MMORPGs Celebrating the Holidays By Kyt Dotson

Across the world, come midwinter a series of holidays march across out calendar from Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, and others—it only makes sense that the MMO community would take advantage of these festivities and many of them do. Out of the free-to-play games they often start offering special prices or items that fit the holiday, enticing their players to spend gift money on something cute or seasonal; and as for the pay-to-play games, they often construct elaborate events that reward achievements and items for taking part in the merriment.

Dungeons & Dragons Online is running a winter event called Festivult. While the name is silly, the event itself appears to be quite elaborate. A merrymaker known as the Festivult Jester has been having players running all over the realm seeking out treasure chests to loot coins from to turn in for strange prizes. They’ve also introduced the Risia Ice Games again that have players beating up fiery monsters hither-and-fro for special coin that allow them to buy wintry weapons and enchantments. For those not interested in the hew-and-hack of fighting monsters and raiding, though, there’s also skating rinks which award coins for deft skill and grace while wearing skates.

As a free-to-play game, DDO also makes money by calling upon players to buy credits in the form of coin, so they’re also offering winter holiday themed items like hot cocoa and ice skates (needed to play in the Risia Ice Games)—and as well during the period between December 20th and January 2nd players will a holiday bonus giving them 10% additional XP and Guild Renown, and a +1 Loot Boost bonus.

Fiesta Online is ringing in the winter holidays and the New Year with fresh new items for players to buy. “The holidays are fast approaching, and all of Isya is preparing for the yuletide festivities! Soon the streets of Roumen and Elderine will be filled with holiday cheer (and not to mention giant festive Christmas trees!), and the air will once again by filled by the gentle falling of fresh snow.” Unlike other games, the item sales don’t seem to last much beyond the month of December (ending on the 31st.) Amid the more interesting and festive item releases there is a Gingerbread House and a Mini Gingerbread Man several sleigh-like mounts drawn by various critters like reindeer or an anthro-red-nosed-reindeer. As well as a multitude of look-changing packs that include winter gear, “Santa” outfits, and snowmen, and other winter themed items.

Their celebration seems limited to new items, but they’re still definitely solidly in the spirit.

Guild Wars has been running with Wintersday 2010: “For centuries, the goddess of life, Dwayna, who welcomes the coming of spring, has struggled with the god of death, Grenth, for control of Wintersday. This year, the god of war, Balthazar, has thrown his support behind Grenth, who vehemently believes that Wintersday should be a somber time of reflection on the inevitability of death.” The event will cover much of the landscape with snow, giant presents, candy-canes, and snowmen. There have also been several repeatable quests involving the Secret Lair of the Snowmen to either save the snowmen and Wintersday or let it fall to death in despair.

In the true spirit of the thing, snowball fights and tournaments are part of the celebration.

Amid the festive spirit, there are also two new costumes that reflect the pagan roots of the holiday with red-and-green horned-oak themed costumes with extremely elaborate artwork. Of course, they’re available for purchase in the NCsoft store for a price.

City of Heroes/Villains once again is running with their now usual Winter Event—opening up the Ski Chalet off of Pocket D where a mission to save Baby New Year from evil time bandits and presents appear across Paragon City and the Rogue Isles. Just for logging in, players are gifted with a small array of special items: costume piece fuzzy earmuffs, Holiday Spirit which grants 48hrs of 25% dept protection, and Holiday Cheer which allows a player to gift another player with a random present—which can include in-game credits, a temporary power, or even a winter costume hat.

The mission out of the Ski Chalet involving Baby New Year has been an annual favorite since the event first appeared—but it hasn’t changed much at all since then. As it does involve fighting through abominable snowmen (made of snow) and ice trolls to safe a surprisingly ugly “baby” it certainly has its entertainment value. Most players run the mission at least enough times to get all the rewards available and then spend the rest of their time entertaining themselves sliding down the ski slopes of the interdimensional chalet.

Lastly World of Warcraft once again brings us the Feast of Winter Veil: “The Feast of Winter Veil, also called the feast of Great-Winter, is an in-game, end-of-year, several week long holiday event seeming to be the in-game counterpart of Christmas and other holidays at the end of the year.” In fact, it hasn’t changed very much since the release of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion in 2008; but it still contains a lot of achievements and amusing quests for players new and veteran alike to get into.

The achievements especially keep veteran players coming back to the event. Since they’re only available during the event itself and they culminate in receiving the special title “Merrymaker” for completing a majority subset of them, it is somewhat coveted. Other elements include snowballs, snowmen, Christmas-themed armor pieces (like red and green Santa hats) and a snowman pet.
This year, the presents under the tree also include a blimp mini-game/controllable pet. The present drops a remote-control that allows the player to take control of a tiny blimp that can fly through the air, drop “air mines”, and fire a tiny cannon. Players flying blimps can shoot at each other and blow one another other of the sky in a sort of competition—the blimps themselves are not connected to an achievement, but dueling can be amusing.

In most of these MMOs the winter events extend slightly into January with most ending around Jan 2nd or 4th. So if you want to get your festivities in and take in some holiday cheer and merrymaking you might want to get to it soon!

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