Today the Harvest festival ends and I have to admit its a bit of a non event. On my server, one of the largest in the EU hardly anyone bothered to pay a visit to the tomb of Uther the Lightbringer.
So what could they do to improve the proceedings?
The obvious achievements would be take the existing bits and pieces and convert them as a starting point.
- Alliance – “Honour the Lightbringer”: Carry a candle to the tomb of Uther the Lightbringer and sit for a moment to contemplate his life and death.
- Horde – “Honour Hellscream”: Carry an offering to the grave of Grom Hellscream and sit for a moment to contemplate his life and death.
- Both – “Break the Harvest bread”: Sit at the Harvest table and sample all the produce available.
However all proper festivals should present a reason to run around half of Azeroth visiting random locations and the Harvest Festival should be no exception.
Visiting the graves of Hellscream/Uther are fine and well but there are lots of dead heroes whose corpses lie six foot beneath the soil, sand and stone of Azeroth and Outlands. So I would add an achievement to visit around 10-15 different burial grounds candle in hand to hear the stories of the brave but restless dead. Examples would include:
- The beachside Nightelf style graveyard in Azshara.
- The island graveyard outside Menethil Harbour
- One of the Oracle graveyards in Sholazar Basin
- Raven Hill
The Dwarf outside Ironforge, the only living alliance celebrant of the festival tells us the Harvest Festival is about honoring the fallen and feasting. In order to do the latter there must be food so another achievement would require our heroes to complete a treasure hunt collecting foodstuffs from different areas, examples would include:
- Pumpkins from the Tirisfal Glades
- Apples from Elwynn Forest
- Freshly baked harvest bread from either Mulgore/Westfall depending on your faction.
- Carrot cupcakes from Dalaran
After all, keeping the tables well stocked is the least we can do.
Once the table is groaning under the weight of all this fresh produce, we need to find something to do with it. Take a Harvest Bounty package to parents/widows/widowers/orphans of the fallen in each of your faction capitals. This would allow some of these random NPCs who aren’t interactable with to finally have a voice, a purpose and a back story.
The theme of the festival is food so the rewards should reflect this.
- A picnic hamper similar to the romantic one handed out when “Love is in the Air”. However more muted autumnal colours possibly with pumpkins or falling leaves on the umbrella. Unlike the romantic version this would seat five (handy for doing 5 mans) and would provide food for the party. It would also be usable indoors (unlike the valentine’s day one…. wonder if using an umbrella indoors brings badluck in game) so parties could utilise them properly especially when there are no mages around.
- Cooking recipes. A variety of recipes for all levels of cooking and all levels of players. This would include a new feast recipe which would give the same stats as the fish feast but uses different materials, mainly meat (yes, my priest is tired of eating fish with oranges 20 times a time a night).
- An updated version of the Bounty of the Harvest which proves more than 4 loaves of bread and also restores mana as well as health.
- A harvest reaper mini pet, similar to the compact harvest reaper kit made by engineers only it doesnt fight for you. Visually I would like something which looks like a smaller version of the Foe Reaper 4000.
There would also be corn dollies that can be picked up from the Harvest Tables and kept for the winter. In the spring, possibly during the “Love is the in Air” festival you would take them to farming land, Mulgore for the Horde and Westfall for the Alliance and return them to the soil to bless the crops for the forthcoming season.
The biggest problem the Harvest Festival suffers from is the sheer number of festivals currently filling up our calendar. The addition of “The Day of the Dead” and the “Pilgrim’s Bounty” just adds to the issue.
The Harvest is about food, but by the sound of it, so is the Pilgrim’s Bounty” according to the new achievements. Its also about honoring the dead.. which is precisely what the “Day of the Dead” is about. So rather than fixing the existing Harvest Festival, it seems that Blizzard are just adding two new festivals which stand on its toes.
As a festival this year it offers nothing unique, nothing exciting and that I feel is a terrible shame. Thats before we even get into the lack of advertising. You can’t move at the moment without falling over a brewfest sign with its pretzels, beer and bubbles yet there is nothing pushing the Harvest Festival. I would be surprised if everyone even knew it was taking place right now.
In terms of cultural importance surely honoring the dead and bringing home the harvest is far more important than getting drunk and racing rams. Its also more believable from a lore standpoint. There are farms the length and breadth of Azeroth, the Tirisfal Glades, Silverpine, Hillbrad, Ellwyn, Westfall, Darkshire, Mulgore and Durotar all spring to mind as farming country and there have been enough wars to provide fallen heroes to honor. It makes sense as a in-game festival that all the races would choose to celebrate at least one aspect of it if not both.
I just wish Blizzard would concentrate on the festivals which fit in with the game world rather than trying to shoehorn real world celebrations into Azeroth.