Ah, the holidays. To some, it conjures memories of fireside holiday tales, tables buckling under the weight of so much delicious food and quality time spent with family. For others, it recalls long waits at airport gates, bruised cheeks from pinch-happy aunts and a lot of time spent away from their favorite pastime: gaming. For me, it's a combination of both. Being five states away from my family, I know the hustle and bustle of an incredibly busy airport like no other: canceled flights, delays, people hurrying past with their children, pets, and presents in tow. But, once I get home, it's a week of non-stop relaxation, often ending with us watching an entire season of our favorite show from morning to night, commentary a la Admire included. I usually end up back at home for the holidays, but one particular December, I didn't. I caught a case of the pre-flight jitters and ended up foregoing my usual holiday trek in favor of staying home.
There wasn't much going on at the house; the roommates were gone, and my professors hadn't given us any holiday homework to do. I had watched all of the DVDs, and there were only Christmas specials on TV. No, there wasn't much to do at all, except game.
World of Warcraft was my drug of choice at the time. A typical night WoWing included gathering herbs for potions and hanging out in guild chat until a few of us decided to band together and hit a dungeon. But on Christmas Eve, the guild chat was empty, as expected, and I found little to do except the occasional holiday-related quest and PvP.
I'm an awful PvPer, but my theory was that the better PvPers would be at home, surrounded by family and unable to make it to a computer to stomp my face into the ground. So I made the rounds: Alterac Valley, Arathi Basin, Warsong Gulch. It was during a pick-up group of Warsong Gulch when something truly strange happened.
The game began. We raced from our keep, courageously jumping from the cliffs and charging toward each other with bloodlust in our hearts. We were ready to start punching faces and taking names. But one person wasn't.
A lone night elf chose a spot away from the action, sat down and set up a picnic basket. The first couple of rounds, we hacked away at each other, made feeble attempts at stealing the flag from the other's base and, oddly, didn't pay any attention to the night elf in the corner with the picnic basket. But slowly, one by one, members from each party ceased their fighting and gathered around the picnic square. For one round of Warsong Gulch, orcs and night elves comingled, dwarves and the undead danced together and Tauren and humans joked around. It was a virtual Christmas Truce, sans the soccer ball.
In this issue, The Escapist's contributors recount their most memorable holiday experiences. Mark Brown designs a level in LittleBigPlanet that the whole family can enjoy, while Jim Rossignol has a Christmas run-in with currency farmers in Eve Online. John Szczepaniak returns to his childhood home of South Africa as he fondly remembers the Christmas he received a Famicon clone, and Rob Zacny recalls the best holiday gift he had ever received - and one that he certainly didn't deserve..