Seasonal Events

I’m getting a little fed up with the seasonal events that are plaguing (pardon the pun) MMORPGs at the moment. When I first encountered them all those years ago, I thought having an in-game event that tied in with the current real life holiday was quite quaint and fun but I find myself getting bored of them these days, especially after I’m bombarded with emails from dozens of MMO companies telling me about how great their Halloween (or whatever) event is. Seems like they’ve just become another form of marketing and another thing to pull us out of the immersion of our favourite MMO. Nothing like seeing an Ogre wearing a Santa Claus hat to utterly destroy the illusion of a scary opponent.

Sure, sometimes it’s quite fun to get into the Christmas spirit and listen to the tinkly-bell music whilst running around Qeynos in EQ2 in December but please… for the love of all things good and natural… ban the snowballs. By the time Erollisi Love Day has come and gone I’m sick of having snowballs thrown at me. It was fun once. In December. On Christmas Day. Stop stockpiling the sodding snowballs and digging them out in the middle of summer!

Ahem. I digress.

Anyway, as I was saying, do we really need all of these seasonal holidays in game? World of Warcraft seems to continually run one and I think I lost interest in them months ago. I don’t log on so I can experience the wonders of Christmas Day with my cyber brethren or a romantic, candle lit dinner with some loose Night Elf I met on Valentine’s Day. It seems like seasonal events in MMORPGs have just become another by-the-numbers facility that players expect. I can appreciate the odd one, but we really don’t need one every month.

What I’d prefer by far is for new, player driven, storyline events every month (or even every few months) to replace these seasonal ones. I’d much rather log in and partake in a fun event that has something to do with the lore of the game and driving the game world forward than some cheap rip-off of the Chinese New Year. We seem to get promised these a lot but they’re delivered very infrequently. I will, however, say that the Zombie Invasion event which occurred in WoW last year before the release of WotLK is a great example of a fun, albeit slightly flawed, world event.

What do you think? Are seasonal events old-hat or am I just being a sourpuss Scrooge?

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23 Comments

  1. Longasc says:

    Old hat!

    Every MMO now has seasonal events, often the same every year, they count towards achievements as usual and especially in my beloved Guild Wars they are usually not a festivity… they are a time-limited grind your ass off for maximum gain event. Special drops and all that.

    Imagine this. Santa Claus judges a player…

    Rogue at Xmas… *WHACK* – and suddenly he is cleanlooted to the pants. Booming Santa Voice: “And this is what you get for going straight for Warlocks in Battlegrounds!”

  2. I liked the festivities when they were an optional bit of fun. Pick up a few coins and get some dumplings for cheap food, or form a group to get a santa hat because you just want one. With the introduction of epic loot (Halloween on WoW is the first one I remember diong this) or achievements that must be done during the holiday, It’s turned into what Longasc said: a time-limited grind. Worse, the bugs in WoW make things especially frustrating because it is limited time. I gave up on the holiday achievements when one achievement required combat but didn’t allow my Druid to shapeshift. Dumb design.

    LotRO’s holidays are pretty good. There are four holidays that last a while corresponding to the seasons. Even if you’re super-casual about it, you’ll probably be able to get all the stuff you want before the holiday is over. The only complaint is that they tend to feel a bit grindy since you’re doing the same thing over and over again in a daily quest type system. But, none of the rewards are must-haves for improving your character or getting a super-fast mount. If there were a bit more variety, I would say LotRO does holidays just right.

  3. I like new seasonal events. I’ve done Headless Horseman and other Halloween stuff in WoW for so many years now that I just don’t care anymore. I have a few of the achievements, but I don’t even care to go try for the mount at this point. If they’d introduce new holiday events instead of consistently rehashing the same ones, then I think there’d be more of an argument to keep them in-game. As it is, world events like this in MMOs become tired.

  4. Bronte says:

    That’s all well and good, but how about the sheer lack of originality when it comes to seasonal events? Consider for example Halloween, I have mentioned at the link below the related in-game events for seven popular MMOs. See if you can identify a pattern!

    http://arewenewatthis.wordpress.com/2009/10/17/halloween-horrors-or-nothing-rhymes-with-orange/

  5. The point I agree with you is that seasonal events are so boring and absolutely not fun. They destroy my illusion of the world…Running around Qeynos (or even worse in Freeport where it is totally not fitting) in December is like being in a “endless present getting pink sugar candy dream” of a fat 10 year old boy! It just kills the atmosphere of the in game world…
    Or those “Halloween” events with stupid quests where one has to rescue the ghost of the past or what ever while transforming into a gnome running around in a (uuuh so) “spooky” ghost house where I have to kill rats and spiders!!! Terrifying!! Outside of the city they are cheep low level foes but inside a ghost house they are horrifying, death bringing enemies with no mercy (if it comes to yawn attacks)!!…I HATE THOSE QUESTS!!! And the rewards just suck.

    But I have to admit: I love the snowballs and love to though them at people EVEN in summer!! ;) Yeah I am the nasty bastard! Hate me!! ;) ))

  6. Longasc says:

    A good idea would be to try making this not a quest or do this, do that event, but something like an ingame party for players.

    Let a row of real Game Masters perform a riverdance in in Rivendell or Ironforge. :P

  7. Jason says:

    I’ve been saying this for years now.

    Seasonal MMO events suck ass. Usually they’re pointless exercises for fluff loot and completely uninspired in design and execution.

    Jason (resident drunken idiot of Channel Massive)

  8. Tesh says:

    I’m pretty happy with how Puzzle Pirates handles seasonal events. There are some forum art contests, some in-game limited time widgets to buy, and a few seasonal trophies. It’s pretty low key, but fun if you jump in (I’ve been a pretty heavy participant in the Easter Egg design contest for a few years now, for example). Of course, the game doesn’t go with the whole “level and loot” paradigm, so they approach things very differently at a fundamental level.

  9. Magson says:

    I like how EVE handles it — you get 1 snowball launcher and a limited supply of snowballs.

    And any unused snowballs melt after 2 weeks and then can’t be fired anyway. No stockpiling!

  10. Yetian says:

    I agree , I would much rather see some in game events related to lore than anything else. Expand on quests like the help build the griffon tower quests or have full scale events on the servers.

  11. Dblade says:

    FFXI had some fun events. You scooped goldfish in a pond for tanabata, you beat up on buffalo that could literally knock you back to your home city, you helped a sailor moon wanna-be fend off an attack, and there were a lot others. The only problem I had really had was they repeated them with only slight variations, and when you did them once, you did them all.

  12. [...] Gordon re: Holidays – “Nothing like seeing an Ogre wearing a Santa Claus hat to utterly destroy the illusion of a scary opponent.” [...]

  13. truthseeker37 says:

    I like seasonal events in EQ2. Each holiday does have its own lore behind it. Rather than just being Xmas or Halloween, it’s Frostfell and Nights of the Dead. In particular I like the lore behind Nights of the Dead. I like them because it brings something new to the game. The rewards are usually fluff but I have to admit that I like fluff. I’m a big fan of new appearance armor and house items.

    Also I stockpile snowballs : )

  14. Wolfshead says:

    I agree with you Gordon. I too am getting tired of the endless stream of emails and ads from MMO companies that are promoting their version of Halloween as a live event. Some of them don’t even bother to disguise Halloween and proclaim it loudly. So much for immersion.

    And here I thought it was only me :)

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