World of Warcraft’s Valentine’s Day event, Love is in the Air, has been with us for a good week and will end on the 16th of February. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the event gives you a chance to do some love-themed quests like giving the lovely Sylvannas a bracelet, crushing some anti-love corporation, and generally throwing chocolate at random players to see hearts flutter above their virtual heads. With a seasonal dungeon and some other goodies, including a mount, there are quite a few things available to break the monotony. However, for those familiar with this event, especially long time players, Love is in the Air will hardly break your attention towards the activities in Warlords of Draenor, and the newly released raid, Blackrock Foundry.
This 2015, like many other holidays, have seen the addition of a new achievement series, a new pet, and some other things most people probably don’t care about. The chieve hunters and collectors that have missed out in the past years have the chance to go for gold, while the rest of us feel the inane lack of holiday content. Nothing has been added to truly make this Valentine’s a special event, unique from the experiences of yesteryear, and a farcry from being a fanciful memory in MMO gaming.
I remember a time, not just within World of Warcraft, but also in other MMOs I played, that when a holiday event, or any special event for that matter, started, I would drop my regular routine, foregoing the daily grind for the unique and interesting. Christmas in Old Ascalon, the great Rakghoul Plague in Swtor, and the Shantotto event in FFXIV, are a few events that come to mind when regarding special MMO memories. These were interesting, ambient, and adventures to behold, and were powerful enough to make any player forget about the actual game. However, those fond memories were, at the time, experienced when the content was new and fresh, seen only for the first time by the entire world, as opposed to WoW’s special events that have been at it for several years. Surely, the first few years WoW’s events made it out most likely have felt just as fantastic.
But these days, WoW’s events have become just as monotonous as the daily grind, becoming routine on a yearly scale. When Blizzard adds that little bit of something to an event every year, most seasoned players dust off their event shoes and get into it for an hour or two, and then back it is to the real game. There isn’t ever anything to keep these events current and relevant, making them but a slight sidetrack.
I’ve said the same thing about Winter’s Veil and Hallow’s End, but these two holiday events get to pull it off just out of the sheer popularity of the holidays they imitate. Other events like this Valentine’s and Children’s Week do nothing at all to keep interest, but, rather, maintain annoyance at the difficulty of some of their activities, most especially the latter.
Surely, we can’t expect Blizzard to overhaul these temporary content that are just as fleeting as the real holidays themselves over actual main game content. There’s no real way to justify expanding on such things as it were, especially in the face of this new expansion with a lot more to offer. But, at times, one can’t help but feel that these special events are just there so that Blizzard can say WoW has them. The magic in these are gone, much like the first time someone tells you that Santa isn’t real. Yeah, you’ll look forward to what you can get this season, but you know that it isn’t being delivered by a jolly fat man in a red suit anymore, diluting what fanciful image you’ve maintained in your mind for years. It simply becomes just another day.
And with the magic gone, all you have left are times of limited grind windows in which to get your achievements or event items, making for an even more burgeoning list of timesinks. Who really has time to balance both these special occurrences with current content? If anything, people with less time will care less for the event, forfeiting it entirely over for the real game, strengthening the fact that no matter how you regard a span of time with a fancy name, it is just business as usual.
The very point that a simple google search will yield you a ton of guides on how, what, and where to do the Love is in the Air, or any seasonal event for that matter, shows how mundane and entrenched it is in the monotony. Events like these should always be a surprise, no matter what day and age, and no matter how experienced the player. When was the last time any of us were generally surprised at something other than obtaining the Headless Horseman mount or Brewfest Kodo mount? Many of us can forgive the distinct sameness in the two or three years of a recently released event, but if it has been going through the motions for at least half a decade, then you know something is wrong. We’ve crushed the crown so much, it’s starting to look like a bad Scooby Doo episode.
There are times, however, that player-run events sprout out from the boredom, inspired by the season, giving the time of love a little bit more love. But, again, only a few months into Warlords of Draenor and with the release of Blackrock Foundry, nobody has any real time to do anything like that with a few exceptions from RP servers. This becomes most especially impossible to have, ironically, considering that there is no longer a sense of community in present day WoW due to the accessibility of servers with each other. People come and go as they please, making for little or no social interaction in these light-hearted times.
Or perhaps it may just be me; the personal ailings much like every other person who feel unenthusiastic about these things, having seen so much and have grown a lot since playing in our early teens remarks not only about our experience, but we have also become different people from what we once were. No longer impressionable teens, or for those still in that age, the cynical youth, seasonal events become nothing more than some lame attempt to keep players engaged, thinly veiled as a poorly thought out distraction. We, the players that feel this way, just may not get it anymore, and these events are still just as fantastic as it once was.
Through the years, there is less and less love for Love is in the Air, becoming a trite obligation of finally garnering enough motivation to get the Swift Lovebird, but even then, through different means than what was intended. Take for example a friend of mine who opted not to partake in any of the dailies, but decided to kill squirrels in Shadowmoon Valley instead. All things considered, you’d be able to buy the mount and an extra few other things if the dailies were done everyday up until the end of the event, which, in reality, would be far less tedious that killing squirrels for hours. But the fact remains that people want whatever it is they yearn for in the event as quickly as possible so as not to bother with it ever again. It shows off that the event, again, is just another grind if people like my buddy regard the event dailies and mindlessly killing NPCs to be one and the same. I, too, am inclined to agree as it would get me done with it sooner rather than later.
Not to mention that battlegrounds also get ruined by the achievements require for this event, such as I Pity The Fool that requires to /pity a Love Fool in Arathi Basin. It’s during these times where you’d find a lot of players queueing for it, pitying the fool in some obscure place near the blacksmith, and then leave. While it’s not my place to tell people what they can and can’t do, it becomes an annoyance for people who really do want to PvP properly, in the same vein as the Children’s Week PvP kerfuffle. These things no longer work as it was supposedly planned, because not everyone feels the same way about PvP, making these achievements more like a chore than anything else, strengthening the sour disposition of everyone towards these types of events.
Not much love for love
Like it was said earlier, special events such as these should be greeted with giddy and delight, like an overcoming sensation flows in and out of you, compelling you to participate in such a gaming detour. Yet, no matter how many extra rewards Blizzard adds to their increasingly old and out-dated event content, we won’t ever feel it unless it is something major. It may just be that WoW’s seasonal events have run their course and are in need of some great overhaul or additions that aren’t only skin-deep, or perhaps I may just be one of those very jaded players who have seen this content too many times in too many other games, lessening the impact and whimsy one has the very first time they encounter it. Certainly, other people still enjoy them even with their repetitiveness and lack of something new to offer, but that’s them and this is me. You can’t slap a candle on a steak and then say it’s a cake.Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Column, Event (In Game), World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday