Aggro Me: Holiday Road
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.