Tyrian Times- Something Wicked This Way Comes
By Meredith Watson, OnRPG Tyrian Reporter
The first major content release, Shadow of the Mad King, for Guild Wars 2 is now live! The content patch brings in the first holiday event, PvP paid tournaments which I covered in a previous edition, new items to the Trading Post, more events, jumping puzzles, bosses, mini dungeons and achievements. Most of this new content is Halloween related such as the items added to the Trading Post. It is unclear if non-Halloween stuff will be added to the Trading Post but it has been stated there will be Halloween costumes.
Arena Net, coincidentally, first introduced the Mad King event in 2005 as their first ever event in Guild Wars and by all accounts to rave reviews. Will it be as successful for Guild Wars 2? Only time will tell but if we look at how the event was orchestrated in Guild Wars we may get a clue about what is in store for us.
Who is the Mad King?
Mad King Thorn was a Tyrian king long ago. He was more known for insanity than philanthropy; he wasn’t a nice guy. While his people starved he banqueted. He would order villagers skinned alive for whatever reason. Needless to say, he wasn’t looked upon favourably by the commoners who eventually would be his demise after an angry mob carved him up with a knife. The Mad King now lives in the Mad Realm, which is in the underworld, as a spirit. Because he is restricted by a series of seals he may only return to Tyria one day of the year and that day is October 31st. While this sounds rather grim though appropriate for the season, ArenaNet likes to incorporate humour as well. When the Mad King appears he is often accompanied by candy corn servants.
In Guild Wars the event would start with the arrival of Bruce the Herald and his gang of undead who would alert the people to the Mad King’s return. Many of the outposts would be appropriately decorated for the season. ArenaNet liked to include many imaginative changes and features to the game world during this time as well such as ships that were previously floating would be sinking, the water colour changed to a sickly green, the sinister appearance of the moon and the transformation of NPCs. All the transformed NPCs would have a little something to say about the Mad King and/or lore of the event.
It wasn’t all cosmetic though. There was plenty to do. There were several quest lines the players could do for experience, gold and trick or treat bags. Trick or Treat bags were presents the player could open which would have one of the following: Vial of Absinthe-an alcoholic beverage, Witches Brew -also an alcoholic drink, Ghost-in-a-box which is, as one would expect, a ghost. The ghost was non-interactive and disappeared after a short time. Squash Serum would create a pumpkin on the player’s head. Candy Apple, Candy Corn and Pumpkin Cookie could also be found in Trick or Treat bags and were buffs to stats that lasted ten minutes. The alcoholic drinks would count towards the Drunkard title (obviously).
In addition to quest lines there was the Costume Brawl. Introduced in 2007 the Costume Brawl was a PvP event that let the player fight as one of the famous characters from lore. There were different skill sets depending on which character you were fighting as. The character type was randomly selected for each round. However, equipped and inventoried weapons stayed with the character. Though if you didn’t have an appropriate weapon one would be dropped on the ground once entering the arena for the player to pick up. There were four different arenas and over 50 guises. Rewards were faction points and Trick or Treat bags.
Finally the Mad King himself appeared on October 31st in Lion’s Arch and Kamadan every three hours. When he arrives he begins a game of Mad King Says, which as you guessed is Simon Says but with the added fun of death if the player didn’t do it right. When the Mad King would say, the player needed to emote whichever emote the Mad King was asking for. Trick or Treat bags were rewarded for each successful attempt. For an unsuccessful attempt the penalty was death. The Mad King will also tell jokes and play Rock, Paper, Scissors. After about 30 minutes, the Mad King gives everyone a festival hat when his appearance is over. New festival hats were introduced each year from 2005 to 2011 including styles such as pumpkin crowns, wicked hats, scarecrow mask, zombie face pain and even a tricorne.
What we do know about the Guild Wars 2 Halloween event is that it is a week long, will come in four acts, and definitely feature the costume brawl. If the Guild Wars Halloween event is any indication of things to come, we are certainly in for a treat (see what I did there?). Because Guild Wars 2 is meant to be bigger and better than Guild Wars I do hope the Guild Wars 2 event reflects this. While I look forward to seeing the Mad King my wish is that the event stays true to Guild Wars 2 and isn’t just a rehash of the Guild Wars event.