Thursday, April 1, 2021

Just For One Day

While I'm a big fan of holidays in mmorpgs, April Fool's isn't one of my favorites. As a smallish child I enjoyed slipping a plastic fried egg onto my grandfather's plate as much as the next over-indulged brat and there were times in my adolescence when I may have convinced one of my more gullible peers that a class had been moved from one room to another when it really hadn't but by the time I got to college I was pretty much done with all that.

I am hugely fond of whimsy, though, and for some reason (probably because no-one likes to get the monthly figures and find a bunch of people cancelled their subs because they didn't see the funny side) when it comes to celebrating the day of fools, developers have tended more towards the twee than the twisted.

I'm also a major supporter of the concept of one-off and time-limited events, something that I know goes down about as well as a whoopee cushion at a wake in some quarters. I don't have a big problem with the fear of missing out so the added thrill of getting something that feels at least a little unique hugely outweighs the possibility I might forget all about it and wind up with nothing. 

For that reason I've always liked it when games make the effort to do something specifically for the day in question when a holiday rolls around. They don't do it all that often, preferring to let things run for a couple of weeks so everyone can fit it all into their schedule, which is fair enough, but it's nice to have an occasional "you had to be there" moment. 

EverQuest II has always kept back a few surprises just for the first of April, known as Bristlebane Day in Norrath. More often than not I do indeed forget all about it until it's too late but this year I happened to know there was a new quest coming and since I was just sitting here...

It's a companion piece to the longstanding Riddled Throughout The Land series that's offered by the sphinx, Imenand. I've done that one a few times. The rewards are all house pets in the form of twenty-sided dice, each of them named after either Gary Gygax or Dave Arneson. They were added to the game as a mark of respect to the creators of Dungeons and Dragons. If memory serves, I think the first of each may have been in memoriam for the D&D developers' deaths, which happened in consecutive years back in the twenty-aughts.

It was a nice gesture but the house pets themselves are kind of annoying so I was pleased to see that the new sphinx, Me-Theiz (Her quest is, of course, Riddle Me-Theiz. It's a pun. I think...) offers a plushie of herself for solving her riddles. Since the quest is new and the wiki hasn't been quite as instantaneous in its updates of late, I wasn't expecting there to be a walkthrough, so I worked the riddles out for myself. It wasn't too hard although the ones in New Halas and Whisperwind Isle took a bit of searching for.

As it happens, it turns out the deatails are on the wiki already but it's always nice to have done it without. And the sphinx looks perfect lounging around my Mara estate. If anyone wants one they'd better hurry. In a few hours, Me-Theiz will be gone, back to wherever it is sphinxes live, until this time next year, when I'm willing to bet she'll have come up with another set of riddles to add to this lot.

Over in Tyria there's something even more whimsical going on. As I've mentioned before, Guild Wars 2 has something of a checkered past where April Fool's events are concerned and for the last few years they've very much focused on the sillier aspects of the festival.

Last year we had the Invasion of the Giant Cats. This year the cats came back (can't believe I didn't use that as the title for the post) but this morning when I logged in to do my dialies I was offered a free Choya Champion. 

I thought it was going to be a mini but it turned out to be a disguise. Click it and you turn into a choya, complete with all the endearing (or annoying, depending on taste) animations and sound effects. 

I particularly enjoy the way whatever weapon you happen to be using doesn't scale to your new size. My elementalist's staff makes it look like she's carrying a jewelled lampost.

I spent quite a while running (or rolling) around as a cactus before I noticed there was also some kind of event associated with the illusion. If you go to Lion's Arch you'll find a Choya Sage who'll give you some highly disappointing rewards if you convince him you've done a whole lot of things you probably haven't.

I did find that funny. Like most Choya he doesn't really talk but he seems interested in whether you've spent most of your time doing Fractals, World vs World or slaying dragons, the last choice presumably suggesting you have an over-riding interest in the story.

At first I took it seriously, telling him I was a hero of the Mists but he seemed easy to convince so I tried him on the other two as well, even though the last time I saw the inside of a Fractal must have been over five years ago. Turns out he's really gullible. He'll believe whatever you tell him.

He doesn't have much to lose in taking your word for it. All he gives you are a few handfuls of vegetables. Something a little more substantial would have been nice. As Mrs Bhagpuss put it, "I wanted a hat or a handbag like Tinky Winky's". Choya do look like angry Teletubbies.

It's a fun little diversion all the same and there was quite a party atmosphere around the center of L.A. where it was all going on. The timescale for this one's not as tight as the sphinxes' riddles. The Choya Sage is going to be hanging out in Lion's Arch for five days.

After that it'll be Super Adventure Box, which itself began as an April Fool's event.

Whoopee, I guess.

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