The holidays are upon us, and while gamers are rattling gifts or "spicing" up the eggnog, Sony, NCSoft and a few other companies are decorating their virtual worlds.
While this may sound a bit "geeky," there's nothing more cooler than watching virtual environments - especially those of a fantasy nature - take on the traditions of the real world. Whether it's a Halloween costume party or magic-enticed villages covered in snow, many current MMORPGs are offering festive opportunities that not only get into the spirit of the season, but can produce life-long memories that co-workers around the cooler would rather not talk about.
Sony was the big contender this afternoon in regards to holiday-themed announcements, revealing that its seven MMOGs will feature some kind of holiday event, including the old classic EverQuest and the highly unpublicized game, The Matrix Online. Here's a brief list of what's going on in Sony's Virtual Kingdom:
EverQuest: The impending Frostfell celebrations have been ruined by "a spate of thievery," and it is up to the players to save the celebration by tracking down the thieves and returning the missing presents. This event takes place in the Plane of Knowledge from December 11, 2008 to January 5, 2009.
Everquest II: Frostfell actually takes place in this MMORPG. Players can access the Wonderland Village through Magic Closets located in Qeynos Harbor, West Freeport, Haven, Kelethin, Neriak and Gorowyn. Players can gather presents to craft Frostfell items, and Santa Glug will toss out daily presents as well. This event runs from December 11 to January 5 as well.
Star Wars Galaxies: Wookiee Life Day returns according to Sony, offering new events, items and activities, and will take place in the cities of Dearic, Doaba Goerfel and Wayfar. Apparently, there will be new quests, pets, and items inspired by the Star Wars Holiday Special. A brand new speeder will make its first appearance during this festive time as well. Wookiee Life Day takes place between December 16 and January 13, 2009.
The Matrix Online: Yes, this MMORPG is still kicking with some life still left in it, now offering the fourth-annual Winter Holiday Celebration. Snow will be falling in Mega City, with Holiday Helper Vendors selling goodies on the street. There's talk of some Snow Simulacra that players can defeat, barfing up a holiday-themed clothing item.
Vanguard Saga of Heroes: In the land of Telon, the Festival of Gloriann returns featuring towering trees adorned with lights. Players will be able to take a tour over the rooftops of Telon while riding on Randolph, the flying reindeer mount.
Mythic Entertainment also released some info on its MMORPG, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. According to the company, the Dwarf New Year celebration of Keg End has officially begun, offering a Realm-wide crawl across the Old World "as the Dwarfs drain their old barrels and casks in hopes of good fortune and better brews in the New Year." Mythic is dragging out the gimps, or rather, the Ogres who will reward the winning challenger with special Keg End loot if defeated. There's also mention of a powerful, legendary Golden Stein.
NCSoft also announced holiday festivities for Guild Wars, the free-to-play MMORPG. According to the company, Wintersday returns "bigger and better than ever," offering up new NPCs, quests, rewards as well as holiday-themed PvP tournament. "You'll also get another chance at the best prizes and quests from previous Wintersday festivities, including the traditional snowball fight between the followers of Grenth and those of Dwayna," said the company. "Plus, for the first time ever, you get to see the Eye of the North all decked out in its best holiday finery!" The Guild Wars holiday event takes place between December 19 and January 5.
Of course, there are probably many more MMORPGs setting up the holiday decorations and throwing on festive suits. For gamers who have never checked out these games, now is a good time to dive in, especially for those who are off from work or lounging around during a holiday break from school.