Warframe. Path of Exile. Dragonvale. Crusaders of the Lost Idols.

I find it ironic that nearly every game I’m playing is unafraid of limited time events.

Many times, you’ll never see the exact same story sequence / plot point because the game has moved on in timeline from that time (though, of course, the rewards you stand to get may come back in a future event for you to earn via different routes or currency. But if that time is not now, then you’ll just have to wait.)

For some time now in Warframe, the guide/announcer Lotus has been in-game alerting players aboard their ship about a meteorite steadily heading towards Earth.

A couple days ago, the meteorite crash landed.

A day or two shortly thereafter, the meteor erupted with an Infestation boil (which I admit I still know very little lore about, but I presume anything that streams alien enemies warhammer 40k tyranid-style is a bad thing).

Operation: Plague Star was officially under way.


Thankfully, I found what looked like a hastily written text file cobbled together with slightly uncooperative UI providing in-game instructions for just what was supposed to be DONE with Operation Plague Star.

The effort towards clarity is appreciated.

Armed with that, I managed to make my way to Cetus and the NPC Konzu, begin the Plague Star bounty mission, and play the multi-stage mission.

As a newbie with no Archwing launcher, it ends up a fairly long mission hoofing it around (I don’t think my Rhino’s speed helps either) but I’m content to play it once in a while during this event period.

I presume more endgame progressed players can increase the difficulty and rewards by augmenting the Toxin following the instructions, and are probably grinding it to death as we speak.

But hey, I got to participate in the event a little, in my own solo way, and I’m happy.

It will end on Nov 27, and I suppose we will never see it again in the exact same form (though we might and probably will get Infestation invasions through some other story or plot point.)

Presumably, in the years prior when I was -not- playing Warframe, other Operations and other one-off events were happening, and long time players got kewl rewards off them. So it goes. The Warframe story progressed, and I wasn’t around to see it. That’s what happens in a living, multiplayer, persistent game.

In Path of Exile, you have month-long leagues, and short term races. The same style might come back for a revisit now and again, you might see some of the prize rewards return, but each event is unique and situated in time.

In Pokemon Go, the legendary birds were released, and then the legendary dogs (the last of which is circulated the globe, the last I checked, which was some time ago. I don’t follow this game fanatically, so I’m a little out of touch.) I missed catching Articuno and lightning dog Raikou refused to cooperate and be caught through multiple attempts. I don’t expect to be able to own these fellas until months/years later when hopefully they’ll make a return in another limited time event.

Seasons happen in Diablo 2. Hitman has Elusive Targets (they’re back for a second showing, I hear. I had high hopes but after screwing up the first one I tried, I decided I lacked the practice, skill and dedication to really savor the experience.)

Dragonvale runs 10-30 day events of different flavors nearly non-stop. Crusaders of the Lost Idols periodically buffs some crusaders over others, and has events that award new crusaders and their gear. During the time I play these games hardcore, I unlock the available event rewards.

When I stop playing those games in favor of other games, I don’t get the rewards that I missed until they come back again. I accept that much more hardcore players who play that game during those event periods get all the stuff available at that time.

I do not find this an intolerable state of affairs. All things have an opportunity cost. Time you spend doing one thing is not spent doing a thousand other possible things.

So why is it that one particular game is recently so allergic to the concept that time can move on and things can be ephemeral?



July 1, 2014: Zephyrite Sanctum attacked. “Think they’re dead by now, Jim.”


4 thoughts on “Ephemeral

  1. Isey says:

    I still have not done the event as I am busy trying to complete the star chart and do things in the proper order, to “catch up”. I had a post recently about login rewards, and Warframe has one for 700 odd days or so. And like you, I am fine with that. People that commit for that long, and that consistent, are the lifeblood of these games. Let them be rewarded as such.

    People who feel bad for “missing out”, well, it’s your fault for not being there / sticking with it in the first place.

    • Jeromai says:

      Exactly. I think it mainly boils down to event rewards and making sure “missing out” does not automatically equate to second class citizen or uneven playing fields (e.g. cosmetic or lateral progression stats) and that there are periodic ways to stand a chance at getting them again.

  2. Bhagpuss says:

    Because Karka Invasion. Because backlash. Because weak developers don’t have courage.

    And the result is a totally ludicrous meta-fix in which apparently everywhere is a temporal snapshot except it self-evidently isn’t. Also Gem Store sales.

    • Jeromai says:

      The more I think about it, the more I feel the karka invasion backlash was simply a result of lag + FOMO about the event rewards (which, at that time, was the first guaranteed exotic drop that many players had ever seen.)

      The learning point about the lag, I’ll grant, is that GW2 cannot handle performance-wise too many players clumped up together. The take-home should have been that any future events has to spread out players more – which was done relatively well with the new zones incorporated and less well on pacing where the very long Living Story beats are concerned.

      The whole zones frozen temporally thing comes off as a lazily clever way to never have to fix/clean up destroyed/messed up areas (perhaps saving developer resources.)

      Event rewards still seem to be something Anet is struggling with, five years on. Maybe they should just offer earnable gems.

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