Well, the Spooky Season is kicking into high gear, right about now… which means it is nearly time for all of our favorite – and not-so-favorite – MMORPGs to wheel out their Halloween event! Whether they make sense thematically in that game or not, it’s Halloween in damn near every MMORPG on the market, whether you want it or not… and whether they do a good job with it or not.
I could go on for days about the bad events, but that really isn’t going to do any good. They are coming, regardless of what we might think, because it is easy content that their players expect to see every year. “World of Warcraft” being one of the better examples of this – a game that really could make something great out of their event, but just turn on the same old, tired event, year after year. The same could be said for “Guild Wars 2”, despite my podcast partner Beoulus being a huge fan of it, because it is just mining Candy Corn nodes, Trick or Treats, and the Mad King’s Return over and over and over again, every year.
Frankly, they can do better. Their players deserve better.
One example of an MMORPG that really holds a stinker of a Halloween event is – as much as I hate to say it – “Rift”. Yes, “Rift”… The game I have supported since closed beta, and am only now willing to admit that their Halloween event isn’t great. It was fun at first, but it hasn’t changed in forever, and shows no sign of getting updated, due to the cash-grabbing hand of Gamigo steering the game towards inevitable collapse. So if you want an example of the worst Halloween content out there, look no further than “Rift”.
Of course, I do have to nod my cap to two MMORPGs that always seem to do right by their players with their Halloween events. Their events make sense thematically in those games, are fun, and do see updates, one way or the other. Those games are, of course, “Lord of the Rings Online” and “Secret World Legends”.
Now then, when it comes to LOTRO, the crown jewel of their event is the Haunted Burrow dungeon. This is a soloable and repeatable public dungeon, where you run around, avoiding traps while doing quests (that change daily, if I recall) and trying not to get too lost (you will get lost). But in addition to this, LOTRO includes the other, standard Festival events they run during most holidays, and of course the Players run a variety of Player-made events, which are quite often supported by Standing Stone Games, in some manner. Yes, the core of the event really doesn’t change much, year after year, but there are new rewards to be earned, at the very least. That in itself is better than many MMORPGs do with their Halloween events! But most importantly, LOTRO’s Halloween event is always a good time.
Then we come to the best Halloween event ever devised for an MMORPG, and it isn’t even in a true MMORPG… not anymore. The Cooperative RPG “Secret World Legends” picks up on the tradition started with its predecessor MMORPG, “The Secret World”, and puts on the most awesome Halloween event ever made! They have years of special, one-shot quest-chains, which drop unique and awesome items, pets, and so forth. Plus, being a part of the only true Horror CRPG/MMORPG/Whatever that SWL is now, these are really fun, immersive, and creepy events to enjoy! Many can be done solo, and are actually best done that way, to be honest, while others are intended for groups, but those are always optional. I find that the solo questlines are the most immersive, and the creepiest, since they are less about fighting, and more about surviving. Being in a group of superpowered heroes against Cosmic Horrors just isn’t all that spooky, to be honest.
Regardless, SWL is – hands down – the best Halloween event, and it isn’t even a true MMO.
Now then, I can hear some of you – mostly WoW fans – already complaining: “Scormey! What about Funcom not updating the SWL Halloween event for years, let alone the game itself? How can it be the best if it is on Maintenance Mode?”
Simple: SWL has player-made events for Halloween every year, which Funcom do support, providing prizes to be given out and so forth. So there! But more importantly, SWL’s Samhain Event is just that much better than every one else’s offerings. A steak is still a steak, when all you have to eat otherwise is dog food. SWL may deliver the same meat-&-potatoes event, year after year (although it would be really great to see more updates to the event, and the game itself, Funcom!), but by comparison, every other MMORPG only offers trash with their events.
That’s right, I said it: Trash. Dog Food. Yuck. SWL makes all other such events look horrible.
When I can log into SWL, and enjoy awesome, horror-themed gaming, anytime I wish… then log in during the Spooky Season to find even better Horror-themed gaming to be had, even if it has changed only a little since “The Secret World” was still in active development… Well, that’s going to be Win from me, hands down, every time.
WoW and its tired ol’ Headless Horseman can suck it!