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Game Design Question: Should Games Have Limited Time Events?

I’ve decided that a weekly Game Design Question would be a good thing to add to the site as I get it moving again, so each week I will ask a new question about video games that can be considered and discussed from a design perspective.

This week’s GDQ is about limited time events in video games. These things like the cross-over events, such as Lightning Strikes from Final Fantasy XIV or the Carnival in Final Fantasy XV, where players can participate in the event for a brief period, a few weeks or a few months, and they get some kind of in-game reward for having participated.

These can also be things such as the seasonal events that Final Fantasy XIV runs that awards special items that change each season. Many of the items come along later on as cash purchase items that anyone can buy from the online store for the game, but there was a time period where if someone missed an event in Final Fantasy XIV they were unable to get the item.

I would like to know what others think about these limited time events that you only get to do once for a week or so, then never see again and may never be able to get the items from it if you missed it for some reason.

One concern connected to this is crafted items for timed events in games like Final Fantasy XIV. During one summer event Final Fantasy XIV had a fish and chip platter that was turned in as part of the quest, they added a recipe for it to the cooking craft items. It required a Haddock that could be caught off a ship near Costa Del Sol or bought from the event vendor. After the event was over, however, the Haddock vanished from the game – the recipe did not. This was pointed out by a buddy of mine that wanted to complete all of the items in his cooking crafter book in the game. Thankfully there was a few haddock left kicking around that could be put into the company coffers and allowed him to make that recipe, but it raised the issue of the ingredient for that particular recipe no longer being available to new players that were trying to complete their culinarian crafted items.

So, what do you think? Are timed events a good or bad idea for video games? Is it okay to have them as long as they are repeated on occasion? Is it preferable that they be “missed out, sucks to be you” things? What about the items that can be obtained for playing the event later being sold for real money by the company? And what are your thoughts on situations like the haddock that vanish from the game, leaving a craftable item unable to be crafted?

Please, share your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

Next Monday’s Game Design Question: Are Repeated Dungeons Okay?

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