Robert Cox: The Holidays in the MMO Universe


The holidays can be a confusing time. Who celebrates what? When does it start? Is it still OK to wish someone “Merry Christmas”?

Right off the bat, there’s Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice and who knows what else. For gamers, particularly MMO players, the list gets even longer. Winter Veil, Frostfell, Yuletide, Life Day… the list goes on and on.

So, to help players get a handle on their holiday gaming, here’s a look at a few of the more major happenings and what players can expect during this busy time of year.

Everquest, Everquest II, Legends of Norrath

The dedicated team over at Sony Online Entertainment are no strangers to holiday events. Longtime players of Everquest will certainly argue that Frostfell is one of the best holidays around.

Legend has it that Santug Claugg, Norrath’s jolliest denizen, serves as the herald of Frostfell, delivering toys to all good Norrathian girls and boys. Without Frostfell, winter will never end and Norrath will be trapped in an endless season of cold and darkness.

This year, Santug is in trouble. Someone has been kidnapping his little helpers, the Snowdwarves, severely hampering toy production. No toys, no deliveries, no Frostfell, no spring. Truly an evil plot.

Zoog in Great Divide is seeking help to discover where Santug’s helpers have been taken, free them, and ultimately face the one who is behind this sinister plot.

In Everquest II, Frostfell features new recipes, decorations and quests to be discovered by curious residents. Players will encounter gift-giving Gigglegibber within Freeport, Qeynos, Kelethin, Neriak and Gorowyn handing out daily gifts to all. Players will also be able to enter the Frostfell zone via closets within Freeport, Qeynos, Kelethin, Neriak and Gorowyn. Within each zone, residents will find holiday themed fun for tradeskillers and quest givers.

Not to be left out, Legends of Norrath players can look forward to saving Santug Claugg from the clutches of the cold-hearted Grinnuch. Starting December 21, each time players defeat The Grinnuch in the “Saving Santug” scenario with a new deck archetype, they will earn a special Santug Claugg promotional card. And, since Legends of Norrath is playable from inside both EQ and EQII, players can earn rewards in more than one game.

Star Wars Galaxies

A long time ago in a TV studio far, far away, someone decide to make a Star Wars Christmas special. Another evil plot.

One good thing came out of the ill-fated special – Wookiee Life Day.

It should be noted right off that, for roleplay purposes, all Life Day activities should be avoided by Imperial players. After all, Wookiees are “subhuman” at best, so any celebration sponsored by this “inferior” race is a waste of time.

That said, citizens of Star Wars Galaxies will have even more to enjoy this year as they celebrate Life Day. Major cities across the galaxy will light up with the dazzling glow of the gigantic Wroshyr Tree, which offers gifts to all who visit it. This year’s celebration will feature an incredible visual spectacle centered on the tree itself with its dazzling display of light effects and beautiful holiday melodies performed by the Figrin D’an band.

Meanwhile, hardcore Imperial roleplayers can hang out in the Emperor’s Retreat, where the diligent dev team has finally removed Palpatine’s baggy boxers. (It’s a long story.)

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

Not to be left out, the heroes of Telon will be richly rewarded for their brave deeds and loyal service throughout the year in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. The rewards include a variety of special items such as a new Reindeer mount which, for a limited time, gains the magical ability to fly. Randolph, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?

To brighten everyone’s day, or night rather, certain cities will be decorated with holiday lights, while wandering Customer Service Reps will be dropping holiday-themed items, including “special” cookies that offer buffs and bonuses.

World of Warcraft

If there’s one thing the Horde and Alliance can agree on, it’s a party. All across Azeroth and Outland, festive decorations adorn towns and cities as both sides begin their annual celebration of the Feast of Winter Veil.

New this year will be some holiday-themed cooking, tailoring, and leatherworking recipes; a new mechanotoy present – the Clockwork Rocket Bot – under tree on Dec. 25; Outland bosses that drop festive red and green winter hats matching the tailoring and leatherworking clothes; improved Fresh and Preserved Holly that now also works on flying mounts, transforming them into reindeer, and, as always, the prospect of a good snowball fight.

In addition, Greatfather Winter is visiting the cities of Ironforge and Orgrimmar – courtesy of the fine folks of Smokywood Pastures. All the cheer-spreading is making Greatfather Winter hungry, and he’s looking for adventurers to get him his daily fix of milk and cookies. Accompanying Greatfather Winter in his journeys across Azeroth are his loyal troop of snowmen. They can be found wandering around Ironforge and Orgrimmar, bringing with them the chill breath of winter into even the warmest climates.

Anarchy Online

Even with the twin suns scorching the lands on Rubi-Ka, people find a way to be merry and celebrate the winter holidays.

Dressed in Santa suits and waving mistletoe twigs, the citizens of Anarchy Online are very good at making the party last, especially as they wait for Santa Leet, the most mysterious leet of them all, who shares presents with everyone.

Give Santa Leet what he wants, get Christmas decorations. Sounds simple enough.

City of Heroes/Villians

Residents of Paragon City are more concerned with the coming New Year. Winter is blowing in across the bay to Paragon City, and settling on the Rogue Isles like an icy blanket.

Players who log in between December 17th and January 6th will receive the Gifted badge and the Fuzzy Earmuffs costume piece, along with the Holiday Spirit Temporary Power, which grants 48 hours of 25% Debt Protection, as well as the Holiday Cheer Temporary Power – target another player and use Holiday Cheer on them. It will reward them with a random, mystery Gift – a Temporary Power, a sack full of Influence or Infamy, or maybe even a very recognizable hat.

For the more action-oriented, players are asked to help Father Time. Snaptooth has kidnapped Baby New Year in order to keep Father Time from passing on the chronological mantle. If he keeps Baby New Year locked away forever, guarded by the Red Caps and allies among the Tuatha, winter will never give way to spring, and the universe may come to an end. Wait … that sounds mighty familiar.

While there isn’t much chance of a snowball fight(except between ice blasters, anyway), Heroes and Villians alike can hit the ski slopes. Authorities have kept the slalom course in great condition. This year all runs will be timed and players can earn Bronze, Silver, or even Gold Medalist Badges.

Just to keep things interesting, The Gamester is once again on the loose and has loaded the streets and rooftops with “gifts”. Use caution and watch for falling candy canes. With each present players open “successfully,” a Candy Cane will appear. These can be redeemed with the Candy Keeper in the Pocket D chalet for a huge host of holiday rewards.

Wrapping it up

In the end, the holiday season is about fun and fellowship. It doesn’t matter what or how people celebrate. If it’s fun,it’s fun. Even if, like those poor souls in Hobbiton, you spend your Yuletide doing a handful of quests and never get a mug of warm cider or a visit from a gift-bearing wizard.

Do you have a favorite ingame holiday memory? Tell us about it. We love stories.

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