Why Pilgrim’s Bounty Was One Of The Best Holiday’s This Year

Over the last couple of days, I’ve spent more time in WoW than I’d planned. Saturday night, actually, I kept myself up until the wee hours of the morning. No, I wasn’t frantically grinding quests or exploring or vainly trying to master my new troll druid (this healing business is totally new territory for me). Instead I was doing something I never in a million years thought I’d do: milking Pilgrim’s Feast for all its worth.

PB is really one of the quieter holiday events in WoW. There’s no boss fight, no shiny loot, or special invasion. Instead, simple tables are spread throughout the world, inviting players to sit and feast. There’s even a buff if you “pass the stuffing” to a fellow party goer. All told, it’s probably the most relaxed and quiet of all the holiday events in Azeroth. So, it’s not surprising a lot of people simply pass it up. Especially so, given, as Tobold notes, that it doesn’t really make much sense to stop for a slice of Pumpkin Pie in the midst of a dragon shattered turmoil.

Seriously, who stopped and said, “Guys, wait, hold up on the rebuilding. Someone needs to set up the picnic table. Who’s going to do it? You, Thrall? How about you, Garrosh? Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the turkey!” Thank god for druids. You know they were behind this. The probably have turkeys on tap… though chopping their heads off and stuffing the carcass doesn’t seem too “at one with nature.” But I digress.

I actually only picked up on it for the chance at some easy XP. It’s been a while since a holiday was worth doing for experience alone.

But take it up I did and I was surprised to find a big part of it I hadn’t heard discussed anywhere: the cooking. Next to the holiday tables was a cooking trainer who offered a daily quest pointing you towards a nearby vendor. The big ticket item from the vendor was a “Holiday Cookbook” which came with five or so recipes spanning level 1 – 280 (skillwise).

At first I was a little disheartened since, frankly, I’ve never cared a wit about cooking and there’d be no way I’d be able, or want to, get to 280 skill before the holiday was over. This is the shattering, baby, who wants to spend time roasting a turkey when there are cultists to kill?!?

It was late, however, so I figured “what the heck” and made up the first recipe to complete the daily and work at my next level.. Surprisingly enough, the recipe stayed orange (guaranteed skill point) when everything else had greened out. Materials were cheap, in the low coppers, so I bought them out and filled out the rest of my skill to 75 before training the next tier. The same thing happened again! It involved some traveling between the cities but the recipes quite literally carry you 300+ skill points into the profession. No muss, no fuss; as a matter of fact, you don’t have to kill a single mob in the wild until you’re 280 points in. On top of that, the holiday food, immensely plentiful by the time you’re done, offers the Well Fed buff and stat boosts when other, basic recipes do not. They only last seven days, but that’s enough to get good use out of them.

I know what you’re thinking: what’s so great about that? Honestly, I’d have agreed if I was a level 80 character. The main reason I never bothered with cooking was because, well, someone else always had it. Why grind pork chops when someone else already did the legwork? If I was playing my 80, I’d likely have skipped the event entirely.

That’d have been a flawed way of approaching this event and here’s why: this year’s Pilgrim’s Bounty was about paving the way for Cataclysm. The last few holidays have all been about giving max level charcters new shinies. That’s fine for players in the end of an expansion, a good extrinsic motivator as Spinks points out. A short week from the launch of a brand new expansion, however, there doesn’t seem to be much point. Whatever item they give, unless drastically overpowered for the game as is, would be useless quicker than it’d take to design.

Providing something as simple as cooking, however, is a much more practical solution. Instead of a quickly diminished loot reward, players are given a boost that will last them an entire 60 levels. They’ll be more valuable in groups, better prepared to solo, and, most importantly, will no longer have to grind where other players will. This holiday reward is much more akin to a “advance straight to GO, collect $200” than “get a free token.” And, in a year when holidays have pretty much been carbon copies of events from yesteryear, difficulty and all, that’s a pretty welcome change.

Though the event is now over, I hope you had the chance to check it out and earn some easy skill points. Pilgrim’s Bounty definitely let me hit a couple personal milestones. I can finally make Fish Feast, which raids always call for (67 levels in advance!). And, for the first time ever, I have cooking past the first tier. By the time I was done, I had 355 skill points. Being Grand Master at something before you can even enter an instance has got to count for something.

One thing is for sure, as you can tell, I feel like I accomplished something. That’s not something I can usually say after a WoW holiday. This time is different, far more meaningful and memorable, and didn’t involve a single piece of loot. So long Pilgrim’s Bounty, may more come like you in the future!

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