To begin, you'll purchase tickets from the Marketplace, although right now if you log in you'll receive a few freebies to get you started. Free and Silver members get one ticket each month, while Gold members get three tickets each month. Clicking a ticket summons a Gigglegibber who offers you a choice of three games, and you can ask him to tell you a little about each one before you choose. Once you're ready to start, click a game and you'll zone into the goblin vault, reminiscent of the Runnyeye atmosphere that's common with Gigglegibber instances. If you lose, you don't actually lose your ticket, since it's not consumed until you get to the prize window (which means you also don't have to worry if you crash or are disconnected in the middle of a game).
In Goblin Grub, you're asked to assist the Goblin chef and deliver grubs to the famished Gigglegibbers scattered throughout the room. You get five at a time, so you have to keep returning to the chef to get more before continuing your task. When you reach a Goblin, you have to keep feeding him until he goes from famished to hungry to happy. Once he's happy, you don't have to worry about him again. If you neglect a goblin for too long, he'll eventually starve and you'll lose the game. Once you feed all of the Goblins, a chest will pop up in the middle of the room; looting it will open a prize window through which you have a choice of a random item or Goblin gold, the currency you can use to buy more tickets or purchase any of the items that can randomly be rewarded from the games.
The goal of this game is summed up by its title: Memorize the locations of four furniture items in the vault and then decorate the room the same way the Goblin had. To the side, there are about a dozen different items, and you have to pick out the four correct items, sort of like Indy had to do with the Grail at the end of the Last Crusade (only your face won't melt off if you choose poorly). Once you pick up an item, you have to place it in one of four glowing locations, and once you finish correctly, you'll get the chest and a choice of two prizes (one random item or Goblin gold). If you put an item down incorrectly, you'll lose and be ported out, although you won't lose the ticket.
This minigame is basically like Simon, and in fact, it's similar to a Gigglegibber game that's part of one of the holiday events already. In Statue Streak, there are four totems in the vault, and the Goblin asks you to correctly activate them in the order indicated. It's just a four-totem pattern, and the biggest trick is that some totems might need to be activated more than once. If you choose incorrectly, you'll be ported out to try again; correct completion rewards you with the same random choices as the other games.
After playing them a few times, I honestly don't quite understand why this system was added to the game. The games themselves are so short and so simple that I can see them getting old really fast. The minigames from the holiday events (like the aether races or grab-and-tag events) are much more fun, and we don't even have to pay for those. In other words, I just can't see buying tickets to do them for the enjoyment of the content. So the other reason would be for the prizes, but again, I don't think there's enough incentive there -- yet. There's a slim chance of getting a nice mount, and I suppose the big ticket item would be the gear unattuner, since you can't purchase that on the Marketplace, but other than that, I get the sense that many players will play their once-a-month freebies and that's about it.
Having said that, I'm sure there must be some data somewhere to show that these minigames are profitable, and with the free-to-play model firmly in place, there's been a growing presence of revenue-generating methods in the world of Norrath, so it wouldn't seem that unusual to have this new minigame system in place. The question is whether we'll see it expand to include more games (and a longer list of prizes). Perhaps this will be yet another avenue to introduce items for sale that have typically been viewed by the players as taboo to sell.
Also, we know there's another EQ
title quietly in production -- is EQII
a proving ground for a similar version of minigames in EQNext
? If so, then fan response to it is actually more important than we realize. Personally, I think the minigames are fine, but it also reminds me how far away we are from what the EverQuest
franchise used to be. When once we were debating the fairness of drop rates on dragons, we're now hashing out whether a feed the Goblin game's two Goblin gold reward is a fair amount. The guy who sold his dragonscale cloak on eBay back in 1999 was shunned as a pariah on the server I played on in EQ
. Now, we log in to EQII
and are greeted by a Marketplace with categories like New, Sale, and Dollar Store. It's not necessarily bad, but the EQ
brand is definitely different. (Then again, I'm not the gamer I used to be either!)
Let's switch gears a bit: This weekend is a Double Experience weekend in EQII
. From Saturday, September 1st (today), until Monday, September 3rd, players will receive double experience in game. This includes adventuring, tradeskilling, and AA experience (but not guild leveling experience). Time to work on those alts!
From the snow-capped mountains of New Halas to the mysterious waters of the Vasty Deep, Karen Bryan explores the lands of Norrath to share her tales of adventure. Armed with just a scimitar, a quill, and a dented iron stein, she reports on all the latest news from EverQuest II in her weekly column, The Tattered Notebook. You can send feedback or elven spirits to email@example.com.