I’m not going to lie here: I’m really pretty disappointed with the rewards on offer for Granblue Fantasy’s anniversary event. An event summon that functionally obsoletes the Dark Flame Scion makes a certain amount of thematic sense when that was from an earlier anniversary event, sure, but it lacks a sub aura and has low stats with only three uncaps. The free Atma weapon will be nice, but the event-specific weapon is kind of meh for me, since I’ve already got my uncapped EX weapons in place. It’s not quite a stellar set of rewards.Final Fantasy XIV? Well, it’s a nice segue to talking about the game’s events and its event rewards, which has been on the lips of players over the past couple of months. Between Valentione’s Day and Little Ladies’ Day, there’s no small amount of consternation from the playerbase about the quality of the rewards we’re getting for these seasonal events. And it is, honestly, kind of ridiculous, for the same reason that me complaining about the aforementioned rewards is kind of ridiculous.
Let’s start by the agreement on some non-controversial and objective facts. FFXIV goes in on its events in a way that most other MMOs do not. Every single year brings a new story about this particular event and brings a new set of rewards, which includes any combination of cosmetic gear, emotes, Orchestrion rolls, food items, mounts, and minions. While there may be elements that get repeated like the haunted house for All Saints’ Wake, the actual events and the rewards are always different, and many of the elements are new and involved.
Getting these cosmetic items after the event is over is possible… after about a year, when they tend to be added to the Mog Station. Some of the lower-impact items (like fireworks) are also just available for the heck of it for gil. In addition, the amount of effort required to get the event rewards can vary between a handful of quest repetitions to a single quest line.
And there’s a fair number of events going on in the game, let’s not forget. January has Heavensturn, February has Valentione’s, March is Little Ladies’ Day, April has Hatching-tide. August brings around the Moonfire Faire, The Rising caps off August and moves into September, All Saints’ Wake in October, and Starlight in December. Weave in the Make it Rain campaign and a collaboration or two, and our chain of seasonal events runs pretty regularly throughout the year.
Last year we got some pretty elaborate rewards for a bit. This year, people are upset because we’re getting less rewarding events. Instead of a trio of emotes, we get a flower crown. Instead of a pair of flying chair mounts, we got a stuffed mammet. Is the team doing less now? Are event rewards just shrinking for no reason?
The answer is no. The event rewards are shrinking for a very good reason. Or, more accurately, they’re not as elaborate for these particular events.
Let’s take a step back. What were the rewards for Hatching-tide in 2018? It’s all right if you don’t remember; it was a wall hanging and a minion. What about 2017? Oh, then it was the giant floating egg mount. Before that? Oh, just a chocobo barding. Wow, all of those are pretty different, even though there’s a distinct thematic throughline.
What did we get for Valentione’s Day in 2017? The /dote emote. That’s about it. And if you’re the sort of person who mostly just uses emotes, it’s probably more useful to you than a stuffed mammet for your house… but then, that would be true of the mounts too, wouldn’t it?
The reality is that all of these events give different things, and more often than not they don’t always give the same sorts of things. This isn’t universal; most Starlight events and All Saints’ Wake events include an outfit of some sort. But the early-year events vary in how much stuff we get, and while some years we’re going to get more, other years we’re just not getting the same scope. They’re not going to have the idea for a new Valentione’s mount every single year.
Nor should we expect one. Nor is it even fair to expect one. And that’s a big part of the reason why we aren’t getting one.
I led off with that anecdote about the GBF anniversary event because, well, my perspective on things is also colored by the time that I’ve actually spent in the game. Not everyone has even one summon with an across-the-board elemental attack bonus, and while you could have a good reason to stick with higher stats if you do have one, that’s not automatic. The event reward is well worth it if you don’t have it. If you aren’t rocking a True Xeno weapon, the big reward weapon is pretty useful. And expecting everything to be immediately relevant to me as a player is missing the point that I am not the only person playing.
There are people I know who were really excited for the Flower Crown when it first got datamined months ago. Now it’s here, and you just have to do a little event work. That’s it. Having another stuffed animal to go in my house is more useful to me than a mount I’ll never use or a minion I’ll never summon. These events have a real and positive effect for players, and stating that the lack of the mount means that the even isn’t trying is missing the point of what’s actually being done.
We’re not going to get a new mount for every event every year, or a new minion, or anything. In some games, that means you get one mount added and then you spend the rest of the game’s natural lifespan trying to get it because that inevitably means making it something you can try for instead of a reward you can plan on. And if that’s what you like from your events, hey, there are titles that facilitate one list of rewards and then you’re done forever.
Me, though? I like having a churn and a continual sequence of different things to acquire. That means some years I’m not really going to care about the rewards from a given holiday event, and some years I’m going to have things that are more or less useful. Some years the outfits are things none of my characters would ever wear.
But there is going to be a next year. There will be more outfits. That seems like a fair trade for having a given year be less personally relevant for my needs.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, let’s talk about predictions and expectations for the final Shadowbringers fan festival ahead of the event itself; I’ve been looking forward to this pretty much since February, so I’ve had a lot of time to think about it.