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Dev Discussion #38 - Holidays

VaknarVaknar Moderator, Member, Staff
edited January 18 in General Discussion

Glorious Ashes community - it's time for another Dev Discussion! Dev Discussion topics are kind of like a "reverse Q&A" - rather than you asking us questions about Ashes of Creation, we want to ask YOU what your thoughts are.

Our design team has compiled a list of burning questions we'd love to get your feedback on regarding gameplay, your past MMO experiences, and more. Join in on the Dev Discussion and share what makes gaming special to you!

Dev Discussion - Holidays
How do you feel about in-game holidays involving real-world aspects? Do you prefer that your game world have a Christmas celebration, or would you prefer to keep your real-world holidays away from the keyboard?

Keep an eye out for our next Dev Discussion topic regarding Griefing!

UPDATE: Hi again friends! Thank you all for taking the time to stop by and share your thoughts on holidays! We had a blast reading through them all! Check out some of the top notes you shared with us below:

  • Many players would like in-game holidays to mirror IRL calendar holidays, but they would like them to be immersive - centered, supported and adapted by the ingame world. Specifically, they would like to see in-game holidays that revolve around regions, races, religions, and perhaps even guild and server development with events and activities that are not monotonous nor repetitive from year-to-year.
  • Players are curious about how the calendar year will work in-game as opposed to the normal IRL 12 month calendar year. Will they see Verran holidays and seasons celebrated at a different cadence or parallel to the IRL calendar year and seasons?
  • There are also many players that would enjoy totally unique holidays, created entirely from Verran lore and having little to nothing to do with IRL holidays.
  • While some players wished to avoid national holidays as an inspiration altogether (ex. American Independence Day), others felt that there was an opportunity to feature cultural holidays from all around the world.

While there was some fantastic feedback and discussion in this thread, I think this quote sums up all we could ask for, at the end of the day. ^_^
Sunboy wrote: »
Hey, as long as there is good ale and happy friends i'm all for celebrating anything anytime in a dank tavern near you.


  • nonameftwnonameftw Member, Warrior of Old, Kickstarter
    A lot of the times it seems rather gimmicki. But some devs actually took the step to integrate it a bit more into the lore and rename the event. That gives it the immersion that makes it less tacky.
    I would also recommend to stay away from any national holidays like 4th of july. You'd want to stick to the events that are very popular all around the world.
  • ItsFayneItsFayne Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Ok, hot topic here for sure. That being said I dont like when in game holidays mirror IRL holidays. When you're creating a new world, its even more license to create unique holidays with unique lore. The aesthetic and feel should be unique and looked forward to.
  • I think if you are going to do a holiday it should have in game lore to support it. Maybe a holiday that only Vek celebrate that changes only Vek nodes and gives people incentive to visit the Vek nodes with special quests or events. You would need to explain why 4 seasons happen in a month but a holiday is only celebrated every 1 earth year. Calendar difference between Sanctus and Verra perhaps. You could assign a real life holiday to each race if you did not want to make them up from scratch.

    If there is going to be rewards from holidays they should always come back the next year. You should not have to decide between going on a vacation with your family or playing to not miss a timed exclusive cosmetic. This would expand the rewards over time and give people who like collecting something to be able to complete. Being able to actually complete a collection is important to goal driven players.
  • StretchStretch Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I think they should always match up with the in-game seasons. It doesn't seem very festive if you are taking part in a Christmas/Festive event in game during the summer in RL

    Holidays are usually associated with seasons and on the wiki it says:
    Seasons change on a weekly basis during scheduled downtime.
    Each month in real-life will effectively be a full seasonal rotation in the game.

    but I kind of feel that is a week is a bit too short. I think it would be better to have a season last a month and a full seasonal rotation would take 4 months. Which would then mean during Christmas time in real life (December) would line up with a Christmas / Festive themed event in game (assuming spring is the "start" and "winter" is the end)

    I know the 1 week seasons doesn't mean the last week of the month will always be a Festive event, I mean it more so as the seasonal change. (for a least a month out of every Season) will line up with the RL seasons and therefore the holiday event could be during that time.
  • JWhiteJWhite Member
    edited December 2021
    Much like the above comment, I feel like having a full seasonal rotation of one month is far too short to make ingame holidays feel immersive and real. If we have four seasonal holidays every month it will sort of cheapen the potential rewards or quests. I've never been a huge fan of 'weekly' events though, so that could just be me. I'd also like to see a full seasonal rotation take four months, as I agree that it would allow things like the winter holiday to feel more immersive and in line with our real caldendar (when that time of year for us RL rolls around).

    I'd also quite like it if we don't have gimmicky 'tokens' to collect to allow us to purchase certain skins or mounts. Not everyone likes to grind and I feel like a questline for the season/specific holiday would allow people to take things slightly more at their own pace and not have to spend the entire time grinding incessantly, as it often just feels like a way to pad content.

    Edit: I also agree with the above comments that talk about not wanting real-world holidays to be in the game. I'd much rather have holidays that are in-universe and backed up by lore. As an example, I'm not an American, so things like Thanksgiving and July 4th just aren't holidays I celebrate. I think that adding real-world holidays to the game might exclude certain people from celebrating them, or feel that certain people have more prominence in the community.

    Edit 2: It might also be nice to allow the players of a server to make their own holidays to commemorate certain things that happened during play, like the victory of a particularly difficult siege/gruelling battle, or some mighty beast that was slain by a guild. A way of allowing us to commemorate those through a 'yearly' celebration would be quite nice.
  • edited December 2021
    I definitely want the Holiday events to match real life timelines!
    In FFXIV the different Holidays don't share real world names, Halloween is called All-Saints Wake, and Christmas is called Starlight Celebration! It fits better with the game lore, and I love it!

    (Below are additional Comments and ideas concerning Holidays and Housing)

    I really like decorating my in-game houses for each Holiday!

    l keep the downstairs level of one of my houses in FFXIV decorated for Halloween year round! The upstairs changes with every Holiday. It's one of my favorite things to do in game! Some things I want to see in Ashes, is the ability to add holiday light strings to the house and large furnishings indoors and especially outdoors!

    Even if you had to modify it to match the game lore, you could make them multi-colored Fireflies, luminescent flower vines, or both! Being able to add fluttering bats, wandering yard ghosts, and flickering candle lit Jack-o-Lanterns during Halloween would be very cool! I'd also like to be able to flock my outdoor furnishings and buildings with snow during winter, or year-round too!

    If you're not going to use your reactive environment tech for indoor/outdoor housing decorations as the seasons change - to save on inventory space - it would be very helpful to be able to toggle between 4 different season versions of an item to display, then place the version you want. That way you only need 4 trees, instead of 16 trees in your storage.
  • arkileoarkileo Member, Settler, Kickstarter
    I think in-game holidays matching real-world ones often run the risk of being unimmersive. WoW's Winter's Veil for example is just Christmas minus Christianity, Santa, presents, trees and all, and always felt like a big gimmick to me, not really enjoyable. I think it's fine if they line up as long as the lore surrounding the holiday makes sense, and the holiday isn't a 90% rip-off of the real-world one. To me, the most interesting game holidays are the ones that are completely (or mostly) original. I want to be immersed in it, make me ask "What's this about?" and give me ways to learn about it and participate. Otherwise I might just go "Oh, it's just Christmas. Pass."
  • George_BlackGeorge_Black Member, Intrepid Pack
    During real life holidays gamers have extra time to enjoy mmorpgs properly.
    I am not big on these seasonal events with their associated rewards. I see many people worn out during them and instead of enjoying this extra time, they act as if it is work.

    The game itself is the reward. I would rather see spontaneous little events with whatever results organized on the spot, and with little notice, from live GMs, instead of coded, patched NPC hunt/reward/vendor crap.
  • George_BlackGeorge_Black Member, Intrepid Pack
    edited December 2021
    Now back on topic.

    Any holiday decorations and names can be during real life holidays, but they must be part of Verra, not the real world.

    When games put in santa hats, snowmen and christmas trees in their worlds they are ruining and disrespecting their own creation. It looks silly and lessens the illusion that you play as an adventurer in a wild and war torn land.
  • RyanTheSirenRyanTheSiren Member
    edited December 2021
    I like when games have real life holidays that are re-imagined and modified to fit the lore of the game. For example, instead of 'Christmas' or other winter holidays we get a December Holiday based on some winter myth/deity and it has its own unique Verran traditions and foods, even if the aesthetic is slightly similar. Incorporating the aesthetic of the world and races into these so the outfits and decor don't look gimmicky or outlandish would be super nice too. Same with Valentines Day, give us Lovers Day or Hearts Day or something, and Halloween, etc.

    A main reason I like this is because it feels fun when real life holiday times line up with in-game ones to me personally. I love going on Winter Break from college and hopping on Overwatch to the sound of holiday music and skins while all my friends get on too. Feels so nice!
  • ELRYNOELRYNO Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Absolutely love holidays that coincide with RL holidays with an in game twist to them. Different races having slightly different "traditions" when it comes to each holiday. Ren'kai's Christmas is a great hunt for the biggest scalerunner! Or the Nikua have beach parties with coconut throwing competitions & barbeque feasts.

    I love that sort of integration. I also would like to pay tribute to WoW's Hallows End, although it is a little cheesy, they used to have events spawn within certain villages where the headless horseman would enter towns & try to burn it to the ground, springing up quests to put out the fires & defeat him at the end. I think these kinds of interactions bring a lot to the game world, particularly if the antagonists are built into the storyline & the events are interactive. E.G The Easter Puirgel which lays it's eggs & has never been seen, but should you ever find it, your wildest dreams come true, springing up easter egg hunts where you can turn the eggs in to the Easter Puirgel for a special mount but finding the Easter Puirgel is super rare & only occurs a set number of times over the holiday? Who knows! the choice is yours =D (P.S Gimme a job xD)
  • protostarprotostar Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    In-game holidays are a great dynamic that break up daily grinds, add some unexpected sources for quests/gold/mats/gear that otherwise would take a while to get. Given we know so little about the lore right now, there could be multiple holidays in a given week if every race gets their own special days. Maybe that would be a great way to get deeper into the game, celebrate and find out more about each races lore by their holidays. Not having a celebration of the changing of the season would make the game flat and less interesting for sure. maybe some cosmetics you can only get like flower hats for spring or mushroom boots in the fall.
    I also like the idea of having some items only available during the winter, when it's raining, or when there's a full moon out.
  • unknownsystemerrorunknownsystemerror Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    For example, this upcoming cosmetic bundle that's going to be available during the time of Halloween won't necessarily be pumpkins and candy corn type of cosmetics, but instead will be a bit darker. That way it can still be relevant to real world. And then additionally it may be possible as we localize and culturalize for other territories that we have the same philosophy with region-specific events.[2] – Steven Sharif

    There will be some real world references, particularly with regards to potentially real world holidays as well as some historical events or cultures. For example the PAX East kind of ship that was named Eleanor that we released a cosmetic of, you know, being a reference to the Eleanor ship that the tea was thrown off of; or kind of colonialesque look.[6] – Steven Sharif

    Has this game design changed? If so, what other things do you plan to change when it comes to design? With the constant "We are working as hard as we can to get the game done!" mantra being repeated on blast, this does not inspire confidence when basic issues that were seemingly decided and put to rest years back keep cropping up as "Hey, whatcha think about this?"
  • zonechaoszonechaos Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter
    One thing I would like to see, if possible, is the NPC population and questing change based on a holiday event. Example: Holidays cause NPCs to need to travel to large cities, or perhaps out of town to visit families.. and quests would thematic... from finding a Christmas tree to defeating a witch who is playing cupid with her love potions on valentines day :)

    Beyond that,, how do holidays / traditions factor into lore and into the various nodes and their ore that pops up with them?
  • ItsFayne wrote: »
    Ok, hot topic here for sure. That being said I dont like when in game holidays mirror IRL holidays. When you're creating a new world, its even more license to create unique holidays with unique lore. The aesthetic and feel should be unique and looked forward to.

    100% This!! Couldn't have said it better...
  • Would LOVE to see Holidays in-game that coincide with RL Holidays, Particularly Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Christmas, and New Years. A Veterans day celebration would be one I would particularly enjoy to celebrate, (former active duty Marine here.), Having said that, There are Holidays that I would ignore. (Won't name them here as my kiddos are looking over my shoulder.) But yes, In-Game Holidays should Coincide with Real life Holidays, More Fun that way. (In my Opinion.)
    The Truth has 3 sides, Your Point of View, Their point of View, and The Actual Truth, so, Be careful How you wield the Sword of Truth, It Cuts 3 ways!
  • The first holiday should be celebrating the re-settlement of Verra, and happen once a year (irl).

    Outside of that, I think unique in game holidays would be cool. Not opposed to in game holidays coinciding with real world ones, if they're implemented correctly. Maybe hybridize/combine the real world ones that fall in the same time frame?
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    There are a few issues I see here.

    If you are going to do real holidays in game, you need to include a story in game to make it work.

    Given the portals we go through, and the types of people on Verra (lore wise), it would need to be damn convincing storytelling.

    Second, if you are going to do holidays, you have to do them for everyone. If you do something for 4th of July or for Thanksgiving, you also should be doing something for other countries with major in-game populations.

    It would be really weird (and stupid) to have Brazilian servers, located in Brazil populated by Brazilian players, and the have a celebration for 4th of July but not for Sete de Setembro.

    Basically, if you commit to this gold in game events to real world holidays, in order to do it properly you need to be prepared to do all holidays from all over the world.

    If that isn't on the cards, I vote for not bothering at all. On the other hand, if you can pull it off, go for it.
  • BaSkA13_BaSkA13_ Member
    edited December 2021
    Vaknar wrote: »
    Dev Discussion - Holidays
    How do you feel about in-game holidays that line up time-wise with out-of-game holidays? Do you prefer that your game world has a matching celebration, or would you prefer to keep your real-world holidays away from the keyboard?

    I've always enjoyed events/celebrations in MMOs which match real life holidays: they're usually fun and welcome, as long as it doesn't hurt the game and it won't take time from development or bug fixing.

    OSRS's holiday events/quests come to mind, those are cool and usually enjoyable if you ask me.
    🎶Galo é Galo o resto é bosta🎵
  • BotBot Member
    edited December 2021
    I think it's cool to feature real life holidays in the game world. Nobody's so far removed from reality that I think anyone would really have an issue. I just don't like when stuff don't thematically fit a game. If you have a serious game where everyone wears practical armor and traditional type of gear, I don't want to see giant candy cane weapon skins and random Santa outfits. If your game already has non-traditional type of costumes/skins/armor then I think everything is fair game, just has to look good. Overall, I like to see holiday events and specifically map additions. Particularly I like seeing main towns decorated with holiday décor like a Christmas tree and snow for example. Not everyone is in a position to celebrate in real life whether it's due to a lack of family/friends, too far to travel, busy, or etc. A lot of people use video games, especially MMORPGs as a supplement or replacement for a lack of real life social connections. It means a ton for many to be able to experience the holidays with their online friends.
  • YES!!! Growing up, some of the most memorable mmo moments for me was participating in RL holiday events in-game! We wanna celebrate with our game bros too! To consider though ... because year-round holidays can usually be busy, running in-game events around a week long term usually works well from what I've seen. Also, AoC players from around the world might not celebrate US holidays (such as Thanksgiving) and therefor may not have the same impact as it would for a US player. Maybe incorporate Verra-specific holidays, some big RL ones (such as Christmas or Halloween which is celebrated around the world), and consider mixing in other, "smaller" holidays from all over -- would be a fun! Or, have RL holidays but with a Verran twist so, say, it's not EXACTLY the same holiday but similar to what we know (but with that fun, extra twist to it ;D ).
  • I do really enjoy holiday events. They're also a really useful tool for player retention. Servers always fill up when holiday events are on. If you're not going to include holiday events, you're missing out on a valuable tool. The benefits far outstrip any negatives.
    This link may help you:
  • maouwmaouw Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I like when events line up with IRL events, because that also celebrates the times when the most players are going to be online (usually holiday seasons) - and a joint reason to celebrate brings the community together!

    2 thoughts that add nuance:
    • non repetitive - Regular events (like an annual christmas event) are bad if they are the same every year. It's a bit tacky if it's the same thing as last year. The big problem is that this requires non-replayable content design every year, so don't burn through all your christmas ideas too quickly.
    • expansions - Timing Major Content updates with event periods negates the need for parallel in-game events. This allows you to channel the IRL holiday hype into Content Update hype without the need for an in-game christmas event. (The content update itself becomes a christmas present).

    In summary:
    • Brings the community together, increases community longevity
    • Really natural way to create events (minigames) that put high level and low level players on an equal playing field
    • Natural opportunity to give away event cosmetics, and have cosmetic sales ($$)
    • Time-limited content creates memories and opportunity for exclusive items
    • Non-Replayable content design (i.e. resource intensive) - DO NOT clone last year's event, it's tacky.
    • a Major Content update would be more interesting than a holiday event (but major content updates usually don't have the bring-the-community-together effect)
    • Holiday events usually don't add to the game's core systems, so they're not high priority.

    If you can do them, great! Just don't do copy-paste events. Content updates are more important and are an alternative if you don't have enough resources to do novel events.
    I wish I were deep and tragic
  • MeletriusMeletrius Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited December 2021
    taking back the parties from real life is a bad idea.
    Most of them are religious holidays, or specific to a particular country, and are not shared by the rest of the world.
    copying what other games do is simply a lack of originality
    ashes of creation must be unique
    the parties, the events in game, must be related to the lore of the game, and not to real life !
    otherwise you destroy the game rp and its interest
    we are here for the story of ashes of creation not to dig stupid pumpkins
    don't sink in the ridiculousness like on the other mmo with their Christmas tree

    imagine in-game events based on the story of ashes of creation
    be creative

    Translated with (free version)
    I am a world boss
    but don't repeat it, it's a secret
  • truelytruely Member, Alpha One
    As long as there is fun content with it. I remember playing FFXIV valentines eventand it's like 3 boring quests for a naf cosmetic and that's it. If it's going to be an event have a massive Reindeer world boss raid or something, at least make it fun.
  • OctoblussOctobluss Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I Like the FFXIV or WoW approach, with holidays that are in the same Season as in RL but which are modified to fit into the ingame lore.

    Also i think there should only holidays that were celebrated in many countrys . (Christmas, New Years Eve)

    Halloween and Thanksgiving would be possible as Halloween is getting more popular in Europe and many countrys have at least a Holidays thats close to /kind of Thanksgiving.

    4th July, etc. wont really make sense for non americans.
  • This one is interesting..... I would recommend using the "theme" of IRL holidays rather than the holiday itself. Not everyone celebrates the same holidays at the same time and it would be weird to celebrate the birth of Jesus in Verra :))

    That being said, instead of Christmas, a similar themed event can take place, same as in DnD, like "The Festival of Giving", instead of Halloween you have "Spooky Skeletons Day", that sort of stuff. Keep the theme, but rebrand it to make sense in-world.

    HOWEVER, there should be in-game holidays that are not reflections of IRL holidays. Events just for Verra. Pick times where there is nothing else going on and create an event. For example:

    -make the launch week of the game a "Anniversary Week" event
    -give each race 1 holiday just for them, when they celebrate what makes each race unique
    -give each node a separate celebration day that is specific to the node, where they celebrate their history and achievements (this could be tied into the scribe profession in some way). Those can be smaller and take place just in that specific node. Make it a festival of some kind, with different quests that pop up (similar to what happens before a siege, quests in preparation of the festival)
    -have holidays that mark important events in a server's history (first dragon death for example)

    Not all holidays should be happy happy time. There should be some events that are somber or even sad. Marking the death of a hero of legend or the last time the volcano erupted, event which destroyed a node.

    Use holidays to build up the lore, make the world feel more alive and use them to make all players realize that it has a history. If done right, those events will add to the immersion of the players and make them want to engage with the world even more.

    There should be substantial breaks between holidays, don't jump from one into another instantly. Most events should only last for a day or 2. Also, add quests that can be done in preparation for a event of any kind is needed. Maybe for one holiday there is a specific food that is considered "traditional" (like lamb for Easter), so now there are a lot of quests to go out and gather that food.

    Holidays give you as devs the chance to set the tone for a period of time. Use it properly :))
  • I'm more or less neutral on the subject. Doesn't really matter to me, one way or they other.

    There are two "holidays" somewhat tied to the real world I'd like to see celebrated in-game though. One celebrated on the day the game launched. The second one, of lesser importance, celebrating the day on which the server launched, if different from the main launch.

    Day of the Arrival. Day of the Return. Something in that spirit.
    Be bold. Be brave. Roll a Tulnar !
  • mcstackersonmcstackerson Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I find seasonal events fun and don't have an issue with them lining up with real world holidays.
  • If holiday event will be the same as in every other MMO - then no sense to do it. Especially if it's just boring event tokens from mobs and daily quest to get presents from Christmas tree.
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