Oh, Halloween, how I love thee! It’s such a great holiday for so many reasons, not the least of which that it gives grown men and women a legitimate excuse to wear a goofy costume. My favorite is the Dumbledora the Explorer one I’ve seen floating around on the internet.
I did promise some final thoughts on Guild Wars 2’s Halloween update. Today marks the final phase, so it’s not completely over, but enough of it is that I feel confident in giving it a hearty thumbs-up. This is not just the first holiday for the game, but the first big update post-launch, and so a lot of players were looking at it very, very closely to see what they could expect from ArenaNet in the future. While it wasn’t perfect — more on that in a bit — it was an impressive chunk of content that combined new locations, really awesome art, different game mechanics, and lots of rewards.
Even the scavenger hunt, which I wasn’t that keen on, proved to be beneficial in the end. I really enjoyed the little story snippets that the ghosts told, and the final reward of a statted book to hang on my back was totally worth the effort.
So here are some random assembled thoughts as I prepare to turn a page on this update:
- There didn’t seem to be a lot of good options to spend candy corn on if you weren’t a crafter. I ended up with 600 pieces in my inventory that are doing a whole lot of nothing.
- The promise of unique Halloween skins from lockboxes proved to be irresistable to a lot of folks, and the extreme low drop rate caused a lot of bad feelings. ArenaNet did give these players a second shot at another chest, which was probably a smart move on their part. Still, if all you wanted was the skins, it wasn’t worth investing that much money into buying.
- The Halloween minis are awesome, and I love my ghostie.
- The Clock Tower jumping puzzle… man. Novels have been written about this. Some people mastered it all right, but I just gave up after ten minutes because I valued my sanity. And I’m Asura, which meant I could never see my toon. Fortunately, I didn’t feel that it *had* to be done, and the visuals were downright incredible.
- The Lunatic Inquisition and Reaper’s Rumble were interesting mini-games that I tried once apiece. Fun for what they were, but I didn’t feel like there were big rewards for playing them over and over again.
- I enjoyed the labyrinth a lot more, however. It wasn’t much more than just endless killing with a group, but that mayhem was quite relaxing when I was in the mood for it. And the loot, oh the loot. I kept filling up my bags every half-hour, and ended up replacing most of my gear with improved versions. By the end of a few runs, I’d come out ahead a few gold and a more full bank.
- The Mad King’s exploding the fountain and subsequent fight on his territory was definitely memorable. I’m glad to say that I was there, although it’s another piece of content that I wouldn’t want to run more than once.
- Baby Quaggan ghost and pirate. So. Cute. BoooOOOoo!
All in all, it was more content from an update than many sub games give out in theirs, and if ArenaNet’s second update (which hopefully will feature permanent additions) is as big, I’ll be quite satisfied with the growth of the game. Halloween proved to be a compelling distraction from the day-to-day activities in the game, and even though it didn’t escape controversy, it certainly was memorable and the talk of the virtual water cooler.