Letters From Tamriel

An epistolary gaming blog

New Life Festival review

@Zells - sepia stone - smallOops – wrote this days ago; it was still sitting in drafts.

To cut to the chase, the New Life Festival is pretty much everything I said I wanted in a holiday event when I was bitching about the Witches Festival, and I’m really pleased with it overall.

Summary: you go to the Crown store and “purchase” (for free) a scroll that is the New Life kick-off item.  It drops into your inventory, and reading it gives you the quest to go see Breda in Eastmarch.  She then sends you to celebrations hosted by each of the races, nine total, and after attending each festival Breda gives you the festival quest reward: a gift box with a random mix of festival items.  Breda’s quests are dailies, so you can do each of the celebrations once per day per character.

The Witches Festival frustrated me because it was not only removed from the cultures of Tamriel, it was discordant with them in some regards.  It felt tacked on, and the event itself was repetitious – grinding and more grinding.  It was the first one, though, and I can see the advantage in keeping it simple to begin with.

By contrast, New Life is not only integrated with Tamriel’s various cultures, it expands upon them in some ways.  For example, the Tribunal has always had a prudish side, and I love that the Dunmer tradition in New Life – the Lava Foot Stomp – involves recreating a social protest against a no-dancing law the Tribunal once tried to enact.  “We’re not dancing!  We’re practicing putting out flames if our shoes catch on fire!  There’s lava around here, y’know!”  That feels very real… or maybe I’m just very into social protest right now.  Anyway – love it.  It has place and context in the world.  It adds to the history.

There’s still grinding, of course, and I honestly have no idea how to completely avoid that – any holiday event is going to be a repeating meme for the life of the event.  But I really appreciate that there isn’t a lot of “obligatory” grinding, like the “collect 100 Plunder Skulls” achievement.  There are achievements for learning all the motifs and recipes, and getting the 50pt holiday umbrella achievement means learning them all with each character you want to have that achievement; that’s a lot of motif pages if you want them for all your characters.  But you don’t have to grind with one particular character, any character can get the pages and pass them over.  Theoretically, I could run a character through the 9 festival events to get those achievements, and then buy the recipes and motifs for the character to learn, and be done.  I don’t have to stand there and kill the same thing over and over until an arbitrary number is achieved with each character who wants the achievement.

My mains, Fire & Nyx, are both CP level now, so when I play my alts “Enlightenment” builds up for the CP characters, which dramatically increases the amount of experience they get when I’m playing them.  I like that a lot – it encourages playing of non-vet characters.  In this particular case, it means there’s an advantage to doing all my holiday event grinding with lower-level alts.  They’ll build up skill points from leveling, my mains will build up Enlightenment, and the recipes and motifs can get passed around as needed.

It also means that there’s an absolute limit on the number of holiday quest rewards any one player can get.  The quests are dailies – one of each of the nine per character – so if you have all 12 character slots filled, your max amount of reward boxes would be 108 per day.  That’s still a lot, but it’s a finite number, unlike the Plunder Skulls, where we were being rewarded for sitting in the same spot killing the same elite for as many hours as we could stand to do it.  It also means the quest rewards have more meaning/value – and there’s variety with them this time, which is also great.

So on all those fronts, it’s a total win.  I’m still conflicted about the Crown Crates, and may end up skipping them entirely.  But the New Life Festival itself is solid.  More like this, please ZOS?

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