With RIFT’s one-year anniversary approaching, we’ve been hearing a lot about the celebration planned for the occasion. Patch 1.7 and the marriage addition were forerunners to the actual anniversary, and the in-game world event, called Carnival of the Ascended, is out currently on the Public Test Shard (PTS) for player testing. The event takes a turn from most of the past RIFT events, thankfully, is six phases long, and offers some pretty nifty rewards.
Before digging into an actual review of the event as it stands currently, let me preface this article by saying that many of RIFT’s world events have been disappointing to some players, as described in a past article. The themes for some of them have been awesome, and some of the rewards were cool, but the creativity in them has been lacking. I may be a harsh judge of world events, to be fair, but I know I haven’t been the only player unhappy with RIFT’s world events because of Trion’s official response regarding them.
Trion’s own ExcelsiorH told the community this back in December of 2011:
“Nothing is sacred – we’re reviewing every aspect of the World Events to see where we can add more impact, how we can deliver the content in new and creative ways, how we can target more of our community audiences, how we can keep people engaged for all of the phases, and most importantly, how we can make it the most fun possible.”
With Carnival of the Ascended getting ready to unroll its red carpet onto the live servers, the question becomes: Has Trion succeeded? Is Carnival of the Ascended more fun, more creative, and more immerseful for the community? It’s definitely a step in the right direction, and a rather large step at that.
For one thing, Trion’s staff has been very receptive and communicative toward the PTS community about feedback regarding the event. Here’s the official feedback thread for Carnival of the Ascended. Many of the feedback responses have been taken under consideration and have even seen implementation within the past week or so. Communication like that is exactly why many of us have been active supporters of RIFT and Trion.
They seem to be taking their time with this event’s development, and not rushing it out like many of the past events. After playing around on the PTS, it also seems obvious that the event itself has taken more time to develop than other events. There’s more to it. There’s a carnival of activities for players to immerse themselves into, which is good, considering the event itself is well, a carnival.
To be exact, the carnival is in celebration of RIFT’s one-year anniversary. The festivities can be found on most maps, but the largest hubs for fun and games can be found in Sanctum, Meridian, and Fortune’s Shore in Shimmersand. Like most carnivals, there’s an assortment of sights to see– booths, vendors, decorations, food, carnival games, prizes to redeem, and because it’s an MMO– quests to complete.
There’s also plenty of currency to collect, exchange, and redeem. Prize Tickets, obtained from the games and quests, are used to purchase items or can be traded into Glass Beads. Glass Beads are used to purchase past currencies from every world event this year. Titles are even purchasable. This is great for players newer to RIFT, and also nice for players who may have missed a cool item. Pyrite Dubloons, another new currency, are obtained through weekly group quests, and can be used to purchase the event’s two mounts: Nebula and Tindrel.
Both mounts are obtainable on both Guardian and Defiant characters. Only one mount is obtainable during this event per character, however, but the following event directly after Carnival of the Ascended will have both mounts available then, as well. This basically means that a player can grab one mount now and one later, or grab one on their main, another on an alt, then mail the alt’s over to the main (which would in turn count for that alt’s one mount). For a better view of the awesomeness that is Nebula, check out this video.
Besides the mounts, there’s no shortage of fun items to grab. For fun wardrobe items, there is a series of elemental masks that can be purchased, which are also dye-able. Pictured to the left is the Death Mask. There are a few interesting aesthetic pieces of weaponry, including a pitchfork, scythe, broken bottle, and riot torch. There is also a tabard which is unfortunately not dye-able, fireworks, confetti, and artifact boxes.
There are, of course, a few pet companions to grab. A brief writeup with pictures can be found here. My personal favorite? The balloons!
Food items are also available, because what would a carnival be without food? The most fun food item is probably Alo’s Amazing Popped Corn, which has a pretty awesome transformation effect, pictured to the right. Booze and RIFT birthday cake are also carnival staples.
Overall, the items aren’t bad. They’re more fun than useful, and personally, I’m fine with that. Items should be fun in an event like this, because it is after all, a celebration. The ability to grab items from older events is also a bonus, and makes sense given the fact that the event is a celebration of the entire year RIFT’s been our MMO home.
So what is there to actually do at the carnival? Games, of course, and quests. There are quite a few games to play, and most of them shine as far as creativity goes. In both the main cities and in Shimmersand, players will find a balloon popping game, a ring toss game with seacaps, a miniature horse racing game, and an old crone that gives out pretty random fortunes.
Most of the quest givers are in the main cities. Players will find dailies, crafting dailies, a raid weekly that involves a story-based rift event, and a few quests to kill enemy-faction NPCs near the parade route, which I’ll go into more detail about later.
Shimmersand has more to offer as far as games go, which is cool considering most of the games are aboard the docked Fortune’s Shore ships. Players will additionally find a real racing game using four different mounts, a drinking game, a dwarf to shoot out of a cannon, a roulette-like gambling game where players can win real platinum (pictured left), and even a fashion show of sorts on a catwalk.
The overall atmosphere of Carnival of the Ascended is lively, upbeat, and festive. Balloons and paper lanterns can be found all over Telara, and the carnival hubs themselves are filled with the sound effects of a real carnival. The sights and sounds are a nice touch.
Across every map, players can hunt down pinatas that work exactly like the dragon eggs from a few events ago. Icons show up for them on the world map when they spawn. Upon being killed, the pinatas drop currency and possible items. They’re fun little items to chase after, and the pinatas are decorated just like the balloons and floats.
The other main feature of the event are the parades. Both factions have a parade of NPCs that follows a set route on multiple maps. Along each parade route, enemy NPCs spawn that can be talked to then killed for a quest. Running into the enemy faction’s parade may also provide a bit of combat action.
The parades themselves are rather cool to witness. They’re accompanied by music and a rather gigantic float depicting one of the four planar beasts. Pictured to the left is our buddy Akylios, who looks sort of cuddly as a float.
Overall, the event makes a lot more sense than other events have in the past. Carnival of the Ascended is a Telara-wide celebration, and the quests, games, and atmosphere all reflect that. There’s no daily to kill X rifts and Y rift creatures, and frankly, that’s awesome. There’s an obvious display of creativity here, and a show of effort on Trion’s part to actually create something unique and fun.
The event itself seems more social, and less grindy, which is also welcome. Players can’t grind out their mount in the first day of the event. Instead, they’re encouraged to group together weekly, and to hop on regularly to enjoy the games and sights the event offers. This was noted as the intention for Carnival of the Ascended, and I think it’s a smart move. World events should feature social aspects. The most enjoyable aspects of MMOs are almost always social in nature, and that’s the way it should be.
There’s also a little something for everyone in the event. Mount and pet collectors will be pleased, as will players who enjoy grouping up for dailies and chasing down colorful eggs in the wilderness. For the first time, we actually have a whole set of enjoyable mini-games to fool around with, too. I think most folks will be happy with the Carnival of the Ascended festivities. Enjoy RIFT’s one-year anniversary, Trion– you’ve earned the celebration.