So, I know I may be late to the party, but I know I’m not alone in this: Hooooly crap what a horrible Halloween event this year! What exactly was Halloween-y about it? I mean… it had spirits, but meh? They had a really strong event last year, but this was just… ugh. It was a miss, but not exactly a rare miss by Jagex’s standards as they have made some real duds before. But, that’s not to say they have had some great ones either. To wash the bad taste of this event out of our mouths, I’ve prepared my top 5 best holiday or seasonal events that are timeless classics – you know, like your yearly viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story. Ah… now if only they’d make a RS version of those…
5. Holly and Hawthorn (Easter 2011)
Traditionally I’m not a huge fan of the Easter events. Over the years, spring events have involved the Easter Bunny and some variation to getting his factory in working order in order to deliver eggs and chocolate bunnies to the kids of Gielinor. However, I did enjoy the 2009 Easter event, Splitting Heirs, where the Easter Bunny retires and hands over the business to his son, and that one gets an honorable mention. It was just different and more imaginative than most Easter Bunny events.
My Favorite Easter event has little to do with Easter at all, though. The 2011 Easter (though it may have been referred to a spring event) was Holly and Hawthorn. It was refreshing. Where we all were expecting another rehash or the Easter Bunny, this was an intuitive take on how the seasons change, which has been an ongoing theme for many promotional events with things like the Cape and Crown of Seasons.
In this event you help Holly, the Queen of Snow, and Hawthorn, the Queen of Sunrise, perform the ceremony to change winter into spring. Evil trees were newly released, and the event features you chopping a holly tree to obtain the Year which is the wand used to change the seasons. But when you give it to the Queen of Sunrise you discover that it’s not the real Year! To get the real Year you must talk to three spirits. Yada yada yada. The basis of the event is that the Snow Queen doesn’t want the seasons to change, so you carve an ice sculpture to show her how to appreciate spring. She gives over the Year, and Hawthorn makes the change.
Now that’ll surely change the Snow Queen’s mind!
It’s was a nice change to the norm that we were used to. While it wasn’t Easter Bunny and eggs and chocolate related, it has plenty to do with life starting anew which is the point of spring events. Many people at the time even paralleled the event to Jesus returning to life after being crucified. While that’s a little much I did like how it freed us from bunnies and chicks and introduced another appropriately spring themed event.
4. Hati and Skoll (2011-Present Winter Event during mid-January)
The onset of Hati, and in years after her brother Skoll, was quite a surprise for a seasonal event, but its continued success over the years since its release in 2011 shows that you can do winter events without the traditional snowflakes and mittens motif. These creatures actually come from Norse mythology where the wolves try to eat the moon and the sun. The Fremennik are our Norse Vikings in game, so naturally that is where the wolves spawn. Hati and Skoll are basically miniboss fights intended to be done in groups and so long as you do damage you have a chance of getting rewards. The spoils have grown over the years, but the items include paws, a wolf cloak, boots that look like wolves’ feet, and a headdress of Skoll’s skull.
What you know ’bout rockin’ the wolf on your noggin?
The event may not offer much besides exp boosts to go with the items, but it still is a welcome change of pace during January. It’s nice to see other real life legends spill into Gielinor as it adds more depth and believability to the game.
3. A Christmas Warble (Christmas 2009)
I am a sucker for real life adaptations with a Runescape twist. That’s why Jagex’s take on A Christmas Carol gets an approving nod and third spot on my list.
The quest starts ala Narnia-style, by climbing into a cupboard to get to the Land of Snow. Now the plot is a little weak – a grand feast was meant to be held but an evil wizard stole Santa and all the food. No matter, off we go to the house of Ebenezer Scourge, the Christmas hating dark wizard. With the help of a snow imp, you dress as a ghost and pester Ebenezer about his past. He is not swayed by this, so you need to change your game plan. You then reveal to him his future if he doesn’t change his ways – a snow-covered gravestone. Much like the mafia presenting an offer he couldn’t refuse, Ebenezer has a change of heart and releases Santa and the food, along with wishing everyone a merry Christmas at the feast.
While a little hokey, the quests had a lot of details and graphically impressive settings for the time. This marked the beginning of Jagex’s efforts to widely improve the overall game graphics and their added effort showed. Side note, the snow blowing out of the cupboard was the first instance of particle effects in the game. Sure, it took a now tired premise of a grand feast with Santa at Christmas and did little with it, but the subtle changes it made to such a holiday classic more than make up for the otherwise worn out plot.
Oooo… Pretty Particles!
2. Zombie Head and Trick or Treating (Halloween 2005)
Ah, now we’re truly getting into classic territory. Let’s go back, children, all the way back to 2005…
*Wavy memory overlay ensues*
It’s a pretty standard concept – trick or treating with kids in Lumby. What? How is that great, you ask? Well, if you throw a ZOMBIE HEAD into the mix and really scare those little snots NOW you have a memorable Halloween event. Remember, this was back a ways and the game was a little less formal and a little less PC. The event starts in Lumby swamp where zombies roam the area. If you insulted one of them, they would take their head off and roll it on the ground at you. If you caught it, you got to keep it. And it was great. You could talk to it and do an emote that allowed you to act out the famous skull scene in Hamlet. With your new buddy, now you’re ready to talk to the kiddos in Lumby. You could trick or treat the kids; if you tricked them, you automatically used the zombie head and they would run off, dropping candy on the ground. You could then give that candy to other kids, but pfft, why do that? Needless to say, everyone always tricked them.
It never gets old – only older.
1. Diango’s Workshop (Christmas 2005)
The events were on point in 2005. The greatest holiday event, without a doubt, was Diango’s Workshop.
The specifics elude me, but in this quest Santa has taken the year off from making toys and has outsourced the job to Draynor’s very own Diango. Who knew he had his very own workshop in one of the buildings in the town? You’re tasked with helping him build toy marionettes and creating and painting baubles for the Christmas tree in Varrock Square. After building the toys and delivering to a mysterious Santa-looking man at the gate leading to Taverley, you will get some wearable scarves and hats of various styles and colors. If you deliver five boxes of various colored baubles to the tree in Varrock, you got to see the tree trimmed in a small cut scene and received your very own marionette from under the tree.
This has always been the best way to troll rich people in the GE. You can’t buy the past, sucka!
This event was great for many reasons. Again, it’s an abstract from the standard “help Santa” kind of events and was more like a quest. The baubles were optional, but it took some time to get them, as you had to run around and shake thieving imps to find them. And the marionette is so worth it. You could make it walk, jump, dance and it came in three different colors. Keep in mind that was on top of the awesome hats and scarves as it was. You still see these scarves and hats to this day worn with various outfits around Christmas because they are just so unique and original. Why Jagex hasn’t done another quest like this (the workshop can actually be seen by the orb of oculus from Pyramid Plunder) is beyond me. It was great fun, very festive, and the best event they ever created.
If you can think of a better holiday event than where you beat up imps for baubles, you let me know.
But that’s just my thoughts – did I mess up? Let me know: What was YOUR favorite Holiday/Seasonal event? Leave a comment and tell me!
Also, just a quick note, this will be my last Informer article at least for a while as I will be stepping down as soon as I turn this in. It was great fun and I appreciate RSB&B for giving me the platform to share my thoughts for so long. Thanks guys!