What’s in a Game? Holiday Events!

Hey gang, sorry about the unannounced (and unexpected) hiatus.  It’s been a while, eh?  The good news is I’m back and better than ever.  I thought we’d kick off the first time back with a fun little take on holiday events in MMOs. I’m breaking down my game experiences with holiday events by game, leading up to the one game that I don’t think can be topped in terms of stellar events, and then I’ll let you use the comments to share some of your experiences!  Expect to hear more about the grandfather of good holiday events in a coming installment. 

Most of you reading this are probably fans of KI games, so we’ll start with them! Halloween is the biggest event, though many smaller holiday vendors pop up ranging from the Friendship Festival to Easter and Christmas.  April Fool’s Day usually spawns an interesting and humorous pet or mount; such as this year’s Monty Python inspired Trusty Steed (read: Coconuts).  Their Halloween event involves doing a couple of low level quests to get some spooky gear and maybe a pet or two, all while stopping some really weird stuff from happening.  Can you say Vegetable-Eating-Vampire-Rabbit? Overall it’s a fun one, but it would be interesting to see the events changed up a bit from year to year.  This past year was the first time it has changed…at all.

Tons of other games run Holiday Events as well.  League of Legends (T for Teen) has the Harrowing at Halloween, Snowdown and Christmas, Lunar Revel at Chinese New Year, or special sales on skins and champions.  They’re also really good at April Fool’s Day.  This year, for instance, they introduced a new game mode involving 80% Cooldown Reduction, no mana costs, and a whole lot of interesting gameplay for the week of the holiday.

Star Trek Online (T) throws a massive Christmas party every year, but unfortunately the event turns into a grind-fest trying to run the mission on a daily basis in an effort to get rare holiday swag (we’re talking ships here, people).  Grind + holiday = no fun. Not to mention it’s the same event you’re expected to grind every year.

DC Universe Online (T) is only a little bit better that Star Trek Online’s repertoire of events, spanning Halloween, Christmas, Summer Vacation (it is a holiday, ask any teacher you know), St. Patrick’s Day, and a slew of others.  They have unfortunately fallen into the same trap as STO, though, recycling the same event each year for only moderately better rewards. It’s fun the first couple of times, and then it gets really boring really fast.  Not to mention nobody can pronounce Mister Mxyzptlk’s [mix-ee-zh-pit-a-lick…ish] name.

If you’re looking for the creme-de-la-creme of holiday events, look no further than Runescape (ESRB Rating not available, though Jagex requires players to be 13+; a rating of T would be my best estimate.  Use caution when playing games not rated by the ESRB!).  My first foray into MMORPGs was this little gem.  Way back in December of 2006, I stumbled across Runescape and noticed it was free to play in a browser.  No downloads?  No problem!  Unfortunately I caught the tail end of it and didn’t snag the rewards as I was a wee noobly noob, but by the time Easter rolled around I was ready to go!  Each and every one of their holiday quests is just corny enough to stick with you, gives you some really cool cosmetic (and completely exclusive to the relevant year) gear to play with, and tells an engaging story.  Whether you’re helping the Easter Bunny make his rounds because his employees are slackers or saving Death from an up and coming rival, it’s always a party when Jagex throws an event.  Honestly throwing the Grim Reaper a birthday party is one of my favorite memories gaming.

What about you?  If you have any nifty holiday experiences drop them in the comments below!

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