Friday, April 14, 2017

An Easter Egg Hunt : EQ2

Mrs Bhagpuss and I were talking the other day about Easter Egg Hunts and how they were never really much of a thing when we were growing up. I think I may have done one, once, as a child but I'm not even sure about that.

The concept is one I know more from popular culture than personal experience. Maybe I would have felt differently about it when I was eight years old but the idea of poking around in the shrubbery on a cold April morning looking for my chocolate eggs has considerably less appeal than simply having them handed to me indoors.

Going on an egg hunt in virtuality, though: that's an altogether more appealing prospect. It was late last night when I happened on an alert from the invaluable EQ2 Traders Corner. What would we do without Niami Denmother? You can have all your Developer Appreciation Weeks - praise where praise is due - but what we really need is a Volunteer Appreciation Week for all the people like Mum and Feldon and whoever it is who runs the EQ2 Library.

Rather than rush into something while I was tired after a long day at work I wrote myself a reminder to check it out next morning. I'm at that age now when if I don't make notes I can't be sure I'll remember what I was thinking about the day before. Actually I was always that way. I can't blame it on the passage of time.

Pet egg. Do not pat.

EQ2 wasn't the first thing I thought of when I woke up this Good Friday. That would have been Hot Cross Buns. After a brisk walk to the bakery and a breakfast that was fruity if a little dry, I sat down at the computer, where I immediately spotted my note. So that worked!

The egg hunt is itself a genuine "Easter Egg" in that it's neither a quest nor an achievement nor any sort of directed content. As Niami Denmother puts it "With no announcement, an eggstra special surprise appeared in Norrath".

There are five "Beast'r" eggs, each with a name more suitable for a dwarf bent on taking up a career in animated movies: Bumbly, Cheeky, Cheery, Frisky and Lovely. They spawn in all cities and starting areas so I went to the place I know best, Freeport, to look for them.

They aren't trackable and they don't appear to be lying about the streets in the flagrant fashion of most holiday collectables. All the ones I found were in relatively out of the way places. Even so, they weren't hard to find.

Just answer the questions and the beatings won't be so severe.

The eggs are quite big and bright and hard to miss. As soon as they appeared it won't have taken long at all, I'm sure, for people to begin noticing them and inquiring about them in chat. I wonder who it was who thought to ask a guard about them?

It would certainly never have occurred to me. It's been a very long time since I asked a guard to show me the way to anything. I'd pretty much forgotten it was something they did. It is, though.

When I was growing up we may not have had Easter Egg Hunts but we did have helpful policemen. I was taught as a child that if I was lost I should ask a policeman and even as a young adult on some of my early trips to London I would ask a policeman for directions before I'd ever think of looking at a map.

These days it could be days - weeks - before I even saw a policeman and even if I did I'd certainly think twice about asking where the nearest post office might be. Times have changed.

When it comes to MMOs, it's hard to think of a law enforcement agency you'd be less likely to approach with a frivolous enquiry than Lucan's Freeport Militia. They have an appalling reputation for casual brutality and that's the nicer ones. You'd expect the Qeynos lot to send you on your way with a snappy salute and a kindly gesture but in Freeport it's generally best to keep your head down and not make eye contact.

He was brought up by humans in case you're wondering. A troupe of traveling actors by the sound of it.

Still, a seasoned adventurer has little to fear from any city guards these days. Training's not what it was and most of the militia couldn't take a firm handshake from a level 100. My Berserker posed the question and got a swift and positive reply. "Cheery Beast'r Egg, is it? That way sir, above you and to the South East. Just follow the glowy trail. All part of the job, sir. Mind how you go!"

I found the first egg at the back of the inn in East Freeport where all the mercenaries hang out, that cosy little balcony over the harbor, where sailors gaze out to sea and soak their troubles in rum. I found the second one there, too. And the third.

At this point I was beginning to think all I had to do was lean on the rail and wait for the rest to spawn but I got into conversation with an ex-captain who'd lost his ship and next thing I knew I found myself in Beggar's Court searching the slave quarters. Somehow I accidentally killed one of Lucan's taskmasters (it was self defense - these things happen, you know how it is) so after I'd hidden the body I thought it might be a good time to look for eggs a little further afield. Like The Commonlands.

It took no time at all to find the last two I needed: Bumbly and Cheeky (or was it Cheery?). The final egg turned up in a Kerran hut, where the entire family was standing around staring at it, probably wondering how to cook it. They're a fussy, faddy race.

Anyone would think you cats never saw an egg before.

Picking up the final egg popped a new title - "The Eggcellent Adventurer". No pun left unturned. And all five of the eggs become cosmetic pets. Very well worth the small effort involved.

With the detour into piracy and subversion the whole thing took a couple of hours but the egg hunt alone you could probably knock out in half an hour or less. It's short, simple and a lot of fun.

Like the "Current Events" in GW2 increasingly I find that this kind of unpublicised, low-intensity background content is what I look forward to and enjoy the most in MMOs. Far from being mere filler it seems to me that this stuff is a lot more satisfying than many of the over-hyped big ticket events.

Seeing Blizzard working this seam with with their micro-holidays I am guessing it's something of a trend. It's a good one. Long may it continue and let's not be limiting to holidays, either.

1 comment:

  1. I always used to hunt eggs as a child (in fact, this weekend we will, again! Cause why not). I would love for something like this to turn up in either LOTRO or SWTOR. LOTRO has some chicken related quests and hidden bunnies all over the world, but not something specifically Easter related. I guess it's too close to the game's anniversary.


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