The Christmas 2016 Update is the second set of timed events introduced in the Magic Tour Update and was scheduled for released on a predetermined date shortly after the completion of the Magic Tour timed event.
The Christmas 2016 Update introduced 1 new pictures - Festive Dinner; 9 new collections and 2 avatars - one male and one female.
Christmas Time Timed EventEdit
The Christmas Time timed challenges is set to begin when a player reaches game level 7 in the game (or automatically after triggering if the player is already above level 7).
The Christmas Time timed event contains 3 challenges. Players have a set number of days to complete the following tasks:
- Collect 500 Mistletoes by winning games of Blocks to win the Pyramid of Wonder Desktop Award or upgrade an existing Pyramid of Wonder.
- Complete 30 holiday quests to win the once-off Christmas Talisman, which increase the effect of all Energy multipliers by 25% for 48 hours when activated.
- Achieve Academician level in Festive Dinner to win 2 new unique avatars.
For the duration of the Christmas 2016 Update, Christmas ball special items are required in addition to energy points to play Festive Dinner. Christmas balls are given as rewards for every successful investigation for every picture (except Festive Dinner itself!), and as rewards for banishing anomalies, but not for playing puzzles. Christmas balls cannot be gifted between friends, however they can be given as rewards by the Sphere of Miracles and Pyramid of Wonder. Christmas balls were required to play Festive Dinner until the next update, Winter's Tale Update, converted any Christmas ball inventory into the five permanent special items.
Important: The amount of time available for the Christmas Time timed challenges will vary across platforms. It is important to note that the Challenge timer begins counting down from the moment the challenges are set to trigger in the game, and not from the moment a player downloads the update. Delaying installing the update will not give you extra time to play the challenges.
The Pyramid of Wonder Edit
The Pyramid of Wonder Desktop Award Edit
The Pyramid of Wonder desktop award sits in the centre of the top row of players Home Desktop. The Pyramid of Wonder gives out rewards on a 12 hour timer. The first 12 hour timer starts from the moment the Pyramid of Wonder is won, and after that the 12 hour timer resets every time the award is discharged.
When discharged, the Pyramid of Wonder gives out a number of one of the game's special items (Fireflies, Ladybugs, Carrots, Cupid's arrows, or Tokens) at random. During Holiday challenges the Pyramid of Wonder may also reward special items needed to play the holiday picture, such as the Christmas balls needed to play the picture Festive Dinner. This means that in normal play, there is a 1 in 5 chance of receiving any one of the regular special items every time you discharge the Pyramid of Wonder, but during Holiday challenges there is a 1 in 6 chance of getting a specific special item when discharging the Pyramid of Wonder.
The Pyramid of Wonder was originally offered as part of the 2013 Christmas Update. A second opportunity to win the Pyramid of Wonder was offered as part of the 2014 Christmas Update and a third opportunity was offered as part of the 2015 Christmas Update.
Players who have already won the Pyramid of Wonder during the 2013/2014/2015 events have the opportunity to increase its level to the next award level by completing this years challenge.
It does not matter which year you previously won the Pyramid or what your current level for the Pyramid is, as soon as you complete the 2016 challenge, your Pyramid will be upgraded to the next level:
|Award Level||Icon||Requirements||Regular Reward every 12 hours||Rewards when Award charged by any visiting Friend|
|Level 1||Have completed any of the 4 Christmas Events (2013, 2014, 2015 or 2016)||5 items of 1 special item type (e.g. 5x fireflies or 5x ladybugs etc.)||10 items of 1 special item type (e.g. 10x fireflies or 10x ladybugs etc.) plus 100 coins|
|Level 2||Have completed any 2 of the 4 Christmas Events to date||7 items of 1 special item type||14 items of 1 special item type plus 100 coins|
|Level 3||Have completed any 3 of the 4 Christmas Events to date||9 items of 1 special item type||18 items of 1 special item type plus 100 coins|
|Level 4||Have completed all 4 of Christmas Events to date (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016)||11 items of 1 special item type||22 items of 1 special item type plus 100 coins|
How to Win the Pyramid of Wonder Edit
Players can win the Pyramid of Wonder by collecting 500 Mistletoes. Mistletoes can only be won by successfully completing the Blocks puzzle. For each successful win of Blocks, you can potentially win between 2-5 Mistletoes as one of the rewards for completing the puzzle.
When you open the Research Window for Blocks by tapping on the Blocks puzzle icon on your Home Desktop you will see Mistletoes listed as the first item in the 'Can be found' list for the puzzle. Mistletoes are available to win for every play of the puzzle at every puzzle level.You must keep playing (and winning) Blocks until you have collected 500 Mistletoes in order to win the (or upgrade an existing) Pyramid of Wonder. Once you win the Pyramid of Wonder it will automatically appear in the central spot of your Desktop Awards along the top of the playing board (to the right of the Friendliness Desktop Award. If you have won a Pyramid of Wonder in a previous Christmas Update, the award will change in appearance to represent its new award level at this point instead.
Once it appears on your Desktop, the Pyramid of Wonder will be sparkling, indicating that it is fully charged and its rewards are ready to collect. Tapping on the award will release the rewards, at which point the Pyramid of Wonder will start its 12 hour timer, after which more rewards will be ready.
Note: Just because an item is on a picture/puzzles 'Can be Found' list, it is not guaranteed you will win that item every time you play that picture/puzzle. There is an element of chance in the game that determines what items you will win when you successfully complete a picture/puzzle. All items are weighted based on their value in the game. Higher value items, like the Mistletoes needed to win the Pyramid of Wonder desktop award, are weighted in such a way that they are less likely to be won than low value items such as some low level collection items and most combining elements.
Since the mechanism that rewards Mistletoes is set up so that they are always included as one of the rewards for winning games of Blocks, it is the number that you win per play that is weighted (with low numbers more likely than high numbers). This means you will not win a high number of Mistletoes every single time you win a Blocks Game, often you will only win 2.
However, all of the Timed Challenges are designed to be completed within the given time limit, so it is possible to collect 500 Mistletoes well within the time given. The task is designed to be challenging, but it is not impossible!
Hints/Tips for Collecting Mistletoes Edit
Although it will take many plays of Blocks to win 500 Mistletoes, there are things you can do to make the challenge easier:
- Read the Blocks article on this wiki for tips on playing Blocks, including how to make special gems and combine them to create special moves to clear the board faster.
- Use tools when playing Blocks. You can use Explorer's Eyes and Time Machines when playing Blocks. Using an Explorer's Eye will remove one block from the game board at random. However, you cannot control which block is removed by the Explorer's Eye. Time Machines add 45 seconds to the puzzle timer which can be a great help for the more difficult board configurations. Use the List of Collections, List of Collection Items and List of Collection Item Locations pages here to find out which collections give out these tools when combined, and where you can find the items needed to combine those collections.
- Don't just play Blocks over and over again; try to play a variety of pictures and puzzles as much when possible. The more you play a single picture/puzzle repeatedly, the worse the rewards for each win gets. In order to keep your chances of getting many Mistletoes per play high, try mixing other pictures/puzzles into your playing rotation. Perhaps rotate trying to get the Pyramid of Wonder with the other challenges in the Christmas event (playing Festive Dinner and completing the 30 challenge quests). This will also help avoid feelings of frustration with the game and challenge.
- Don't rely on Luck Talismans/Artefacts. Luck talismans (e.g. Horseshoes) and artefacts (e.g. Symbol of Success) do not increase your odds of winning a particular item, such as Mistletoes, i.e. they do not change the weighting of items. However, they do increase the number of items you will win for each successful play of a picture/puzzle. Because you can win more items for each play, you essentially get more rolls of the dice each time you win. Since Mistletoes are rewarded using the same mechanism as Christmas balls/Pumpkin Lanterns/Tokens special items etc. during holiday themed timed challenges (i.e a number of Mistletoes are awarded for each play, it is the amount you win that is weighted not whether or not you win them) instead of using the same mechanism as collection items/combining elements (i.e. you may or may not win the item each play, it is whether the item will be won or not that is weighted), Luck talismans and artefacts will not affect the number of Mistletoes won per win of Blocks. Since the game is coded to give out Mistletoes for each play, increasing the number of different items won per play by using luck talismans, will not change anything. The number of Mistletoes given is also based on chance, with higher numbers weighted to appear less often than lower numbers, but Luck talismans/artefacts cannot help with this since they do not affect weighting.
- Use the Time Talisman artefact. If you are struggling to win Blocks in the time given (particularly at lower puzzle levels, where less time is allotted to each play) then try to use a Time Talisman artefact. Once activated, this artefact adds 1 minute to every picture/puzzle for 24 hours.
The Unique Avatar - Getting Festive Dinner to Academician Level EditPlayers can win the Unique Avatar by playing the new picture, Festive Dinner, until they increase its scene progress level up to Academician Level during the Christmas 2016 Update's time sensitive challenge.
For the duration of the Christmas 2016 update, Christmas Ball special items are needed for each play of the Festive Dinner picture.
While the Timed Challenges are active (before you complete all three, or the timer expires, whichever happens first), Christmas Balls are given as rewards for every successful investigation for every picture in the game. Between 2 and 3 Christmas Balls is given for every game you win. Note: This is less than in previous challenges.
Christmas Balls are also given as rewards for banishing anomalies, but not for playing puzzles. Christmas Balls cannot be gifted between friends, however they are given as rewards for combining some of the new Christmas 2016 collections. Players with the Pyramid of Wonder or Sphere of Miracles also have a 1 in 6 chance of receiving Christmas Balls from these Desktop Awards when collecting their rewards every 12 hours. The number of Christmas Balls needed for each play of Festive Dinner increases as you increase the Picture Levels of Festive Dinner (+5 Christmas Balls per Level increase), starting at 5 Christmas Balls per play when the picture is opened at Novice Level and increasing to 40 Christmas Balls per play when the picture is at Professor Level.
You will win an average of about 2.5 Christmas Balls for every play of other Pictures during the challenge so will need to play roughly 940 other pictures to collect enough Christmas Balls (or 750 other pictures to collect enough if using the Amulet of Santa when playing Festive Dinner). This works out at 34 plays of other Pictures per day over the 28 days of the challenge. A simple way of looking at this challenge is to aim to play all non-special item pictures 2 times each day, if possible, which will allow you to win the challenge with plenty of time to spare even if the drop rate of Christmas Balls in your game falls below the 2.5 average.
|Level||% progress per play of picture at level||No. plays needed for 100% (i.e. to reach next level)||Christmas Balls per play at level||Total Christmas Balls to reach next level|
|Trainee||12-13% (+25% every 2 plays)||8||10||80|
|Detective||8-9% (+25% every 3 plays)||12||15||180|
|Total to Academician level||3,285|
As soon as you return to your Home Desktop after playing Festive Dinner for the 150th time, a notification screen will appear to say that the avatar challenge is complete and you have won both of the unique Avatars.
Both avatars will automatically go into the Avatar section, but will not automatically replace your current Avatar. To use either of the new Avatars, you must tap on your current Avatar to bring up the Avatars window and scroll to the end of the list to find the new Avatar. Tap on the Avatar to select it.
Hints/Tips for Winning the Unique Avatar Edit
- Try to play a variety of pictures as much when possible when playing, instead of just playing Festive Dinner over and over again. The more you play a single picture/puzzle repeatedly, the worse the rewards for each win gets. Additionally, the bigger variety of pictures you play, the bigger variety of collection items you can potentially win. This will greatly increase the number of regular collections you will be able to combine, which will potentially give you more tools, energy items, talismans and artefacts that will all help with completing the quest.
- If you are low on energy, but close to leveling up (at which point your energy will restore), play Buddha's Square until you level up. At higher picture levels Buddha's Square potentially rewards a cappuccino for each successful picture investigation. Cappuccinos restore 30 energy points when used, and Buddha's Square only requires 31 energy points at most to play (at professor level). This means you can play for free or next to free if you have a good success rate of winning Cappuccinos. Using Luck talismans and artefacts, like horseshoes, while playing Buddha's Square will increase your odds for winning Cappuccinos. This also means that Buddha's Square is a great picture to play when collecting Christmas Balls, as by winning cappuccinos and restoring the energy you are using to play, you are basically collecting Christmas Balls for free in terms of energy costs.
- If you are low on energy, avoid playing the newest pictures in the game too often (Tavern, Treasure Island, Theater, Forest House, Excavations, Winter Street, Flower Shop, Observation Deck, Banquet Hall, Spooky Yard, Wonder Shop, Mountain Resort, Rock Stage) as these pictures do not reward combining elements and usually have a high energy demand (except for Forest House and Winter Street). Although some of the collections rewarded by some of these pictures (especially Tavern) are tempting, the lack of combining elements means you will struggle to combine the collections they reward, and the majority of collection items they reward are for collections with lesser rewards than the original pictures in the game.
- Use the Amulet of Santa Artefact to decrease the number of Christmas Balls needed to play Festive Dinner. The Amulet of Santa artefact reduces the number of Special Items needed to play paid scenes like Festive Dinner by 20% per 24 hours once activated. Using Amulet of Santa artefacts when playing Festive Dinner could potentially reduce the total number of Christmas Balls you need to find to reach Academician level from 3,285 to 2,628.
- Use the Valentines Amulet Artefact to decrease the amount of energy needed to play every picture/puzzle when you are ready to play Festive Dinner a number of times. The Valentines amulet reduces the amount of energy needed to play by 10% for 12 hours, so will enable you to play Festive Dinner (and other pictures) more times with your available energy.
- Use luck talismans and artefacts, such as horseshoes, in conjunction with the Valentine's Amulet, and make sure to play Tree of Dates in rotation when you are playing the pictures. This will increase your chances of finding all the collection items needed to combine another Valentine's Amulet as you play.
- As you play through the 30 challenge quests to win the Christmas Talisman, you will be able to combine 5 new collections added as part of the update. These quests will reward Christmas Balls once combined.
The Challenge Quests, the Christmas Talisman and the Amulet of Friendly Aid ArtefactEdit
The Christmas Talisman can be won once a player completes all 30 of the special Festive Dinner challenge quests introduced as part of update. The quests must be completed within the time limit of the Timed Challenge in order to unlock the Talisman.
A notification screen will appear to say that the 30 challenge quests are complete and you have won the Christmas Talisman, but you must go to the Talisman section of the Inventory itself to see and use the new Talisman.
Once activated, the Christmas Talisman increases the effect of all energy boosters by 25% for 48 hours.
In addition to winning the Christmas Talisman, players will also be able to combine the Amulet of Friendly Aid Artefact once they have completed the 30 challenge quests since the collections combined as part of the 30 quests create the 5 items needed to combine this new Artefact.
Once the quests are completed, players must manually combine the Amulet of Friendly Aid Artefact. To do this, open the Collections Window and select the Artefacts tab. Locate the Amulet of Friendly Aid artefact and press the green combine button.
You will need 20 each of the following combining elements to combine the Artefact - Second Hand; Minute Hand; Hour Hand; Clock Face. All artefact combining elements can be won by combining collections in the game. Every time you combine a Collection you will be awarded an artefact combining element at random. You can also be given these combining elements as Free Gifts by your Friends. Like Collection combining elements, Artefact combining elements are Free Gifts, and do not come out of your inventory when you send them as gifts to your Friends.
Once combined, the Amulet of Friendly Aid Artefact automatically goes into the Talisman tab of your inventory, where it can be activated.
Once activated, the Amulet of Friendly Aid Artefact will increase the time allowed for each picture investigation or puzzle played by 1 minute for 24 hours.
Winning the Christmas Talisman Edit
A special decorative border in the quest list marks the 30 quests needed to win the Christmas Talisman. Other quests added by the update, with regular gold borders, do not count towards the 30 when completed.
Note: the very first quest that displays the special decorative border is the quest to find the picture pieces needed to unlock and open the Festive Dinner picture. However, this quest does not count towards the 30 quests needed to win the Christmas Talisman. This means there are actually 31 quests that display the decorative border, but only the last 30 of them count towards the challenge. But importantly, you will need to complete this first quest in order to complete the challenge as the 30 quests that make up the challenge will not start until this quest is completed (there is only ever one quest with a special decorative border active at any one time) and the other quests require you to play the picture Festive Dinner (which this quest opens).
The special 30 quests that must be completed in order to win the Christmas Talisman consist of 5 collection sequences of 6 quests each. The first 5 quests of each sequence are to find each of the 5 items belonging to one new collection added by the update. The 6th quest is to combine the collection.
The 5 collections players gather as they complete the 30 quests are:
- Christmas cards (combines to create "Antique card" and rewards 10 Christmas Balls when combined)
- Holiday adornments (combines to create "Card tree" and rewards 15 Christmas Balls when combined)
- Christmas treats (combines to create "Christmas cake" and rewards 20 Christmas Balls when combined)
- Time for presents (combines to create "Mysterious present" and rewards 25 Christmas Balls when combined)
- Christmas sleigh (combines to create "Christmas sleigh" and rewards 30 Christmas Balls when combined)
All the items that make up these collections cannot be gifted between friends (they do not have green plus signs to add them to your wish list and they will not appear in the 'Send a collection item' tab when sending gifts to your friends.
They are all also 'Quest only' items, which means that they cannot be won normally by playing pictures/puzzles. They are only available to win in pictures while the quest for the particular item is activated and will stop being available to win in that picture once the quest is completed. They may also drop as random items when you are visiting your friends and charging their desktops; from the Collectors Desktop award when collecting its rewards; and from opening Pandora's Chests, however whether or not you get any of these items in those ways is completely up to chance.
This means that the only way to complete these quests is to follow the quest instructions as you get the quests. This makes these 30 challenge quests slightly more difficult than the challenge quests in some other Timed Challenges, all of which could be gifted between friends or won in regular play of certain pictures.
The Challenge Quests Edit
The 30 quests that are needed to win the Christmas Talisman are:
|Quest Number||Quest Name||Quest Instructions||Item Won||Collection Sequence|
|1||Season's greetings||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Angels card||Christmas cards|
|2||Collecting the cards||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Christmas tree card||Christmas cards|
|3||Merry Christmas||Investigate "Festive Dinner" in Silhouette mode to find an object.||Snowman card||Christmas cards|
|4||Cards of gratitude||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Candles card||Christmas cards|
|5||Pigeon post||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Dove card||Christmas cards|
|6||Richard's card||You must gather the collection to obtain the object.||Antique card||Christmas cards|
|7||Festive table||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Festive tablecloth||Holiday adornments|
|8||Floral decor||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Floral decor||Holiday adornments|
|9||Christmas candles||Investigate "Festive Dinner" in Night mode to find an object.||Candles with cranberries||Holiday adornments|
|10||Christmas baubles||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Christmas baubles||Holiday adornments|
|11||Reindeer figurine||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Decorative reindeer||Holiday adornments|
|12||Card tree||You must gather the collection to obtain the object.||Card tree||Holiday adornments|
|13||Treats for Christmas||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Chocolate cones||Christmas treats|
|14||Frosty cupcakes||Investigate "Festive Dinner" in Silhouette mode to find an object.||Frosty cupcakes||Christmas treats|
|15||Candied sweet potatoes||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Candied sweet potatoes||Christmas treats|
|16||Christmas tree dessert||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Christmas tree dessert||Christmas treats|
|17||Caramel sticks||Investigate "Festive Dinner" in Pairs mode to find an object.||Caramel sticks||Christmas treats|
|18||Christmas cake||You must gather the collection to obtain the object.||Christmas cake||Christmas treats|
|19||Time for presents||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Elegant present||Time for presents|
|20||Practical present||Investigate "Festive Dinner" in Morphs mode to find an object.||Practical present||Time for presents|
|21||Brightly wrapped present||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Creative present||Time for presents|
|22||Mentor's present||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Mentor's present||Time for presents|
|23||Exclusive present||Investigate "Festive Dinner" in Night mode to find an object.||Prestigious present||Time for presents|
|24||Longed-for present||You must gather the collection to obtain the object.||Mysterious present||Time for presents|
|25||Dasher||Investigate "Festive Dinner" in Silhouette mode to find an object.||Dasher figurine||Christmas sleigh|
|26||Dancer||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Dancer figurine||Christmas sleigh|
|27||Prancer||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Prancer figurine||Christmas sleigh|
|28||Vixen||Investigate "Festive Dinner" in Pairs mode to find an object.||Vixen figurine||Christmas sleigh|
|29||Comet||Investigate "Festive Dinner" to find an object.||Comet figurine||Christmas sleigh|
|30||Make a wish||You must gather the collection to obtain the object.||Christmas sleigh||Christmas sleigh|
Hints/Tips for Winning the Christmas Talisman and Amulet of Friendly Aid ArtefactEdit
- Use the strongest Luck Talismans/artefacts you have available whenever you are playing. This will increase the number items you win for each play, which will increase you chances of winning the quest item. Diamond Horseshoe talismans (+90% chance of winning items for 120 minutes) and the Symbol of Success artefact (+50% chance of winning items for 24 hours) are the most powerful luck talismans available in the game, so when playing other pictures choose pictures which award items needed for collections that reward these talismans. You will need to play other pictures during the challenge anyway to collect Christmas Balls to play Festive Dinner, so by making sure that Tavern (rewards items for collections that reward Diamond horseshoes) and Venice; Buddha's Square; Throne Room; Mayan Temple; Ghost Town; Joy Cafe; Amusement Park; Bungalow; Misty Shed (rewards items for collections needed to combine Symbol of Success) are in your rotation while you increase your chances of getting more of these powerful luck talismans to use for the quests. Note that using powerful luck talismans will not guarantee that you win the quest item on your first attempt, as all they do is give a percentage increase to the coded 'chance' of winning the item in the game. If an item normally has only a 10% chance of being won per play of the correct quest requirements, then using luck talismans that give you a 100% increase will not give you a 100% chance of winning the item. It will just increase the 10% by 100%, giving you a 20% chance of winning the item. Hard to get items will still be hard to get.
- Use your Magic Crystal Talismans during the challenge. The Magic Crystal Talisman works as a luck talisman (it increases your odds of finding objects by 12% when activated), and the Social Events Update has fixed the problem where no other luck talisman could be activated while using it, so now you can use them again together again. This means you can add an additional 12% increase in odds of finding objects to other Luck Talismans that you use during the challenge. You can only use one other Luck Talisman once the Magic Crystal Talisman is activated (as you cannot use more than one Luck Talisman at a time), but you can use one of any other Luck Talisman or the Symbol of Success Artefact at the same time as Magic Crystal Talisman again. The Magic Crystal Talisman lasts for 10 days.
- The Challenge quests usually ask for you to play Festive Dinner, so it is best to continue to work on Festive Dinner as normal when playing and not to worry too much about the quests themselves, they will be completed as you go. That is, it is better to concentrate your resources just working on the Avatar challenge - getting Festive Dinner to Academician level. You will complete the quests naturally as you increase the picture to Academician level. The hints/tips for that challenge will therefore also aide in completing this challenge.
- Read the quest instructions carefully. Most quests just ask you to play Festive Dinner, but some will specify a mode. The item will only be available to win when the picture is in the correct mode. Most modes cannot be 'forced', which means you cannot make them appear in rotation. However, 'CURSE' mode can be triggered by playing with an anomaly in the picture. After the picture is successfully solved it will then be in CURSE mode.
- The items needed to complete the quests cannot be gifted between friends. However they may drop as random items when you are visiting your friends and charging their desktops; from the Collectors Desktop Award when collecting its rewards; and from opening Pandora's Chests. Whether this happens or not will be completely up to chance, but in order to increase your odds it is a good idea to visit your friends every day when doing the challenge.
- You can complete a quest by combining the collection involved in the quest. E.g. if you already have all 5 items for a collection and are currently on the quest for the 3rd item in the collection, then combining the collection will automatically complete the quest. The next quest to start will be the quest for the 4th item in the collection and you will have to find both the 4th and the 5th item in the collection as normal, but the 6th quest in that sequence - to combine the collection - will also complete automatically when it starts. However, it will be rare to be able to complete any of these collections early since the items do not have a regular play location, so do not rely on being able to do this to skip difficult quests.
After the Challenge is complete Edit
Once you complete all three Christmas 2016 Update Challenges, or after the challenge timer expires, Christmas Balls may be restricted so that they will only be won in 2 of the Pictures (instead of in all of them like during the Timed Challenges).
This restriction of the challenge quest special items after completion has been a feature of the last few timed update challenges (e.g. Christmas 2014, Halloween2014, Travel Time Update, Mountain Vacation Update, Spring Festival Update) and is designed to allow players to collect enough to complete the challenge within the short time frame but not amass a large quantity after the challenge is over in the months leading up to the next update. The game does not want players to have an excess of these items as they would give an big advantage in the game after the update.
Typically, one of two things may happen to the Christmas Balls when the next update is released:
- The Christmas Balls may be removed from the game by the future update, and any remaining in the player's inventory could be converted to other special items (such as Fireflies, Ladybugs, carrots, cupid arrows and tokens). In this case, keeping the number of Christmas Balls a player can accumulate down will keep the number of other special items the player can win down, since these items are meant to be rare.
- The Christmas Balls could be kept in the game as a requirement for playing Festive Dinner, like the Cupid Arrows were kept in the game as a requirement for playing Tree of Dates after the Valentines Update and Tokens were kept in the game as a requirement for playing Observation Deck after the Travel Time Update (which introduced them in an identical quest). In this case, the game would want to keep the number of Christmas Balls a player can win down after the challenge so that Festive Dinner would work the same way as any other picture with a special item requirement - where the special item is rare and can only be won in a few pictures.
Either way, players being able to accumulate a large amount of Christmas Balls (by winning them in every picture) after the challenge is over but before the new update arrives would give them too large a boost in game resources compared to what would normally be accomplish-able in the same time period, which is why recent updates have introduced the restriction after the challenge quests are complete or the timer expires (whichever happens first).
It is worth noting that some of the regular quests that were introduced with the update require you to play Festive Dinner (including some of the very last quests of the new crop you will work through). In order to maximize how many Christmas Balls you can earn to aid in these quests, it is best to not complete all 3 of the timed challenges until the challenge timer is nearly finished. Keeping one of the 3 challenges incomplete for as long as possible will keep the time period that Christmas Balls can be won in every picture in the game open as long as possible.
The Blocks challenge of collecting 500 Mistletoes is the easiest of the 3 to leave uncompleted (both of the other challenges require you play Festive Dinner so you will naturally complete one as you complete the other, whereas the Blocks challenge is kept entirely separate from the others).
Alternatively, players could opt to complete the Blocks challenge in order to achieve the Pyramid of Wonder and instead leave the final challenge quest incomplete by simply not combining the collection. However, by using this approach players must remember not to combine the collection, which they may do by accident whilst combining other collections.
It does not matter which challenge is left incomplete, Christmas Balls will still be available to win in every Picture in the game (except Festive Dinner itself), as long as one part of the timed challenges isn't finished. Players opting to leave one challenge incomplete in order to more easily collect Christmas Balls should remember to keep an eye on the challenge timer if they do wish to complete the final part before the event ends. If players do want to finish the part of the challenge they have left incomplete to collect Christmas Balls, then they should be particularly cautious around extensions added to the challenge as these have been known to be inconsistent (some timers unexpectedly ending early during the extension period).