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Flameseeker Chronicles: Your guide to Halloween 2010

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

I've been focusing quite a bit on new Guild Wars players these days and this week is no exception. I'm excited to see how many players are picking Guild Wars up for the first time, or are returning after checking things out briefly way back in 2005.

This week is a fun one thanks to the Halloween festival, and those of you who haven't played during one before are probably a bit overwhelmed. Even those of you who have been away for a few years may be surprised by how much the festival has expanded since you were away.

This week's Flameseeker Chronicles is for you guys -- follow along after the jump and we'll take a tour of this spooky version of the world of Tyria.

Where's the party?

While the first Halloween celebration was only in the country of Tyria for obvious reasons, Elona has since joined the party and several cities in Nightfall are great places to visit right now. Kamadan is decorated in a wonderful combination of spooky and funny. The sky is dark, ominous shapes can be seen in the clouds, and I am almost certain that the moon over Tyria was not leering at me last week.

Run around, check out the surroundings, and be sure you get a screenshot of your character posing as a scary Charr! Take some time to look at the NPCs and enjoy their strange new appearances -- but don't forget to talk to them. Most of them have something amusing to say at the very least, and some will offer special Halloween quests and games.

Back in Tyria, you'll find that Lion's Arch has a fantastic new look, as do Droknar's Forge and the Tomb of the Primeval Kings.

Where's the candy?

It wouldn't be Halloween without loot, would it? As always, any enemy in the game can drop Trick or Treat bags right now, so get to killing! Double-clicking them will reveal all sorts of treats to buff your character or give her a new appearance briefly.

That's not the only way to get Halloween treats, though. There are collectors throughout Tyria and Elona who are interested in odds and ends you may have picked up in your travels.

Prefer the idea of fighting for your treats rather than just handing over various monster bits to guys on horses? The Costume Brawl might be for you. This PvP-flavored festival event is a long-running tradition that got a makeover this year. Talk to Bobby in any of several outposts to enter, and you'll find yourself with a brand-new skill bar and appearance.

Are there quests?

There are, but I'm not going to tell you what they are! It's not because I'm mean, it's because I don't know yet. We asked about new Halloween surprises at New York Comic Con, and the Massively staffer who attended told me that the devs went silent and "grinned maniacally." (I envision that as being a bit like the moon currently floating over Tyria.)

We do have some hints, though. The new costumes seem to come with some sort of in-game backstory: "The Lunatic Court, an assembly of devoted disciples of Mad King Thorn, has concocted a ridiculous plan to break the seals that keep their insane ruler trapped for most of the year. In this series of quests, you'll help these courtiers try to achieve their goal of making Halloween an all-year event, but be warned: the Lunatic Court is just as deranged as the Mad King himself! "

Mysterious! The quests are set to arrive today.

How long does all of this last?

The event ends on November 2nd, and while the Costume Brawl, collectors, decorations, and special drops will be around until the end, Mad King Thorn appears on October 31st only. That's a day you do not want to miss -- he'll appear periodically in Lion's Arch and Kamadan throughout the day to tell hilarious(ly terrible) jokes, battle players one-on-one in rock-paper-scissors, and boss everyone around.

It's a good idea to do what he wants. He's fond of rewarding those who please him, and if you don't... well, there's no death penalty in towns, so don't worry too much.

The Halloween festival is one of the most fun events of the year, and this year it's even more exciting because the loot will help to advance various title tracks for the Hall of Monuments. So put on your spookiest armor and I'll see you in game!

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