I’m not a fan of April Fool’s Day as I don’t enjoy pranks and find most of the newspaper silly stories to be unfunny at best. In the same way I’m not that interested in attempts at developer “humour”, packed full of in-jokes and little teases at the playerbase. However I do like in-game events that are inventive or slightly wacky. I managed to squeeze a quick game of two MMOs last night into limited time. The focus was to try two April Fool themed, limited-time events.
The Bristlebane Day has special “High Feast day” events for April 1st, although the wider festival extends nearly a week either side. Looking at the wiki and the in-game quest log of completed quests I had actually done a lot more of this event than I remember. However there were two riddle based quests for me to do, starting in Enchanted Lands.
It was only after porting through that I realised something was odd with the graphics, every character – player and non-player alike, had a giant bobble head! The wiki revealed that this year has “cutemode” as a one-day only toggle command. This makes everyone in the world look like those collectible figures you find at comic stores. I have to say it made me laugh; mixing cuteness (in some cases) with downright weirdness (in others).
The two different quest chains had me bouncing all over familiar, and unfamiliar zones looking for items hinted at in the riddle clues. The rewards were a number of wacky items, or coins that can be used with the event merchant to buy other similar themed items.
At this point I was ready to declare that Sony Online Entertainment had “won April Fool’s Day” with such a humorous, entertaining and multi-layered event. Then I loaded into play Neverwinter’s Respen’s Marvelous Game.
Wow, just wow! This limited time skirmish is such a great April Fool’s themed event. An actual 3D, playable mini-game where your figures are surrounded by the giant NPCs of Neverwinter as the players is pretty impressive visually!
The DM narrates throughout the skirmish run although it’s often hard to hear what he is saying over the noise of combat. I may have missed a lot of jokes. There are certainly some very corny or over-used plots or plot-twists in there. We’ve seen two different ‘boards’ so far, an outdoor one and an indoor dungeon alternative. Each run is varied slightly through a random-encounter style set of challenges before the end boss fight.
The end rewards include a chance at a rare-drop Green Slime companion (see the above linked preview article for stats). As a nice alternative you can also save up the blue dice currency that drops off harder encounters to buy the same companion from the event vendor. We think it’ll take between 15 and 23 runs to save up for this the slow but steady way. There’s only a couple of days to do this though, unlike the Winter Simril festival and the mimic companion, so I may well have to wait till next year to get hold of this one.
All in all I found both events very enjoyable but for different reasons. EQ2’s Bristlebane Festival is as detailed and complex as any other of the game’s seasonal events. There’s so much to do and the quests are so scattered around that you almost have to use a wiki to get started. But it is well worth doing and they add new things every year so it’s worth coming back more than once. Neverwinter’s mini-game is amazing stylistically, and a good laugh to do with friends I’m sure. Just like the Call to Arms skirmishes though it would get boring to grind it too intensively, unless I happen to be super lucky with loot drops when I give it a few tries this evening it’ll have to wait till next year…