It’s that time of the year again. Pumpkins are carved on doorsteps, turkeys are cooking in ovens, and families are gathering around for the “happiest time of the year.” With global events like the holiday season being upon us, MMO developers have always taken this opportunity to connect their games to the real world as much as possible.
If you were to log into your favorite MMO right now, you’d probably find Halloween decorations spread about as far as your eye can see. Halloween-themed events and activities will be distributed to keep you busy and plenty of holiday rewards are ready to be won. Not all holiday events are created equally, however. As a result, I’ve put together this quick list of ways to make the perfect holiday event!
5) Variety of Content
First of all, there needs to be a decent variety of content. If all you have is a big server-wide scavenger hunt, or one new temporary instance, that isn’t going to keep player’s attention for very long. Even if players really only enjoy one or two things about the holiday event, having the option and ability to do other themed activities is incredibly important.
For example, my current primary MMO is Guild Wars 2. The recent Blood and Madness release has added a new PvP game mode, a new instance full of dynamic events, bosses, and enemies to fight, a timed jumping puzzle, and several other small little games. Not to mention the gratuitous decorations throughout every zone – there is plenty to do and see all around Tyria. One of the best telltale signs of a great holiday event is, if a player logs in, they should immediately know what time of year it is.
4) Flexible Reward Currency
This is another really big one when it comes to themed holiday events in MMOs – particularly of the non-subscription fee variety. If you’re playing a subscription based game, then the rewards will almost always be available through traditional gameplay means. But when it comes to free-to-play or buy-to-play games, developers can get a little bit more…creative…in how they let players access the rewards. Maybe I’d rather grind that same area for a few hours and have fun playing the game, rather than spend $5 on a new outfit.
For example, some weapon or armor skins that are clearly of the most premium and upper-scale variety might make the most sense to be available by spending real money. However, if all of your rewards are distributed that way, or if nothing good is available through traditional gameplay measures, it’s incredibly off-putting to your player-base. Believe it or not, some people that play free-to-play games truly play them as free games and don’t spend a penny – that’s their right to do so, and it’s nice when developers allow that to be a reasonable option.