The holiday season has gotten me thinking about events. While holiday season in MMOs is in full swing, there are other types and some of the roles they play are important. That includes the types of events and some of the things it takes to make them effective and fun. Do today's games have to do something different or is it enough to freshen events from year to year? Events can be a good way to help player communities gather around a central occasion, but there are some potential downsides too.
Holiday events, as mentioned, are abundant right now across nearly all the games you can think of. In some games, this might just be a small gift or a new item, and in others, there's a full-scale, in-depth series of things to discover and complete going on. It would be difficult to try them all, which brings us to a slight issue for those that might jump around from game to game, or have characters they return to now and then in freemium games: a little too much choice. Yuletide Festival in LOTR and snowball fights in SWTOR, Fae Yule in Rift, Season's Greedings in DC Universe Online, and Wintersday in Guild Wars 2 are just a few of the possibilities for anyone with characters waiting to jump into a special event right about now. If you're not exclusively loyal to one over the other, then you might have to choose which you like best, since making the most out of an event often involves making that commitment.
Sure, some companies will try and entice players back in time for their showcases, hoping to recapture the attention of those who have left. DCUO has offered former subscribers a free month, as one example, and other games are offering around days or a week of sub time to try and win you back over, oh fickle MMOer.
The abundance of choice might be leading to just a few head scratches, as the decision time awaits. Sure, if you're busy playing a certain game regularly anyhow, then you'll likely just keep going through your chosen MMO. But for those in between games or spending some time among a few, the offerings can be tempting in multiple corners. Since many special events in games require some degree of grind to complete, if you're trying to reach a specific goal or want to claim a few titles or some other special limited loot, best be getting to it, as these events are usually limited.