Let me hark back to days of yonder and tell you the stories of drops of old. The players' population boom since the new version of Runescape was released in March 2004 has meant that many people are unfamiliar with the history of holiday events. So what better time to address this issue other than the first holiday since the start of the Tip.It Times.
With the game having been publicly opened in January 2001, the first ever celebration of a holiday was the Halloween of that year. Jagex surprised the relatively low amount of players that were playing by spawning pumpkins in random locations across the map which heralded the message of “Happy Halloween” when examined.
Christmas 2001 a few months later can be considered a historically important time in Runescape history because it saw the advent of Christmas crackers, and hence Party hats. The crackers spawned all over the place ONLY on Christmas day and players would ‘use' them on each other to crack them open and receive their prize. Only one player would receive a Party hat which would be coloured either green, blue, purple, red white or yellow. I have loved my purple hat that I got on that day and it holds immense sentimental value to this very day, I'm sure many players feel the same.
|Party Hats released on Christmas 2001|
2002 saw much the same style of holiday events with new special items being randomly dropped across the map for ONE day only, and hence limiting the participation of many players as they might not have logged in on that day.
Easter brought colourful edible Easter eggs and I vividly remember walking from the exit of the Dwarven mine near the Ice Mountain towards the Falador bank to bank my inventory of coal ores when I was suddenly surrounded by eggs! I feasted well that day.
Halloween saw blue, green and red masks and Christmas 2002 welcomed Santa hats. Because all these drops were only available for one day and one day only, they have come to be classed as ‘rare' and their prices have continued to increase almost exponentially to this day, despite fluctuations in their prices and ‘dupings'. Halloween masks and Santa hats are exchanging hands for over 5 million GP each nowadays while the Party hats released earlier in Christmas 2001 are in many tens of millions and for some players, the ultimate status symbol.
The rarity and increasing worth of these items heralded a phenomenon which saw many players mass hoarding these items so that they could be sold later down the line for a handsome profit. Jagex realised that these actions were neither in the spirit of the game nor in the spirit of the holidays being celebrated and took the brave decision of making holiday items non-tradable in 2003. There was uproar of course; players could no longer make easy money by doing nothing. What a shame.
| A red Halloween Mask |
released on Halloween 2002
Bunny ears were dropped on Easter and Scythes on Halloween. There was a considerable fiasco with the scythes due to the timing of them being dropped which ultimately resulted in there being no Christmas drop that year.
The new version of Runescape as you play it today was released in March 2004, but there were no celebrations on Easter and Halloween that year. Jagex wisely let the uproar die down while greedy players everywhere realised there would be no return to the old system of holiday ‘drops'.
The new version of Runescape prompted a boom in player numbers and in Christmas 2004, Jagex decided to celebrate holidays in-game once again. But this time they had a renewed, and most would say fairer, approach. A new character by the name of Santa was introduced to the game over a period of two weeks who would give out free Yo'Yos to players who talked to him. The character was removed after the two week period and hence, although only players who were able to play at the time could get the new items, the extended availability of the new character ensured many players enjoyed the holiday feature.
This year saw an Easter bunny handing out Easter eggs and Rubber chickens to players over the duration of two weeks. And of course, just this week, Jagex continued much along the same lines with “trick or treating” kids, the grim reaper and the ‘zombie head' item. See this discussion for more details about these.
You can find full details of all holiday and rare items in their guide in the General guides section of the site (see navigation).
I'd like to commend Jagex for these creative and imaginative features that serve to break the monotony of the normal game play (for me anyway) and encourage them to keep on thinking of different and innovative ways of adding extra flavour and variety to the game. There is much scope for expanding these types of events as demonstrated in many similar games, but that's a topic for another article.
Do you have any thoughts or comments about what you've just read? Want to discuss this article with your fellow Runescapers? We invite you to discuss the article here.