A new year and a new seasonal foe for World of Warcraft

With the 2005 festive season gone and marked by nothing more than an extra inch on our real-world hips, it is time to let our avatars in World of Warcraft engage in a little gorging, guzzling and virtual vomiting of their own, as Lunar New Year festivities launch across Blizzard's MMORPG.

Beginning on 27 January and ending on 14 February, this year's Lunar New Year celebration sees the little computer people of Azeroth able to indulge themselves with seasonal foods, clothing and fireworks displays.

While the main focus of the celebrations will take place as the New Year breaks on the night of 29 January, 13 February will see the festival climaxing with a spectacular lantern display in Moonglade.

To keep the citizens' waistlines under control a number of new quests will also be introduced, including ones to find wandering spectral ancestors for the chance to collect some seasonal rewards. A boss named Omen will also raid Azeroth at some stage, specifically to give new players a rare chance to fight against an immortal demi-god.

And Omen is sure to find a surfeit of noobs to battle him as WoW's European contingent has swelled enough recently to pass the 1 million mark.

While this is a hugely impressive number, WoW's EU-based population is only slightly less than Trinidad and Tobago, and they've qualified for the World Cup; Azeroth, well, they've never even made the qualifiers.