December 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Posted in Festival, Guild Wars 2, Jumping Puzzle, mmorpg, PvE | 14 Comments
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I love this golem.

I love this golem.

Wintersday was the biggest and most popular festival in Guild Wars so Guild Wars 2 had a lot to live up to with Wintersday 2. I’m glad to say that the festivals so far have blown the original game out of the water.

It seems surprising that they’ve actually managed to put together so much content in such a seemingly small amount of time since Southsun Cove was released. Their production teams must be running on all cylinders. Guild Wars festivals had a lot of content but typically they were built up over the course of years, I feel like Guild Wars 2 has trumped them on Halloween and Wintersday their first time out.

Fully original set-pieces for the mini-dungeon, snowball fight, jumping puzzle, and bell choir. Decorations strung up everywhere, skins, and cash shop items available aplenty. Very little of it is disappointing.

The things I like the most are probably that we get to build our own mini, although I’m saddened that seemingly we don’t get build each one, unless I’m misinformed. Some of the skins are really great, like the slingshot. The slingshot is genius. The earmuffs as well.

As usual the chests are not worth buying. While I’m sure there are a ton of things in them to entice people to buy them, the vast majority of people who do will be disappointed. With the gem exchange becoming virtually useless for changing gold to gems for the average user, it’s best just to avoid random number generators.

As for the activities. I like them a lot actually, but I’m much better at describing faults than pointing out victories.

A long time ago, years before Guild Wars 2 was released, I blogged about the musical instruments of Lord of the Rings. Players there can learn songs and play them for others on various musical instruments. I had wanted Guild Wars 2 to incorporate the same thing. I can’t find the post. In any case I was lead to believe that wouldn’t happen, and, pleasantly surprised during the 3rd beta weekend when I came across an organ in Caledon Forest that you can play. And now with Wintersday we have both bells that you can acquire and play songs with, and the Bell Choir.

Bell Choir is a bit of fun similar to a Guitar Hero like game. And if you like that you’ll like this, but I’ve never been a fan of those types of games. I did play it enough to get the achievement and a few extra rounds for gifts so I do have some observations.

I thought the wait times were too long. Nothing more interminable than having to wait and wait and wait just to be bad at something.

I kind of thought rewards could have been handed out after each round as well, so that I could come and go as I please.

As for the difficulty, it does take a lot of practice just to get to a point where you’re not making a fool of yourself. I thought the timing of when you’re supposed to hit the notes could use some work as well. It seemed counter-intuitive to hit the notes after the lights disappear rather than at the point they cross the line. Took me a while to figure that out.

The free play portion is great, for anyone who can play or understands music. I do not. That’s a full minute of wasted time for the vast majority of people.

Winter Wonderland is a fantastic contrast to the Mad King’s Clocktower of Halloween. It really shows off what is good and bad about both.

Probably the worst thing about the MKC was that the vast majority of your time was spent in that first 5% of the puzzle. So if you’re not any good at jumping puzzles you were stuck with the same aggravating problems over and over. With WW that problem is thrown out the window with 3 different paths and the timing gets tighter at the end of the puzzle, not at the very beginning.

The difficulty is a lot easier for Wonderland too, while MKC threw in a few twists in difficulty throughout the puzzle (some intentional, some not) WW has a few specific hurdles that you can quickly get a grip on. I think that’s also reflected in the rewards. MKC gave up exotic boots, but the most you should hope for from WW is 3 ugly wool sweaters, one of the currencies at the Wintersday vendor. Fair enough.

The snowball fight is really well done and I would say one of the best festival PvP schemes they’ve put together, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have gripes.

For one I think the scout skillset needs some work. It’s tied to some of the regular games issues with longbow on ranger not being accurate enough. It’s just too easy to dodge the scout making the class weaker than the others.

Another complaint is just the starting area. I really despise having to face plant or take falling damage the moment the game starts. You can avoid it most times through some extra effort but I don’t see why you can’t just start running to the gift.

Which is another thing, the achievements get in the way of a good game. It’s hard enough to be paired up with a competent team, you’ll likely either dominate or be dominated when in snowball fight, but if half your teams motivation is either to bring gifts back or stop gifts from being brought back, not to wait for the next gift or play strategically, then we’ve got an annoying problem.

Finally Tixx’s mini dungeon. It’s actually pretty spectacular. The destructible model houses are obviously the best part as the actual objectives are fairly straightforward and uncomplicated. I thought the end boss could be more complicated, there’s really only one boss move you have to avoid, but it was fine with decent rewards. I have to wonder if any of that will change up for its future locations but at least the setting is amazing. As with the rest of the festival.


  1. Regarding the minis, I was under the impression that once tixx went to LA you would be able to do the dungeon once a day there for the remainder of the festival, I dont know if this will get you enough cogs for all the minis though.

    Also I could be completely wrong.

    • Ok I just came across this on the forum

      • Yeah i’d really like to get to build each of them, not just two we pick out.

        • me too, it also looks like im going to miss out on the one I actually want, Norn main and I would at least like the Hoelbrak one but am out that night 😦 and they said no one would miss out on any of the Wintersday stuff.

          • You can do any of the previous instances once tixx arrives in la so u won’t miss it.

            • Except as in his link above, they say you’ll only be able to build 2.

              • I never claimed otherwise. The poster I replied to was worried he’d miss out getting the mini toy for the Norn and that is not true. As long as he goes and plays the instances after Tixx is in LA he should be able to make 2 of whichever he wants including the Norn pet.

  2. The slingshot is amazing. I have in on my ranger and I am so happy. The detail is great. I even pull back on a string which I can see.

    • Yeah its one of the few skins I’ll definitely be getting.

  3. Take note that each Tixx mini-dungeon is going more complex each time. I don’t think that Toypocalipse (the LA final mini-dungeon) will be trivial.

    • Adding to my comment above… each mini-dungeon is adding a diferent toy mob, that is making the dungeon run more complex. At the Black Citadel run I saw teh ventary toy, the princess toy and the charr soldier toy as mobs. My guess is that we will have a norn bear toy today (a teddy bear?). Toypocalipse problably will have the 5 toys as mobs.

    • The main boss, toxx, definitely seems to be improving with each instance. The other little events that have been added aren’t so much more complicated, just different.

  4. […] Hunter’s Insight — Wintersday. “Wintersday was the biggest and most popular festival in Guild Wars so Guild Wars 2 had a lot to live up to with Wintersday 2. I’m glad to say that the festivals so far have blown the original game out of the water.” […]

  5. […] Hunter Reflects on Wintersday […]

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