A wash of orange and green has taken over ruined Lion’s Arch. Accents of the Bloody Prince’s red also sparkle here and there. The content is pretty much the same as last year. Yet, you’d think the Easter Bunny had a hand here because the biggest change to this year’s Guild Wars 2 Halloween festival is the amount of carrots. There are so many carrots to chase now, and the market is reacting naturally.
Collections just came in with the last feature pack, but they are already getting used well by ArenaNet. There are two Halloween collections this year. The first is the gem store’s Bloody Prince weapons, which contain the Black Lion ticketed weapons such as Aranae (the spider bow), the Silly Scimitar (plastic sword), and one of my favorite greatswords, Chiroptophobia, the bat greatsword. The pull of this carrot is strong because if you collect all 5 Bloody Prince weapons, you get 5 Black Lion golden tickets.
The other collection is the Trick and Treats basic collection, which starts with an Old Pillowcase. The Old Pillowcase is by far the most difficult (rare), or most expensive (~5 gold at the time of this post), part of the collection. Laughably, I only learned about it this morning, having already thrown away some of the collection items last night. The collection reward is a reskin of the mini candy corn elemental, but it’s nice to have another carrot to chase for this event. I like that it especially has me using stuff I have already thrown away this event.
Foiled by ToT Bags
The Old Pillowcase can be gained by opening Trick-or-Treat bags (ToT bags), which also have a few other rare items in them, such as miniatures. One nice change to the ToT bags this year is that they drop Essences of Luck, which I don’t recall from last year. Apparently there are “valuable tier 6 trophies” too, but I can’t seem to find yet what they mean by that. Hopefully someone on Reddit reports a “for science” ToT bag analysis.
Another major carrot this year is Collector Terksli in Lion’s Arch’s ruined trading post. This skritt is looking for Shiny Foil Candy Wrappers, and in lottery form will dole out 1000 very rare, very old, and very expensive Halloween skins to 1000 lucky few. For example, the Greatsaw skin is worth about 1500 gold. Each Shiny Foil Candy Wrapper, found in ToT bags, is an entry to the lottery. Obviously, as these two weeks go by the more that play the lower the chance of each entry winning. The Shiny Foil Candy Wrapper is directly tied to a new gem store offering, which have the Shiny Foil Candy Wrappers filled with a candy giving 10-minute random boost. The gem store customer then gives the left over Wrapper to Terksli.
This lottery is a very contentious thing because it ropes on a lot of “sacred cows”: the gem store, old and valuable skins, and a lottery. My gut reaction was that it was mostly a great idea. I like the idea of sacred old and valuable skins, but this gives an ultra-chase chance with that lottery feeling. It’s a fun idea for a two-week period. I am actually surprised at the gem store item though.
Each gem store candy costs 25 gems (lower if you buy more), which gives a random boost, which people don’t need in this game and the wrapper. 25 gems also is nearly 4 gold, which at 8 silver a bag, would give 50 ToT bags, which I would bet would give at least one wrapper along with a lot of other goodies. Sure, going the ToT bag route might not net any wrappers, or it might net a few. I think on one hand it is great that ArenaNet is going with a softer touch in trying these incentives to purchase gems. On the other hand, the gem store candy is crap. 4 gold for a random 10 minute boost, and a lottery ticket. That’s not worth it by any measure.
Gems Has Math
I guess I do have to talk about the gem conversion thingy, since that’s giving people virtual wedgies. ArenaNet changed it to make it easier to convert gems to gold, and vice versa by limiting the options. Instead of adding in the amount you want, you now just click set amounts which already show the conversion. The thing that has everybody’s boxers in a bunch is that the lowest amount you can convert gold to gems is 400 gems. This means no more gold conversions for 100-200 gems.
I like how simplified ArenaNet has made it, but I like being able to buy 100-200 gem increments. For instance, I just bought the new undead logging tool, which gives me giggles every time I use it. I bought $10 worth of gems (800), and then used gold to get the last 200 gems since I really didn’t want to spend $20 at that moment. I use this purchase tactic all the time.
ArenaNet already uses the “F2P” time-honored tradition of having the conversion of real money to gems be awkward ($10 -> 800 gems = $0.0125 / gem). They’ve been using “fractions” of 400, 800, etc. gems for purchases, such as the Halloween mini packs going for 500 gems or permanent gathering tools at 1000 gems. Now I can’t fix these fractions with gold without overbuying either way. This is what it feels like ArenaNet is trying to do… get people to overbuy under the guise of simplification.
Hopefully ArenaNet adds another button for “expert” users (heh) to use the gold-gem converter how they want. I would say if you leave feedback in any form, the more constructive and personal your experience and words, the stronger the response.
Getting back to Halloween content, one item is ruling the roost. Maize Balm turns gray creatures, like mosquitos and rats, into one-shot candy elementals, which each drop a ToT bag. At the time of this post this ~3 silver item can return ~21 silver worth of Tot bags. Pretty good haul, I’d say.
However, I wonder if this is taking away from the Mad King’s Labyrinth farm zone, or what is going on with the megaserver there. I would think that last night the Labyrinth would have been full of farmers. Nope. I had trouble finding one that was even being commanded. Then this morning before work I went in and out of a few Labyrinths to find generally no activity. Am I getting megaserved?
The other thing is the Lich boss is absolutely brutal, and doesn’t seem to be scaling well at all. Every “zerg”, which has been 5-10 people this Halloween event, has been crushed by the Lich. I think its life steal is just too powerful at the moment, and given the Labyrinth instances I’ve joined, too demoralizing.
The cynic in me believes that Maize Balm farming is ruining Labyrinth farming-with-friends, but that’s my own anecdotal conclusion. It appears from Reddit that there is some good Labyrinth farming going on. I hope I get in on it some night.
Overall I am pretty happy with the Halloween event. Sure, there is no content update, which kind of sucks, but there is an update with rewards. I like the content anyway. It’s fun for a short period each year. I might not play it past this weekend, but I don’t require Guild Wars 2 to entertain me indefinitely. I like that it is entertaining me, and I have a few things to chase, such as the Trick and Treats collection and the Hexed outfit. This event is a nice jolt to get things prepped for the next content update.