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MMO Festivities Of 2009

23 Dec 2009  by   Paul Younger
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MMOs like to bring a bit of the real world into their on-screen one, so it’s not unusual to see real-life celebrations, or a parody of them, imported into the games. Christmas is one of those periods that often make the cross-over, along with Halloween and Easter, so we thought we’d give you a run-down of festive events that are taking place in some of the most popular MMOs right now.

Guild Wars – Wintersday

From mid-December until  4 January, the cities of Guild Wars light up with decorations, holiday vendors and seasonal treats. Droknar’s Forge and Ascalon City join in with the festivities, but visitors to Lion’s Arch, Kamadan, and the Eye of the North not only experience the festive spirit, they are also offered a selection of special quests, missions and games, each with their own rewards.

Among many activities available in Guild Wars over this period, players can take part in 8v8 snowball tournaments, complete quests in the hope of obtaining rare pets, team up with the snowmen or the grentches to try and save or ruin Wintersday, and deliver presents.

The celebrations step up a notch when the grand finale kicks off in Lion’s Arch and Kamadan at one minute past midnight on the first day of the year. It continues every three hours for the next two days.

A number of special Wintersday items are available over this period, including a summoning stone which creates a snowman ally, a Grentch summoning stone, potions that turn player’s characters into snowmen, grentches, or Dwayna’s little helpers and candy canes that can be collected and exchanged for weapons or other items.

Champions Online – Attack of the Misfit Toys

Although it’s Champions Online’s first Christmas, Cryptic has a winter themed in-game event currently under way. A new villain, Black Harlequin, has taken over the Toymaster’s shop and transformed a number of the previously-fluffy objects into hideous creations. He’s even gone to the trouble of making Clarence, a gigantic teddy bear with a few deadly upgrades. Players can get missions and gifts from the ousted Toymaster who is temporarily in Renaissance Centre.

To save the day, players must defeat Black Harlequin and his massive side-kick Also up for grabs during this period are new steam-punk costume pieces, new in-game action figures and new perks.

World of Warcraft – Feast of Winter Veil

World of Warcraft players are fully plunged into the Christmas spirit each year, as cities are decked out in multi-coloured lights and trimmings, decorated trees and wrapped gifts to celebrate the Feast of Winter Veil. The Horde and Alliance each have their own Greatfather Winter, who visits Ironforge and Orgrimmar respectively to hand out gifts and quests.

Along with the elderly bearded dudes in the red clothing, players will see groups of commoners in towns wearing festive outfits, and a handful of regular bosses will be sporting Christmas headwear, which can be claimed when they are defeated.

Other activities during this period include collecting snowballs and obtaining a snowman costume and rescuing Metzen the Reindeer. All the festivities come to a head in the early hours of Christmas day, when the Goblins of Smokeywood Pastures help Greatfather Winter distribute gifts to the adventurers of Azeroth. Players can claim these presents from under the trees next to the Orcish or Dwarven Greatfather Winter until 2 January.Warhammer Online – Keg EndA beer-themed Christmas event awaits players of Warhammer Online from mid December until early January. As the Dwarven legend goes, all the ale must be consumed before the new year arrives, or bad luck will befall the brewer and his clan. To help out the brewers, all local citizens aid brewers by consuming as much of the beverage as they can, then boast about it of course. The forces of Destruction are keen to ruin the fun, and aim to steal or just drink as much of the ale as they can themselves.

There are a selection of tasks up for grabs during Keg End; Players may gain event influence by taking back the stolen goods from Ogres, Gnoblars and Explosive Snotlings who lurk in PvE areas along the roads near major landmarks or Public Quests. There are rewards for boasting too. Players can complete many Achievements during this time as well, such as killing a certain number of Ogres or Snotlings. Special items from Keg End include fireworks and Battle Brew Packs. The titles “The Drunkard” and “Keg Slayer” are also available. Don’t forget the legendary Golden Stein either, which is said to grant special blessings.

Lord of the Rings Online – Yule Festival

At this time of year, Middle-earth celebrates the festivities in a number of ways, namely, beer drinking and horse racing. This year, Turbine has added The Glorious Beer Fight into the mix as well. These events take place at Duillond, the Party Tree, Thorin’s Inn, and the Horsefields.

Quests for this period include gathering of beer and cider-making ingredients, then the actual drinking of said beer and cider. There’s also tasks involving the wrapping of gifts, preventing others from taking the best Yule-time food and gathering snow. The lack of beer is the reasoning behind the Glorious Beer Fight, where characters must fight their way to the goods before others.

Back in The Shire and the Bree Festival Fields, players can take part in the Horse Racing events. Every ten minutes the first four players to grab the quest and a saddle will be able to join the race. They must negotiate several obstacles and be the first to the finish line. Taking part in races awards players with a tokens, which can be saved up to purchase a special mount.

Other items available during this time include gift boxes and a Yule-tree.

Aion – The Solorius Festival

Despite there being no content regarding Christmas celebrations in the original Korean client, western NCsoft programmers have been hard at work since Aion’s release in September to ensure that gamers over here felt at least a little of the festive spirit while playing Aion this Christmas.

The custom-made Solorius Festival brings decorations and bespoke NPCs in the major cities for each faction. The celebrations are to honour the previous year’s ascended Daevas and their service to humanity. A large piano has been built in each city, allowing heroes to compose a holiday tune. The weight of an entire person is needed to play a note, so gather a few friends and see if you can bang out a song.

The bakers are in town to sell their seasonal wares, and Shugos are flogging Solorius goods where ever they can set up shop. If you fancy any of their items, be sure to grab them while you can – it’ll all be gone by the end of the celebrations.

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