Well, as a matter of fact I almost started to like the event when I stumbled up it this weekend. I say “almost”, because in the end it was a fail. I’ll tell you the story.
The yellow exclamation mark
It all started where all our adventures in Azeroth begin, with a shiny yellow exclamation mark. It was a beautiful Sunday morning in Dun Morogh, I had just come online and was about to take the usual quick jump from entrance of Ironforge down to the Brewfest camp for the daily booze party, when I noticed a new guy standing there, begging for my attention.
I consider myself pretty much well updated on what’s going on in game. The combination of excessive blog reading and regular browsing of wow.com and MMO-champion is usually enough to keep in touch. But this guy had slipped through the net. He was talking about some sort of harvest celebration and had a mission for me as well.
I draw the conclusion that this must be part of some sort of seasonal event, which probably gave some fancy fluff rewards, if nothing else another pet to my collection. But instead of following my instincts, looking up a “how-to” guide to complete the Harvest Festival in the most efficient way, I decided to do it differently this time. I would approach this the way I played WoW when I started in February 2007. I would follow my instincts and let the quest take me wherever it wanted to. I would explore the world rather than conquer it.
Of course there was a difference now to my first stumbling steps in Azeroth. I knew the world a little bit better. So the journey to this Uther’s Tomb in Western Plagueland was pretty straightforward.
As I was riding the gryphon, I checked out the achievement tab for the holidays. Even if I didn’t want to use any Internet guide for this event, I thought I could check out the achievements for it. That would give me an idea about where this adventure would bring me and didn’t feel like cheating. But I soon found out that there wasn’t any achievement at all for it. I decided to not be disappointed about it. It only meant that there was no tick-box stress luring on me. I could enjoy it as a casual, relaxed adventure.
Finding the tomb wasn’t hard, even without addons and guides. I had a vague memory of where it was situated, and it turned out that I was right. It was even included in the world map, so I shouldn’t have worried about it.
I approached the place, curious and a little bit excited. I had no idea about what would happen. Was there to be some phasing? Would I pick up the next quest in a long chain? Would a ghost appear and talk to me, maybe some cool voice acting performance? This could be anything!
I guess I don’t need to tell you that I was pretty disappointed when I did my clicking and the only difference I could notice was that the quest was completed. Oh well, there would surely be a nice follow-up once I got back to Ironforge to turn it in. The guy would have another mission for me, and so would the ghosts hanging around the place by the dinner table. Once I turned in this quest there would be a jungle of yellow exclamation marks for me. And I wouldn’t have a clue about what anyone of them meant. Oh joy!
Little did I know.
I received my 12 gold, a crap book and a “thank you”. No yellow mark. Maybe this was the kind of quest giver who wanted to hold a little speech and wander around doing a little piece of acting before he told me what he wanted. So I waited. And waited. And waited. Nothing.
The food table
Then I turned around, looking at the ghost party, starting to click whatever I could, desperately hoping that there was something more I could do, now that I finally had come to my senses, using a “let’s see what this leads me to” mindset rather than a “let’s get over with this grind” mindset as I approached an in-game event.
Yeah, there was a firework vendor. But his assortment wasn’t impressive to be honest. And then there was this food on the table. I inspected it suspiciously. This was the kind of food that probably would have come handy when I was levelling my first character, provided that it wasn’t a mage, who brings his own. But for me – to be honest it was just another bag filler. The only fun thing about it was that the supply was a bit limited. If I took enough of fruit from the table, the plate would disappear. This amused me for a second, for some reason it tickled my sense of wardrobe role playing. I felt immersed as I wondered around, tasting all the goodies of the table.
And that was the end of my Harvest Festival experience.
Reasons to like it
Fitz gave the event an F-grade and considering my disappointment I’m not far from doing the same. However, there is one little reason to like this event that I would like to point out: the pleasure of change.
The longer I play WoW, the more I’ve come to appreciate anything that isn’t exactly the same from day to day. The Darkmoon Faire moving around. One day it’s there – the next it’s not. There is a point in those holiday events coming and going: it gives variety and a sense of the passing time.
For this reason, I even visited the Pirate day event in Booty Bay! I’m not a huge pirate fan myself and the fun of speaking as a pirate is beyond my sense of humour. The whole thing felt shallow and provided little content, most of all it appeared to be a lag party on the rooftop. But nevertheless – it was a change, a welcome break in the everyday life of Azeroth. Those things definitely helps to make the world come alive – especially if you choose to approach it from a casual, exploring, deliberately inefficient way rather than grinding them.
I almost started to care about the Harvest Festival. Given just a few follow-up quests and a little bit more of content, it could have been a little bit of fun.