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Flameseeker Chronicles: Pumpkinhead edition

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

Halloween is here! Yes, yes, it's here in real life, but it's here in Tyria as well! Halloween is one of my favorite Guild Wars celebrations for a lot of silly reasons. I love tapping the "R" key and unleashing a string of Ghosts-in-the-Box, I love the costumes, I love the beleaguered citizens of Lion's Arch and Kamadan (they're so funny and mopey in their transformed states!), and most of all I love the Mad King Thorn and his stupid jokes. I know they're lame and I don't care. The pumpkin-on-head joke slays me every year.

As of this writing, the new quests haven't dropped yet, but there's still plenty to do. Follow along after the jump and let's take a look at what's going on in Tyria!

Dressing the part

I have to confess that I don't know if anything will ever top last year's Halloween costume set for me. The Lunatic Court Finery was tattered elegance at its most fetching, and the Raiment of the Lich was appropriately spooky and creepy. Seriously -- it's been a year and I still shudder when I look at those shoulder piercings. I own every costume set ever released (I've made a concerted effort not to tally up that total cost), and Halloween 2010 is possibly my favorite of all of them.

However! This year's set has its own allotment of charm and scare-factor. An unfair share, really. The female version of the Ravenheart Witchwear (pictured above) is great. The little skull detail at the hip, the rolled collar, the tatters hanging from the back, the lethal-looking boots and coordinating gloves -- I love every bit of it. The hat (Ravenheart's Gaze) is the traditional Halloween witch's hat, but when your female character is wearing it, her eyes are usually covered by the brim. As your character stands around, though, her natural idle movements allow an alluring little peek at one eye now and again. Flirtatious and mysterious. I don't know if it was intentional, but I love it!

The only thing I am not crazy about is a detail that I can understand and laugh at. The Witchwear for females comes with a little bonus gift: ginormous implants. Seriously. Slap that costume on a female assassin, and if you don't snicker at it, I'll eat my hat. I understand that it's probably an impossible task to create a separate costume silhouette for every separate profession and body type in the game with each costume, so I'm not complaining. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy the humor of the situation.

The Vale Wraith set is the scary half of the new set, and it does the job beautifully. The grinning skull shadowed beneath the hood is so creepy, and it pairs nicely with the lack of feet. Between the chain details, the fabric layers on the hood, top, and skirt, and the rings hanging off the bottom, the overall effect is shroud-like but not too heavy. I love it! I also appreciate that for once, male and female are showing an equal amount of skin. If anything, the female is more covered up top, for modesty's sake.

Party time!

Let me tear myself away from the costumes, as difficult as it may be, and focus on the actual event for a bit. As of this writing the new quests haven't dropped yet, but they are supposed to sometime today. No worries, though; there's plenty to keep you occupied until they do. I say this every festival, but it's true: ArenaNet stands head and shoulders above most MMO companies when it comes to festival guides.

The guide on the official wiki is extremely comprehensive, giving dates and times on all events as well as detailed lists of what items are available from collectors, what quests are available and tips on how to succeed at them, where the minigames are, and when to expect the Mad King. If you haven't already, bookmark that page to reference during the event.

Speaking of the Mad King, I've already heard some grumbling (surprise, surprise) surrounding when he arrives. Since October 31st falls on a Monday this year, that's when he'll be showing up. That puts ArenaNet in a bit of a tricky situation because of course it's expected that he will show up on Halloween, but the timing is a bit inconvenient for those who have work or school.

The alternative is to have him show on Sunday and... after that I'm not sure. Ignore the actual day of Halloween? Pretend that it fell on Sunday? Again, it's a tricky situation that's not ideal no matter which day ArenaNet chooses to send in His Royal Pumpkinness. I've heard similar complaining about the fact that the new quests drop today rather than during the past weekend so people can spend their weekend free time on them.

Honestly, I'm sticking with the attitude that I always have regarding these things: It's all a bonus and it's all good. Sure, part of me wants it all now now now too, but for heaven's sake, the event is two weeks long. If I'm counting right, there are two weekends in there, so we'll still have a full weekend to run quests.

As far as the Mad King's appearance time? I get that the timing isn't perfect, but ANet can't really help what day Halloween falls on. (And frankly, from a lore perspective, I don't think Mad King Thorn cares if we have to be at work Monday -- he's gonna come on Halloween and the rest of us can like it or lump it!) Neither Sunday nor Monday was ideal.

However, even if you have to go to work or school for 8 to 10 hours on Monday, he's there for 24 hours. You only have to participate in two events to get both hats, and they happen every three hours, so you're covered there. If you want in just for the fun of it, again, 24 hours, every three hours. You'll have plenty of time to make it to several rounds of rock paper scissors and Mad King Says. And finally, if you're there only for the loot, you're kind of missing the point anyway. The quests are where the big loot is, so you're going to want to farm those. Park your character in Lion's Arch or Kamadan while you're at work and you'll still come back to some treats in your inventory.

In the end, we've got a great party ahead of us -- enjoy the festivities this week and next!

Rubi is a longtime Guild Wars player and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column keeps a close eye on all the events in Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. It's also the home of a weekly summary of the travels of [MVOP], Massively's Guild Wars guild. Email Rubi at

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