(If you are reading this post because you are hoping to find a detailed walkthrough of the Rakghoul Plague event and associated quests and rewards, you can find that here at mmo-mechanics. I want to talk more about the storytelling and how we experienced it).
Yesterday, Bioware surprised the player base by launching an unexpected and unheralded live event, which looks as though it will last for at least a week. It starts on the fleet/s, or if you are like me starts with your partner yelling across the room “Log in, we’re going to Tatooine….”
This is because the first indication players had that something was going on was via announcements over the fleet about a dangerous contamination on Tatooine of the rakghoul virus from Taris. News terminals also appeared on the fleet, which played a cut scene of news announcers talking about the dangers and the imperial edicts that rakghouls should be destroyed.
(the announcement said that people should on no account go to Tatooine, so clearly all player characters took this as a sign to head out there immediately!)
I’m a bit unclear on the actual process by which players found the event quests and location, since by the time I got there, my guild were sorting themselves out and there was a lot of voice chat around getting everyone to the right spot. Or in other words, I found out via other players rather than through Bioware’s carefully crafted cut scenes and NPC announcements in local chat. However, more patient players or people who like exploring will find all the information they need in the town by the Tatooine spaceport – wandering around and clicking on anything that glows is a good way to start.
There’s plenty of colour text and background to the situation as well, from the TV screens on Tatooine offering a news report where a reporter explains that all rakghouls or suspected rakghouls are to be terminated with extreme prejudice, while a guy transforms into a rakghoul in the background behind her and is shot by imperial soldiers, to regular NPC announcements from an imperial official on general chat.
None of this, incidentally, is delivered via quest text from an NPC with a quest symbol above its head.
When you get out into the wilds of Tatooine to chase down the crashed spaceship that released the virus and help to contain things by murdering infected sandpeople, the daily quest shows up as soon as you get into the right area. I am assured that the quest scales with level (so as long as you can navigate Tatooine safely, you can take part), and the mobs that spawn for you to kill are related to your own level.
NPC chat in local channel near the outbreak is more about people trying to persuade imperial soldiers that they aren’t infected, no really guv.
This leads to the typical daily quest setup where you have to kill some mobs, locate some items, kill some more mobs, collect items, then head off to another quest area and do it again, leading to a final encounter with a slightly tougher mob, a cut scene with LS/DS choice, and a final followup. Your quest rewards can be turned in at a special vendor for a number of items including weapon crystals and a pet pale rakling, once you have collected enough of them.
But there is more, including a couple of ‘secret’ quests. The walkthrough linked above discusses those in detail, but one of them involves becoming infected yourself. There are two ways in which you can become infected. Either you pick up the virus from being in the area (on one occasion I got it after just walking into the quest area) or fighting infected mobs, or you can catch the virus if another victim expires near you.
For ease of identification, one of my guildies here models the effects of the rakghoul virus.
It starts with a green aura, then progresses into glowing purple, and finally ends with you as a greenish smear on the ground after having exploded messily. This can all take a varying amount of time.
If you contract the virus you have two options. Take an antidote (which are now sold by stim vendors all over the game world, and also turn up as daily quest rewards) which cures it, or let it run its course and see how many other players you can infect. There is a quest associated with infecting other players that you’ll find out about once you have expired of the plague at least once. Clearly because this is an MMO there are already forum threads by people complaining of being infected against their wishes (although you could just move away from the infected person.)
As part of the daily quests and associated event secret quests, you will also be able to unlock lore about the rakghoul plague outbreak and how the sandpeople have been trying to find a cure.
As you can see here, these end up in your codex under a new heading of “Events.” And if you get bored of dailies or blowing people up and want to try a different way to get event tokens, you can take out two new world bosses that have been drafted in just for the occasion. (As earlier, check out the walkthrough link at the top of the post for more detailed information.)
We had a lot of fun with this event yesterday and I’m hoping to find more time for pursuing secret quests and blowing people up over the next week or so. Bioware have done a super job with this event, and despite including a lot of standard daily-type quests, it doesn’t feel formulaic or forced. The cut scenes and voice overs from imperial news are excellent. I love how you can find information about what is going on by just going there and getting involved, there’s no questgiver on fleet who pops something up in your quest log but all the information you need is in front of you.
I also love how adding world bosses on Tatooine encourages players to PUG, since they’re going to be there anyway and presumably all want tokens.
It’s really very nicely done indeed. And here finally are some action shots of us fighting more rakghouls in the dunes …
Thanks to Arb for some of the screenshots!
I’m loving it! 🙂 I did a write-up of my own experience here, though in hindsight a couple of small bits and pieces are incomplete/inaccurate as I didn’t look at a guide beforehand.
I was just chilling waiting for rest of guild to finish a flashpoint they were doing, when another of our guildmates mentioned the weird announcement on fleet and then the TV stations saying don’t go to Tatooine. We went straight there and joined the masses of people in general chat asking what was going on. There was a bit of trolling going on, with some telling people to go to the PvP area.
We headed to the right general location on a hint from someone in general chat. And then my two party-mates flew off and I attempted to follow them… then I realised I was following the wrong person, had fallen off a ledge and was trying to get back to party members, when I found the start of the Outbreak quest!!
Then we went back and told rest of guild, once we’d mostly done the first killings and stuff (and two of us were on our alts, as we’d rushed straight over, so really poor Skaggy was doing all the fighting). And then I told your partner to get you online quick as you wouldn’t want to miss it 🙂
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What do you think that other MMOs can learn from this, and what could be done better? That’s something I’ve been wondering about.
It does sound like something they could develop further, but I think much of the novelty with this event is because of a lack of foreknowledge, though the in-game news reports sound really neat. Even though the events in Rift amount to the same kind of tasks and quests, I think the routine expectations around them make them less exciting (the current event had a calender marking the start of each of the six phases and a short blurb about each one). There’s probably going to be an expectation now of a new event each big patch, hopefully they put the effort in and mix things up instead of settling into a pattern that seems to be the way these things go. Still haven’t checked the game out yet, will wait to see how the events and legacy system develop.
It was really exciting, partly because no one knew much about what was going on and it was all everyone was talking about in game. Also the execution was very slick, the cut scenes of the newscasts were great, and the additions to local chat were nice easter eggs if you were paying attention. Plus it got people interacting.
I think you make a good point about the lack of foreknowledge. For me this was a great live event, it scaled well so that lots of people could be involved, anyone who logs in later can still check out the newscasts and do the quests, and now people are having ‘infection parties’ on the fleet (because there’s a daily quest to infect 10 other people). In game plagues have been done before, but this one has still been executed really well imo.
Also apparently there is a new daily quest added today with another piece of cosmetic gear as a reward.
I liked the Rift events, but did find they got quite sameish after awhile, plus I never really cared to grind for tokens.
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