Fall events in MMOs are always so much fun for me due to my love for the season. When everything becomes golden-orange, pumpkins sprout out from every nook and cranny, and the plethora of crazy Halloween-themed food and costumes get me right in the heart. It’s a time of innocent, ghoulish fun where you can take a quaint little vacation from all the go-go-go! of everyday grinding and raiding.
It’s always a treat to experience an MMO’s Halloween event for the first time and Rift’s Autumn Harvest is no different. A few days before the event went up, every welcome message upon logging in teased of the imminent coming of the Autumn Harvest on the 22nd. Giddy with anticipation, I mused about all the things Trion had in store for us players amidst the repeated bemoaning of veteran Rifters about the repetitive nature of the event. Hey, like I said, it’s my first time.
So Much Stuff!
As excited as I was, Autumn Harvest, while already patched into the game from the maintenance last 20th, did not truly start until the Razorback (really ugly pig) event ended. I took my time doing my other weeklies in the meantime as I knew Autumn Harvest was officially beginning on the next day.
One thing that Trion is really good at is that it knows how to play to our sordid need to partake in mass consumerism. Checking the Rift store World Event tab overwhelmed me with the already available, plentiful number of Autumn Harvest items to be obtained over the course of the event. From batty weapon skins to fully blown unique costumes, and from ghoulish mounts to super fun dimension items, Trion knows how to pander to their demographic – there’s something for everybody.
For older players, they could already get their event items if they had some leftover currency from last year and, as with Rift Store tradition, almost all available items could be bought for credits, allowing some leniency earning event currencies for those with less time but more bank. It’s, honestly, also my first time participating in a Halloween event in a free-to-play MMO, but I already had the foresight to see that most of the things would be available for real money. Frankly, it doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would, because it is presented as another viable option rather than a straight up necessity.
Get Those Signets!
But onto the intended way of participating in the event: There are a total of four daily quests that players can do in order to get Autumn Harvest Signets, the rarer currency, and Autumn Harvest Ambersap, the common currency. Players can find the quest starter in Meridian and Sanctum, and that will then urge them to collect pumpkins in their respective areas. Once collected, you then have to look for the faerie rings found all over pre-SL zones (marked by an icon of two mushrooms) that will take you to the Realm of the Autumn Harvest, where you can complete the quest, receive your first serving of Ambersap, and find the other three event quests.
But take your time and appreciate the zone once you’re inside. It's with that good Halloween feel with its setting-sun atmosphere, various autumn ornamentation, and crazy bustling activity you don’t see too often in Rift that isn’t the Choreburg District of Draumheim. It really does feel like the Halloween fun we’ve known since trick or treating around our neighborhoods as kids.
Sadly, the last three quests sort of bummed me out. While I don’t really mind the daily repetition of quests as I’ve experienced in my other past MMOs, I’ve come to expect multiple monotonies to be creative ones at least, cleverly themed in the spirit of the season. But there’s none to be had in the Autumn Harvest. One of the three quests involve collecting mushrooms found all across Mathosia and nothing more. No, it isn’t difficult either. Just head on over to Stonefield and you’ll find them in abundance.
The second quest, while a bit more Halloween-themed, still falls flat for me season-spirit-wise. You have to help Atrophinius’ minions in the event zone by kicking composte thingy monsters into back into their cave, killing bugs, or interacting with roots found all over. It can get more tedious than fun due to the sheer number of players running around trying to interact with the exact same things. You can join a public group within the zone that most likely exists almost all the time in every shard, because there are some interactions done by your raidmates that are shared, though not all. I’m not even sure what qualifies and what doesn’t, but it can ease the chore just by a smidge.
The last quest, taken from Atrophinius himself, doesn’t get better either because all it involves is closing two specific-element rifts in order to complete. It isn’t terribly difficult either as all you have to do is run around Freemarch or Silverwood, shard hopping until you find the element of rift you need to fully close. It gets even easier because you will most likely find these rifts already crawling with other players on the quest, reducing the effort you have to exert in order to close it. You also have the option of going into the Plane of Water and synchronizing it with other close-rifts dailies you may be doing, but, of course, that’s a bit harder than mentoring down in Mathosia.
Frankly, the only important quest you have to do in the Autumn Harvest is the Rift-closing quest because it is the only daily that gives out an Autumn Harvest signet. With the event closing on the 13th, you can get a max of 21 of these signets if you started from the very beginning. I’m currently not aware of any other method in obtaining the signets, however, so you can only get so much stuff from a single character without spending a real dollar.
But that’s where your alts come in. If it so happens that you’re the kind of player with a lot of characters, you’ll be fortunate enough to be able to get the expensive, 20-signet items non-soulbound and account-bound items like the Ironclad Nightmare mount and the deliciously awesome level 65 earrings for your main. Frankly, so long as you’re able to take the repetitive rift quest on multiple characters, you can guarantee that you’ll be able to buy every single piece of wardrobe and random utilities, plus the other fun stuff.
There’s also a rift lure called An Auspicious Harvest that can be bought with ambersap. Players can use this to open up a pretty crazy Halloween rift where they take down a whole lot of monsters through the use of some freaky powers obtained by drinking brews that spawn in the middle of it. Other than achieving a whole lot of fun, completing these rifts rewards a lot of ambersap and a chance for some lootbags that contain random Autumn Harvest food items.
But like I said earlier, these events ought to be a breath of fresh air rather than another chore you have to do. Rift’s Autumn Harvest somewhat fails in this regard because, not only did it add another thing to do on a player’s weekly itinerary, but the activities themselves are soullessly bland. But what is Halloween, really, if not about the candy, but about getting amazingly awesome Halloween/autumn-themed goodies that you can’t ever get past the season? Just like real life, it’s really all about the relatively free stuff.
The Autumn Harvest isn’t at all perfect, but I can’t complain; I’m happy switching among twelve alts just to obtain that sumptuous signet every daily reset so that I can come one step closer to obtaining the Armored Reaper mount. I like the idea that it’ll take me only three days to get a fantastic pumpkin helmet that’ll unlock permanently in my wardrobe once obtained. I also like the plethora of Halloween-themed dimension items so that I can try my hand on crafting a creepily fantastic dimension specifically designed for lovers of the season. In short, it doesn’t bother me that the Autumn Harvest activities are pretty subpar because there’s a lot of stuff to distract me from that fact. Ah, consumerism at its finest.