It seems that Bioware have started the first world server event for The Old Republic. I should have known something was up when I hit a server queue for the first time in weeks. A few minutes later, whilst browsing the GTN on the Republic Fleet with my consular Rillian I heard some screaming and something exploded nearby, giving me a sickness debuff. Weird.
A few seconds later the first of two announcements were made over the Fleet tannoy system:
Attention Republic citizens... the Galactic Senate Health and Safety Council has issued an infectious disease alert.Then came the second announcement.
There are unconfirmed reports that the rakghoul plague has spread beyond the Taris system.
Victims of rakghoul plague suffer fever, body aches and genetic mutation. If left untreated, the victim becomes dangerous to nearby lifeforms.
If you see anyone suffering from rakghoul plague, do not approach. Report the victim's location to the Health and Safety Council immediately.
Attention Republic citizens... the Health and Safety Council reminds you that victims of rakghoul plague are a danger to your well-being.My first thought was "hold on, the Republic has a Health and Safety Council?!". My second was that this had never happened whilst I'd been on the fleet before.
In cases of extreme infection, rakghoul plague victims will attack and attempt to devour their own loved ones.
If you cannot restrain or isolate a rakghoul, run away. If you cannot escape, use appropriate force to defend yourself against infection."
I then found a news terminal, which showed a cutscene video of a newscast detailing the news and trouble on Tattooine. Obviously I decided to head there. Once I reached the desert planet I left my ship and as I was running to the hanger exit I got scanned by a Containment Probe. When it detected my sickness some Containment Troopers showed up and tried to kill me!
|Rillian, looking slightly ill|
By this time Rillian was looking pretty ill, so I decided to log on with Merec (my main) and do some further exploring.
It seems that a crashed ship had unleashed the plague on the planet. Exploring the ship opened up a series of daily quests involving the outbreak that give Rakghoul DNA samples as a reward. These can be traded in to a Jawa merchant for unique items such as colour crystals (green with a black core), "infected" customisation options for companion characters, and even a rakghoul pet.
|Wreckage of the Stardream|
Whilst completing the quests Merec got infected, and like Rillian started to look a little ill. Eventually he started throwing up (not good in combat as all my skills went dark!) and eventually he started screaming, grew spikes and then exploded, showering my group in slime and infecting them in turn!
Apparently there are further quests (I have yet to do) that involve some new and existing world bosses that have been exposed to the plague, and even a quest that involves infecting other players. The event continues to evolve with rumours of a scavenging quest being discovered too, as well as new dailies popping up. Vaccines are being sold that allow you to avoid the event entirely if you wish.
I really enjoyed my first evening of the event, which looks set to run for a few days at least. Whilst the idea behind the event is not particularly original (a server wide plague has also been done before in both WoW and EQ2), the presentation and polish is superb. It feels nothing like those previous events (both of which I experienced), but rather fresh and exciting.
Let's hope there are many more live events to come! In the meantime don't get too close if I start sneezing and my eyes start to glow!