Halloween in Guild Wars has been a part of my gaming life since the very first appearance of the Mad King in GW1. I was a huge fan of the quirky fun and antics the Mad King brought every year. I loved the hats, the jokes, and especially the Mad King Says. There was always a bit of evil glee in watching those folks who didn’t quite know how the game went flub up and die (only to be brought back again).
The funny thing was, Halloween in Guild Wars 1 was pretty much the same every year, and that was perfectly fine. Halloween in GW2? Now that’s been a different story.
Blood and Meh-Ness
I’m not a fan of the Bloody Prince – I’ll get into more of that later. But suffice to say, I’m not the only one who felt the 2013 version of Halloween was not as good as the 2012 version of Halloween in GW2.
Why is it, in a “Living World” where Anet has no problem with blowing up beloved cities and flying city-ships, that we’re stuck in a time warp with our Halloween event? We were already introduced to Mr. Emo Prince last year. I don’t think my characters are dumb enough to let him out of the box again this year.
This makes no sense in a story context. Why are we being re-introduced to a character we already met? Why is the exact same event unfolding? Why not change it up just a little to say… oh, Bloody Prince found a way to escape again this year or something. All it takes is a little bit of a change and it could have fit, rather than taking us in a weird story loop.
Or better yet, why not have some of the events folks enjoyed from the 2012 version return? What about the scavenger hunt that awarded the neat backpiece that I still use on some characters today? Or, why not the Mad King’s dungeon, that was removed for no good reason last year. I mean, the lion statue in Lion’s Arch is already destroyed, so it won’t make much of a difference. *bitter sarcasm*
The event is so non-important that it doesn’t even get a sub-forum this year. : /
At least they placed the door to the Mad King’s Labyrinth somewhere easy to get to, rather than having to try and run around the world looking for doors to open. Though… that was kinda fun, in that you could get a trick or treat. Did they remove that aspect of the event, too?
About the only thing I was looking forward to (once I realized this is a replay of last year), was the Labyrinth. It’s one of the last fun zerg scenarios that hasn’t been nerfed to the ground, and it’s a great way to level characters who are under level cap. I took my level 40 Mesmer in there, hoping that the megaserver would reward me with a huge zerg of rampaging fun.
Instead, I found an empty maze. I was really, really disappointed.
I’m not sure if that’s because I just got tossed in a newly formed version of the Labyrinth and the rampaging was going on in another instance or what. But it was a ghost town when I first got there. And anyone who runs the maze knows that trying to make your way through it by yourself (especially sub level 80) is painful death waiting to happen.
Eventually I lucked out and found someone with a commander tag. But they only had one other person with them. I still ran with them, and we started picking up a few other players here and there. We did complete a few events, though the Grand High Viscount of Candy Corn was a total pain yet again this year, even scaled down. I forgot how much I hated that fight.
There was a small group forming by the time I had to leave, but no where near as many people playing as I hoped for with the megaserver change. Usually, the first night of Halloween release, that place is the most crazy zerg ever. I don’t know if it’s because I got dumped in a newly-forming instance, or if people just aren’t coming to the maze. Either way, it’s 😦
Sometimes Less is More
I want to pose one more annoyance here. I loved the Mad King’s character — as it was done in Guild Wars 1. There, it was established that he was a pretty nasty guy, but in a time long ago. It was done in an almost cartoon character way, and put with the silly jokes and games, it was mostly silly Halloween fun.
When I heard they were bringing the Mad King back for GW2, I was really excited. Only, once the events started, things took a turn for the dark. While the scavenger hunt was a fun idea, as the history of the Mad King unfolded, and you actually learned about the people he killed, and saw ghosts of their tormented souls… well… it was suddenly not so easy to find the Mad King a likeable character.
Last year went a step further and introduced the Mad King’s son, the Bloody Prince. Apparently, the Mad King not only killed the prince’s mother on the prince’s birthday, but then proceeded to stuff his own son into a coffin and leave him to die. Now, the Prince wasn’t a very nice guy himself, but this whole Blood and Madness thing does not paint anyone in a good or funny light.
They basically took a character who was just silly Halloween fun, attached a morbid and NOT funny history to him, and made it very difficult for me to enjoy this character. I wish I could have the old, more innocent version of the Mad King back. 😦
Anyhow, I’ll probably be kicking around in the maze here and there, but I honestly have other more interesting Halloween events to play through. Like The Secret World.
Oh, and at least GW2 didn’t shove all the cool rewards in the cash shop this year like they did last year. Though their change to the way players purchase gems (because apparently it was too confusing… riiiight) has a lot of people up in arms.
Get with the program, Anet! You’re so worried about this Living Story and the cash shop that everything else (Halloween, No Dragon Bash, No Super Adventure Box, etc) is falling to the wayside!