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Decking the Halls with New World Events

By on Nov 8, 2011 at 11:04 am, in Article, Editorial, RIFT  |  Comments: 2 comments

World Events

Just in case you aren’t able to catch enough pre-Thanksgiving holiday cheer from your local department store, RIFT’s here to help. The next world event to hit Telara is hot on the PTS this week– the Fae Yule world event. The event comes complete with an old boggling in a hat named Grandfather Frost, tentacle Christmas trees, blinking lights, a goofy outfit to acquire, and you guessed it– another currency to collect and more rifts to close.

The first thing I’ll say about Fae Yule is that it’s obviously a holiday event, meant to happen every year around Christmastime. This is the first holiday event RIFT has done, and it’s nice to see one in the makings. In-game holidays are a fun way to add some festive cheer to an MMO’s community, and give players something to look forward to as the years progress. Holiday quests can be pretty amusing the first year they’re around, if done well, and it’s always interesting to see what developers come up with as far as explaining the lore behind the holidays.

Trion seems to have done fairly well with most of this. The whole boggling idea is cute, although it reminds me of World of Warcraft’s gnome-infused Winter Veil. The decorations look good. The story behind the event’s first two phases is interesting, and I love the fact that our drunken satyr buddy, Atrophinius, takes part. Random presents in the mail are always appreciated. The reindeer mount is cool, and the corgi pet is adorable. During my time on the PTS, Elrar was prancing around as a giant corgi, and it was almost like experiencing an overdose of cuteness.

Yule Fae

One of the things I actually really like about Fae Yule is the fact that it’s cute. It’s festive. It’s lighthearted. It’s upbeat. Telara is sometimes a rather dark world, full of deadly rifts tearing up the sky and dangerous invasions behind every corner. I like this darkness that encompasses RIFT, but for every dark month and year, there must be a day of respite, and reasons to celebrate each small victory. I view these world events as perfect opportunities to watch Telara’s citizens celebrate victories, and celebrate life itself. The change in pace is nice.

At the same time, I cringe when I realize just how much Fae Yule reminds me of WoW’s Winter Veil. I would have liked to see something closer to RIFT’s lore and less like, well, what we see in department stores. After a few years of having to put up with seeing hundreds of gnomes, reindeer, and annoying noisy presents going off in Ironforge, I’ll admit I really wanted to see something new in RIFT.

While I appreciate the lighthearted, I don’t appreciate it when all you see for an entire month is a sea of gnomes and Christmas trees all over. Maybe it’s the length of Winter Veil that bothered me. Then again, RIFT’s world events are known to last an entire month, too.

Speaking of RIFT’s world events, let me throw up another soapbox to stand on. These world events of Trion’s are getting pretty stale. I doubt I’m the only one who feels this way. The quests are uninspiring, and some of them are downright boring. I’m tired of having to close rifts and run around clicking random junk in Sanctum. I’m tired of having to collect a new currency every month. The world events, simply put, are boring.

And once you look past all the repetitive, boring features, all that really remains of RIFT’s world events is a loot vendor. Sure, mounts, pets, and wardrobe pieces are nice to collect. But can’t we get some other reason to want to do this stuff? Like oh, some creative quests maybe?

Now, don’t get me wrong– the Fae Yule event isn’t terribly done. In fact, it’s probably one of the better events we’ve seen. It’s just a shame that it follows the same tired structure we’ve been seeing for months on end. Luckily, it seems that Trion’s finally picked up on the fact that many folks are unhappy about world events.

On RIFT’s official PTS forum, a member of Trion’s team, ExcelsiorH, posted an interesting reply in the Fae Yule Event Feedback thread:

“But there have also been several comments in this thread, as well as in some other threads for the 1.5 World Event, about the lack of worldly-ness in the last few events and the repetitiveness and/or blandness of some of the content.

I’m here to say, we hear you!

We had some issues in the first few World Events and learned some lessons about what our tech can and can’t handle. We’ve tried a few different things and watched the community responses – both the good and the bad. Where this has led us though, is to play it safe. Does it work? Yes. Does it form a pattern that leads to some of the feedback we’ve heard? Probably. Can we improve the player experience? Definitely!

I think most would agree – it’s time to shake it up! While we would have loved to do this sooner, the content for 1.5 and Fae Yule was already in the pipe under the safe plan. But we’re throwing that plan out for now. Nothing is sacred – we’re reviewing every aspect of the World Events to see where we can add more impact, how we can deliver the content in new and creative ways, how we can target more of our community audiences, how we can keep people engaged for all of the phases, and most importantly, how we can make it the most fun possible.”

My first response to that? It’s about time!

On top of this, ExcelsiorH also said that based on feedback, they’re making some changes to Fae Yule before it launches. They’re adding more decorations to the entire maps of Sanctum and Meridian (instead of just the areas around the quest givers), adding snow, and adding some additional quest directive NPCs.

One of the best things RIFT has going for it is the rate at which developers respond to player feedback. We see another great example of it here, regarding world events. Hopefully future events will make up for all the time we’ve spent closing rifts and gathering currencies. In the meantime, prepare yourselves for a snowstorm in Telara, and hope that the cuteness doesn’t destroy us all.

  • Tom Jaffe Hopkins

    I’ve only been playing Rift for about a month so far and joined up just as the 1.5 World Event was getting going. So far I’ve really enjoyed gathering the currency, doing the dailies and such. But it definitly could use more plot and I could see how it could become a bit repetitive and boring.  It’ll be interesting to see how they mix things up, though I would like to see what other peoples ideas would be to spiff up these events.  

    I’d on the outset suggest more quests, maybe some puzzles which actually shift around every few days. Maybe a maze, or some kind of interactive puzzle reusing some of the mechanics they already built for the sliding box puzzle in the Gorge for instance. 

    I strongly believe the event quests shouldn’t be overly difficult or even include too much actual fighting, there meant to be more of a passive rewards thing. But that doesn’t mean the mini games around them should be boring.

  • Angel Stewart

    World events have to use pre-existing content in the game. So the quests to take down Rifts, talk to NPCs etc. is really about all they can provide and still deliver this content in the timeframes that we are seeing now. There doesn’t seem to be any “rapid development” system where a writer can throw together a dungeon or a new area and push out that sort of unique and detailed stories with new NPCs and areas. 

    While I agree that the World Events can become tiresome after a while, I really don’t see any other option with the tech and resources that Rift designers/developers seem to have at their disposal.

    That said…a unique instance per event would be awesome :-)