Once again, it's that special time of year where children have dreams of sugar plums and Ten Ton Hammer staffers kiss under the mistletoe. [Actually, mistletoe avoidance is the precise reason we don't get together for a holiday party. - Ed.] Gamers will be unwrapping (or downloading) oodles of gifts come Christmas day. (All I want for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun. I promise not to shoot my eye out!). Most MMOs get in the holiday spirit by having special events to commemorate the season. To help you get the most out of the holiday season, we offer this guide to the various special events offered in your favorite online games. So put down that sword, grab a mug of hot chocolate, and start having a jolly good time.
Star Trek Online
Q's Winter Wonderland returns to Star Trek Online from December 6th to January 14th. Yes, you too can enjoy holiday magic with that insanely annoying (but incredibly powerful) and pompous entity. To begin your trek to Q's Winter Wonderland, speak to Q at Qo'noS or Earth Spacedock and you'll be transported.
You can fend off the freezing attack of animated snowmen by pelting them with snowballs, and you can earn rewards for joining in the snowball fight, which you can turn in for various rewards such as new costumes. Players can face off against each other in the Fast and the Flurrious race. Practice your skating moves on the frozen lake or snuggle together in the gazebo. If you're lonely, you can earn a snowman pet or a winter tribble. It's only logical that you partake of Q's Winter Wonderland.
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
Vanguard brings back the Festival of Gloriann this holiday season and begins December 15th. Players can loot Shards of Gloriann from defeated enemies. These shards can then be turned in to the Avatars of Gloriann that have appeared in Tanvu, New Targonor, and Khal for festive rewards. Gathering in the avatars' locations are a number of pilgrims, and players can speak to these pilgrims to learn the lore behind the festival. However, all isn't peaches and cream in the world as Finch and Ghalnn are stirring up trouble by creating three monsters. Heroes can defend the good people of Telon by slaying these monsters and recovering the stolen presents.
Celebrating the holidays takes a different turn in EVE Online. The good folks at CCP are having a dev incursion, where the devs, with their mighty fleet, will reign destruction down upon any who dare to oppose them. The joy for players is that you actually have the chance to shoot a dev down and score yourself some massive bragging rights!
These incursions will begin when players hear reports of a massive CCP fleet gathering in Polaris. These announcements will be broadcast through news channels, social media, and the in-game events forum. The dev fleet will then depart Polaris and appear in a selected system in New Eden, where they will mercilessly destroy everyone and everything. Damages from past dev incursions have hit billions in ISK damages. If you can't make the event, you can tune it to Own3d.tv and watch it live.
Be you Defiant or Guardian, it's that special time in RIFT. Beginning on December 12th, the seasonal Fae Yule world event launches in Update 2.1: Endless Eclipse. The action focuses on the capital cities of Sanctum and Meridian, where Grandfather Frost offers quests and dailies, including snowball fights. If you want to get into the holiday action quickly, there are holiday-themed instant adventures. You can also take a portal to Iron Pike Peak where you can undertake sledding adventures, choosing to destroy snowmen as you fly down the mountain on a shield or you can opt to try your hand at going through banner checkpoints.
If you're in the mood for PvP, there is a holiday-themed Whitefall warfront. Overall, there are a lot of holiday goodies that you can amass through the accumulation of Snowflakes, including gear for Storm Legion level players. There are holiday mounts, seasonal costume pieces, pets, food, and Fae Yule decorations for your personal dimension (player housing).
Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2's event is called Wintersday: The Wondrous Workshop of Toymaker Tixx. This event begins December 14th and lasts through January 3rd. The focus of this event is toys - those joyful contraptions that children scream for and parents get into knife-fights at ToysRUs.
Lion's Arch will serve as the hub for this event, with the asuran Toymaker Tixx in residence as the Wintersday guest of honor. Before he arrives in Lion's Arch, Tixx will appear in every major city in Tyria to deliver toys and holiday cheer, flying around in his huge airship toy workshop. There are many activities for the player to engage in and earn some achievements. Players can fight off endless hordes of malfunctioning toys in Toypocalypse. If throwing down against other players in some snowy action is your game, then dive into Snowball Mayhem. You can visit Tixx in Lion's Arch and grab yourself a free present. If you have better reflexes than I do, then try the jumping puzzle of Winter Wonderland. Lastly, there is a musical challenge that gets gradually harder called the Bell Choir. All in all, there is a lot to do in Guild Wars 2.
The Secret World
The Secret World is having an event for the season, but it doesn't have to do with Christmas. This ARG (alternate reality game) seems to deal with the Mayan doomsday prophecy rapidly approaching. You don't have to play The Secret World to take part in this ARG, but you can earn prizes that can be used in-game such as an exclusive monk outfit, xp potion, special items that players will receive when Issue #6 launches, and an invitation to an online end of days celebration with members of The Secret World development team. You can sign up here to partake of this event. Even if you're not interested in playing, you can listen to the insanely creepy voice talking on the site and feel your sanity slip away watching the light bulb swinging back and forth, getting dimmer and dimmer....
What's that, you cry? Your favorite MMO isn't listed above? Have no fear, snowman-loving gamers, the reason why certain games haven't been discussed is that they haven't released their holiday plans yet. As soon as more MMOs give out the details for their Christmas events, we'll bring them to you. Ten Ton Hammer wouldn't want to be a Grinch and deny you the joys of partaking of MMO holiday cheer. Now hang up some lights in your guild hall and roll out a keg or two of dwarven eggnog!