Updated Thu, Jun 23, 2011 by Saia
As a casual player and lore nerd, I love the world events found in World of Warcraft. For a period of time, Azeroth itself stops to celebrate festivals, mimicking those found in the real world. It is also one of the things which makes the game so special and dynamic, a living, changing world within a computer. At least that's how things started out when each of the seasonal events were introduced for the first time.
Fast forward nearly seven years or so and I’ve done most festivals countless times. I’m bored with how static their content has become and I admit, I logged in this morning to the sheer relief of having completed the Midsummer Fire Festival last year (if you haven't, check out our comprehensive guide). Yes, now I can just watch and enjoy the festival. I find the act of having to rush though and get certain achievements during a specific time limit makes me hate WoW and that’s never good. As a result, I’ve not yet gotten my pink proto-drake (sorry, but it’s the most ugly of the mount models) but I am hankering after something new and fresh when it comes to seasonal events. I don’t think I’m the only one either.
For the last couple of years Blizzard has been doing little to update the seasonal events other than reintroduce the loot dropped by seasonal bosses. Ahune, for example, is still challenging and irritating but at least his loot table is a tad more bountiful this year. It’s a quick way to get slightly better gear and have fun at the same time, at least the first five times you run the event. The only saving grace now is at least the Dungeon Finder lets you queue for an event rather than having to run down to Blackrock Depths, the Slave Pens or even the Scarlet Monastery’s Graveyard in hopes of finding a group.
Midsummer is here again and so are the same old quests.
It strikes me - and Bashiok has hinted that Blizzard agrees - that it’s now time to reinvent the festivals we celebrate in game; perhaps add a new one to mark the Catacylsm or just reinvent the pre-existing ones. We need more than just better gear each year in some throwaway event which no longer has any special meaning other than free loot/gold/pets.
Ahune in particular feels especially out of date. He’s actually one of the newer bosses but our recent expansion into the Elemental Planes has made things a little more complex. We’ve met Neptulon and even helped him during the closing quest so why are we still fighting his minion? Can’t Neptulon control his own anymore or make the call to tell Ahune to not antagonize the little mortal champions? After all, as patch 4.2 reminds us, Ragnaros is doing his own fighting now and doesn’t need provoking. Heck, he’s out to get us and the Frost Lord is not going to annoy him any more than he is already.
Updating Ahune's loot table with better versions of the same old weapons is just not enough.
But, especially with the Cataclysm, Blizzard has had a lot on its plate. Redoing the world festivals wasn’t even at the bottom of the pile, it was left on the development floor. Now though, even if the next expansion is announced at BlizzCon, it’s highly unlikely to be released until 2012 so Blizzard really should take a little time to do something new with the festivals.
I’m not saying they should scrap what we have already, after all there are many who have yet to complete What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been, including me. Perhaps they could do something as they have done with To All the Squirrels I’ve Loved Before … add on an extra achievement with new criteria or just add on an extra tier.
The point is, the world events and festivals are a part of WoW and - by reflection - their real world counterparts. It wouldn’t be Christmas if I didn’t log on to find out what Greatfather Winter has left me under the Winter Veil Tree in Ironforge (hey, I’m a very good girl), similarly it wouldn’t be Chinese New Year without the Lunar Festival and there’s something about killing the Headless Horseman which just makes my Samhain. But they do need refreshing as much as any aspect of the games does after nearly seven years of sameness. So, here’s hoping Blizzard now takes the time to do more than just annually update the loot tables or add in the odd new pet here and there.
Do you think the seasonal events in WoW have lost some of their sparkle over the years? Let us know what you think!