Did you participate in EverQuest II’s Beast’r Egg hunt live event this past week? If not, I’m sorry to say you missed your chance; it ended a few hours ago at 2:59 a.m. EDT. However, that doesn’t mean you’ve totally missed out! And that’s the beauty of this particular live event. Today’s musing are less a guide and more a love letter to a live event done oh so right.
While the event unfolded as I participated, it struck me how practically perfect the event was. So kudos to Daybreak for this one. EQII really knocked it out of the park with this Easter-themed event. Hopefully, we can see more like this in the future, both here and — if other studios take notice — in other titles. What’s so great about it? I am glad you asked! (Though honestly, I was going to tell you anyway!) Here are the winning elements:
First off, this event wasn’t a same old, same old rehash. Not that repeat events are bad; some of my very favorite holiday festivals are exactly that. Still, you’d think after 12 years and umpteen holidays, folks would run out of new event ideas for players. Or, looking at it another way, you almost have to wonder how on earth devs can even fit another event into the jam-packed event calendar. Yet they did. What exactly was the event? Five flavors of Beast’r Eggs (Cheeky, Cheery, Lovely, Bumbly, and Frisky) were hidden in Norrath for players to find and collect. They were tucked behind trees, on ledges, in buildings, near named mobs, and everywhere else. Once collected, the Beast’r Egg would become a personal pet.
The fact that devs came up with something new does make the event exciting and fresh. I can’t recall or find mention of any Beast’r Eggs in any forms in previous years. Being new, there’s a thrill to participating in the event because it hasn’t been done before. And as it is labeled under achievements as a live event, there’s a possibility that Beast’r Eggs will ever return. However, they might: Executive Producer Holly Longdale confirmed on twitter that the event might make a reappearance. As a (possibly) one-time live event, it drew folks in so they wouldn’t miss out. There’s a special feeling to being able to participate in a part of history in a game that can’t be relived. I still speak very fondly of the Monty Python-inspired killer bunny event and enjoy recounting those memories; it is quite likely my all-time favorite live event in the MMO-verse.
One thing that elevates Beast’r Eggs above the vorpal bunnies is the fact that was mentioned above: This event gives you pets! That’s right, cosmetic pets. I know I am not the only player with a weakness for having some cute or crazy critter following behind me as I adventure. And even if I can’t have them all out all the time, I still want to collect every single pet I can. No wonder Pokemon is so popular — I gotta get ’em all! Just making the reward for participating a pet is a huge win. I know more than one person who heard “pet” and dove immediately into game to participate, some even reinstalling on the spot.
What is better than being able to earn a pet or five? Everyone being able to earn pets! A huge bonus to this event is the fact that everyone could participate. And by everyone, I mean literally everyone: from a just-created newbie to a max-level veteran. Many times games have some neat events with cool rewards but there is no possible way for newer or lower-level players to participate or participate fully. Either the entire event is geared toward only the max levels (that’s where everyone is, right? Wrong!), or some aspect is gated behind areas/situations that the newer players can’t reach. This is disappointing to only be able to take part in half an event, only get half a reward, or worse — not get the reward at all because you can’t complete the entire thing!
Beast’r Eggs, on the other hand, were hidden around the starting cities and starting zones. A level one player is safe within the city (as long as you stick to your own faction’s cities!), so it was possible to collect every single egg to complete your pet collection as well as get the accompanying achievement for doing so. Any new player, any alt, any anyone could earn that Eggcellent Adventurer title and parade around with a colorful egg sporting malevolent eyes bouncing behind. I so appreciate this fact.
I also really appreciate that this event was only a week long. True, it makes missing it more likely, but the fact that it isn’t massively complicated and dragging out forever is actually better. People can get in, participate, then finish up and move on. Events that go for many weeks or months might give a few more folks the chance to participate, but it mostly just starts to annoy all those who finished eons ago. Basically, it is just enough time to keep the excitement and hype up without players getting tired of it and wishing it would just be done with finally.
The Beast’r Egg event is all kinds of awesome because it did not involve any mind-numbing grind. This cannot be stressed enough: no grind. And the fact that it wasn’t a time-pressed grind is just a huge plus! As much as I loved the killer bunny event, getting the achievement on multiple characters was not so easy because you had to seriously grind out killer bunny kills. Those little fluffballs weren’t pushovers, either — they had big teeth and could rip your throat out easily. I personally have a whole lot of alts, and as usual I wanted to get the achievement on all of them. Sadly, some were just not strong enough at all to participate, and even of those that were I couldn’t grind out 50 kills on each one before time ran out… or I wanted to gouge my eyes out. Yes, even before time ran out I tired of grinding. Too much grind wears an event’s welcome out. At that point, you just start praying for it to end so you don’t have to feel the compulsion to try and complete it.
One thing that really struck me with this event was the fact that it had an element of challenge for those who wanted it. Racing around the cities, poking in corners was one way to search for these Beast’r Eggs. Or for a real challenge, you could stay out in the bigger beginner zones and try to find them. You could also increase the challenge by matching your level to the zone via chronomentoring so that you had to dodge or fight mobs, or even decide to hunt in the opposing faction’s cities. Having to sneak around during your search definitely upped the challenge factor.
We saw our first Beast’r Eggs while flying overhead on a griffon in the overland zones. That was so exciting! We ran back only to find it was gone, but after a while we stumbled across another. There was a ton of ground to cover, so we were zipping about (on flying mounts — do ground mounts only for even more challenge!) trying to find more. Because we started so late and which eggs appeared where was random, I hadn’t much hope of earning the achievement for finding and collecting all five, but I was pretty excited just to have a pet or two. Even knowing that I wouldn’t catch them all, I was having a blast hunting.
And then, I made a discovery: There’s an easy mode to this event!
Let’s say you didn’t have all the time in the world during this limited-time event to participate. But you still wanted to take part and you still wanted the spoils. Guess what? This event catered to you, too! More than just sticking to the city and searching, you could actually be directed to the Beast’r Eggs. And not just any Beast’r Egg, but the exact one you need to finish your collection. Remember that “Find an NPC” function on the city guards? Well, it turns out that it works on the Beast’r Eggs! All you had to do was type in Beast’r Egg and if there was one in the zone, the guard would point you to it, mark it on your map, and give you the nice little glowy follow line to follow right to it. You could even ask about each specific egg by name.
Amusingly, the guards could prank you a bit: If none by that name were spawned in zone at that moment, you could actually be directed to someone’s actual pet! That was a funny/disappointing moment when that first occurred to me. If guards just shrugged because none were spawned, you could just hail again after a bit and ask again.
After discovering this method, I was actually able to get the achievement on every alt I wanted to in just one afternoon. That made me extremely happy! I can’t recall another time when I have been able to accomplish everything I wanted on every alt I wanted in any event. So this was pretty awesome to me. And lets just give extra kudos to devs for making the city guards relevant again!
When I say this event was really designed for everyone, I wasn’t kidding. Even those who didn’t want to join in the hunt but still want the pets can get their own Beast’r Eggs via the Marketplace — but only after the event ended. Sure, the achievement for finding them isn’t available, but the pets themselves are. From Thursday, April 20 until 2:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 30th, players can purchase any Beast’r Egg pets they want. I doubly appreciate the fact that the pets were not available during the event, but only after.
In all, as much as it was just a small, whimsical event, I think the Beast’r Egg hunt was one of the best events I have ever participated in. Though nothing is perfect, almost every element was a win. (I’ll admit that upon seeing my first Beast’r Egg hop against a wall then glitch into it so I couldn’t collect it was a real bummer.) I greatly appreciate how inclusive the event was, how so many different playstyles were all represented. I admit that I am a bit in awe when looking at it technically that something so small could just hit all the right notes and turn into such a big serving of awesome. It wasn’t massive, it wasn’t game changing, but the Beast’r Egg hunt was what more events should aspire to be. And I hope more do.