It’s purely based on my opinions and ideas, so it would be fun if you could pitch in as well! And it’s not a complete overhaul – I’ve kept quests I think are worthy of this time of year, I’ve tried to remould some, ditch others and introduce some new quest ideas. So here we go!
Where Are the Children?
Quests to Keep
Doing a Yule Festival revamp doesn’t mean starting from scratch. So, here are the quests I think could be kept. Note, I’m predominantly talking about those originating in Winter-home and Frostbluff. I don’t see any particular issues with quests in the starter regions. So these are the quests I would keep pretty much completely in their current form.
- Abominable Snow-Beasts
- Cold as Ice
- Stuffing the Stuffed
- Tidying Up:
- Complete this quest: &time;15 and receive the title Cleaner.
- Complete this quest ×25 and receive a Mop held-item cosmetic (Bound to Account)
- Complete the quest ×50 and receive the /mop emote (character only)
- Battle at the Frostbluff (Daily)
- Battle of the Snowballs: but maybe with some NPCs as well as players to facilitate engagement with this feature. I’ve offered an alternative to this below.
- Empty Keg Emergency
- Filling the Field
Quests to Drop
Existing Quests to Change
- Making Mischief: only available in its current form if the new A Final Act has not been completed.
- A Charitable Spirit: original version only available before A Final Act. A new version is only available after A Final Act. All quest-givers have rings over their heads until you complete this already so there are plenty of reminders to do A Final Act. See below for how I would change this quest.
- Stolen Sweets: Keep the quest as-is, but change to every two weeks and make the Snow Rabbit bound to account. It’s very time-consuming and it would be good to be able to earn bunnies for your other characters more often.
Changes to Quests
The Wood-trolls are only grouchy, they’re not invading Frostbluff! And why the Mayor only wanted the “best wood” to burn, no one knows. Burning wood makes heat, so any wood will be fine! It may be nicer, both as a story and to prevent competition/racing with other players, to have wood picked up from fallen Trolls, or fallen branches from the Grumpwood itself.
Alternative: Kindle the Fires
Quest-Giver: Mara Sandydowns
Her fire is about to go out! As she is on duty to welcome new visitors to Winter-home and direct them to the right people, she cannot leave to go collect more kindling.
Collect: 5 × armfuls of Kindling from bushes in Frostbluff and 3 × logs from fallen Grouchy Trees.
Overhaul of A Final Act
This season should be one of goodwill, where all can enjoy the spirit of Yule and feel included. This includes the poorest of people (think of Bob Crachet from A Christmas Carol). So, I propose an alternative route here. My quest would only be completed once per character per year, as the current A Final Act is, but I think it would be good for it to unlock other quests after that point. Let me explain:
A Final Act (Expose the Mayor)
The only route should be to expose the Mayor’s corruption, leading to a chance of heart for him and a “permanent” change of fortunes for the poor. At least for this year’s festival. After you’ve given all the people’s jobs back, the following changes take place.
This quest should no longer be available for that year. With fortunes turning for the poor, they should not be stealing from the rich any more. However, see my new quest Still Making Mischief.
No Hungry Beggars
For that character, for that year, you should not see the beggars any more. With Moving Them Off removed and A Charitable Spirit altered slightly, there is no reason for those to be visible in Winter-home.
A Charitable Spirit/Treats for the Children
After the new A Final Act, A Charitable Spirit is replaced by Treats for the Children. This quest sees you donating tokens to poor children NPCs around Winter-home, so they can go get nice things from the stalls. I’d use NPCs already in “the system” such as the children who are all self-proclaimed Frostbluff Kings!
New Quest: Bridging the Divide
Prerequisite: A Final Act (New)
Led by the repentant Mayor Goodnough, the rich of Winter-home donate (worn, but respectable) clothes and food to the Beggars. This could be simply any of the simple cosmetics already in-game from the Outfitters. You get a set as a quest reward.
- Permanent change for that year: beggars given clothes do not respawn as beggars, but are out and about in their new clothes.
- Possible new side-quest from them also. They couldn’t afford to give something, but maybe they could help out in Winter-home so everyone can enjoy the festival. Possible helpers could be: giving the guards time off by patrolling for them, assisting people in the Theatre, manning a vendor’s stall or grooming the horses just outside Winter-home.
Part of me wondered whether players choose to side with the Rich because they wanted the nicer-looking cosmetics. Or maybe it’s just marginally quicker than Support the Poor. Either way, I didn’t want to take people’s toys away. So the quest reward options for this would be:
- The Shabby set (from the old “Self-Sacrifice: Gareth’s Plan” quest).
- The Extravagant Festival set (from the old “Gain and Glory” quest).
- A Random Cosmetic from the Outfitters – a spare after all the others have been given out.
Other New Quests
No Yule Festival Revamp would be worthy of the name without some new quests! These are fledgling ideas and are bare-bones. These would be available regardless of whether A Final Act is completed or not.
An Ode to Old Blood-Tusk
You could run the existing Disappearance of Mad Baggins and An Ode to Old Blood-Tusk, with the system randomly choosing which of the two shows to run.
Alternatively, have the Cloudyheads perform and people form an honourary part of the band. Use a temporary ability bar (already in the system – think of the escape button in the Hedge/Wheat Mazes) and the ability has to be clicked when prompted.
Quest-giver: Guard Kember
Collect soup from one of the Festival-Announcer NPCs for The Biggest Stomach of them All and give to 5 × guards or helper-NPCs in Winter-home and locations in Frostbluff.
Pamper the Chickens
Quest-giver: Mara Sandydowns
Pick up seed from near the servant’s oven and feed 5 × Chickens at Cluckland.
The Great Chicken Rescue
Quest-Giver: “Empty Nest” in Cluckland
Rescue chickens × 3 from the Grumpwood and back to an empty nest at Cluckland. (There are 3 empty nests already in Cluckland, so no extra work on this point).
Quest-Giver: Jack Mitford
5 × Festival-Goers of Winter-home want to give children a gift, but without them knowing who the gift-giver is. You do the delivering to 5 × Children. Don’t do any corny “girl/boy gift” nonsense, just “gift” is fine! To quote a book my five-year-old daughter has, it is fine for a girl to get a toy soldier!
Deck the Whole
Quest-Giver: Gareth Rust
Three different choices:
- Retrieve branches, pinecones, berries from Winter-home and/or Frostbluff and decorate the poor quarter of Winter-Home.
- Fetch snowmen items and three armfuls of snow and build a snowman there.
- Ask Guard Kember for location of spare Winter-home banners and put them up on the pillars.
New Deed: Complete each of the above three times. Title “Exterior Decorator”.
Snow Use (Daily Auto-Bestow)
Throw 10 × Perfect Snowballs at different players and bit hit by 10 × Perfect Snowballs from players. Uses the snowball item from the vendor and encourages deed completion. Use a buff of 30-60 seconds before someone can be re-hit.
Waste Not, Want Not
Many of the so called “grimy dishes” are filled with edible food. Or would be, if they hadn’t been frozen since festival-goers abandoned them. Collect 5 × Grimy Dishes then return to (NPC Undecided) for them to heat it through over the fire again. Alternatively, reheat them at the Servant’s Oven.
Still Making Mischief
Quest-Giver: Gareth Rust, during Night-time.
Having cottoned on that some mysterious people were setting off the fireworks early, Mayor Goodnough has moved the
fireworks to just outside of Winter-home. Not wanting to hear an inane mayoral speech before every firework display, Gareth Rust sends you to sneak and set them off.
Timer: 5 minutes (with an “Acting Mischievously” buff)
Mechanics: do not be seen “acting mischievously” by guards, or Mayor Goodnough (who moves to the location when you pick up the quest).
Given the introduction of new quests suggested, I reckon nearly all “pure” Winter-home quests would grant 2 × Yule Festival Tokens. The exceptions should be those that take more time. Such as:
- Theatre: increase this to 5 × Tokens. Auto-bestow a quest Playing the Part if you’re chosen to do the acting, and grant an extra 2 times; Tokens. These should be conditional on you having been hit by a Rotten Fruit or showered with Petals, so that, hopefully, AFK-ers don’t benefit.
- Filling the Field: grant 4 × Tokens for all snowmen, except the Broken Snowman, which should stay at 2 × Tokens.
- The Biggest Stomach of them All
I would keep those that involve activities outside the town at 4 × Tokens (less the Broken Snowman).
Subtle Event Promotion
I admit, this is an idea pilfered from another game, but I like it nonetheless:
- Add seasonal decorations to non-player buildings and/or fences.
- Introduce some Yule decor to Bree, Thorin’s Hall and Celondim Docks.
- Add a separate Festival-Announcer Swift Travel horse to Winter-home from housing neighbourhoods.
- Have a “Missions Centre” Stablemaster at Winter-Home (and make sure they all have Winter-home added) to more easily facilitate A Mission to Bring Good Cheer.
- Make donating Festival Tokens during A Charitable Spirit a one-click process. Yes, you won’t get the dialogue back (speech bubbles could replace this) but it will prevent you missing out to someone giving them their jobs back and making them run back to work. This improvement should be made in the current Yule Festival quests, as it is almost impossible to give a token in the same time someone can make them walk away during A Final Act or Moving Them Off.
TL;DR What do you think of my Yule Festival Revamp?
I’ll be the first here to say “this will never happen”, but I’ve enjoyed trying to think of different quest mechanics, while not removing rewards people enjoy receiving. I’m no game designer. But it is important to think through the offering at festivals, especially to keep established players interested. A player recently mentioned not wanting to grind something they’ve done a hundred times. With my alternative Yule Festival, I’ve kept some well-known (and well-used) quests in, remoulded others and also provided a more “Christmassy” feeling take on A Final Act.
If you have your own ideas, feel free to post them in a reply on my Twitter and Facebook posts about this and I may feature them too!
I will continue to write and update my guides with the same level of enthusiasm, as they’re great community get-togethers. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed making it. Take care – enjoy the events and a Happy New Year, when it arrives for you!