Perfect Ten: MMO celebrations that didn’t rip off real-world holidays

    
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Does it ever slightly bother you that in these alternate fantasy and science fiction worlds that we explore there just so happens to have evolved the same dang holidays that we celebrate in real life? Oh, sure, they may try to disguise this fact with a rename and a “Father Winterclaus” instead of Santa, but it’s the same Christmas, the same Halloween, the same Valentine’s Day, and the same dang April Fools Day everywhere.

So why not be different? Why not exercise some imagination and create festivals and holidays unique to that game world and nowhere else? Believe it or not, it has been done — many times before, in fact. For this week’s Top 10 list, we’ll be looking at a sampling of holidays that don’t come from any discounted calendar that we might buy on January 20th at a mall kiosk (and no, game anniversary events won’t count for this list either).

catte

Final Fantasy XIV: Moonfire Faire

I have to say that of all the reasons to throw a holiday, sure, acrobatics at a beach is as valid as things like “pirates” and “pie.” Gives everyone a chance to show off their swimsuit glamours and perfectly toned tummies. Sounds like it has its fair share of casualties for the sake of entertainment: “Only those possessed of a strong pair of legs and a stomach for dizzying heights may hope to conquer this most death-defying test of acrobatic prowess.”

So, not for me me but probably for cats.

World of Warcraft: Children’s Week

WoW actually has a dizzying array of holidays, both unique and contemporary (especially with those newish micro-holidays). But the one that always sticks out the most to me is Children’s Week due to its rather special emphasis. Instead of the holiday being about your character’s enjoyment and benefit, you’re asked to “adopt” a virtual orphan for a while and take him or her on a tour of the world like a big brother or big sister. Of course, you don’t take the kid to the beach; you travel to dangerous battlefields and force this child to stare into the charnel house of horror. But it’s for a good cause.

Defiance: Armistice Day

You would think that more pretend worlds would make use of their elaborate backstory and celebrate important (fake) historical events, but that doesn’t happen that often. Defiance’s Armistice Day shows the potential for such holidays, with this one marking the end of the bloody Pale Wars in 2031.

I cover the waterfront, I'm watching the sea, for the one I love must soon come back to me...

Star Trek Online: Lohlunat Festival

Any Star Trek fan knows that out of the entire galaxy, apparently the only place to vacation was a single California-class planet known as Risa. And any STO fan knows that when this festival comes calling, that captain best get to this planet as soon as possible to hoverboard, dance, and jet pack across its beauty in order to get a free spaceship. That’s how timeshares get you.

EverQuest II: Tinkerfest

A relatively new holiday for this MMO, Tinkerfest takes place at the end of July and celebrates all things Gnomes and clockwork. Considering how often this little race goes (ahem) overlooked, it’s nice to see a celebration of their culture and passion.

Lord of the Rings Online: Farmer’s Faire

Summer is a prime candidate for made-up MMO holidays, seeing as how few actual major holidays exist on our calendar in this span. And so LOTRO shoe-horned in a medium-sized event that revolves around Hobbits and (of course) food. Get on board with scrambled eggs and delicious mushrooms, and you’ll be in for a tasty treat of a festival.

Asheron’s Call: Reception Games

When a prince got married in Asheron’s Call, it was such a big event that echoes of it played out for years afterward with this festival. This sort of sounds like the type of activities that a despotic prince would demand of his subjects, as players have to sprint breathlessly to different candles and find eggs hidden in rock piles. What this has to do with a wedding anniversary, I have no idea.

Star Wars: The Old Republic: May the 4th Be With You

There’s nothing quite like a bad pun based on a calendar quirk that has been embraced by a fan community and eventually elevated into semi-official status! May 4th gets to be Star Wars Day for this fact, and SWTOR often throws a new astromech droid and some random bonuses players’ way. To be honest, it’s a pretty lame “holiday,” but it’s uniquely Star Wars and deserves a mention here.

City of Heroes: Summer Blockbuster Event

Why not throw a holiday around that greatest of summer traditions, going to see big-budget flicks at the theater? Players got to take part in the movies by going on film-themed missions such as Time Gladiator and The Casino Heist. Popcorn wasn’t included, but temporary powers and enhancement sets were.

Secret World Legends: The Equinox

Not really based on a real-world holiday but instead a contemporary calendar event, the Equinox appears in the spring and autumn on those dates to make Druids happy and challenge players to a special scenario called Stonehenge Occult Defence.

Of course, this is only scratching the surface of non-real holiday events — what are some of your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com or eliot@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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Jim Bergevin Jr

I used to like SWTOR for the fact that they refused to add in fake holidays during RL ones. Then if course the MMO crybabies got their demands met and the craptastic Life Day was put in the game.

I always did like the Rakghoul event, though. I don’t know if it would qualify as a holiday, but at least it fit better with the theme of the game than the fake Thanksgiving event (Life Day took place during Thanksgiving, when the Special aired, not Christmas).

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starbuck1771

Uh Lifeday has been a part of SWTOR since it launched. Just like it was in SWG. It has been part of star wars lore since the holiday special.

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Jim Bergevin Jr

Life Day wasn’t implemented into SWTOR until after the first or second year as I recall. The original team was adamant about not including holidays into the game. It wasn’t until after the first year or two of crying that they brought in Life Day and other things like the pumpkin Regen chamber.

The special and Life Day were always considered one if the lower tiers of Canon until (thankfully) Disney nuked it and the rest of the EU when they bought the IP.

And technically speaking, Life Day is only celebrated once every three years, iirc, nit every year like it is in game.

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Paragon Lost

Not a big fan of real world holidays in mmorpgs. I’m looking for immersion and not being reminded of the real world, so kudos to those who do have holidays and events that have nothing to do with real world holidays.

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Robert Mann

I like me creative, fun things that aren’t based on Earth stuff. Gibs me more of dis developers!

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Tobasco da Gama

WoW’s Children’s Week is based on Japan’s Children’s Day, no? Granted, Japan’s version doesn’t involve adopting orphans, but it happens at the same time.

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Robert Mann

Aye, it’s considered the basis. There’s various ‘Children’s Day/Children’s Week’ holidays around the globe, including a U.N. version, but that timing matches the best.

I’d agree it is the weakest link on this set of ten (excepting maybe the SWTOR May 4th, which is celebrated by many a fan of the series in real life).

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Rift Carnival of the Ascended.

GW2 Festival of the Four Winds.

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Alex Willis

No Weatherstock? It might be a “fan” event but it’s as close to official as you can get.

(Also, I know the NAME rips off Woodstock, but it’s clearly a standalone.)

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camren_rooke

I liked COH’s Summer Blockbusters event. It kinda fit the whole superheros thing.