No Scrooges are allowed to take part
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Mince pies, gingerbread men, last-minute panic buying of presents, and, of course, shutting yourself away from your family for the entire time to take part in some of the many in-game events happening at the moment.
To save you the time and effort of having to hunt them out, here are some of the best events going down over the holidays.
The Dungeons & Dragons MMO for PC and Xbox One has already launched its winter event on December 17. This year sees the return of the Winter Festival of Simril, a lovely little snowy fair full of mini-games and prizes. Claiming a present each day from the Giftmaster in Twilight Tor will nab you a whole load of free stuff, including new mounts and clothing, without having to do much work.
While this event also ran last year, some new quests and areas have been added to celebrate the recent-ish release of the Underdark expansion, so there’s more to check out if you thought you’d done everything last year.
The Winter Festival will run until January 7.
Feast of the Winter Veil is a long-standing tradition in World of Warcraft, and once again the event brings with it new quests and loot up for grabs.
If you’re Alliance head to Ironforge, and if you’re Horde head to Orgrimmar. There, you’ll find a whole load of characters needing help setting up the festivities. Greatfather Winter needs help doing his totally-not-Santa thing, and the Jinglepocket Goblins want you to go and save Metzen the Reindeer.
But best of all is some dungeon bosses will be wearing little hats which you can take for yourself. Little. Freaking. Hats.
Some of the others rewards you can get include new pets, such the Clockwork Rocket Bot and the Tiny Snowman, as well as new toys like the Train Set.
The Feast of Winter Veil started on December 16, and will be running through to January 2.
World of Warcraft isn’t the only one who gets the Winter Veil festival, as it’s also come to everybody’s favourite collectible card time-sink, Hearthstone. The boards have been all decked up with snow, fireplaces and fancy lights, and even the heroes are getting a bit festive with their new holiday greetings emotes.
However, the big thing is the Gift Exchange Tavern Brawl mode. Greatfather Winter drops presents and crates onto the board, and whichever player manages to destroy them will get a new 1-mana card that will grant them a card either for their own or for their opponents’ class. Winning a game of Gift Exchange will net you a very festive Winter Veil Wreath card back.
Unfortunately, you don’t have much longer left with the Gift Exchange, as it ends on December 21, which at the time of writing is tomorrow. If you’ve missed that though, don’t worry. The wintery boards and a holiday sale offering 50 classic packs for $50 will be running until January 6.
Rift’s winter event is probably one of the longest ones this year. It started on December 10, and will be running all the way through to January 6.
The Fae Yule event returns once again with everything players are used to from previous years, with quests being found in Sanctum, Meridian, Iron Pine Peak, and Draumheim. However, this year there’s some pretty big changes to the proceedings. There’s a new instant adventure in the Iron Pike Peaks, a new questline for the Minions, as well as a reworking of the Sparkle Quest.
There’s also a sale running on the in-game store, featuring weapon and item skins, mounts, and backpacks. Depending on how much in-game credit you buy, you can also nab either a Jolly Hellbug Pet or an adorable Jolly Hellbug Mount.
RiftGrate has a great (heh) guide on getting the most out of the event too, for those who don’t want to miss anything.
If you head to the upper deck of Limsa Lominsa and talk to Collys before December 31, you’ll be roped into a fairly long questline to help her set right the celebration plans for the Starlight festival.
If helping save Starlight out of the goodness of your heart wasn’t enough, you can also nab some goodies too: Christmas trees and glowing wall decorations, as well as costume pieces to make you look like Santa or his Reindeer.
This isn’t the biggest or longest event running, but it’s definitely one of the most adorable that I’ve seen.
Probably one of the best multiplayer games to come out this year, Rocket League introduced a hockey mode to its roster. It comes as part of a mutator called Snow Day that replaces the usual ball with a huge puck, which changes the game almost completely.
As well as the new mode, a variety of cosmetic drops are available until January 4, including the ‘Xmas’ rocket trail, various toppers, and two new antennae.
Indie platformer Azure Striker GUNVOLT went full-out this year and added in a whole new mode for its winter event.
Christmas Mode gives the game a wintery makeover, and tasks players with collective as many presents as they can on the slippery ice. The mode also has its own leaderboards too, for those who want to prove they’re officially the best at Christmas.
Okay, this isn’t technically an event in the same way the other games are because it’s been available for almost 20 years now, but it’s still totally worth checking out.
If you have a copy of either the PC or PS2 rereleases of NiGHTS into Dreams, you’ll currently find the menus have taken a much more festive tone. NiGHTS is decked out in red, there’s an awesome version of Joy to the World blaring, and even Dream Dreams, the game’s main theme, has a lovely a capella cover. It’s all one big reference to one of the coolest demos ever released for a game, Christmas NiGHTS.
Christmas NiGHTS was a demo released NiGHTS back in 1996 on the Sega Saturn. If you played for nine months of the year, it was just a standard preview of the game, showing off Spring Valley and the boss Gillwing pretty much exactly how you’d find them in the full game.
However, if you played it from November to January, the entire thing took on a festive vibe. Spring Valley is covered in snow, NiGHT’s podium turns into a giant cake, and the Ideya containers are transformed into Christmas trees. Even Gillwing changes, turning his lair into a glittery Santa’s grotto around a huge Christmas tree.
The whole thing was really cool. I always play whatever version I can find at this time of year, and so should you.
That should be more than enough gaming to tide you over the next couple of weeks. However, remember that this week sees the start of Christmas sales on Origin, Green Man Gaming and Steam, as well as basically every console’s digital store too!