I was mildly annoyed when I found out that the Guild Wars 2 Halloween event was scheduled to start on the very day we flew to Barcelona for a week. After a day' spent dancing with the Mad King I'm beginning to think it was lucky timing.
Oh, I'd have liked to have seen the Mad King himself burst out of the fountain in Lion's Arch. That must have been spectacular. I just hope someone's got the blueprints to put that statue back together. One of my favorite places to hang out, that was.
The decorations are jolly good. Of course, Halloween decorations are all much of a muchness but these are mucher than most. The spooky lighting effects are efficiently atmospheric and the hanging bats that furl and unfurl their wings made me smile. Most of the work seems to have gone into Lion's Arch but there was a camp in Plains of Ashford that, I think, appears when certain events are completed and no doubt there are others. Even the Mists have been decorated, which struck me as beyond the call of duty.
As for the content, variable would be a diplomatic way of putting it. I spent an hour or so doing the first six stages of the Scavenger Hunt, which was moderately entertaining. It wouldn't have been much fun without the walkthrough I had up, but then what scavenger hunt is? The Mad King appears to have been born that way, judging by the tales told by the many, many ghosts his increasingly psychotic childhood outbursts left behind.
It's true that one shouldn't do these things for the reward, but it has to be said that the reward when it came was paltry in the extreme. When I realized there were another six volumes to collect I decided I knew as much about the Rabid Royal as I cared to and left it at that.
The Lunatic Inquisition looked like a lot more fun. It wasn't. It was okay, if confusing. It's basically Sardines with added violence. Each thirteen-minute match seemed to comprise about five minutes of action at best, with the bulk of the time spent with almost everyone converted into Lunatics chasing round and round the map looking for the last Villager. Maybe there were just some good hiders on when I popped in.
Reaper's Rumble was better, in that it was a lot easier to follow and there were actual fights. Made me nostalgic for Rift's Warfronts or EQ2's Battlegrounds. Ah, Rift and EQ2. The former has Events down to an art and the latter has enough Halloween content to launch an entire F2P title. Maybe I'm spoiled after those, and this is GW2's first ever holiday event after all, but the comparisons don't favor the newcomer.
It's not that there isn't plenty going on. There are new, easy recipes that make food and potions (two things I never remember to use and which I really don't have the bag space to carry). There are fantastically demanding recipes that make skins for weapons, which you'd probably need to be as mad as the King to attempt, although you can get the same looks on a four-hour fade from Merchants for your Candy Corn.
Candy Corn is the currency du jour. You can mine it from nodes that look quite disturbing. Or you can just buy it in vast quantities from the Trading Post from people with more time and patience than you. Going rate as I write is 7c per corn. I bought 150 to finish my Monthly, where the mysterious ??? has now resolved itself to a frankly banal demand that we gorge ourselves silly on the sugary stuff.
Pumpkin Carving is another activity on offer. I do like the frenzied animation that goes along with it. Whether I'll get a hundred and fifty of the things chipped out in two days I doubt. There are the doors that pop up inviting you to Trick or Treat and then there's a dungeon, which I haven't entered and jumping puzzles, which sound hellish. The little jumper right outside the bank in Lion's Arch nearly drove me demented so I'll not be trying the others. I did eventually manage to jump into the pot and get spat out as a spider. Once was enough.
Goodie bags drop passably frequently. So far all I've had out of mine is yet more corn and a smattering of food. Whether they can cough up anything worthwhile I'm not sure. Possibly there's a tiny chance one of the many new Holiday items from the Gem Store might fall out. That's where a lot of the supposedly interesting stuff is - costumes, pets, skins and the like. None of it actually interests me and ArenaNet have to make money, so good luck to them. I did take the free pair of devil horns, which look quite debonaire on an Asura.
That's my first impression. There's probably lots more going on that I have yet to discover. I'm glad it's all going to be over in a couple of days and I'm not at all sorry to have come late to this party. I have mixed feeling about holiday events in general and this one has a particularly enervating edge.
I just hope they put that fountain back the way it was.