April is almost upon us, which means that the first day of April is almost upon us, which means that April Fools' Day is almost upon us. In the past, the folks at ArenaNet have proven themselves fond of celebrating this occasion, which has given fans high hopes for continued trolling in the world of Guild Wars 2. Since March's patch, strange things have been appearing that all seem to hint at some sort of April Fools' joke: Super Adventure Box achievements on the hero panel, mysterious Continue Coins falling out of chests, and a new range of weapon skins added to the sPvP weapon pane.
Of course, it's been pointed out to me that perhaps the most delicious joke of all would be to put in all those clues and then have no actual prank. I can almost taste the rage of fans who had compulsively run characters through jumping puzzles for days in an attempt to stock up on Continue Coins that suddenly turned out to be worthless.
Fortunately (or not, depending on your sense of humor), that's not the case at all. The Super Adventure Box is real, and it's almost time for you to start playing it. Let's talk about it, shall we?
The story of the Super Adventure Box starts with an Asura named Moto. Moto has a crazy idea that games might be excellent as a mode of education for Asura progeny. Convinced of the truthiness of this, Moto has created a virtual space that tells a story and will hopefully help young progeny learn about such things as teamwork, bravery, and the importance of always tapping a crocodile on the nose before attempting to walk across its back. The first world of Moto's Super Adventure Box is ready for exploration and educational enjoyment, which is where you come in, hero!
The goal of the Super Adventure Box is to collect baubles. I mean, really, the goal is to learn about critical thinking, train in combat, and avoid falling in green water -- but you're a full-grown hero; you know those things already. That leaves you with baubles. Baubles are dotted around the maps in the Box, occasionally pop out of the remains of your pixelated enemies, and sometimes hide in lovely little chests. They are the currency of the Super Adventure Box.
You can hold only a certain number of baubles in your inventory at a time. If you like, you can upgrade your wallet, which determines how many baubles you can hold, in the Super Adventure Box. (Alternatively, you can compulsively bank everything.) For ease of storage, batches of baubles can be bartered for bauble bubbles. You can use baubles to buy other things, like Continue Coins for when you run out of lives inside the Box. You can also use bauble bubbles to buy items, like the sweet-lookin' skins that people have been drooling over since they appeared in the sPvP lockers. Those weapons, examples of Moto's innovative "solid-holographic" technology, can be used by characters in the wide world of Tyria.
Baubles will likewise allow you to purchase lots of cool items that are for use only in the Super Adventure Box, too, like bombs and shovels and other useful things that will help you explore ever last nook and cranny of the area (for which there is, of course, an achievement).
Your journey in the Super Adventure Box will take you through the three zones that make up the first world of Moto's magi-cational journey. At the very end of your travels, you'll be given a sneak peek at the world that awaits you when Moto can secure more funding for his project.
Each zone has chests and monsters and little secret places to be found. Each zone also has a big bad boss. Defeating that big bad boss will earn you a magnificent chest that's looted once per day per character (I asked, like, three times to be sure it was percharacter, not per account) and will reward you with a lot of baubles and two bauble bubbles. Playing on Infantile Mode will not earn you the bauble bubbles.
"Infantile Mode?" Yes, Infantile Mode! Because jumping puzzles and solid-holographic adventures are not everyone's forte, ArenaNet has graciously included a mode that requires as little effort as possible to enjoy all the content before you. Having played all the way through both modes, I have to say that while I understand that Infantile Mode is supposed to basically be as condescending as possible, there are rainbow bridges everywhere and that is absolutely incredible. Rainbow bridges and little clouds that cheer for you. I'm a fan. So there's that.
It's fairly typical for a cursory run through Normal Mode to net you about a hundred baubles and two bauble bubbles per zone. You'll get more if you're really going out of your way to seek and destroy, maybe a little less if you're just racing for the finish. An Infantile Mode run might get you fifty or so baubles and no bauble bubbles per zone. Since you need something along the lines of 250 baubles for every bauble bubble and I think about 50 bauble bubbles for a weapon, keep that in mind when you're choosing how thorough you want to be in each zone.
The Super Adventure Box can be played solo or with a party size up to the normal cap of five. In my experience, more players definitely equals more fun. There are a number of checkpoints in each zone, which every player has to arrive at in order to let the party progress to the next stage. If someone is maybe regretting that you're not on Infantile Mode and having some serious issues getting to the checkpoint, look around near you for a mushroom sitting at an angle; shortcut mushrooms have been placed at strategic points along the map to help struggling groupmates catch up. Give it a tap and it should drop a little helper mushroom down to your buddy.
Baubles are a communal sort of thing. If you and I were to be playing together and we saw a bauble just kind of chillin' on the ground, we could both run up and collect it. You don't have to race your buddies or wonder if maybe they're secretly keeping you from being as efficient as you could possibly be.
You start out with a number of lives, of course, and when those lives run out, you get sent into a bizarre room with a devil and walls that are closing in and fire and a very palpable terror. From there you can choose to give up 50 of your precious baubles for a Continue Coin (or pay one outright, if you happen to have it already) or you could choose to not do that and... I don't know, get sent to solid-holographic hell or something. One assumes it just spits you out of the instance, but some things are best not trifled with.
You don't have to be level 80 to hop into the Super Adventure Box, and it'll be here til the end of April -- go enjoy some solid-holographic edutainment! (Also, we'll totally be streaming our own adventures inside the Box Monday at 7:00 p.m. EDT.)