following the optional quest line. The optional quests are pretty interesting in and of themselves, and I'm enjoying going through it slowly.
Still, I think this event is an interesting experiment in providing multiple paths for completion, rather than just having one path that everyone does. In particular, I find that to slow down the hardcore, you have to make that one path excessively grindy or annoying. Unlocking the Fireland dailies in WoW was a classic example of this.
The Chevin event is taking the opposite tack, and letting the hardcore do the event as fast as possible, while providing an interesting, slower path for those who don't feel the need to rush.
Edit: I think I misunderstood how this event works. Six of the nine artifacts are available in the world, and can be picked up anytime. The other three are unlocked via the secondary questline, and unlock at the rate of one per day. I guess the point is to stretch it out a little bit, but not gate everything. Not quite as cool a setup as I thought it was.