[Question of the Day] What is your favourite live event/ holiday event in an MMO?

The rakghoul plague continues, with additional daily quests being unlocked as time goes by. We hung out in guild groups last night and headed out to complete the quest that gives the crimson rakghoul pet, which was a lot of fun. Mostly for the company and jokes on voice chat.

Because you get rakghoul DNA when you die of the plague and there is also a daily quest to infect other people, large infection ‘parties’ have been rolling on the fleet. This basically involves everyone standing around in a group for long periods of time, waiting to be infected/ explode, and then repeat ad infinitum. I wouldn’t exactly call this fun, but if you just want to keep the game window open while you do something else online, it’s a very easy way to get the tokens.

Anyhow, this has all been making me think about other live events or holiday events that I have enjoyed in other games. Here are some of my favourites:

LOTRO: The Yule Festival Theatre

LOTRO has tended to go with hobbit/shire type of themes for holiday quests, with the local equivalent of maypole dancing, apple bobbing and foot races featuring strongly. Some of these themed mini-games are more fun than others, and then there are elements like this theatre which are like nothing I have ever seen in any other game.

The theatrical event involves an NPC theatre company putting on a play. If you are in the audience, you may get a chance to participate as one of the actors.  This involves being given a role and at certain points in the play, you’ll be given a chance to do an emote – you can get titles for picking appropriate ones. If you are in the audience and not selected to act, you can also take part by throwing flower petals or rotten fruit at actors who perform well or badly; doing this appropriately also gives you tokens.

I love this because it’s so completely bonkers, doesn’t involve killing random mobs, encourages players to have fun and interact,  and is still somehow completely thematic. More of this kind of thing please!


WoW: Hallow’s End

WoW has some great holiday events, although they press you far too hard to be a completionist (this is probably a bonus if you are a completionist anyway) and tend to get dull after you have seen them once. I had to think quite hard to pick my favourite, which came down to either Brewfest  (which probably has the best minigames) or Hallow’s End but the manically rhyming headless horseman pipped this one for me. Also as a Forsaken player I love this quest because it is so thematic and actually plays a real role in the game world (ie. festival for forsaken to celebrate their freedom from the lich king) other than just being a standin for a real life holiday.

There is plenty to do during Hallow’s End, including saving the poor starter towns from the headless horseman’s wrath once an hour, heading into the Scarlet Monastery graveyard with a high level group to lay him to rest and try to win cool pets and mounts, playing trick or treat on your guildmaster and other notables, collecting wacky masks, and so on. This was actually the first holiday event in which WoW included a holiday boss, if I remember rightly, which is something they have started adding to other holidays also.

So it’s the well themed holiday along with the vast amount of cool stuff to do for everyone from newbies to endgame players that makes this one a winner for me. I think it’s generally one of the more popular holidays.


WoW: Gates of Ahn’Quiraj

This was possibly the most epic event that ever took place on WoW servers, involving everyone in helping to unlock the new raid and daily quests associated with Ahn Quiraj. It also crashed a lot of servers when the gates opened, and Blizzard decided never to do anything like it again.

But I remember it fondly, and some of the hardcore guilds got involved with organising and rewarding more casual players to get them to help out. There was a time when every server had to have at least one player who had completed the questline (which included raid kills and crazy grinds so they would have been a member of a hardcore guild) in order for those zones to become available. Back in the day before server transfers, this was a much bigger deal than it is now.


DaoC: The Poetry Contest

When I played Dark Age of Camelot, I don’t remember holiday events being much of a thing so if we wanted events on our servers, they were either organised by players or by GMs. The poetry contest was a genuine live event, and was organised by GMs on our server in the Hibernia realm (I guess they felt it was thematic for mythic ireland to have poetry contests).

So they advertised the event on forums and encouraged guilds to submit entries. When the event itself happened, GM characters took on the role of storytellers and marshalled the competitors, and then led everyone off to hear a story and kill a boss mob (I think). What made this event stand out is that players really got involved. We had a good crowd of players at the contest, people were enthusiastic about cheering the poets who they found most entertaining, and everyone was generally playing along happily and not griefing.

For me and Arb, this one is particularly memorable because we had formed a newish guild for alts on the realm and our guild was broke and the prize from the poetry competition (which was about 1000g I think) would have let us do some stuff we really wanted to with guild banks. One of our guildies entered the content, and the player was a 15 year old who was   very nervous about this. As soon as he stepped up on his little lurikeen with his poem about how much he liked blowing things up (which was in contrast to the more po-faced earlier poems), the audience  went wild and everyone was bouncing up and down and casting buffs on him to show that they loved it.

He won the contest. It’s one of my favourite memories from that game.

I recall Warhammer Online also had some good holiday events, I think Witching Night was one of our favourites there. And sandbox games can spawn some fun live/ player-driven events too if you happen to be in at the right time.

Do you like live/ holiday events, and which are your favourites?

13 thoughts on “[Question of the Day] What is your favourite live event/ holiday event in an MMO?

  1. Ah, the Yule festival theatre was brilliant, the pressure of emoting at the right time, or standing in the audience and willing the actors to get it either right or wrong depending on what you needed to chuck for the achievements!

    Must have a look at more of the rakghoul stuff too…

  2. Lotro has a new event that involves fireworks, with a hobbit and man version, yet to give it a go, but it seems to involve group participation like the theatre, except not as involved. Loved the theatre though, pity they didn’t introduce a new play into the rotation last year.

    I like Guild Wars for their holiday finales, each of them has group participation, but the community has taken the fun out of them somewhat. For Canthan New Year, guilds sponsor districts and provide the materials, so a lot of people just show up and ask ‘is this district sponsored?’, and for Wintersday there is this community-agreed rule: even districts for Dwayna, odd for Grenth. Dragon Festival has a fun activity with lots of people participating in each district, and probably my favourite Halloween has the Mad King with his bad jokes, and games that get players crowded around emoting and heckling.

  3. The really great thing about WOW’s Ahn Q’s event was toons of all levels got to participate. Almost every zone had some type of bug invasion where you received blues galore. Places like Thousand Needles had more people in it than major cities. It really amde the whole quest line epic in nature.

  4. Last night on RepFleet the group of infecters/explodees was all standing around the respawn point. Makes sense to just respawn and not have to run anywhere, I suppose.

  5. One of these days I need to join you guys on Mumble, but I am terribly voice chat shy. :/

    I just pondered that the rakghoul event is kinda genius because it combines some of the two most popular WoW things of the past. The undead plague before the release of WotLK where you got to turn into a ghoul and the Zandalari fever from Zul’Gurub that people used to create a pandemic in the capital cities. Quite clever.

    • You should totally join us on mumble sometime, feel free to tweet me if you’re considering it and I’ll let you know who is around. The guild are a friendly bunch, bit smutty, but nothing you won’t have heard before I’m sure 🙂

    • Plus, we can do a smaller room of just Spinks and me, if that helps ease you into it!! I was terrified the first time I went on voice chat during my lotro days. Now I never shut up.

  6. Gates of Ahn’Qiraj by a large lead! I put up a post about my favorite vanilla WoW memories a while back. This was one of them.

    Events like Hallow’s End, Noblegarden etc. are cool, but I feel like a large part of those is just an incessant rep/item/fluff grind.

  7. For its scope, access, lore brilliance and sheer audacity, the Opening of Ahn’Qiraj has got to be the winner. One of the biggest pains of playing WoW for me nowadays (other than appalling class development, particularly for warriors) is that we’ll never see its like again; proven by the amount of whiners that complained about the completely unintrusive Cataclysm launch event, and the pitiful apology from Greg Street.

    “I can’t get to the auction house, this is terribad”.

    So instead of saying that what they did was awesome but really needed a lot of fixes to make the next one REALLY epic, they just decided to never do it again because of some server instability.

    It’s a huge shame. 😦


  8. Pingback: Five Years of Lord of the Rings Online « The Ancient Gaming Noob

  9. My favourite holiday event has to be trick or treating in City of Heroes/Villains, throw in some Giant Monsters and it was a great recipe for fun.The bonus was it worked better the bigger your group size, just like the real thing!

  10. I liked all the GM-run stuff DAOC did, even when it crashed the server!! The poetry contest just made me weep with joy though, when everyone did the luri-bomb dance we made up on the fly.

    The lotro theatre thing was cool, and even melted my cynical heart. Also liked their haunted burrow. But none of the dumb horse races, pick stuff, grind tokens rubbish..

    Also the serverwide stuff. LotRo did an unlock event, not as grand as Ahn’Q in WoW, but where everyone could help to open access for the entire server. Liked that too. It fosters community without being internally competitive.

    I dislike these events when they become mandatory, or super grindy. A small daily component is cool, but not if it means I have to log on every day for two weeks to achieve anything, since I have other commitments and start to grow bitter.

    I love the infection party on fleet atm, it’s so friendly 🙂

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