Live-service games have served the egg nog in this year’s crop of in-game Christmas events, if you need help blowing off steam between shopping expeditions.
It feels like just yesterday that I rounded up some outstanding Halloween events, but no—I’ve blinked, most of December vanished, and now all the industry’s ongoing games are coated in a layer of snow, so it must be time to round up the year’s in-game Christmas events.
Whether you’re looking to experience the joy of seasonal traditions in the virtual world, blowing off the frustrations of crossing loved ones off your shopping list, or wondering what limited-time events will be wrapping up when those loved ones open their brand new consoles and boot up their favourite live-service titles, here’s some of the best celebrations the industry is offering this year.
5) Two Point Campus – Free Winter Update
Relive some of The Sims‘ college expansion glory days while you don your gay apparel in Two Point Studios’ Two Point Campus. This week’s update allows you to decorate your personal campus with all kinds of seasonal accoutrements, or deck your students out in elf garb.
The bigger content incentive in this Christmas event is the Challenge Mode level Two Point Krampus—the fabled miscreant has infiltrated your campus, and you must defend pupils “from this festive spirit sapping menace by keeping holiday cheer levels (and funds) as high as possible.” Keep an eye on the progress tracker on the main menu; when the community raises a combined total of $1 billion in-game dollars from Two Point Krampus, “a cool secret holly jolly item” will unlock.
The festive vibe is pulsing through Two Point Campus‘ Christmas event this year, and the challenge should inspire some good, old-fashioned community spirit.
4) Pokémon Unite – Snowball Fights
Game Freak’s underdog MOBA Pokémon Unite is getting in the spirit as well, with a joint New Year and Christmas event helping herald in the next battle pass’ arrival on December 26. The Snowball Battle in Shivre City event is on now until January 8, but celebrations truly kick into full gear next weekend.
Starting December 24, a random 7-day Limited License Special Gift will be available daily through January 1, 2023, granting a chance to try out different Pokémon. While redeeming these, they can also earn up to 135 spins for the New Year Lucky Wheel just by logging in and winning battles; bonus spins can be earned from December 23 until the ball drops on December 31, and then used from January 1-3 “to win various prizes.”
With many goodies to be claimed, it might be worth downloading Pokemon Unite for your brand new Nintendo Switch and checking out what it has to offer while it’s handing out character trials.
3) Final Fantasy XIV – Starlight Celebration
While Final Fantasy XIV decorates with more reservation than other games with Christmas events, the annual Starlight Celebration is back with a new storyline and choice bonuses to go with your gear from prior yuletides.
From now until the end of the month, players can initiate the brief quest chain for this year’s celebrations by visiting Amh Gartanjy in Old Gridania (X:10:2, Y:9.4). Completing two missions—”Reindeer Fame” and “The Ghost Of Starlight Present”—yields one of the best seasonal mounts available to date: a freaking reindeer. You can also purchase an Illuminated Tree for 5000 gil from the Starlight Supplier NPC, who is also located in Old Gridania (X:10.6, Y:8.7).
2) Destiny 2 – The Dawning
Bungie’s take on Earth’s prospects in the far-flung future still include Christmas events, as evidenced in Destiny 2‘s yearly observances of The Dawning. Humanity’s December traditions live on in this amalgamated form, as Guardians will no doubt notice the instant they load into the Tower and see the brilliant decorations around seasonal vendor Eva Levante’s station.
Baking specialized holiday treats for each of Destiny 2‘s vendors remains a large focus of the event. Combine “uncommon” ingredients dropped by each type of enemy with a “rare” ingredient for getting kills with certain methods, and 15 Dawn of Essence to whip up personalized snacks for Zavala, Ikora, Osiris, and the rest of the gang—now including Fynch from The Witch Queen.
Completing your favourite activities and others listed on the Dawning Event Card should make the whole process less painful, while the inside jokes in each recipe are almost worth it in their own right. If that’s not enough holly-jolly for your taste in Christmas events, or if you have Silver burning a hole in your pocket, check out Eververse’s ever-expanding selection of seasonal items (even if nothing tops last year’s Ghost in an ugly sweater option). Or, like Pokémon Unite, just go get into some snowball fights—you have until January 3.
I’ve always enjoyed Bungie’s unique spin on Christmas events, including avoiding the traditional red-and-green in favour of blues and whites. The Dawning feels like an evolution of our holiday season traditions that fits Destiny 2‘s vision of humanity hundreds of years from now, influenced by the various downfalls and setbacks we survive in the game’s lore.
1) Fortnite – Winterfest 2022
It almost pains me to say, but Fortnite takes the cake for best in-game Christmas event. Return to the Cozy Lodge for another Winterfest, including a set of daily gifts: two Gliders, two Wraps, three Lobby Tracks, three Sprays, a Back Bling, a Pickaxe, a Contrail, an Emote, an Emoticon, and two skins, Arctic Adeline Outfit and Sled Ready Guff. And of course, the Item Shop is updating daily with new and returning holiday-themed items like Jonesy’s latest Christmas sweater.
Take to the newly-renovated Island (and the newly revamped game engine) and complete weekly batches of seasonal quests to really sink your teeth into this Christmas event. Like other quests, the mission list will swell weekly until the Winterfest ends January 3, and will have you taking part in chaotic but season-appropriate tasks like hiding in giant snowballs. (Or, if doing dirt bike tricks is part of your family’s December traditions, you’ll practically be able to smell the gingerbread.)
If all else fails, the Cozy Lodge’s fireplace makes a great alternative to other prerecorded fireplace videos, and you get XP in the background—that’s a win-win!
Whether you’ll be celebrating Christmas events physically, digitally, or both this December, we here at CGMagazine wish you and yours all the best, and a safe, happy holiday season!