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Timed Challenges

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Valentines update

Valentines 2014 game artwork

Some updates may have their own set of timed challenges that ask players to complete a set of tasks within a limited time frame in return for special rewards.

There are two main types of timed challenges:

  1. Holiday Themed Timed Challenges - these typically center around large holidays (e.g. Christmas, Halloween) and tend to have larger rewards.
  2. Regular Time Challenges - these have unique themes and tend to have smaller rewards.

Once the timer for an event expires, it is no longer possible to earn the rewards.

Holiday Themed Timed Challenges

Halloween Holiday Event 2013

The 2013 Halloween holiday event had 3 main challenges:

  • Complete 24 holiday quests to win the Halloween Avatar
  • Combine the 5 Halloween collections to create the Witch's Talisman artifact
  • Reach Academician level on Witch's Hut to win the Sphere of Miracles

Christmas Holiday Event 2013

The 2013 Christmas holiday event had 3 main challenges:

  • Reach Academician level in Gem Match to unlock the Pyramid
  • Complete 30 holiday quests to win holiday talisman and combine the 5 Christmas collections to create the Santa Amulet
  • Reach Academician level on Christmas Eve to win the Christmas Avatar

Valentine's Holiday Event 2014

The 2014 Valentine's holiday event had 3 main challenges:

  • Complete 30 holiday quests to win holiday talisman and combine the 5 Valentines collections to create the Valentine's Amulet
  • Reach Academician level on Tree of Dates to win the Valentine Avatar
  • Receive 400 Valentine cards from friends to open the Valentine Box

Halloween Holiday Event 2014

The 2014 Halloween holiday event had 3 main challenges:

  • Complete 30 holiday quests to open the Halloween Chest
  • Combine the 5 Halloween collections to create Witch's Talisman artifact and win a new Halloween avatar
  • Reach Academician level on Forest House to unlock the Sphere of Miracles or upgrade your current Sphere of Miracles to level 2

Christmas Holiday Event 2014

The 2014 Christmas holiday event had 3-4 main challenges:

  • Complete 30 holiday quests to obtain the updated Amulet of Santa artifact
  • Reach Academician level on Winter Street to unlock the a new unique game avatar.
  • Collect 500 Snowflakes by winning games of Gem Match to unlock the Pyramid of Wonder or upgrade your current Pyramid of Wonder to level 2
  • Facebook only: Visit friends to drop gifts in their Santa's Sleigh; having your own Sleigh filled by friends earned rewards

Halloween Holiday Event 2015

The 2015 Halloween holiday event had 3 main challenges:

  • Collect 500 potions by winning games of Gem Match to unlock the Sphere of Miracles or upgrade your current Sphere of Miracles (Level 1 to Level 2 or Level 2 to Level 3)
  • Complete 30 holiday quests to win the one-off Halloween Talisman and be able to combine the latest incarnation of the Witch's Talisman artefact
  • Reach Academician level on Spooky Yard to win a new Halloween avatar

Christmas Holiday Event 2015

The 2015 Christmas holiday event had 3 main challenges:

  • Complete 30 holiday quests to with the Christmas Talisman and also obtain the updated Amulet of Santa artefact
  • Reach Academician level on Wonder Shop to unlock the new game avatar
  • Collect 500 bells by winning games of Gem Match to unlock the Pyramid of Wonder or upgrade your current Pyramid of Wonder to level 2 or level 3

Halloween Holiday Event 2016

Note that the Halloween 2016 Event "Celebration of the Spirits" was included as part of the Harvest and Halloween Update, which also contained a second set of non-holiday themed timed challenges, the "Harvest Festival Event".

The Halloween 2016 Timed Challenges had 3 main challenges:

  • Complete 30 holiday quests to win the once-off Halloween Talisman and be able to combine the latest version of the Witch's Talisman artifact
  • Reach Academician level on Haunted Attraction to unlock the 2 new unique game avatars (one male and one female).
  • Collect 500 Feathers by winning games of Blocks to unlock the Sphere of Miracles or upgrade your current Sphere of Miracles to level 2, level 3 or level 4 (depending on current level).

Christmas Holiday Event 2016

Note that the Christmas 2016 Event was included as part of the Magic Tour and Christmas Update, which also contained a second set of non-holiday themed timed challenges, the "Magic Tour Event".

The Christmas 2016 Timed Challenges had 3 main challenges:

  • Complete 30 holiday quests to win the once-off Christmas Talisman and be able to combine the latest version of the Amulet of Santa artifact
  • Reach Academician level on Festive Dinner to unlock the 2 new unique game avatars (one male and one female).
  • Collect 500 Holly by winning games of Blocks to unlock the Pyramid or upgrade your current Pyramid to level 2, level 3 or level 4 (depending on current level).

Regular Timed Challenge Updates

The Tavern Update was the first non holiday themed update that still introduced time sensitive challenges.

Tavern Update

The Tavern Update had 2 main challenges:

  • Complete 20 quests from Christy to gain the magical key
  • Gather 80 new items in the game (10 each of 8 new items added) to restore the damaged lock on the Order's Chest

Once these two challenges are completed, the Order's Chest can be opened to receive its contents as rewards.

Additionally, a second 'silver badges' challenge was added to the game. This time players must find 400 silver badges, hidden within the pictures (not as rewards for successful investigations) to open a new box on the left hand side of their Home Desktop. Opening the box unlocks the story of the creation of the Order of Explorers.

Treasure Island Update

The Treasure Island Update was the second non-holiday themed update that introduced time sensitive challenges.

The Treasure Island Update had one challenge:

  • Collect 400 butterflies (80 each of 5 different coloured butterflies) using the new "handheld butterfly net" talisman.

Once this challenge was complete, the player automatically received a number of rewards including a new game avatar, 2 chests, 3 talismans, and an energy item.

Travel Time Update

The Travel Time Update was the 3rd non-holiday themed update that introduced a set of time sensitive challenges. The Travel Time challenges were the largest non-holiday themed challenges released to date, and the challenges themselves followed the formula normally seen in holiday themed updates.

The Travel Time Update had three challenges:

  • Complete 30 special quests to obtain the once-off Traveler's Talisman
  • Reach Academician level on Observation Deck to unlock the a new unique game avatar.
  • Collect 500 Flowers by winning games of Gem Match to win a Lunch Chest.

Social Events Update

The Social Events Update was the 3rd non-holiday themed update that introduced a set of time sensitive challenges. The Social Events challenges themselves followed the formula normally seen in holiday themed updates, identical to the Travel Time Update before it.

The Social Events Update had three challenges:

  • Complete 30 special quests to obtain the once-off Solemnity Talisman
  • Reach Academician level on Banquet Hall to unlock the a new unique game avatar.
  • Collect 500 Air Balloons by winning games of Gem Match to win a Lunch Chest.

Mountain Vacation Update

The Mountain Vacation Update was the 4th non-holiday themed update that introduced a set of time sensitive challenges. The Mountain Vacation challenges themselves followed the formula normally seen in holiday themed updates, identical to the Social Events Update before it.

The Mountain Vacation Update had three challenges:

  • Complete 30 special quests to obtain the once-off Mountain Skier Talisman
  • Reach Academician level on Mountain Resort to unlock the a new unique game avatar.
  • Collect 500 Souvenir balls by winning games of Gem Match to win a Lunch Chest.

Spring Festival Update

The Spring Festival Update was the 5th non-holiday themed update that introduced a set of time sensitive challenges. The Spring Festival challenges themselves followed the formula normally seen in holiday themed updates, identical to the Mountain Vacation Update before it.

The Spring Festival Update had three challenges:

  • Complete 30 special quests to obtain the once-off Spring Talisman
  • Reach Academician level on Spring Festival to unlock the a new unique game avatar.
  • Collect 500 Sakura Blossoms by winning games of Gem Match to open the Magic Casket and win a number of rewards (Pandora's Chest, some Talismans and some Energy items).

Celebration by the Bonfire Update

The Celebration by the Bonfire Update was the 6th non-holiday themed update that introduced 2 sets of time sensitive challenges instead of 1 for the first time in the game's history. Both sets of challenges followed the formula normally seen in holiday themed updates.

The Celebration by the Bonfire Timed Challenges were the first of the two sets, and started when the update was released. The Celebration by the Bonfire Timed Challenges had three challenges:

  • Complete 30 special quests to obtain the once-off Talisman of the Bonfire Artefact
  • Reach Academician level on Camping Site to unlock the a new unique game avatar.
  • Collect 500 Butterflies by winning games of Gem Match to open the Magic Summer Jewelry box and win a number of rewards (Medium Pandora's Chest, some Talismans, some Energy items and a Power item).

Vacation by the Sea Update

The Vacation by the Sea Timed Challenges were the second of the two sets and began at the end of July 2016. The Vacation by the Sea Timed challenges had three challenges:

  • Complete 30 special quests to obtain the once-off Talisman of the Sun Artefact
  • Reach Academician level on Tropical Evening to unlock the a new unique game avatar.
  • Collect 500 Pearls by winning games of Blocks to open the Magic Casket and win a number of rewards (Large Pandora's Chest, Super Winged Lightning Talismans, Leprechaun's Pot o' Gold Talisman, Friend's Support Talisman, Donut Energy item, Ice Cream Energy item, and a Cappuccino Energy item)

Harvest and Halloween Update

The Harvest and Halloween Update was the 7th non-holiday themed update that introduced 2 sets of time sensitive challenges instead of 1 for the second time in a row. Both sets of challenges followed the formula normally seen in holiday themed updates.

The Harvest Festival Timed Challenges were the first of the two sets, and started when the update was released. The Harvest Festival Event had three challenges:
  • Complete 30 special quests to obtain the once-off Harvest Talisman Artefact
  • Reach Academician level on Farm to unlock the 2 new unique game avatars (one male and one female).
  • Collect 500 Apples by winning games of Gem Match to win the new Magic Cube desktop award which gives out an anomaly banishing item every 12 hours.

The Halloween 2016 Celebration of the Spirits Timed Challenges were the second of the two sets, and started when the update was released. The Halloween 2016 event had 3 main challenges:

  • Complete 30 holiday quests to win the once-off Halloween Talisman and be able to combine the latest version of the Witch's Talisman artefact
  • Reach Academician level on Haunted Attraction to unlock the 2 new unique game avatars (one male and one female).
  • Collect 500 Feathers by winning games of Blocks to unlock the Sphere of Miracles or upgrade your current Sphere of Miracles to level 2, level 3 or level 4 (depending on current level).

Problems with the Timed Challenge System of Updates

Predictable, repetitive and inconsistent in rewards....

The combination of the Travel Time Update and the Social Events update, which used the same type of challenges normally reserved for large Holiday Themed updates, and were released in quick succession (closely followed by the Halloween 2015 Update), has resulted in the updates with Time Sensitive challenges to appear predictable, repetitive, unimaginative, and formulaic, rather than special events to look forward to as they had been in the past.

The fact that these non-holiday themed updates use the exact same challenges as the holiday themed ones, but do not have the high value rewards that their holiday-themed counterparts have (such as the Sphere of Miracles or Pyramid of Wonder), means that the rewards for the non-holiday themed updates appear very poor and the challenges appear not worth while to complete, and additionally makes the challenges for the bigger reward holiday themed updates appear formulaic and simple, as opposed to a big challenge with a big reward. Effectively, players are asked to do the same tasks over and over again with each set of time challenges, but some times the rewards are high value, and other times the rewards are pitiful. The challenge is taken out of the challenges with big rewards, and the poor rewards in the other challenges become very obvious to players.

The continuous repetition of the same three challenges over and over again removes any sense of entertainment that these types of updates may have had in the past.

Flawed logic system of introducing new content

The introduction of time-sensitive challenges means that players now play new content released with new updates very quickly, often to a saturation point that causes them to become bored with the game again more quickly than they would if not forced to play so intensively over the first month of release.

Each of these new updates with time sensitive challenges introduce one new picture, approximately 100 new quests and up to 16 new collections to the game. The time-sensitive challenges themselves ask players to play the new picture 155 times (up to the 3rd highest picture level, academician level), complete 30 of the new quests and combine 5 of the new collections as quickly as they can. Essentially, players burn through the new content very quickly after release, and then are left waiting months for new content again.

Being forced to play the new picture up to such as high level straight away causes players to tire of the new picture very quickly, having to collect new special items for each play of the picture is tedious, and that sense of tediousness is passed onto the picture by association. The fun is taken out of the new content in favour of short-lived challenges.

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