Once upon a time, World of Warcraft's holiday events were one of my favorite parts of the game. Not only did they make the game world feel alive, they changed the standard day-to-day gameplay routine. When those events went live, I didn't even consider spending my time doing the same daily hubs, reputation grinds, or dungeons I'd been doing all along. There were new quests, light-hearted quests, and the holiday bosses asked me to revisit dungeons I may not have run in ages. I didn't even care much for the loot dropped by those bosses, I just liked seeing and fighting them. Before those bosses became something in the dungeon finder, I ran them as much as I could, just because I knew they'd be gone for a year afterwards. The rewards from quests, even when they were light-hearted items that didn't contribute to a character's power level whatsoever, were fun little short-term goals.
Unfortunately, these events long ago fell to the wayside, receiving few updates beyond increasing the item level of gear drops from bosses. Patch 5.4 introduced a pandaren brewmaster to Brewfest, Love is in the Air's last update was the addition of the Swift Lovebird in patch 4.3.2, but generally speaking, ilevel increases have been the majority of the changes. The focus has been on the Darkmoon Faire more than anything else, which has, itself, become part of the routine. It's understandable that these events have fallen out of production, it's difficult to justify creating temporary content over something more permanent, but I do miss the temporary, fleeting content. More than updates to old events, I'd love to see new events, holidays pulling from Azerothian culture rather than our own, or even events on a smaller scale. Let's kick around some ideas, shall we?
Personally, I don't feel that all of these events need to be a big to-do with decorations strung up all over every capital city. I would be just as happy with simpler, shorter things that move throughout the world. Even soldiers on campaign need a little R&R. It would be a lot of fun to see impromptu parties break out throughout the world, whether it be with the hard-drinking dwarves, the hardy orcs, or learning how the draenei spend their leisure time. Maybe a young human noble threw a masquerade that got a little out of control. "Hey, head over to the Ridgewell Manor. Old Man Remington is out of town and things are getting crazy."
Echoes of the Scourge Invasion (on a much smaller scale) might be a good time, too. Not necessarily the Scourge, given their current status, but any of our enemies might attempt a small-scale incursion into our friendly territories. A stable of factions on a random rotation, laying siege to varying locations? Offer the same rewards for each faction and location so any participation contributes to players' personal goals. The right frequency and duration would determine whether or not this becomes too rote or too rare, but it would be nice to be surprised when it shows up rather than having the ability to mark it down on your calendar.
Speaking again of the Scourge Invasion, the unique dungeon bosses introduced in the second invasion in 2008 were, in my opinion, one of the high points of the event. If you're unfamiliar with them, they were as follows:
- Sever of Shadowfang Keep
- Scorn of Scarlet Monastery
- Lady Falther'ess of Razorfen Downs
- Revanchion of Dire Maul
- Lord Blackwood of Scholomance
- Balzaphon of Stratholme
- Tenris Murkblood of Karazhan
Given the apparent joy the developers at Blizzard had when creating encounters for the Brawlers Guild, I wonder if something along these lines would tickle their fancy. I see no reason why these bosses would need a hard, unified theme. They could be total weirdos.
Of course, if continuously updating current events and holidays is a matter of development resources, it could be that none of these things are a better alternative. Building numerous small events could, and likely would, take just as long as a single big one. It's also worth considering the fact that over a long enough time, anything can become rote. My ideas here might only be entertaining for a few weeks before we all got sick of it, myself included. Still, they'd be fun for awhile. I think so, anyway. Matthew Rossi doesn't much care for WoW's holidays. Maybe you don't, either.