Updated: Feb 10, 2019
It’s the end of the year, which means it’s officially the holiday season. It’s time to start blasting Christmas music, building snowmen and gingerbread houses, and finding those perfect gifts for friends and family. Before we get to all of that, however, I want to rewind back to the end of October and talk about my experiences with the spookiest time of the year. I’m going to talk about the Guild Wars 2 Halloween festival, the Shadow of the Mad King.
One big part of this Halloween festival was the new map that became available. It was called the Mad King’s Realm, and it was basically some sort of dark underworld. From here, you could take part in a bunch of different events. One event that I took part in was the jumping puzzle at the Mad King’s Clock Tower. If you don’t know what a jumping puzzle is, it’s pretty much a series of precise jumps that you have to overcome in order to get to a treasure chest at the end. One mistake could lead to your character falling to their death and you having to start all over again. Trust me, they can be frustrating! While normal jumping puzzles let you take your time, the Clock Tower certainly didn’t. As you climb the tower, a green mist will get closer and closer to you, and if you get caught, you’ll be sent all the way back to the beginning.
I participated in this event with a group of other players, and one group member said that she had been practicing for 12 hours before she got to the top for the first time. After hearing that, I took my hands off of my mouse and keyboard and stared at my computer screen. I thought, “What have I gotten myself into?” Luckily for me, it only took two to three hours of practice and the help of a YouTube walk-through to finally beat the clock.
Besides having a full Halloween themed area, the virtual world of Tyria also had doorways that would appear in certain parts of each map. After knocking on one of these doors, you would either get a trick (which made a group of spooky monsters such as plastic spiders, skeletons, or candy corn elementals appear) or a treat (which was a trick-or-treat bag full of goodies). Knocking down a certain number of these doors would unlock an achievement that would grant your character achievement points and some extra trick-or-treat bags. However, I was definitely unaware of how far certain people were willing to go to get such an achievement.
I had just finished defeating a bunch of monsters that came from a doorway with another player when she mentioned that she had spent a week trying to knock down 250 doors. That’s right, 250! Not only that, but she was also aiming to carve a massive total of 1,000 pumpkins which were scattered across the world as well. That’s crazy!
So, those were a couple of examples of how players celebrated Halloween in Guild Wars 2, but why? Why sink all of those hours in completing those tasks? All achievements and events were entirely optional, but since they were a part of the Shadow of the Mad King festival, these events and associated achievements were only here for a limited time. You have to make the most of the time you have, I suppose. I may not entirely know why each player did what they did, but I can say from experience that completing the Clock Tower after my many failures was very satisfying. In the end, I feel like I can say it was worth it. If players have the time and dedication, they can complete anything. Although to some people, those players may seem as mad as the king himself.