Having survived Halloween – or the Chocapocalypse as I like to dub it – for another year, where one is faced with not only wave upon wave of those small bipedal bacteria distribution units cunningly disguised as sentient bed sheets, but also the temptation of a ginormous unguarded bowl full of chocolate sat only a few feet away beside the front door, I had cause to ponder on the whole curious ritual and wondered what a holiday event to celebrate MMOs would entail.
The first stumbling block was to decide what the main loot would be for the holiday, loot being a staple of many holidays and splendidly apt for inclusion in a holiday celebrating MMOs. For Halloween the loot constitutes various forms of confectionary, often candy or chocolate, undisguised and presented in a large bowl into which the participants can dip their hands. It should be noted that it is considered bad form to hide a loaded mouse trap within the sweet bowl as a simulation of a critical fail on the loot roll. Christmas, on the other hand, has the generic wrapped present as its loot of choice; our lord and saviour Jesus Christ died on the cross to give mankind the gift of redemption, and to celebrate his birth each year we, in turn, give each other the gift of a hastily purchased pair of socks or a cheap FM radio alarm clock in the oh so amusing shape of a pair of breasts. For Easter we find the improbable and oft-euphemised chocolate egg as the gift of choice; our lord and saviour Jesus Christ died on the cross to give mankind the gift of redemption, and to celebrate his death and rebirth each year we, in turn, pretend that a sentient invisible rabbit steals the unfertilised young of chocolate chickens and then, despite two thousand years or more of practise, proceeds to hide them around the average garden in such a manner that they are easily discovered by any two year old child with a basket and a sweet tooth.
After thinking upon all of that, I was fairly certain that I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything more ridiculous for my fictional MMO holiday. My mind had other plans though. So the primary goal of any MMO is to get phat loots in order to lord it over other players by swinging around your massive e-peen. I’m not quite sure how this works for the female players among us: e-clit doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, as it were, and the thought of someone swinging a massive one around is probably trespassing on the territory of some of the more specialist websites out there. We’ll just assume that the obnoxious female show-offs out there have an e-peen too, but that theirs is plastic with straps. Transgender players will just have to work out their own terminology based on their specific system specifications. So we need something to represent the e-peen which is the core concept of the MMO and the basis for all the drama, hatred, misery and general ill will that such games generate, grossly disproportionate to the actual worth of the reward on offer. My idea: the chocolate coated chilli pepper (CCCP). I think it works pretty well: it’s moderately phallic, has a sweet outer layer representing the desire of phat loots which, after you have attained it and taken your first taste, becomes more and more painful with each progressive bite, and yet the endorphin rush is enough to keep you coming back for more, despite the fact that you know how much it will hurt and how utterly pointless and temporarily rewarding it is to do so. On top of that there’s the ‘manliness’ factor of eating raw chilli, because as we all know, it’s something that’s undertaken only by real men, with real hair on their real chests, the sort of men who wrestle ladies and help old lions across the road, or something.
Next we need the means of distribution for our MMO holiday. This proved less tricky, because it obviously needs to involve some sort of quest; preferably repeatable; almost certainly mundane; ideally involving boars; absolutely dependant on chance. My first idea was to have adults dress as giant boars and for the questing children to hit them with sticks until unconscious, at which point the children would skin the adult from their costume and there would be a one in seventy two chance that the adult possessed any CCCPs to loot. The main problem with this was the potential for the children to attempt to brute-force the event, forming impossibly large raids and thus trivialising the beating of the boar-costumed adults. On the plus side there wouldn’t be enough loot to go around from each adult defeated, and so the potential for drama would be high and thus very much in the spirit of things.
It seemed more appropriate, and involved far less getting hit with blunt objects on the part of the adults, if said adults were quest givers who rewarded the children with loot for performing a task. Children should be in a group of no more than six, otherwise the quest giver will not answer the door. The tasks could be up to the adults, but should generally be quite tedious although occasionally interspersed with moments fraught with terror. One example is to send the children to speak with Mr Johnsson at number 67 at the end of the street who, in turn, sends the children to speak to Mr and Mrs Grundle at number 17 at the other end of the street. To add to the experience, everyone in the street lets loose any animals that they have which are of a troublesome disposition – small yappy dogs that are prone to attack strangers on sight are especially valued; likewise teenage boys – thus providing a gauntlet of random aggro for the children to negotiate as they make their way up and down the street. Upon finally returning to the original quest giver the children are rewarded with a random number of CCCPs, the only condition being that the random number is never high enough to grant every child in the group a reward.
Finally there needed to be some sort of customary costume for the children to be dressed in. This initially seemed simple enough – the children would dress as adventurers from any standard MMO – but quickly proved fraught with danger when one considered the legal ramifications of an event that encouraged children to run around in chainmail bikinis. Some hasty re-thinking settled on the fact that the children would dress only in Tier 10 armour from World of Warcraft, something so hideously embarrassing that they we would be sure to cover themselves up entirely with a large sheet or plastic sack rather than be seen dead wearing it.
One final consideration was to the congregation of people to celebrate the event, such as Guy Fawkes night here in England; Guy Fawkes was killed in multiple horrid ways after attempting to destroy the Houses of Parliament whilst trying to overthrow the regime of the time, and we celebrate this by gathering around a large fire upon which his poor effigy is burned, and generally using it as an excuse to make a lot of noise by blowing shit up – or ‘launch fireworks’ as some call it. I like the idea of people gathering together to celebrate something of which the original meaning has all but been forgotten, so the MMO holiday will have a similar tradition, whereupon children who have collected and eaten enough CCCPs to be considered a high priority case in Accident and Emergency, are placed on top of the local village post-box and forced to dance for the gathered crowd as it drinks and makes merry.
So there you have it, my initial thoughts on an MMO holiday, steeped in tradition and celebrating all that is great and good in our hobby of choice. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a mouse trap to carefully extract from a rather tempting looking bowl of chocolates.