Monday, January 10, 2022

Where Are The Snows Of Yesteryear? Oh. Still Here.

We're halfway through the second week in January. Christmas is long gone. I really wasn't expecting to be writing any more posts about snowballs and presents and jingling sleigh bells. Then I saw this

It seems Amazon Games' first attempt at a major holiday event, New World's Winter Convergence Festival, has turned out to be as popular as mulled wine and chestnuts round the open fire. Due to "the fantastic turnout" the decorations, previously scheduled to come down tomorrow on January 11th, will now stay up for another two weeks.

The event will end, for real this time, on January 22nd, meaning it will have run for no less than forty days, just barely shy of six weeks. It shows some prescience by whoever signed off on the somewhat generic name for the whole affair. It certainly has lasted for most of the season. 

The unexpected extension suits me very well. I hadn't been keeping track of the days. In my mind we had a lot longer to go before the snows thawed than would have been the case had Amazon stuck to the schedule. New World had taken a back seat to holiday events both in the real world and in Norrath and Tyria for me but I always intended to come back in time to pick up some more lost presents and rack up some more reputation with the grunting yeti in the Winter Village.

Had the deadline not been relaxed I'd have found myself in a bit of a festive pickle, trying to get everything finished in just a couple of days. As it is, I'll have plenty of time to make a few leisurely circuits of Aeternum,  jog-trotting from town to town, filling my packs with dropped gifts and mining gleamite from fallen crystals.

That's what I've been doing today and it's been very relaxing. A character in the mid-50s gets almost no aggro in most of the zones that matter for this event so it's merely a matter of putting in the miles. I played for about three hours this morning, all on the free version of GeForce Now, which continues to provide an excellent service, especially on a weekday morning, when there's no waiting for a slot at all.

Towards the end I used the fast travel option a couple of times, more because I've been at the azoth cap for ages and I'm getting tired of seeing all the excess blue stuff go to waste every time I hand in a quest. If it wasn't for that, I'd have preferred to stick to the roads. That's where the lost presents are, after all.

Actually, it's not, or not all of them. There are plenty scattered around the woods, forests and swamps. The Frigid Folk who've been stealing them must have some kind of light aircraft. Cutting across country, I also happened on several falls of gleamite, lying unharvested and in two cases ignored by other players passing through. I took as much as I could carry.

I wish I'd been lucky enough to see another gleamite strike. They're spectacular when they happen. If I knew a reliable way to predict when and where they'd hit I'd be out there ahead of time with a folding chair and flask of coffee. 

All of the visuals for Winter Convergence are exemplary. I had the opportunity to look closely at most of the major settlements, all of which are fully upgraded for the festival, and it was striking just how much care had been taken over the decorations. There's no sense at all of any kind of cut-and-paste job. Each town has been given a bespoke winter makeover that suits its style and setting.

I was particularly impressed with Windsward. There seemed to be an indigo tint to the streamers and lights that complemented the season perfectly. The way the bridges and railings along the stream that runs through the center of town had been garlanded and festooned was both twee and tasteful, just like Windsward itself.

In Restless Shore, home of pirates for real, unlike the wannabes in Cutlass Keys, someone has climbed into the rigging of the ship that anchors in the harbor to string lights. It twinkles from mast to spar. My own chosen home in Mourningdale looks sedate in comparison, a very appropriate look for a beleagured fort on the northern borders.

As I was making my rounds I took the time to finish off the penultimate stage in the main Winter Convergence questline, finding the two remaining Ice Caves and putting an end to the reign of terror of the yetis who lived there. To be honest, the yetis never come out of their caves, so what risk they pose to anyone isn't clear. They have loot and give reputation, though, so that's good enough for me. 

In my travels, I also happened across several quests I hadn't seen before. It's possible they were always there but given how many times I've pounded up and down the same roads I think it unlikely. One began what looks to be a series of introductory housing quests, handed out by the first stereotypically Italian NPC I've seen in Aeternum and quite possibly anywhere. 

The reward for that one was an introductory box of furniture. I was quite excited about that. I rushed off to do the quest and hand it in. Later, when I'd made it back to my house and opened the box, I was less than impressed to find all it contained was a lantern and a plain wood table. The follow-up quest rewards a dining chair. 

It reminded me of the charity pack you get when you rent your first inn room in EverQuest II. I got my first one of those a decade and a half ago and that had a table in as well. No-one ever thinks to give you the one thing you need most - a bed. 

Never mind, I'd already crafted one for myself. My character's fast asleep in it right now, worn out after all that running. She'll need to get a good night's rest. She'll be going out again tomorrow. 

I was very pleasantly surprised by how fast the reputation builds up. She's already close to the end of "Merrymaker", the third of the five stages. My aim is to get to the last one, Winter Regent, thereby opening all the options in the shop and giving me access to the one thing I really want, the Clockwork Rabbit.

With another two weeks to go and no competing festivals left in any other games I care about, that looks eminently achievable. Also worth noting is the return of the giveaway items from the opening days and weeks, all of which will be available once again for the final five days before the Winter Wanderer finally lives up to his name and wanders off.

By then I would imagine even the most fervent of festive revellers will be happy to wave him goodbye until next year. I wonder what Amazon have planned for Easter?

3 comments:

  1. The gleamite meteor strikes are even more spectacular if they land in a forest - you get to see it blast down the trees that are hit, Tunguska style.

    I'm hoping the Easter event will include a giant bunny rabbit hopping around Aeternum and squashing players flat, as a counterpart to November's Turkulon, Feathered Avenger of Death.

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    1. I missed the turkey completely so that would be great. Also, who doesn't like rabbits better than turkeys?

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  2. You can find potential meteor locations on https://www.newworld-map.com/ if you check the "Winter Convergence" box in "Special Events". Just put your folding chair there during night time.

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