Leaves are falling, the days are getting shorter…it’s fall, and fall means Halloween!
Holiday celebrations were always very popular and well-loved in the first Guild Wars, so it was no surprise that Halloween, being the first one seen in Guild Wars 2, had a lot of excited anticipation leading up to it. What new events would we be getting? Would old favorites like Costume Brawl be returning? And was the ever-witty Mad King Thorn going to make a reapparance? For that matter, would Mad King Says be coming back, and if so, how would that work with the limited emote pool currently in the game?
Well, on Monday evening the first Act for Halloween 2012 was released, and already we’ve gotten a good taste of what will be going on over the next week. First and foremost were two big things; first that the Halloween events would be rolled out in a series of four Acts, culminating with Halloween night itself, and second being that there were a number of other new updates added that are permanent additions to the game – not all of the new things added will disappear as Halloween ends!
The first thing you will notice upon entering Lion’s Arch is that it’s been decorated for the holiday. Pumpkins and candles everywhere, trick or treating children and quaggan tads (my favorite – the baby quaggan ghostie. Eeee! So adorable), and of course…the Mystic Forge looks a little different right now. A bit spookier, you could say.
The Forge can still be used as normal, but the giant cauldron will have a special use…but what’s with all this madness going on around it? Witches melting and creating cauldrons, food fights going on at banquet tables, mummies and spiders and golems and raptors brawling with each other, as well as nonstop jokes…good luck, my friend, you’ve just walked into Costume Brawl. Or rather, a bunch of people costume brawling.
Now, in Guild Wars 1, Costume Brawl was an instanced PvP format where, depending on your profession, you’d take on the appearance of a specific character and have a set skill bar. Things in Guild Wars 2 are…a bit different. More chaotic. And as someone who never liked PvP…far more enjoyable. Joining in Costume Brawl in GW2 is easy. Pop a tonic, climb up and jump into the cauldron, or don a costume, and join in the fun! You get special Costume Brawl skills to “fight” against others with; get 25 points before being taken out yourself and you’re the costume brawl champion! The best part about this is that a costume brawl can break out wherever there are players – we started doing it last night while in Orr!
There are even more new things to discover in Lion’s Arch – there are new vendors, selling weapons skins (temporary, sadly; permanent ones can be crafted in the Mystic Forge but according to a friend of mine that was looking into that, they’re about equivalent to a legendary weapon), as well as new Artificer and Cooking recipes. There are also pumpkins that you can carve scattered around the city. And if you talk to Tassi just south of the fountain in Lion’s Arch, you can get a candy corn-powered scanner which leads you on a scavenger hunt to find clues about the life of Mad King Thorn.
I must say, I did the first leg of the scavenger hunt and did not enjoy it too much; the scanner seemed to be completely random as to whether or not it was actually using my candy corn to work, and I had issues in both having to be extremely precise in where I was scanning to get something to show up (was less than a foot away from where something should have spawned and it wouldn’t appear for me, but someone else was one step over and it appeared when he scanned), as well as NPCs despawning after I triggered them and before I could get to them. Still, the info you learn about Mad King Thorn by doing these is pretty neat, so even though I swore I would not continue on the hunt…I probably will after all.
Now, I mentioned that the scanner is powered by candy corn. How do you get this candy corn? Well, if you go out into the world, you’ll notice a couple new things pretty quickly. The first is Raw Candy Corn nodes scattered around…and also, on occasion, you may see a door pop up that you can trick or treat at. Candy Corn nodes appear all over the world and can be mined just as any ore node can, and yes, there are even Rich Candy Corn nodes. The doors so far I’ve only seen in Gendarran Fields and Queensdale; my assumption is that they only appear in Krytan zones. When you trick or treat at the door, one of two things will happen; you’ll get a trick or treat bag on the ground you can pick up, or Halloween monsters will spawn from it (plastic spiders and glow in the dark skeletons!) and you have to defeat them to close the door. Trick or treat bags are another source of candy corn, and you can get them a few other ways than just going up to doors – they can be received at random as drops from all enemies, as well as when you mine candy corn nodes (much like how you can randomly get jewels from regular ore nodes).
You’ll want to collect candy corn and trick or treat bags for a few reasons. First of all, trick or treat bags give you more candy corn, as well as other special crafting materials! Oooh. Second, there are achievements for opening bags and chowing down on candy corn – just don’t eat too much too fast or your character will get sick (a hilariously gross little addition there). Third, those Artificer and Cooking recipes I mentioned up above? They use these items! So chances are it’s worth your while to collect these items – luckily, they aren’t difficult to farm. Candy Corn nodes are all over the place, and I’ve found that enemies drop bags at a pretty decent rate.
And yes, there are new Halloween-related achievements – a new category called Special Events entirely where most of them can be found (except for Candy Corn Consumption – part of the Monthly Achievements, and Costume Brawl, which is under Community). There are a number of new ones available – including a new jumping puzzle, Mad King’s Clock Tower, that’s just for this event. Interesting!
And on top of all this Halloween madness…there’s even more new stuff! There’ve been new dynamic events and jumping puzzles added, there are new mini-dungeons, and my favorite new addition – you get karma as part of the award for doing monthly and daily achievements, as well as for dungeon completion. Awesome!
So, everyone, go out there and enjoy the new additions to the game!