Mushroom rings, or fairy rings, are a pretty familar recurring theme in folklore and are generally considered a sign of something magical; often the gateway to the land of the elves, or the site of fairies or witches dancing, or similar. In EQII I thought we could do something along similarlines: they could lead you to magical little instances where nature spirits might live, who might perhaps ask for your help in some small tasks.
When I was back in the office I asked for permission to take a bit of time and turn this idea into a little live event, and since I was able to fit a little bit of time into my schedule, it was approved. That idea turned into "Moonlight Enchantments", a monthly mini live event that is planned to be activated on the 20th through the 21st of every month (San Diego time), 48 hours in total.
This weekend past was the first time the event occurred, and for Saturday and Sunday small mushroom rings with a shimmering portal in the middle appeared in 5 different forested areas around Norrath. Each mushroom ring led to a different instance; depending on the zone, you were able to aid dryads, naiads, pixies, brownies, satyrs, and earth elementals in a variety of small errands. Each instance also contained its own merchant, selling a selection of unique house items, illusions, and expendables in exchange for the tokens that the quest awarded.
I logged on with my play account on the weekend to do the little quests myself, and to see what people were saying, and I was very happy to hear that the comments were almost entirely very positive. It's always very hard to predict how a large number of people will like a particular event, and it's almost impossible to do anything that will please everybody, so I was really happy with the way this one seemed to be received. I was especially pleased when I saw this (click the picture to enlarge):
For those not familiar with it, the blue flag just beside the mushroom ring is a guild rally banner. This is an item that can be placed in the world by a guild, to allow its members to swiftly travel to that banner, saving on assembly time for raids. A guild can only place one rally banner in the world at a time, which means that rather than summon their members to a raid, this guild had chosen to summon their members to a mushroom ring. This wasn't the only guild rally banner I saw outside a mushroom ring this weekend, either, and I took that as a high compliment and an extremely good sign that folks were enjoying the event.
This event had many goals, and seems to be meeting them well so far:
- Adding seasonal or nonpermanent events helps give our world a more dynamic and living feel, which I feel is a good goal in itself.
- Many of the rewards are plants and nature-themed house items that our players who enjoy home decoration have been wanting, but which really didn't make a lot of sense to give to carpenters to make, so this was also a way of adding desired home decoration content.
- Giving people a regular monthly event to look forward to also encourages folks to keep logging in each month, another good goal.
- Giving lower level folks a glimpse of some of the fantastic looking newer zones that there are to see - many of the event instances are sections taken from high level or raid zones such as Guk and Emerald Halls
- Adding a bit of mystery and a bit of fun to the world also helps keep folks interested and having fun, and of course, adding fun to the game is an ongoing goal itself!
- And as a personal goal, this was the first live event that I'd thought up and implemented on my own, so it was a great learning experience for me.