Merry Gaming! Your Guide to Christmas 2017 In-Game Events

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It's that time of year, ya' know, the time of year where everyone keeps starting their holiday articles with "It's that time of year". Yeah, that time. It's during this time that Christmas washes over everything and paints it a green and red veneer. Half the radio stations are playing Christmas music. Half the TV channels are showing Christmas movies. It's insurmountable size only continues to grow, not to be outdone by ol' Saint Nick's waistline.

And now, the video game industry has succumbed, too. Not just to the Black Friday gift giving craze, but also to the arbitrarily dress-up-your-favorite-characters-in-Christmas-clothes craze. It's wonderful, it's terrible, it's all encompassing. But most of all, it's profitable overwhelming, just like everything else about the season. That's why we're here with a compendium of all the holiday-oriented video game events going on this season. Let's jump into the list.

Overwatch Christmas and Holiday Event: Return to Winter Wonderland

Overwatch, Blizzard's preeminent character-based shooter, celebrates most holidays and this year is no different with the Return to Winter Wonderland celebration.

Skins

Hanzo, Junkrat, and Roadhog are confirmed to be receiving skins, but there will also be other legendary skins. However, at this time, the developer is playing coy and wants to "leave surprises for you when you log into the game". 

Seasonal Maps

King's Row, Hanamora, The Black Forest arena map. Mei's Global Snowball Offensive is still available in Antartica and now in Black Forest as well. 

New Novelty Game Mode: Mei's Yeti Hunt

Asymmetrical "boss" fight. One team has five Mei's and the other team has one Winston starring as the Yeti. Takes place in Nepal Village.

At the start of this map, the Mei's are hunting down Winston. Winston, however, is searching for powerups, which put him into a primal rage mode once he has obtained enough of them. If Winston manages to get into primal rage mode, then the hunted becomes the hunter and the five Mei's are then tasked with escaping the map. 

SMITE Christmas and Holiday Chest

From what we can tell, SMITE doesn't seem to be throwing any large event this year. However, they do have the Holiday Chest returning. 

Perhaps what makes SMITE's Holiday Chest stand out amongst other similar chests offered for other similar titles is that the devs are donating $1 to the Child's Play charity for every chest purchased. 

The Holiday chest costs 400 gems (roughly $8) and has 15 different items available. 12 skins -- 10 returning and 2 new -- along with a snowman ward, a winter loading frame, and a snowman avatar. The two new skins are Ice Mage Agni and Snow Day Scylla, pictured above. 

Splatoon 2 Christmas and Holiday Updates

For the holidays, Splatoon 2 is having another Splatfest, which pits two ideas against one another and forces you to vote for them by playing for them. 

In one corner, we have ugly holiday sweaters weighing in at way too many because they've become an ironic trend that's intriguing yet only mildly entertaining for like one day a year -- so it's really not worth it.

In the other corner, we have ugly holiday socks. The underdog that most people don't even remember exist until that one cousin who is way too comfortable at your house takes off his shoes and takes the phrase, "Make yourself at home" a little too seriously.

In addition to the Splatfest, there was a recent update at the end of November that added new maps, gear, and quality of life features like swapping gear between matches. Later in December there will also be a new game mode added, which has not yet been detailed. 

Interestingly, in Japan, this competition is winter outerwear vs winter innerwear. And in Europe, it is films vs books. While it makes sense that ugly holiday sweaters and socks are Amero-centric, at least Japan is still centered around the winter season. But films vs books?

Call of Duty: WWII -- Winter Siege Holiday Event

While previous Holiday events took place in Infinite Warfare, the new title has been released and as such, all the Winter related content will be taking place in Call of Duty: World War II. This event will run from December 8 to January 2.

The Winter Siege Holiday event will feature:

  • Double XP Playlists
  • A new map: Winter Carentan (free for the duration of the event)
  • A new game mode: Gun Game
  • One free Winter Supply Drop each week that contains winter gear. 

There will also be five free new weapons that you can unlock by completing special orders (presumably missions or goals) during the siege. Each weapon has its own variants and collection rewards. The trailer details three guns: the Gewher 43, the Sten, and the GPMG. It also seems to imply that there will be 2 new melee weapons: a pickaxe and a knife that has brass knuckles on the handle. 

 

Rocket League Frosty Fest CHristmas and Holiday Event

Rocket League's Frosty Fest will start December 11 and run through January 2. This event will work similarly to the Halloween event in that it will have its own currency -- and this time, it will be Snowflakes.

Snowflakes will be earned by playing matches and can be used to buy event items, decryptors, and the new Frosty Fest event crate (as of this writing, no details were offered on specific rewards).

Note: the stand-alone items you can buy are not the same items that will be available in the crate. The Frosty Fest event crate will be available as an occasional drop after matches, purchasable using snowflakes, or available using real-world money.

Elder Scrolls Online's New Life Festival

As of December 14th, Elder Scrolls Online will be celebrating its in-universe holiday: the New Life Festival. Much like our world's New Year's festivals, the New Life Festival celebrates the end of one year and the beginning of another. This event will run until January 2.

Joining The Festivities

According to ESO's official website,"In order to join the festivities, acquire the free New Life Festival Scroll from the Crown Store. Use the scroll to find the New Life Herald Breda in a tent just south of Windhelm, Eastmarch. She will give you the initial quest, “The New Life Festival", which will unlock a series of nine uniquely festive daily quests."

Bonus XP

Each of the 9 unique quests represents the festivities of one of the nine races. Completing one of these quests for the first time will unlock Breda's Bottomless Mead Mug, which will confer a 100% XP boost for 2 hours; this boost can stack with other boosts. In addition to the mug, you will also receive a New Life Festival Gift Box.

New Life Festival Gift Box Goodies

While these usually give assorted random items, like crafting materials, consumable mementos, and Wolfsbane Incense (the Skinchanger style item), this time they will also have a small chance to impart rare items:

  • Skinchanger Motif chapters
  • New Life recipes
  • New Life collectibles:
    • Sword-Swallower's Blade memento
    • Juggler's Knives memento
    • Fire-Breather's Torches memento
    • Mud Ball Pouch memento
    • Nordic Bather's Towel costume
    • Colovian Filigreed Hood hat
    • Colovian Fur Hood hat
  • A wide variety of lights, lamps, and lanterns for your home to celebrate the Signal Fire Sprint
  • Roguish Draughts of Stealth and Escape to celebrate the Trial of Five-Clawed Guile
Holiday Furnishings

Lastly, there will be some new home customizations you can purchase to get it into fit shape for the holiday mood, both of which can be purchased from Heralda Garscroft, the Holiday Achievement Furnisher.

  • The New Life Bonfire – Costs 10,000 gold; available once you complete the “Snow Bare Plunge" achievement
  • The New Life Celebrant's Standard – Costs 2,500 gold; Available once you complete the “New Life Celebrant" achievement

If you're curious to know some extra specifics, like the few places that bonus XP does not apply, then feel free to check out the official blog post, here.

League of Legends Snowdown

Runs from December 13 to January 1. 

Champion Skins

There are going to be 3 new champion skins: Ambitious Elf Jinx, Santa Draven, and Snow Fawn Poppy. Each one will set you back 1350 RP.

Naughty or Nice Missions

There are also Naughty or Nice mission variants that will be available during the Snowdown Showdown event. These missions will also have exclusive rewards such as emotes, limited-time poro skins. The website also teases "and more", but never specifies what that might be. Once you complete the “Be Naughty” or “Be Nice” mission, the other path and its rewards disappear. You’ll earn the Dravenbread emote for completing the Naughty missions and Braumbread emote for the Nice ones. Only matchmade games count for missions.

Gifting

During the event, you will also be able to gift your friends a Santa Baron 2017 icon for 1,000 blue essence. While you cannot buy this icon for yourself, you can self-mystery gift champions or skins to yourself.

Snowdown Capsules
Stock up on Snowdown Capsules for a limited time. Inside you’ll find two or more random skin shards, a guaranteed Epic+ skin shard, bonus Orange Essence, and an increased chance for bonus skin shards and/or a gemstone.
 
Emotes
Grab new emotes and flash them all year! If you already own the Re-Gifted Amumu, Snowbells, or Poro Snax Lover icons, their corresponding emotes will automatically appear in your collection. Missed out on these hard-earned emotes last year? You can grab them for a limited time with gemstones.
 
New Game Mode: Snow Battle Arurf
This holiday-themed reimagining of ARURF features League's coolest champions.
Poro icons and their corresponding skins will return for both game modes. And all Snowdown and winter-themed skins will be free to play in this game mode.
 

Destiny 2's- The Dawning

Running from December 19th to January 9th, Destiny 2's event starts and ends later than many of its peers. In this yearly winter-themed holiday festival that heralds in the new year, there will be a number of different in-game items you can obtain to help put you in the holiday spirit.

Snowballs of War

In the Tower and the Farm, there will be snowballs scattered around which you can tag your friends with. In Strikes, these same snowballs can be used to stun enemies and deal damage.

It's Mayhem in The Crucible

The popular Crucible mode, first introduced in Destiny 1's The Taken King expansion, is seeing a return. This mode has abilities recharging much faster and makes kills and other actions worth more points. It's unclear whether or not Mayhem will be sticking around after the holiday event is over.

Holiday Shopping

Each of the 3 weeks of the event, Tess will have new Dawning themed items. Over the course of the event, all of the exotic Dawning themed items-- ships, ghost, sparrow, emote-- and every Dawning-themed legendary armor piece will be available at her store.

Other Goodies As Well

There will be milestones you can accomplish during the Dawning for both strikes and the Crucible's Mayhem mode.

There will also be new consumables that give boosts to everyone else you are playing with.

You can also pick up a Dawning gift schematic from the Bazaar. Crafting and gifting said schematic can give you a number of potential gifts in return. You can repeat this daily. 

Fire Emblem Heroes - Winter's Envoy

To celebrate the holiday season, Fire Emblem Heroes is bringing a new, holiday-themed banner that features a quartet of characters from Fire Emblem Awakening: Lissa, Chrom, Male Robin, and Tharja. All of whom are armored characters in Holiday theme garb.

The banner brings along with it the usual daily orb login bonus that lasts for 10 days until the banner ends on January 1st. There is also a trio of paralogue missions that are available on all 3 difficulties with each rewarding an orb. Lastly, there will be special missions available for each of the lunatic versions of the paralogue missions, with each rewarding an orb. All in all, via missions and login bonuses there are a total of 25 orbs up for grabs. 

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp- Holiday Event

Animal Crossing is a series that is all about lowkey interactions. You live your life, make friends, build up a house. It's somewhat mundane by the bombastic, power fantasy standards that most games adhere to. And it's for this reason that Animal Crossing's somewhat simple holiday events are befitting.

Holiday Furniture

First, there will be holiday furniture that you can craft for your humble abode. This furniture can only be made during the event, which runs until December 26th, and requires the use of candy canes. Candy canes can be obtained by fulfilling the requests of your Animal Campers, or by playing shovelstrike. Don't worry about the end date, however, as long as you start crafting your furniture prior to the 26, then you will be fine.

You can craft:

  • Festive bow tree
  • Three ball snowman
  • Jingle fence
  • And more!
Santa Wardrobe

You can also unlock different pieces of a Santa outfit wardrobe by completing timed goals. The first piece, a Santa hat, will be unlocked merely by logging into the game during the event. The other pieces you must unlock:

  • Santa Coat
  • Santa Skirt
  • Santa Pants
  • Santa Boots

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja Blazing

You might be saying to yourself,"Wait, I didn't know they celebrated Christmas in leaf village." Well, quit asking questions, because there are cute child versions of Sasuke and Itachi and you don't want them to get taken awake just because of your needless questions, do you? 

Login Bonuses

Over the course of the event, which ends on December 30th, there will be login bonuses of ninja pearls, ramen, and scrolls.

Summoning Banner

The aforementioned child Sasuke and Itachi dressed in Christmas costumes will be available in their own summoning event until December 25.

Impact Mission

There will also be a new Impact mission called "Impact! The Moon Goddess” featuring Kaguya Otsutsuki. Based on the epic battle from the anime, this event will run until January 11. After clearing all of the associated stages, you will be able to get “Kaguya Otsutsuki/ Founding Goddess★5”.

The “Blazing Festival Haru&Rai” will also be running until December 29 and will feature “Sakura Haruno/Sheer Diligence” and “Kakashi Hatake/Entrusted with Hope” both of whom are potentially useful units in the aforementioned Impact Mission.

Training Grounds: NEW PvP Mode

A new PvP mode, called Training Grounds, will be added to the game, which will allow you to play against your friends.

50 Free Ninja Pearls

Lastly, if you want some free ninja pearls, then you can like the associated Facebook post and rake in all of the pearls once, or if, it hits 20k.

 

Paladins

Unlike many of the games on this list, Paladins' holiday content is relatively meager. But it's the holiday season and developers seem to feel obligated to make holiday content for their persistent world games. So let's see what we've got.

Evie's Merry Mayhem Sale

First, each day from December 19 to December 26 will have a different chest on sale. Sadly, the devs are keeping the "chest of the day" a secret until the day it's actually available and the page where its supposed to be updated hasn't been done in a timely manner. With that being said, I'd suggest just checking out the in-game store.

Paladin Holiday Calendar

Paladins is also having a so-called "Holiday Calendar". Each day on their official Twitter account they will post a new link to a new trivia question. Answering the trivia question properly will enter you into a raffle to be one of a handful of people that can earn that particular day's reward.

World of Warcraft- Feast of Winter Veil

Yes, dear folks. It's time to talk about the infamous MMORPG World of Warcraft and their Winter Veil characters that are legally distinct from traditional Christmas characters by being combinations of said characters, like Greatfather Winter, who is definitely not Grandfather Time and Santa combined. Or the Abominable Greench, who is definitely not a combination of Bigfoot and Dr.Seuss' Cat from How the Cat Stole Christmas!

Quests

For this holiday season, WoW has a handful of various quests to help keep you busy in addition to the other stuff you might have going on in-game. 

Winter Veil Bosses

Throughout Azeroth, there will be bosses that are also in the holiday spirit. Beating these bosses with their special hats will give you access to their hats forever. That's right folks, you can have these chintzy holiday hats forever!

Greatfather Winter Needs Cookies and Milk

Greatfather Winter has been very busy and due to the amount of busy he has been, he needs a lot of milk and cookies. And he's recruiting you-- from Ironforge or Orgrimmar-- to go and get them for him.

Smookywood's Pastures and the Case of the Missing Shipment

A shipment has gone missing, suspected of being stolen. All we have to go on currently are rumors of Abominable Greench sightings.

Metzen Kidnapped

Metzen to reindeer has been kidnapped. The jinglepocket goblins in Ironforge and Orgrimmar have been contacted by the kidnappers, so seeking them out first should be your #1 priority.

Entertainment

There are also several special holiday treats added for your entertainment:

  • The Smokywood Pastures goblins have created Wintervolt machines that can change your character's colors for up to 30 minutes. What color you'll receive is anyone's guess. It's not a glitch, it's a feature.
  • Innkeepers have surely all gotten in the holiday spirit. Maybe kissing under the mistletoe will cause something special to happen...
  • Where you find Santa Greatfather Winter you too are also sure to find his legendary snowmen compatriots. 
  • Early on December 25th, coincidentally the same day as Christmas in our world, the Smokywood Pasture goblins will be busy rewarding all the adventurer's with presents underneath trees throughout the land. But you best hurry, no one's names are written on them. First come, first serve.
And More!

In addition to all of the above quests and various interesting rewards. There will be pets, toys, consumables, recipes, and achievements. For a full list of everything you can expect, check here

Header obtained from Nachomolina.

Fortnite- Survive the Holidays

Both Fornite's traditional format and its seemingly more popular Battle Royale mode, are receiving some obligatory holiday updates as well. There are significantly less substantial updates for the Battle Royale mode, so let's get them out of the way first. 

Battle Royale Mode

Battle Royale is seeing some new, albeit temporary, additions, like the snowball grenade launcher and the battle bus. There will also be emotes added in for your emotional expression enjoyment.

Save the World Mode

There are honestly a ton of various additions, small and large, to the Save the World Mode, so if you want to see them all, then check out the link. Otherwise, some of the highlights are below.

  • There is a whole new event centered around the Holiday Survival update. working your way through said event promises to reward you with a ton of goodies. 
  • Mini-bosses have been significantly upgraded. There are new variants of the Husk, Husky and Smasher. And you can also find them in a wider variety of modes. Along with their increased difficulty, there are new and improved rewards for successfully defeating them.
  • Survive the Storm now has 3-day and 7-day variants. There's also a new winter-themed map. You can also expect mini-bosses to drop on days 3 and 7.
  • 4 new holiday-themed heroes
    • Sarah Claus: Alchemist.
    • Blitzen BASE Kyle: Warden
    • Snow Stalker Jonesy: Demolisher
    • Fragment Flurry Jess: Reclaimer
  • New Weapons
    • Including 3 Wintery Weapons:
      • Ralphie's Revenge: a low damage, high crit multiplier sniper rifle
      • Frostbite: water sniper rifle that gets headshot streak bonuses
      • Snowball Launcher: Snowballs ensare enemies in their tracks.
    • And a new set of "vacuum tube" weapons that use energy cells to deal nature damage, ie electrical damage with stunning effects, including:
      • Sniper Rifle, Auto Pistol, Revolver, Assault Rifle, Shotgun, Ball Lightning Launcher
      • Axe, Sword, and Spear
  • You can also now upgrade your heroes' rarity.

GWENT: The Witcher Card Game | Midwinter

GWENT, the digital trading card game based on the Witcher series, is also receiving a large holiday update. Much like the previous Fortnite update, it is more that the GWENT update also happens to be a holiday update than the fact that it is specifically a holiday update.

While it is technically based on the in-universe holiday of Midwinter, the over 100 new cards as well as a plethora of smaller tweaks for the user experience and a host of balancing changes for various cards shows its hand; this is a major update.

Here's a list of some of the many changes:

  • Over 100 new cards, many with new, never before seen abilities
  • A daily quest system, because what persistent experience would be complete without one of these?
  • A new deck builder/ card replacement screen
  • Better visuals and card animations
  • Increased milling values for a lot of cards (specifics found here) for the 3 days following the release of the patch, which means it should run from December 19 to December 21.
  • And many more small additions. 

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That's all (for now), folks! There's plenty of other games in the woodworks that we're keeping an eye on whose devs have not announced clear plans, so be sure to check back often to see if any of your favorite titles are having holiday celebrations worth returning for. 

Published Dec. 9th 2017

Featured Contributor

Graduated from Full-Sail with a BS in Game Design (Speaking of BS, how about that student loan debt, eh?).

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