A carnival primer
First off, you need to be at least level 10 to participate in the events, but that's relatively easy to achieve. Currently, you can head to Sanctum, Meridian, or Shimmersand to take part in the carnival celebration. There are several quick carnival games, such as balloon popping, horse racing, and a ring toss in which the targets are several scurrying seacaps. Shimmersand has a few games that the cities don't offer, such as a fashion show, drinking game, and race around the shore. My favorite moment, though, was joining up a raid party to pop balloons. Since players got group updates for stomping balloons, it was much efficient to work together, and the balloon raid was born. (Personally, I feel that's even more worthy of a Guinness Record than the weddings!)
There are still a few more phases to the world event, but the carnival is packing up in a few days, so there's just a little time left to do the fun booth games. More importantly, the money changer will be leaving as well, so if you'd like to convert tokens to buy items from previous events, you need to make haste. Loot piñatas will also leave the game (no, not the easy to farm bosses -- I mean the real piñatas that have been popping up all over the world). In short, if you want a mount, trinket, title, or deep fried butter, you don't have much time left.
Until someone loses an eye
Currently, we're in phase four, although our server seems to be nearly done with the overall quota of defeated saboteurs, and if we succeed, we will unlock a new title that players can purchase (there is one for each phase). In addition to the current carnival games, there are dailies that ask you to kill saboteurs, including one group mission to kill a master saboteur. I learned the hard way that the group quest is indeed meant for a group because as soon as I talked to him, he turned into a level 50 elite and flattened me.
If you're good at gathering or if you prefer to PvP, there are also tasks that you can do to participate in the event, all located near town. You can deliver gathered materials to help support your faction or devote yourself to taking out as many opposing players as possible. And that's actually the next main objective of this world event: taking down the enemy.
The world event wraps up in early April with a twist: While the Guardians and Defiants are busy fighting each other, Fire and Earth invaders will take advantage to launch a new attack on Telara. Phase six is the concluding event; it serves as the bridge to kick off Update 1.8 and the War of the Wanton Maw. There's a lot of exciting stuff arriving with the next update, like the raid zone Infernal Dawn, the raid boss Maelforge, and new fishing and survial skills. What's also exciting is that there seems to be an increased air of danger coming to Telara, and I'm looking forward to seeing it all play out.
A fitting birthday celebration
I have to admit, even though I'm generally a huge fan of in-game events and holidays, some of the world events began to feel a little grindy to me, and I worried that RIFT's constant stream of new events made them feel mundane. But I've really enjoyed the Carnival of the Ascended because it brings us back to our roots. Telara isn't a war of good vs. evil; it's much more complicated, with Telarans battling each other and even planar invaders clashing when they cross paths. In MMOs, sometimes the slew of updates and new features cloud the bigger picture of why we're in the world and what we're fighting for. RIFT always appealed to me because it was easy to understand the struggle -- it was all around you everywhere you went. In past world events, we've sealed rifts and driven off planar invasions, but it sometimes felt a little cookie cutter when attached to the storyline. With this current event, the story is as simple as it gets, but it's also more compelling because as much as each side detests the other, both sides realize that the greater danger comes from the planes. So snarf up those corn dogs and fried pickles while you can because once the carnival leaves town, it sounds like the party will really be over!
Whether she's keeping the vigil or defying the gods, Karen Bryan saves Telara on a biweekly basis. Covering all aspects of life in RIFT, from solo play to guild raids, the column is dedicated to backhanding multidimensional tears so hard that they go crying to their mommas. Email Karen for questions, comments, and adulation.