It's that time of year again, folks. The days are short and cold, the nights are long and even colder, and one of the best places to be is in your nice warm house. Since you're there, you may as well break out the good ol' videogames and make those chilly winter evenings go by a little faster.
In honour of this, I'm going to be posting about one game each day in the run-up to Christmas, finishing on the magical day itself. Keep in mind that these aren't necessarily going to be games that feature Christmas (although some do). Rather, they're going to be a mix of winter warmers, personal nostalgic favourites, and games that echo some traditional Christmas pastimes. I'm sure other people will have their own winter favourites, but this is my unique list and I'm going to do my best to give a little history on each game and explain why they're featured here.
So, without further ado, onwards with day seven!
World of Warcraft
Unleashed upon the world in 2004, World of Warcraft introduced the MMO game to a mainstream audience. This genre that was previously the preserve of a relatively niche group of enthusiasts exploded in popularity, leading to developers tripping over each other in the rush to capitalise on its newfound success. Eight years and four expansion later and WoW is still the most popular subscription based MMO on the market.
What made it so popular? For starters it featured an enticing breadcrumb trail style of progression. Players gained levels, armour and abilities by acquiring experience from killing monsters and completing quests. Each areas quest chain would inevitably end up leading you on to the next area, encouraging further play through the promise of unexplored lands and shiny new gear. Most importantly, though, this was all explained in a very straightforward manner, meaning that pretty much any old gamer could jump in and understand what was going on straight away.
Then, of course, there were the massively, multiplayer and online aspects of the game. Even for people used to large single player worlds, such as those found in Elder Scrolls or Final Fantasy games, the land of Azeroth was enormous. And the multiplayer and online aspects of the game meant that you could explore this vast expanse with your friends, no matter where you were in real life. Questing, dungeon running, PvPing and generally dossing around kept players hooked for literally years at a time. Although the game is now in its twilight years, it appears to be in a slow decline that will let it bow out gracefully, leaving behind a legacy of success that many will hope to emulate but few will manage to achieve.
Why It's Here:
The first thing that popped into my mind were the real time holiday events, specifically the Feast of Winter Veil which acts as the games substitute for Christmas. And while celebrating a fictional holiday with unique in-game events and items is certainly fun, it's not quite enough to get on this list. But bringing my friends and I together when we were scattered all across the country is.
Playing WoW with good friends is basically like being in a group IM chat and also playing a ridiculously fun game at the same time. We would go on raids and dungeon runs, PvP together, duel, gank 't3h n00bs', boost alts, crash the auction house, and generally shoot the shit. This kept us all in constant contact while also providing some of the best gaming experiences of my life. Unfortunately it's hard to express exactly what made this so good without referring to very specific events that only people who were there would understand. Nevertheless, if you've played WoW you'll know what I'm talking about, and if not you probably think I'm slightly mad. But if old friends getting together and having a laugh doesn't say Christmas, then I don't know what does.