MMOs are perfect for such events -- they have the players to fill them out, the ability to host whatever kind of event they want, and a lot of optional blood and gore. Some of the events fit perfectly in their game-world, and some stick out like a stock broker on D&D night. Either way, there is always a lot of fun to be had, and sometimes very cool loot to snag! (Like that sweet ride pictured above -- got it on my first try.)
Read on for some of my favorite events -- none of them costing a dime.
We'll start with one of my favorite new free-to-play gems, Zentia. This game came out of nowhere and stole my heart. It offers a ton of things to do, all of it very accessible and challenging. The ghoulishness started on October 20th and runs through November 3rd. Be sure to check out the costumes in the costume shop, as well as other events like trivia, and a zombie invasion! The cash shop is offering a lot of items for all price ranges. If you need a ride or a new look, they have them in spades!
Next up, I'd like to point you to Flyff's Halloween costume contest! I've seen these real-life picture contests pop up more often nowadays, and I can tell you that they are always a blast! First, it's fun to see the age range of the playerbase, especially in a game that looks and plays like Flyff, but it's also neat to see how much work some people put into their costumes. Even if you don't participate, be sure to go to the official thread to see the entries.
Let's move on to Free Realms -- one of the masters of holiday events. Not only are there costumes to buy, places to visit and activities to participate in, but you can also spend some time attempting to destroy an evil Halloween boss! Decorate your house, go trick-or-treating -- either way, you'll have a blast. If past events are any type of measuring stick, expect to see tons of players and a lot of dancing. A lot of dancing.
Ever want to run and jump around a city-scape while sporting a pumpkin head? Well, now you can in Freejack, a parkour MMO that features unique graphics, gameplay, and player housing. It turns out that all you have to do is log in during the event, and the pumpkin head is yours! You'll also be able to level up with the help of bonus XP, and enjoy some spooky costumes via the cash-shop.
The futuristic setting of Global Agenda doesn't seem like the perfect fit for Halloween, but that isn't stopping Hi-Rez from doing their thing. You'll be able to join a special raid (after level 30) and enjoy Halloween-themed loot. Be sure to join the Massively Mob for the Oasis Checkpoint of Doom in-game event as well. If the last Global Agenda event is any indication, the place will be packed solid.
Mabinogi is known for its fantastic events, and this year will be no exception. It's also one of the few games I have played that seems to put out new events each year. It might sound impossible, but Nexon is asking you to sketch some ghosts this time around! If you sketch enough of them, you might yoink a cool pumpkin hat. If you look up, you might also see pumpkins falling from the skies like meteors. Collect enough of them and you can get more loot.
Wizard101 is offering its usual festive decorations, quests and goodies this year. If you haven't tried them yet, log in before they're gone. Wizard101 is full of small details, even though it can run on the tiniest of machines. My favorite has to be the cardboard cutouts that are strewn throughout the spiral. They fit into the theme, and the plywood appearance reminds me of grade-school carnivals.
If you prefer to use realistic physics to smash baddies' heads, then Vindictus is your game. Halloween has come out in full force, peppering the landscape with huge jack-o-lanterns and forcing a permanent night time across the land. Check the cash-shop for some amazing looking costumes and hairstyles, and meet with the mysterious stranger to begin trick-or-treating. Just make sure to watch out for the vampires.
While you're at Nexon's site, log on to MapleStory and help out your favorite fortune teller, Cassandra! She'll ask you to do some trick-or-treating, and you might just wind up with a cool leech costume in the process. If you are a fool for recipes, talk to Witch Malady. As you capture frogs and cats for her, you earn chances for a cool recipe.
If Allods Online is more your speed, put on your costume and take a picture! They're hosting a costume contest, and it doesn't seem to have many entries. This means that you have a pretty good chance of winning one of several prizes like a large incense kit or a yet-to-be-revealed vanity item! Just be sure to follow the rules exactly -- no fake pictures -- or risk being disqualified.
Grand Fantasia wants to give you the chance to trick your way into some cool treats. On the day of Halloween, the 31st, be sure to watch for in-game announcements that will tell you which trick you need to perform. In exchange, you can get some cool to-be-announced prizes. If over-the-top visuals, mounts galore and a customizable "sprite" sound like your type of game, go check it out!
Many readers might not be as familiar with Puzzle Pirates, but I can assure you that it is a thriving community. The game features multiplayer puzzle-based battles and travel -- something you have to see to believe. The game is cutting loose with its Halloween event that features a new black mini-pet, new backgrounds for player portraits, masks, trinkets, and more. It would be best to describe Puzzle Pirates as a "freemium" game, but rest assured you can play it and enjoy tons of content for nothing at all.
Alganon is getting in on the fun by allowing players to beat the crap out of some deadly veggies! Starting Wednesday October 27, pumpkins will be placed in the major cities (Xanjuix Karr and Asheran) just waiting to be crushed. If you smash one, you just might land some repair tokens, Halloween masks, a Horseless Head pet and more. During the "Big Ticket" event, Doomgourd Pumpkins might contain special colored tickets -- tickets that are redeemable for anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 Tribute (cash-shop currency!) Be aware that you must purchase a special token for 50 Tribute in order to participate. If you do land a ticket, redeem them with a GM on the 1st of November.
So, there's enough to get you started. This list could have been much, much longer, but I had to start getting ready myself. Holidays and MMORPGs go hand-in-hand, thanks in large part to the instant access to large groups of people, neat special effects, and developer teams who are willing to cut loose in their games. While some players find the immersion-breaking contests and decorations more than distracting, holidays always seem very popular. These in-game events are a good alternative for those of us without children, or for players who might not be able to participate for any number of reasons.
Go try some of them out. A holiday is a good excuse to poke into a brand new game. Pick one or two from the list and try them. You might find some new friends, and new worlds to explore.
Each week, Free for All brings you ideas, news, and reviews from the world of free-to-play, indie, and import games -- a world that is often overlooked by gamers. Leave it to Beau Hindman to talk about the games you didn't know you wanted! Have an idea for a subject or a killer new game that no one has heard of? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org!