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Monday, October 24, 2005

Holiday Road

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Well, if you've been playing EQII lately, you couldn't have missed all the Halloween fun. I really enjoyed it and was surprised by the many different aspects of the holiday celebration SOE put together. Decorations, quests, games, costumes - it was all quite enjoyable. Some parts managed to be funny and others scary, which was a nice way to implement things. If you haven't tried it yet, I urge you to and I won't give anything else away. You can check out Quylein's report for a fuller review.

It's unfortunate that the great show SOE put on was marred by some bugs. There were some graphical issues, some lag issues and a problem with planks in one of the quests. That's just a shame because the overall picture was so good. But it's the bugs that people seem to remember so being careful is important.

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that WoW also did a holiday event. My account is not active at the moment but I did read a lot about it and it certainly sounded fun as well. I direct you to the coverage of
AFK Gamer or Kill Ten Rats if you are interested. From what I can tell, EQII's implementation was somewhat deeper, but WoW's appeared to be more polished. And that is the old cliche about the difference between the two games, fair or not.

I really like holiday events in MMO's. CoH had a good Halloween one as well last year and I really enjoyed that. I hope we see more of the same. But, because I'm always playing devil's advocate, I tried to think of some negatives with all the holiday festivities. I came up with two.

One, you are raising player expectations, which is always a dangerous thing. If you don't do the same next year, and do it in an even better and different fashion, players will be disappointed because you led them to expect it. It may get to the point where too large a percentage of developer resources are being allocated to these types of things.

Two, there will doubtless be some griping on the forums about which holidays are included and which are not. That is just the way it is.

Those are just thoughts, and, as I said, I personally enjoy these events and look forward to more. Before I move off the topic, I'd also like to credit SOE for the Valentine's Day quest they did way back when. It was simple but sweet.

Two quick EQII notes, one positive and one negative. The Tears Grifters quests in Maj are an absolute joy and a pleasure for soloers. Very nice job. And for the negative, the Clefts of Rujark has been a major lag festival lately. I've gotten reports on this from enough people to convince me that it is a problem. And that's a shame because it is a great zone with a ton of stuff going on. From solo, to groups, to instances with named mobs, the Clefts has it all. But if people don't even want to go there because of lag, you're tossing content out the window for no reason.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lag might be because of the epic spawn in Rujark. Whenever raids are running by, you can tell by the lag! I know we were in there, and I'm sure other guilds were as well.


1:56 AM  
Anonymous Teh Chunt said...

Yeah, SOE really came through for halloween. I really hope something crazy happens on the day of Halloween, like in EQ1 when butcherblock was overrun by skeletons.

Gotta say my favorite part of the whole thing is being able to make my personae wear a mask. It's nice to accessorize. Just wish I could get that *%^$@# Lucan mask!

3:50 AM  
Anonymous Van Hemlock said...

The expectation thing is certainly already in place - can't remember who started it, probably EQ1 with the Kithicor Forest spawns, possibly even UO, but it's already almost unheard of for an MMO to *not* do anything for Halloween now. It is fun, but you can't help wonder what else *isn't* being worked on while they make pumpkins.

It's always quite odd for me, because over here (in the UK), Guy Fawkes Night (5 Nov), is generally a lot more widely celebrated and signficant, whereas Halloween is generally just an excuse for 13-17yr gangs to go house-to-house demanding money with menaces - scarey alright, but probably not in the spirit of things.

Wikipedia will have the details, but mostly it involves fireworks and bonfires, stuff that is generally available all year round in most MMOs. Then again, you don't often see Thanksgiving or Independence Day going on in MMOs either.

5:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My halfling looks just like the Scarecrow King with his pumpkin mask and tradesman pants. My guild does some minor RP at night trick-or-treating among other players in the city.

The problem with the planks, byt the way, is not that they're bugged, but (1) you have to free the butler before breaking them and (2) that you have to get within about 6 inches of them. It's annoying, but not event-ruining.

I got 99 points last night trick-or-treating. I ALMOST got that ****-*** Lucan mask! **** it!

Oh well, great blog. I love your Friday Humor, Aggro.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Twodragons said...

Van Hemlock, that was an interesting history note and something I would never have imagined. As I read a few web sites detailing it, I wondered if he was really a traitor or patriot.

The events in EQ2 are enjoyable but unfortunately spread thin. I would love to see more GM involved events for a wide range of levels.

Or even be transported suddenly (with option to decline) to a hardly seen instanced zone for a solo or group event.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hardly notice the lag in clefts. I'm fairly certain that the lag is graphics based, possibly a problem with how some cards handle the geometry or simply that there are two many models to load in memory.

11:28 AM  

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