The Tip.It Times

Issue 20099gp

The Ghost of Holiday Events Past

Written by and edited by Hamtaro

"Of course you can sell them but that's not really the spirit of christmas :D"

If you have a good memory and you've played Runescape since the beginning, you may remember those words. In one of their newsposts near Christmas this was Jagex's cute little comment about selling an item intended to celebrate Christmas. There was also a mention of giving extras to friends as presents. This item was indeed the Santa Hat, and one wonders how Jagex would have reacted given the near decade of hindsight we now possess. It was the last of its kind rather than the first-everything from partyhats to H'ween masks had already been released.

Apparently that reminder wasn't enough, as the Santa hat was destined to be the last of its kind, as from then on in all holiday events resulted in untradable items. After a few years of fishtailing, Jagex introduced holiday events, whereby a player would perform some task for an NPC and receive a the item as a reward. Soon these events became a regular staple of RuneScape.

But why discuss holiday events now? September, you might argue, is jumping the gun a bit on the start of the holidays. In fact, that is exactly why I am suggesting we discuss it now. Already one imagines Jagex mapping out the Halloween event, with other holiday events to follow in quick succession. But before we go into the details of holiday events, let's examine the holidays themselves.

The holidays Jagex promotes ingame mirror the American Christian calendar. Each of the American holidays have a traditional idea which one may not know or perhaps has forgotten (that includes you, Americans!). Perhaps the least well-known is Halloween, which originated when people would wear vibrantly colored clothing to scare away ghosts and spirits which allegedly appeared on the last night of the tenth month of the year. Thanksgiving is based on the idea of setting aside a day to be thankful for what you have, and Christmas is nearly universally celebrated as time to spend with family (as well as its non-secular meaning). In fact, over nine in ten Americans celebrate it [1].

What happens in reality? On Halloween, kids engorge in an elaborate candy exchange known as trick-or-treating and proceed to gorge themselves on it. During Thanksgiving we have a huge feast and predictably eat excessively. The next day, known colloquially as Black Friday, we compulsively rush out early in the morning (some stores open at 5am or earlier) to start shopping for largely useless gifts for each other in the now-commercialized version of Christmas.

Unlike real life, RuneScape's holiday celebrations are free to enter the realm of fantasy, as they have through holiday events. Thousands of players run around uncovering a charming holiday story, often with a clever twist and many funny lines, and everyone gets a nice cosmetic item as a reward.

Personally, my favorite was the Christmas Ghost robes. To refresh your memory, during the event players dressed up as a ghost and tried to scare the NPC Ebenezar Scourge. The player tries, and fails, by showing him his past and the present. Then the player has the idea to haunt Scourge about his future, which succeeds. Of course, I wasn't thinking of it at the time, but it serves a powerful anecdote to the rest of RuneScape. Think about any unpopular update: people have resigned themselves to it. If they quit over it, they're gone, and if they're still there, then they adapted to it. The next time people talk about an update they dislike, pay attention: their real fear concerns what will happen next or how the game is going downhill-i.e. the future.

However, holiday events are no longer restricted to a cute little story and a free reward. Jagex routinely releases cosmetic items, known as vanity items among the community, and one can unequivocally state that they have invaded the holiday time space. On top of that, events now routinely have a counterpart available to members only, and, this Easter, free players were given a temporary version that disappeared if they did not subscribe.

The content has also arguably degraded. Case in point: last Thanksgiving, the event was literally following a hint arrow to talk to people who immediately handed over items for a Thanksgiving feast. There was essentially no story, as has been a recent trend.. Part of the problem is attitude. Nothing pains me more than the question my friends routinely ask about the holiday item: "What does it do?"

Players have grown so accustomed to the ingrained tradition of holiday events that they speak of the holiday event long before any official announcement.

Given all the updates regarding the Squeal of Fortune and Solomon's general store, it seems almost taken for granted that something similar will appear during the holidays this year.

I'm not going to complain about it. I'm not going to resist.

It's their game, and they are a corporation fueled by the ambition to make money and all that. Holiday items can become part of that.

Of course you can sell them, Jagex, if you want to. Yet, I put to you the same words you posed to us: that's not really the spirit of Christmas.

The author wishes to give special thanks for Tip.It's compilation of holiday items history (


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Tags: Events Holiday

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