Posted by: markfender | November 7, 2012

Guild Wars 2 – Halloween

It is was Halloween last week. I spent that time in Guild Wars 2.

Arenanet loves Halloween, for some reason, and always goes all out. This year, with a brand new game, they went all out again. Halloween was rolled out over several weeks with escalating events.

The first week had a scavenger hunt for the story of the Mad King. It ended with a back item that looked like a book. In this story, you were hunting down ghosts who told the story of the Mad King and how terrible he was. Seriously, he’s terrible. The second event had another back item, but this time it was a glowing book. Mad King is still a terrible person. Back items, for some reason, are really hard to find in this game, so almost everyone is now sporting the flaming book as their back piece.

In addition, the Mad King’s realm was added, which was a lvl 80 zone with some tough champion mobs. It was a pretty decent area for the experience, and helped you qualify for the Halloween achievement. Plus, it featured two other mini-games. Hunters & Villagers consisted of one Hunter and lots of Villagers. Villagers could pick up items to distract/screw with the Hunter and the Hunter could kill the Villagers. When a Villager died, he became a Hunter. The game continued until everyone was a Hunter. There was also Reaper’s Rumble, a MOBA/DOTA type game where everyone had their skill bar replaced with set powers. You hunted for pumpkins to throw into your mausoleums which spawned skeletons. You’d follow the skeletons around until they’d follow their lane to its inevitable conclusion – the opposing team’s mausoleum. Destroy their mausoleums and you won. I spent way too much time playing this one. It felt like PVP-lite. You’re trying to kill the opposing team, but since everyone had the same skill bar the barrier to entry was much lower. Too bad the rewards were wonky.

There was also a terrible, terrible jumping puzzle in the Mad King’s Realm. The Clocktower was a moving jumping puzzle where the floor slowly moved up, killing you if you were too slow. It was way too hard. I never did complete it, despite several hours worth of trying. Everyone had to jump at the same time, and there were so many people all piled on top of each other that you couldn’t see your own character. Once people started failing, it cleared out a little, but that beginning section was so punishing that it was hard to ever get to the area where you could see yourself and maybe make some jumps.

The next event was the Mad King breaking out of his prison realm into Lion’s Arch. This created a new dungeon where you had to hunt the Mad King and kill him. It was fairly easy. Challenging, but nothing too difficult. I honestly feel it was a better indication of how dungeons work in GW2 rather than the eye-opening horror that is the first dungeon in the game – Ascalon Catacombs. Ascalon Catacombs is way too difficult, especially for your first dungeon. It’s such a mindshift from the previous PVE game content you’ve been running. (Once you get used to it, it’s not that tough. I’ve run Ascalon Catacombs upwards of 10 times at this point. But that first time? Hope you brought a lot of money for repair bills.) This Mad King dungeon was much better for slowly introducing players to the vagaries of dungeon content.

Lastly, the Mad King made you play a stupid game of “Mad King Says” in order to get a special Halloween hat. It wasn’t hard, but I was very disappointed that the witches hat reward is only for town clothes. I wanted a witches hat for when I ran around in WvW. Boo.

But that wasn’t all! No, there was also candy corn to mine! It was everywhere. A bunch of new recipes were added to the crafting that require candy corn. Plus, some new weapon skins that require it as well. I’ve got about 1500 candy corn sitting in the bank, just waiting for the market to creep back up. I’m hoping it does eventually, as you can still make the recipes but the supply of candy corn has disappeared.

Lion’s Arch was also all decked out in Halloween decorations. The best thing was the kids running around in their trick-or-treat costumes. You could give them candy corn and they would give you Trick-or-Treat bags (that had a chance for some of the fancy new weapon skins – I never got one, though). The quaggans were the best. The quaggan ghost kid with his “Coo! Quaggan means Woooooo!” and quaggan pirate kid with his “Quaggan’s a piwate!” dialogue were the best things about Halloween, both in-game and in the real world. Your own kids’ costumes were not as adorable.

I got all the special Halloween Achievements, but failed to get any of the special Halloween skins for weapons. Of course, I didn’t really like any of them, but it still would have been nice. I opened about 2000 Trick-or-Treat bags and managed to not get a single reusable item. Lots of candy corn and lots of various Halloween Cooking recipes, but nothing permanent. Which kind of sucks, just from a general odds perspective. The drop rate on these things was terrible. So that was pretty disappointing. But the rest of the added content was pretty cool and helped infuse some new life into the game.

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