Eagerly awaiting Life Day of 2015, I mused about how awesome my experiences were back in the older days of SWTOR. Each event was unique: The Rakghoul Pandemic, The Grand Acquisitions Race, the Gree Event, and even Bounty Contract week. They all came seemingly at random, with their own phases and such, granting distinctly amazing experiences, especially in a PvP server like the Bastion. Everyone was excited for these events as each day brought new quests, newer stuff, and crazily awesome activities that weren’t the norm in many MMOs at the time. These events, in other words, were damned dynamic. We played through each like we would never see them again. For the most part, it’s kind of true.
After being gone from the game since the peak of Rise of the Hutt Cartel, I had high expectations that they continued on the tradition of these memorable and dynamic events. Boy, was I in for a huge disappointment. Here are my thoughts on Star Wars: The Old Republic Life Day 2015.
Life Day Wasted – Again
When Life Day first came around, I was extremely disgruntled. It was a far cry from what the other events were like or going to be like. Not only was there NOT an actual event, but anything related to Life Day was just another cash-grab on the Cartel Market with little to no thought. What most expected, due to SWTOR’s god-tier storytelling, was that we were going to receive a deep and riveting event involving the Wookie-origin Life Day many of us have read about, heard, or even experienced to a certain degree back in Star Wars Galaxies. You could, instead, shell out twenty dollars for plain-looking robes and an ineptly decorated and reskinned Czerka mount. How fun.
I’m not a hardcore Star Wars fan, but I do know that Life Day has its origins on Kashyyk (Wookie planet) that celebrate, well, Life. It’s a holiday that celebrates lives of younger ones and to fondly remember those who have passed on. Frankly, just looking at the event in SWTOR, you wouldn’t be able to tell that it had a far deeper meaning than shallowly celebrating the Christmas equivalent of the Star Wars Universe. With the rich, albeit scatterbrained, lore of Star Wars, I expected far more utilization of Life Day as compared to when it was first rushed into a cash-grab existence.
Back to the present, 2015’s Life Day event is no more different than it was when I first encountered it with the exception of retaining the snowball activity that came around in 2013 or 2014. Frankly, it’s all just pick up the snowball item from the Master of Ceremonies, hurl it at some schmuck, and get a chance for a Snow Covered Parcel for the many different items available for the season. It was fun during the first year of its existence as it used to piss off pubs and imps alike running around the galaxy just minding their own business, but another year of the same crap isn’t exactly all that fun.
Instead, like most MMOs, SWTOR decided to give the yearly uniqueness of Life Day through digital, material possessions. You’d think that folks would be turned off by this kind of shallowness, but I’ve got to hand it to Bioware – they know how to pander to our innermost demons of consumerism. Christmas (and basically every other holiday) is, after all, mostly about buying things. It doesn’t matter what or how much, so long as it’s Christmas-y, seasonal, and, in some respects, expensive.
There’s a long list of Life Day-related items found from the Master of Ceremonies NPC which include all items obtainable from the Cartel Market from the previous years, including the snow-covered parcel-only items, just now with a bigger inventory due to the new year. A lot of these items require a buttload of the parcels just to obtain, meaning that players will have to spend time running around making other denizens of the galaxy flaky with frozen ice ad nauseum and the drop rate for these parcels aren’t exactly high either, making farming them quite tedious, especially with the long 14 second cooldown of the Life Day Snowball Bomb.
For those with fatter wallet, however, the Cartel Market itself is brimming with Life Day-related items available for a “limited time only,” meaning that other folks can’t get those items via the event currency until next Life Day. And what do you know, they’re also selling a Life Day Snowball Cannon that only has a 6 second cool down to increase the frequency of snow-covered parcels! Eh, great. Something cash-grabbingly new, I guess.
Though, as a returning player, I did find it interesting that they added the Life Day droids in Dromund Kass and Coruscant that have chances to give plenty of nifty decorations for your stronghold. Neat. But that’s about it. You still end up mashing your bound snowball key, not on some schmuck, but a stupid droid instead with no related quest, story, or real purpose other than grabbing a lot of decorations and parcels.
Not All Bad
Despite my protests on this event, the various items are, indeed, quite attractive. The quality of these items have certainly gotten better since its first year and they all look interesting enough for me to try and get a couple of parcels for some stronghold decorations. Hey, maybe I’ll even shell out some real cash to get that tank mount that shoots snowballs – it just looks so freaking awesome! Also, admittedly, while I do think they did a horrible job decorating the galaxy in the spirit of the season, the number of people enjoying themselves in the meager festivities is infectious. Seeing more than two-dozen people throwing snowballs at each other at the same time is pretty cool to see, showing that a lackluster event isn’t enough to dampen the holiday cheer (and want for stuff) that we should all be swimming in right now.
But if there’s another positive about this Christmas event, it’s that Life Day is exactly what an event should feel like – stress-free. While the lack of anything real to do in the event has me at odds with it, I’m glad that none of its activities would be so important (ex. PvE upgrades/PvP-specific items) as to merit my completely willing participation. This way, since I already feel like it’s crap, I’m not forced to participate in any of the snowball-enthused spamming and feel like I’ve missed out on something incredibly significant to my progress as a player if I don’t. This aspect alone, ironically, puts it a notch above even the most lavish and intricate Christmas events found in SWTOR’s contemporaries.
In general, however, Life Day isn’t anything special other than the subtle holo-trees that line both Imperial and Republic Fleets and the incessant snowflake animation that players will most likely always have. Treats and Items galore are up for grabs if you can tank the mindless snowball throwing, debuff removal, and camping for Overheated Life Day droid spawns. But as I said earlier, the even hasn’t changed much since it first came into existence, and the only thing between you and the boredom of the event’s monotonous mediocrity is your own personal excitement for it. For first timers, I’m sure it’s a neat little break, but for old timers like myself, it’s just another day smashing face in warzones.
Along with Life Day, it’s worth mentioning that the Rakghoul Resurgence event has come back to give us another shot in getting Dr. Lokin as a companion in the newest expansion of Knights of the Fallen Empire! I’ve been saving up a ton of Biochem materials for my several alts for the past month, eager to get the good doctor on the side of the alliance. For this Life Day, this is the best present I could ever hope to get from Bioware, but when all was well and good, I had to encounter this little gem:
Merry Christmas/Happy Life Day, everybody! I’m sure we can return this present for store credit, right? Right? Yes, this happens every month now and I’m sure they’ll fix this soon or we’ll be compensated somehow, but still it’s pretty freaking stupid. Not only is Life Day pretty thin as an event, the Rakghoul Event got sloshed by bugs too, making it two events that are perorming underwhelmingly.
Not Giving Up
I seriously love this game to death and I’m sticking with it until it sinks, but that may be sooner rather than later if EAware can’t manage to pick up the slack in keeping folks entertained even with the MMOs IP, being the strongest ever in existence in this industry. Life Day is ok, but would it kill the developers to mix it up a little for next year? I’ll keep myself optimistic for the time being because I really want to go celebrate Life Day the way it was originally intended. For this year, however, Life Day isn’t at all worth looking over nor is it worth resubbing for.
Related: Event (In Game), Star Wars The Old Republic, Winter Event