Across most MMO games, winter is perhaps the best-celebrated seasonal event, especially for the gaming community who live in the northern hemisphere. In the more northern climes, winter means a brisk cold breeze, followed by blizzards, snowdrifts, and blankets of white as far as the eye can see. This usually means warm clothing, nippy fingers, and traffic jams. Of course, it can also mean power outages (but the hardcore gamer in you has battery backup, right?)
MMO games take this in stride and many produce events that rival even Halloween in splendor. Here’s a few of the winter events that we expect are coming to the MMO landscape this December.
As a result, the winter holidays have concentrated a long, storied tradition of taking the celebrations of cultures external to the MMO worlds and bringing them back in with a bit of a flair fitting the cultures of the game world themselves. Players themselves, of course, recognize traditions from their own cultures and join in the festivities to greater or lesser extents. What interesting winter-related traditions will we see this year?
Star Trek Online: Q’s Winter Wonderland
December 4th – January 15th
Meet the ever-present Q in Earth Space Dock, Qo’noS, or New Romulus to be transported to his seasonally appropriate Winter Wonderland where you can participate in snowball fights, defeat evil snowmen, and save gingerbread people from invaders. In what feels like something of a diversion from the usual science fiction shenanigans, Perfect World Entertainment and Cryptic Studios bring winter to Star Trek Online by producing a whole new world.
A post full of details can be read on the ArcGames website or keep reading for a summary rundown of what to expect.
Like last year, slippery ice races can be run to earn epohh tags or photos of Q that can be turned in for a massive Breen carrier. Snowmen still invade and attack the winter region and must be fought back with snowballs and winter-themed snowball weaponry (from dual pistols that fire snowballs to a new sniper rifle loaded with icicles.) This year, Cryptic added a tower-defense horde game with Borg assimilated snowmen that must be stopped before they invade the Winter Wonderland.
As with previous years there are still winter-themed clothing sets, foods related to the cold holidays, and interesting gear to warm the hearts and hands of players in these cold days.
Guild Wars 2: Wintersday
December 16th – January 13th
During the Wintersday celebration in Tyria the resplendent Master Toymaker Tixx visits all the cities of the land to deliver his workshop and wares to all the people. It may be a human holiday, but the asura and other races and cultures have managed to bring their own particular cheer to the festivities—this means food, outfits, and accessories to match. NCSoft and ArenaNet have released numerous breadcrumbs revving up to this event so it should be a fun-filled holiday.
In previous years, Tixx and his floating workshop have hovered over major cities enabling players to join him and assist with preparations. However, of course, Tixx being asura something always goes wrong and Wintersday golems need to be adjusted back to proper working parameters often with the application of sufficient violence.
In previous years, the city of Lion’s Arch was the seat of the Wintersday event–but recently it has seen ruin and devistation at the hands of an in-game villian. As a result another city, Destiny’s Reach, will see a transformation into a winter wonderland filled with falling snowflakes, a white dusting on the ground, with snowmen and ornaments hung amidst the cheek-and-jowl houses. In the past the Mystic Forge in LA also dressed up as a giant snowglobe with a snowman inside (perhaps we’ll see something similar in DR?). Weapon skins matching various winter-holiday related items and costumes will also arrive from candy cane hammers to slingshot bows.
There will be a jumping puzzle involving melting snowflakes and giant snowmen for those with the dexterity as well as the Tixx dungeon instance. Last year also included a number of minigames including one for the musically inclined that involved a sort of Simon Says with bells on to ring in the season.
DCUO: Winter Holiday
December 10th – January (?)
The past two years the Orange Lantern, Larfleeze, adherent to the emotion of avarice, found that the winter season of gift giving would be perfect for him to obtain all the presents for himself. The Green Lanterns, not wanting the Yule holiday not ending in ruin, prepare a defense and ask the players to participate. Sony Online Entertainment has kept the winter seasonal fires burning for two years now, and this year everyone hopes will be just as spectacular.
For more information on this event visit the DCUO wiki or keep reading for a summary of what to expect.
Both Metropolis and Gotham City receive a little bit of a makeover with Christmas lights, and both cities get city-wide missions to hunt down and stop the minions of Larfleeze who are stealing presents and Yule trees from the inhabitants. A vendor appears with a multitude of Christmas-themed items, trinkets, and costumes. And there is also a set of Christmas-themed armor sets obtainable from Skeet’s Workshop in a sort of Holiday Elf and North Pole styles.
Last year saw the addition of the Secret Research Facility alert for superheroes to save the holiday from the Orange Lanterns by taking the fight to them.
World of Warcraft: The Feast of Winter’s Veil
December 16th – January 2nd
In the grand scheme of winter holiday events, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft has one of the longest-running in the industry starting way back in 2007. The land of Azeroth also has a cycle of seasons and a different variety of cultures that celebrate the shortened days and lengthened nights as well as the chill of winter’s bite. This means a few adventures added, a lot of winter-related foods, and perhaps a little more lore for the long running MMORPG.
For more information see the World of Warcraft wiki or keep reading for an eggnog filled review of what to expect in this event.
The Feast of Winter’s Veil is a very long running event and it has transformed repeatedly over the years. Content continues to get added as Warcraft’s expansions change the game. For the most part, players can expect that winter-related clothing will start appearing from coats to hats as well as a large variety of toys. Each year, new toys and minis get added to the game that are obtained by joining each day of the Winter’s Veil celebration and collecting them from beneath the tree in the faction capital. That would be Orgrimmar for the Horde and Stormwind for the Alliance.
A number of achievements are also accessible during Winter’s Veil that involve participating in wintery festivities or doing odd things while dressed like a holiday gnome.
There’s even an evil Greench who steals presents and kidnaps reindeer who needs to be struck down by the players in a quest chain that delivers goodies and achievements.
Be sure to visit the goblin and gnome vendors in order to get horrible food (and eat it). After all, who doesn’t like grandma’s meat pie?
RIFT: Fae Yule
December 12th – January 1st
Trion World’s has gotten into the winter seasonal events for a few years now with RIFT: The Planes of Telara and the Fae Yule event. This means wreathes, yuletide gifts, and a great deal of instant adventures. Players are treated to what is basically a Yule event with gift giving, seasonal garb and items, holiday dimensions, and a change to PvP called the Very Merry Warfront.
See this blog post for last year’s Fae Yule on what to expect this upcoming season in RIFT.
Neverwinter Online: Winter Festival
December 19th – January 9th
Dragons may be terrorizing the Dungeons & Dragons game of Neverwinter Online right now but soon will be time for the seasonal respite and celebration with the Winter Festival. Perfect World Entertainment and Cryptic Studios brought the Winter Event out last year by bringing adventurers to the small hamlet of Twilight Tor.
See Cryptic’s preview blog post, the Neverwinter Online wiki for further information about previous events or keep reading for a short summary of what to expect.
Twilight Tor is an icelocked settlement in the mountains where magic happens during snowfall. The winter holiday celebration comes with a celestial event called the Lights of Simril, where star-stuff falls from the sky. Astrological tidings are mixed with seasonal fetters from Yuletide story all the while ice trolls arrive to mess everything up.
Players can choose to participate in races in order to earn Light of Simril and trade it for a multitude of winter items including a sleigh mount, a fawn companion, and a multitude of ice-based weapons—or, of course, our favorite Frost Mimic (an icebound treasure chest companion with teeth.) Amid the other prizes from this event are a large number of clothing items and other wintry-styled skins for players to capture the aesthetic of the season.
For people not into racing or fighting, ice fishing is also available. As it turns out, the fish are mightily prized by the inhabitants of Twilight Tor and can be traded for event currency and items.