From Azeroth to our solar system, video games (especially online ones with a constant community upkeep), are celebrating the holidays with various bits of festive content. Some games are more blatant than others with their celebrations with full DLC packs or even gifts from an “In game” version of Santa, though some are a little more subtle and obscure.
For example, I’ve just picked up this free-to-play game called Warframe, and it seems that the holiday spirit is expressed as the sound of random disembodied giggling sleigh bells… which is kind of really confusing when you are playing a game of Japanese style robot exoskeleton FPS sci-fi thriller. I mean it’s festive, but I haven’t yet figured out if there was much of a point to the randomly playing sound. There are holiday skins and candy cane like weapons, which are straight forward into their purpose (one makes you look good, the other brings the pain), but the jingling bells remain a mystery. Chances are there is some hidden secret to it… though that seems to be the M.O. of Warframe… not telling you what you need to know, just letting you “figure it out on your own…” So far, I’m enjoying my experience… even though I have no idea what I’m doing.
Games that have long standing holiday traditions keep up with those traditions Traditions such as World of Warcraft’sFeast of Winter Veil, continue the celebration in both lore and world spreading tidings of medieval holiday cheer. Holiday festivities from Blizzard/Activision World of Warcraft include both in-game quests and challenges as well as opening gifts and PVP caroling. Blizzard also celebrates the holiday season with large discounts on their own storefront as well. Many items, such as in-game mounts and even older Blizzard titles, can be found at a price more inline with the holiday spirit!
Games such as Saint’s Row 4 have released holiday DLC that you can download and play to stay within the spirit of the holidays. The Saints Save Christmas was quite delightful if not a little short lived. The Christmas sweater design was pretty hilarious, and the SPOILER —>> Christmas themed Dub-Step Cannon <<—END SPOILER was fantastic. I think what I liked best about it, though, was that it approached the holidays through a multi-faceted cultural outlook. They had representations of Kwanza, Hanukkah, and even the newer religion of great importance around this time “Festivus”. As for other games with holiday downloads, Borderlands 2 also had DLC for the holiday titled: How Marcus Saved Mercenary Day.
League of Legends continues its trend of holiday champion skins and holiday themes of their maps in an event they are calling “Snowdown“. They seem to pump out new and better holiday ideas each year that goes by. It’s always interesting to see what they will do for each year! This time around, they are featuring PVP 2v2 and 1v1 battle arenas, which isn’t a much of a different pace from the game’s usual 3v3 or 5v5 larger more complex maps.
Frostivus gives way to something different this holiday in Defense of the Ancients 2. There is a new holiday mission as well as holiday themed maps that they are calling “Wraith-night“. The new game mode is actually quite difficult. I played a few survivor rounds, but I wasn’t able to make it very far and kept getting overrun by the enemies.
Indy games like Terraria feature candy cane building materials for their 2D Minecraft like sandbox as well as presents that are dropped by killing monsters filled with good holiday themed loot. Even games that are still in Beta have holiday spirits ablaze in the night. A game I have been playing quite frequently lately called Starbound (which could be seen as Terraria 2.0) has seen some minor holiday cheer in the form of a “crafting table” and monster drops.
And as always, Steam is having another massive sale. I do have to say, I am quite enjoying Steam’s sense of humor here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. A winter sale, indicated by a wintery snow globe, on the top of the page and a summer sale, indicated by an upside down sunny beach themed snow globe, on the bottom. Very clever indeed. The Steam sale has been going on since Dec 19th and will last until Jan 3rd. Some of the deals are anywhere from 20% off of games to outrageous deals of up to 90% off. Even better, the games that are featured are not the usual “Best Buy bargain bin” games. Some of these games are big hitters with high meta-scores. There’s some really amazing titles, both main stream and indy, that are going for really cheap. I mean, between this and the Humble Store’s winter sale, everything is crazy!
Happy Holidays every gamer,
Keep on playing on.