Editorial: Holiday Updates in Mists of Pandaria
We've been wanting to try out editorials on Wowhead for a while, and we're excited to publish our first one today! If you like it, we'll consider doing more.
As our guide comments show, Wowhead users feel passionate about holidays, so the timing seemed right to talk about why holiday updates are important, especially in light of the lack of updates in Mists of Pandaria.
Players are always so excited by new holiday vanity items, but regret that there's not more to do in Mists of Pandaria. Between account-wide changes letting people finish holidays faster and the lack of updates, big or small, players long for excitement associated with past holidays.
There would have been so many opportunities for holiday development in MoP too--like Pandaren-themed Brewfest content, or even a completely new holiday, as we joked about on April Fools with
Angler's Deep Sea Dive
We also want to point out that the Darkmoon Faire has frequently gotten updated in Mists of Pandaria, which is great--the changes since Cataclysm have revitalized that event. But holidays occupy a special place in players' memories--no small feat with how much the playerbase has changed over nine years--and should also get some seasonal sparkle too.
What do you think? Do you still have holiday achievements and items you need to farm? Or do you wish that holidays received updates like they did back in Wrath and Cataclysm?
Click the cut for the full editorial on holidays!
Looking Back at Past Holidays
To start off, let's analyze major developments for each holiday over the past few years. A stand-out year for holiday content started with
2011, continuing with major
, Winter Veil, and Lunar Festival additions. In this year-long period,
, Love is in the Air, and
received interesting new vanity items as well. You'll notice that there aren't many updates for 2013 though.
2011 changed the locations of many Elders in zones that were affected by the Shattering. The holiday also received major update in 2012, when Alliance and Horde lantern pets were added as well as additional Elders.
Love is in the
was completely redone in 2010--instead of bringing gifts to guards for love tokens, players complete daily quests to get love tokens as currency for vanity items. The miniboss
was added, as well as the
. In 2012, the Swift Lovebird mount was added, and in 2013, the loot tables were updated for MoP.
got a big update in 2009 to its current form where eggs serve as currency for seasonal mounts, pets, and themed armor. It was relatively unchanged in 2010 and 2011, with the
vanity item additions in 2012.
received a major update in 2007 when the
orphans were added, in 2009 when
orphans were belatedly added in the fall, and finally in 2011 when new orphan quests for the Alliance and Horde in Azeroth were added. All of these years have introduced more battle pets, the latest being
The Midsummer Festival saw the addition of
, special tabards, and the
pet back in 2010.
achievements have been added in subsequent zones, and in 2012, the
was added, allowing users to use a hat as a cooking fire. In 2013, Ahune's loot table was updated for MoP.
saw the major addition of
and mount drops in 2010, the
in 2011, and 2012 added the
, although players were disappointed that this holiday didn't have more creative content for Pandaria, since it was a perfect fit. In 2013, the weapon drops from Coren were updated for MoP and several Pandaren Brewmaster vendors served interesting beverages from the
. Along the way, the annual steins were no longer unique but repeated names and colors.
got a major revamp in 2011, where players did not have to trick-or-treat anymore to get all the vanity items, like masks. Vendors now sell all the vanity items for Tricky Treats, and new masks and Wickerman buffs were added, as well as the
vanity items. Trick-or-Treat achievements have been added in subsequent zones, and the Horseman's loot table was last updated in 2012 for MoP.
is a short holiday, but it got attention in 2013 when the
became a permanent battle pet instead of a temporary pet that could only be summoned during the holiday.
was added in 2009 and has been relatively unchanged since then.
Winter Veil gets a new seasonal gift each year, but 2011 had many developments. Several questlines were revised and a Winter Veil dagger, toys, many previous pets and other goodies were available from killing the Greench. 2011 also added a battle pet,
, and gave adorable animations and dialogue to the four existing pets. 2013 actually had a fair number of developments--the seasonal gift this year has a unique achievement tied to it, there's a new battle pet, the
, new bosses with Winter Hats, and more gifts inside the Stolen Present.
2011 was also notable because the
received a massive overview--it moved to Darkmoon Isle, got a completely new currency and prizing system, introduced many new vendors selling vanity items and heirlooms, new mini-games, a PvP arena, and many cute flavor areas like the Darkmoon Boardwalk and Zoo. While updates for other world events have tapered off,
developments have stayed relatively strong since its Patch 4.3 revamp.
in late 2012 had many developments, including the addition of the
boss, several battle pets, new pet tamer
, the Darkmoon Carousel and associated experience buff, loaner mounts for low-level players, and the
. And while holiday updates have been very sparse in 2013, the
added the new boss
with several vanity drops, the
rep buff, the rare Darkmoon Fishing Hat, and Darkmoon Game Prizes awarding vanity loot.
Holidays in Mists of Pandaria
In Mists of Pandaria, we've seen the Darkmoon Faire really come into its own, plus the addition of Brawler's Guild and the experimental event Battlefield Barrens. Traditional holidays have a broad appeal though and would greatly benefit from some of these innovative updates we've seen for other events. They appeal to all sorts of achievement and vanity item collectors and make Azeroth feel like home.
In Mists of Pandaria, holidays don't need to be completed on alts anymore, plus you can usually buy seasonal mounts and pets on the AH long after the holiday is over. Before account-wide changes in Mists, players felt compelled to grind out all achievements to complete the Violet Proto Drake and 310% flying. Those who already completed the meta moved onto picking up cool vanity items that suited alts, or grinding out the new vanity items introduced in 2011 and 2012. The lack of new vanity items in 2013 coupled with little incentive for players to do holidays on alts for mounts, pets, and titles made the lack of holiday updates especially noticeable. Some remaining vanity items will become account-wide as well as part of Vanity Collections in Warlords of Draenor.
Holidays frequently were seen as a great time for leveling alts or getting new seasonal epics, but those perks have been diminished too by other developments in Mists of Pandaria and the general process of leveling being streamlined.
loot at ilvl 470 or
capes at ilvl 480 pale in comparison to Bind-on-Account Timeless Isle loot that's ilvl 496. Experience and reputation bonuses, once rare, now show up monthly at the
on the carousel and top hats.
While the Darkmoon Faire has gotten some neat developments in Mists of Pandaria, there's still something to be said for the traditional holidays that are rooted in real-life events.
really came into its own in late Cataclysm after years of being a minor quirky event, and since it's around for a week every month, players don't feel as bad if they miss it once. But elaborate holidays that have been around since 2007 and coincide with widespread vacations have a certain pull--it's easy to forget when the
lands every month, but when a major holiday hits, you know an in-game holiday is soon. The special holidays just have this unique excitement surrounding them.
It's a powerful thing that players with vastly different playstyles look forward to the holidays year after year, especially with how much of the playerbase has grown up and changed. The holidays may have been overlooked in 2013, but adding some complexity and polish we've seen in the
during MoP could bring back that holiday cheer.
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