Monday 18 December 2006

Winterlude by the telephone wire

It's coming up to Christmas, and that means event time! Both the MMOGs I'm currently subscribed to, World of Warcraft and City of Heroes, are running winter events.

World of Warcraft has the "Feast of Winter Veil", which has been in before, but not while I was playing. Christmas revellers, eggnog and reindeer abound, towns are decorated with coloured lanterns, and there's a few quests you can run which are fun. The only drawback is there are Christmas outfits of... gnomes. Gnomes! What is it with gnomes? If it's not leper gnomes at Halloween, it's santa-hatted gnomes at Christmas, and they're just wrong on so many levels.

City of Heroes has added a ski chalet to "Pocket D" (the transdimensional nightclub). Apart from anything else, it's great fun sliding down the slalom course provided; there's also new badges, costume parts (ear muffs and fur edged boots and gloves, to go with the santa hat from previous years), and a mission for Old Father Time to rescue Baby New Year, who's been kidnapped! (Baby New Year, oddly enough, is a small figure with a freakily large head. More gnome infestation!)

City of Heroes can never quite match their first winter event, though, from 2004. This added cold-hearted snow beasts all around the city to be defeated, plus giant, evil, snowmen: the winter lords! The thing was, they hadn't quite tweaked their XP-giving formulae for these giant monsters, with the end result that low level characters could rapidly gain *huge* amounts of experience and levels over the course of the event, it was powerlevelling run mad. The aftermath was hilarious, as level 30 and 40 heroes ran around without any idea of their powers or where they should be taking missions, having skipped major chunks of the game. Some people who'd started during the event were most indignant on the forums that XP gain was so slow without the Winter Lords, demanding to gain their last few levels in another week or they'd be quitting (ignoring the fact that City of Heroes doesn't exactly have an end-game, so they'd be almost certainly be quitting anyway). Ah, happy days...

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