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Reader Comments (9)

Posted: Apr 22nd 2009 4:49PM Tom in VA said

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I always avoid the "faux Easter" ("faux Christmas", etc., etc.) seasonal MMO festivities as best I can because they seem surpassingly ... stupid ... to me.

Posted: Apr 22nd 2009 5:33PM mysecretid said

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Why? Sheesh, that's easy ... because they're fun for a lot of players.

Also, they shake up the day-in-day-out status quo of a MMORPG for a little while (painless change is good), and they give ambitious dev teams a chance to show off a little.

The first Hallowe'en event in City of Heroes, back when Cryptic ran the show there, was really well-made. I still have fond memories of that event, even all these years later.

Posted: Apr 22nd 2009 5:52PM Gaugamela said

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Funny that you mention this on this huge post and you forget to mention the Events of WAR. The game may be crossing some diffculties but their events are really great and some of them unique to the lore of Warhammer.

For example, the Witching Night (Halloween) actually exists in the Warhammer world (although there it is called the Geheimnisnacht (sp?), i believe they gave an english name because the original one is very complicated to most people) where the energies of Chaos are stronger. And they had some cool PvP PQs.
Also, the Night of Murder (Valentine's Day) corresponds to an actual ceremony of the Dark Elves in the Warhammer lore (and a very gory ceremony with nothing romantic trust me. Such as the event isn't).

Also they had the Keg End (Christmas) that didn't had the Christmas feeling at all.

And lets not forget the huge amount of live events that are leading up to the release of the Land of the Dead and that also involved the release of the Slayer and the Choppa.

So instead of mentioning one half decent event in WoW maybe you should have mentioned the huge amount of actually good events of WAR that even included the released of exclusive scenarios during those events.
Funny how you guys are fast to post the bad news about WAR but when you could highlight the good points of it you seem to let it slip.

Posted: Apr 22nd 2009 6:12PM Askgar said

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Actually in my time playing WAR I was in a couple of the special events and despite them being tied into the lore they were incredibly boring. The PvP PQs seemed very flawed on Witching Night (I never managed to be in one of any fun, one side outnumbered the other so everyone just left on the outnumbered side). And the grinding the spirits (or whatever they were) I did 1/2 AFK by setting my squig to attack on sight and positioning in the correct place.

I haven't played now since just before Christmas so can't comment on those but the early events definately needed work.

Oh, and just sticking up for Tim a little I know that he's never played WAR and so would have no experience of these events, as this is more of an opinion piece surely its better to speak from experience than hearsay?
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Posted: Apr 22nd 2009 6:37PM organiclockwork said

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I've always wondered this as well.

It would not only avoid breaking the fourth wall, but in fact add even more credibility to a game's setting if developers were to take the time to actually brainstorm some seasonal events unique to the game that don't correspond to anything in real life.

The bit with WAR is a good start, what with using real lore-established holidays (Though I personally didn't care for the events themselves) but they are still using them to parallel real world holidays.

Developers need to take some time and establish some actual lore-wise holidays and other things that simply have no real-world parallel, and take place at points in time where there is absolutely nothing going on in the real world, making it a special occasion for the game and the game only.

Posted: Apr 22nd 2009 9:00PM mitchgant said

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I think it would be wonderful if game designers could come up with their own holidays not tied to anything in the real world and have special events around those made up holidays. Every MMO has its lore so there is plenty of material to base a made up holiday around (the victory of such and such, or the defeat of so and so, or the arrival of the whomevers). These would make the worlds more immersive, not fake holidays based on real world holidays like we have now.

That being said, I find most holiday content pretty bad (either way too easy repetitive quest to get a random "holiday" item, or annoyingly involved quest to get a random holiday item). How about quests that actually teach you about the lore of the made up holiday and give you an interesting cosmetic or decorative item, or a limited use super usefull item? Those I would be excited for.

Posted: Apr 23rd 2009 5:07AM (Unverified) said

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I absolutely adore holiday content and don't think it breaks the "fourth wall" at all. At least, no more than elves and orcs bouncing around screaming "LOLOLOLOL PWND NAB LOLOLOL" at the top of their lungs does. Of course it depends on the game, some make a real effort to make it -feel- like the event is happening in the world (Lord of the Rings Online and Warhammer Online are two examples of this), others just randomlly plonk it there as an excuse for achievements or a diversion from lack of other content.

My final word on this subject is that when these events come around, we get the closest we can get to the original vision of the MMORPG. That is, a living, breathing world where anything can happen that no one, even the developers, has ever seen before. This is far removed from the grind this - loot that mentality that permeates them today, but at least these seasonal events provide something new and special every now and again that won't be there forever.

Posted: Apr 23rd 2009 12:12PM J Brad Hicks said

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Gaming companies stage seasonal events for the same reason that holidays evolved in the real world: to break the monotony of "always the same thing" and to mark the passage of time. Even more than than patch days, which might be good or might be bad, the beginnings and ends of seasonal in-game events give players something to look forward to.

Why repurpose our mundane and civic holidays in these fantasy worlds? For the same reason that D&D knock-offs rule the MMO industry: less to explain. When somebody logs in to a Halloween event and sees witches flying through the sky on brooms or pumpkin-headed humanoids running around or ghosts haunting the countryside, they don't need to have it explained to them why, what this means, or how they're supposed to feel about it. Ask any failed game designer: among the parts of your game that were most likely to fail, they were the parts that people had to have explained to them how they were supposed to work or why they were supposed to care.

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 1:53AM (Unverified) said

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Perhaps a few of the holidays in mmo's can be knocked for removing the fourth wall and being poor excuses for marking the real world holidays (I'm looking at you, Valentine's day - a poor excuse for an event even in real life!).

But most cultures have a way of marking the dead, so I see no problem in having an event in your mmo, designed around the same concept, even if they do copy the traditions used in the real world events (Hallows End).

As for the recent addition of an "easter" event, that's just not an issue at all. There is nothing easter-like about it. It's a marking of the equinox (easter is just a poor excuse for christians to celebrate the coming of spring, without 'breaking character', after all). - In fact both equinoxes now have an event in WoW.

As for christmas, that is just another poor excuse for christians to celebrate an old pagan event. The solstice. And this too has a counterpart on the other side of the calendar, in the midsummer fire festival.

Many of these events, with a few exceptions, are celebrated in most cultures. In the case of solstice and eqionox, they are celebrated at the same time, all over the world.

WAR takes a nice approach, but I gotta admit: None of the real world events are given the slightest bit of thought when I'm enjoying the in-game variants. It's just not an issue. - And as long as you aren't on a hardcore RP server, the fourth wall simply doesn't exist anyway, so it can't BE broken. It's already torn down from interacting with the rest of the playerbase.

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