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Som Pourfarzaneh : 5 Best In-Game Gifts from Developers

By Som Pourfarzaneh on December 25, 2014 | Columns | Comments

5 Best In-Game Gifts from Developers

One of the best ways to spread holiday cheer is to give presents to other people, but let’s be honest: getting a gift that you want (or one that you didn’t know you wanted) is sure to make you feel just as warm and tingly inside.  Last week, David Jagneaux shared 5 Awesome Gift Ideas for the MMO Gamer, and I’d be just as happy buying one of those items for myself as I would be getting it for one of my guildmates.

I’m also happy receiving free stuff from developers who, either through seasonal generosity or calculated marketing, send out a variety of emails over the holidays containing redeemable in-game gifts.  Some of these bonuses are better than others, so let’s take a look at what’s out there!

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5. Seasonal Items

We’ve all received the item code for a free in-game Santa hat, pair of earmuffs, or snowperson costume.  While these knickknacks most always wind up taking bag and bank space after the holidays are over, there’s no doubt that seeing hundreds of players AFK’ed in front of the auction house wearing nothing but reindeer knickers will warm even the scroogiest of hearts.  Seasonal items sometimes feel like a box that’s easy for developers to tick, but are welcome nonetheless.

4. Holiday-Themed Events

I know that holiday-themed events are not everyone’s cup of tea, and that they’re often recycled from previous years.  And even though they’re usually deliberately non-denominational, they’re mostly designed around emulating Western holidays.  Still, there’s something about logging into an MMORPG for the first time of the season and seeing everything decorated with colorful lights, wrapped gifts, and other holiday ornamentation.  It’s a bit like driving around your hood and seeing what kind of tinsel your neighbors have put up!

3. Seasonal Games

I’m a sucker for fun minigames.  Whether it’s the stuffing of faces in LOTRO’s Yule Festival Eating Contest or the throwing of snowballs in Guild Wars 2’s Wintersday Snowball Mayhem, I love seeing developers implement new (or shoehorned) game mechanics for the purpose of seasonal games.  These minigames may not have the staying power of regular game systems, but they’re usually kooky enough to feel like a worthwhile diversion from your usual questing and raid activities.  Plus, a lot of them will reward you with fairly cool stuff, like seasonal mounts or costumes.

2. Buffs

Who doesn’t like getting free XP/PvP/crafting/whatever buffs, just because it’s the holidays?  These bonuses can be a great excuse to jump back into a game that you haven’t played for a while and level some alts, check on your guildies, or punch some faces in the arenas.  If you’re planning on kicking back and playing some MMOs anyway, buffs can be nice little boons to make your vacation gaming just that much more productive.

1. In-Game Time

I’ll admit it: there’s nothing I like to receive more from a developer than a form email that says, “Come back to X for free and see what you’ve been missing!”  With so many games out there on the market, it can be challenging to keep up with ones that aren’t at the very top of your list, and free subscriber or VIP time is always welcome, particularly around the holidays.  Who knows, you might jump into a game and remember why you played it in the first place, and wind up getting yourself the gift of a new subscription!

What are some of your favorite in-game MMORPG gifts?

Som Pourfarzaneh / Som is a Staff Writer at MMORPG.com and a Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600. You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.