Saturday, 24 March 2012

Events, Dear Boy... : EQ2

When exactly did it start? There must have been a time once, when you could wake up fresh, in that room you favored upstairs along the corridor away from the bar perhaps or maybe out among the pines, rolled in your dew-drenched cloak beside the cooling embers of your campfire, looking forward to a day filled with adventure. Another day of magic and mayhem just waiting to be seized.

It is Soulday, Grayeven 3 of the year 3881 and I have otters to train. It's been a busy week. A busy month. A busy year. Even before the Frostfell Village wardrobe had folded itself through four dimensions and packed itself flat back under the bed, the ever-traveling fair came rolling into Gorowyn, half-elven barkers hanging bunting from any Sarnak that couldn't scuttle away fast enough. They'd barely packed away their tents before full moon signaled a frenzy of mushrooming and root-beer in fairy grottoes across Norrath.
 
A Dungeon? Might be able to fit one in on the 17th
Then there are the Holy Days. The gods made a poor job of being dead, or gone or whatever it is that gods do when they lose patience with being farmed twice a day and five times on Sundays. Errolisi Marr still finds time to sponsor a whole raft of dubious romantic rituals for the day held in her honor. Day? Hah! It lasts two love-sodden weeks by when we're all heartily glad to see the back of her. Don't say anything though because here comes her god-buddy Brell, twenty feet tall with a tankard like a bucket, god of fatty liver disease and drunken one-night stands and another one who thinks there are fourteen nights in a Day.

The hangovers have scarcely had time to fade before Bristlebane arrives and we all know what fun he is. Oh come on. Some people have no sense of humor. At least he can count.

I think it's some Elven thing?

Oh but wait, that's not all. Those are just the events that get on the Calendar. At least that gives them a veneer of internal consistency, unlike meta-events, viz and to wit Everquest's  Anniversary, currently being celebrated in EQ1 by the appearance of loot-laden Fabled versions of everyone from Fippy to Venril Sathir and in EQ2 through the medium of modern dance Chronoportals.

I only pick on Norrath because that's where I spend a lot of my time. I could throw a dart at my monitor and come up with a similar list from any icon on my desktop. (I wouldn't do that. Obviously.) I was barely in Azeroth for three months and I think I saw four major Holidays. Rift is pretty much all either event or holiday, with the current one being a post-modern masterpiece of self-congratulatory backslapping. Someone at Trion has the irony meter turned up to 11, that's for sure.

Excuse me, weren't we at war?
Is it too much? We've done dailies (How we've done dailies...) but dailies at least have the "merit" of always being there. Events bring a pressure if not to complete then at least to take part. They're fun, especially first time through, but they come back year after year and they bloat. All last year's rides return and there are mutterings if anything's missing and if there's nothing new. When does a good thing turn into too much of a good thing?

I'm a big take it or leave it-er. In the words of Richard Hell, I can take it or leave it each time. Even so, I get pulled in. I know people who trudge through each Imaginary Holiday with the grim, set smile of an ex at a wedding. I've even known people stop logging in altogether, overwhelmed, unable to keep up.

I'm not against fun. I used to get as excited as anyone when Santug Klaug popped up in Plane of Knowledge and started yelling or when someone started jabbering hysterically over guild chat about giant skeletons taking over Qeynos Hills. But those were surprises. They were adventures. We didn't know they were coming. Not to put too fine a point on it, we didn't have a Calendar!

When you find yourself wishing it would just be over already, it's not fun any more. I like events but if we could just snap them along a bit? Maybe the "Days" could last for a weekend, not a fortnight? That'd be a start.





3 comments:

  1. My partner complained recently that three events were overlapping in WoW, three at once each with a set of dailies to do, each with their own grind!

    I think that Rift exemplified the best and worst of this, the events have so far been (I presume) one off events. But these Rift events, like those you discuss for EQ2, last too long and are too close together. For months I was happy doing the event dailies and lore quests, but then I realised I was mostly doing them, and was outleveling the real world stories I was supposed to be exploring.

    Worst still the events have become more and more centred around the faction capitals, more and more silly little games instead of a means to encourage the population to partake in rifting or invasion hunting. So these events ceased to be an integral part of the core gameplay of Rift, now they're little mini-games just like those plaguing WoW.

    Every time I log into Rift now I get complimented by at least one person on the ghost horse I have. This, the fast version, was a very rare drop from death rifts during the first ever world event (River of Souls I think). The nature of events in Rift reflect a general trend in MMOs, everything should be available to everyone, so we can all look the same, ride the same mounts etc. This links to your point about the calendar, it's a symptom of the constant complaints that devs get about people missing stuff. That's just not allowed anymore. So events have to be drawn out to fit everyones' schedules.

    Personally I'd have no problem with short spontaneous events that weren't scheduled - that'd be great. It'd spawn stories that people could share in the community, something that not everyone has done to death.

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  2. Very good points indeed. When Rift's events started I'm pretty sure the idea was that they would have an "I was there" vibe. Sadly all the people who weren't there made a lot of noise about it and everything got stretched out so no-one could claim they hadn't had a go.

    Back when I played on EQ2's Test server we once had Frostfell from the middle of November to the middle of January. When I made a mild comment in chat about it being too much of a good thing, however, I was mostly howled down by people who wanted it to be Frostfell Every Day Frorever. I was aware when I wrote this post that for some people you just can't have too much of a good thing :P

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  3. I've been back in EQ2 for a few weeks now. My account dates back to '05 and I had only dipped my toes into it from time to time until now.

    Honestly, all the events look to me as "buy/make a housing item that can't be gotten any other way and put it on the broker later at an inflated price" days.

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