My American sources tell me this is a long weekend for you folks across the pond. Something about independence from Blighty a few hundred years ago. Essentially an excuse to let off fireworks, have BBQs, enjoy the fine weather and skive off work. Good on you. It seems like lots of MMOs are using it as an excuse to take the real celebrations in-game. For example, World of Warcraft has the Midsummer Fire Festival which concludes tomorrow with a bunch of snoozing goblin guards and a whopping fireworks display. Likewise, Lord of the Rings Online has one festival with four different names.

Given the fact the games are created by humans, it's no surprise the in-game festivals of all our favourite MMOs share a little in common with actual celebrations in real life. However they can also be handy for people too far away to meet up this 4th of July, most often troops on active duty or family members and friends separated by thousands of miles or even continents. So are any of you out there planning to eschew real celebrations in favour of meeting up with your guildies in-game? Are you going to travel around to see the fireworks or, if you play, WoW raid an enemy city. Do you prefer celebrating such events in-game? Do you mark them on your calendar and anticipate them as much as their real world counterparts? Do you wish the developers would expand world festivals to take account of more important holidays?

This article was originally published on Massively.
Futurist Ray Kurzweil to deliver SLCC 2009 keynote