Welcome to the final installment (part five) of NZGamer.comâ€™s ongoing Guild Wars 2 review, in which we discuss the latest Halloween content release, and attempt to sum up our feelings on the game as a whole.
Well, we finally did it, Gialp and I. Level 80 was reached with little fanfare but the immense sense of satisfaction of getting to the finish line. More of a marathon than a sprint, our journey took us from wide-eyed newcomer in the snow-draped settings of the Wayfarer Foothills, to hardened Guardian, forging against the undead in the Straits of Devastation and Malchorâ€™s Leap.
In the last two months, Gialp has helped out citizens of Tyria of every shape and size: brave warriors, sweet pudgy quaggans, staunch farmers, and even the Kodan, noble polar bear people (everyoneâ€™s favourite pick for the next playable race). Sheâ€™s stepped up to the mark as the reuniter of the Destinyâ€™s Edge group, joined the Durmand Priory, and is now beginning to make direct moves against Zhaitan, the Elder Dragon of Orr, who is threatening Tyria with his waves of undead. She even learned to bake a decent cake.
All up, itâ€™s been a hell of a trip.
I was planning on spending a bit more time recounting more of Gialpâ€™s adventures through Mt Maelstrom, The Battle of Fort Trinity, and my delight at finding Omnomberries and Ghost Peppers to harvest, but an unexpected week-long Halloween event popped up on the 22nd, and as many people have wondered about new content and whether it would take long for the freshness to fade from GW2, I thought discussing these aspects was likely to be more interesting than another rendition of â€śGialpâ€™s Home Cookingâ€ť.
Dubbed â€śShadow of the Mad Kingâ€ť, the Halloween event kicked off a week before the holiday, with Act 1 of the four-act feature, â€śTricks and Treatsâ€ť. After downloading a large update, players were greeted with a made-over Lionâ€™s Arch, cluttered with pumpkins, green bubbling cauldrons (the Mystic Forge getting the biggest makeover of all), and people in costumes running all over the place. Candy corn vendors peddled their wares in the streets, and karma shops were stocked up with all sorts of new Halloween-themed recipes and things to buy (including a recipe for a spiced pumpkin cookie - mmm!).
As well as all the goodies, an upswelling in energy fluctuations has The Durmand Priory feeling uneasy. Speaking to their representative in the city will nab you a â€ścandy-powered matter meterâ€ť, which you feed with candy corn, and then use to detect these energy fluctuations. An encounter with a lonely ghost gives you the first clue that then leads players off on a massive treasure hunt to piece together events of the past, and help the Priory complete a volume of â€śMad Memoriesâ€ť.
Though I used up all of the candy corn the Priory had given me, I didnâ€™t despair for long, as rich veins of raw candy corn had popped up all over the land (even underwater), and soon my bags were overflowing with the stuff. Fortunately the candy was good for more than just powering the matter meter or giving Gialp periodic sugar rushes; there are all sorts of new recipes for each of the different professions that make use of the new ingredient. Whether these sugary veins will dry up come November 1 is anyoneâ€™s guess, but in the meantime Gialp gathered enough to last for a good long while.
On October 26th, Act 2 was unlocked, with some new Halloween-themed minigames, such as â€śReaperâ€™s Rumbleâ€ť and â€śMad Kingâ€™s Clock Towerâ€ť. Gialp was for the most part struggling with exploring the volcanic area of Mt Maelstrom at this time, so I didnâ€™t take the time to play all of these. The one I did play however, the dubiously-titled â€śLunatic Inquisitionâ€ť, turned out to be quite a bit of fun.
In Lunatic Inquisition, players assume the roles of villagers trying to survive the night as they are pursued by lunatics. Various objects like food, planks of wood, and even spider webs, are scattered around the rubble of a village, which can be picked up and used by the villagers to help them stay alive. The objects do have their uses, but they are pretty weak items and only last so long. The secret to success seemed to be in staying mobile and keeping away from the red blobs on the map. This was easier said than done, however, with the labyrinthine village often taking you back to a place you were trying to avoid. Once caught, a villager is turned into a lunatic, and so the object of the game swiftly changes to trying to track down the last of the villagers before the end of the night.
Continue reading on page 2.