The Darkmoon Faire! I love those guys. And by the Earthmother, they sure love me too. I did bring them a whole cartload of cards and card accessories, after all. And now they have a proper carnival - their very own private island to decorate and populate as they like.
The atmosphere borrows heavily from the Tol Barad/Gilneas aesthetic, with and ominous purple filter overlay. The lighting and colors suggest a damp chill clinging to the place, and even at midday it's as dark as twilight. The haunting gloom is well-contrasted with the Faire's cheery strings of fairy lights, torches, and even fire breathers lighting the paths. If you leave the Faire to explore the island, you'll find shipwrecks, decomposing skeletons, woebegone ghosts, and a cook with a penchant for the Most Dangerous Game. Within the Faire, it's all business from the carnies. The brightly lit atmosphere puts an exciting, almost frantic veneer on the sinister undertones of the island, and makes me think that we'll meet a deranged wife in the attic or find out we could see dead people all along.
The monthly profession dailies are extremely satisfying on many levels (although you do need a minimum of 75 skill to see them, which discourages loading up all of your alts with cooking, fishing, and first aid). Only a few require extra materials from the player, and you can easily take the portal back to your home city if you forget to bring them. Then, collect a few items, skin or DE or craft them together, and bam! you get a couple tickets. At 85, the 250 Grisly Trophies can easily be farmed in any number of places if you won't collect them all during your regular activities.
What really bothers me is the daily quests. You have to pay for tokens, and receive only one ticket and no gold in return. Well, all right, that's pretty standard fare for carnivals. In keeping with the "screw the customer" style, most of the games cannot complete their associated dailies in one go. What's even worse is that you can almost finish your quest in the first round, meaning you only really need a few seconds at the beginning of the next. I typically turn in my quest after completing it, which always stops the game time. The NPCs tell me, "Don't stop now! You still have time to play!" Overwhelmingly, my response is no. Why is that? It's not like I'm unfamiliar with painful grinds or dailies that don't have time limits. And even fun dailies like pygmy smacking in Uldum aren't fun enough to keep me whacking after the quest objective is completed. It's just that, with the exception of Whack-a-Gnoll (I play a healer, go fig), my only reason for playing the Faire games is to complete a quest. Having to "queue" for two rounds of a game when I only need one and a half just irks me.
During February's Faire, the Hogger mobs spawned fast and thick, and I was able to complete my daily in one game round. It was incredibly satisfying! In March, they must have slowed the spawn rate because I typically get about 25/30 credits in the first round. In April, there were times I stopped and waited for several seconds for a gnoll, any gnoll to spawn. (BABIES EVERYWHERE) Having to replay just to get the last 5 is an excruciating annoyance. Doing it every day... In this case, I'd like for them to cut back on the spirit of carnivals in favor of being able to finish a quest all in one go. I don't mind the money for the tokens, but I do mind having to redo a game that isn't all that engaging to begin with.
Nowadays, we can join an anonymous collection of strangers and defeat Deathwing with little more than a fart, max out our professions using only vendor goods and quests, and buy mounts lovely enough they could be rare drops with cash money. I think the Darkmoon dailies should be tweaked until you can finish a quest in a single round of play!