If you've been stuck in an elevator since Tuesday and in sheer dedication, rushed to read the Tip.It Times before anything else, I must warn you: spoilers ahead. For everyone else, you saw upon login the cut scene where Armadyl defeated Bandos. In a quite gruesome yet effective matter, Armadyl fired off a huge beam and beheaded Bandos. As his head rolled onto the floor, Armadyl picked up Bandos's fearsome weapon, held it up to the sky, and shook it. And thus was the (not-so?) epic conclusion to the second world event.
It is quite fair to say that the second world event (Bird and the Beast or B&B) was very much different from the first (Battle of Lumbridge or BoL). Recall that the first event, between Saradomin and Zamorak, took place behind Lumbridge, where a huge crater was formed as a result of the fighting. There, players gathered crystals by woodcutting, mining, and fishing, and additionally by killing minions supporting the other side. BoL was a very localized event (constrained to the crater, ignoring the fact that you could obtain tears from other skilling if you chose), and had minimal interaction with other players. It also took a long time to cap (hours per day). That's great if you have a ton of time to AFK, like me, but for others, one can see how that might become frustrating. In fact, it almost degenerated into people standing there, clicking occasionally when their AFK skilling spot dried up.
In contrast, this second event had plenty more to do and less time required to do it. It was not restricted to one area but instead pretty much covered the whole free-to-play map. Most importantly, there was an option for world PvP strongly reminiscent of PvP worlds. If you had PvP toggled on, you would be able to attack and be attacked by other players supporting the other faction, within special PvP zones. With PvP on, capping did not take too long at all compared to the BoL event. The toggle was a good idea: allowing players who desired so to partake in combat and interact with other players themselves rather than just a slew of NPC's and still allowing others to opt out from it, and avoid some of the not-so-awesome side effects of PvP.
There was also a reduction in speed of gathering with PvP disabled (or a bonus with PvP enabled, whichever way you prefer to wrap your mind around it). Many players still opted for PvP on, but chose to remain peaceful, constructing towers instead, but at least that forced players to pay a little more attention and socialize, lest they end up dead and back in their faction's camp.
There were several issues with the mechanics of PvP that could use some tweaking, but then again we could sit people down and argue all day about how to run PvP without making any progress. For example, for this event damage was scaled, giving lower levels a very healthy chance to beat higher level players in one-on-one combat. Scaled damage means that (relatively speaking) higher level players did less damage on lower level players as compared to usual and vice versa. Of course, lower hits and slower damage make it more likely for your opponent to win the fight! While lower level players should have a chance, higher combat is… higher combat, right? A level 200 should beat a level 180 more times than they lose to them. If there is concern about people fighting other players a hundred levels beneath them, cap it (say only players with +/- 30 levels from yourself can be attacked/attack you).
Renown per kill was also astonishingly low-so low, in fact, that one of my friends did not even notice renown was awarded until she stumbled upon it in the RuneScape Wiki pages. There was also the Heroic Skulls that one would obtain for chaining kills, and I appreciate the fact of rewarding consecutive kills with increasing XP, but it still paled in comparison to a huge lamp form just sitting AFK at a tower all day.
There were also caravans running around collecting divine energy for both sides, which players could help or hinder (depending on allegiance). It seemed rather bizarre that players with PvP toggled off could attack and kill caravans while the representing faction could only stand by helplessly and watch. At least, until someone found the 'heal' option and annoyed people to hell with it.
A common thread to both of these events was the lopsidedness of the score. One side took an early lead, and held it throughout the whole thing, while the other never really had a chance. Granted, it's difficult to balance the two sides, but most people had a pretty clear impression that Armadyl was going to win by a landslide, which is indeed what happened. I would like to see some truly unique rewards representative of one side or the other. For example, Sacrifice was quite a nice ability which restores a fraction of the damage dealt, and all of the damage if that hit is a killing blow. Make that available for Armadyl only, and a similar ability unlockable for Bandos, but with something like more damage. And instead of permanent unlocks, force the player to choose one or the other, and have it lost (with warning and blah blah blah) upon switching. If we're going to have world events and essentially wars, people need to make a choice between Reward A and Reward B and stick with it.
This world event was not too bad, but I must confess it became a dump for the 20-30 minutes of AFK time I needed to get my renown for the day. I did socialize a bit and encountered clan mates I did not usually see so much, so that was a positive thing. I think Jagex did respond relatively well to the feedback from the first event in reducing the time and energy commitment to cap each day. There is a poll up for whether to have another world event during Easter or a traditional event, and if the former does receive more votes, I'm sure the third world event will be even better.