I have to get this off my chest, because to be quite honest I have been fairly disappointed and ever so slightly worried about this Halloween event and the overall direction of the game. Not super worried, but perhaps a bit. Let me explain.
There are a couple of main reasons that this year was disappointing for me. The first is the fact that the Halloween event ‘Blood and Madness’ is basically a rerun of last year’s event. There is no new story and the achievements are the same as last year, so if you have completed them in the past there is no way for you to get more achievement points for the most part this year. The same will be true of this years Wintersday event according to their news post.
Although annoying, this doesn’t bother me too much since it could be a sign that they are spending most of their time and resources working on the Living World story content. It is also not that uncommon for mmos to have reruns of annual festival events. The lack of new achievements bothers me more than the repeating of the event to be honest.
The second disappointment is to do with the story part of the event that takes part in an instance. This is not functional for the second part of the quest, and after a lot of forum digging, it seems that the most likely reason for this was a player exploit where they were farming the boss in it for high-end event currency. While I understand this is necessary, it doesn’t stop it from being annoying, especially since ArenaNet have not been forthcoming with information about it. Players were left guessing and confused as to what is going on. Guild Wars does have a tendency not to spell out some quests etc leaving players to look things up on fan websites, and so many players thought that they were not doing something right. A better notice from the game really would have helped.
The most worrying thing for me about the whole event was the Event specific items. Breaking these down, the items come in several sections:
- Event Currency Items
- Event Gem Items
- Event Gambling Items
Event Currency Items
The Event Currency Items really are not that great, not for me anyway. There are 4 mini pets, 12 halloween recipes half of which are for non-combat use, a 20 slot bag (which when compared with the cost of a 20 slot bag vs the cost of selling the currency it would cost turns out to be a seriously bad deal), and a character outfit. The latter, while I don’t find it appealing myself, seems to be one of the only real thing of value from this vendor. There are also currency conversion items that can be used to craft halloween recipes from previous years, but not the recipes to do so, if you want those you have to pay a premuim on the trading post (The cost of which ends up, with the materials needed, being about the same as buying the weapon skin outright). Overall, not really that satisfying a vendor.
I would also note that one of these items is the Mini Candy Corn Elemental. To do the second part of the story instance event you actually need this pet, or need to be partied with someone who does have it. Last year you could get this elemental by completing a set number of achievements but this year the only way to get the mini pet is to buy it with event currency, which means more grind for you. Not great.
Event Gem Items
The game started bringing out Halloween Items earlier in the month, staggering their release to maximize profits I would guess. There have been a great number of them compared to some previous events that I remember. Most of the items are either Outfits, Armour Skins or Minipets. I have no problem with these, since they fund the game and do not cause any problem.
There is however one item that I am not that pleased with getting added. It is called ‘Foil Wrapped Candy’. You can (very very rarely) find these as loot, but you can also buy them in the gem store, 25 for about the price of £5.31, Why does this bother me? It is a gambling item, but worse in my opinion than the lock-box chests you get in the game. Why?
Event Gambling Items
The ‘Foil Wrapped Candy’ is an item that is basically a consumable that leaves you with a foil wrapper. It is this foil wrapper that you can then gamble with. Instead of offering weapon skins for a pre-defined cost, ArenaNet have decided to make it a gambling thing. You get a foil wrapper and you give it into the skritt for a chance, yes a chance of getting a Halloween weapon skin.
What bothers me is not that it is gambling so much as it is the fact that they have used an item that is in the gem store as the currency for that gambling. The more shiny wrappers you hand in, the better your chance of getting a weapon skin will be. But it isn’t like there are tons of them either, there are only 100 greatswords and 100 shield skins, and only 200 rifle, dagger, sword and staff skins each. For ALL of the GW2 players. Fairly recent statistics show that GW2 have around 460,000 concurrent players. Do you fancy your chances of getting one of those skins with those odds? Even if it were split for that many item skins per server (with 52 servers, that is an average of 8846 players per server with players handing in multiple sweet wrappers) , it is still a tiny amount, and this isn’t in-game time we are talking about here, it is rl money.
What we are seeing here is a very low yield gamble that will see most participants come away with nothing for their effort and money.
In previous gambling items, such as the Black Lion Lock Boxes, even when players did not get the really sought-after items (such as the black lion tickets that can be exchanged for special weapon skins), they still got things that were useful or fun from within them. This gambling event item will either give you something, or it won’t, and your chance of getting an item, because it is based on the number of wrappers you hand in, is primarily dependent on you spending rl money in the cash shop, and despite that you are likely to get nothing in return.
ArenaNet moneymaking with Guild Wars 2
This move by ArenaNet to introduce rl money gambling items to the game comes at a time when they have also introduced another change to the game.
With the Halloween patch, they have also changed the price of the Gem trading prices. Before the patch you could trade between 12.5 and 13 in-game gold for 100 gems, and this price had been relatively stable for months, increasing little by little over time. Now however, after the patch they seem to have increased that price to over 20 gold for 100 gems. Needless to say there are a lot of players unhappy about this. Ah, I remember fondly when 100 gems once cost me 3.5 gold. All things change, but this one doesn’t sit well with players, and rightly so. What this points to certainly is that ArenaNet want players to be spending more of their rl money buying gems than trading in-game gold for them. As annoying as this is, I can’t really fault ArenaNet for it, since they do need to make money.
Are ArenaNet really in financial difficulty that these changes are being rolled out? It has been mentioned on the forums that NcSoft may well have forced the change upon the game to try and recoup some money from the disappointing reception of Wildstar. It is possible. I really do hope that players make enough noise and do not fall into the trap of buying into the new gambling items to make it seem profitable for the company, because if it is, you can be sure as hell that more will be added.