Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It’s that time of the year again. Let’s take a look at the gaming distractions this festive season has to offer.

Wearing Wassailer outfits in Niflheim and dancing Single Ladies in The Secret World

It seems like Christmas adverts and decorations start appearing almost immediately after Halloween ends, but I try not to pay attention to it until December actually hits. This month will surely be full of festive fun, but what will hold my attention the most?

Multiplexed

After finishing up the Halloween event in The Secret World during the first week of November, I didn’t have to wait long before the release of the new Eve Online expansion, titled “Ascension” on 15 November 2016.

This was a massive change to Eve Online, which has been a subscription MMO for over a decade. But now it has gone free to play. I was expecting to try it out for a bit and see what had changed, but for the previous two weeks I’ve been hardcore playing Eve almost exclusively.

Although you’re not required to subscribe any more, you get the most out of it when you do – or at least if you can earn enough ISK to PLEX your account (add subscription time with in-game currency). To see if that was possible, I set myself the challenge of earning a billion ISK before my subscription is up for renewal.

Star Wars: The Old Republic was also on my list of games to return to, however, with my focus on Eve, I haven’t had a chance to action that. Early access has opened for subscribers to play the newest expansion and the start of the next phase of the game’s main story, “Knights of the Eternal Throne”. They’ll also probably be running their seasonal event, Life Day, which I haven’t really participated in previously.

I’ve primarily spent the last couple of years in The Secret World for Christmas. It’s refreshing that the game’s setting is our present day world, so Christmas is actually Christmas and not a made up holiday to fit game lore. But that doesn’t mean that TSW does a standard festive event with Santa Claus, jingle bells and carol singers – instead we got the Mayan End of Days apocalypse event back in 2012. This was followed up by a visit from Krampus and his mother Hel in a Norse mythology themed winter event in 2013 and then a Christmas conspiracy featuring the ghost of St Nicholas in 2014.

There wasn’t a new Christmas event in 2015 for The Secret World, but at least all of the previous events were active. We’ve been teased in Funcom’s recent Twitch dev stream that there will be some new outfits and reindeer mounts for 2016, and some festive decorations coming to Agartha, but not really any mention of new mission content or new large-scale event.

Guild Wars 2 will most likely be running its annual Wintersday event, although if it’s just a re-run and there’s nothing new, I may give it a miss, just as I did during their Halloween re-run. I’m much more interested in experiencing the new Living World episode, “A Crack in the Ice” which unlocked on 21 November 2016.

I’m not sure if The Elder Scrolls Online will be doing anything for Christmas. They’ve started introducing events this year, such as their Witches Festival back in October, so I’m expecting to see something similar.

…And a happy new year

I’ve discovered that I’m really bad at juggling multiple games at the same time. I much prefer picking one thing to focus on and then maximising that experience. At the moment, that seems to be Eve Online, at least for the next two weeks while I continue my month-long billionaire challenge.

My mobile games have been on hold. I think I missed out on some Thanksgiving themed missions and outfits in Fallout Shelter, but I hope that they’ll be back next year. I’m still right at the beginning of my playthrough of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars Director’s Cut on my iPad – I paused playing just after the intro scene with George Stobbart visiting Cafe de la Chandelle Verte.

I managed to install Skyrim: Special Edition, but that’s all. I’d like to create a brand new character and really delve into the game properly, however, that will have to wait until I’m not so occupied with MMOs.

I think for this month, I’ve got more than enough content to enjoy of the massively multiplayer online variety. Everything else, I’ll get around to in the new year.

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