Hallow’s End, Brewfest, and an Empty Feeling

We were out shopping a couple of weeks back and stopped in at the Spirit Halloween store.  It is one of those seasonal stores that sets up for a holiday in an otherwise empty store front and then goes away once the holiday passes.  My daughter was looking for something for a Halloween costume.  As we wandered around the store, I found the whole place depressing.

The store was hastily put together, ending up feeling very “fly by night,” which of course it was.  The merchandise struck me as very cheap (in quality, not price) and often tacky in ways that offered no real redeeming humor value.  And the whole thing was set up in the former location of one of the two great hobby shops in the valley when I was growing up, adding another layer of despair to the whole scene in my eyes.

And, while I am sure I could work this into a “subscription to F2P” cash shop metaphor, that isn’t where I am going today.  This is more of a holiday depression themed post.

Though, really, depression is too strong of a word.  It is more like malaise.

We jumped back into World of Warcraft early in September, which put us in line for a round of Azerothian holidays.  At the time I thought that would be a good thing.  I have fond memories of many of the holiday events in WoW.  The instance group pursued many of them over the years.

However, once the holiday parade began, I started to feel a little different.

First there was Brewfest, which I headed out to see the day it got set up.  It was outside of Orgrimmar.  The music was playing (which is the one bit I couldn’t get enough of) the booths were set up, and the quests were ready to go.  I started out on the intro quests and quickly began to feel like I had done all of this before.

Which, of course, I had.

I checked out the now account unified achievements and saw that I had pretty much done it all.

Getting wild at Brewfest

Oh yeah, now I remember

I had raced the rams, captured the worpletinger, fought the dark iron, killed Coren Direbrew repeatedly, and even got the Swift Brewfest Ram.


So it was one of those things where there was really nothing new to do, the event itself seeming relatively unchanged since I last ran through it vigorously some four years ago.  And with unified achievements and shared mounts across accounts, I had all the goodies right down to the Brewmaster title.  So I listened to the Brewfest music a bit and went on my way.

Likewise, when Hallow’s End showed up after Brewfest, I felt like I had done just about everything.  I am one achievement shy on Hallow’s End, having earned 18 of 19 already.  And that last one is for the candy buckets in Pandaria.  And while I am sure that the Headless Horseman has some new/different drops this year (as no doubt Coren Direbrew did)  I actually do not have any characters high enough level to queue up for those fights at the moment.

Last Call for the Headless Horseman

Hallow’s End – 2009

On the heels of Hallow’s End we will have Pilgrim’s Bounty, for which I also already have all of the achievements.  I will no doubt use the event as a way to level up my cooking skills on some new characters, but aside from that, I am not feeling a big thrill.  And then will come Winter’s Veil where, again, I have about all of the achievements I can realistically expect to earn at this point.

None of which is exclusive to WoW at this point.  Holiday events in most games tend to hit a final state where the changes that come year by year are pretty small, so you end up doing the same thing every year.  It just happens that WoW is the game I am playing at the moment… or at least the one that has holiday events… and happens to be a game where I have, in the past, invested quite a bit of time in those events.  To use the standard phrase, I have both been there and done that for nearly every holiday in WoW.

Which brings up the question as to what else I should expect.

Do you jump into MMO holidays every year, even if little has changed, or are they more of a “fun once” sort of thing with you as well?

And should companies change up their holiday events, or is tradition more important than newness in this case?

16 thoughts on “Hallow’s End, Brewfest, and an Empty Feeling

  1. rimecat

    Ennui, I think, rather than malaise.

    I’m doing the Hollow’s End quests on my new Druid. Good experience and I don’t have the Wickerman pet, so that’s a reason. Abusing my tank queue to run a guildmate’s collection of 90s through the event (in search of the mount) I have to say I don’t see anything new.

    Same old, same old. Nostalgia taken to the extent of weariness.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @rimecat – Ennui is good. One of my words of choice at times. I picked it up from an Edward Gorey alphabet poem, which featured children each meeting an untimely demise, when I was young. “N is for Neville who died of ennui” was the line, if I recall right.


  3. Pingback: Jiraa the Hallowed | CuppyVille

  4. bhagpuss

    We actually had guildies stop playing EQ2 because of a surfeit of Holiday Events. It wasn’t the ennui you describe, which I have certainly shared at times, although not this year as yet. It was the sheer, relentless flood of holidays leaving them with the feeling they would never be able to do any normal adventuring or crafting because they couldn’t get one set of holiday tasks done before the next arrived.

    I realize with a sinking feeling that that was a foreshadowing of MMOs to come. The GW2 Living Story process is the same thing writ large and I wouldn’t mind betting it’s being seen as the Way Forward not just by ANet but by other developers envious of their success.

    On balance, I think I’d rather end up having done everything and be left with a slight feeling of “is that it?” rather than be overwhelmed by a never-ending, ever-expanding To-Do List.


  5. Hemvar

    I’ve never done a Holiday event in WoW, because I didn’t play it long enough, but In Runescape I always get on to do the Holiday events, even if I’m not into the game at the moment(I always have membership.) Jagex is great at changing up the events, some characters might reappear, but the same ones are not there year after year, and the quest and rewards are always unique and different from the previous years.


  6. Mekhios

    You’ve hit the nail on the head! I’ve started avoiding holiday events. Just tired of the constant reminders to grind this, grind that, achieve this, achieve that.

    I’ve recently hit an MMO “ennui”. All the MMO’s I have tried have started melding together. When I saw the rehashed GW2 halloween event I said to myself enough is enough and have not logged in since the start of the event.

    I think ultimately I am tired of being someone’s rat on a treadmill. I’ve now deleted all my MMO’s off my hard drive and decided to have my own holiday event called “Holiday Away From MMO’s”.


  7. Liore

    Oof, I’ve been pondering a post myself on this very subject. Having just returned to WoW I was all excited for Brewfest and Hallows End, being two of my favorite old holidays, but I had maybe 30 minutes of things to do in either event before being done.

    I did manage to finally, many years later, complete the “A Mask for All Occasions” achievement, but that was mostly because all the masks are on a vendor now. WoW in particular always seems terrified of letting go of old content in favor of new stuff, but it’s been years. Redo the holidays! Make another Violet Protodrake-like meta achievement!


  8. André

    Finally getting on again in Wow now with a Pandarian monk, been ignoring most of the festivities as my character is only level 23 now and I have been focusing on levelling mostly. Although I love that gnome that pops up every now and then outside Stormwind and gives me stuff to sell for gold.Broke my external hard drive connection recently (being in a hurry) so now I need a new external hd enclosure before I can start playing again – that only being Saturday, so I’ll miss anything else till then :(


  9. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – I know what you mean about EQ2 events. I tended to ignore them, though I always did like the house items that came with some of them. But I am always off on some side mission or working on an alt and can never keep up with new events if they show up in quick order.

    @Liore – I got all but the last two masks the hard way, and then they put them on the vendor after two years of failing to get those last two. I was happy to finish it, but I sort of wish I had finished it the hard way.


  10. battlechicken

    I haven’t been doing holidays in WoW for a few years. When I finished “What a Long, Strange Trip,” I was done with holidays–it’s as you said, I had done everything already and it had lost its charm. Occasionally I’ll participate in one part of a holiday for a new pet, mount, or item, but for the most part, I ignore them completely.

    I think I’ve just kind of accepted that for what it is and plug my WoW time in elsewhere, but I do feel a pang of nostalgia for the fun I used to have when holidays came to Azeroth.


  11. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @battlechicken – If I could finish up the Children’s Week achievements, I would be done with all the holidays and have the mount. But I cannot bring myself to go run battlegrounds for a week trying to get the last item on the list.


  12. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Toldain – D&J’s old location. The San Antonio Hobby Shop was the Mecca of my youth (along Potshot and various other friends as well), but D&J was a worthy alternative up until about 8 years ago.

    D&J moved to a new location over by Westgate. It is a smaller space, but it is a shell of its former self with barely anything in it.


  13. richardlittle

    Yeah, I was in the new D&J a month or so ago. Sad. I also remember San Antonio. Heck, I remember when we could buy D&D stuff there, before it was deemed the work of the Devil.


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