Spending Christmas in the World of Warcraft
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The most immersive gaming experience, according to its fans, is World of Warcraft and in Azeroth, where the game is set, even Christmas Day is celebrated with turkey feasts, snowball fights and presents under a tree.
In a time where many of us spend more time online, what does it mean to celebrate 25 December in a virtual world?Me and my friends usually wake up quite early together. We log on, meet up and make sure everyone is in the same location," says 20-year-old Kieran Hart.
"We've usually prepared things like presents and joke gifts, so everyone has a surprise on Christmas morning. We usually give each other [pets] or toys [in the game] that we don't have.
"We just have fun, and celebrate like anyone would on a normal Christmas - we have a Christmas dinner, and then take part in group activities like hide-and-seek and scavenger hunts, which I love."I play on Christmas Day because we enjoy each other's company. People that don't know each other in real life or who aren't close physically can still spend time together and make a connection in the game.
"I'm in Cheltenham, some friends are in Bath, some are in London, so we can't meet up in real life. So we play World of Warcraft together.
"Not everyone has a family that's close together, so you can't easily meet up on Christmas Day. A virtual world is a great place where you can compensate for that.""In the morning, me and my daughter will log into World of Warcraft after opening presents in real life, and go to Orgrimmar and see what presents Father Winter has left for our characters," says 33-year-old Naomi Elcoat from Bolton.
"Last year was her first Christmas in the game so she got loads of new things, she was really excited. We then went to Timeless Isle because we had gotten some in-game currency for Christmas and bought some [pets].
"Doing this has made my relationship with my daughter better. In 2017, we got her the game, thinking she would get bored in a month. Boy, was I wrong."Her dad loves that we will go in-game together, and I keep her busy while he's cooking."It's also good because I can keep an eye on how she acts online and I can vet her friends, but also teach her about online safety.
"We also don't have family nearby dropping in on Christmas Day, so spending time in-game with friends gives her a wider Christmas experience - especially seeing as a chunk of people we know [in the game] are from all over Europe."She asks them how they celebrate and how they greet each other, then joins in with them. She's an absolute star."