It started in the European Districts. I logged in mid-morning on Wintersday (31st December), knowing that there would be some kind of “contest” between the deities, Grenth (god of death and cold) and Dwayna (goddess of life and air). What kind of contest, I didn’t know.
I appeared in Lion’s Arch International District 3 to find a massive group of people gathered on a hill overlooking the Wintersday tree. They were shouting things like, “Grenth Grenth Grenth!” and “Everyone to top of hill for Grenth!” (Though bear in mind that some of this was in 1337-speak and in all caps). Some players were wearing red and white Yule hats! Apparently the avatar of Dwayna had given them hats. How did they acquire these fantastic head coverings?
Questioning the other players revealed that it was a popularity contest. The gods were competing for the most followers. Every three hours, the avatars of Grenth and Dwayna would appear in Lion’s Arch. For this competition, Grenth’s avatar is located at the top of a hill overlooking the Crafters’ Corner. Dwayna’s avatar is located near the Wintersday tree in the central area. At the appointed time, each avatar would try and get the most number of players to rally around them. They would drop Wintersday gifts to try and entice players to stand beside them. The avatar with the most players around them would win the District. If a Dwayna wins a District, everyone standing around her avatar gets a Yule hat. If Grenth wins a district, everyone around his avatar gets reindeer antlers to wear on their heads.
This was the rumour. Some people on the hill didn’t believe that you could get antlers, because there was no one present who wore them. Another guy swore he saw the antlers. I waited around, and when the time came, the avatar of Grenth was nowhere to be seen. Someone speculated that the appearances of the gods’ avatars could be like the appearance of the Mad King at Hallowe’en. During that event, every three hours, the Mad King appeared starting on the morning of Hallowe’en. Someone suggested that the next time Grenth’s avatar would appear would be at 18:00GMT.
The district I was currently in obviously supported Grenth. In order to ensure that one avatar would definitely win, some sort of consensus was made and the district was reserved for one god or the other. At first this calculated consensus was a little disorganised, but over time, players organised themselves and decided that odd-numbered Districts supported Grenth, and even-numbered Districts supported Dwayna. The word spread rapidly, so eventually most people figured out where they needed to be to aquire the headgear of their choice.
I decided to return to this International District shortly before the appointed time. When I arrived, people were gathered at the top of the hill, waiting for the arrival of the avatar of Grenth.
The time ticked over to 18:00GMT, and no Grenth! I decided to randomly warp to a Home District, to see whether the event was underway there. I arrived at at English-speaking European District 22 (I believe, but this was before people were calling evens for Dwayna and odds for Grenth), and I saw a huge crowd of people at the top of the hill! I ran up there to join them, and Grenth’s avatar was floating amongst them! I had made it in time!
The god’s avatar congratulated us on being awesome, and upon winning the Wintersday competition for Grenth. Hooray for the god of death and ice, etc. Fireworks went off, and it was a big party! In celebration of the win, Grenth commanded his (Level 18!) Grentches to celebrate in the true style of Grenth. Wintersday presents spawned all around the hill. When one was opened, they exploded. Grentches ran about everywhere. It was all pretty crowded and chaotic. Suddenly, all characters died instantly!
Our corpses were used to raise Bone Horrors!
We were Resurrected, only to be killed again so that more Bone Horrors could be raised!
Grenth soon had a small army of Bone Horrors and revelers surrounding him at the top of the hill in Lion’s Arch. Everyone who joined Grenth in celebrating his win against Dwayna sported a Customised set of antlers.
To acquire my Wintersday hat, I found a relatively empty District in which there were more people surrounding the avatar of Dwayna. Upon winning the Wintersday competition, Dwayna’s follwers got a red Yule hat with a fuzzy white bobble on the end.
Wintersday Gifts spawned all around her are regular intervals. Players camped at the spawn points in order to grab the gifts as quickly as possible. In this particular District, there were no problems, though I have heard reports of immaturity, insults, and general selfishness exhibited by some players trying to grab the presents.
My character wearing Grenth’s Antlers:
My character wearing Dwayna’s Yule Hat:
Happy Wintersday, Tyrians!
[Check here for my Wintersday photo album.]