Love is in the air in RIFT… or is it? Most MMOs have an in-game event to coincide with Valentine’s Day, and this year was no different for Trion. February 13’s hotfix introduced the Festival of Mariel-Taun and the contagious “Love Bug”. The Bug has somewhat surprisingly proven to be a hot topic on the official forum, both for and against the effect.
The Love Bug looks pretty mild in the patch notes. Characters are “smitten” by the Bug, which poses no immediate danger. Players can remove the Bug by right-clicking on the effect’s symbol in your status bar, which leaves you vulnerable to contracting it again immediately, or they can infect three other people, which guarantees immunity for one hour.
The Bug itself is relatively harmless as promised, leaving only amusing status changes like “butterflies in your tummy” and little pink hearts floating around your character. Some players are complaining about those minimal effects, but it seems more like holiday grumps than anything.
The real concern is that spreading the Love Bug is done through a temporary ability button that appears when you’re next to a valid target. This not only happens when you’re just idling around the mailbox in Tempest Bay, but also in the middle of warfronts and raid boss battles and other combat situations. It also takes over any keybinds assigned to that spot on the temporary ability bar which means when, say, a tank thinks she’s hitting her reactive cooldown she’s actually just sharing the Love! (And then everyone dies.)
The obvious fix for players is to make sure everyone in their group has right-clicked to remove the buff before combat, but that’s not always so easy in a random group. Spamming the Love Bug during combat has also quickly become a favorite trick of griefing players.
Trion hasn’t announced any plans to change the Love Bug’s behavior, and it’s probably safe to assume that the event will be over in another few days. In the meantime tech-savvy players can follow these instructions by forums user Adelea to create a custom addon to keep the Bug away.