It's hard now to recall the times when an MMO holiday celebration came as a real novelty. There are so many these days that some games even give you an in-game calendar to keep track of them all. Occasionally the celebrations belong entirely to the imaginary world in which they take place or mark an anniversary in the life of the game but mostly they are lightly-disguised analogues of real-world events. Errolisi Marr, Norrath's Goddess of Love, holds her Erollisi Day celebrations right around the time we're all opening our Valentine's cards for example, and turkeys tremble in Azeroth when the Pilgrim's Bounty holiday rolls around just as WoW players sit down to their Thanksgiving meal.
|Still Life with Fish|
In fact there does seem to be some shaky internal logic. Let's forget for a moment that Telara appears to be a world without seasons, which calls the very concept of a Midwinter festival into question. Let's forget that the entire continent is overrun by psychotic dragon cultists and Cthonic hordes. Really, let's forget all that. If the people living there can forget it, then who are we to argue?
As far as I can work out, back in the summer during Rift's first Big Event, one of the six dragons trying to invade Telara was killed. I haven't done the Greenscale's Blight raid and there is much dispute over whether the Greenscale in question is the "actual" dragon or an avatar thereof. All the usual MMO nonsense. The upshot, though, is that the Fae who came under his control are now free.
|No CRB checks in Telara, it seems.|
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Rift's Yuletide festival is how very closely it follows the established Rift Event pattern. It's exactly the same grab-bag of minor lore quests, non-combat dailies and special rifts that we've come to expect. I'm not even going to go through them in any detail. They are pretty good if you like that sort of thing, which as it happens I do.
|Oh, you look cute now...|
I loved the strings of lights that really flash on and off like proper Christmas lights. I loved the Bogling belief that no decorating theme is complete without fish. The trees and the piles of presents are pretty much pitch-perfect. The clouds that hover above the heads of the humbugging Yuletide deniers, literally raining on their personal parade, are a touch of genius.
And yet something isn't right. But that will have to wait for next time.