The brand-new open beta for the cosy MMO, Palia, was the last title I thought I'd be playing for so long in 2023. Upon it first being announced, I denounced the title that my wife was so dedicated to pounce on from the get-go. As a hardcore action-heavy player, I've delved into many a life simulator and found that... I don't really like them that much. From Stardew Valley to Animal Crossing, the only one that really got my attention was My Time At Portia, after which I never really managed to find a similar enjoyment for the genre... until Palia came out.
Ever since then, this cosy MMO has taken over my life. Although I've stopped actively playing it (in big part because I'm waiting for more content to release, not because of lack of interest), the Maji Market — the game's very first event ever — has released and given me all new things to farm for. Now it's been out for a couple of weeks, and I wanted to give my opinions on the event.
My wife and I logged in the day the Maji Market was released... surprisingly, not the minute — mostly because we were busy working; the moment we were free, we logged in and anxiously waited for 6pm Palia Time. We arrived at the new event area, and the first thing that I noticed was that it was a beautiful scene, even in contrast to the already gorgeous Kilima village. The general area is rather large, with a new fishing spot, several trees to chop, and many, many shops that will eat away at your hard-earned Gold.
The Maji Market comes with two quests to do, both of which follow the same gameplay as the others that were available on release. These fetch quests offer you a couple of Maji-Market-exclusive items for you to decorate your house, including an archway, a stall, and even a Chapaa plushie. These stories don't expand a lot on the characters involved, so if you don't do them, you won't really miss out on much regarding their stories, but for those who like Kenyatta, she has the most quests to do.
The bread and butter of the Maji Market and the main selling point is the gameplay aspect. You get two different things to do: the first is hoarding Gold in order to get items. With two "chase" items incorporated, you will need around 80,000 Gold just to get two of the plushies, with various other foods and decorations for you to get.
The second is the most important: the mini-game — Chapaa Chase. This mini-game was controversial because of its cutthroat nature, where you had to fight against all of the other players in the server to get the Chapaa into the pen, with each being worth 10 Chapaa Chase Tickets. The problem? There was a global counter that worked to demoralise the less skilled players, and you could only get a handful of them before the five-minute timer ran out.
The way the event was incorporated ensured that players were fighting against each other and removed the "Chase" part of the event, becoming a spawn-camping fest where Palians learned the best points where Chapaa would appear and waited, spam-clicking the interact button to get them first. At 10 points per Chapaa returned to the pen and a total cost of 15,000 to get all of the items that are sold exclusively via Chapaa Chase Tickets, you'll need a whopping 1,500 Chapaas caught in order to "complete" the Maji Market.
Now, Singularity 6 has assured and reassured players that the Maji Market will return, but this didn't help stop Palians (including myself) from disliking the event's nature. The first few times I played it, it was fun chasing the Chapaas around the Maji Market area, but as players learned the spawn points and camped them, I was forced to do the same or not be able to afford any of the items, let alone get them all (which was my personal goal).
The event has changed slightly, with more Chapaa spawning and bigger spawn points with more of them. The biggest change was that the server-wide counter would now serve a purpose aside from laughing at you — now, for every Chapaa caught server-wide, anyone who contributed one would get one extra Chapaa Chase Ticket. This upped the number of tickets you could get from around 100 to well over 300 (400 for the more skilled players) and reduced the farming time to get 15,000 Chapaa Chase Tickets from 115 hours to approximately 50.
The changes are a definite plus and a nice addition, but failed to fix the general camping problem, as there still aren't enough Chapaa to justify calling this a "chase". And while I do love the Maji Market, I felt that the event wasn't really in line with the overall feel of Palia — a cosy game should have no room for PvP elements, even light ones.
Though I did expect to love the prizes and mini-game more, the highlight for me is the Accomplishments added, giving you an incentive to try out everything from the event at least once. From eating all of the food (a personal favourite) to hitting the drums and activating the fireworks in the area, these give you a bit more to do and reward you with more unique items that I genuinely loved getting. Although some of them are still PvP-oriented (such as catching a criminal amount of Chapaa in a group, forcing you to party and encouraging stealing from others), they were still a highlight of the event.
Now, after having gotten all of the items from the Chapaa Chase, I can confidently say that though not without its faults, the Maji Market event is something I enjoyed. I had fun with the Chase items to get with Gold, which motivated me to get more and find an optimal money-earning route, but I do wish that the event felt more like a "chase" than a spawn camp, even after the changes. Playing in emptier servers is always more enjoyable because there are Chapaas to be caught, but fuller servers make it an ungratifying and unenjoyable mess, which makes Chapaa Chase more tedious than fun. Hopefully, one day, Singularity 6 will increase the Chapaa spawning and make it a more enjoyable event that doesn't feel as cutthroat as it is currently.