One feature I have always enjoyed about online games ever since my first MMO, Earth & Beyond, are the live holiday events. Back on E&B, the Halloween event consisted of receiving special pumpkin-launching cannons for your ship, resulting in the areas around space stations becoming large messes of splattered pumpkin bits. These days I play WoW, and it looks like Blizzard is getting better at its holiday events.
WoW has seen two back-to-back holidays in recent weeks. First up was the all-new event, Brewfest. Themed to match the real-world equivalent, Beerfest, Brewfest included some hilarious moments. In the Brewfest main event areas outside Ironforge and Orgrimmar, tents and vendors were all set up, offering quests and, of course, alcoholic beverages to keep your character wasted. Music in this area consisted of an upbeat fanfare overlaid with either Dwarves or Goblins, depending on where you were, getting drunk and joking around like madmen. One of the funniest moments I found was on the Horde side, where the Goblins were making a mockery of the Dwarven version of the event by wearing horribly cheesy Dwarf masks and calling themselves by Dwarven names.
Quests for Brewfest offered a variety of prizes, including a never-ending beer barrel, a uniquely decorated ram mount (more special for Hordies since it meant they could finally have a ram), and a full outfit fitting with the Brewfest theme. The best item however, in my opinion, are the beer goggles. Definitely one of the most fun items in the game, donning these goggles, created by an eccentric female gnome, makes everyone in the game (Horde or Alliance players, NPCs, anybody not affected by some other form-altering ability or effect) look like a male gnome, many of whom are wearing some sort of odd leather getup… Personally, I can’t wait to raid Karazhan while wearing those. Hilarity will ensue.
Brewfest ran from Oct 1st until Oct 16. Starting Oct 18, the Hallow’s End event went live. Last year, this event consisted of trick or treating with the innkeepers and… not much else really. The best item then was a wand that you could use to change another player’s appearance temporarily. This year, they’ve really upped the ante.
In addition the trick-or-treating with innkeepers, there’s a huge event in the area between Southshore and Undercity. I haven’t personally checked into this one in detail yet, but it’s definitely a big deal for those who want a little PvP in their day. It seems to basically consist of raiding between Southshore and Tarren Mill, just like the good ol’ days.
The event I have had the opportunity to participate in so far is the Headless Horseman. In the Scarlet Monastery Graveyard, there is a new experience for level 70 characters. A glowing pumpkin awaits in the last area. Clicking it gives you a candle. Placing the candle on a mound of dirt behind it summons the Headless Horseman. Every player can summon once a day, meaning a full group will get five shots at him a day. The fight itself is a blast. It’s pretty easy, but you can wipe on it if you’re not careful. Basically, you fight the horseman on his undead horse, then knock his head off, which you then fight while his body wanders aimlessly, cleaving random party members, then they’ll reattach, he mounts up again, rinse and repeat until dead.
The kicker, however, is that he actually drops really nice items! He’ll always drop a broom mount. There’s three of those, one for each basic mount-riding level. They last in your inventory for two weeks and are good for a single use. Besides the brooms, there are epic rings, helms, and other gear to be found and, in a move unlike Blizzard has done before with WoW, these holiday items actually have really nice stats. I won a caster ring for my shadow priest and was able to finally get rid of the blue level 70 ring I’d been clinging onto for a while.
It’s nice to see Blizzard finally putting in better incentives for players to participate in these holiday events. Now I can’t wait for Christmas! :D