October 26, 2013
Halloween Events Get Massive Online
Halloween is still a few days away, but this year the tricks and treats are heading online. A couple of online game developers and publishers are serving up so-called “spooktacular” events for the masses. And by massive I do mean as in massively multiplayer online roleplaying games or MMORPGs.
This week game Joymax, the publisher of Silkroad Online and Silkroad-R, has announced the availability of limited edition Halloween costumes, merchants and thieves not to mention the ability to hunt ghosts online. The updates can be viewed on the Joymax website. Both Silkroad Online and Silkroad-R are online fantasy worlds, and thus fitting of Halloween scares, but I am left to wonder why a fantasy world with monsters needs to limit anything to the Halloween season?
In fact, if anything the game is veering off into a more surreal and almost silly aspect by trying to force the Halloween celebration into the game. Skins with witch’s hats aren’t exactly scary, after all.
Ubisoft has also looked to instill some Halloween excitement into its Anno Online game, which also features so called “spooky new content.” This includes a new island that carries a dark secret.
“During the Halloween event, a cursed phantom ship will come to berth on the player’s island with a captain who demands assistance lifting the curse on his vessel,” Ubisoft noted in a press release. “Users will have to bring the captain loot to satisfy his requests in return for some seemingly unusable Black Beans. Players will need to work to assuage the phantom captain and help remove the curse afflicting his ship.”
In addition, players will have the opportunity to build a pumpkin farm, which can be in turn used as Halloween Lanterns. This will allow players to explore sectors on the Lantern Island, as well as to the fabled gates to the Underworld that are scattered around it.
Lantern Island is designed to evoke our traditional world view of Halloween with ghosts and monsters, and this provides players with a new area for exclusive quests and rewards. Players will need to fully explore the island to cut off the source of the ghost captain’s power and banish him forever.
Special areas will include a haunted mill which, (for reasons that I can’t fully comprehend,) will produce flour with 30 percent greater efficiency, while the Haunted Tree will produce amazing buffs at times, such as a Pumpkin Soup that quadruples the production speed while Beef Stew quadruples production speed even longer. Who knew haunted trees had such powers?
Even the grand daddy of the MMORPGs (namely World of Warcraft) seems to be getting into the Halloween spirit. Hallow’s End is also not limited to one day or event, this actually builds on a tradition that has been going strong since 2005.
The question thus becomes whether fantasy worlds should have our real world holidays at all?
While J.R.R. Tolkien resisted putting traditional holidays in the world of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, there were holidays for New Years and Mid-Year, but fortunately no Halloween-like events. Maybe the world of the one ring was scary enough.
Image Credit: Athanasia Nomikou / Shutterstock