Guild Wars 2: Living in the Shadow of the The Mad King

With Shadow of the Mad King, Guild Wars 2 expands with new events, new mini dungeons, and much more.

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When you've made the best online role-playing game in years, what's the obvious next step for a busy development team?

Why, make it better, of course.

And that's just what ArenaNet intends to do with Guild Wars 2, a high-quality game that the developer is enhancing and augmenting in numerous ways, both big and small. Lead content designer Mike Zadorojny and content designer Matt Wuerffel filled us in on the October update, Shadow of the Mad King, which went live today, October 22.

In the weeks preceding this update, ArenaNet prepared for its eventful future by breaking the development team into smaller, focused groups. The goal: expand the living world by continually updating the game, adding new features, and keeping players consistently entertained. To that end, each team concentrates on individual aspects of Guild Wars 2. One such group is the live response team, which is the front line of defense, responsible for fixing bugs, talking to players, perusing the forums and in-game chat, and understanding what players' short- and long-term concerns are.

Live response has already made certain improvements, such as camera adjustments, and fixes for farming exploits that threw the economy out of whack. Reward structures have been another focus. Towards the end game, players are interested in legendary weapons, which require a good deal of karma to purchase. To earn the necessary karma, players would farm certain events--and the team would rather people experience a variety of content, rather than repeat the same content. So karma has been added to other activities, such as challenging jumping puzzles, mini dungeons, monthly achievements, and more.

The living world team works with live response, adding events , jumping puzzles, and other activities to keep things fresh--even when it's a region you've already explored. There are also new hole-in-the-wall places to stumble upon and explore, with new content to discover within. Also: new skritt burglar events (more on those to come!), and new achievement paths, like one that has you leaping from particularly high vantage points. (And, we can only hope, into a bale of hay, Assassin's Creed style.)

NPC guilds are another addition. The idea is that guilds of computer-controlled griefers level up with you, perhaps ambushing you when opening a treasure chest. NPC guild events are scaled to account for the number of players participating, and could potentially turn into larger battles (say, skirmishes versus four simultaneous boss characters) if there are enough combatants. You can also expect new jumping puzzles and mini dungeons, and we got to see both types of content in action in Fireheart Rise, a region tailored towards players between levels 60 and 70.

It’s been 200 years since the people of Kryta have seen the ghost of the Mad King, famous for his bad jokes and his tendency to kill anyone that lost a game of Mad King Says.

This new chunk of content as you leaping across platforms to reach a crazy Asura called Vexa, who is performing terrible experiments on her test subjects. Within her lab, you face waves of enemies with different mechanics; beware of chickens that explode upon defeat, and m ight leave grubs in their wake! (And as you might know, the GameSpot team has a peculiar fetish for exploding chickens.) This mini dungeon also requires a lot of jumping and movement--and the team understands that jumping puzzles can be frustrating for certain players. In certain cases, checkpoints have been added so that you are teleported to the beginning without taking armor damage. But such checkpoints won't save you when it comes time to face Vexa herself. During the multi-stage final battle, she will destroy platforming panels and possibly knock you into the water beneath, where toothy sharks await.

The new content isn't just aimed at higher-level folks, however. In Plains of Ashford, the Charr starter area (as well as in many other regions), you shall encounter skritt burglars. Perhaps you're used to running into simple ogres and their pets in a particular locale. Now, you might open a treasure chest, only for a skritt to leap out and run off. As you give chase, he might turn you into a racoon, or cast spells that slow you down. But as you and other event participants try to defeat him before he reaches his goal, he drops pieces of treasure that participants can grab.

If you played the original Guild Wars, you might know why this update is called Shadow of the Mad King: Halloween nears. In Guild Wars, the popular Halloween events inevitable concluded with the arrival of Mad King Thorn's spirit. It's been 200 years since the people of Kryta have seen the ghost of the Mad King, famous for his bad jokes and his tendency to kill anyone that lost a game of "Mad King Says." (Though at least he was kindly enough to resurrect them.) The king may have disappeared--but the traditions carry on. Lion's Arch is the most festive city in Kryta; there, you can expect to see lots of fake Mad King Thorns (much as we'd see people dressed as Santa Claus), candy corn elementals, floating candles, and plenty of jack o' lanterns. Among other events, players can participate in PvP costume brawls, in which combatants imbibe tonics that might morph them, for example, into skittering spiders.

More importantly, act one of this particular update will spawn doors into the world that you "trick or treat." When the door opens, you see a starry field on the other side, and mysterious creatures pour through, forcing to push them and back and protect the lands. Later in the week, Kryta will have built more defenses, and eventually, you will go through the doors and take the fight to the enemy.

Zadorojny and Wuerffel also clued us in on a few other special occurrences in store for players, but you'll have to wait until Friday, October 26, to find out just what they are, so be sure to return to GameSpot then. In the meanwhile, you should practice your "Mad King Says" skills; you never know when they might come in handy.

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Discussion

34 comments
ChillingSky
ChillingSky

I dont agree this game is free to play, even this event costs real money to spend on gems to buy things you need (and even it's a gamble whether you get something good or not). I do really enjoy the game but to describe it F2P is misleading and is, in fact, not the truth. It's subscription free and that is all, to see and do everything the game has to offer will cost you more money than your initial outlay.

Vitex2003
Vitex2003

Actually, everything what was told in the article is said in the video... So, what is the purpose of repeating same...

jessie82
jessie82

meh the events get quickly boring and after getting one character to 80 and having explored and gotten 80% of the world done just knowing it would have to be done all over again on any new character just makes me sigh and logoff

 

i would really like to see the dyes BoA so i dont have to get them all again on each new char

LordDeArnise
LordDeArnise

The Halloween-themed Mad King Thorn events had always been a major staple of Guild Wars events, and I'm glad Arenanet decided to feature it in the sequel.  Hopefully, if we're still alive & kicking after 12/21, we'll see them do a Wintersday holiday event.

vishisluv7
vishisluv7

Looks like some quality holiday themed content. Some amusing and interesting ideas. What a great game for no sub fee.

rumblewithyou
rumblewithyou

It's great that they are adding new content to the game and i look forward to experiencing it all.  But as much as i look forward to this new content, they need to also concentrate on the old stuff.  there are still lots of events that are bugged and things that need to be fine tuned. 

virus10101
virus10101

I wish i have more time to spend on this game ... :(

clementchai
clementchai

Its a nice game I am sure of it. Wanted to buy it when it launched,waited for it for 1+ years since I know of the game but.....will not buy it,will not play it. All because the parent company made a big mistake.....Long live CoH !

sammoth
sammoth

Running Skritt reminds me of the robber from Diablo. LOL

Kickable
Kickable

wonder how much ArenaNet will make on gem sales this event & future events from keys lol

HailHellfire
HailHellfire

i will probably crack open my copy & start playing now....

love anything halloween themed

 

ive been kind of holding out on playing the game

BrunoBRS
BrunoBRS

i know i said this on the video, but you might see it here instead:

 

keeeeeviiiin!!!

 

your guild misses you :(

Ceasius
Ceasius

 @ChillingSky I'm not sure you fully understand what free to play is, but more accurately it's buy to play. But anyway look at LoL a free to play game, you only unlock characters by either buying or playing and gathering IP, same with GW you can buy get gems from gold. Unlike Allods (which is also F2P) you dont have to spend money to have an advantage over other players, and buying optional stuff cannot be compared to subscription based games such as WoW.

 

Anyway, I completed every part of the event without spending a sent, sure you can buy an MK costume, but that is optional and I had a blast without it.

Lpedraja2002
Lpedraja2002

 @ChillingSky People who describe it as free to play don't know what "free" means.  The game costs $60!  That is not free.  This is free of monthly subscription not free to play.

saruman354
saruman354

 @ChillingSky That's total BS considering you can use in game currency to buy things in the gem store. And outside of cosmetics, "everything the game has to offer" comes with the cost of the game.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

 @Vitex2003 Actually, there are four paragraphs of information that were not in the video, from restructuring to leaping from certain vantage points. The reason I wrote an article to accompany the video was to make sure that information was included. The Friday update will probably be video only, since the information will be all there. 

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

 @clementchaiThat was NCSoft deciding to shut down CoH. Don't hate on ArenaNet though just because the publisher shut down the IP. For example, I hate Bobby Kotick (CEO of Activision) but still like Blizzard and Starcraft 2.

 

virus10101
virus10101

 @clementchai well i think no 1 cares ... i play this game and i really enjoy even as casual gamer (so few time to spend)

Vince21C
Vince21C

 @sammoth I think it's cause ArenaNet's founders were original from Blizzard but split up at the end of Diablo 2. Maybe it's just their way of making "their" Diablo 3 sort of speak.  

You can tell the similarities with the Mad Kings also but instead of causing havoc in Tristram their Mad King tells bad jokes and plays 'Simon says'. Gotta hand it to ArenaNet for making a great game.

 

I originally wasn't going to play this one cause I had so much school work but I might just log in to get enough Karma points for a legendary.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

 @BrunoBRS I swear I will be back soon! I wish there was more time in the day :(

ChillingSky
ChillingSky

 @Ceasius

Well you were one of the only people in GW2 that had enough keys and %chance rate to get all the skins.

 

In fact no you were THE only one. There are literally tons of people on various GW2 forums saying how they spent money on keys to open chests and they didn't even get one rare. So basically it was gambling.

 

The skins are in no way needed or required to progress in the game. They are part of the game though so to experience them you would have to spend real money. Unless they have of course your godlike chance at loot lol

 

Yes I am fully aware of what free to play is, something that everyone harks on about GW2 being. Which, as you and I have pointed out, is not true.

 

I won't reply anymore, this post is nearly two weeks old, the game event is over and now a pointless discussion.

justinka777
justinka777

 @Lpedraja2002  @ChillingSky

 they know this im sure. it just might as well be free to play, also easyer to describe it as such because most people relate to mmorpg's as either "free to play" or "subscription".

try not to freak out everytime the math dosent add up

clementchai
clementchai

 @JackHoleFace00

 I dont hate ArenaNet.But if NCSoft is involved dont bother to ask me to play any of their games. Tough luck on those hard working ppl in ArenaNet for choosing NCSoft as a partner.

ggregd
ggregd

 @vannacut  @clementchai NCSoft shut down City of Heroes after 8 years because a huge expansion and going free to play didn't bring in new players to beef up it's low subscriber numbers.

BrunoBRS
BrunoBRS

 @Kevin-V at least visit us during halloween, we even got guild voice chat kinda sorted out. might make your streams either better or worse :P

swordbreaker100
swordbreaker100

 @ChillingSky  @Battlemed  @saruman354 or you could just not buy black lion keys, they dont give you anything that will improve the game experience all the content within the game is available when you buy the box

ChillingSky
ChillingSky

 @Battlemed  @saruman354

OMG why is Gamespot filled with idiots... Read what I wrote, I said if you want to see and do everything the game has to offer then you need to spend more money, Currently there is a issue with the amount of chests dropping vs the number of keys to be able to unlock them and get the crafting stuff for the event, if you played the game you would know this. Google it. It is simply not practical nor would you have to time to grind enough gold to buy the keys.

 

I never said it was pay to win, I said if you want to see all the game has to offer.

 

Stop being such a defense stupid idiot all your life and learn to read before making a comment, you make yourself look dumb!