Looking at Frostfell
'Tis the season of Frostfell and all over Norrath people are hanging stockings and giving gifts. However, despite the season's cheer, not everyone is having fun, and heroes are needed to save Frostfell like 'Ernest saved Christmas'.
Quests Old and New
Like other live events that Sony Online Entertainment puts on, quests from previous years make an appearance in this year's revelry. This is great for those who are new to the game or took a break. Each year also brings new quests, giving something for veteran players to tackle.
Back in 2005, the original Frostfell quest was 'The Tale of the Gigglegibber Grump', a chain of solo-able quests which scale to the player's level. The quest was dropped the next two years, but made a return in 2008 and again this year. To begin the quest players must talk to the Frostfell elves who have appeared in the cities of Qeynos and Freeport looking for helpful adventurers . Their home, Elfin Wonderland, has been taken over. Lord Bowsprite, their leader, has been kidnapped and the presents stolen. This is the work of Grimagus Gigglegibber (A.K.A. The Grump). Along the way on this mission, you are given a book about how Grimagus became The Grump. Unsurprisingly, this all came about due to other goblins teasing him as a child (sound like a familiar Dr. Seuss story?), so he grew up bitter and decided to ruin Frostfell by stealing all the presents. The end of the quest line sees him realising the error of his ways and making peace with the elves. Aww bless!
Another character taken from a literary source is Mr McScroogle, a miserly, mean-spirited, slave driver of a gnome. Frostfell used to be a time for family and friends, not for profit. McScroogle has other ideas and has a factory churning out flyers and advertisements. In the quest 'Saving Frostfell' we are tasked with the destruction of this factory to save the holiday by any means necessary.
Unlike his Dickens counterpart, McScroogle never learns the true meaning of Frostfell. Each year the spirits of past, present and future return to appeal to his conscience and set him on the right path. However, McScroogle is having none of it. This year he asks for a brave hero to take his place. Donning a disguise and entering his home, players will be guided through the life and death of our nasty gnome. Upon receiving the player's report, McScroogle is unmoved and continues with his exploitative ways, but we do get some festive quest rewards including another book - 'A Frostfell Carol'.
One of the major areas for Frostfell quests is the 'Icy Keep'. The tone here is a bit less light-hearted than the other areas. First off, players are asked to plant listening devices to find out what exactly is going on in there. This involves sneaking around the keep wearing a yeti disguise and locating blue sparkly areas on the ground to place the devices. This was a little disappointing as my yeti suit didn't 'appear' I just had an icon in my active spells box to tell me I was disguised (boo!). After being disguised as a gnome earlier, and remembering the fun I had in my giant Murloc suit in World of Warcraft, I was a little let down.
Further quests in the 'Icy Keep' line involve slaying a baby dragon in its egg. The dragon escapes, but the quest is finished by handing in pieces of its egg shell as evidence of the monster's demise. The quest chain continues with the player re-entering Icy Keep to cover up evidence of the lie by slaying any witnesses. It's pretty dark stuff for a festive event.
Unlike most live event quests, much of the 'Icy Keep' is designed for group play. An easier version of the instance was added, but the bosses, particularly the final one, Ice Maiden D'Ina, are very challenging. Fortunately, with the use of chronomagic, players can lower their level so that upon entering the instance mobs will scale down to that level. Then you can return to your original level for a bit of an easier ride. This may be against the spirit of a group quest, but it's good to have to option to solo difficult content.
2009 Frostfell brings us two new quests: 'An Exalting Experience' and 'The Giftgiver's Dilemma'. The first sees us once again enter Icy Keep. While the storyline is pretty good, Icy Keep is a small instance and going in again and again is a bit repetitive for those who don't read quest dialogue.
The other new quest, 'The Giftgiver's Dilemma' is more in keeping with the spirit of the season. One of the Frostfell elves, Gardy Ex-Giftgiver (previously Gardy Giftgiver) has had all his snow globes smashed and now has giving up on giving presents, hence his new surname. The player finds more acts of sabotage as the story unfolds, ending with a confrontation with Santa Glug and his helpers, (goblins) who just want to be a part of the gift giving, but are quite clumsy and accident prone. The quest ends with everyone agreeing to work together and the clockwork toy and warm feeling inside are ample rewards.
Things to Make and Do
Missions aren't the only thing to occupy you during the holiday season. There is also a vast amount of crafting to be done. There are costumes and stockings, candy cane weapons, paper lanterns, egg nog and pastries - the list of things to make is vast. Ingredients come from harvesting the stacks of wrapped presents all over the Wonderland Village.
If all of this sounds like a bit too much hard work, you can always visit Santa Glug, the well meaning but occasionally misguided goblin. Every day over the whole event, Santa will give you a present for free - Ho ho ho!
On top of all of this there are buckets of snowballs to pick up and hurl at passersby. There is also a fruitcake in the Wonderland Village which you can harvest for the same purpose. Hurl it at an unsuspecting victim and it will appear in their inventory for them to pass on the favour.
Want a tree to decorate your house with? There are quests for that in each of the main cities. I performed the one in Qeynos, all I had to do was decorate parts of the city. Once I'd finished, our old friend McScroogle turned up, infuriated by my efforts to brighten up the place and a fight ensued. Player - 1, McScroogle - 0, and a lovely tree as a reward.
There is also a collection associated with the event. If your stomach can take it, collect the complete set of the frost-bitten toes (eww!) lying about and claim your glacial brazier as a reward, one more item to add a bit of colour to the old homestead.
Frostfell has more than enough to keep players busy for hours and hours. The holiday season in Norrath has come a long way since 2005. The quest lines are substantial and interesting, and the rewards, though mostly cosmetic, are great for those who love decorating their houses.