Wisdom of Nym: The rotating rewards of Final Fantasy XIV’s seasonal events

    
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Your manager says you should shut up.

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.

What does any of this have to do with 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.

We also keep getting new art for these things, I'll note.

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.

For me? Or someone.

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 eliot@massivelyop.com. 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.

The Nymian civilization hosted an immense amount of knowledge and learning, but so much of it has been lost to the people of Eorzea. That doesn’t stop Eliot Lefebvre from scrutinizing Final Fantasy XIV each week in Wisdom of Nym, hosting guides, discussion, and opinions without so much as a trace of rancor.
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styopa

I enjoy the holidays in FFXIV a fair amount, but I haven’t been playing >1 year either, so they’re all still fresh for me.
Still trying to figure out the logic behind the Valentione’s Day rewards (a DRK sword and a kitchen knife…one could see a dark humor there for a celebration of romance…what’s next, a rabbit head?)

On a tangent, one thing I don’t really get in most fantasy games is the universality of holidays across the world. As we’re talking quasi-Medieval worlds, one of the quaintest things about holidays in the Old World is their regionalism. It would be something just that little bit more authentic if Wineport had their unique harvest/bottling festival one weekend each fall, or Hawthorn Hut has their Cherry Blossom Festival in May.

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bakkahentai2600 .

Let’s be a bit fair here – the holidays our characters get involved in are Realm Wide (only Eorzea) based holidays that collaborate with the Adventurer’s Guild to make it so. We have arrived at a point in which everything is streamlined for it in Eorzea.

Like Little Ladies Day is flat out an Ul’dah holiday, and it has only spread in popularity across the realm over the years. Valentione’s is Ishgardian and was brought forward years ago. Hatching Tide is just a weirdo who made it fun enough that everyone joined in. Moonfire Faire was actually invented as something from 1.0 and the anniversary event is for the rebirth of the realm. All Saint’s Wake is a bunch of ghouls who are trying to conquer the realm and purposefully spread it because of calendar needs. The Starlight Celebration is another Ishgardian thing brought and spread over everywhere else. And finally, Heavensturn is actually people from Othard sharing their new year’s event.

But a big thing is that the Sixth Astral Era and now Seventh is that Eorzea – especially Limsa, Ul’dah, and Gridania – are much more unified and the Adventurer’s Guild has added onto that. There was definitely more regional based holdiays in, say, the Fifth Astral Era where they were far more secluded.

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レン

I think you’re skewing the picture here somewhat. The entire playerbase does not expect an elaborate new mount and outfit and minion for every event every year, I’d hazard a guess at least most of us are intelligent enough not to, at least. What constitutes most of the noise around the events is an amalgamation of several issues: the PR for them (ie. the official artworks), the story and quests themselves, the characters included, the nature and amount of rewards – and, yes, all these compared to what we had before in each of these fields, for the same event and for events in general. Bemoaning the rewards themselves is just the first reaction, since those are revealed the soonest: they’re either lackluster or interesting. And while first impressions are important, they aren’t the same as the overall judgment of an event.

Take last month’s V-day event. Advertised with the caption “it’s not just for couples”, and with that artwork that is… well. I don’t think I need to spell it out – especially when the story and quests themselves also played to that part quite a bit. With the tagline, they could have made the old man and his granddaughter the centerpiece, but instead they opted for the totally-not-a-couple waifus. Which, incidentally, also turned the event in general into what many have called “cute waifu holiday”, which also easily rubs too many people the wrong way, for more than one reason. Add to it the completely random DRK weapon and CUL off-hand (off-hand!) that were thrown in the mix (was it because the devs themselves felt the three furnishing items were too underwhelming on their own? who knows…), and it just got even weirder.

Then comes this year’s Little Ladies’ Day… With a completely throwaway story (personally, I was legit yawning right when I picked the quest up – oh dear, yet another sickly “little” girl who spirited away from her guardian, how unusual! why should I care, again?), that also twisted the symbol of the event too, so that people with the peach blossom earrings and choker holding out for a matching flower crown are SoL for another year at least. I swear the most endearing part of the actual story was the Roegadyn couple; but hey, at least they made sure to shoehorn the Songbirds in, too, despite them having nothing to do with the event this year. Gotta have those waifu points. As for the flower crown itself – it’s a love it or hate it thing. A lot of people have wanted one for ages, glad they finally get it. For the others, it just gets chucked in the Armoire (that, by the way, is another issue: yes, we do get glam gear, but at least half of those goes away immediately, never to be used). But even those who would be happy with the flower crown itself are faced with a conundrum that might put them off: it is one item, but it has two different looks based on gender, for no good reason. Not only that, but one of them (the female, that is, which seems to make it even worse, at least considering the event itself) has permanent pink in it that just doesn’t dye, for whatever reason – in all fairness, the male version has green leaves which also don’t dye, so at least there’s a balance… of sorts… right?

On the side, we have… Past event rewards going to the cash shop a year later. Don’t know if I’m alone with this, but I think this is the biggest insult. When we have events every year for the same holidays, past rewards should never be moved to a “shopping list” – the mog station gets more than enough (overpriced) additions more often than it should, anyway. Not in an MMO we pay a monthly sub for. Especially not when they also bring back past event minigames, most of which aren’t fun enough to farm as much as we have to for rewards the first time around, to be honest, but hey it’s an easy way to pad out the event. In addition to all this, food items they have been going over the top with for a while now still have this “disease” about them where they are pointless interactive consumables, as opposed to being simple static tabletops – for most it’s nowhere near a dealbreaker, of course, but it’s definitely a detail that should be done away with.

TLDR: complaining about rewards sure is a thing, but that’s because they’re the “poster children” of any event. They are what we get to see first, they make up the major part of our first impression, and at the end of the day, they are what we get to live with ingame. But complaining about rewards is just the surface of a much more complicated, compound issue that should not be shrugged off with a “could be worse”. That entire apologist attitude is questionable in itself – when we know they can do better, because they proved it in the past, under similar circumstances too… Why should we (automatically) give them a free pass when we feel an event is simply subpar? We are, actually, paying customers here.

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bakkahentai2600 .

The only reason I’m always a bit disappointed to not get an outfit is that I like to wear the previous year’s outfit for that year’s quest line.

And, I mean, the last Starlight Celebration was great, but no Heavensturn will surpass the Year of the Rooster.

I like this year’s Little Ladies Day, but the second story from last year’s can’t be topped by just the unexpected darkness.

Vexia
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Vexia

Rotating seasonal event rewards have kept me coming back to FFXIV at times when I was currently too busy or uninterested in playing. For some reason, I just can’t bring myself to miss one. I just wish we had some kind furniture equivalent of the armoire because storing at least one, often multiples, of everything still fills up a lot of storage space slots in my house.

The rewards lately have been fine. I somewhat wonder if the huge influx of new players that Stormblood brought in have created this complaint because one’s first experience with something is their baseline, and a lot of people are going from mount to tabletop item, emote set to flower crown, etc.

If there were some way to track it, “/dote” is probably already my most-entered chat phrase throughout the entire game’s history FWIW.

Thanks for the reminder to grab that anniversary summon, too. >.>

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nobleeinherjar

While I’ve sometimes felt a lot of the festivals in FFXIV aren’t mechanically interesting (with obvious exceptions like the haunted house or the Valentione’s maze), the new stories that go with them each year are cute and fun. It’s not something I appreciated at first, honestly. For the type of MMO player that I am, knowing that I don’t have to grind a festival’s events every day makes me more willing to participate, which in turns makes those events where some grinding is necessary more palatable.

The flower crown reward for this year’s Little Ladies’ Day is what clued me in to the same point made in this article, that the rewards aren’t always about me and what I want. I’ve never been one to say, “Man, the rewards suck this year compared to last year. What gives?” I would just shrug and move on. But some of my FC members were so happy about the crown and wanted to show off how well it went with their glamour outfits and stuff. Their excitement made me happy that the crown was a reward even though I didn’t have much use for it, and that was totally worth it compared to a new mount or another tchotchke for my house.

(Also it kind of seems to me like the FFXIV dev team is just constantly working, so I’m more than okay if “all” I get out of any given festival is something small.)

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

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.

Of the list of things that make me sour about FF:XIV this practice is right up there. These items are added to the cash shop in a subscription required game.

And if I have the temerity to roll up an alt after the event, well so-sad-too-bad, pay up sucker.

hypefordays
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hypefordays

I’m just glad they’re used to provide content before being put up. Most don’t even bother with that much. Besides that, they don’t have WoW numbers, yet still have three expensive festivals along with a $50m budget for expansions. Which is pretty insane considering WoW frequently said moving equipment and staff around the world even once is too costly and I highly doubt they have an AAA budget for most of their expansions. To say nothing that Yoshi-P said that the mog station money is used to make the game better and wasn’t pocketed some time ago. Though that was years ago and things change. I doubt their budget wasn’t doubled and then tripled just to make the mog station add even more.