Articles - ArticlesBefore I get started, a few alternate titles I considered for this article:
“Have You Ever Gotten Pumpkin Guts In Your G-String?”
“Can You Show Me On The Mutilated Teddy Bear Where The Pumpkin Man Touched You?”
“I'm Not Drunk Officer, But Could You Tell That Bottle Of Vodka To Stop Yelling At Me?”
"Parking Your Yalmaha Upside Down After A Bender: Cheap Repair Solutions"
“Waking Up Next To A Zombie: My Halloween Romance”
Considered by most to be THE quintessential holiday in Anarchy Online, the Halloween season is almost upon us once again! The black nights, the chilling growl of Uncle Pumpkin Head, and the knowledge that you're going to end up with backpack after backpack full of fun new toys and costume apparel. I'm not sure I could put the general feeling of the season much better than Zeephonz who said “Halloween is definitely the coolest time. It's the time for whips, chains, leather and nasties... bed-bugs and bats, pyres and pumpkins, witches and warlocks, absurdity and anarchy.”
Is our beloved holiday a universal love fest in the community? You bet. Only one person interviewed didn't outright claim Halloween as their favorite AO holiday, saying instead that it only won because it has the better loot compared to Christmas or Anniversary events. But, is the holiday more about the social aspect or the killing of an unlimited number of Uncle Pumpkin Head mobs? Very few people tend to RP during the holiday, but there are some die hard players out there that you should be able to track down if you're really looking to RP during Halloween.
Even the fact that a lot of players (and indeed a lot of GM's and ARK volunteers) live in parts of the world that don't celebrate Halloween in the same fashion as it is done in the United States, all the stops are pulled to make it an over the top, must attend event. Seen as a more religious or spiritual holiday, the idea of dressing up and partying is not a very wide-spread tradition, giving AO the unique job of showing these players just what Halloween can be like, without having to upset their neighbors by throwing a huge costume party.
The social aspect outside of actual RP is a huge draw of the season as well, especially with orgs getting together for Griefing Uncle Pumpkin Head PVP. Many orgs take this opportunity to dress alike in their favorite costumes, armor, or polymorphs and battle it out with one another in the tower fields. Have some tower wars been accidentally started by bad targeting? Of course. Does it just add to the fun? You bet!
What is the most obvious thing that makes everyone love Halloween? The loot. From social clothing and toys to Lya's armor and rare weapons, people show up in droves to take down the Pumpkins and root around in their hollow heads for some goodies and a teddy bear or two. Others will argue that the best thing about Halloween on Rubi-Ka are the parties, but you can bet even those who just want to get drunk and dance are spending some time out in the wilds to get their phats.
A lot of people remember the very first AO fondly. The sense of the unexpected and the strange darkness that swept over the game before the first sighting of everyone's favorite Uncle (not the drunk one that tells dirty jokes, that's just for REAL Halloween). Not only was the event a great success, but it showed the beginnings of what we know today from our great Development team and their caring to give us a game that we really enjoy playing. It gives the great sense that the people who work on the event do it just as much for themselves as they do for us, taking real joy in what they produce for the community.
While the sense of the unexpected and being surprised are a long gone memory to those who have lived through multiple Halloween seasons, we've been given hope that this year will see an influx of new items to collect, including one special item that so far people think is... a blender/hover chair/flux capacitor for a Delorean? Can any of it make up for the feeling of dread and excitement that overwhelmed us the first time Rubi-Ka went dark? We'll have to wait and see.
Few today know that back in the day there was a video that went along with the first Halloween event, so have a look over at this link if you've never seen it before or had just forgotten what a real gem it was to watch way back at the beginning of all the madness (literally, that's when the Steps of Madness dungeon opened). The video also has some political happenings from the time and a brief introduction to the Dust Brigade that is expanded upon in the following episodes.
Anarchy Online Animated Series Episode 101
Dressing up has always been a huge aspect of Anarchy Online, and Halloween is one of the best times to do so. Whether you are roaming the streets of Borealis as a zombie or flitting around Omni Entertainment Platform as an angel, you can always find players decked out in their favorite mishmash of costumes in the days prior to the big event. Some groups go out of their way to dress up during the season such as the GridStream Productions Dancers going all out with a ghost tour. Speaking of GSP, who doesn't look forward to the annual ARK Halloween party with the GSP DJ's on hand to really keep you in the holiday spirit, surrounded by great decorations and prize giveaways that no one wants to miss.
During my interviews I asked players about some of the things they remember most about Halloweens past, good or bad. The number one mentioned item were the Griefing Uncle Pumpkin Heads that live among the tower fields of Ruki-Ka. Whether it was stories of fighting against other orgs to get their hands on the loot, or just killing them in funny ways that made light of dark and twisted visage of the creatures such as arranging their corpses in the shape of a flower. Thanks to Sorhan for this lovely shot!
No one had a clue what to do with an Uncle Pumpkin Head the first time they appeared, and a lot of players ended up as nothing but red smears on the ground during their first encounter with one. Their look alone was enough to make a player forget what they were doing and mess up the fight enough to give the UPH the upper hand. MastaBlasta recalls his first encounter with the not-so-nice fiend. “I was playing crat at the time and thought "hey this pumpkin guy can't be too tough" but oh boy, this was 2001, my crat was dualwielding shotguns with burst and charms weren't working at the time (if they were even ingame, I have trouble recalling it all ). So, I found my Uncle Pumpkinhead, and oh dear he was gray and had a huge lifebar, and killed me shortly. I found several others, but I never managed to kill one alone”.
These days AoE nukes are king when surrounded by the UPH menace, but is there really a point in killing so many in such a way when you're likely to get a large number of the same item? However, this tactic works well if you're taking a team of lower org mates out to collect their goodies, just like a good big brother/sister would do taking their younger siblings around the neighborhood for trick-or-treat.
Some players did express their concerns of a specific tactic used when fighting against the Griefing Uncle Pumpkin Head mobs that involved adjusting your video settings to allow the mobs to more easily be seen in the darkness. Whether this is a determining factor in who wins in the damage battle is really a guess, but something that many people feel was a way to cheat.
Other memories include the release of the Spooky Leet pets and the fun players had running around with them in tow, pitting them against one another in the long-forgotten forum of Leet VS Leet combat. The leets also went hand in hand with the great memory of people being randomly polymorphed in to various creatures ranging from leets to pit lizards or even the nasty Morgan Le Faye. Depending on the nanos you have (or that others have) and the various NPCs that you run across, the number of forms that you can take on as a costume are quite high. You just have to know where to look and who to ask.
Random giant mob attacks? Most of us have seen them, but none are as fun (or scary) as the ones that can occur during Halloween. Even a normal every day mob that you've killed a thousand times in the past can become a nightmare to behold when they are 200 feet tall and hit harder than a wrecking ball in full swing. These beyond belief mobs would take hours for the players defeat, though often being worth it in the rewards that each person who participated would receive.
The most mentioned addition to Halloween that people have expressed the desire to see is a Halloween team instance that only exists during the holiday with a main Beast-like “Pumpkin King” mob at the end with exclusive loot. The usual lock out timer was also suggested for this type of instance, making sure that no one would have the ability to camp the instance and horde the items inside.
Other things that people would love to have to make the holiday shine all the brighter (figuratively of course)? Decorations in the cities! Really, how great would it be to see an effigy of The Beast or Tchu in the middle of Borealis, lit on fire, surrounded by dancing toons dressed in alien costumes?
Another thing that people have been asking to see returned is the Forum Quest. While I was not a participant in this event, I have heard from a great number of people that it was really a lot of fun and something that they would like to see again.
Lastly players have the desire to be dark and twisted! I mean... MORE dark and twisted! A great addition to the usual Halloween loot and costume pieces would be a really dark set of social armor, with spikes, blood, chains, leather, all that good stuff. I would sure be first in line to walk around looking like the living embodiment of a Cenobite or a Lovecraft demon brought to reality. Items like this that drop one year, and one year only, make a great piece that players can show off time and time again, achieving a sense of accomplishment that they did their job to obtain the item, and no one else will be able to in the future if they weren't part of the festivities that particular year.
Thank you to everyone that took the time to answer a few questions and give their opinion on this great holiday and I hope that everyone has a wonderful and safe Halloween, no matter how you may be celebrating! Lastly here is a memory that was submitted by Zeephonz along with many others from players that participated in the interviews. To me, this memory just stood out as being the best one, and what I think of as the true spirit of Halloween trickery.
“Scaring little children... Stephen King "It" style. Took 3 years before any of them came back... not looking forward to them becoming teenagers and returning with their own surprises.” - Zeephonz
“That would have to be the Halloween party where Jack Sparrow turned out to be Jill Sparrow and not have a current boyfriend” - Neista
Special thanks to everyone that participated in the interview:
Esssch, vallikat, MastaBlasta, Mekh, Strupstad, GridPain, Zeephonz, scenenheard, Neista, Rktim, Galilei, Sorhan, Omutb, Ofabrk2, omegahealer, Veebliez, Ekarona
Article written by Silvana
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