For many players of massive multiplayer online games, their fellow players are just like family.
But most holiday celebrations are limited to close nuclear relatives. There’s no reason, however, that the joy of the season cannot be extended to friends in a great online game.
Use these five simple ideas as a starting point to plan a memorable holiday party in the virtual world.
Organize a Holiday Hunting Party
For many families in the real world, a holiday hunt is an annual tradition.
In many fantasy online multiplayer games, hunting mobs of exotic animals is a fact of daily life and even necessary to help the character make the next level.
The trick to organizing an online holiday hunting party is to change the everyday routine of slaying orcs and ghosts into a memorable holiday romp.
The key to this is to make the hunt fit a certain holiday theme. One way to do this is to pretend that the adventures are hunting their holiday dinner. For example, perhaps a hellhawk can stand in for the Thanksgiving turkey. Or hunting for wild boar could provide the Christmas ham.
Another option is to hunt in an environment to fit the theme. This usually means hunting in the snowiest location on the map to get the sensation of a grand hunt at the north pole.
Host a Secret Santa Gift Exchange.
Secret Santa gift exchanges, are usually reserved for office parties, but there’s no reason the concept can’t translate to the virtual world as well. In these kind of gift exchanges, each participant makes a wish list of gifts they would like.
Names are drawn out of a hat to see who each participant will be getting gifts for. Those gifts are then given anonymously to the recipient over several weeks, perhaps with clues about the giver’s identity. Then all is revealed at a final party.
To make this work in an online roleplaying game, the organizer needs to be someone that everyone in the group trusts to not take the gifts for themselves. The organizer would pull out all the names and inform each participant who they will be giving gifts to as well as that person’s wish list. Each participant would then give the gift to the organizer’s character to pass on anonymously to the recipient.
Hold a final online party to reveal the Secret Santas’ identities, and to hold the organizer accountable for delivering the goodies.
To avoid the planning and risk of a Secret Santa exchange, simply get in the spirit of the holidays and pass on that great item there’s just not a use for anymore to an up-and-coming player who will make good use of it.
Call a Holiday Truce
On Christmas Day 1914, hostilities famously ceased for a day during the horrific WWI.
If British and German forces can call a truce, why not orcs and elves in a fantasy roleplaying game?
Take a truce as a opportunity to swap stories, items and interests with the enemies on the other side of the trenches.
But be well-prepared; if word gets around that a truce has been called, it’s a sure bet that some poor sports will come around to try to crash the peaceful gathering. Both sides of the truce may have to defend themselves against a third party enemy.
Dress in Holiday Colors / Pick Holiday Names
Many roleplaying games have the option to customize armor, weapons and other items.
So to celebrate the holidays, try dressing in red and green or silver and gold instead of black or earthtones for a day. Or choose weapons and magic with a winter or ice theme and use them exclusively for a day.
If you can temporarily change your name or an item’s name, consider a holiday themed name. For Thanksgiving, wield the “Turkey meat cleaver” or on Christmas fight with a sword named “Blitzen” and name your horse “Comet.”
Tell Stories Around the Campfire
A holiday bonfire is a long-standing tradition in many families. To replicate the experience online, create or find a campfire or a fireplace in a tavern. Choose a day to meet with your roleplaying friends and swap the best stories from the last year and share plans for the coming year.
The possibilities for holiday celebrations, like the games they’re played in, are endless. Not all of these ideas will fit the flavor of any one particular group. Adapt them and be creative to find something that works for all the members of the group and that everyone will enjoy.